Disorder, sorrow, death and love
The way of meditation
3rd Public Talk, New Delhi
November 07, 1981
May we continue where we left off last Sunday? We were saying how important it is to be free of fear. We went into the whole movement of fear, desire, thought and time. We went into that very carefully. Because without being free of fear we make our lives a dreadful burden. Out of fear we become very violent; out of fear we invent various kinds of illusions; out of fear we act neurotically, psychotically; out of fear there is no clarity of observation. So it is very, very important, as human beings who have lived on this earth perhaps thirty thousand years, we have carried that burden, destroying our lives, perverting our actions, playing the hypocrite, psychophantic. And so it behoves us to be utterly, seriously, applying this, what we have said, actually, not theoretically, not abstractly.
And also we talked about pleasure as being part of fear. And this evening we ought to talk over together - and the speaker means together - the question of order and disorder in our lives. And also we should talk over together what is love, what is compassion. And also we should concern ourselves about the meaning of death. Tomorrow if we have time we will talk about meditation and the nature of true religion. But this evening we ought to consider together this question of disorder in our lives.
All the sociologists of the world, so-called social engineers, are trying to bring order in society. There is disorder in society; each one doing what he likes, based on fear, pleasure, reward and punishment, seeking - each one - security, physically and psychologically, inwardly. So we should talk over together what is disorder. Please, as we pointed out on several occasions, this is not a lecture; a so-called lecture where somebody lectures you, tells you what to do, what to think, how to think and so on; but here, if you will allow it, we are together investigating, exploring into the nature of our disorder. We want order outside, in our society, order in which there is no corruption, where everyone is responsible for his act, where when you give a word you keep that word, where you are responsible for what you are doing outwardly. Society is after all an abstraction, actually it doesn't exist, what exists is man's relationship to man, that is society. To put it very, very simply: society is your particular relationship with another, either that relationship is based on anger, jealousy, exploitation of each other, where each one is ambitious, greedy, envious; what we are society is. Not that one should begin the ordering of society, but ordering, bringing about order in oneself.
You may listen to this, may perhaps see the truth of it and agree to the logical proposition that what we are society is. Our past generations have created this society, past generations have brought about war and we are contributing to it. So we must talk over together the nature of disorder. Why human beings who are so-called educated, sophisticated, excellent in their technology, if they are businessmen they are perhaps fairly good, corrupt - you know all the rest of it - why human beings, you and I, live in disorder in our daily life. I do not know if you have ever asked yourself that question. And can we this evening, face the fact, look at what is in our life, daily life? If that daily life is corrupt, dishonest, psychophantic, accepting authority - authority is a very complex problem - but not being completely authoritarian to oneself, having integrity, you mean what you say, not double talk. All that contributes to disorder. Out of disorder you cannot have order. Please see the importance of this. We seek order out of disorder. That is, we live disorderly in our daily activity, whether it is a politician, businessman, or a religious man who pursues some ideal, this constant conflict both outwardly and inwardly, indicates that we live actually a disorderly life. That is a fact. And can that disorder end? Not disorder transformed into order, but disorder end. Then there is order naturally without one seeking order. Is that clear?
We are talking over together, please bear that in mind during this evening and tomorrow evening and wherever you may hear the speaker. We are together, you and the speaker, are investigating, exploring, looking into our lives, why we live in disorder. Is it a habit? Is it that we accept life as it is, the misery, the confusion, the agony, and so on?
So can we end this disorder? That is, conflict between man and man, the competition that is destroying the world, competing in armaments, competing who will be greater than somebody else. This constant competition in our life is part of this conflict, part of this disorder. Can we live a life without any competition? This is important to understand please, because nations are competing for armaments, piling up of armaments, competing economically, perhaps even religiously - one guru has more disciples that the other. So there is this peculiar tendency in man to compete. As we pointed out the other day, the Eskimos in North Western Canada never knew what competition was till the Americans introduced it. And also when we blindly accept authority, it is part of this confusion. The authority of the law is one thing and the authority of an ideal, the authority of a principle in which there is always the struggle, always this dichotomy, the division between 'what is' and 'what should be', the struggle to change 'what is ' into 'what should be'. That is also part of conflict, part of disorder, but if you observe what actually is, that is, if we observe that each one of us is envious - please listen to this, give your attention, if you don't mind for a while, consider what is being said - if we are envious, that is the fact, that is 'what is'. The non-sentiment or the reaction that we should be not envious is not a fact. What is a fact is that we are envious. To understand that, to go into it and to hold it as you would hold water in a vessel, to remain with it and not try to transform it. The very desire to transform it is a part of our disorder because we are always running away from actually what is.
So can we have a mind, a heart, that is completely free from conflict? You may hear this and say, that is impossible; life is conflict, as a tree in a forest struggles for the light so we human beings have to struggle, have to fight, have to do all the unhappy, miserable, dishonest things we do. We have accepted that as our norm, as the way of life. We never have questioned it. I do not know if you have not noticed that man, though he has developed extraordinary technology and so on, but man throughout the past ages has remained more or less what we are: angry, killing each other, arrogance, despair, frightened, all that. We have changed very, very little from the ancient man of twenty five, or thirty thousand years ago, we have changed very, very little. It is a tragedy that we live this way. Living this way then we seek God, we go to temples, mosques, churches, or become some disciple of some guru. Which is all so idiotic; it has lost all its meaning. What is fact is: that we must understand our disorder in our life. And if it is possible to end it, which means one must observe very clearly oneself; observe how your mind works; observe your reactions. This is fairly simple, this is not complicated, to learn the activity of our own mind, to be honest in our observation of our own mind, our own thoughts, our own feelings, not to distort them, but to observe very closely, with attention, with care, then you will find out of that confusion, clarity comes.
You see the difficulty is that we never apply. You have heard this statement this evening, if you have listened. And you treat that as an idea, as an impossibility perhaps, but you never apply, never commit yourself to find out in your own life if there can be order. And as we said, order is not the opposite of disorder. We create the opposite because that way we think we can escape from disorder but the fact is only disorder. And when you move out of that there is clarity of mind, clarity of action. Will you apply all this? Or merely listen, shake your head in agreement, or disagreement, or say it is impossible? But to listen to the truth of it, act, apply, commit yourself, otherwise we are pursuing a dangerous course.
And from disorder we should also talk together what is suffering. Why man for millions of years, or thirty thousand years, has carried this burden of sorrow. There is not only personal sorrow but the sorrow of mankind, the sorrow that comes through wars. Historically there have been five thousand wars, that is, war every year. And that war has brought about immense sorrow: how many wives, women, mothers have cried. There is the sorrow of poverty - you know this sorrow in this country where there is overpopulation about which we do almost nothing, we talk about it. There is the sorrow of this poverty, not only physically with little food, few clothes and the rich are richer and the poor seem to get poorer. There is the sorrow of ignorance, not the ignorance of books, of knowledge, but the ignorance of one's own mind, the ignorance that prevents us from acting righteously, honestly, truly. There is the sorrow of personal man or the wife who loses her son, deformed, there are the tears, the agony of loneliness, the despair of something that you have lost upon which you have relied, to which you have been attached. There is the sorrow of not being successful, of not climbing the ladder. And there is the sorrow of ugliness. There is the sorrow of every human being.
These various activities that bring about sorrow are not different: there is only sorrow. That is, there is personal sorrow, there is the global sorrow of mankind which has lived for so long - slaughtering each other, maiming each other; the terrorists the world over are creating such great sorrow. The politicians with their particular theories, either it is Marx or Lenin or some monetary principle, is also bringing great sorrow. And we have never been free of this sorrow, we carry it till we die; we haven't found a solution for it; we have accepted it. And when we do revolt against all this we join some group or other, some system or other, hoping thereby to end sorrow of man. But they have never succeeded through institutions, through foundations, through politics, to end sorrow.
So together this evening if we will, go into this problem. You know what sorrow is. Everyone goes through sorrow of some kind or another. One has shed tears endlessly. And when there is sorrow we try to escape from it, we go to temples, mosques and churches, sacrificing so much to escape from our own self pity and sorrow. And if you observe your own sorrow, why? Why do we suffer? Is there an end to this suffering? We are talking not of the physical suffering of so many people who are maimed, who are ill with disease, cancerous and so on, but we are talking about sorrow that each one has. That is a fact, a terrible fact. And we have not resolved it ever. So the first thing is - we are talking over together, you are not listening to the speaker, we are together observing this phenomena of suffering - part of this suffering is jealousy in the family, quarrels in the family, specially in this country where family is very important. Why have we put up with this sorrow? Is there an ending to sorrow? So we will find out together, please, I mean together, you are not just listening to a talk. Because a mind that suffers cannot love; a mind and a heart that is always aching in loneliness cannot have compassion with its extraordinary intelligence. So together let's enquire if it is possible to end not only our personal sorrow but the sorrow of mankind.
We all know what it is to be lonely. You may have friends, you may be very powerful in a country, you may have all the wealth of the world but there is always this fear of being lonely. Perhaps most of you have experienced this quality of mind that feels isolated, that is also a great sorrow. You see when we are lonely we try to escape from it through some form of entertainment whether it be religious or football, we seek through entertainments, through avoidance, the fact that one is desperately lonely, with its enduring sorrow. Now can we together look at that loneliness? Look at it. Surely you know what it means to be lonely. Not the word, the word is not the fact. Right? The word is never the thing. The word 'loneliness' is never the actual feeling. This tent, the word 'tent' is not the actuality. So don't let us get confused between words and the actual. We are talking about the actual, not the word, not the semantic meaning of the word and arguing about the word but looking at the fact of loneliness, knowing that the word is not that feeling which brings about such despair, such anxiety, such fear. So we are looking not at the word but at the thing itself. The word indicates but the word is not the actual. I hope you understand all this.
So what is it to be lonely? Is not all our activity self-centred? That self-centredness is based on reward and punishment. Each one is looking for himself, his position, his power, his arrogance - you know. He is cultivating this loneliness and that loneliness appears with extraordinary vitality and strength when you are by yourself or amongst a crowd you suddenly realise how extraordinarily isolated you are. And that is another form of sorrow.
So let us together examine what is sorrow. Not intellectually, argumentatively, dialectically but the actual fact that you suffer, either from some disease or from an inward sense of loneliness, or the sorrow of what is happening in the world: the total disregard of all humanity, nobody cares for human beings anymore. They care for ideals, seeking power or asserting some monetary system which brings about great unemployment and so on.
So first of all is it possible to be free of sorrow? Now, when we use the word 'freedom', it is not freedom from something. You understand? We always want to be free from something, free from every kind of irritation and so on. But we are talking of a freedom that is not from, or away from. Please understand this a little bit carefully because we are concerned with the ending of sorrow, then only there is freedom. But as long as you are suffering for various causes, then to face that, understand it, go into it, explore to its very depths, then at the end of it, if you are capable of attention, listening to all the tones and the subtleties of suffering, when that suffering ends there is freedom. So freedom is not from something; freedom is when there is an end to something. That is, most of us are attached to something: attached to your family, attached to your children, attached to your position, your status, attached, if you are a politician, to your power. You are all attached to something. The idealist is attached to his ideals, or the religious man attached to some invented god, or attached to his particular caste, or particular turban to indicate a certain quality of mind. We are all attached - aren't you? Attachment leads to corruption. Right? You can see it happening right round you. People are incapable who are attached to power or business, or to some kind of religious sect. And it invariably breeds corruption, and you see this happening right under your nose. And we, as human beings, each one, we are attached to something. And the consequences of that attachment are invariably corruption, moral, ethical, aesthetic and so on. Now to end attachment completely, because if you don't, sorrow is inevitable. And when one suffers one hasn't the time or the energy, or the quality to investigate, to remain with it.
You know while we are discussing suffering we ought to talk about death. What is it to die? We will come back to suffering in a minute. You see somebody - I see my son die from disease, accident, or some fatal injury. I see him die. And I shed tears out of my loneliness, out of my attachment. And I want to escape from it. So my mind is seeking some form of comfort, a drug, whether that drug be religious or some form of escape. We all do this. Or I say to myself, 'I believe in reincarnation and I will see him next life.' A lovely comforting idea. That is an escape from suffering. And what is death? We are all going to die, young or old. That is inevitable. Are you all prepared to listen to all this? Interested in finding out? Or are you all too tired at the end of a day? Can I go on? Not that I love to hear my own voice but are we together in this problem of death?
Have you ever ended something without a cause, without a sense of reward or punishment, ended something for itself? That is, can you end attachment completely? That is what death is, isn't it, the ending of one's so-called life. Right? What is that life? We are always asking what is after death. Right? But we are asking what is before death, which is much more important. What is before death, the life that you lead? What is that life that you lead every day of your life? Misery, confusion, the sense of having no love in your heart, or wanting love; the struggle, the conflict, the anxiety, the depression, going to an office from nine o'clock to five o'clock every day of your life till you are sixty or sixty five, and you must go to the office because you are responsible for your family. This is your life, calling yourself by various names according to your sect and tribal division; endless conflict from the moment you are born till you die, and that you call living. And you are frightened to let that go because that is what death is going to do. You cannot argue with death.
And in enquiring into the nature of death we must also enquire, if you are paying attention to what is being said, into the quality of the brain. Our brain which we have now is not yours or mine; it is the brain that has evolved through millions of years. Please do pay attention to this a little bit. This brain has evolved through time, through experience, through knowledge, through various incidents, happenings, through all these centuries upon centuries. It is not your brain. It is the brain that has been cultivated, evolved, to come to this present state. And that brain is functioning partially. That is, if you are a technician it is working in that system partially. If you are a businessman, again partially. Or a religious person who is simply concerned with some fantastic illusions, again partially. Are you aware of all this? Are you aware that your own brain - not yours - that your brain is all the time occupied, occupied with something or other? And that brain has evolved through experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, therefore it is caught in a very limited area of knowledge. And we have never known or acted with a brain that is functioning properly, wholly, holistically.
Are you following all this? Verbally, but not actually aware how your brain functions. When you are attached to something it is partially functioning. When you are specialised as a surgeon, carpenter, businessman - we have broken life up into various categories - that is also acting partially. To find out whether this brain which has an extraordinary capacity, this brain which is infinite, but we have reduced it to a very small part, and living in that, and that we call living. Right? You are following all this? The living which is daily travail: fighting, fighting, struggling.
So we must be more concerned with before rather than after death. Whether the life that we lead can be radically changed. For God's sake listen to all this. The speaker is rather emphatic about all this because we are following a dangerous course. So it is far more important to understand our daily life, what happens rather than what happens after death. If you believe in reincarnation - that is part of your tradition - that tradition says live righteously now and you will be rewarded next life; you will have a better palace, you will have more money, you will have a better position, you will be nearer to God. If you believe in reincarnation what matters is how you behave now, what you do now. But you don't care what happens now as long as your selfish urges are satisfied. So belief in reincarnation has no value at all. What value has it when you are corrupt, dishonest, have no integrity about anything?
So the point is - please listen to this - can you live psychologically with death, not commit suicide, I'm not talking of that, psychologically live with death? That is, to end your attachments, your desires, which is what death is going to do. Biologically your organism is going to come to an end, but psychologically we want to go on. So death is the ending of the self. You understand this? The ending of me, my ambitions, my greed, my violence. So to live with death means to live without violence, to live without attachment. Then you will see, if you do, death and life are not separated. That is, to end is to begin. Oh, you don't understand. The speaker tells you this but you won't do it. You will continue your own ways of selfishness and arrogance and all the rest of it and always live with fear of death. And the speaker says, the living is more important than the dying, and the dying is to live.
And we must also go into the question of what is love, because they are all interrelated, they all are connected: suffering, pain, pleasure, fear, hurts, envy, all those are tied together, as love is tied to the whole problem. What is love? Do you love somebody? You see how silent you all are! What is love? Does it exist at all in this country? Don't say, 'Does it exist in the West?' That is an avoidance of the question. Do you love? Or you are attached. What does love mean? As we know it now it is associated with the sexual act, it is associated with jealousy, envy, ambition. You go to the office from nine to five, struggle, assert yourself to climb the ladder, come home and tell your wife, if you at all tell her, that you love her. There in the office you are ambitious, greedy, cheating people, bribing people; corrupt there, and come home and say you love. Right? See the total contradiction in this. Please, this is important, go into this, don't go to sleep.
Is there love without attachment? Is love pleasure? Go on sirs, enquire with me. Is love desire? Is love the beginning of sorrow? If, or when there is sorrow, pain, grief, ambition on one hand and on the other you say, 'I love'. Your ambition destroys love, your jealousy prevents love. So love is not desire, nor pleasure. So is there love without hate, or hate and love go together? So find out, apply, enquire, put your hearts into it to find out because without love you have nothing. You may talk about the Vedas, go to the temple with utter devotion, cheat somebody, bribe somebody, be utterly irresponsible in what you are doing, if there is no love, life becomes empty. You may have all the power, the decorations but without love your life has no meaning.
So what will you do? When you hear that statement, what is your reaction? You see, with the ending of suffering there is passion, not lust, passion. An integral passion. The meaning of that word 'suffering' is semantically associated with passion. We have no passion for anything, except for our own beastly little concepts and ideas and feelings. Compassion is to have that feeling for all human beings. Have you ever noticed - if you are not tired this evening - have you ever noticed, what we call intelligence, have you ever asked what is intelligence? We are not talking of dialectical intelligence, that is, the argumentative offering one opinion against another, or one conclusion against another historically or non-historically; the clever man, the erudite man, the man who has extraordinary capacity, that capacity, that erudition, that speciality is only partial intelligence. Intelligence is connected with the holistic way of living a life. You understand the word 'holistic', which means living integrally, wholly, not partially, not a life that is broken up. And compassion has its own extraordinary intelligence. And it is that intelligence - please listen, for God's sake, listen - it is that intelligence that is going to alter society, governments, stop wars; not all these conjuring tricks that politicians are playing with armaments. It is this compassion which is born out of love, it is that intelligence, out of that compassion that is going to solve all problems. If you have no love in your heart you are going to face disaster. Please listen to all this. What the speaker is saying is truth, not some illusion, not some fantastic belief. It is your life, don't waste it.
And we are talking about suffering, end it, because out of that ending comes a new beginning which is love, which is compassion and intelligence.
Right sirs. May I get up?