Freedom, order, love and death
Can the mind be free of its content?
3rd Public Talk, Madras
December 16, 1972
If I may this afternoon, or this evening, I would like to talk over many things: freedom, order, love and death. And in talking over together these questions, which are our daily problems of life, I think we have to bear in mind that together we are investigating, together we are taking a journey into rather complex issues of life, and to investigate together. As we said previously, there must be that quality of intensity, a quality of mind that is not tethered to any particular belief or a conclusion, but is willing to go very far, not in distance of time but in depth.
And if we may we will begin by observing certain things. One comes to this country, as one has done for the last forty years, except during the war years, and one notices the terrible deterioration, one notices disorder, not only in the streets and governments but also the great disorder in ourselves. Our culture is going, or probably has already gone, our standards, values, moral quality have disappeared, and in their place, if one observes quite objectively, money, position, status have become very important. It's a tragic affair to see a country losing its very roots, an ancient culture which has lost its mooring, and in its place every kind of disorder is going on. And as one observes, surely a new culture must be born, a new way of living, a mind that will not accept corruption, both outwardly and inwardly, an action that is whole, healthy, holy. That word 'whole' implies that. The word 'whole' means healthy, holy. And such a culture must be brought about for any community to survive.
And if one is really deeply moved by all the tragedy that is going on one has to do something, a totally different kind of action, a totally different kind of living, a mind that understands what is compassion, if there is such a thing as freedom from death. And this evening, if we can, as a group of people listening, and perhaps very, very serious, then we can together investigate these things, whether the mind which has been so terribly abused, which has born many hurts, many tragedies, great sorrows, personal and non-personal, whether such a mind can transform itself, letting all the conditioning disappear so that it is a total, whole, a holy thing.
So we will begin by enquiring what is freedom. Whether the mind, our mind, your mind, can be free, or must it always live within the prison of the known, which is the past, whether that past be tradition, knowledge, experience, the various influences, the education that it has received, the impositions, the suppressions, whether such a mind can be absolutely and totally free. We are going to enquire into that. There are many varieties of freedom: freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of choice. I don't know why one uses freedom of choice as though it was a very great thing, because really a mind that is confused can never choose, and what it chooses must always be confused therefore it is not free at all to choose, but we will go into that. So there are many kinds of freedom, national, political, freedom of the press, freedom of the seas, and so on and on and on. But we are not talking about all those kinds of freedom. We are talking about a mind, your mind, our mind, which is in disorder, and whether there can be total freedom from that disorder. To us freedom is generally from something: freedom from anger, freedom from jealousy, envy, hate, and so on. I think there is a different quality of freedom, not freedom from something but the quality of mind that knows freedom - not from. When it is freedom from something it is the opposite, and therefore not free.
So we are going to enquire together whether in our life, in our daily life of relationship we can bring about order. Because relationship is society, the relationship between you and me, between me and another, and so on, is the structure of society. That is society, relationship is the structure and the nature of society. I am putting it very, very simply so that we can get on. And when there is no order in that relationship, as there is at present no order, then every kind of action must not only be contradictory but also producing a great deal of sorrow, mischief, confusion and conflict. Please, don't let me talk but share it together because we are taking a journey together, perhaps hand in hand, with affection, with consideration. But if you merely sit down and be talked at, or lectured to, then I am afraid you and I cannot take the journey together hand in hand. So please do observe your own mind, your own relationship, it doesn't matter with whom it is, your wife, your children, with your neighbour, or with your government, and see if there is in that relationship order. Because order is necessary, precision is necessary, order is virtue, order is so mathematical, so pure, complete, and we are going to find out if there is such order.
No one can live without relationship. You may withdraw into the mountains, become a monk, a sannyasi, wander off into the desert by yourself but you are related, you cannot escape from that absolute fact, you cannot exist in isolation. You mind may think it exists in isolation, or bring about through action a state of isolation, but even in that isolation you are related. And when one looks at that relationship, because life is relationship, living is relationship, we cannot live if you and I have built a wall around ourselves and just peep over that wall occasionally, but unconsciously, deeply, under the wall we are related. I do not think we have paid a great deal of attention to this question of relationship. Your books don't talk about relationship, they talk about god, practice, methods, how to breathe, don't do this, do that, and the everlasting back and forth. But I have been told, because I don't read books, thank god, I have been told relationship is never mentioned.
Relationship implies responsibility, as freedom does. And to be related is to live, that's life, that's existence. And if in that relationship there is disorder our whole society, culture goes to pieces, which is what is happening now.
So what is order, what is freedom and what is relationship? This is the first thing we are going to enquire into. And from there go into this whole question of what love is and if the mind can ever be free from this tyranny of death. Don't wait or neglect the previous things, that is love, relationship, freedom and order, because you may be only interested in death, and you say, 'Really I am not interested in all the other things, but as I am terribly interested in death and what happens after life and so on, I will neglect the rest and I will pay attention when you come to that part' - if you do that then you will never understand what we are talking about. You must take the whole thing together: order, freedom, disorder, relationship, love and death, they are together, they are not separate things.
So what is disorder? Because when the mind understands what is disorder, really deeply inwardly what brings about disorder, then out of that insight, out of that awareness, out of that observation comes naturally order. Not the blueprint of what order should be, because that is what we have been brought up with, a pattern has been laid down by religions, by cultures, what order should be, or what order is. And the mind has tried to conform to that order, whether it is cultural order, social order, legalistic order or religious order, it has tried to conform to the pattern established by the social activity, by certain leaders, teachers and so on. To me that is not order because in that there is implied conformity. So where there is conformity there is disorder. Where there is the acceptance of authority there is disorder. Where there is comparative existence, that is measuring yourself against somebody, comparing yourself with somebody does produce disorder. I'll show you why. It's not a wild statement. Need I explain all this? Have you caught on to it? Or must I go into it? I see I must go into it. All right.
Why does the mind conform? Why does your mind conform? Have you ever asked? Are you aware that you are conforming to a pattern, it doesn't matter what that pattern is, whether you have established a pattern for yourself or it has been established for you. We are always conforming - why? Where there is conformity there cannot be freedom, obviously. And yet the mind is always seeking freedom, the more intelligent, the more alert, the more aware the greater the demand. The mind conforms, imitates, obviously because there is more security in conformity, in following a pattern. That's an obvious fact. You put on all kinds of marks, on your forehead, all kinds of activities you do, because socially it is better to conform. You may be educated abroad, you may be a great scientist, politician, but you always have a sneaking fear that if you don't go to the temple or do the ordinary things that you have been told to do, something evil might happen, so you conform. So what happens to the mind that conforms? Investigate it, please, together. What happens to your mind when you conform? First of all there is a total denial of freedom, total denial of perception, total denial of independent enquiry. When you conform there is fear. Right? Do you see all this? Are we going together? And when you imitate - and the mind from childhood has been trained to imitate, which is, conform to the pattern which society has established, pass through examinations, get a degree, if you are lucky get a job and get married, finished. And you accept that pattern, and you are frightened not to follow that pattern.
So inwardly you deny freedom, inwardly you are frightened, inwardly you have this sense of not being or being free to find out, enquire, search, ask. So that produces disorder in our relationship. Right, sirs? Do watch it. Sir, look, don't agree with the speaker, that's the least important thing. What you and I are trying to do is to really go into this so deeply, to have real insight, see the truth of it, and it is the perception of the truth that frees the mind, not your practice, not your silly activity of enquiry but the actual perception of 'what is'.
So in relationship both outwardly and inwardly we bring about through fear, through conformity, through measurement which is comparison, disorder. And our relationship is in disorder, not only with each other, however intimate it may be, but also disorder outwardly. Right? Now to see that disorder clearly, not out there but in here, deeply in ourselves, to see all the implications of it, then out of that perception comes order. Then you don't have to live according to the order. You understand? Because order has no pattern, it's not a blueprint. It comes out of the comprehension of what is disorder. The more you understand disorder in relationship the greater the order. Right? So you have to find out what is your relationship with each other. You are following all this?
What is your relationship with another? Have you any relationship at all? Or it is a relationship with the past image, with the past, the past with its image, experience, knowledge, brings about what you call relationship. Right? So knowledge in relationship causes disorder. Right? No? Look, sir, I am related to you, I am your son, your father, your wife, your husband, whatever it is, we have lived together. You have hurt me and I have hurt you, you have nagged me, you have bullied me, you have beaten me, you have said hard things behind my back and to my face. So I have lived with you for ten years or two days, and these memories remain, the hurts, the irritations, the sexual pleasures, the annoyances, the brutal words, and so on, those are recorded in the brain cells which hold the memory. So my relationship with you is based on the past. Right? The past is my life. If you have observed you will see how the mind, your life, your activity, is based, rooted in the past. And relationship when it is rooted in the past must create disorder. Right? That is, knowledge in relationship brings disorder. Sir, look: you have hurt me, I remember that; you hurt me yesterday, or a week ago, that remains in my mind, that's the knowledge I have about you. Right? That knowledge prevents relationship, that knowledge in relationship breeds disorder.
So the question is: you hurt me, you flattered me, you scandalised me, and can the mind wipe away at the very moment you are insulting, never recording? You understand what I am saying? Never recording your insult. Have you ever tried this? Yesterday - how lovely that moon is, isn't it, looking through the leaves and the cry of those crows, and the evening light, and that extraordinary moon through the leaves, a wondrous thing, look at it, enjoy it - yesterday somebody said to me rather harsh things, which are not true. What he said can be recorded, is recorded, and the mind, since it is recorded, identifies the person with that record and acts according to that record. And where the mind is acting in relationship with the knowledge of that insult, the harsh words, that untrue thing, then that knowledge in relationship brings disorder. Have you understood this? Right? Have you even verbally understood this? Now how is the mind not to record at the moment of insult, or at the moment of flattery? You have understood my question? Because to me the most important thing in life is relationship, without relationship there must be disorder. And a mind that lives in order, total order, which is the highest form of mathematical order, cannot for a single minute allow the shadow of disorder to come upon it. And that disorder comes into being when in relationship the mind acts on knowledge which is over. So how is the mind not to record the insult, but know the insult has been given, as well as flattery, it has been given but yet not recorded, so the mind is always clean, healthy, whole in relationship? You have understood my question?
Are you interested in this? You know if you are really interested in it, it is the greatest problem in life, how to live a life in which the mind has never been hurt, never been distorted, in relationship. Now is this possible? We have put an impossible question, you understand? It is an impossible question, and we must find the impossible answer. You understand what I am saying? Because what is possible is mediocre, is already finished, done, but if you ask the impossible question the mind has to find the answer. Can the mind - because this is love, sir, you understand - the mind that records no insult, no flattery, knows what love is.
We are asking a question which is, can the mind never record, never, absolutely never, record the insult or the flattery? Is that possible? If the mind can find the answer to that one has solved the problem of relationship. You understand? Because we live in relationship, relationship is not an abstraction, it is a daily every day fact, whether you go to the office, come back and sleep with your wife or quarrel, whatever it is, you are always in relationship. And if in that relationship between you and another, or between you and many or one, if there is no order you will create a culture that will ultimately produce disorder, as is being done now. So order is absolutely essential. And to find that out can the mind, though it has been insulted, hurt, brutalised - not brutalised - brutal things have been said to it, knocked about, never for a second hold it. The moment you hold it, it is already recorded, it has left a mark in the brain cells. See the difficulty of this question. So can the mind do this so that the mind remains totally innocent? You understand what I am talking about? No, don't shake you heads, you don't understand. The word 'innocent', a mind that is innocent means a mind that is incapable of being hurt. Because it is incapable of being hurt it will not hurt another. You understand all this? Now is this possible? Every form of influence, every form of incident, every form of mischief, distrust is thrown upon the mind. And can the mind never record and therefore remain very innocent, very clear? We are going to find out together.
So we will come to it by asking, what is love. We will come back to it, I'm not avoiding it. Is love the product of thought? Is love in the field of time? Is love pleasure? Is love something that can be cultivated, practised, put together by thought? So in enquiring into this one has to go into the question, is love pleasure, sexual or any other kind of pleasure. Because our mind is pursuing all the time pleasure: yesterday I had a good meal, the pleasure of that meal is recorded and I want more, a better meal or the same kind of meal tomorrow. I have had great delight, in the sunset, looking at the moon through the leaves, or seeing a wave far out at sea, that gives great delight, beauty, and that is great pleasure. The mind records it and wants it repeated. Sexually thought thinks, chews about it, wants it repeated, and that you call love. Right, sirs? Don't be shy when we talk about sex, that's part of your life, you have made it hideous because you have denied every kind of freedom except that one freedom. So is love pleasure? Is love put together by thought, as pleasure is put together by thought? You are following all this? Is love envy? Can a man love who is ambitious, greedy, violent? Go on sirs. You are ambitious, aren't you, all of you? Can you love when you are ambitious, when you are competitive? And you talk a great deal about love, don't you? Love of god, of course, I forgot that! That's your favourite slogan. When you don't know how to love man you love god. Oh, don't laugh, you are so immature, childish.
So can a man who is envious, who is greedy, ambitious, violent, conforming, obeying, totally in himself in disorder, can he love? So what is love? It is not any of these things, obviously. It is not pleasure. Please understand the importance of the pleasure; pleasure is sustained by thought, therefore thought is not love. You understand? Thought cannot cultivate love. It can cultivate, and it does, the pursuit of pleasure, as it does fear, so thought cannot create love, put together love. See the truth, see it and you will put away your ambition, your greed, altogether. So through negation you come to the most extraordinary thing called love, which is the most positive.
That is, disorder in relationship means there is no love, and that disorder exists when there is conformity. So a mind that conforms can never know what love is. Oh, come on! Conforms to a pattern of pleasure, or what it thinks is love. So a mind that has understood the whole ripening of disorder comes to an order which is virtue, therefore which is love. Do you see it, sir? It doesn't matter, I'll go on. It's your life, it's not my life. If you don't live this way you will be most unhappy people, caught in a social disorder and be dragged for ever in that stream. It is only the man who steps out of that stream that knows what love is, what order is.
Now let's go into the question of what death is, shall we, because they are all related. Now can the mind be free of death? Not what happens after life. When the mind is free of death there is no time. Have you understood? Oh, come on sirs! So time is death. Are we journeying together? There is time by the watch, there is time as space between here and death. The space between now and death is time. And the mind cannot and will not allow that space between now and that thing called death, the mind will not allow that time to disappear. And the mind says, I know the body dies through accident, old age, disease, an incident, there are so many ways to die, and the shedding of tears, the misery, the suffering, all that is involved in death, both physiological as well as psychological. And must death always exist, and can the mind be ever free of death? You are following? I want to find out. If you want to find out we must enquire what is freedom from death? Is freedom something from death, or is the mind free when death is not? The mind is free when time is not, not freedom from death. You understand? But when death is not there is freedom. That is real freedom.
Now we are going to find out whether the mind can be free of death. The mind being the whole structure of one's life, what you think, what you feel, what your envies are, the whole content of your life is the mind. Right? Your gods, your fears, your anxieties, your sorrow, the whole content makes up your life. Without the content you have no life. You understand sirs? Are we travelling together? Your house, your name, your bank account, if you have a bank account, the techniques that you have learnt, your relationships, the pettiness of your existence, all that is the content of your life and that content is life, your life, in which is included death. Right? Death is not something over there, it is here, because that is part of life, isn't it? So can the mind be free of the content, including death? You have understood? Be free of the accumulation which you have gathered through time? So time is the factor, the central factor of death. Are you meeting all this? Are you meeting all this, or am I talking vaguely to some abstract?
Look, sir, come with me, look at it, watch your life: your job, if you have got a job, the beliefs, the gods, all the things that thought has put together, the books that you have read, the Upanishads, the Gita, whatever the books, sacred - I won't call them sacred, they are just books - all that you have read is accumulated in the mind. This accumulation, including jealousy, what you think is love, and death, is the content and therefore that is your life. That content is fragmented, broken up - business, artist, dancer, businessman, scientist, and so on and so on - this fragmentation is brought about by thought, thought is time, and thought says, 'I don't want to die'. Right? All the things that I have accumulated is me. So thought, which is the product of the past accumulations, and so on, is time. Memory is time. And thought which is the child of time maintains time as a means of avoiding death. Have you all gone to sleep?
Look, sir: you are caught in the social stream of life, aren't you? The social stream of Brahmin, non-Brahmin, the politician, the economist, the artist, that is the stream, endless stream. Your mind is caught in that. You are that stream. And we are asking whether the mind can be free of that stream, and if it is not free there will always be death. You understand? It's only the mind that is not caught in the stream, whether it is the technological stream, or the social stream, or the stream of this disorder in relationship, that stream is your life, that stream is you. You are the world and the world is you, that stream is you. Now when you die you still belong to that stream, don't you? Don't you? No? You are not an individual, are you? Individuality means indivisible, non-fragmentable, a human being who is not in fragments - fragments, broken up, contradictory - only such a person is individual. But when the mind is caught in the stream he is no longer an individual, he is just like a million other people only he has got his peculiar characteristics, peculiar tendencies, idiosyncrasies, which are the response of his conditioning. So your character, your temperament, your tendency is the reaction of your conditioning, and that conditioning is the result of your culture, your society, your economic position and so on. So your tendency, your idiosyncrasy, your character, is nothing, that's not individuality. I wonder if you get all this. It doesn't matter, I'm going on.
So as long as the mind flows with the stream, the whole idea of a permanent ego, which is the invention of thought, permanent entity in the human mind doesn't exist. You all believe, you all are greedy, you are all envious, therefore you are pursuing, following, caught up in this stream. And in this stream there is death. You understand? And when a man says, 'Will I be born next life?' - you are following all this? I must tell you a story afterwards, rather an amusing story. When a man asks, shall I be born next life, what is he asking? Who is he to be born next life? You understand my question? Is there a permanent you? Is there a permanent you? Look at it clearly. What is the 'you? Your furniture, your ambitions, your greed, your envy, your disorder, your sexual life, all that is you. And thought invents a super you, super self, and thought says, 'There must be something which is permanent, I like the idea of permanency'. And you hope that permanent thing will be reborn. Right? You are following all this? There is nothing permanent in you, obviously.
You know, I was going to tell you a story, rather an amusing one. I saw a cartoon the other day of two dogs sitting on a pavement watching human beings go by, with their cigars, cigarettes, drunk, quarrelling, you know, the whole stream of them going by, the businessman with his hat and with his bag, the sannyasi, everybody goes by. One dog says to the other 'Reincarnation gives me the creeps because I don't want to be born to be like one of those.' Do you see the tragedy of this?
So there is this enquiry whether the mind can be free from time, which is death. Not that there is immortality. You understand? There is something far greater than immortality. Immortality, the very word means mortal and not mortal. As there is nothing permanent, nothing, your furniture, your bank account, nothing is permanent. All your beliefs, your gods, are all put together by thought. And thought is time. Now can the mind be free of this quality of time? You have understood now? Therefore love is not time. Relationship, where there is disorder, is time. Where there is order time doesn't enter at all.
So we are asking whether the mind can be free of time. It can only be free when there is complete observation of facts as they are, and going beyond them, and that requires energy. When the mind is greedy, envious, brutal, telling things which are not true, fearful, then it is caught in the field of time. And to see this, see it, not merely verbally, with your eyes or with your mind, but to see the totality of it, then the mind becomes extraordinarily free of time. You can't practise this. You understand? There is no way to it. You can read all the books in the world, and follow all the gurus in the world, but this is the central factor of human existence, time. Time is knowledge, time is the past, time, the past through the present to the future, that is time. Thought has put together all our human behaviour, social structure, everything that man is doing is based on thought. And we are asking, though knowledge must exist to function, to go to the office, to drive a car, you need knowledge, there you need time, but we are asking a mind that is caught in greed, envy, ambition, violence, imitation, conformity, and all the rest of it, can that which is the product of thought, which is the product of time and therefore death, can the mind be free of time? Please listen to this. Because the mind itself is the product of time. Right? It has evolved, it has grown, it has structured in time. And the mind is asking itself whether it can be free of time. That's a wrong question. You have understood? All that it can do is to observe the movement of time. Just to observe without resistance, without trying to go beyond time, just to observe it. That means the mind being completely attentive and at the moment, at the second of attention there is no time. You have understood this?
This is meditation, sir. You understand? We will talk about it tomorrow evening, this whole question of meditation and the implication of meditation. But if you don't understand this, which is order that comes out of the flowering of disorder, not the suppression of disorder, seeing what is disorder, out of that comes order; without order you will never have love, there is no love. That means you have to understand relationship. Your wife, your husband, your children, how you bring them up, a new kind of education, not just the passing of examinations, getting a job and all the filthy business of it. And you have to understand the meaning of the content of the mind, the unconscious as well as the conscious content. And to see this as a whole, not as fragments, to see it as a whole is to be totally attentive, totally attentive to that insult or to that flattery at the moment of flattery or insult, totally attentive. You understand? Then there is no recording. Therefore in relationship, when there is attention, there is no image building, then you are related. That attention means love, care, responsibility. So a mind that is free of time is a mind that has total order. Such a mind is really the truly religious mind.