In ending, which is death, is great beauty
The crisis is in the very nature of thought
6th Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 17, 1981
One would like to point out, if one may, that this is not a gathering for any kind of excitement, for any kind of romantic inspiration, or sentimental business. It is a rather serious gathering - at least the speaker is. And we are not trying to As there are so many people who may be newcomers, please be assured that we are not in any way doing propaganda, trying to convince you of anything, or bringing some fantastic, nonsensical, Indian, Eastern philosophy or exotic gods and gurus. We are together, having explored for the last five gatherings here, we have together been concerned with the degeneration of the world, the wars, the threat of nuclear bomb and so on, so on, so on. We have been talking about all that considerably.
And also we have said, the crisis is not in politics, nor in the world of economics, nor in the world of so-called organised religions. The crisis is in our consciousness, in our minds, in our hearts, in our activity. This crisis we have been examining considerably at length, and yesterday morning we talked about fear. We have been talking also about order in our life, where there is so much disorder, where in our daily life there is very little restraint, there is no discipline whatsoever. We use the word 'discipline' in the sense, the word comes from the root 'disciple', which means to learn, to learn in the manner of living, to learn about what is actually religion, what is meditation and so on. Discipline means learning, not merely accommodating oneself to a certain pattern of behaviour, suppressing one's own desires and so on.
We have been talking about all this in detail. And we have said that thought has created this world in which we live, with all its disaster, with the wars, with the division of nations, with the proliferation of nuclear bombs and so on, so on.
Yesterday we talked about the beginning of fear. We pointed out and we together - and the speaker means together, not that the speaker is saying something exotic, out of the way, or an isolated point of view - together we examined our own fears, the factors of fear, how fear arises, the many aspects of fear. The aspects can be examined very closely but they all contain this fact which is fear. We talked considerably about that yesterday morning.
And also we talked about, together, investigated together, considered these things together, one must repeat this constantly because most of us are used to being told what to do. We are accustomed, specially in this country where there is specialisation in every field, those specialists have written books and we read all those books and we never are able to think clearly for ourselves. We have become slaves to others. We went into this at the beginning of these talks.
And again one must repeat very clearly, and I hope you will not mind the repetition, but it must be underlined very clearly that we are observing the world as it is, and the world that is so complex in the psychological state of our being. Together we are examining all that.
And this morning, as this is the last talk, this morning we are going further into the examination of our consciousness and its content. The content makes consciousness, without the content consciousness as we know it, does not exist. So we examined very closely one aspect after another of this content of our consciousness.
We talked yesterday morning together, asking each one of us to observe our own fears, and not to escape from it, not to suppress it, not to hide it away and lock it up. We were saying that we must be able to look at it, face it so that we meet it directly. Because man throughout the ages has carried this burden for millions and millions of years, and we are the result of all that, past fears and the present fears. And if we do not understand the nature of fear deeply and be free of it, fear cannot live with love. We talked about that yesterday.
We also talked about pleasure rather briefly. In this world, specially in the western world, more in America, in this country - please bear in mind we are not criticising the country or you but we are together observing the fact, not my point of view, the speaker's point of view, nor a particular point of view - but when you observe what is taking place in this country, excitement of every form, sexual, and other forms of excitement, the principle of pleasure pursuit, the pursuit of the expression of one's own desire, and the expression of that desire takes the form of pleasure. We talked about it. We went and investigated the nature of desire. Desire is the awakening of the senses. And we are again briefly repeating it. The senses in action, contact, then sensation. And then thought with its image enters into that sensation, and from then begins desire. We talked about it, we explained it very, very carefully, in detail, that fact. Seeing, which is sensation, contact, touching, from that touching, sensation, and thought then creates the image, and when thought creates that image then desire begins. And we also pointed out the activities of desire and the contradiction that lies in itself in desire and so on, from which arises our conflict.
Pleasure has been the pursuit of man throughout the ages in different forms, mostly sexual and psychological which expresses itself in action in the physical world. One can observe this closely if you are willing to examine it yourself. And pleasure, whether it is physical pleasure, or the pleasure of power, pleasure of possession, the pleasure of depending on another, must inevitably carry in its track fear. If you observe this you can see it for yourself.
And we began yesterday talking about suffering of man. Man, of course woman included - when the speaker says, 'Man', please, ladies don't get excited about it, woman is included in it - man throughout the ages, from time immemorial has suffered both physically and specially psychologically, inwardly. Suffering has been the lot of man. The Asiatic world, including India, says that it is the result of past actions, so-called karma. And that explanation seems to satisfy most people. And most people in the world seem to be satisfied with explanations. But explanation, the word, is not the actuality. Suffering, the word, it's not the actual tremor, the actual shedding of tears, the feeling of great emptiness, loneliness. And suffering, specially in the Christian world, has been relegated to some symbol, and we think by giving our suffering over to somebody our suffering will end, in different forms. But man all over the world suffers. Suffering is anxiety, grief, uncertainty, the sense of deep abiding and apparently unchangeable loneliness. You can observe for yourself, we are together observing. You are not merely listening to the speaker but observing yourself as the speaker is depicting what is actually going on in ourselves. And can man ever end suffering? Is there an end to sorrow?
One must ask fundamental questions, not superficial demands and cheap answers. One must ask always one's own fundamental, radical questions. And it is a radical question, whether man, you, can ever end sorrow.
How can there be love - we will go into that word which has been so spoilt - how can there be love when there is fear? How can there be that thing when it has become merely a matter of excitement and pleasure? Is love desire? Is love a matter of excitement? Can love exist when there is ambition, aggressiveness? Can there be love when a human being has been hurt from childhood, can there be love when there is sorrow? Or that perfume, that thing which we have called love, can only be when all this ends. And is it possible - not intellectually, not merely be satisfied with explanations, or reduce sorrow, fear and other things to a scientific matter of chemicals, chemistry, and be satisfied with all that. How can we kill another, either in war, or in violence, if there is love?
Apparently we human beings are caught in a terrible tragedy of habit, tradition, of an activity of a brain that has become atrophied because we are functioning mechanically - we hold on to beliefs, to faith, to constant repetition of endless meaningless rituals in all the churches of the western world, and the rituals in the eastern world. All these rituals are put together by thought. Thought is a material process, as we have explained over and over again. Some scientists are beginning to accept it. And because scientists have such a dominant influence in one's life perhaps then you will also accept it. But if you examine thought, and the origin of thought, what is thinking, you will find that it is born out of memory, knowledge, experience, and from that experience thought, thought in action, and so on. This is the chain in which the brain works at present. Experience, knowledge, memory stored in the brain, from that memory action, skilful or not skilful, and from that action you learn more knowledge. So you keep this chain going, which is gradually making the brain atrophied. When you repeat over and over and over the same thing, as they do in rituals, in having strong beliefs, convictions, conclusions, the brain must inevitably become not only atrophied but lack nourishment. And one of the factors of this atrophy is that man puts up with every kind of illusion - religious illusions, psychological non-facts, and so on.
Now we are asking if sorrow can ever end. Not only personal sorrow, but also the sorrow of all mankind. Sorrow is sorrow, it is not yours or mine. The sorrow that has been created through these five thousand years of war. The sorrow that human beings are preparing for wars. The sorrow of endless division between people, as the Catholics, the Protestants, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Muslims, the Arab and the Jew, the American and the Russian, the Hindu and the Muslim, and so on. This constant division is bringing about great conflict in the world. And we don't seem to realise this. We don't seem to realise the appalling danger we are facing. We want to escape from it all into some form of excitement, knowledge, explanation. But to be sensitively aware of all this, the society that man has created, so we are part of all that, and therefore we are utterly responsible, totally, completely responsible for everything that is happening in the world.
You may not accept all this, but as we said, one must critically, sceptically, with considerable doubt examine all this, we must exercise our brains to its highest capacity. And if that capacity is made incapable by our personal sorrow, by our personal fears, we reduce fear of all mankind, which all human beings bear, all human beings throughout the world suffer - uncertain, anxious, in conflict, confused, seeking constantly security. This is the common ground of all mankind, whether you live in India, in the Far East, here, Europe, or anywhere. So our consciousness is the common consciousness of all mankind. And in that consciousness there is sorrow, fear, pleasure, and occasional flash of love.
And we are trying to see if suffering which distorts thinking can ever end. Please, be good enough to ask that question of yourself. Not, the questioner is asking you to put that question to yourself, but it is your sorrow, the sorrow of mankind. No words, no explanation, no escape, can wipe away that sorrow. One has to face it. Either you face it obliquely, casually, with impatience, trying to go beyond it, then if you are, you are not directly confronting it. That is to remain completely, totally with that which is, without any thought interfering, distorting what actually is sorrow. Sorrow is both self-pity, self-torture, self-abnegation. And the various activities of the self trying to fulfil its own desires, failing or succeeding. And all that is part, and more, of sorrow. Can one look at it closely, be totally in contact with it? One can only be totally, completely in contact with it if there is no division between you and the thing you call sorrow. You are not separate from sorrow. You, the observer, thinking that sorrow is different from you, and acting upon sorrow - trying to escape, suppress, analyse, run, go beyond it, or end it, all that points to the division that exists between you and sorrow. That's the tradition in which we have lived. But the fact is you are sorrow, not you separate from sorrow. When you are angry, anger is not different from you. When you are violent, that violence is not different from you. When you have created the religious figures, symbols, those creations are part of you. They are not separate from you. Though you may worship them as something separate from you, man has created them, those symbols, images, made by the hand or by the mind.
And as this division brings only conflict, to observe it, to observe that this division exists first of all, that's the tradition, in that tradition we have been educated that the 'me' is separate from sorrow, pain, anxiety, fear and so on, or even pleasure. We have been conditioned to that from childhood. And to break that conditioning and so end conflict, is to observe, be in contact with that sorrow, with that fear, with those desires, without any sense of an observer looking from without within. Like in all relationship with human beings thought has created the division. If you observe in your own relationship with another, however intimate it may be, you will find that you are separate from the other. Obviously. This division inevitably, in relationship, or nationally, internationally, must inevitably, that is the law, must bring about conflict. And as we have pointed out, in all our relationship this conflict exists, wherever we are.
And we are asking whether being totally in contact with sorrow, without any kind of division, without a shadow of trying to overcome it, or explain it, be totally with it, and when you are so with it you are giving your complete attention to it, and it is this attention, this total, complete attention, with all your energy, it is that energy that dispels, ends sorrow.
And also we must go into the question on a lovely morning like this, with clear sunshine and the beauty of the light on the leaves, and the shadows, and the mountains and the valleys, we must go into the question also, if you are not afraid, if you are enquiring, into what is death. That is part of our existence, to be born and to die - between being born and dying, all the travail of mankind. All the terrible loneliness, disorder, the mounting knowledge about the external world, and the mounting knowledge according to the psychologists, the inner world, which is much more complex than the psychologists explain, between being born and dying, there is every kind of relationship, with all its conflict, in which there are moments of joy and pleasure and so on. Between being born and dying there is the mounting danger of wars, uncertainty, the dreadful brutal destruction of nature and of human beings. So it is important that we understand, or enquire into what is the significance of death.
Death is part of life. We have broken up life into various segments, various divisions - look at it for yourself - as fear, as sorrow, as pity, as business, as politics, as commercialism, as man, woman, sex, pain, grief, anxiety, uncertainty. We have broken up life into fragments. And we look at death as a fragment. And we never take life as a whole without any divisions, without being broken up. Life is a movement, and if we divide life, as we do, then death becomes a terrible thing, a meaningless ending. Please observe this for yourself. One's own life is broken up that way. Me and you, we and they, this belief against that belief, this nation against that nation, this race against that race, each one trying to succeed, fulfil, pain, anxiety and so on. We have broken life, the living on this earth so separately. And so where there is separation there must be conflict. Where there is division there must be the inevitable conflict. And our life from the moment we are born till we die is endless conflict. Out of that conflict every form of neurosis arises. Then all the problems of that, which the psychologists meet. So we continue this way from the moment we are born till we die. And this we call life, this we call living. And to this we cling, this existence that has become of very little meaning, this life that has very, very little significance as we live it. What significance has conflict? Progress? Progress towards what? More conflict? Towards a better society? That society is a symbol, it is not actuality - the better, that society is created by our relationship with each other. If our relationship is not right, if our relationship with each other is without conflict then we shall have a society, a government in which there will be no conflict, it will be us. If we behave properly why need we have governments? And because we are so corrupt we have governments which are becoming more and more corrupt.
So this is our life from the moment we are born till we die. And to this we cling desperately, because we think with death all this, and perhaps we are entering into something unknown. This we know, we are familiar with this - with the conflict, with the fulfilment of desire, pleasure, we all know this. But we don't know what happens after death. So the Asiatic world, specially India, in the ancient of times, said you will be reborn next life, there is birth after life. Not the birth in a test tube, not the birth of new experiments in genetics, but life which we live with all its complex travail, if you life rightly now, next life you will have a better chance - instead of being born in a hut you will live in a palace - a better life, both physically and psychologically. You will always be becoming better and better, nobler, till ultimately you reach that highest principle which in India they call Brahman. So reincarnation is the pet theory of all those people - perhaps the whole of the eastern world. And here, in the Christian world, you have your own form of resurrection - you will ultimately sit next to god. But those who believe in reincarnation behave in their usual way - brutal, violent, they actually don't believe in their belief. If they did they would behave righteously, correctly, without any sense of violence, and so on. Here too, in the west we talk about all these things.
So we are asking: what is the significance of death? We must answer that question, not avoid it. We must look at it very closely, whether that death occurs with old age, diseased body, the organism being used in the wrong way, and so on. What is the meaning of death? It is very important to ask this question because this is part of our life. It is not something at the end of life.
Obviously the organism comes to an end through disease, old age, and so on, accident. And we, living as we are, in conflict and misery, confusion, uncertainty, having faith in some fantastic projection of thought, cannot face that fact, what is death, what is the meaning, what is the beauty, what is the significance of it. As we pointed out earlier in these talks, our consciousness is made up of its content. The content is our life, the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals, the fears, the sorrows, the anxieties, the wounds, the division of nationalities, the Christian, the Buddhist and the Hindu, and the Islamic world, our consciousness actually is the consciousness of all mankind. So your consciousness is the consciousness of all human beings. You are the entire world. The world is you. You may have different skin, you may belong to different religion, call yourself by a nationalistic name, but actually, psychologically we are talking about, you are like the rest of mankind: driven, uncertain, tremendously anxious, imitating, conforming and so on, so on.
So when there is death the organism dies. And that consciousness of mankind goes on. It is only those who free themselves from those contents of consciousness, they liberate themselves from that, they liberate themselves from the significance of death.
So we must go and enquire very closely what is the meaning of death. Have you ever ended anything without explanation, without resistance, without seeking a reward or punishment, end something? Have you? Have you ever ended completely attachment? That's what it means to die, to end. You can't when death comes, all that is cut off, your attachment to a person. So the significance of death in its most profound sense is the ending. So a wise man doesn't wait for death to end, but ends, brings to an end fear, sorrow, attachment, loneliness, sorrow. And when there is an ending so completely there is totally a different dimension.
That is only part of the significance of death. Death has an extraordinary sense of beauty. You will be surprised to hear it. Because with death, the ending of something, also is the beginning of something else, which is love. Yes, I'll show it to you. It is good to be sceptical, it is good to doubt, it is good not to accept anything anybody says, including the speaker, specially the speaker. Doubt your gurus and they will disappear! (Clapping) Don't clap, sir. Doubt your own beliefs, your own longings, your own desires, your own ambitions, your own sectarian spirit. And also you should doubt, question, be sceptical so that you find for yourself what is truth - not depend on anybody: the priests, the rituals, the authority, specially in the world of the spirit, in the world of so-called spirituality. One must be a light to oneself. And you cannot be a light to yourself if you are always depending on somebody else. And this dependence, to end it, not in some years, but now. Which is, ending is death. And when you end something, in that ending there is great beauty, not in that which is continuous.
So the whole idea of personal immortality becomes nonsensical when we realise that our consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of mankind.
And also we should go into the question if we have time - time has been given to us this morning - we must also go into the question of what is religion, because as the world is degenerating, if there is no world religion - not Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam - world religion, it is only out of a religious mind, a global, religious mind that a new culture can come into being. Not the technological culture which is now the culture of mankind - how to build cars, the computers, the robots, the atom bomb, the instruments of war, battleships, aeroplanes, surgery, how to increase grain, and so on, so on, all depending on technology. And again that technology is based on thought, and thought is incomplete because knowledge can never under any circumstances be complete.
So one has to find out for oneself what is the meaning of religion. The meaning of that word from Greek, Latin and so on - the speaker is not a scholar - god forbid. The speaker, if one may be a little bit personal, does not read all these books, but he looks in a dictionary for the root meaning of words - the word 'religion' comes from 'religare' - I won't go into all that - to bind. Even the etymologists are doubting the origin of that word. But one can see very clearly that the religions that we have in the world at present, whether in the Far East, in India, the Arabic world and the world of Israel, and the world of Christianity, this religion is based upon thought, a longing, the father figure and so on, so on, which are all clichs. But one can see the actual fact - they are based on fear, deep uncertainty, the hope some day somebody will clear up all this confusion. And as each person is confused he clings to some image, symbol which he hopes will help him to go beyond his own little self. Our religions are now as they are, utterly meaningless. Don't please get angry. Just look at it. We are not trying to advocate a new religion, a new cult, a new set of rituals, which are all nonsense. We are looking into a much deeper issue. And all the things that are in the churches, the cathedrals, in the temples in India, and the Asiatic world, their rituals, their images, are all put together by thought. And thought is never sacred, but thought has made those things that are in the churches, temples and so on, sacred. So thought is worshipping itself. Right? Thought is worshipping that which it has created, or the symbols it has created, or the actual person of whom he doesn't know - makes an image, and worships that image. This is called religion.
And there are all those innumerable gurus, which are now multiplying all over the world like so many mushrooms, they bring something new, at least they think they are. But it's this old tradition in which their own ambition, power, money, all that is involved. They are getting richer and richer in this country. You know all this. All this is called religion.
In the Asiatic world, specially in India, both the Buddhists and the Hindus have said, as one of the tenets, or one of the rules - doubt, question, be sceptical.
Questioner: Krishnamurti, may I ask you something?
Krishnamurti: Just a minute, no sir.
Q: Is mankind immortal? May we not die to mankind also?
K: Sir, please. Forgive me, if you want to question you should have come on Thursday or Tuesday of last week or the week before, sent in a question, and those questions, as there were so many of them, we have tried to answer some of them. But this, if you will forgive, this is not a question and answer meeting.
So we are enquiring: what is religion? Please enquire together. Is there anything sacred, anything that is timeless, anything that is not bound by thought, something actual, not invented, not put together out of human suffering, out of human fear, out of human confusion, is there something that is beyond all time, beyond all corruption? How will you find this out? Which doesn't belong to any person, to any group, to any community, which is global - how do you enquire and discover that? Obviously, if you are serious, you cannot belong to anything, neither Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or be a Muslim. One must be free of all that, totally, completely. Freedom not to do what you like, that is too silly, too immature. Freedom from bondage. That's absolutely necessary. So the brain is always seeking out security, therefore inventing all kinds of images, illusions, in which it hopes to find security.
So if one is really wanting to enquire deeply if there is anything sacred, holy, one must put aside all those things which are not - the religious books, because if you, as it's now being done, if you rely on a book, so-called holy books then you become narrow, bigoted, that is what is happening in the world. And also if you want to find out if there is anything sacred there must be absolutely no fear.
Life as it is now, broken up, that life when it is not broken up, when life is treated as a whole, without any division as sorrow, as pain, as anxiety, as fear, pleasure, when there is no breaking up of life into these compartments, which means to live totally a harmonious life without a single shadow of conflict. If that doesn't exist how can you go beyond it?
So that's why the speaker has put religion, meditation, that which is, and perhaps there is something sacred, at the end of the talks because we must first put the house in order - your house. The house is you. If that is not in total, complete order, living a harmonious life, how can you know possibly what love is and what compassion is? With that compassion comes love, intelligence. And that intelligence is the complete, total security. That must be before you begin to meditate, because it is only through deep meditation that you find out for yourself whether there is something beyond all time, measure, nameless, timeless.
And meditation is not how to meditate - the Zen system, the recent gurus with their systems of meditation - what's the other? - the transcendental nonsense. It is merely coining money. 'Mantra', you know that word, unfortunately. The actual meaning of that word, it has got great beauty and significance in that word which has been traded for money as a means of meditation, which is nonsense. The word 'mantra' means, the root meaning of it, is to ponder, meditate upon not becoming. And it also means in Sanskrit, end all self-centred activity. That's the real meaning of that word - ponder over, meditate, on not becoming, in this world or in the psychological world, and end all self-centred activity. You understand the meaning of that word, the significance of it? And for that word, mantra, you pay dollars, and you think you are learning meditation. And the people who invented the transcendental nonsense coin money, rich, they have become immensely rich. So that is not meditation.
Any form of systems of meditation, if you practise these systems you become more and more mechanical, more and more dull. Obviously. If you repeat over and over and over again, your brain becomes atrophied. So we have to reject totally all that. It is logical, rational, sane - what we are talking about, nothing abnormal, something exotic brought from strange countries, romantic, and all that nonsense. Meditation demands tremendous understanding of yourself, completely, so that you don't create, fall into any illusion. And where there is no understanding of desire and its activity, illusions are inevitable. So one must be very, very, very clear about all this. You must keep the house, your house in total order, without a shadow of conflict, then only you can talk about meditation, not how to meditate, but what is meditation.
I hope you are not tired, may we go on? To understand what is meditation, which unfortunately from the eastern world is brought to this country, though you have your own form of contemplation in the Christian world. The word 'meditation' according to the dictionary is to ponder over, think over, observe, and so on. But that is merely an explanation, that's a verbal definition. But that is not meditation. The word is not the thing. So meditation begins with being totally aware, sensitively, without any choice of what is happening in the world and with yourself. That is only part of it. When we have looked at all the complexity of our life, how it is broken up, all that observation is part of meditation, so that you are establishing your life in harmony, in which there is no conflict. Then meditation is to bring about, - not you bring it about - because you have laid the foundation of order, ending sorrow, pain, suffering, psychologically, then the brain, the mind becomes quiet, naturally. You cannot silence the mind. Who is the entity that silences the mind? It is still thought then. So by bringing about a life of harmony, in our daily life, in everyday life, naturally, easily, without any effort, there is the quality of silence in the mind, complete silence. That is absolutely necessary. If that silence doesn't exist then thought can invent what it likes - every form of illusion, delusion, images.
So the silencing of thought means the ending of time, which we went into. And then out of that silence, not your silence or my silence, silence, in which there must be Silence - it is difficult to go into all this unless you have done it yourself. You know, sirs, without beauty, not the beauty of a face, though there is a beauty in a face, the beauty of a poem, the beauty in literature, the beauty on a canvas is different from the beauty of the hills, of the rivers, a sheet of water sparkling in the sun, and the flight of a bird, and the light on a leaf which is quivering with the breeze. That beauty exists only when you are not there. You understand? When you as the selfish entity are not there, the other is. So meditation is the silencing of all that, a natural ending of all that. Out of that ending comes great depth of silence. The brain has its own activity, but silence in spite of that activity of the brain overcomes, or is part of that natural movement of the brain - which means the brain also becomes extraordinarily quiet, if you have gone into all this.
It is only then you will find that which is sacred - not you will find - it is only then there is that which is eternally sacred. And when that is, then in you is born reverence. People have lost, or have never had reverence. They have reverence to an image, to a symbol, to things that thought has created, but that is not actual reverence, it is born out of fear, out of conflict, out of loneliness and so on. But the actual reverence, not for persons, power, position and all that, but the actual reverence comes when that which is immeasurably sacred. I have finished.