Is there a meditation that is not brought about by thought?
That benediction is where you are
4th Public Talk, Bombay
February 10, 1985
Would you mind taking away the camera? We have a lot of ground to cover this evening so we won't go back and repeat what we have said during the last three talks. Yesterday evening we were talking about sorrow and the ending of sorrow. With the ending of sorrow there is passion. And very few of us really understand or go deeply into the question of sorrow. Is it possible to end all sorrow? This has been a question that has been asked by all human beings, perhaps not very consciously, but deeply they want to find out, as we all do, if there is an end to human suffering, human pain, and the ending of sorrow. Because without the ending of sorrow there is no love. And to go into this question very seriously. When there is sorrow it is a great shock to the nervous system, like a blow to the whole physiological as well as psychological being, and we generally try to escape from it, taking drugs, drinks and every form of religious escapism, or become merely cynical, or accept the things as they are - inevitable. And to go into this question very deeply, seriously, is it possible not to escape from it at all? Perhaps my son dies and there is immense sorrow, shock, and I discover that I am really a very lonely human being. And I cannot face it, I cannot tolerate it, so I escape from it. And there are many escapes - religious, mundane or philosophical. This escape is a wastage of energy.
As we said, we are talking over things together. You and the speaker are looking into this matter of sorrow and we are together taking a journey, not the speaker alone. If we do not escape in any form from the ache, the pain of loneliness, the grief, the shock, but remain completely with the event, with this thing called suffering - is that possible? If we hold any problem, hold it, not try to solve it, try to look at it. If one holds a precious jewel, exquisitely hand - and so on, a beautiful thing, one keeps looking at it, one doesn't want to escape from it. The very beauty of it is so attractive, so pleasurable, we keep looking at it. In the same way, if we could hold completely without any movement of thought or escape, hold it, then that very action of not moving away from the fact brings about a total release from that which has caused pain. We will go into this a little later too.
And also we should consider what is beauty. This is very important. Not the beauty of a person only, or go to a museum and see the marvellous paintings and statues and most ancient man's endeavour to express his own feelings in stone or in paint or in a poem, but also if we ask ourselves: what is beauty? Beauty may be truth. Beauty may be love. And without understanding the nature and the depth of that extraordinary word 'beauty' it is inevitable that we shall never be able to come upon that which is sacred. So we must go into the question of what is beauty. We are not talking about the beauty of a person, the face, beautiful sari, a lovely tree, and the ancient paintings.
When you see something greatly beautiful like a mountain full of snow against the blue sky, what actually takes place? When you see something extraordinarily alive, beautiful, great majesty, for a moment, for a second, the very majesty of that mountain, the immensity of it drives away, puts all the self concern, all the problems - at that second there is no 'me' watching it. The very greatness of that mountain has driven away for a second all my self concern. Surely one must have noticed this. And then you say, 'How extraordinarily beautiful it is'. There, the majesty of that mountain with that snow and the beautiful line against the blue sky, that very majesty puts aside for a second the 'me'. Have you noticed a child with a toy? He has been naughty all day long, which is right, and you give him a toy and for the next hour till he breaks it up he is extraordinarily quiet. Which is, the toy has absorbed his naughtiness. The toy has taken him over. Similarly when we see something extraordinarily beautiful that very beauty absorbs us. That is, there is beauty when there is no self. You understand? When there is no self-interest, all the travail of the self, without being absorbed or shaken by something extraordinarily beautiful like a mountain or the valley in a deep shadow, without being taken over by the mountain is it possible to understand beauty without the self? Because where there is self there is no beauty, where there is self-interest there is no love. And love and beauty go together. They are not separate.
And as we said, we have to cover a great deal of ground this evening. So we ought to talk over together what is death. That's one certain thing we all have to face, whether you are rich or poor, ignorant or very full of erudition, that is the certainty of every human being, we are all going to die. And we have never been able to understand the nature of death, because we are always frightened of dying - aren't you? - and we hope for continuity after death. So we are going to together find out for ourselves what is dying, because we are going to face it. Whether you are young or old that's one certain thing in life.
And to understand death we must also enquire what is living. What is our life? Are we wasting our life? By that word 'wasting', dissipating our energies in various forms, dissipating by specialised professions. Are we wasting our whole existence, one life? Are we wasting it? People who are rich, they say, 'Yes, we have accumulated a lot of money, it has been a great pleasure', or if you have a certain talent. Talent is a danger to a religious life - talent being that which is a gift, faculty, an aptitude, an aptitude in a particular direction, which is specialization. Specialization is a fragmentary process. So one must ask oneself whether one is wasting one's life. You may be rich, you may have all kinds of faculties, you may be a specialist, a great scientist or a businessman, at the end of life has all that been a wastage, all this travail, all this sorrow, all the tremendous anxiety, insecurity, the foolish illusions that man has collected, his gods, all the saints and so on, has all that been a waste? You may have power, position, at the end of it - what? Please, this a serious question that one must ask oneself. Another cannot answer this question, except yourself.
So, we have separated living from dying. This dying is at the end of one's life - put it as far away as possible, a long interval of time. But we have to, at the end of a long journey we die. And what is it that we call living? Earning money, going to the office from nine to five, overwork, either in a laboratory or an office or in a factory, and the endless conflict, fear, anxiety, loneliness, despair, depression, this whole way of existence which we call life, living. Is that living? This enormous travail of man, his endless conflict. And to that we hold. This living is called pain, sorrow, anxiety, conflict, every form of deception, corruption. Where there is self-interest there must be corruption. And this is what we call living. And we know that. We are very familiar with all that, that is our daily existence. Nobody can cheat us from that.
And we are afraid of dying. Which is, letting go all the things that we have known, all the things that we have experienced, gathered, the lovely furniture that you have had and the beautiful collection of your pictures, paintings. And death comes and says you can't have any of those any more. And we cling to the known, afraid of the unknown. We can invent reincarnation, that we should be born next life, and we never enquire into what is it that is born next life. What is born next life is a bundle of memories, because we live by memories, we live by the knowledge acquired or inherited, and that knowledge is what we are. The self is the knowledge of the past experiences, thoughts and so on. The self is that. The self may invent there is something divine in one but it is still the activity of thought, and thought is always limited, as we talked about it the other day. So, this is our living, this is what we call life - pleasure and pain, reward and punishment, this is our life. And death means the ending of all that, the ending of all the things that we have thought, accumulated, enjoyed. And we are attached to all this. I am attached to one is attached to one's family, to all the accumulated money, to knowledge, to the beliefs that one has lived with, to the ideals - we are attached to all that. And death says, 'That is the end of it, old boy'.
Now, the question is: why has the brain separated living - living which is conflict and so on - and death, why has this division taken place? Right? Does this division exist when there is attachment? Please, as we said, we are talking over things together. We are sharing the thing which man has lived with for a million years, the living and the dying. And so we have to examine the thing together, not resist, not say, 'Yes, I believe in reincarnation, I live by that, to me that is important' - then conversation between us comes to an end. But if we really go into the question of what is living, what is wasting one's life, and what is dying.
One is attached to so many things - to your guru, to the accumulated knowledge, to the memory of one's son, daughter and so on. That memory is you. Your whole brain is filled with memory. Not only memory of recent events but also the memory of the deep abiding memory of that which has been the animal, the ape - we are part of that, that memory. And we are attached to this whole consciousness. Right? That's a fact. And death comes and says that is the end of your attachment, and we are frightened of that. Frightened of being completely free from all that. And death is that, cutting off everything that you have got. We can invent, we can say, 'Yes, I'll continue next life'. Therefore what is it that continues? You understand my question? What is it that in us there is this desire to continue? Is there a continuity at all? - except of your bank account, going to the office every day, a routine of worship, and the continuity of your beliefs. But they are all brought together by thought. And thought has been limited, and so creating conflict. We went into all that, we are not going to go into it now. And the self, the 'me', the ego, the persona, is a bundle of complicated ancient and modern memories. Which you can see for yourself, you don't have to study books and philosophies about all that. You can see it for yourself very clearly that you are a bundle of memories. And death says, puts an end to all that memory, and therefore one is frightened.
Now, the question is: can one live in the modern world with death? Not suicide, we are not talking about that, but end as you live all attachment, which is death. Right? I am attached to the house I am living in, I bought it, I have paid a great deal of money to it, and I am attached to all the furniture, the picture, the family, the memories of all that, and death comes and wipes all that out. And can I live every day of my life with death, ending everything every day? Ending all your attachments, that's what it means to die. But we have separated living from dying, therefore we are perpetually frightened. But when you bring life and death together, the living and dying, then you will find out that there is a state of the brain in which all knowledge as memory ends. But you need knowledge to write a letter, to come here, to speak English, to keep accounts, to go to your home and so on - you need knowledge. But to keep knowledge as something not entirely occupied in the mind. We were talking the other day with a computer expert. The computer can be programmed, and it stores that memory. And also the computer can put aside all that memory in a paper or in a list and keep itself empty so that it can be reprogrammed or instructed further. You follow?
So can the brain use knowledge when necessary but be free of all knowledge? That is, our brain is recording all the time. You are recording what is being said now. And that record becomes the memory. And that memory, that recording is necessary in a certain area. That area is physical activity. It's obvious. And can the brain be free so that it can function totally in a different dimension? That is, every day when you go to bed, wipe out every thing that you have collected; die at the end of the day. You understand all this? You hear a statement of this kind, that is, living is dying, they are not two separate things at all - you hear that statement, not only with the hearing of the ear, but also you hear it, if you are listening carefully, you hear the truth of it, the actuality of it. And for the moment you see the clarity of it, and later on you skip back, you are attached, you begin to be - you know, all the rest of it. So is it possible for each one of us at the end of the day die to everything that is not necessary? To every memory of hurt, of your beliefs, your faiths, your anxieties, your sorrow, end to all that every day? And then you will find you are living with death all the time, death being the ending.
One should really go into also the question of ending. We never end anything completely because we end if there is any profit in it, if there is any reward. To voluntarily end without a future assumption that there is better. And it is possible to live that way in the modern world. That is a holistic way of living in which there is the living and dying all the time taking place.
Then we ought to also talk over together what is love. Is love sensation? Is love desire? Is love pleasure? Is love put together by thought? Do you love your wife, or your husband, your children - love? Is love jealousy? Don't say no. But you are jealous. Is love fear, anxiety, pain, all the rest of it? So what is love? And without that quality, that perfume, that flame, you may be very rich, you have all the sense of power, position, importance, all that hierarchical outlook on life, without love you are just empty shell. So we ought to go into this question of love. If you loved your children would there be wars? If you loved your children would you allow them to maim themselves through wars, kill others, and so on, hurt others? Is love can love exist where there is ambition? Please, you have to face all this. But we don't because we are caught in a routine, in a repetition of sensation as sex and so on. So love has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure, with sensation and so on. Love is not put together by thought, therefore it is not within the structure of the brain. It is something entirely outside the brain, because the brain by its very nature and structure is an instrument of sensation, nervous responses and so on. And love cannot exist where there is mere sensation. Memory is not love.
And also we should talk over together what is a religious life and what is religion. Again this is a very complex question. Man, human beings, have sought, have enquired long before, something beyond the physical, beyond the everyday existence of pain and sorrow and pleasure, he has always sought something beyond. First in the clouds, the thunder was the voice of god, then he worshiped trees, stones; the primitives still do, the villages far away from these ugly beastly towns, they still worship stones, trees, small images. And man wants to find out if there is something sacred, and the priest comes along and says, 'I'll point out to you, I'll show you', as the guru does. And the rituals, the fancy dress of the western priests, their rituals, the repetition, their worship of their particular image; and you, you have your own images, or you don't believe in any of that, you say, 'I am an atheist, I don't believe in god, I am an humanitarian'. But man, you and the speaker, always want to find out something that may be beyond time, beyond all thought.
So we are together going to enquire, exercising our brain, our reason, our logic, what is religion, what is a religious life? Is it possible in this modern world? Not become a monk, and organised groups of monks. So let us enquire into it. When we are able to find out for ourselves what is really truly a religious life, and that can only be found out for ourselves when we understand what religions actually are, and put aside all that, not belong to any religion, to any organised religion, to any guru, to any psychological so-called spiritual authority. There is no spiritual authority whatsoever. That's one of the crimes that we have committed. We have invented the mediator between truth and ourselves. So, when you begin to enquire into what is religion, and in the process of that enquiry you are living a religious life, not at the end of it. The very process of looking, watching, discussing, doubting, questioning, having no belief, no faith, in that process of investigation you are already living the religious life. We are going to do that now.
We seem to lose all reason, all logic and sanity when it comes to religious matters. So we have to be logical, rational, doubting, questioning all the things man has put together about god, the saviours, the gurus and their authority, everything completely aside. That is not religion, that is merely the assumption of authority by the few, or you give them authority. You give them authority. Have you ever noticed where there is disorder socially, politically, in human relationship, out of the disorder, if it is not resolved, comes a dictator, a ruler. You have recently had examples of this: in Italy as Mussolini, and Hitler, that madman, and so on. Where there is disorder politically, religiously, in our life, we create the authority. You are responsible for the authority. And there are people who are too willing to accept that authority. So, together we are going to look, what is religion.
Where there is fear man inevitably seeks something that will protect him, safeguard him, that will hold him in a sense of certainty, complete security, because he is basically frightened. And out of that fear we invent gods. Out of that fear we invent all the rituals, all the circus that goes on in the name of religion. All the temples in this country, all the churches and the mosques are put together by thought. You may say there is direct revelation, but you never question, doubt that revelation, you accept it, and if one uses logic, reason, sanity - and all the superstitions that one has accumulated, all that is not religion obviously. Can you put all that aside to find out what is the nature of religion, what is the mind, brain, that holds the quality of religious living? Can you, as a human being frightened, not invent, not create illusions, but face fear? - which we talked about the other day. Fear can disappear completely psychologically when you hold it, remain with it, not escape from it, when you give your whole attention to it. It is like a light being thrown on fear, a great flashing light, and then that fear disappears completely. And when there is no fear there is no god, then there is no rituals, everything becomes unnecessary, stupid; that is irreligious, the things that thought have invented become irreligious because thought is merely a material process based on experience, knowledge, memory, which is material process, and when thought invents the whole rigmarole, the whole structure of organised religions, which have lost completely - no meaning at all. Can you put aside all that? - voluntarily, not seeking a reward at the end of it. Will you do it?
When you do that then we begin to ask what is religion, and is there something beyond all time and thought? You may ask that question, but if thought invents something beyond that question then it is still material process. We have said that thought is a material process because it is sustained, nourished in the brain cells. The speaker is not a scientist but you can watch it in yourself, watch the activity of your own brain, which is the activity of thought. So if we can put aside all that voluntarily, easily, without any resistance, then you will inevitably ask: is there something beyond all time and space, is there something that has never been seen before by any man, is there something immensely sacred, is there something that the brain has never touched? So we are going to find out, if you have done the first step, which is wipe away all this rubbish called religion. It is, because you have used your brain, your logic, your doubt, your questioning.
Then what is meditation? Because that's part of so-called religion. What is meditation? To escape from the noise of the world? To have a silent mind, a quiet mind, a peaceful mind? And you practice systems, methods to become aware. Systems, methods, a mould to keep your thoughts under control - sit cross-legged, repeat some mantra. I have been told the meaning of that word etymologically means ponder over not becoming, and - that's one of the meanings - and absorb, put aside all self-centred activity. That's the real root one of the root meanings of 'mantra'. But we repeat, repeat, repeat, and carry on with our self-interested ways, our egotistical ways. So mantra has lost its meaning. So what is meditation? Is meditation a conscious effort? You meditate consciously, practice in order to achieve something, to achieve a quiet mind, brain, to achieve a sense of stillness of the brain. What is the difference between that meditator and the man who says, 'I want money, so I work for it' - what is the difference between the two? Both are seeking an achievement. Right? One is called spiritual achievement, the other is called mundane achievement. They are both in the line of achievement.
So, to the speaker that is not meditation at all. Any conscious deliberate, active desire with its will is not meditation. So one has to ask is there meditation that is not brought about by thought? Is there a meditation of which you are - the speaker was going to say you are not aware of. You understand all this? Any deliberate process of meditation is not meditation. That is so obvious. You can sit cross-legged for the rest of your life and meditate, breathe and all the rest of that business, and you will not come anywhere near the other thing, because that is a deliberate action to achieve a result. The cause and the effect. But the effect becomes the cause, so it is a cycle you are caught.
So is there a meditation that is not put together by desire, by will, by effort? The speaker says there is - you don't have to believe it, on the contrary you must doubt it, you must question it, as the speaker has questioned it, doubted it, torn it apart. Is there a meditation that is not contrived, organised? To go into that one must understand the brain, which is conditioned, a brain which is limited, and that brain is trying to comprehend the limitless, the immeasurable, the timeless - if there is such thing as the timeless. And for that, sound is important to understand. Sound and silence go together. If you don't understand sound, the depth of sound, but we have separated sound from silence. Sound is the word, sound is your heart beating - the universe is filled with sound - universe in the sense, the whole earth, all the heavens, the million stars, the whole sky is filled with sound. Obviously. You don't have to listen to scientists about it. And we have made that sound something intolerable. So we want to have a brain that is quiet, peaceful. But when you listen to sound the very listening is the silence. Silence and sound are not separate.
So meditation is something that is not contrived, organised. Meditation is it begins at the first step, which is to be free of all your hurts, psychological hurts, to be free of all your accumulated fears, anxieties, loneliness, despair, sorrow. That is the foundation, that's the first step. And the first step is the last step. If you take that first step, that is over. But we are unwilling to take that first step because we don't want to be free. We want to depend - depend on power, other people, depend on environment, depend on our experience, knowledge, we are always depending, depending, and never be free of all dependence, all fear. And therefore the ending of sorrow is love. Where there is that love there is compassion. And that compassion has its own integral intelligence. And when that intelligence acts, it always action is true. There is no conflict in that where there is that intelligence.
You have heard all this, you have heard the ending of fear, the ending of sorrow, beauty and love, but the hearing is one thing and action is another. You hear all these things which are true, logical, sane, rational, but you won't act according to that. You will go home and begin all over again, your worries, your conflicts, your miseries. So one asks what is the point of it all? What is the point of listening to this speaker and not living it? In the listening and not doing is the wastage of your life. If you listen to something that is true and not act, you are wasting your life. And life is much too precious. It is the only thing that we have. And we have also lost touch with nature, which means we have lost touch with ourselves, which is part of nature. You don't love trees, the birds, the waters and the mountain. You are destroying the earth and we are destroying each other. And all that is such a waste of life. When one realises all this, not merely intellectually or verbally, then one lives a religious life. Not put on a loin cloth or go round begging, or join a monastery - that is not a religious life. A religious life begins when there is no conflict, when there is this sense of love, when you can love another, your wife or your husband, but that love is shared by all human beings, it is not given to one person and therefore restricted. So there is, if you give your heart and mind, brain, there is something that is beyond all time. And there is a benediction of that, not in temples, not in churches, not in mosques. That benediction is where you are.