Is there anything truly holy, sacred?
What relationship has the human mind to the timeless?
4th Public Talk, Brockwood Park
September 09, 1973
This is the last talk. We have been talking about so many things which are concerned with our daily life, with our frustrations, fears and pleasures, and the mad world in which we live, of which unfortunately we are; and yesterday morning, we talked about a total movement of life in which is included love, death and the endless pain of existence, with its pleasures.
This morning could we talk about, or rather enquire together into this question of whether there is anything sacred. We are enquiring, we are not asserting that there is something, or that there is not something. We will leave that to the priests, or to the philosophers, who speculate about these matters. But a mind which sees the transient world, which is aware that everything changes, that there is absolutely nothing permanent, neither in our relationships with each other, nor in ideas, nor in any action, however beautiful however limited, however shallow. And when we see all this, the suffering, and no ending to that suffering, to the conflict, to the endless pain and the pursuit of pleasure, the old age and death and nothing is permanent, everything is in a flux; seeing all this, both verbally and non-verbally, being conscious of what is going on, both outwardly and inwardly, one inevitably asks: is there really anything that is truly holy, that is really sacred? And this morning I would like to go into that.
We are together going to share this problem. Though we may not have asked that question; or you may have vaguely felt towards it; or you are already assured by propaganda, by tradition, by constant repetition of certain dogmas, rituals, that there is something sacred. But a mind that has come to a conclusion that there is something that is holy, obviously has not really is not really free to discover what is sacred. And I think that is an important question. Because if we can through investigation, through tracing out the innumerable enquiries, and the various conclusions which man has come to, and if we could discard everything that man has said that is sacred, or everything that thought has put together and called it sacred - the book, the image, the idea, the ideology, the belief in god, or no belief in god - if we could discard all that then our minds are capable of enquiring, investigating into this question. Because if we accept everything, if we say everything is a matter of time, a matter of destruction, decay, corruption, then life as a whole, not only has it not very great meaning, but it is rather shallow, and one tries to fill that shallowness, that emptiness with something that is called sacred. So if we could discard all that, not verbally but actually in our life - totally discard everything that man has called sacred. They have done it in India to an extraordinary extent, a thousand images, thousand rituals, thousand gurus, thousand systems. Here too in the Christian world there is all this ideology, belief, saviours, rituals with their dogmas, superstitions and astonishing cruelty. Now if we could put aside that, then the mind is capable of really investigating and not experiencing - because that word 'experience' is a very suspect word - but come upon something, the mind is capable, of this thing called sacred.
To find that out, to come upon it, certain obvious things are necessary: if one is at all really, deeply, profoundly serious, otherwise what we are talking about has no meaning whatsoever, don't play with it unless you are desperately serious. Because this demands tremendous attention, tremendous care, a sense of dedication to find out.
So the first thing, it seems to me, that is necessary, is order. Please don't translate that word into what you think is order. Or adjust yourself to a word that has lost its meaning. So we are first going to enquire together what is order and what is virtue. Because that is the very foundation of this enquiry. If there is no virtue, no order the mind cannot possibly go further, because it can go further only in illusion, in deception, in hypocrisy. So one must together find out what is order. In a permissive world there is no order. You do what you want to do. That is the reaction to your Victorianism, your being controlled, shaped, driven, and the reaction is to do what you want to do without any restriction, without any sense of order. And the order to a Communist world is to obey, to conform to a pattern. And that pattern can easily be established by killing millions and millions and millions of people, in China, in Russia, in all the satellite countries and so on. And to establish what they call order is to destroy people, and destroy people to bring about what they consider a society which will be perfect. That is what is happening - that is order. Then to the priest, to the whole religious groups, the sects, the gurus, order is control - control, subjugate, suppress, conform, imitate, believe. And such order is total disorder. We are going to go into that.
So what is the nature of order? Is it a blueprint which we accept and conform to? That is what we have been doing. Are we sharing this thing together? Because if we don't share what is being said then don't listen, it isn't worth it. It has no meaning. But if you share what is being said, which doesn't mean you agree or disagree, because in sharing together we are enquiring, thinking, observing, investigating together. Together is important because we create the world together, we are together in our relationships, we cannot do anything by ourselves, it is only together we can create, we can build, we can investigate.
So if you are sharing this, that is, what is the meaning of order? We can see the order which the Communist world demands is not order, it is conformity, suppression and the threat of death or prison or a hospital. The order which the religious groups, whether they are Catholics and so on, throughout the world, again have this sense of complete control, control and, by that, through that process, discover the image which they have created. And the permissive society in which we live, which is also a reaction, to them there is no order, they live in constant confusion.
So in investigating together this word, what does it mean? Does it come about through permissiveness, doing anything you want to do? Which is what you are doing, only occasionally yielding to circumstances, and trying to battle against the circumstances, throw bombs and all the rest of it. Destroy what is called the Establishment and hoping to create a new Establishment. Is that order? Or is it disorder? And the Communist world with their dictatorship and conformity, an absolute obedience, the threat of mental hospital, you know all that is going on, is that order? And is it order - the structure which the mind has created and that structure is called the religious organisation - is that order? Or all that is disorder. The permissive man, or the woman, the Communist suppression, obedience, and the destruction of millions and millions of people - which the Catholics have also done; probably as we said the other day, Christians have killed more people than anybody else probably in the world, perhaps not more than the Communists. And when you observe all this and you see the total disorder.
So what is disorder? Because by investigating what is not we'll find out what is. Do you understand? By understanding, investigating into what is not love, then there is love. Love is not jealousy, love is not pleasure, love is not - as we said yesterday morning - love is not desire, the pursuit of jealousy, hatred, antagonism, aggression, and when all that is not in you, then the other is, the other blossoms, flowers. So in the same way in understanding what is disorder, out of that comes the flowering of order, not according to any pattern, self created or imposed.
So now we are going to enquire into what is disorder, what brings about disorder. Any conflict is disorder - conflict between nations or between groups of people, between different classes of people, between ideologies, between the division as the 'me' and the 'you', any conflict essentially breeds disorder. And we live in conflict - we have accepted conflict from our education, our whole way of living is the field of disorder, of conflict. And control is disorder - please listen carefully because most of permissive society has no control, they have thrown all that overboard, but they are not orderly, virtuous, clear. We'll go into that. So where there is division and therefore conflict, that is one of the causes of disorder. Another cause of disorder is control. Control implies suppression, conformity to a pattern, established by yourself, through your own experience, or the experience of another. Where there is control there is contradiction. And control implies a controller and the controller is the controlled. Right? Are we going along together, or is this all Greek? Controller is the controlled. The controller is a fragment of thought which says, 'I must control the other fragment', but it is still within the field of thought. So where there is control, suppression, conformity, imitation, all that is implied in that word, the controller and the controlled. In that there is division and therefore conflict. So that breeds disorder, conforming to an ideal, to an ideology, to a formula, conclusion and that brings conflict and therefore disorder. And therefore what arises from that question, whether a human being can live in this world without no control at all, not permissiveness. We'll come back to that question.
Disorder comes into being when there is fear and the pursuit of pleasure. Obviously, when the mind is only concerned with pleasure and the pursuit of it, there must inevitably be aggression, violence, fear and all the network which pleasure brings about. That is also disorder. And the action based on a conclusion, an ideology, is disorder. Right? Can the mind observe this disorder of action which approximates itself to an ideology, control which implies suppression, conformity, conflict between the controller and the controlled; and the division between thought and the idea. All that is disorder. And in the understanding of that disorder, the flowering of order takes place - which is not conformity, which is not this terrible drill - but the understanding, the investigation, the awareness, the attention to disorder in our life.
That one of the causes for disorder is this demand for experience. I am sorry to upset all your apple cart! What is experience, which most people want? You have experiences of everyday: the office, the factory, the sexual experiences, the fears, the incidents, the accidents, you have every kind of experience; if you have lived thirty or forty years, and being bored with all that you want something more. Either you want to experience through drugs, or experience some kind of meditative illusion. And when you experience - who is the experiencer? You are following all this? Are we together? Please. There is a lot more I have to talk this morning - I have just begun. So if you miss this you won't go further, because this is very important. We are laying the foundation to what is called meditation. If you haven't done this you cannot meditate, you don't know what it means. You can play with it, sit under trees cross legged, breathe properly and all that kind of business - you can sit for ten thousand years and do that and you won't know what meditation is. But unless you lay the foundation, not on sand, but in depth, the mind then will be caught in a network of illusions, deceptions, and that has no validity, that is not truth. So unless you actually in your daily life lay this - don't meditate. That is mere escape, just a game that you are playing with, it is a form of self hypnosis.
So we said experience is one of the activities of disorder. As we said, most of us are bored with our life because our life has no meaning as it is now. And the mind wants more experience, something transcendental, something beautiful, something everlasting, something glorious. But it has not investigated who is the experiencer. Until it understands who is the experiencer, whatever it experiences is still within the field of the known, therefore it is nothing new. I don't know if you follow all this? So we must investigate who is the experiencer. And he must be capable of recognising the experience, otherwise it is not an experience. So the experiencer is the entity that recognises; he can recognise only that which he has known, he cannot possibly recognise something new. Therefore what he is seeking through experience is the furthering of what is known. Oh come on sirs! And that is one of the factors of disorder. Now can the mind see all this? Not accept it, not as an idea, but actually in our daily life see this: disorder caused by the demand and the pursuit of experience, as enlightenment, as truth, as god, as whatever you will; the conflict between action and the idea, between the controller and the controlled, and the conflict in relationship, the conflict between two images, the one that you have and the one that the other has - all that is disorder. And out of that understanding of that disorder comes order, which is a living thing. And therefore virtue is something alive, living, changing, moving, and without that virtue, without that because virtue cannot be cultivated - you cannot possibly cultivate humility. If you do, you are cultivating subtle forms of vanity. As virtue cannot be cultivated, but it blossoms only when there is no disorder inwardly. And without this basic foundation, meditation - which is really a marvellous thing if this is laid - then we can talk about meditation. Then we can investigate what is meditation, which is so essential to come upon that thing which is sacred. Right?
Have we come so far together? Please come on! It is a hot morning and a lovely morning, full of shadows and great beauty. And beauty is not experiencing. You cannot experience beauty. It is there for you to see it, but if you want to experience in terms of beauty and romanticism and expression, then it is not beauty, it is merely a furthering of your own conditioning response.
So a mind that wants to a mind that is aware of disorder, and therefore out of that awareness the flowering of order which is virtue, when that is really deeply and honestly laid, then we can go into this question of whether there is anything sacred. To come upon that you must investigate what time is and what thought is. Can you bear all this, this morning? You aren't tired? I'll go on.
We said we must investigate thought and time. Unless time has a stop you cannot the mind cannot perceive anything sacred, anything new. So we must enquire whether thought has any relationship to time, and what is time? Because it is very important this. There is obviously the time by the watch, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Planning, going from here to there, planning to do certain things, to learn a language, to learn how to drive a car, to do any technological work, you must have time. You must have time to do yoga properly. You know what that word means, which you all practise, some of you do, I see you doing some crazy things under the trees (Laughter) - do you know what that word means? It means to join - yoking together, yoking an oxen, two oxen - to join. I am sure it means something entirely different because they have translated as joining, two - the body and the soul, the Atman, the Higher Self, and the Lower Self, and to do that you must do proper breathing, exercises - you know all that business. A false conception of division and then the joining - you understand? And it may mean really a sense of total harmony. But that's
So we are investigating what time is, because without understanding that, if the mind is not free of time it cannot possibly look into something which is timeless, which may be sacred. You understand? So the mind must clearly understand what time is. All this is meditation - you understand? - not just one part, the whole of this morning's talk is the movement in meditation. What is time - apart from the chronological time? Time is movement, from here to there, psychologically, as well as physically from here to that house. So the movement between this and that is time. The space between this and that - the covering of that is time, the movement to that is time. So all movement is time; both physically, going from here to Paris, New York, or wherever you will, requires time; and also psychologically to change 'what is', into 'what should be' requires time, the movement - at least we think so. So time is movement in space, created by thought as 'this' and achieving 'that'. Thought then is time, thought is movement in time - come on sirs! Does this mean anything to any of you? We are journeying together? I'll go on, I won't ask anymore.
Please this requires tremendous attention, care, a sense of non-personal, non-pleasurable, where desire doesn't enter into it at all. That requires great care and that care brings its own order, which is its own discipline. So thought is movement between 'what is' and 'what should be'. Thought is time to cover that space, and as long as there is the division between 'this' and 'that' psychologically, the movement is time of thought. So thought is time as movement. Right? And is there time as movement - as thought - when there is only observation of 'what is'? Which is, the observation as the observer and the observed; not as the observer and the observed but only the observation, without the movement of going beyond 'what is'. Are you getting this? Are you all paralysed? Because it is very important for the mind to understand this, because thought can create most marvellous images of that which is sacred and holy, which all religions have done. All religions are based on thought. All religions are the organisation of thought, in belief, in dogma, in ritual. So unless there is complete understanding of this thought as time and movement, the mind cannot possibly go beyond itself.
As we said we are trained, educated, drilled into changing 'what is' into 'what should be' - the ideal. And the word 'ideal' comes from the word idea which means to see, only that. Not draw an abstraction from what you see, but actually remain with what you see. So we are trained to change 'what is' into 'what should be'. That training is the movement of thought to cover the space between 'what is' and 'what should be', and that takes time. That whole movement of thought in space is time necessary to change 'what is' into 'what should be'. The observer is the observed, therefore there is nothing to change. I'll go on. I'll keep my eyes shut because I'll go on. Because there is only 'what is'. The observer doesn't know what to do with 'what is', therefore he tries various methods to change 'what is', controls 'what is', tries to suppress actually 'what is', but the observer is the observed, the 'what is' is the observer, like anger, jealousy exist - jealousy is also the observer, there isn't jealousy separate from the observer - both are one. So when there is no movement to change 'what is', you understand, movement as thought in time, when thought perceives that there is no possibility of changing 'what is' then that which is 'what is' ceases entirely because the observer is the observed. You go into this very deeply, you will see yourself, it is really quite simple.
I dislike someone, so the dislike is different from me and the you. The entity that dislikes is dislike itself, it is not separate, and when thought says, I must get over my dislike, then it is movement in time to get over that which actually is, which is created by thought. So the observer, the entity and the thing called dislike are the same, therefore there is complete immobility, which is not the immobility of staticism, it is completely motionless, therefore completely silent. So time as movement, time as thought - achieving a result - has come totally to an end, therefore action is instantaneous. So the mind has laid the foundation and is free from disorder. Therefore there is the flowering and the beauty of virtue, that is the basis. And in that foundation is the relationship between you and another; in that relationship there is no activity of image, there is only relationship, not the image adjusting itself to the other image. And there is only 'what is', and not the changing of 'what is'. The changing of 'what is', or transforming of 'what is', is the movement of thought in time.
Then, when you have come to that point, the mind and the brain cells also become totally still. The brain which holds the memories, experiences, knowledge, can and must function in the field of the known. But now the mind, that brain, is free from the activity of time and thought. Then the mind is completely still. All this takes place without effort, all this must take place without any sense of discipline, control - all that belongs to disorder. You know what we are saying is something that is totally different from what your gurus, your Masters, your Zen philosophy, all that; because in this there is no authority, there is no following another. Because if you follow somebody you are not only destroying yourself but also the other. Therefore a religious mind has no authority whatsoever. But it has got intelligence and it applies that intelligence. In the world of action there is authority of the doctor, the scientist, the man who teaches you how to drive, otherwise there is no authority, there is no guru.
So the mind then - if you have gone as deeply as that - then the mind having established order in relationship - and that order is virtue - then understanding the whole complex disorder of our lives, of our daily lives, and in the comprehension, in the awareness of that disorder in which there is no choice, out of that comes beauty of virtue, which is not cultivated, which is not brought about by thought. Therefore that virtue is love, order, and if the mind has established that with deep roots, which is immovable, unchangeable, then you can enquire into this whole movement of time, as we somewhat did. Then the mind is completely still, there is no observer, there is no experiencer, there is no thinker.
And, coming to that point, there are various forms of sensory and extra sensory perceptions, clairvoyance, healing - all kinds of things take place - but they are all secondary issues, and a mind that is really concerned in the discovery of what is truth, what is sacred, will never touch all that, because they are secondary issues.
So the mind then is free to observe. Then there is that thing which man has sought through centuries - the unnameable, the timeless - and no description, no verbal expression of it; the image that is created by that, by thought, completely and utterly ceases - there is no entity that wants to express it in words. That, the mind, your mind can only discover, or come upon it, when you have this strange thing called love, compassion - not only to your neighbour, but to the animal, to the trees, to everything. Then such a mind itself becomes sacred.
You don't want to ask questions, do you?
Krishnamurti: (Repeating) In conflict there comes resolution. No, madame, no madame.
We have gone into that. Madame, forgive me but we went into that this morning. I know we are conditioned to accept life in conflict, and we said that conflict creates disorder. It is only when the mind is not in conflict there is order. And that order cannot come into being without understanding what is disorder, which conflict has created in different ways - conflict in relationship, conflict between action and idea, conflict as the 'me' and the 'you', we and they, conflict between various ideologies, conflict between various religions - all that has produced appalling disorder, madness, violence, brutality, war. In understanding all that there is order. That is, to understand is to see what actually is, and when you see 'what is' then action is immediate. You are no longer an Englishman, Jew, Arab, French or German, you are a human being without a label.
K: (Repeating) How do I reconcile this with the process of evolution. Evolving what? From the monkey to the higher ape to what we are now? We have evolved from that, at least what the scientists, biologists, and the archaeologists say. We have evolved, we have got the most marvellous instrument, the organs, the organism, extraordinarily sensitive, which you are carefully destroying through our pleasure, through taste. And we have got a most astonishing thing called the brain, which has been conditioned by the culture in which we live, to fight, to struggle, to battle, to call ourselves Hindus, Indians, or Americans, Russians, and all that. It is trained to battle, to be aggressive, to kill. We have evolved. Physically we have evolved. Is there evolution, evolving, going further, psychologically? Or there is no tomorrow for a person who has understood this, what we have talked about. Progress is a dreadful word. I was told it meant originally, to enter into a strange country fully armed! Progress to go forward. Physically we have evolved tremendously, and a great many scientists say, physically there is no further evolution, you can't develop a third eye, or four legs or whatever it is. But psychologically, inwardly, is there evolution at all? Have you evolved psychologically? Evolved. That is, you are no longer brutal, you no longer desire to kill somebody, no longer have the desire to kill an animal to eat. Divide. You follow? Have you evolved? Perhaps you have evolved in having more bathrooms, but otherwise have you evolved at all? Or the whole idea of psychologically evolving is totally illusory. Me getting better. Me becoming more noble. The 'me' is put together by words, the 'me' is a series of experiences, knowledge, memories, which are the past. Me is the past, the dead thing which is active all the time. Oh my Lord! And you call that progress. Me improving. And therefore when you are trying to improve yourself there is more conflict in you. But when you see what you are actually - shallow, empty, petty, mediocre, repeating, repeating words of others, nothing that you have found for yourself. See actually 'what is', and see that 'what is' is the observer. There is no division between the observer and the observed, then there is complete transformation of 'what is', then your mind is totally different. That is real transformation, not evolution, not the evolution of me getting a little better, a little more cunning, a little more you know - all that stupid stuff that goes on.
So a mind that is serious, the mind that has observed the world and itself - and this observation takes place only in relationship between you and another - and seeing the total disorder of our lives, of our misery, and the endless sorrow in which we are caught; and seeing the sorrow and the ending of sorrow, and the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. And out of that comes that which is timeless, which is nothing whatever to do with you and me. It is for the mind to come upon it.