Is there something with no beginning or end?
What is correct action in a disintegrating world?
3rd Public Talk, Brockwood Park
September 13, 1975
May we go on talking about what we were saying the other day? We were saying, I think, that the crisis in the world is not outward but crisis in consciousness. And that consciousness, as we said, is its content - all the things that man has accumulated through centuries: his fears, his dogmas, his superstitions, his beliefs, his conclusions, and all the suffering, pain and anxiety. We said unless there is a radical mutation in that consciousness, things, outward activities will bring about more mischief, more sorrow, more confusion. And to bring about that mutation in consciousness, we said a totally different kind of energy is required - not the mechanical energy of thought, of time and measure. And when we were investigating into that we said, there are three principles: fear, pleasure and suffering. We talked about fear quite at some length. And also we went into the question of pleasure, which is entirely different from joy, enjoyment and the delight of seeing something beautiful and so on. And we also touched upon suffering. The three active principles in human beings: fear, pleasure and suffering.
I think we ought to go this morning into that question of suffering. It is a nice morning and I am sorry to go into such a dark subject. As we said, when there is suffering there can be no compassion, and whether it is at all possible for human minds, for human beings right throughout the world to put an end to suffering. For without that ending to suffering we live in darkness, we accept all kinds of beliefs, dogmas, escapes, which bring about much more confusion, more violence and so on. So we are going together this morning to investigate into this question of suffering, whether the human mind can ever be free from it totally, and also we are going to talk about affection, love and if there is time, this whole question of death.
Why do we accept suffering, why do we put up with it - psychologically we are talking about, not physiological suffering. Physiological suffering can be controlled, put up with, and it becomes much more important that such physical suffering does not distort clarity of thought. We went into that too. Because for most of us, when there is a physical pain, a continued suffering, it distorts our thinking, it prevents objective thinking, it becomes personal, broken-up, distorted. And physical suffering, whether in the past, or the fear of having it again in the future, if one is not actively aware of this whole process of suffering then neurotic habits, neurotic activities take place. We went into that briefly the other day.
So we are asking if it is at all possible for human beings to end suffering, deeply at all the levels of our existence, psychologically. And when we go into it in ourselves deeply, one sees one of the major factors of this suffering is attachment - attachment to ideas, to conclusions, to various forms of ideologies which act as security, and when that security is threatened there is a certain kind of suffering. Please, as we said the other day, we are sharing this thing together, we are looking into this question of suffering together. You are not merely, if I may point out, listening to a talk and gathering a few ideas and agreeing or disagreeing, but rather in communication sharing the problem, examining the question, the issue, actively; and so it becomes our responsibility, yours as well as the speaker's, to go into this question.
Then there is also the attachment to persons. That is, in our relationship there is a great deal of suffering. That is, one may be free from this conditioning of fear and so on, and the other may not be, and hence there is a tension, and that tension arises not only out of attachment - the word 'attachment' means holding on, not only physically but psychologically, depending on something - and this attachment in relationship, in which there is no freedom. One may be free and the other may not be free, and hence the conflict. One may be a Catholic and the other may not be a Catholic, a Communist and so on, so on, so on, and hence the conflict that breeds continuous strain and suffering. Then there is also the suffering of the unknown, of death. The suffering of losing something that you were attached to in the past, as memory. I do not know if you have not noticed all these things in yourself, and whether it is possible to live in complete relationship with another, without this tension, which is brought about through self-interest, through self-centred activity, desire pulling in different directions, and living in a relationship in which there may be contradictions, one may be free, the other may not be, and to live in that situation demands not only what is called - that absurd, intellectual thing that man has created which is tolerance, but it demands a much greater thing which is affection, love and therefore compassion. We are going to go into that. Phew!
And we are asking whether man can end suffering. Christianity has not solved it; it has made a parody of suffering - forgive that word. The ancient Hindus, being very clever, invented the whole idea of karma, which is, if you do something now you will pay for it next life - so behave. And as most human beings don't behave they maintain suffering.
So there are various varieties of explanations for suffering, and how to go beyond it, how to rationalise it, how to suppress it, how to escape from it. Now we are asking something entirely different: that is, not to suppress it, not to evade it, or rationalise it, but when there is that suffering to remain totally with it, without any movement of thought, which is the movement of time and measure. Are we all following each other somewhat? One suffers, one loses one's son, the wife runs away with somebody else, and the things that you are attached to - the house, the name, the form, all the accumulated conclusions - they seem to fade away, and you suffer. And can one look at that suffering without the observer? We went into that question of what the observer is. We said the observer is the past, the accumulated memory, experience and knowledge. And with that knowledge, experience, memory he observes the suffering, so he disassociates himself from suffering. He is different from suffering and therefore he can do something about it. Whereas the observer is the observed. This requires a little care and attention in looking at this question, that this statement, that the observer is the observed. We don't accept it. We say the observer is entirely different, and the observed is something out there separate from the observer. Now if one looks very closely at that question, at that statement, that the observer is the observed, it seems so obvious. When you say you are angry, you are not different from anger, you are that thing which you call anger. When you are jealous, you are that jealousy. The word - can we go into this? - the word separates. That is, through the word we recognise the feeling, and the recognition is in the past, so we look at that feeling through the word, through the screen of the past and so separate it, and therefore there is a division between the observer and the observed. So we are saying that when there is this suffering, either momentary or a continuous endless series of causes that bring about suffering, to look at it without the observer. That is, you are that suffering, not that you are separate from suffering. To totally remain with that suffering. Then you will notice, if you go that far, if you are willing to observe so closely, then a totally different mutation takes place. That is, out of that suffering comes great passion. If you have done it, tested it out, you will find it. It is not the passion of a belief, passion for working for some cause, passion for some idiotic conclusion. It is totally different from the passion of desire. It is something that is of a totally different kind of energy that is not the movement of thought, which is mechanical.
And we have a great deal of suffering in what is called love. Love, as we know it now, is pleasure, sexual or the love of a country, or the love of an idea, and so on, so on, so on - all derived from pleasure. And when that pleasure is denied there is either hatred, antagonism or violence. And can there be love, not just something personal between you and me and somebody else, but the enormous feeling of compassion? Which means passion for everything, for everybody - passion for nature, passion for the earth, compassion for the earth in which we live so that we don't destroy the earth, the animals, you know, the whole thing. And without love, which is compassion, suffering must continue. And we human beings have put up with it, we accept it as normal. And every religion has tried to find a way out of it. But very organised religions have brought tremendous suffering. We used to say: there were two friends one day walking down the street, and one of them picks up something off the pavement, looks at it and is radiantly happy and puts it into his pocket. And the other says, 'What have you picked up?' He says, 'I have picked up part of truth and would you like to look at it?' He says, 'I would'. And the other fellow recognises it is truth, so he says, 'My friend, what are you going to do with it?' And the friend says, 'I am going to keep it.' 'Don't keep it but let us organise it.'
So in religious organisations throughout the world they have brought a great deal of harm, there have been religious wars, endless persecution, tortures, burning people, especially in the west - it wasn't the fashion in those days in the east. And we are saying: when there is not the acceptance of suffering, or putting up with suffering, but to remain motionless with that suffering, then there comes out of it a great compassion. And from that compassion arises the whole question of creation. Which is, what is creation? What is the creative mind? Is it a mind that suffers and through that suffering has learnt a certain technique, and expresses that technique on paper, marble, paint? Is creativeness the outcome of tension, the outcome of a disordered life? Does creativeness come through fragmentary activity of daily life? I don't know if you are following all this. Or we must give a totally different kind of meaning to creativeness, which may not need expression at all.
So one has to go into this question within oneself very deeply because one's consciousness is the consciousness of the world. I do not know if one realises that. Fundamentally your consciousness is the consciousness of the speaker, of the rest of the world, basically, because in that consciousness there is suffering, there is pain, there is anxiety, there is fear of tomorrow, fear of insecurity, which every man, wherever he lives, goes through. So your consciousness is the consciousness of the world and if there is a mutation in that consciousness it affects the total consciousness of human beings. It is a fact. So it becomes tremendously important that human beings bring about a radical transformation or mutation in themselves, in their consciousness.
So now we can go into the question of this thing called death, which is one of the major factors of suffering. May we go into it? It is a very complex question. Like everything else in life we want a quick answer, we want a definite answer, an answer which will be comforting, an answer which will be totally satisfactory, intellectually, emotionally, physically, in every way, complete satisfaction. We want immortality, whatever that may mean, and we want to survive, both physiologically and psychologically. And we avoid death at any price, put it as far away as possible. And so we have never been able to examine it closely. We have never been able to face it, go into it, understand it, not only verbally, intellectually but completely what it means. We wait till the last moment, either that last moment an accident, a disease, old age and when you can't think, when you can't look, you are just gaga, and then you become a Catholic, Protestant, you believe in this - you follow? So what we are trying this morning is to understand, not verbally, but actually what it means to die, which doesn't mean we are asking that one should commit suicide. But we are asking what is the total significance of this thing called death, which is the ending of what we know as life. Right? We are moving together?
In enquiring into this question we must also find out whether time has a stop. The stopping of time may be death. You understand? It may be the ending and therefore that which ends has a new beginning, not that which has a continuity. Right? So first, can there be an ending to time? Can time stop? So what is time - time, not chronological by the watch as yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the 24 hours, but the whole movement of time as thought and measure? That movement, not the chronological time but the movement as thought, which is time, which is the whole process of comparing, which is measurement, can all that process stop? You understand? Which means can thought, which is the response of memory, experience as knowledge, and knowledge is always in the past, knowledge is the past, can that whole momentum come to an end - not in the technological field, that is so obvious we don't even have to discuss that - can this movement come to an end? So one has to find out what is time as we know it. Not the watch, let's forget that. The time as hope, time as something that has happened to which the mind clings, the attachment to the past, or a projection from the past to the future, as a conclusion, and time as a movement of achievement, from alpha to omega. This whole movement in which we are caught. If you say that there is no tomorrow psychologically you would be terribly shocked, because tomorrow is tremendously important, because tomorrow you are going to be happy, tomorrow you will achieve what you want, and tomorrow will be the fulfilment of yesterday's hopes or today's hopes, and so on. Tomorrow becomes extraordinarily significant - the tomorrow which is projected from the past as thought. Right? So we are asking: can all that momentum come to an end? Time has created through centuries the centre which is the 'me'. You follow? Time is not only the past as attachment, the hope, the fulfilment, the evolving process of thought till it becomes more and more refined and so on, so on, so on, but also that centre round which all our activities take place, the 'me', the 'mine', 'we' and 'they', both politically, religiously, economically and so on, so on. So the 'me' is the conclusion of time adding to itself and taking away from itself, but there is always this centre which is the very essence of time. We are asking: can that movement come to an end?
This is the whole problem which perhaps we will go into tomorrow if we have time and the occasion arises, this is the whole problem of meditation, not sitting down and you know, doing some mantra and repeating some words and doing some tricks, that is all silly nonsense. I am not being intolerant but it is just absurd. (Laughter) And it becomes extraordinarily interesting to find this out. And in enquiring into this, then what is death? Can that be answered in terms of words, or must one look at it not only verbally but non-verbally? There is death - the organism by misuse, by abuse, by overindulgence, drink, drugs, accident, all the things that the flesh is heir to, dies, comes to an end, the heart stops, the brain with all its marvellous machinery comes to an end. We accept it. And we are not afraid of the physical organism coming to an end but we are afraid of something totally different. And being afraid of that basically we want to resolve that fear through various forms of beliefs, conclusions, hopes. The whole of the Asiatic world believes in reincarnation. They have proofs for it - they say so, at least. That is - watch this thing, it is extraordinary - that is the thing that has been put together through time as the 'me', the ego, that incarnates till that entity becomes perfect and is absorbed into the highest principle, which is Brahman, or whatever you like to call it. You are following all this? Does this interest you? I don't know, it doesn't matter. (Laughter)
And time has created the centre, the 'me', the ego, the personality, the character and so on, the tendencies, and through time you are going to dissolve that very entity, through reincarnation - you understand? You see the absurdity? That thought has created something as the 'me', the centre, and through evolutionary process, which is time, you will ultimately dissolve that and be absorbed into the highest principle. And yet they believe in this tremendously. The other day I was talking to somebody, who was a great believer in this. He said if you don't believe it you are not a religious man, and he walked out. And Christianity has it own form of continuity of the 'me', resurrection - you know, Gabriel blowing the whistle and so on. (Laughter) So we have all these principles. And when you believe in reincarnation what is important is that as you are going to live next life, and you suffer this life because of your past actions, therefore if you do not behave this life righteously, according to the highest principles, next life you are going to pay for it. This is a tremendous belief and naturally they don't behave, they just carry on like everybody else - cruel, bitter, angry, jealous, vain, arrogant, full of antagonism, you know, bitterness - just like everybody else. So what is important is, if one actually, really, basically is committed wholly to that belief, it means that you must behave rightly, accurately, with tremendous care now. And we don't do that. That demands superhuman energy.
So there are several problems involved in this: what is immortality, and what is eternity, which is a timeless state, and what happens to human beings who do not, who are still caught in this movement of time? You understand? That is, we human beings live extraordinarily complex, irresponsible, ugly, stupid lives, we are at each other's throats, we are battling about beliefs, we have authority, politically, religiously, which has suppressed all freedom, and our daily life is a series of endless conflicts. And we want that to continue! And because our life is so empty, full of meaningless words, and we say, is there a state where there is no death, immortal, immortality? - which is a state where there is no movement of time. I wonder if you see. That is, time through centuries has created the idea of the self - the self, the 'me' evolving. It has been put together through time, which is a part of evolution. And there is inevitably death, and with the ending of the brain cells thought comes to an end. Therefore one hopes there is something beyond the 'me' - the super consciousness, the super ego, a spark of god, spark of truth, that can never be destroyed, and therefore that continues. And that continuity is what we call immortality. That is what most of us want. If you don't get it through some kind of fame, (laughs) you want to have immortality sitting next to god who is timeless. The whole thing is so absurd.
So is there a continuity - sorry - is there something which is not of time, which has no beginning, no end, and therefore timeless, eternal? And our life being what it is, we have this problem of death, and if I, a human being, have not totally understood the whole quality of myself, what happens to me when I do die? You understand the question? That is, a man, a human being, who has totally resolved the centre, the 'me', through understanding himself, through studying himself, enquiring into himself, not according to any philosopher, to any psychologist, analyst - those are all too childish, understood himself and therefore understood the world, because he is the world, and is that the end of me? I have not understood - if I have understood myself totally then that is a different problem, which we will come to - if I have not understood myself totally, not intellectually, I am not using the word 'understand' intellectually but actually aware of myself without any choice, all the content of my consciousness, if I have not deeply delved into my own structure and nature of consciousness, I die - what happens?
Now who is going to answer this question? No, wait, wait, no, I am putting it purposely. Who is going to answer this question? Because we think we cannot answer it, we look for someone else to tell us - the priest, the books, and the people who have said, 'I know': the endless mushrooming gurus. If one rejects all authority, one must, totally all authority, then what have you left? Then you have the energy, because you have rejected that which dissipates energy - gurus and hopes, fears, and somebody to tell you what happens, if you reject all that, which means all authority, then you have tremendous energy. With that energy you can begin to enquire what actually takes place when you have not totally resolved the structure and the nature of the self - the self being time and therefore movement and therefore division - right? - the 'me' and the 'not me', and hence conflict. Now what happens to me when I have not ended that conflict? You and I and the rest of the world - if the speaker has not ended it - the rest of us, what happens to us? We are all going to die - I hope not soon but sometime or other. What is going to happen? When we are living as we are living, are we so fundamentally different from somebody else? You may be more clever, have greater technique, have greater knowledge of technique, you may be more learned, you might have certain gifts, talents, inventiveness, not creativeness - the difference between inventiveness and creativeness: are two different things. You and another are exactly alike basically, your colour may be different, taller, shorter, but in essence you are the same. So while you are living you are like the rest of the world, in the same stream, in the same movement. Right? And when you die, what happens? You go on, in the same movement. I wonder if you understand this, what I am saying.
It is only the man who is totally aware of his conditioning, his consciousness, the content of it, and moves and dissipates it, he is not in that stream. Am I making this clear? That is, I am greedy, envious, ambitious, ruthless, violent - so are you. And that is our daily life - petty, accepting authority, quarrelling, bitter, not loved and aching to be loved, the agonies of loneliness, irresponsible relationship - that is our daily life. And we are like the rest of the world. It is a vast endless river. And when we die, when I die I'll be like the rest, moving in the same stream as before, when I was living. But the man who understands himself radically, has resolved all the problems in himself psychologically, he is not of that stream. He has totally stepped out of it.
So there are two things involved. The man who moves away from the stream, his consciousness is entirely different, therefore he is not thinking in terms of time, continuity, or immortality. But the other man, or the woman - lib. movement, I mean women's lib. - the other man or woman, he is still in that. So the problem arises: what is the relationship between the man who is out and the man who is in? What is the relationship between truth and reality? Reality being, as we said, all the things that thought has put together. Reality means in essence, the root meaning of that word, is 'things'. And living in the world of things, which is reality, we want to establish a relationship with a world which has no thing, which is impossible.
So what we are saying is: consciousness, with all its content, is the movement of time. In that movement all human beings are caught. And even when they die that movement goes on. It is so. It is a fact. And the man or woman, the human being - not man and woman, cut it out - the human being who sees the totality of this, that is, fear, pleasure and the enormous suffering which man has brought upon himself, and created that suffering for others, the whole of that. And the nature and the structure of the self, the 'me', the total comprehension of that, actually, then he is out of that stream. And that is the crisis in consciousness. We are trying to solve all our human problems - economic, social, political - within the area of that consciousness of time. I wonder if you see this. And therefore we can never solve it. We seem to accept the politician as though he was going to save the world - or the priest, or the analyst, or somebody else.
And, as we said, the mutation in consciousness is the ending of time, which is the ending of the 'me' which has been produced through time. Can this take place? Or is it just a theory like any other? You follow? Can a human being, you, actually do it? And therefore when you do it, it affects the totality of consciousness. Which means in the understanding of oneself, which is the understanding of the world, because I am the world, there comes not only compassion but a totally different kind of energy. And this energy, with its compassion, has a totally different kind of action. That action is whole, not fragmentary.
So we began by talking about suffering, the ending of suffering is the beginning of compassion, and this question of love, which man has reduced to mere pleasure, and this great complex problem of death. They are all interrelated, they are not separate. It isn't that I am going to solve the problem of death, forgetting the rest. The whole thing is interrelated, inter-communicated. It is all one. And to see the totality of all that, wholly, is only possible when there is no observer, and therefore freedom from all that. Right.
Do you want any questions? Or do we stop.
Questioner: I’d like to ask a question. You said towards the beginning that it is important for each individual to transform his consciousness. Isn’t the fact that you say that it is important for that to be done itself an ideal, which is the very thing to be avoided?
Krishnamurti: No, sir, when we use the word 'important' - you have heard the question? No. Sorry, I'll repeat it: when you use the word 'important' to change our consciousness, aren't you proposing, or aren't you putting forward an ideal. Sir, when you see a house on fire, isn't it important that you put it out? In that there is no ideal. The house is burning and you are there and you have to do something about it. But if you are asleep and you are discussing what the colour of the hair of the man who set the house on fire, then... (Laughter)
Q: Sir, with respect, if I may say...
K: Oh, please, sir, there is no no respect is necessary. (Laughter)
Q: The house on fire is in the world of reality, isn’t it? It is a fact. We are talking about now the psychological world.
K: Isn't that also a factual world? Isn't it a fact that you are angry, suffer? Isn't it a fact that one is ambitious, greedy, violent - you may not be, but the rest - that is a fact. So you see, we say the house is a fact, but my anger, my violence, my stupid activities is something different. It is as real as the house. Because the house, if I don't understand myself, dissolve all the misery in myself, the house is going to become the destructive element. Sir, this is so
Q: Sir, your message and the message of Jesus Christ seem to reach toward the same thing, although stated differently. I had always understood your message and Jesus Christ’s message to be quite different in content.
K: My message and whose, sir?
Q: Jesus Christ. (Laughter)
Q: About two years ago I was a Christian so it is very difficult to get rid of statements that Jesus made that no man cometh to the Father but by me. Although I find more sense in your message at the moment, how do you equate this?
K: All right sir, it is very simple. I have no message. Right? I am just pointing out. That is not a message.
Q: But why are you doing it?
K: Why am I doing it. Wait a minute, I'll answer it. First of all let us answer the first question, then the other afterwards. There is a great doubt amongst those who have gone into this question whether Jesus lived at all. There may have been a Jesus but we won't go into all that. Why do we want a message? You understand? Why do we want somebody to give us something when everything is in you? You understand?
Q: It is wonderful.
K: No, it is not wonderful. (Laughter) Please. It is not wonderful. Please do look at it. You are the result of all the influences, of the many cultures, many words, propaganda, influences. You are that. And if you know how to look, how to read, how to listen, how to see - the art of seeing, the art of learning, the art of listening - everything is there, right in front of you. But we don't have the energy, the inclination, or the interest. We want somebody to tell us what there is on the page. And we make that person who tells you what is on the page into an extraordinary human being. We worship him, or destroy him, which is the same thing. So it is there. You don't want a message. For god's sake! Wait a minute, sir. Do look at it, please!
Is the book important or what you find in the book? What you find in the book after you have read it, you throw it away. Now what you find in these talks, you listen, find out, go into it and throw away the speaker. The speaker is not at all important. He is like a telephone. Right?
The other question is: why do you speak. Does that need answering? Would you say to the flower on the wayside, 'Why do you flower?' It is there for you to look, to listen, to see the beauty of it and come back again to look at the beauty of it. That is all.
Q: We have the message in ourselves, we are the guru.
K: We have a goal in ourselves.
K: Ah, guru. My god!
Q: (Inaudible) it is heaven.
K: We have a guru in ourselves. Have you? Please listen. Guru means in Sanskrit, the root meaning of that word means, heavy.
Q: He said ‘heaven’.
K: Heaven, yes. Heaven in ourselves. It is the same thing, sir. Have you a heaven in yourself? My lord, I wish you had! Have you a heaven in yourself? Or yourself is so confused, so miserable, so anxious, how can you - what a set of words you use - heaven. You know, you substitute god into heaven, heaven as god and you think you are quite different. Before, people believed that you had god inside you - right? - light inside you, or something else inside you. But when you see actually that you have nothing, just words, then if there is absolutely nothing, then there is complete security. And from that everything happens, flowering. That's enough.