Living, love and the meaning of death
Can the mind regenerate itself?
3rd Public Talk, Bombay
January 26, 1974
Would you mind not taking photographs? It not only disturbs other people round you and also it is so unnecessary. If you must take a photograph, take a photograph of your friends.
I would like this afternoon, or this evening, to talk about, or rather talk together over existence, what it means, love and death. As we said the other day, this is not an entertainment, intellectual or so-called religious. If you are seeking some kind of amusement and entertainment, go to some guru. We are serious people concerned with the whole of life, concerned with regenerating the human mind, his behaviour, his conduct, the way he lives, and if such a mind can find out for itself what it means to meditate and whether such a mind can go beyond itself. And that requires naturally a very serious attention on your part. So we are not gathering some kind of ideas or speculative theories but actually facing completely a concern with the life that we lead, the daily, everyday life that we lead, which we call existence. And to communicate with each other about these matters we must not only understand the meaning of words but also share together what is being said, neither accepting nor rejecting but merely observing, listening. In sharing is implied there is neither a giver nor a taker. So it is as much your responsibility as that of the speaker. So please bear that in mind throughout this evening, that we are sharing together what is being said. Not that you must agree or disagree, but investigate together what is said. Seeing what is false and seeing the truth in the false, and the truth. That requires certain kind of attention, a certain art of listening in which the mind is capable of observing exactly what is going on, not only in your own mind and your heart, your reactions, your way you look at it, and from that action proceeding.
Existence implies - the word itself - being, standing, firmly rooted in the very essence of goodness. You know, you can divide purity into thousand parts and it will remain pure, chaste, clear. But our existence, as it is, is very confused. We are in great turmoil both outwardly and inwardly. We have lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and we apparently have not been able to solve our psychological problems, our problems of relationship, because after all society is born out of our relationship with each other. So, in looking at our life, daily life, not at the theories that you have about life, what kind of life you should lead, whether you believe in this or that ideal, which are all non-facts, which have no validity whatsoever, we are looking at the life that you lead every day, which you call existence. That existence of every day is rather shallow, empty, meaningless, both intellectually and rationally, and that life that one lives is a continuous struggle, a travail, a life that is spent in work - going to the office or to the factory day after day, month after month, for forty, fifty years, and gradually die. We have separated this life, this living, into various categories: business, religious, artistic, intellectual, political, and so on and on and on. We have fragmented our life. Where there is fragmentation, there is corruption. The very word means 'to break'. Where the mind lives in different levels, unrelated to each other, such a mind is a corrupt mind. And our daily life of relationship, though we may live together, quarrel together, sleep together, our relationship is really non-existent.
Please listen to it. What I mean by listening is not only to hear the words and what they convey, but through the words observe what is going on in your life. Observation implies looking, not with the desire to change it or to go beyond it or to suppress it, just to observe. Therefore, listening, observing what is going on, without translating it, without the interference of ideas. And that is going to be very difficult for you because you have never probably looked at life, looked at your daily living. And we are unhappy people. We have followed others. We have never discovered for ourselves or seen the beauty, the truth, the reality, not through the eyes of others but for ourselves. Our life as it is lived is a battle in relationship. So the first thing to observe is our relationship with each other. The word 'relationship' means to be actually in contact, not only physically but psychologically, inwardly. 'I am related to somebody' means I am related, I am in contact with that person totally, completely, both inwardly and outwardly.
Sir, would you mind? Sir, please, be courteous. We are serious people trying to do something about ourselves, trying to change our own minds and hearts, trying to bring about a ground in which goodness can flower. And that needs your care, your attention, your affection, and therefore one must be serious.
So, as we said, relationship is the continuance of life. Life is relationship; otherwise there is no life. And when we observe our life, our relationship, is there a direct contact with each other? Or is there a contact between two images - the image that you have built about another and the other has built about you. So, one is not actually in contact. Right? That is simple. You have built an image about your wife or your friend or your husband because you have lived with him or with her - the nagging, the quarrels, the sexual pleasures, the fears, jealousies, anxieties - all that has created an image. And that image which you have about another, and the other has an image about you, the two images have relationship. Not you don't have actual relationship with another. Right? So the question is, relationship implies a non-movement of any image, and is that possible? You understand what I am am I explaining? Because our existence has become so utterly superficial, so utterly meaningless, and a mind that seeks or that wants to find out what is the meaning of life, not what the intellectual intellect gives a meaning, but the actual meaning of life, the living, the existence, one has to go very deeply into this question of relationship. Because, all life is relationship, whether you are a monk living in a forest or in a monastery, or whether you have taken a vow of celibacy, poverty, you are related. And if you do not understand that relationship, you are denying love, you are denying the beauty of human movement, you are denying a whole movement of co-operation which is love - which I am going to, after we have gone into this question of relationship.
You see, because behaviour is based on relationship. Our conduct, how we behave to each other is the outcome of the image that we have built about the other. Haven't you noticed how you treat a minister, how you treat your guru, how you treat your servant, if you have one, how you treat your boss? They are all based on the image that you have built about that person. The image is never the real.
Krishnamurti: The mike is not working. Should I move that, sir? Is that all right? Can you hear? Yes? Bene.
As long as we have images about each other we must live in contradiction and in conflict. And these images are traditional, based on pleasure, fear, reward and punishment. And therefore our conduct is contradictory, self-deceptive, hypocritical and untruthful. And until your mind is clear on this point of relationship - you can go to all the temples in the world, follow all the gurus, put on various costumes indicating that you are more holy than the other - unless you have solved this problem of relationship, you have no basis for your conduct, because righteousness is behaviour and if you have not understood your relationship with another your behaviour becomes mischievous, ugly, contradictory, hypocritical. So it is very important to understand this question of relationship.
Can the mind be related without a single image? Please ask this question. Find out for yourself the answer. I have an image about you. And unfortunately you must have an image about me. Now, can you observe the speaker without a single image? Image being the word, the reputation, all the things that go with it. Can you observe him without a single movement of thought? Because thought is the factor that creates the image. Can you look at your wife or your husband or your friend or your neighbour without a gesture of thought? Thought is the very essence of fragmentation. Thought is from the outside. It can turn inward, but it is still outside. Thought is the response of memory. Thought is the response of knowledge, experience, therefore it is the past. And relationship is a constant movement in the present. Please, understand this. And when the image is made, you are living in the past, and therefore you are betraying the present relationship. So can the mind observe your wife, your servant if you have one, your boss, your neighbour, your minister, your entourage without a single image which you have built about him or you have about yourself? That is, can you observe yourself having an image about another? Can you observe this image?
And there are two factors involved in it: you have the image, and to prevent the image-making, the machinery that builds images. You can observe this fact very simply. When you give total attention in your relationship with another - total attention - then there is no image. It is only when there is inattention the image begins. Have you I haven't time; I have got so many things to talk about.
In our life we are seeking happiness outside, in things - in houses, in - and so on, so on - in things. And we are also seeking happiness inwardly. Not being able to find it there, or finding it there, not looking inward. When you look inward, we are trying to find happiness - in ideas, in conclusions, in beliefs, in gods, which are all the fabrication of thought as images. In our life there is no complete security, neither in relationship nor in jobs, in anything - there is no complete security. And the mind, the brain demands security; otherwise it can't function properly. As a child demands security, your brain demands complete, total security. It seeks that security in the images it has built - in your gods, in your gurus, in your books, in your ideas, in your ideologies, and so on and on and on. Those gurus, ideas, gods, sacred books, what others say, are the fabrications of a mind that is living in compartments. So a fragmented mind is not only corrupt but also it is living in images.
Now what I want to get at is this: what is the meaning of life? Not what is the purpose of life. You can invent thousand purposes depending on one's own intellectual capacities, tendencies and idiocies, one can have thousand purposes. We are not talking about the purpose of existence. That is a silly question. But if you say what is the meaning of it, then that question has significance.
You know, it is one of the most arduous things to find out for oneself what is the significance. Life is constantly changing - it is in a flux. Everything around you is uncertain. There is death, there is change, there is corruption - everything is going down the hill. One of the signs of degeneration in this country is the following of another. Right? Which means you have never thought for yourself rationally, enquired seriously. You are depending on another, and that is the very essence of degeneration. And you have done it for thousands of years. And what is the meaning of life? Is there in life, in living, an eternity? Or is all life transient? What is the purity of life? Because what is pure is the essence.
Now, to find that out, one must go into the question of not only pleasure, fear, punishment and reward upon which we depend, whether that is the whole content of life. You understand? Whether it is pleasure, fear, punishment and reward. This is what we are concerned with. The motive for our action is based on that. And when the mind is living in that, in that ground, in that field, then all its activity, all its enquiry becomes meaningless, because your motive is pleasure or fear or pain. So one must understand that first, in relationship. When you observe your life, pleasure plays an extraordinarily important part; not only sexual pleasure but the pleasure of being somebody, pleasure of achievement, pleasure of success, pleasure of knowledge, pleasure having a gift, and so on. Now, can the mind observe that pleasure? Pleasure being the continuance of what has been, what has been sustained by thought. Now, can thought can there be observation of something that is pleasurable, enjoyable, and not carry it over the next day or the next minute? Right? Look, sirs - all right, let us look at it.
You have given such immense importance to sex - haven't you? You are very silent. Your idea of a religious man is a human being that has no sexual relationship. So your gods are non-sexual. And you make such an ado about it. And there are those who say you must have sex to realize god, you must go through that. And there are others who say that is the only thing that matters in life. Why have you given such extraordinary importance to it? You understand? It is your misery, not mine. I am asking you. The sannyasi who gives up his sexual life, takes a vow of celibacy, is the most unchaste human being, because he is tortured by it. Right? Yes. Look at it. He takes a vow and for the rest of his life he is fighting it, he is burning with desire. And he has never understood the whole meaning of pleasure and desire. And such a tortured human being thinks he can come to reality. So look what you have made of it. So in that question arises, what is celibacy? They are all based on pleasure, reward and punishment. What is celibacy? What is a chaste mind? Is a mind that is driven by desire, tortured by passion, lust, control, not daring to look at a woman or a man, a tortured mind, can such a mind come to reality? So, what is a mind that is chaste? The word 'chaste' means pure, unadulterated, a mind that has no conflict. That is the real chaste, clean, pure mind that has never known conflict. It is only such a mind that can understand love, that can see the purity of eternity. So it is very important, if life has to be something totally different, something that has love, beauty, that we understand this thing called pleasure, fear, pain and punishment.
So, is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love the pursuit of what has been, which has given you great delight? Please, not as an idea, observe it, look at your own life. Do you know what love means? Do you know what compassion means? Or you say compassion, love, should be that. So we are asking if love is pleasure. Don't say no. You don't know anything about it because you have never gone into it, you never questioned it. You have accepted traditional meaning of it. Look, if you loved your son and daughter, would you educate them as you are educating them now? To conform to the society, that's what your education is. Do observe it. To get a job, marry, settle down and rot, or get killed in a war. That is what you call education. And you say, 'I love my son, daughter' - is that love? Is there love when you are ambitious? How can an ambitious man love or have compassion? The word 'compassion' means - that is a beautiful word - compassion means passion for all, and passion means passion comes when there is suffering. Out of suffering comes passion. So you must understand suffering. And all human beings suffer in one way or another, but we try to escape from that suffering, run away from it, give thousand explanations for it - rational, irrational, factual, non-factual. But we never stay with that suffering. Not morbidly, but be with it, as you would be with something that gives you great pleasure - you don't want it to go away. You don't run away from pleasure. So be completely, totally with that thing called suffering, without a single movement away from it. Then out of that comes the tremendous energy which is compassion, which is passion, not lust.
And a man who is competitive, self-centred, lives in ideas, who is jealous, how can he know love? And yet all of you are that, aren't you? You are ambitious, aren't you? Do look at it. You are competitive, and competition means conformity. And when the mind is conforming to a pattern it is not a free mind to enquire.
So, look what we have made of life. It is a very sad affair. And that is all we know. We may talk about heaven, we may talk about reincarnation, we may talk about gods and the beauty of life and all that idiotic nonsense, but the actual fact is our lives are such a terrible affair, such a mess. Now, can we face this? Look at it? Not transform it, not try to make something of it. Because as I said, in existence there is eternity, in living. And therefore it means also to find out what it means to die. You understand? Living, existing, love and death. That is the one thing that awaits all of us, the old, the young, the unhappy and the happy; that is the one factor in our life that is common. And we have never gone into it. We are frightened of it. Fear is time. Fear is the product of thought. And being afraid of death, we have put it far away, something to be avoided. And if you are afraid of death, then seeking comfort in afterlife, reincarnation.
There are several things involved in death - the ending of the physical organism, the ending of the knowledge that you have acquired both physically and psychologically, the entity, the image, the structure that you have built about yourself, the me, the ego, the self, and the desire, the hope that there will be some continuity as I have known, as you have known. This is what we want. That is, the past through the present to the future, all within the field of the known, which is all within the field of time, and that's all we know actually. And death is something we don't know. And not being able to solve this problem, we take comfort in an idea - please listen very carefully, because you are all believers in reincarnation, aren't you? Some of you may not, sir, don't You take comfort in that, don't you, that you will be born next life. So in that question you have to ask, who is it, you, that is going to be born next life? 'You' - you understand? Your furniture is you, your knowledge is you, your attachments are you, your ambitions, your greed, your jealousies, your hopes, your frustrations, your lack of fulfilment, your idiocies, cleverness, all that is you - aren't you? - your money, if you have any, your property, your ideas, your despairs, your attachments, is all you. And knowing that, you invent a super-self, don't you? 'I am the atman', you know, the higher. 'That never dies; this dies'. Again, pure imaginational structure of thought which has nothing to do with reality.
So when you are thinking that you will be born next life, you have to find out what you are. So what are you? All that you have accumulated - your traditions, what your gurus have told you. And you also say how you behave now matters enormously because next life you will pay for it if you don't behave. And do you behave properly now? You understand? All these questions you have to put to yourself, because if you believe in karma, cause-effect, it matters enormously how you behave now. Because you are going to either pay for it next life or be rewarded for it. But unfortunately you don't believe in anything except money money, position, the pursuit of pleasure and so on. Please sit down, would you mind?
So, that is our life. We have got great pretensions, repeat what others have said, second-hand human beings. And can the mind be free of death? What is death? Dying to everything known. That is what actually is going to happen - when the brain dies, everything that it has known comes to an end. Can the mind free itself from the known every day and live in that freedom, working in the field of the known? You have understood? And that is the real meditation - which we will talk about tomorrow. So, can the mind die to the past and live anew every minute. That is to incarnate, to regenerate, to be reborn now, not in some future date or future hope.
So, we have these three problems: living, which has become such a mess, confusion, misery, and love which we have never known - we may occasionally feel compassion for another - and we have never understood the meaning of death. And if the mind is not free from all this torture, from all this travail, what happens to the mind - please listen - what happens to the mind that has always lived in the known? You understand? All right, sir. I die. I am attached to my family, to my business, to the house I have built, to the job that I have, to the talent, to the knowledge I have acquired, all that, my ambition, my frustrations, my endless desires - I die. What happens to my desires? You understand what I am asking? Are you following? Are we sharing together, or are you all too tired? What happens? This is very important. Please understand this.
Am I different from you? I have my idiosyncrasies. These idiosyncrasies, temperament, are the response of my conditioning, like you. So am I different basically from you? My desires are your desires, I am as ambitious as you are, I am greedy, lustful, frightful, seeking pleasure, pursuing pleasure. I am just like you. I die and you die. So what happens? Have you ever asked? So there is this immense stream of human confusion, misery, sorrow. That goes on, doesn't it? Right? And my mind is part of that stream. Unless my mind, this mind, frees itself from that stream, that will go on. And my thoughts, my endeavour, my pursuits can be recalled. I won't go into all that, it is too complicated. So, what is important is to extricate oneself from that stream, extricate from this human stream of misery, from this human stream of sorrow, and then you will see, if you do, existence is the purity which is eternity. Existence, to be. Not 'I am'. You understand the difference? The 'being' is never conscious; 'I am' is always conscious. You don't understand all this.
Sir, look, when you are happy, you are not conscious of your happiness. When you are healthy, you are not conscious that you are not conscious that you are healthy. It is only when you are ill, sick, that you become conscious. So in the same way, being is never conscious of itself. And the trying to become something is the conflict. So, existence, love and death is one movement, is a constant movement. They are never separate. And when you understand that really deeply, non-verbally, then you will know for yourself what it is what is eternity. That which is pure is eternal, and thought can never put that purity together. And all our life, functions is all life is based our life is based on thought. Thought is never clean, never pure, never free. It has its roots in the past. And it is only when the mind is free that you see the total meaning of life as a whole.
K: The gentleman wants to know if I am leaving already. I have talked for an hour and five minutes. If you want to sit down, sir, sit down quietly, or go home. I don't care.
Look, sirs, we spent an hour and ten minutes or five minutes in this talking over together the most serious things of life. It is your life, not my life. Your life that has to be changed, that has to be reborn. No one can do it for you. No one. No gods, no gurus, no nothing, except your own observation of yourself, seeing yourself as you are. And from that, a new way of living, which means conduct. And conduct without love has no meaning. And when you understand love, you also understand what it means to die. To die to the image that you have about yourself.