Love, compassion and sorrow
Truth comes when there is total order
4th Public Talk Madras
December 19, 1976
You may remember that we have been talking about the transformation in our consciousness. Because man, human beings as we are, we have lived, I don't know how many millennia, millions of years, and though we are progressing technologically extraordinarily rapidly, there is very little psychological change in our consciousness -hardly any. And it seems so important that as one has such a short life on this earth, which is our earth, that to live in a small area of our consciousness with all its conflicts and problems and contradictions becomes more and more mechanical and rather ugly, stupid and vain. If one has enquired into this question at all, whether it is possible for human beings to radically transform their consciousness themselves, when one puts that question to oneself there generally is the answer, 'that it is not possible, it'll take time, that evolution, a slow process of evolution will eventually solve our problems'. So one thinks time - that is not the chronological time but time as a means of bringing about a radical psychological revolution in oneself - is necessary. That is, time to move from here to there, psychologically speaking, that'll take time. So we invent a future life or live, as most of us do, in remembrances of things past. And to break away from the past and to start totally anew, one thinks to oneself time, that extraordinary factor in human consciousness, is necessary.
We were talking also - we'll go into that presently - we were talking also: there are several principles in this consciousness. One is, as we said, the deep hurts, the hurt, the wounds, the psychological wounds that one has received from childhood through school, college, university if you are lucky enough to go through them. I am not at all sure that you are lucky if you go through them because they only condition you much more than what you are already. We receive hurts from parents, through education, through marriage, through every form of relationship. There are these deep psychological hurts, wounds of which most of us are unaware. We talked about that a little. As long as those hurts remain, one is isolated, one withdraws from all relationship more and more. And if one is actually in relationship, then every form of violence, resistance, quarrels, all that ugly business goes on. That's one of the factors in our consciousness: the deep conscious or unconscious wounds that we have received with all their consequences. I don't think most people realise the gravity of such a hurt.
And also we talked about one of the factors in this consciousness is relationship. Relationship between two people - man, woman or between friends. That relationship is between the images that you have about the other and other has about you. And hence it's a verbal structure, put together by thought and that thought denies love in relationship when there is this image. We also went into that.
We also talked about fear. That's one of the factors in our consciousness: deep rooted, abiding fears, of which one may be consciousness or unconsciousness. And we went into the question whether it's possible to be free of these fears. We pointed out that it is possible totally, completely, so that our actions are not dictated by fear or by hurts.
We also talked about, yesterday, about pleasure. The whole demand and the pursuit of pleasure. And in this consciousness also there is sorrow, there is the fear of death and the everlasting question which human beings have put to themselves from time immemorial: what is the meaning of life, if there is any significance to life at all, and is there something which is eternal, which is timeless, which is not put together by thought, which has not the corruption of thought? So all that is the content of our consciousness. And that content makes that consciousness, without those contents our consciousness would not be. So we are talking or rather investigating together into the possibility of bringing about a radical transformation in the content. That is what we have been investigating together. When we say 'together' I mean together. I am not speaking to you and you are merely listening to me, as a speaker, agreeing or disagreeing, accepting or denying but together you and the speaker are investigating, exploring, examining, taking a journey into this whole human existence which is our consciousness. And if you are at all serious, and I hope you are, it becomes very important to find out for oneself, living in this dark world, in this world of confusion, in this world of great travail, in this world of utter poverty, inwardly and external poverty also, to find out for oneself whether it's possible, and so to be a light to oneself in the world that is so corrupt, so dark. One has to be a light to oneself because you cannot possibly rely on anybody with regard to this, nobody, including the speaker, specially the speaker. I really mean it. One has to become, or rather one has to be, not become, one has to be a light to oneself. Because we have accepted authority, not the medical authority or the scientific authority but the authority of another who will help us to come out of this darkness, out of this ignorance, out of this confusion and therefore we have depended on others whether it be an ideal or that ideal identified with a person. And so we are always obeying, our whole nature is to obey. And when we do not obey, we revolt, which is another form, which is another reaction, which establishes another form of authority. I don't know if you are following all this.
So, here we are investigating together and therefore, there is no authority. Please understand how important this is. We have all been led up the garden path; you know that phrase, what it means 'led up', led to nowhere! The gurus, the religions, the preachers, the books, all the sayings of the so-called wise men have not helped us at all. We are exactly what we were, perhaps slightly different, a thousand million years ago. I don't know if you realise the tragedy of such an existence. We are so satisfied with a little security and deny all freedom. For a little security we'll sell our freedom, physical security. And to be psychologically safe we give ourselves over to some body to guide us, to help us, to tell us what to do. This is happening all the world over, politically, religiously, gurus, all the rest of it - you know what's happening. So here, what we are trying, what you and I, the speaker are trying to - not trying - actually investigating into this whole consciousness which is the essence of human beings. You know, as long as we live within this consciousness, our canvas is very small. Our canvas, that's our life, becomes very shoddy: little pleasures, anxieties, aches, misery, confusion and the utter deep loneliness, though we may be married and have children, there is this deep, abiding sense of isolation, loneliness. I do not know if you are not aware of it. And that's one of our problems: how to go beyond this.
So as long as we live within this consciousness, our actions, our attitudes, our behaviour becomes very, very small, within a very limited area. Life is a vast canvas, tremendous canvas, which means that there is a great happiness to live widely, deeply, extensively, without any limitation, but that's denied when we live within that very small space of our consciousness. And so any serious man who is deeply concerned with human beings, not socially but concerned, who deeply has a feeling for human beings, such man or such woman must be concerned with the transformation of this consciousness.
We were talking yesterday about desire. Desire is the want of something, the want, the longing. It may be for clothes, it may be for companionship, it may be for sexual demands, it may be to live happily, to live without quarrels, without conflict. There is a want of something. That is part of desire, the want of something that is not. And also we said yesterday that desire is the movement of sensation, with thought which is desire with its image and the desire pursuing that image. And we also said, and I think it's rather important for us to understand this, that when we observe a sunset, man or a woman or a tree moving in the wind or the breeze among the leaves, when we see that, observe it with all our senses. I hope you have done it since yesterday and discovered it for yourself. When you have observed something totally with all your senses, there is no desire whatsoever. There is a totally different kind of action comes from that. But most of us observe with fragmentary, perceptive sensations, very limited, narrow and rather shoddy, superficial. And we think it's not superficial when we seek enlightenment, God or what you like to call it. But that's also very superficial because desire is sensation, thought and the image of enlightenment, or God or whatever you want, it's still part of sensation. So unless we understand this very deeply, pleasure is the motive of our life in different forms - sexually, psychologically, sensory pleasures and psychological pleasures. And where there is pleasure, there must be also fear. Fear and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. And as long as we live within that limited reward and punishment - reward as pleasure, punishment which fear breeds, as long as we live within that very, very small canvas of life, there will always be pain, suffering and obviously no love at all.
And I think it's important also that we go into this question of what is love because it's part of our life. You may deny it, you may turn it into pleasure, as most of us have done, but that is one of the highest demands of human beings, without love one becomes a savage and that's happening all over the world when pleasure dominates. It's the principle, it's the driving force. Then human beings become violent, cruel and all the ugliness goes on with it.
So we are together - please bear in mind, together - going to enquire, if it's at all possible, into this question. Bear in mind the word is not the thing; the tree is not the actual tree. The word only indicates but the word is not the actual. A description is not the described, you can describe the mountain but the actual mountain is not the description. So, please, bear this in mind that we are a slave to words. Words become important only in communication with one another but the word is never the thing, the feeling, the fact, the actuality. So the word 'love' is not the actual. That word has been so misused because now that word has become sensory, sexual pleasure, right throughout the world. They talk about love of God. God is a projection of your own image, your own thought. Isn't that so? So when you love God you are loving yourself, your image which you have created about him. Right? No, no you all are phoney. So we are going to enquire into this enormous question of what love is. Not verbally, because the word is not the thing; not intellectually, not argumentatively, not offering opinion against opinion, that merely becomes a discussion, a dialectical approach which is offering one opinion and there is another opinion and through opinion find out what is true. That, of course, that is impossible. Whereas, we are trying to explore into ourselves deeply, recognising the word is never the thing. The mother is never the word, is not the image but the fact that she is your mother. So I am going to go into this.
Devotion is not love. Will you throw stones at me! The idol, the picture to which you give yourself and all the rest of it, pooja, ringing bells and all the circus that goes on and the temples and the idols in the temples are man-made, they are put together by thought and you are devoted to that which you accept, which pleases you, which will give you comfort, which will psychologically make you feel secure. That you love, which is what you want, you love. Right? Be ruthless in this. So devotion is not love, which is different from respect. You understand? Devotion is totally different from respect. That is, to respect another, care for another, consideration for another. But you only have respect for those from whom you can get something, specially if they are politicians. Don't laugh. You love your guru because you want something from him. And you love, you respect those who are politically, religiously, economically superior but you never respect those who are below you. Have you noticed that? The way you treat your servants, have you noticed it? So, devotion is not love. Where there is respect there is respect to human beings, not through the image of a human being. Oh! For God sake, you understand what I am talking about? Do you think if there was love in this country, you would be poor like this? So, can there be love when there is ambition, when you are all climbing the ladder psychologically as well as physically? Sir, answer it to yourself, not to me, I am not your confessor. I am asking these questions for you to find out the right answer. Find out, not just listen and say 'Well, this is' and go back to your ugly, daily, monstrous life. Can there be love when there is competition between you and another in the business world and in the so-called spiritual world, because there too you are climbing the ladder. You understand all this? Need I rub every point, dot every 'I' and 'T'?
And can there be love when you are hurt and you don't know that you are hurt, that you are wounded psychologically, as almost all people are hurt deeply, wounded. And can there be love when there is wound? And can there be love when you, with your image about yourself, not only your own image about yourself but the ideological image, the business image, the artistic image, the successful image - you have got a dozen images and more. With all those images, can there be love? Which means, any form of image, conclusion separates people. Don't you know all this? So, what is love and what is the relationship of love to compassion? Right? We are going to find out together.
Most of us know what suffering is, both physiologically as well as psychologically: sorrow, pain, grief, anxiety, the awareness of great, deep loneliness, the self-centred activity which gradually encloses you in, which is called individual freedom. So, you know what grief, pain, sorrow is? You lose somebody through accident, through old age and you are in sorrow for him. You are attached to somebody, a person or a belief or an ideal. When that ideal is shaken you are disturbed. It's a form of sorrow. When you lose all sense of belief, rationalised away, then there is that sense of emptiness. That's a part of sorrow. And there is sorrow when there is death. This is the lot of all human beings: a sense of anxiety, pain, grief, loneliness and the deep, abiding hurts with all the reactions, fear and so on. All this brings grief, sorrow, pain. As we said, the want of something because in ourselves we are so insufficient, we fill that insufficiency with knowledge, with books, with people, with ideas, with conclusions and we know very well that whatever you try to do, you try to fill that emptiness, there will always be emptiness but we are occupied in filling that emptiness. And so this occupation satisfies us. Have you noticed all this?
So, we are going to find out if there is ending to sorrow because without the ending of sorrow there can be no love. And with the ending of sorrow, compassion comes into being. That's what we are going to go into together. We said love is none of those things which we have described: not the sexual pleasures, the images, the ideas, the pursuit of pleasure, that's not love. It is desire. But to come upon this love we say we must suppress desire. So we are everlastingly in conflict with desire. And we never come upon the perfume of that thing which we call love. That's why it's very important, really, greatly, fundamentally, tremendously it's important to understand desire, not destroy it, not corrupt it, not rationalise it away or control it but to understand it, to understand the nature of the structure of it, the quality of it. Which is, sensation plus thought equals desire with its image. Look at it, watch it in yourself. And if you watch it you cannot run away from it. If you watch it, it will tell you the whole story but you can only watch it if you have no motive, if you don't give it a direction, just observe as you would observe a small child playing in the garden. He is enjoying himself, he is having fun. So you observe with care, with attention, with tenderness, with feeling. So in the same way observe the thing called desire. Then you will see that without any discipline, any control, it has its place without distortion. And if you would really come upon this thing called love, through negation come to the positive. To negate everything that's not love. Which is, ambition is not love, negate it, put it away completely, if you want that strange thing called love. Competition. Love can only be when there is great humility, not cultivated humility, which is another form of vanity.
So, we must enquire what is sorrow? What do you think is sorrow? I have to go into it. You lose somebody whom you think you love. That love is the image of that somebody which you have. Please, I am being very precise. I am not being cruel, we are not romantic or sentimental. This is the actual fact. You lose somebody, your wife, your husband, your brother, your son, well, I hope you don't lose them, but you do lose them. What are you losing? Of course the physical body has gone but actually what are you losing? Is it self-pity? Investigate it. Look into yourself. You know what death is. You have seen bodies being carried across the street. So you lose. And what have you lost and what are you clinging to? The memory, the facing of your loneliness, the attachment from which you derive certain comfort, which is the agony of detachment. You follow all this? And when you lose your brother, your son, your father, your wife, there is sorrow. What generally happens is we run away from that sorrow. You say, 'Shall I meet my brother, my son, my father, my wife, my sister next life?' Follow this carefully, please. That's what you are all doing: reincarnation or something or other, belief that gives you comfort. That's an escape from the fact of suffering. Right? Do you see that? From the actual fact that my brother is dead, my son has gone and I am facing the loss, the companionship, the agony of being alone, the attachment and therefore the loss of that attachment, the great disturbance, the loneliness, the isolation. All that is what one calls suffering in which is included also self-pity. And when one realises there is such sorrow there are tears, the great disturbance both biologically as well as psychologically, and the demand then is for comfort. Haven't you noticed all this? Comfort. And you escape, demanding comfort you escape either through belief, through marrying again or having, adopting a son - or God knows what else you are all doing. So you escape. That is waste of energy. Sorrow is the summation of energy. You understand? It is a tremendous incident, a great shock and the body is in a state: nervous, anxious, tearful. And when you observe this sorrow very carefully, you will see it's a tremendous challenge to your energy. And if you don't escape and completely remain with that - you understand what I am saying? - remain with sorrow, not escape from it. If you have done it you will see out of this great incident - I'm not using the word 'experience' purposely - out of this great incident, which demands all your energy, all your attention, without escape, then you will see out of that comes passion. Passion is entirely different from lust with which you are familiar. But most people don't have passion. If you have no passion you cannot be creative, alive. And when there is this passion which is compassion, compassion means passion for all. So, the relationship between love and compassion comes, is realised only when there is the understanding of the great incident which is sorrow.
And compassion is not a thing which can be cultivated by thought. Love is not pleasure. Love is not put together by thought. So, desire and the pursuit of desire is not love, which is pleasure. Of course there is enjoyment. You understand? Do you? There is the enjoyment of something beautiful. Have I time to go into this?
Do you know what beauty is? Don't you want to find out? Are you satisfied saying, yes, this I don't understand, it is perfectly all right, I have got that beautiful tree, that is good enough. Don't you want to find out what beauty is? Because beauty is related to love; not to lust, not to desire, not to pleasure. So we are going to go into this question what is beauty very briefly, investigate together. You know, when you see something like a magnificent mountain, majestic snow-clad, reaching up to the heavens, that great range of hills covered with snow and valleys and lakes, for a second or for a few minutes that greatness shocks you, you are completely silent. Have you noticed it? That is, the greatness of that mountain absorbs you. You are for that moment non-existent. You understand what I am saying? Have you ever seen it? Hasn't it happened to you people? Eh! For God's sake, what! That is, the greatness of that mountain, the majesty, the immense solidity of it, the changeless face of that, the beauty of it, the grandeur is so impressive that for a second or two you are not! You give a child a toy; the toy absorbs the child and the child is very quiet because the toy is so amusing, so complicated, he can play with it and he forgets himself with the toy. Haven't you noticed that? Eh? You must have noticed this, haven't you? Mothers, fathers? What has happened there? The toy has absorbed the boy, the girl, in the same way the mountain has absorbed you. You are non-existent. Right? And an idea, an image, which is not the mountain also absorbs you. When you are not, beauty is. You understand? You understand this? No, I'm afraid you don't. All that you know is being absorbed by a toy and while you are playing with the toy or looking at the mountain for a second you are quiet. And when there is that immense sense of space, which is that silence which brings about that mountain - that mountain brings about, you as a human being with all your problems, with all your misery, confusion don't exist. It is that moment is the essence of beauty. You understand?
So love is that beauty when you are not. You understand? I weep for you, you know. I am actually weeping for you because you have none of these things. You have a little canvas, a little hole in which you are living and you call that life. And everything else is not, neither love nor beauty nor compassion. But you are full of knowledge of books, you can quote Gita up and down. So you can only have - there can be that love, that compassion, that beauty only when you are not. That is the truth. Then you will tell me, ask me how am I, tell me the method to get rid of myself. You understand? The method, that means tell me what to do. So you will practise it mechanically, become a machine and you have lost the whole thing. You understand what I am saying? That's what you have done. You lost all life because you have followed systems, methods, accepted authority and you are empty shells with lots of words.
So, if you want to investigate, go into this question of what love and beauty is, you must understand the great importance of desire. Become aware the movement of sensation, and thought comes into that sensation, and desire is born out of that and desire creates the image and pursues that image. Watch it, live with it. You know, you have seen lilies in the water, dirty water, so when you watch desire a perfect flower is born.
So from the beginning of our life when we are born till we die we live in a very, very small area which is called our consciousness. And we never seem to break through that. We never want to break through it. We accept life as it is: the misery, the confusion, all rest of it. So we become machines, glorified clerks. And those of us who are serious, we have to go into all these questions. Not answer them, not try to find an answer for them, but live with the question. You understand? And the question tells you, in the question itself are all the answers, if you know how to listen.
So a mind, a human being that has no love, he becomes a machine, a savage and that's what the modern world is producing. They are caught between Marxism - you understand? - different forms of Marxism and analysis. Have you noticed this? That the world, right through the world is caught in Marxism, you know, Karl Marx, the Communist and so on - Karl Marx, Marxism and analysis. Both deny love. Right? So observe all this, be aware of it in yourself and out of that awareness comes an extraordinary flower, blooms. Right, sir.