Remaining with suffering without thought
Can the human condition change radically?
4th Public Talk Bombay
January 31, 1982
I would like to remind you, if I may, that this is not an entertainment, an intellectual appreciation, or an emotional gathering. This is rather a gathering of serious people, I hope, people who are gathered together with serious intent. If you are merely attracted by curiosity I am afraid you will be disappointed. But this is as we have been saying for the last three talks, we have to exercise our brain, we are not repeating something that you would like, or quoting somebody. We are here, if one may point out, to think together, to exercise our capacity to its fullest extent: capacity to doubt, as we pointed out yesterday, to question, not only what the speaker is saying, but also to question one's own intentions, one's own prejudices, point of view, because that clarifies the brain so that it can think clearly, objectively, not all the time personally. So we are together, as we have been doing for the last three talks that we met here, concerned and committed to the whole complex problem of daily living.
As we were pointing out yesterday, fear has been the common lot of human kind. Every human being in the world is frightened about something or other. We went into that yesterday very, very carefully, step by step, pointed out all the factors that are involved in the culmination, which is fear. We said thought is the origin of fear, thought is time, thought is desire, thought is the factor of comparison, searching for security and so on. We went into that very carefully. And tonight, if you are willing, we should talk about together the whole question of suffering. Talk over together why human beings lack the energy to solve their own problems, why they look to another to help them, why each one of us is not capable of resolving our own confused, conflicting, contradictory lives. We are always looking for somebody else to solve our problems, politically, economically, socially or in any other direction, even religiously. And here during this gathering, if one may point out, we are not trying to persuade you to think in a particular direction, do any kind of propaganda for any ideal, for any system, for any philosophy, for any belief or religion. But rather together, I mean, the speaker means together, to observe our lives, our daily lives, why human beings have become what they are - mediocre, frightened, conflicting life, in their relationship with each other, without any aesthetic sense, without the quality of beauty, why we have become like this.
It is very important to find out for oneself. As we pointed out also yesterday, we have become second-hand human beings; we quote others, we follow others, the psychologists, the philosophers and all the saints and so on have told us what to do, what to think. We never wipe the slate clean so that our brains are fresh. We never read the story of ourselves. The story of ourselves is the story of the rest of mankind, the story which is you. We never read that book. It is not printed in a book, you cannot possibly learn sitting at the feel of another, nor can you follow another, but you have to observe the extraordinary evolution which man is, the extraordinary content of his consciousness, what is his consciousness, what he is, why he behaves in this unreasonable way, without any sense of beauty, love, compassion.
So first, if we may, let us look at the book which we are, each one of us. We are the rest of mankind. Please follow this a little bit, if you will. We are not individuals. Our consciousness, with its content, is like the rest of mankind. Our consciousness, that is what you are, your beliefs, your sorrows, your anxieties, your pain, your miserable existence that one leads, the confusion, the uncertainty, is what every other human being throughout the world goes through, whether they live in America, Russia, or here, or in China, they suffer, they are uncertain, they are caught up in innumerable dogmatic beliefs, as one is. So please observe, look at it. Don't deny it, don't hold on and say, 'I am an individual', look at it carefully.
Your consciousness, what you are, not physically, but inwardly, psychologically, your beliefs, your search for security, fear, pursuit of pleasure, worship of images, is like the rest of the world, only modified, civilized, or uncivilized. Either it is merely a tribal or it is highly sophisticated, rational conclusion, but the consciousness of each one is the common consciousness of all mankind. So you are not an individual. This is very difficult to accept because we are conditioned by religion, by education, by society, that each one of us is separate, seeking his own particular salvation, his own particular enlightenment; but when you observe this very closely and carefully, and totally impersonally, if you can, then you will see that we are like the rest of the world, like every other human being who is sitting next to you, or sitting miles away. He goes through what you are going through. Physically, bodily he may be taller, fairer, capable, but consciousness, the inward content of your being, is like the rest of the world. So you are the world and the world is you. It is logical, sane, rational. You cannot possibly deny this fact, though you may cling to your individuality, this is the real actual fact: that we are actually the rest of mankind. And we ought to be able to read our lives, which is the rest of mankind, the book of history, of which we are.
So let us enquire together if one is capable of reading the book - I mean the book in the sense, what you are. To look at what you are. And as I said, what you are is the content of your consciousness, both the conscious as well as the unconscious, both the obvious and the hidden, the superficiality and the depth of it. We ought to be able together to read this book. So you have to look at your consciousness. That is, to observe silently without any direction, just to observe what you are. You are obviously a name, a form, you have certain characteristics, idiosyncrasies, capacities, skills, certain limited energy. That is the outward clothing of man. Inwardly, deep inside us, there is a craving for comfort, for security, a craving for some kind of protection from this hideous world, because the world is becoming more and more dangerous because of overpopulation, division of nationalities, division of religions, all the separate States preparing for war. So the world is becoming terribly dangerous. I wonder how many of you realise this fact. Each nation is buying armaments beyond their own financial limitations, piling up instruments of war to kill each other. And here we sit, discussing, talking over together casually, not facing this enormous reality that the world is becoming, for which we are responsible. We have created this society, we have created this war, or the preparation for war, each one of us is responsible because we pay tax, we are supporting all the industrialists in the world to prepare cannons, all the terrible things they are preparing to kill each other. For that we are responsible. And I am afraid we do not feel responsible at all. That is one of the tragedies. Please this is not rhetorics, this is not an intellectual froth. This is actuality that is taking place under you noses! And we seem so utterly indifferent, utterly callous.
So together, if one may, let us look at ourselves as if in a mirror. What you see in a mirror is not distorted, it is what you are. Thought can distort it, thought can say, 'I don't like what I see', thought can say, 'I get depressed when I look at myself'. But when you are looking in a mirror you can't change your face, it is there. So similarly let us look in the mirror very carefully. The mirror is the relationship between each other. In that relationship, if you are aware, if you are sensitive, actively watching, all the reactions that take place, in that relationship is the mirror in which you see exactly what is taking place. Right? Are we following each other? Or as I pointed out the other day, am I talking to myself? Or, are you serious? And it is only the person who is serious that lives, it is only the person that is profoundly serious, he is a religious man.
So what are you? Apart from a name, a form, perhaps if you are lucky a bank account, perhaps a skill, apart from all that what are you? Are we not suffering? Or suffering doesn't exist in your life. Is there fear? Is there anxiety? Greed? Envy? Worshipping some image which thought has created? Frightened of death? Clinging to some concept? A contradiction, saying one thing and doing another. So we are all that. Our habits, our inanities, the endless chatter that goes on in the mind, all that is what we are. And the content of consciousness makes consciousness, and that consciousness has been evolving through time, through tremendous experiences, pains, sorrow, anxiety, all that. Now we are asking: can one be free of all that? Free from all sense of fear. Because where there is fear there is no love. And we are going to go into all that this evening. Where there is no sensitiveness, and that sensitiveness cannot exist if there is self-centred activity all the time, without that sensitivity there is no love. And there is no love when there is no beauty. Beauty exists only in the flowering of goodness. Are you understanding all this?
So, sirs, let us first examine and look what beauty is. Not the beauty of form, which is also nice, the beauty of a lovely tree, the beauty of a green field, the beauty of a mountain, the majesty of it against the blue sky, the beauty of a sunset, the beauty of a solitary flower in the pavement. We are not being romantic, nor emotional. We are enquiring together: what is beauty? Do we have that sense of beauty in our lives? Or it is becoming so mediocre, meaningless, everlasting struggle from morning till night? So we are asking: what is beauty? Because it is a very serious question. It isn't a sensual question, nor a sexual question. Because without beauty in your heart you cannot flower in goodness. So what is beauty? When you look at a mountain, or the blue sea, when you look at it, if you have ever looked without chattering, without making noise, if you have really paid attention to the blue sea, the beauty of the water, the beauty of light on a sheet of water. And when you see such extraordinary beauty of the earth, with its rivers, lakes, mountains, when you look at it, what actually takes place? We will go into it, but first look at something which you have seen which is actually marvellously beautiful: a statue, a poem, a lily in the pond, or a well-kept lawn. And when you see such a piece of beauty - no, no, when you see such, not piece - when you see such beauty what takes place? At that moment, the very majesty of a mountain makes you forget yourself. Right? Have you ever been in that position? When you have seen that you don't exist, only that grandeur exists. But a few seconds later or a minute later the whole cycle begins, the confusion, the chatter. So beauty is where you are not. Have you understood this? Do you understand, sir? Oh, what a crowd! The tragedy of it. Truth is where you are not. Beauty, love is where you are not. Because we are not capable to look at this extraordinary thing called truth.
So sirs, let us look first at our suffering, whether man can ever end his suffering, not only your personal suffering, which we will also go into, but the suffering of humanity - the humanity that has borne, put up with a thousand wars. Think of all the women and men maimed, hurt. There is sorrow in the world, a global sorrow. And also there is sorrow of your own. They are not two separate sorrows. Please see this. I may suffer because my son is dead. And also I am aware that my neighbour's wife also is dead. I am also aware it is the same throughout the world. It has been like this for millennia, for thousands upon thousand years and we have never been able to resolve it. We may escape from it, we may do puja, ceremonials, we may invent all kinds of theories, that it is our karma, it is our past, but suffering is there, not only yours but the rest of humanity. We are asking: can that suffering ever end? Or it is the condition of man that he must continue from time immemorial to the ending of time, suffering. He must suffer, that is his condition. If you accept that, which I hope you don't, if you accept that then you will continue to suffer endlessly. You see, you will get used to it as most of us do. But if you don't accept that, what is your position? That human beings in the world, and you who are also a human being, suffer, will you take time to end that suffering? As we said yesterday and other previous talks, not only here but in the rest of the world, we said you are the past, the present, and the future. You are that. You are the master of time. And you can shorten the time or lengthen the time. That is, if you are violent and you say, 'I will become non-violent', that is extending time. During that interval of time you are being violent, and there is no end to that kind of activity. Whereas if one realises that you are the master of time, which is an extraordinarily important thing to find out, to realise - time is in your hands. Which means facing the fact of violence, not pursuing non-violence, but facing the fact of violence, and in that observation there is no time at all because in that observation there is neither the observer, nor all the past accumulation, there is only pure observation. In that there is no time. I don't know
Are you doing this? When the speaker is talking about it are you actually seeing the truth of it and therefore you are doing it? Suppose I have a habit, peculiar habits, both physically and psychologically, can those habits end immediately? Or I will take time to end a habit? You understand my question? That is, suppose I smoke - I don't - but suppose I smoke, probably many of you do, I don't know why, but you do. Can you end that habit immediately? The craving of the body for nicotine is different from the perception that you are the master of time, you can shorten the time, therefore that perception is not a decision not to smoke. I wonder if you follow all this. Is this too difficult? Are we understanding each other? Oh, do tell me, for god's sake!
You see sir, one can end sorrow, and then only there is passion. You understand the difference? Passion is not lust. Lust is sensual, sexual, it is full of desire, pictures, pursuits of pleasure and so on. Passion is not. You must have passion to create, not babies, but passion to bring a different world, different human beings in the world, passion to change the society in which one lives; without that tremendous passion one becomes mediocre, soft, unclear, lacking integrity and so on.
So my son is dead and I suffer. I shed tears, I go to all the temples in the world. I have put all my hope in that son and he is gone. And I have a craving that he will live somewhere else and I hope I will meet him somewhere, in the next life, or somewhere or other. We are always playing that. So my son is dead, and I suffer. Suffering is very painful. Tears, other people's comfort, my own search for comfort away from that pain does not resolve that pain, that tremendous sense of loneliness. So can I look at it, be with it, without any kind of escape, without any kind of rational explanation for this death of my son, without saying reincarnation, this or that, can I remain completely, wholly, with that feeling of great pain? Then what takes place? I hope you are doing this with the speaker. Don't just listen to it. This is not a lecture. This isn't something you are being told what to do. This is not an intellectual play, this is our life, daily existence. The person one loves may go away - jealousy, anxiety, hatred. This is our life and we suffer. My son has gone, cremated, gone. I can't tolerate the idea that he is gone. So without any sentiment, without any emotion, can I remain with that pain, the pain of loneliness. You know most of us do know what loneliness is, don't we? Or is that too abstract? You know what loneliness is, don't you? Yes sir? That is, that loneliness is when you are totally isolated from all relationship, you suddenly find yourself in a crowd that you are utterly lonely, alone. That is part of sorrow, to find such a state. And when my son dies I am lonely. And can I look at that loneliness, observe that loneliness without any past memories? And to observe without the observer. You understand all this? I will tell you, I will show you sir, we will talk about it together.
When one is angry, at that moment of anger, which is a reaction, at that second there is neither the observer nor the observed - have you noticed this? There is only that reaction which is called anger. A few minutes or a few seconds later, the observer says, 'I have been angry'. So the observer separates himself from anger and then says, 'I have been angry'. But the observer is the observed. Anger is not different from me, I am anger. I am greed. I am frightened. I am all that. But thought says, 'I must control, I must escape from fear', so thought then creates the observer different from the observed, and in that state there is conflict. Whereas the fact is, the observer is the observed, that is, anger is you, anger is not different from you. So similarly you are, in that state - not you - I have lost my son. I am in that state, observing without any movement of thought, which is to give total attention to that thing called pain, to that thing called loneliness which brings about such despair, such neurotic activity. So can I remain with that sense of intense sorrow, pain, shock, without any single movement or shadow of thought, that is, to give complete attention to it. And you cannot give complete attention to it if you are trying to escape from it, that is a wastage of energy, whereas if you give your total attention you are then all the energy focused on a point which you call suffering. When you do that you understand the whole significance and the depth and the beauty of such an extraordinary fact. And then suffering ends. When there is the ending of suffering there is passion. And with the ending of suffering there is love.
What is love? Have you ever asked? Have you ever asked your husband or your wife what is love? No answer! You daren't! Now we are going to ask what is love. Do I love anybody? You know what that means? Is love desire? Is love pleasure? Is love attachment? Please consider all this. You certainly have a hot climate. Is love jealousy? Or love has now become a sexual act. So we are going together to see what is the quality of a mind or a brain that loves. Do you love your children? Or do you feel responsible for them? Your duty. Have you ever considered whether you love your children? You will say, 'Of course.' But we are asking this seriously. If you loved your children would you want them to be what you are? Would you answer that? Or would you want them to be totally different from you? Do you want them to follow your trade, your business, because you are an industrialist, your son wants to be industrialist, you want them to be industrialists? Or are you concerned that he should grow in goodness, flower in beauty? Or are you preparing him for war, to kill and be killed? Is all that love? I know you will say, 'We can't help what we are. We can't help our children. We send them off to school and that is the end of it. Only we want them to get married, settle down' - as you have settled down, in mediocrity, lack of integrity, say one thing and do another, go to the temple and be an excellent lawyer. That is a contradiction. You want your children to be like that? If you loved them would you do this?
So what is love? Please this is a very serious thing. Don't say, 'Does it exist in the rest of the world?' - we are asking you: what is love? Is love jealousy? Is love attachment? I am attached to my wife. What tragedy it all is, isn't it? I am attached, if I am married, thank the lord I am not, if I am attached to my wife, what are the implications of that attachment? Is that love? I am attached to her, I depend on her, both physically, psychologically, she helps me, I help her, I am attached. That is, I am frightened that she may leave me - it is happening more and more. When the girls are becoming educated they are going to be more free. Right? That is happening in this country, it is happening in the rest of the Europe - divorce. And if I am attached to her I am anxious that she shouldn't leave me, she mustn't look at another man, she must remain faithful to me. I must possess her, dominate her. And she wants to be possessed and to be dominated. Is all that love, in which there is fear, jealousy - where there is jealousy there is hatred, antagonism - is all that love?
So to deny, to negate everything that is not love, is love. Deny, negate jealousy, completely. Negate totally attachment. Negate every form of possessiveness. Then out of that comes, through this total negation, love. That is through negation you come to the positive. And the most positive thing is love. And one of the odd things about love is: do what you will, that will be correct if you love. You understand? When there is love, action is always right, under all circumstances. And when there is that quality of love there is compassion. Compassion means passion for all. Compassion cannot exist, nor love, if you belong to any sect, any group, or to any organised religion. Compassion comes only when there is freedom from all that. And that compassion has its own extraordinary, limitless intelligence. So when there is love there is beauty. Love and compassion with their intelligence is the endless truth. To that truth there is no path - not Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and all that, yogas, there is no path to truth. But only when there is that immense sense of compassion which comes when there is the ending of sorrow, then that which is, is truth.
I've finished, sirs.