Silence as the ground of the eternal
Without beauty and love there is no truth
5th Public Talk Saanen
July 21, 1985
This will be the last talk at Saanen. We will continue at Brockwood, in England.
May we continue what we were talking about last time that we met here? We were saying among other things that this is not a lecture; a lecture is meant to inform, to instruct on a particular subject. This is not a lecture, nor is it an entertainment. Entertainment means amusing yourself, or going to a cinema, or going to a ritual in a church, or in a temple, or a mosque. This is not an entertainment. Nor is it a mere matter of intellectual, theoretical, psychological - what word shall we use? - psychological pursuit - philosophical pursuit rather. Philosophy means love of truth, not talking about what has already been talked about. And we are not discussing, or concerned with what others have said. We are together, you and the speaker, as two human beings. You, not this large audience but you as a person, and the speaker are having a conversation together, about their life, about their problems, about all the travail of life. Their confusion, their fears, their aspirations, their desires to achieve success, either in the business world or in the so-called religious world, or in the spiritual world. That is, success to reach Nirvana, Heaven, or Enlightenment is the same as success in the business world. I hope we understand each other. It is not much difference. A man who is successful in life, making pots of money, then grows, expands, changes and continues in the line of success. There is not much difference between that person or the so-called - the man who is seeking truth, achieving something of a success in that direction. Both are seeking success. One you call worldly, the other you call non-worldly, spiritual, religious. We are not dealing with either of those two. We are concerned. You, as a human being, single, or double, and the speaker are having a conversation together. He means together, you sitting there and unfortunately the speaker sitting up here. So it is between you and the speaker.
You and the speaker have been talking about relationship, between man and woman, boy and girl and so on. We have been also talking about fear, whether it is at all possible ever in life, living in the modern world, to be utterly free, psychologically, of all fear. We went into that very, very carefully. And also we talked about time, time by which we live, the cycle of time, which is (noise of train) - the cycle of time which is the past being processed in the present and continues in the future. The past being our whole background: racial, communal, religious, experiences, memories, all this is that background of all of us, whether we are born in the distant East or in Europe, or in America. That civilisation, that culture is the background of all of us. That background goes through changes, it is processed in the present and continues to the future. Human beings, you and another, are caught in this cycle. That has been going on for millions and millions of years. So the past going through the present, modifying itself, is the future. And that has been our evolution. Though we biologically have changed from a million years ago till now, but psychologically, inwardly, subjectively we are more or less what we were a million years ago - barbarous, cruel, violent, competitive, self-centred, egocentric. That is a fact. So the future is the present. Right? Is this clear to you and to the speaker? The future. That is the past modifying itself which becomes the future, that future is now, unless there is a fundamental, psychological change. Are we together? And that is what we are concerned about: whether it is possible for human beings, you and another, to bring about psychological mutation, psychological total revolution in oneself, knowing if we are hurt now, wounded psychologically, as most people are, modifying itself in the present but goes on in the future. So the future hurt is now. Is that clear? Nous sommes d'accord?
So is it possible for human beings, for you, to completely bring about a mutation? That mutation changes the brain cells themselves. That is, if one has been going North all one's life, some person comes along and says, 'Going North has no importance at all, no value, there is nothing there. Go East, or West, or South.' And because you listen, because you are concerned, because you are deliberate, you go East, that very moment when you turn and go East there is a mutation in the brain cells altogether because going North has become the pattern, the mould, and when you go East you break the pattern - right? It is as simple as that. But that requires not only listening, not merely to words, not merely with the hearing of the ear, but also listening without any interpretation, without any comparison, listening directly, then that very listening breaks down that conditioning. Not bring up all your traditions, your background, your interpretation, none of that, but like when a child listens to a good story, he puts all his naughtiness aside and listens.
And also we talked about seeing. Seeing very, very clearly what is, what is happening in the present world: wars in Afghanistan, the most appalling things are going on there. In Lebanon, in South America, the Far East. Man from a million years or two million years ago killed with a club, then he invented an arrow. He thought that would stop all wars. Now you can vaporise millions and millions of people with one bomb. We have progressed tremendously outwardly, technologically. The computer is going to take over probably all our thinking. It will do better, far better than we can, in a second. And I do not know if you have gone into this question, but you should. What is going to happen to the human brain when the computer can do almost anything that you can do, except of course sex, it can't look at the stars and say, 'What a marvellous evening it is!' It cannot possibly appreciate what beauty is. So what is going to happen to the human brain? Will it wither when the laser computer can take all that over from you? It will save a lot of labour. So either we turn to entertainment, the tremendous weight of the entertaining industry, sport. Or another form of it: go to a church, temple, mosque to be entertained - sensation. Or turn in a totally different direction. Because psychologically, inwardly, you can go limitlessly. The brain has an extraordinary capacity, each one's brain. Look what technology has done. But psychologically, subjectively, we remain what we are, year after year, century after century: conflict, struggle, pain, anxiety and all the rest of it. That's what we talked about over the last four talks, three talks - wasn't it three talks?
Audience: Four talks.
Krishnamurti: Right, thank you.
And we also talked about thought. What is the nature of thinking, what is thinking. We went into that very carefully. All thought is memory, based on knowledge; knowledge is always limited, whether now or in the past or in the future. Knowledge is always, perpetually, eternally limited because it is based on experience. Experience, which is always limited, so knowledge is limited, memory, thought - that is the process of our thinking. And thought has invented all the rituals in all the religious places. It has invented gods through our fear, and so on. We talked about that at considerable length and in detail.
This morning we ought to talk over together, you and the speaker together, not the whole audience. There is no whole audience, there is only you and the speaker. We ought to talk over together, you and the speaker, about love, death, what is religion, what is meditation, is there anything beyond all the human endeavour, or is man the only measure? Is there something beyond all structure of thought, is there something that is timeless? This is what we have to be concerned with, you and the speaker this morning. Is that all right?
We live by sensation. We talked about that. We want - our whole structure is based on sensation - sexual, imaginative, romantic, fanciful and so on. And also, as we said, self-interest is the greatest corruption. And is sensation, that is the stimulation of the senses, is that love? We are investigating this thing, you and the speaker together. We are taking a very long journey. It is a long lane, you and the speaker are walking together. Not that he is ahead and you follow, but together, step in step. Perhaps holding hands together, friendly, not dominating either each other, trying to impress each other. So we are, you and the speaker, walking quietly, exploring, investigating, watching, listening, observing.
So we are asking each other: what is love? That word has been spoilt, spat upon, degraded. So we must be very alert to the abuse of that word. So what is love? Is it mere sensation? I love you and I depend on you, you depend on me. Perhaps I sell you and you sell me. I use you, you use me. If I, if the speaker says, 'I love you' because you are there, and you feed my vanity because you are a very large audience and I feel happy, pleased, gratified. So is gratification, fulfilment, attachment, is that love? Is love put together by thought? So you and the speaker are investigating together, so don't go to sleep this nice, lovely morning.
So is love sensation? Is love gratification? Is love fulfilment? Dependence? And is love desire? Please don't - investigate it together; don't, please, agree or disagree. We went into that thing - we always approach anything by either we agree or disagree. If we could put aside altogether from our vocabulary, from our brain, saying 'I agree' and 'I don't agree'. 'My opinion is this and your opinion is that' - judgements. If we could put aside all that and just face facts as they are, not only in the world, but also in ourselves. Things as they are. That demands great honesty, the urgency of honesty. Can we do that this morning and face things as they are, not imagine romantically, or sentimentally, or it is our tradition - putting aside all that? Then we can begin to question, enquire into what is love.
We said, is it sensation? Desire? As we said previously in these talks, we went into the question very deeply, into the whole structure of desire. We haven't time to go into that all over again. To make it very brief, desire is the result of sensation, and to that sensation, thought gives a shape, an image - you understand? That is, sensation, then thought gives an image to that sensation, and at that second when thought moulds the sensation, at that second desire is born. We have gone into that. So we are asking: is love desire? Is love thought? Please go into it. It is your life we are concerned with, each one of us, our lives, our daily lives, not some spiritual life, not some - following some guru with his inanities, putting on special robes and all the rest of it, whether it is the robes of Middle Ages, that is in the churches, or the robes of recent gurus. It is very important, this question. Is love merely the structure of thought? In our relationship with each other, man, woman, boy and girl and so on, apart from sexual sensations, when one says to another, 'I love you', is it dependence? One is fulfilling himself, or herself in another and therefore in that relationship thought comes in, and then the thought creates the image, and that image we call love. Or call that image love. So we are asking: is love - it is unfortunate to use that word - is love put together by thought? Is love antagonism? Can there be love when there is ambition? When we are competing with each other? Is there love when there is self-interest? Please don't merely listen to the speaker. Listen to yourself. Listen, find out for yourself. When you discover through what actually is you can go very far. But if you merely depend on another: his words, his books, his reputation, that is meaningless. Throw all this away and one has to look at oneself. One has to have passion. Passion can exist only, as we said the other day, when suffering ends. Passion with fanaticism, which then becomes terrorism - all the fanatical movements in the world they have got tremendous passion. Fanaticism breeds passion. That passion is not the passion which comes into being when there is the ending of sorrow. We went into that.
So we are asking: is love all this? Jealousy which is in hate, anger, desire, pleasure and so on, is it all love? Dare we face all this? Are you, and the speaker, honest enough to discover for ourselves the perfume of that word?
And from that we ought to consider what place has death in our life. Death, talking about it, is not morbid. It is part of our life. It may be from childhood till we actually die, there is always this dreadful fear of dying. Aren't you afraid of death? We have put it as far away as possible. So let us enquire together what is that extraordinary thing that we call death. It must be extraordinary. So without any kind of romantic, comforting, believing in reincarnation, life after death, which is an excellent idea, marvellously comforting. The origin of it probably began with the very, very ancient Hindus. And the Egyptians talked about it, then Pythagoras the Greek talked about it. If there is a continuity of each one of us, that is, live now, the same thing will be a better opportunity next life, if one believes in that sincerely, deeply, as millions do, then what you do now matters. Right? What you are now. What's your conduct, what your daily life is. Because if there is a continuity then next life of course you will have a better castle, better refrigerator, better cars, better wife, or husband. Those who ardently believe in it, they don't behave properly, they are not concerned about the future any more than you or another.
So could we also put that comforting idea aside? Not that one Christian world believes you go straight up to Heaven you are so..., or down below! I would - the speaker would like to tell you a joke about it but he won't! (laughter) It is really quite a funny joke, but it would take too long, our time is limited. (laughs)
So what is death? What is living? What is living - daily life? And what is death? If we don't understand our daily living, what relationship has death to that? You understand? So first we must enquire what is living. What do we mean by living? What do we mean by good life? Is good life having a lot of money, cars, changes of wives, or girls, or going from one guru to another, and getting caught up in his concentration camp? (laughter) Please don't laugh, this is actually what is going on. Is good life enjoyment, tremendous pleasure, excitement, a series of sensations, going to the office from morning till night, for sixty years? For God's sake, face all this! Working, working, and then dying. This is what we call living. (Child cries) I am sorry you and I can't compete. (laughter) Sorry! Is this what we call living? - constant conflict, constant problems, one after the other. (Noise of train) This life to which we cling, of which we know, we have acquired tremendous information, knowledge, about practically everything, and that knowledge we cling to. To those memories which we have, we are deeply attached. All this is called living - sorrow, pain, anxiety, uncertainty, and endless sorrow and conflict. And death comes through accident, old age, senility. That is a good word. What is senility? Why do you attribute it to old age? Why do you say, 'Oh, he is a senile old man'? - I may be. Are you senile? Senility is forgetfulness, repeating, going back to the old memories, half alive - right? And so on. That is generally called senile. I am asking you - I have asked this question, the speaker has asked this question very often of himself - so we are both in the same camp. Is senility an old age problem? Or senility begins when you are repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating. You follow? When you are traditional, go on, go to the churches, temples, mosques, repeat, repeat, repeat. Kneel and the other fellow touches his forehead to the ground, and the Hindus prostrate (noise of train). So senility can be at any age - right? So ask yourself that question.
So death can happen through old age, through an accident, through terrible pain, disease. And when it comes there is an end to all your continuity - right? To all your memories, to all your attachments, to your bank account, to your fame. You may be the central figure of entertainment, that too comes to an end.
So we ought to consider what is continuity - you understand? - and what is ending. May we go into that? What is it that continues? That is, a series of movements which becomes a continuity. And what is it, the meaning of that word ending? You understand? Something that ends. Why are we so frightened of ending something whether it be tradition, a habit, a memory, an experience? Can all that end? Not calculated ending, an ending which is not effort, determination. I end something to achieve something else. Death, you can't argue with death - right? There is a marvellous story of ancient India. It is too long again. (laughter) It is really a marvellous story. I don't know if we have time because we have to talk about religion, meditation, if there is something beyond all this human endeavour. All right, I will repeat that story very, very, very briefly. (laughter)
A Brahmana boy - a Brahmana, -you understand? - a Brahmin of ancient India - he has collected a lot of things, cows and all the rest of it. And he decides to give them away, one by one. And his son comes to him and says, 'Why are you giving away all this?' He explains it why when you collect a lot of things you must give them away, begin again. You understand the meaning of it, the significance? You collect and then give away everything that you have collected. I am not asking you to do this. So the boy keeps on asking that question. And the father gets angry with him and says 'I will send you to death if you ask me any more questions.' And the boy says, 'Why are you sending me to death?' So as the Brahmana when he speaks, says something he must stick to it, so he sends the boy to death. And the boy arrives at the house of death after talking to all the teachers, philosophers, gurus and all the rest of it, he arrives at the house of death. I am making it very, very brief. And there he waits for three days. Follow the significance of all this, the subtlety of all this. He waits there for three days. And death comes along and apologises for keeping him waiting because after all he is a Brahmin. He apologies and says, 'I will give you anything you want, riches, women, cows, property, anything you want.' And the boys says, 'But you will be at the end of it. You will always be at the end of everything.' And death then talks about various things which the boy can't understand - right? It is really a marvellous story.
So let's come back to realities. Probably you like a lot of stories to be told. I have got quantities, I am not going to.
So, what is death? Is time involved in it? Time. Is time death? I am asking you, please consider it. Time, not only by the watch, by the sunset and sunrise, but also psychologically, inwardly. As long as there is the self-interest of time - right? You are following this? As long as there is the self-interest, which is the wheel of time, then there must be death. So is time related to death? Oh, come on sirs. If there is no time, is there death? Are we together? Please this requires - this is real meditation, not all the phoney stuff. Time, psychological time, not the time of the big clock, or the clock, the watch on your wrist. (Noise of train) For us time is very important. Time to succeed, time to grow in that success, and bring about a change in that success. Time means continuity: I have been, I am, I will be. There is this constant continuity in us, which is time. Right? If there is no tomorrow - may I enter into all this? This is a dangerous subject. Please pay your attention if you are interested in it, otherwise yawn, and rest and ease. If there is no tomorrow, would you be afraid of death? If death is now, instant, there is no fear, is there? There is no time. You are capturing what I am saying? So is time - is death - as long as thought functions in the field of time - right? - which we are doing all day long - then there is inevitably the ending of saying it might end, therefore I am afraid. So time may be the enemy of death. Or the time is death.
That means, if the speaker is attached to his audience, attached to this, because out of that attachment he derives a great deal of excitement, sensation, importance, self-interest, envious of a person who has a larger audience - right? If the speaker is attached, whether to an audience, to a book, to an experience, to a type, to a fame, then he is frightened of death. Attachment means time. I wonder if you understand all this? Attachment means time. So can I, can I, you, be completely free of attachment, which is time - right? I am attached to you; I depend on you; I cry for you. And you do exactly the same to me. We are attached to each other. And death comes and ends that. So can I end that attachment now? Not wait for death, but be free of that attachment completely? Yes sir. Face that fact.
So living is dying and therefore living is death. Together. You understand what I am saying? Oh, come on sirs. That is why one has to lay the foundation of understanding oneself not according to philosophers, psychiatrists and so on. To understand oneself, not through books, but to see, watch one's behaviour, one's conduct, the way - the habit, the accumulation that we have collected through millennia upon millennia. Know all that inside you - the racial, communal, traditional, personal. And the knowledge, the awareness of that is not of time, it can be instant. And the mirror in which you see this is the relationship between you and another, between you and your wife, to see in that relationship all the past, the present, habits, future, everything is there. To know how to look, how to observe, how to hear every word, every movement of thought, that requires great attention, watchfulness.
So death is not in the future. Death is now when there is no time. When there is no 'me' becoming something, when there is no self-interest, egotistic activity, which is all the process of time.
So living and dying are together always. And you don't know the beauty of it. There is great energy in it. We live by energy. You take sufficient food, and right diet and so on, and it gives a certain quality of energy. That energy is distorted when you smoke, drink and all the rest of it. The brain has extraordinary energy. And that extraordinary energy is required to find out for oneself, not be directed by another, to discover, or for that thing to happen.
So we are going to enquire into that. That is, what is religion? Please understand, we have talked about fear, we talked about psychological wounds, not to carry for the rest of one's life. We talked and have gone into it together, what is relationship, the significance of relationship. Nothing can exist on earth without relationship, and that relationship is destroyed when each one of us pursues his own ambition, his own greed, his own fulfilment, and so on. We talked about fear. We went into it together, into the question of thought, time, sorrow and the ending of sorrow. And we have talked this morning also about death. Now we are capable, alive to find out what is religion. Because we have got the energy. You understand? Because we have put all that human conflict, self-interest aside - if you have done it. Which then gives you immense passion and energy, incalculable energy. And what is religion?
Is religion all the things that thought has put together? The rituals, the robes, the gurus, the perpetual repetition, prayers and the whole thing, is that religion? Or is it a big business concern? There is a temple in South India that makes a million dollars every third day. You understand what I am saying? Every third day that temple gathers one million dollars - every third day. And that is called religion. They spend the money, oh, in different ways. And Christianity, look what it has done, tremendous riches. The Vatican, the churches all over the world. Go down the Fifth Avenue of New York, there they are, richest pomp. Is that religion? Going every Sunday morning to some - to hear some preacher and repeat the ritual, is that religion? Or religion has nothing whatever to do with all that business? Because it can only ask this question when it is free from all that, not caught in the entanglement, in the performance, in the power, position, hierarchy of all that. Then only you can ask the question: what is religion? Is God created by thought, by fear? Or is man the image of God? Or God is the image of man? Right? If one can put all that aside to find out that which is not put together by thought, by sensation, by repetition, by rituals - all that is not religion - at least for the speaker. That is all - it has nothing whatever to do with that which is sacred.
So what is then - how is - no - what is truth? Is there such a thing as truth? Is there such a thing, an absolute, irrevocable truth, not dependent on time, environment, tradition, knowledge, what the Buddha said, or what somebody said? The word is not the truth. The symbol is not the truth. The person is not the truth. Therefore there is no personal worship. K is not important at all. So we are seeking what is truth - if there is any - and if there is something that is beyond time. The ending of all time. And they have said that meditation is necessary to come upon this. Right? To have a quiet mind. We are going to go into that. If you will allow me. We have got a very short time. Sorry. (laughs) By the clock.
What is meditation? The word means ponder over - according to the dictionary - to think over. And also it has a different meaning, which is to measure, both in Sanskrit and in Latin and so on, meditate means not only to ponder, to think, but also to be able to measure - right? Which means comparison - of course. There is no measurement without comparison. So can the brain be free of measurement? Not the measurement by the rule, by the yard stick, kilometres, miles, but the brain be free of all measurement: the becoming, not becoming, comparing, not comparing. You understand? Can the brain be free of this system of measurement? I need to measure to get a suit made. I need measurement to go from here to another place, distance is measurement, time is measurement. Oh, come on. You understand? So can the brain - not the mind, we will go into quickly what the mind and the brain are - can the brain be free of measurement, that is comparison? No comparison whatsoever. This is real meditation. So that the brain is totally free. Is that possible, living in the modern world, making money, breeding children, sex, all the noise, the vulgarity, the circus that is going on in the name of religion. Can one be free of all that? Not in order to get something. You understand? To be free.
So meditation is not conscious meditation, you understand this? It cannot be conscious meditation, following a system, a guru, collective meditation, group meditation, single meditation, according to Zen, Buddhist, Hindu, you know, it can't be a system because then you practise, practise, practise, and your brain gets more and more dull, more and more mechanical. So is there a meditation which has no direction, which is not conscious, deliberate? Find out.
That requires great energy, attention, passion. Not lust, that is just... Then that very passion, energy, the intensity of it is silence. Not contrived silence. It is the immense silence in which time, space is not. Then there is that which is unnameable, which is holy, eternal.
May we get up?