Sorrow is part of our self-centred activity
That benediction is where you are
3rd Public Talk, Bombay
February 09, 1985
May we continue with what we were talking about last Sunday. I think one must emphasise - you can't hear? Right. They can't hear you, sir. Can you hear now? No. Good! (Laughter) Is this all right now? Is this all right?
We'd like to continue what we were talking about last week. We were talking about a holistic life, a way of living that is not fragmented, that is not broken up as our lives are, but to find out for ourselves a way of living that is holistic, that is whole, not fragmented, not broken up, not splintered. And we went into that question fairly deeply. We saw what were the causes of this fragmentation of the human brain and the human lives and also we talked about various factors in our social, moral and religious lives, that we have broken it up as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and so on. Religions have been greatly responsible for this catastrophe of human existence. And we talked also about time. Time being not only the past, all the memories, the accumulated experience and so on, modified by the present and continuing into the future. That's our life. And we have existed on this earth, according to the biologists and the archaeologists and so on, for over three and a half million years. And during that long interval of so-called evolution, we have accumulated enormous amount of memory. And we also talked about the limitation of memory and therefore limitation of thought. And that limitation of thought has broken up the world geographically, nationally, religiously - as the Hindu, the Muslims, the Christians and so on.
As we said the other day, this is not a lecture. Lecture indicates, to inform and to instruct. We are not doing that. You are not listening, if I may most respectfully point out, to a series of ideas, conclusions. But rather we are - you can't hear? You can't hear? Sorry. They can't hear. Is this all right? Can you hear now, please? Yes? It is better but not good. (Laughter) Shall I speak louder? All right.
As we were saying, this is not a lecture. We are both together; you and the speaker, are taking a journey as two friends talking over their various, not only family problems but the world problems and so on. So this is as much your responsibility to listen carefully as that of the speaker to say things clearly so that we both of us understand what we are talking about. And we are going to talk over many things, not only this evening and tomorrow evening. We are going to talk over together order and disorder, pleasure, love, sorrow and if we have time, death. These are all rather complicated questions which we all have to face in our daily life whether you are rich or poor or official - a series of government officials - we have got to face this problem of existence in which our lives are in a state of disorder, which is fairly obvious.
Our lives, our daily lives, are in disorder. Which means contradiction: saying one thing, doing another, believing something and actually moving in a totally different direction from what we believe. And this contradiction creates disorder. I wonder if one is at all aware of this problem. Apparently there is going to be more and more disorder in the world on account of not only bad governments, economic conditions, social disorder and always the threat of war - which is becoming more and more imminent, more and more pressing. And all the governments are buying armaments all over the world. Even the tiniest nations are buying arms. So there is, as you observe throughout the world, a great disorder. And our lives also, our daily lives are in disorder, and we are always pursuing order; not only governments, law and so on. We want order because without order human beings will inevitably destroy themselves. I hope, one hopes, that we are sharing the questions together, that you are also thinking about this question, together. That is, thinking together, observing together, listening together, having a dialogue in which you are participating. So it is not a matter of gathering some few ideas and conclusions but together find out why we live in disorder, and can there be total order in our lives and therefore total order in society. Society - have you finished talking?
Society is brought about by us, is put together by us - our greed, our ambitions, our envy, this individual concept of freedom - which we shall go into presently - this has brought about a great deal of disorder, this sense of individuality. Please listen, together let us listen to what is being said, actually listen, not interpret or resist or defend because we are not attacking anything. We are merely observing what is going on in the world, together. So in our lives, as we live it now after all these million years, we still are in disorder. And man has always sought order because without order one cannot possibly function freely, holistically. Right? So, to find out what is order, not a blueprint, not something you put it into a frame and follow it - order is something that is active, living, not conforming to a pattern, either the pattern being idealistic, historical, dialectical conclusions, or religious sanctions. All religions throughout the world have laid down certain law, certain sanctions, commandments but human beings have not followed them at all. So, we can put aside all those ideological conclusions and also put aside your religious beliefs which have nothing to do with daily existence. You may conform to, follow certain laws laid down by religions but that brings about also great bigotry, and so on.
So what is order and is it possible to find out what is order when our brains is confused, disorderly? Right? So we must first find out what is disorder, not order, because when there is no disorder, naturally there will be order. Right? So we must enquire together - together please - what is disorder, why we live in disorder. One of the causes of this disorder, the major, perhaps major cause is conflict, which we talked about in the last three talks, which we won't go into much more deeply this evening. Where there is conflict there must be disorder, not only between man and woman but between nations, between religious beliefs, faiths, conformity. There must be disorder. And one of the major causes of disorder is this concept, this illusion that we are all individuals.
As we said in the previous talks, you must question, doubt, doubt what the speaker is saying, question what he is saying, not accept anything from anybody but question, investigate, not resist. If we merely resist what is being said, which may be true or false, then our conversation comes to an end. If two people are talking over together their problems, if one is resisting then conversation ends. But if both of them, not persuading each other, not informing each other, not trying to influence the other, but together amicably - because they are friends - go into this question whether we are living this illusion that we are all separate individuals.
The communist theory - most of you perhaps know it already - is that we are a whole of series of result of series of environment. So change the environment then human beings change. Which is absurd altogether, because they have shown it. The Russian totalitarianism has pointed out very clearly the dominance of the few making them believe, control their thinking and so on, so on, has not brought about the end of individuality as they hoped. On the contrary. So we are going together find out, because as we said, that is one of the major causes of disorder in our lives. each one thinking he is free, each one thinking his own fulfilment, his own desires, his own ambition, his own private pleasures. We are going to find out together if that is a fact or a long established respectable illusion. May we go into this together? Together, not accepting nor denying. It is foolish to say, I agree with you or disagree with you, because you don't agree or disagree with the sunrise and the sunset. It is a fact. You never say, 'I agree with you, sun rises in the east'. So perhaps you could put aside the sense of agreement and disagreement but together carefully without any bias or resistance enquire whether there is actually individuality, or there is something entirely different. All right? Pull up your socks and let's talk over together.
Our consciousness has been the result of a million years or more. Our consciousness contains all the animalistic, primitive essence - right? - because we have come from the animal, from nature. So deep down in our consciousness one will find that there is still deeply the responses and the fears and the desire for security of the animals. That is part of our consciousness. Right? And also our consciousness contains all the innumerable beliefs, faiths, reactions and actions. Our consciousness is fear, pleasure, various memories, sorrow and searching for something, to possess complete security. That's all what we are. You may think you are part of you is divine. That is also part of your thinking. So all that consciousness, we think, is each one, it belongs to each one of us. Right? You all think, religions have maintained you are separate souls - in Christianity and Hinduism and various other forms of religious activity. Now we are questioning the whole of that.
Are you not do you not share the sorrow of the rest of the human beings? All human beings throughout the world have various forms of fears, various forms of pleasure. They suffer as you suffer, they want, they pray, they do all kinds of absurd ceremonies as you do, seeking stimulation through ceremonies, sensation, as you do. So, we share the consciousness of all humanity. So you are the entire humanity. Right? Logically first see it. Logically every human being on this earth, whatever religion, belief and so on, they suffer, every human being on this earth suffers, deeply or superficially, evading suffering and so on - we will go into that presently. And this consciousness which we have considered mine, personal consciousness, is not a fact, because, as we pointed out, every human being living on this marvellous, beautiful earth - which we are carefully destroying - we all are one, because we all go through the same problems, same pain, anxiety, loneliness, depression, tears, laughter, contradiction, conflict between man and woman, husband and wife. Even in Russia this goes on. So are you individuals, in your consciousness? Because that is what you are - your consciousness. Whatever you think, whatever you imagine, whatever your tendencies, aptitudes, talent, gifts, faculty, is shared by all other human beings exactly as you, similar to you. This is a logical fact. And logic has a certain place. One must think clearly, logically, reasonably, sanely, but it is based on thought. However logical one may be, thought being limited, as we have gone into it several times - which we won't go into this evening - that thought becomes reasonable but it is limited. So one must go beyond thought, beyond the necessity of the limitation of reason, it is logical.
So you are entire humanity. You understand? You are not an individual. You either listen to that statement, that is, you are entire humanity, you are humanity, not an Indian and all the rubbish of division, and when you listen to a statement of that kind, that you are the entire humanity, do you make an abstraction of it? That is, make or bring about an idea of the fact. You understand? The fact is one thing and the idea about the fact is another. Clear? Is this clear? The fact. Which is, that we have thought that we are individuals; our religions, our daily life, our conditioning has made us believe that we are individuals. Somebody like the speaker comes along and says, look carefully, is that so? First we resist it, we say, 'What you are talking about?' First we push it aside. But if you carefully listen - and as we two friends are listening to each other - then you share this statement that you are entire humanity. How do you hear that statement, the sound of it? Do you make out of that statement into an idea, away from the fact - right? - and pursue the idea? I don't know if you are following all this. Somebody, please, tell me if you are following all this. (Laughs) You understand?
The word is not the thing. Right? Which we went into the other day. The microphone, the word 'microphone' is not the actual thing in front of the speaker. Right? So, you hear you are the - you are, because you are your consciousness with all its reactions and actions, and that consciousness is shared by all humanity, because every human being goes through desperation, loneliness, sorrow, pain, as you do, so you are entire humanity. Now, how do you listen to that statement? Do you reject it or do you examine it? Do you investigate that question, that statement, or merely say, 'What nonsense'? What are you doing? Not tomorrow, now. What's your reaction to it? Because this is a very serious statement, that you are entire humanity. Either you listen to the depth of it, the sound of it, the beauty of it, the immensity of it with its tremendous responsibility, or you treat it superficially, verbally and say, 'Yes, I understand it intellectually'. But intellectual comprehension has very little meaning. It must be in one's blood, one's guts, and out of that comes a total sense of a different quality of the brain that is holistic, not fragmentary. It is the fragment that creates disorder. We as individuals have fragmented the human consciousness and therefore we live in disorder. I wonder if you understand all this.
Sir, when you realise that you are the entire humanity, that is what is love is. You will not kill another, you will not harm another. You move out of away from all aggression, violence and the brutality of religions. So, our consciousness is shared, is one with all humanity. You don't see the beauty of it, the immensity of it. You will go back to your own pattern, thinking you are all individuals, fighting, striving, competitive, each wanting to fulfil his own beastly little self. Right? Yes, sir. So it means nothing to you because you are going back to your own way of life. So it is much better not to listen to all this. If you listen to truth and you don't act on it, it acts as poison. You understand this? That's why our lives are so shoddy and superficial.
And also we must talk over together, why man, not only lived with disorder for thousands and thousands of years, but also why man is perpetually seeking pleasure. Pleasure in possession, pleasure in achievement, pleasure in power, pleasure having a status, a symbol, not only sexual pleasure, and that pleasure is maintained by constantly thinking about sex, imagining, picturing, making images; which is, thought gives pleasure. Sensation is turned into pleasure. I wonder if you are following all this. So we must understand what is pleasure. Why we seek pleasure. We are not saying it is right or wrong. We are not condemning pleasure, as we are not condemning desire. Desire is part of pleasure. The fulfilment of desire is the nature of pleasure. So we ought to talk over together not only the nature of pleasure but also what is desire. Desire may be the cause of disorder, each one wanting to fulfil, achieve his own particular desire. You understand all this? Are we taking a journey together or the speaker is going on talking to himself or walking by himself? This is supposed to be a gathering. A gathering means the gathering of people who are concerned seriously with serious matters, not with entertainment, not with intellectual gain, but we are concerned with our lives, our daily, monotonous, boring lives, trivial lives, shoddy lives. So, please, together we are going to investigate if desire is one of the major causes of disorder. And disorder in its - sorry - desire in its fulfilment, in its achievement in any direction gives pleasure, gratifying. So we ought together investigate, explore, what is desire. Not condemn it, not escape from it, not try to suppress it, as most religions said suppress desire, which is absurd. So let us look at it.
What is desire? When you put that question to yourself, what is desire, probably most of us have not thought about it at all. We have accepted it as the way of life, as the natural instinct of man or woman, and we say why bother about it? Except those people who have socalled renounced the world, which they never have, and those who enter into monasteries, organised monastery and so on, there they try to sublimate the desire in the worship of a symbol or a person and so on. So please bear in mind we are not condemning it. We are trying to find out together what is desire, why man has been for a million years, not only physically, biologically, but also psychologically caught in the trap of desire, in the network of desire. Right? Will you investigate with the speaker or you just listen to the speaker while he investigates, explores or explains? You know how easy it is to be caught in explanations, in descriptions, and we are satisfied with commentaries, descriptions and explanations. But we are not doing that here. We are not having - we have to explain, we have to describe, we have to point out, put it in the framework of words, but desire is one of the most complex things to understand, not intellectually but profoundly. So we are going to find out - right? - together, what is desire? Don't look to me. I will explain, I will go into it, but you have to go into it too. Not just say, 'Yes, I agree', or disagree - that's silly - but to find out the nature of desire, the construction, how desire is put together, what is the origin of desire, the beginning of desire. Every animal on this earth has a desire. Every human being is caught in this network of desires and feels unhappy when his desires are not fulfilled. And when those desires are not fulfilled, whether those desires be ideological, religious or platonic or merely physical - what is the origin, the beginning of desire?
The speaker will describe, not analyse. There is a difference between analysis and perception. Analysis implies the analyser and the thing to be analysed. Right? Right? The analyser and the thing he is going to analyse. Which means the analyser is different from the analysed. Are they different? Suppose I am the analyser and I am envious, and I begin to analyse why I am envious, as though I am different from envy. But envy is me - right? - envy is not separate from me - greed, competition, comparison, all that is me. So, we are not analysing but we are looking, hearing, and the process of learning. Learning is not merely accumulating memory. That is necessary, but learning is something entirely different, it is not accumulative process. You are moving, never recording, fresh - I won't go into that now, that takes us in a different direction altogether.
So together we are observing what is desire, what is the origin of desire, why human beings are caught in it endlessly. If you have a little money you want more money. If you have a little power you want more power. Right? And power in any form, whether you have power over your wife or your children, politically, religiously, is an abominable thing. It's evil because that has nothing to do with truth. We will go into that. So what is the origin of desire?
We live by sensation. If there was no sensation, both biologically and psychologically, we will be dead human beings. Right? We live by sensation. That crow calling, that is acting on the eardrum, nerves, and translating the noise as the cry of a crow. That's a sensation. And sensation is brought about by hearing or seeing, then contact. Right? Must I explain all these silly things? You see a nice garden, beautifully kept, the green is rich, perfect, there are no weeds in it, that lawn has been kept going for four hundred years. It's a lovely thing to watch, to see. Then the seeing, then if you are sensitive you go and touch the grass. That contact - seeing, contact, then sensation. Right? You're following this? Seeing a lovely garden, a nice car, a nice tree, or a beautiful man or woman - seeing, contact, then sensation. We live by sensation. It is necessary. If you are not sensitive, if you are dull, you are half living as most of us are. So, sensation - then what takes place? Take a very simple example: you see a nice sari or a shirt in the shop. You see it, you go inside, touch it - right? - and then the sensation of touching it, you say, 'By Jove, what a lovely material that is'. Then what takes place? You understand? There is seeing, contact, sensation. Then what takes place after that? Are you waiting for me to tell you? You see, sirs, please do listen to this. If you see this for yourself, not being told by another, then you become the teacher and the disciple. Oh, understand all this, it's stupid. But if you repeat, repeat, repeat what somebody has said, including that of the speaker, then you remain mediocre, thoughtless, repetitive. So, let's go into it.
There is seeing, contact, sensation. See that nice car, one of the latest cars in Europe - not here. There are no beautiful cars in India except those imported from abroad. You see a beautiful car. You touch the polish, the shape of it, the texture of it. Then out of that there is sensation. Then thought comes and says, 'How nice it would be if I got that. How nice it would be if I got into it, drove off'. Right? So, what has happened? Thought has given shape to sensation. Right? You are following this? Right? You are following this? Thought has given to sensation the image of you sitting in that car, driving off. At that moment when thought creates the image of you sitting in the car, at that second desire is born. All right? Have you understood this? You understand? Desire is born when thought gives shape to sensation, gives an image to sensation. Now, the question is, sensation is the way of existence, it's part of existence to be sensitive. And we have learnt to suppress or to conquer or to live with desire with all its problems. Now, if one understands this, not intellectually but actually, that thought gives shape through image, at that second desire, the origin of desire is there. Then the question arises, is it possible to see the car, which is sensation, touch it, but not let thought create the image? So keep a gap. You understand? Do you understand this?
You see, sir, one must find out also in this question, what is discipline? This country is the most undisciplined country in the world, part of the world. You spit all over the place, you are untidy. Discipline. What is discipline? Because it is related to desire. So let's talk about discipline and we will come back to desire afterwards. The word 'desire' comes from the word 'disciple' - I mean, sorry, discipline comes from the word 'disciple', the origin, the etymological meaning of that word is 'one who is learning'. A disciple who is learning from his master. Learning, not conforming, not controlling, not suppressing, obeying, following, becoming obedient. On the contrary, learning from observation. That is, you are learning what is desire. Learning about it, which is not memorising about it. So, most of us are trained, especially if you are in the army or in all that business, trained to discipline according to a pattern - copy, follow, obey. Look what you are all doing. And that is called discipline. Hoping that discipline will bring about order. But if one learns, if one is learning, which is the root meaning of that word, then that very learning becomes its own order. You don't have order imposed by law or anything else.
So, where thought gives shape to sensation by giving it an image, at that second desire is born. And to learn, to find out whether you can whether it is possible to keep sensation, to allow sensation to flower and not let thought interfere with it, to keep the division - I won't use the word 'division' - to keep them apart. Will you do it? You can't. You've never done all this. Then you will find out that desire has it's right place, and when you understand the nature of desire there is no conflict about it.
We ought also to talk over together what is love and sorrow and death. Shall we go on? Do you want me to the speaker to go on? Are you sure? I know, of course, you love to hear somebody talk. Sir, please, this is much too serious, all this. It affects your daily life. This is not something you intellectually play with. It concerns your life, not somebody else's life. The way you live after all these million years, look what our lives are, how empty, shallow, how violent, brutal, inconsiderate, thoughtless, and all the rest of it - look at it. And all this has created such havoc in the world. You all want to have high position, achieve something, become something. And looking at all this there is great sorrow, isn't there? Isn't every human being in the world, whether highly placed or just ignorant villager, he goes through great sorrow. He may not recognise the nature and the beauty and the strength of sorrow but he goes through pain like you do. And mankind has gone through sorrow for a million years. They haven't solved the problem. They want to escape from it, they want it organised. And what is the relationship of sorrow to love and death?
Can there be an end to sorrow? This has been one of the questions mankind has asked for a million years. Is there an end to all the pain, the anxiety, to the grief of sorrow? Sorrow is not only your own particular sorrow, there is the sorrow of mankind. Historically speaking there have been five thousand years of war. Every year that means somebody killing somebody else, for their tribe, for their religion, for their nation, for their community, for their individual protection and so on, so on, so on. Have you ever realised, sirs, what the wars have done? You are fighting the Muslim, the Pakistan and the Hindu. Have you ever gone into the question of wars that have created havoc? How many millions have cried, how many millions have been wounded, without arms, without legs, without eyes, even without face. You people don't know anything about all this.
So, is there an end to sorrow and all the pain therein? And what is sorrow? Don't you know sorrow? Don't you? Are you ashamed to acknowledge it? When your son, daughter and somebody whom you think you love, when they are taken away, don't you shed tears? Don't you feel terribly lonely? You have lost a companion for ever. We are not discussing about death, but this immense thing that man goes through and never having a solution, an answer to that.
Without ending sorrow there is no love. Sorrow is part of our selfinterest, is part of our egotistic selfcentred activity, selfinterest. I cry for another, for my son, brother, mother. Why? Because I have lost something that I am attached to, lost something which gave me companionship, comfort and all the rest of it. And with that ending of that person I realise how utterly empty my life is, or how lonely my life is. And then I cry. And there are many, many thousands of people ready to comfort me, and I slip very easily into that network, into that trap of comfort. There is the comfort of god which is an image put together by thought, or the comfort of some illusory concept, idea, but it gives me comfort and that's all I care. But I never question the very urge, the desire for comfort, whether there is any comfort at all. One needs to have a comfortable bed - that's all right, a nice, comfortable chair. But the urge, the desire for comfort; we never question if there is any comfort at all, psychologically, inwardly. Or is it an illusion which has become our truth? You understand? An illusion can become our truth. I wonder if you understand all this. The illusion that you have god that there is god - that god has been created by thought, by fear. If you had no fear there is no god. But god has been invented by man through fear, through loneliness, through despair, wanting this everlasting comfort. So we never question if there is comfort at all, which is deep, abiding satisfaction. Because we all want to be satisfied, not only with the food that we eat, satisfied sexually, satisfied by achieving some position of authority and therefore having comfort in that position, in that state. Don't you know all this?
So, let's ask if there is any comfort at all, if there is anything that will be gratifying, satisfying from the moment we are born till we die. Don't listen to me - find out. Give your energy, your thought, your blood, your heart to find out. And if there is no illusion is there any comfort? If there is no fear do you want comfort? Comfort is another form of pleasure. So, sir, this is a very complex problem of our life, why we are so shallow, empty, filled by other people's knowledge, by books, why we are not independent, free human beings to find out. Why we are slaves. This is not a rhetorical question. This is a question each one of us must ask. And in the very asking and the doubting there comes freedom. And without freedom there is no sense of truth.
So we will continue tomorrow afternoon the question of death, and perhaps go into this question of sorrow, what is a religious life, what is religion, and is there something that is totally sacred, holy, nothing invented by thought. We will go into it tomorrow. Not that the speaker is inviting you to come tomorrow. He doesn't care two pins if you come or don't come. It's your life.