Sorrow, love and death
Living, love and death are one movement
3rd Public Talk, Bangalore
January 12, 1974
If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about last Sunday. Tonight, I think it would be worthwhile if we could talk over together the whole problem of suffering, whether man, as a human being, can ever be free from sorrow, for without the ending of sorrow, love cannot be. And we also should talk over together the great problem or the great event as death. So, we are going to talk over together sorrow, love and death.
Apparently, man has never been able to resolve the question of sorrow. We have escaped from it; we have given various rationalised opinions, values and escapes. We never seem to be able to face it, to understand it completely and to go beyond it. And to understand its deep significance, one has to examine, I think, our daily life; the life that we lead. For there is the root of sorrow. If you examine one's life with all its troubles, with all the economic, social, religious problems, when you look at the brutality, at the violence and the anxiety, the utter despair that people have and the sense of frustration, and success which has become the virtue, when you look at all this, not with eyes that want to resolve them, not with eyes that want to escape from them, but with eyes that are capable, with eyes that are rational, sane, healthy, then perhaps we shall be able to understand and go beyond this sorrow which is not only personal, but also the sorrow that exists in the world.
I do not know how you regard your life; either you look at it with a background of ideas, speculative imaginations, fanciful dreams or a philosophy that is satisfactory, assuring and comforting. I do not know how you look at your own life. When you do look at it, has it any meaning, has it any significance? This everlasting struggle, the search for security, not only physically but also psychologically, inwardly, inside the skin as it were, how you look at your activities, your office, your daily work, your family, the misery of some disease, the pain of a loss, the sense of loneliness, the feeling that you are totally alone, without any relationship. So, it's very important, I think, in understanding what is sorrow and whether the mind can ever be free from it, one has to investigate the life that one leads. The life of so many years, the life that is educated, the life that works from the age of twenty or ten for forty, fifty years and then dies. The life that goes to the temple, to the church and to the mosque; the life that lives in books, in ideas, lives in abstractions and not in reality, lives in fanciful dreams and not with actual daily living. So, it's very important how you look at your own life, because as I said, in that life are the roots of sorrow. I don't think anyone has escaped this. Nobody has been saved by worshipping another. Nobody has relieved you, if you are at all conscious, aware, of this enormous burden of sorrow. No guru, no book, not any ritual or drink or drugs or the pursuit of pleasure has rid the mind of this burden. And if a mind, the human mind, enquires into this question seriously, not in terms of escape, not in terms of going beyond it, which is another form of escape, but actually look at it, be totally committed to the understanding of it, giving one's life, one's heart, one's whole capacity, the capacity to reason, the capacity to think step by step, the capacity to look with eyes that do not want to solve the problem, but to look at it. And that is what we are going to do this evening.
If you can, share with the speaker this question of sorrow which, whether you are conscious or unconscious of it, is always there. It's always there, whether you go to the office you are committed to a certain course of action or living according to a certain ideology, behind all those words and actions, this thing is always there, like fear. And what is sorrow? Why do we shed a tear when somebody dies? Why do we feel at a loss, lonely, when you are stripped of your attachments? Why do we feel this sense of hopeless isolation in which there is no relationship at all? You may live with your wife, with your husband or your girl or a boy or go about in a crowd, this sense of utter irrelevancy, the meaninglessness of all this endless travail and work and death. When you look at all that consciously, there is not only the personal sorrow, the sorrow that one's brother, son, wife, husband or the sorrow of losing a job, the sorrow of not being able to fulfil, not having capacity; the envy, the ambition, all that, behind all that is this shadow of sorrow. And also when you go very deeply into it, there is hidden, deep down in us this sorrow. The sorrow of the race - please listen to it - the sorrow of the race, the sorrow of those who have never lived a life that is full, rich and happy, in that deep unconscious there is the sorrow of thousands of people held in that depth which is the impersonal sorrow - the personal and the impersonal.
Now, the question is: can the mind, your mind, be ever free from this? The ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom, which cannot be bought in books, which cannot be bought through a guru, no experience, no action can give you this wisdom and without wisdom there is no love. And so it is absolutely necessary for us to understand this question very, very deeply. What is it that suffers? What is it that gets hurt? Please, observe yourself, not me, not the speaker. He is only a mirror in which you are seeing yourself. When you have seen yourself in that mirror, then break, destroy that mirror so that you see yourself, not the description of yourself, but actually what you are. So, the speaker is merely describing and the description is not the described. Do you understand? I may describe the beauty of a mountain, the lines of it, the shadows, the valleys, the snow-capped peaks, the extraordinary majesty of it, but the words are not the mountains. The mountain is something entirely different from the word and if you are satisfied by the word, then you will never see the mountain. So, in the same way, if you are merely satisfied with the description, the explanations, the verbal exchange, the dialectical search for truth in words, then you will never understand and go beyond that weight, that burden of sorrow. So, please look at yourself. Look at your life.
Philosophy means the love of wisdom, the love of truth, the love of truth in daily life, not an abstraction of truth, not the speculative ideas of philosophers and their theories and their clever spinning out of words. Philosophy means the love of truth in daily life. And to understand that you have to love life, love what you are, therefore, when you love, you care. You care enormously to look at yourself diligently. That means with care, with attention, with affection, not discard and put aside what you may call the ugly, the evil and the brutal, but just to love, care that which you are, which means give attention to yourself, to your thoughts, to what you are doing. Please, do pay a little attention to what the speaker is saying, because you don't hear these things. Nobody talks to you straight. They all help you to put you to sleep. Your gurus, your books, your temples, they all help you, they drug you and so we live everlastingly, generation after generation, with sorrow. So, please look at your life simply, without condemning it at all, just observe it. You are educated to conform to the society, to the culture which exists around you. You are educated and therefore conditioned. Conditioned to accept tradition, accept authority, accept the social values which are totally, utterly immoral. You are educated to have a family and give the family the greatest importance. You are educated to be a nationalist, calling yourself an Indian, a Hindu with a flag or you are educated to be a Muslim with their flag, with their gods, with their books. You are educated as an engineer, a scientist. And you are educated to discard the total life, discard your inner life, discard how to observe, how to think, how to look. You are educated to function in fragments. Isn't that so? Do look at it. If you are a scientist, you may be an excellent person, you may exercise great capacity in your laboratory, but outside of that you are an ordinary human being, ambitious, greedy, envious. If you are a businessman - you know what that means, so I don't have to describe that! If you are a follower of somebody or some idea, you are merely conforming to the pattern set by another and you are educated for that. If you are an engineer, perhaps you are excellent in your profession, but the rest of your life you discard; you know nothing about it.
So, we live in fragments, we live in departments at different levels without having any relationship with each other. You quote the Gita, the Upanishads or the Bible or the Koran and the beauty of the word, that's there, apart from your daily living. And your daily living, when you look at it very deeply, has no meaning. You are striving, wanting money, position, prestige and when you do have it, what is it? So you have never found out for yourself if life has a meaning. You always ask what is the purpose of life, the goal of life, not the meaning of life, but the purpose. And the purpose can be invented by the clever people or you can invent out of your own misery, confusion, conflict, a purpose. The purpose is not the meaning. The meaning is to find out for yourself by looking at yourself, the depth of your heart, the depth of your feelings, the depth of your thought. So, when you look at your life, the narrow, petty little quarrels, the shallow mind, very argumentative, brutish, narrow, petty, when you look at all that, don't you feel enormously shattered, shocked? Don't you feel this life that you are living daily, going to the office from morning till night for forty, fifty, years, coming home, quarrelling, feeling tired out, sleeping with your wife or with your girl and spending the rest of your days in an office, in a laboratory, in a factory and this you call living. Right? A living that has really, deeply no meaning. So, can you see that, look at it without getting depressed, without wanting to change it? Because if you want to change it, you will change it to another pattern which will equally be confusing, because when your mind is confused - please, listen to this - when your mind is confused and out of that confusion you choose, what you choose must equally be the result of your confusion. Please don't smile - this is your life, it is your blood and you so easily laugh. So, just look at it. Your daily travail, your daily little anxieties, your daily hurts, your daily pain, physical and other, just look at it.
Then ask what is it that is suffering? What is it that gets hurt? You are following? Look, I go to the office, whatever that be, I go out in the blazing sunlight to put up a bridge or build a house from morning till night. One part of my brain is occupied, being an engineer, building a bridge, the other part is occupied with becoming ambitious, fulfilling my ambitions, envious, angry, hurt, despair, loneliness. Just look at it. And I am asking you what is it that is hurt? You are hurt, aren't you? You have a thousand hurts from the moment you go to the school till now, you are hurt, human beings are hurt, you are injured inwardly and outwardly. What is it that is hurt? If you can understand that, then you will understand what it is that is suffering. I have an image about myself - I haven't, but let's suppose I have an image about myself that I am a great man, that I am a great, whatever it is or that I am a shoddy little man. I have built an image about myself. Haven't you got images about yourself that you must be this or that, that you must achieve, that you must be successful, that you must be virtuous and at the same time you are not virtuous. So you've got multiple images, numerous images about yourself. It is those images that get hurt. Right? And the question then is: is it possible for a mind never to be hurt and therefore never have the breath of sorrow touch it? We are hurt, that's one part, hurt because we have got images about ourselves. And the other part is, can the mind never be hurt at all? A mind that is never hurt is the innocent mind. The word 'innocence' means, never to hurt, never be hurt. And as long as you have an image about yourself, you'll always be hurt and therefore there'll be always sorrow. And can the mind be free of images about yourself, about anybody? And when you have an image about yourself, can love exist?
Now, what is love? Love of your country, love of your family, love of your idols, love of your guru, what is love? Have you ever asked that question or you don't know what love is? So, what is love? Is it pleasure? Do, please, look at it, investigate it, share it together with the speaker; it's your life. Is love pleasure in which is included sex and the imagination of all the sexual desires, pictures, ideas, the chewing of the cud of pleasure, is that love? Is love desire? We have translated love as desire and pleasure. Or you say love is: only one can love God and if you love God you love man. But the love of God is the love of your image. Have you understood what I am saying? You want to throw bricks at me, you ought to be furious, but you are not. You accept this as you accept anything else. You are so utterly indifferent, callous. I am saying something blasphemous, according to you, which is, the love of God is the love of yourself, because your God is projected out of your own desires, your fears, hopes, despairs. The temples, the churches are filed and the mosques, with their design, are filled with your images of God, your images, your opinions, your values. So, when you love God, you are loving yourself. When you are totally devoted - which is one of those appalling things that you indulge in - when you are devoted to somebody, your guru, you are devoted out of your own desire, your own hope for a reward and avoid punishment, therefore, you are devoted to yourself and you call that love.
So, what is love? Sirs, this is an immense question, as suffering, this is also a very complex question, as death. So we have to ask what is love, not verbally, in your mind, in your heart to find out what it means. Obviously, pleasure is not love, which doesn't mean you mustn't have pleasure. Have you noticed the monks throughout the world by denying pleasure, they have denied beauty because pleasure is associated with women and therefore a man who wants to be religious or pretends to be religious must avoid women; therefore, don't look at beauty, don't look at a tree because it's so beautiful and the cloud that is so lovely full of light and glory, don't look at it, because that might bring you to the love of a woman. So avoid it. And so in your life there is no beauty. Have you understood this? There is no beauty and therefore no love. You may breed a thousand children, which you do, that's not love. So, one has to go into this problem, as suffering, very deeply, so that if love is not pleasure, is not desire, is not attachment, is not a dependence, then what is it? It means a mind, a heart that has no image about itself. It is not pursuing anything. Like a flower that blossoms, love, the ground in which love can blossom is when the mind understands totally suffering.
And, there is the question of death. It is strange, is it not, that we have divided life into living, the daily living, love something apart and death something totally apart. All three something unrelated. Now, what is death? You know, this is really a very important question because what is it that dies? What is it that is so frightened of death? Being frightened, you believe in any kind of fanciful imagination. You believe in reincarnation, don't you, all of you, that's part of your tradition, a part that gives you comfort. The mind is occupied with death. It may be far away, but it's always there, the killing and the being killed. The shedding of tears and the rationalisation of those tears. This is a very complex question. If you are not tired, if you are really willing to go into this question very deeply, then you have to consider what is consciousness.
Consciousness is its content. Its content makes up consciousness. Please, it is not complex; it's very simple. Your consciousness is made up of its content. The content is your education, the content is your attachment to the furniture, to the family, to the name, to the tradition, to your particular experience and so on. Identification with India, with your name, with your particular experience, identification with your house. Your consciousness is made up of your furniture. Do you understand this? When you are attached to your furniture, your furniture is part of your consciousness. When you are frightened, when you are ambitious, greedy, envious, all that makes up your consciousness. That consciousness is the 'me', the 'you', the self, the higher self, the lower self. Divide the self as much as you like, it is still within the field of that consciousness. That consciousness is the known. You may not be aware of the total known, you may only be aware of the partial known. But when you examine, look at consciousness not as an observer looking at the observed, but without the observer, when you look totally at this consciousness, you will see all its content, not little by little, but the totality of consciousness. To understand the totality of consciousness, to look at it, analysis has no place.
May I go on? You are following all this, or are you tired? Look sir, what is my consciousness? All its content, whatever it thinks, its Gods, its gurus, its books, its furniture, its house, its family, its name, all that is my consciousness. The Gods which I have invented, the super atman, the Brahman, the God, everything is within that field of the known. And that known is the 'me', the 'me' that says 'I am God', the 'me' that says 'I am not God', the 'me' that rationalises and worships the state, the 'me' that is attached to the family, to the name, to the money, to, you know, the known, I know all that. So, the content of my consciousness is consciousness. They are indivisible. Remove the content, there is no consciousness as we know it. That is death. I wonder if you understand this. No, you don't.
Look sir, we may live long years, full of travail and sorrow and pain and pleasure and fear. The body, the organism wears out through misuse, through disease, through constant conflict inwardly, the good and the battle that goes on inwardly, the right and the wrong, the good and the bad, I am a Hindu, and you are a Muslim, I am a Christian, you are a Buddhist, division, the 'me', the 'we' and 'they' and 'you' - conflict. Psychologically, inwardly this conflict wears down the body constantly. And living in a polluted world, as we are, the air is polluted, the sea is polluted, everything is polluted, not only our minds but the earth we are polluting and the air and the air that we breathe is destroying us. So, there is disease, pollution, strife inwardly and outwardly, weighs down the body. Bad diet, over-work, over-indulgence and all the rest of it. The organism must inevitably come to an end. We know that. That doesn't cause us so much fear. What causes fear is this losing consciousness as the known. I know myself. I know what I have achieved, what I have not achieved, I know my friends, my wife, my children, my desires, my pleasures, my anxieties. The whole thing is so obvious. I know this. And that is the totality of my consciousness - expand it, contract it, horizontally or vertically, it is still within the field of the known. All the movement of thought is in the field of the known. And the mind which has sought security in the known - please do listen for your life - the mind that has sought security in the known faces death. That is, it has to enter into something it doesn't know therefore it's frightened; not of the unknown, but losing the known. You understand? Losing the 'me', losing my consciousness with all its contents, my gods, my knowledge, my wife, my children, my experience, everything in that content of consciousness, the mind is scared, frightened and is ready to believe that it will continue hereafter.
Now, can the mind die to the known, to its content? You understand? To my furniture, to my ambition, to my gods, to my gurus, can my mind die to all that, from day to day die? And you will see, if you so die to the know, fear comes to an end, totally. Then there is the problem: if you don't die so completely to the content of the consciousness which is the known, then what happens to people who are not free of its content. You have understood my question? Look, I'll put it differently. Are you all interested in all this? Does it mean anything to you, all this? Verbally or actually? Are you going to die to the content of your consciousness, to your gurus, to your ambitions, to your private, secret desires? You won't. You won't. That's part of your conditioning, part of your death. So, what happens if you do not die to the content of your consciousness? What happens? What is your consciousness? Is it like everybody else's consciousness? Is it the consciousness of your neighbour who has also his gods, his thoughts, his desires, his attachment to his house? You follow? Your consciousness is the consciousness of another. You may not like it, you may think you are an extraordinary consciousness, but you are just like your neighbour though you have a different name, different face, different bank account - if you have a bank account - but you are just like your neighbour who is anxious, frightened, worshipping his petty little gods, his little gurus, goes to the miracle-mongers, all that. Just like everybody else. Living - please, listen to this - living you are like everybody else with little temperamental changes. You may be most proficient at your profession and so is somebody else, but below that profession you are frightened, you are greedy, you are ambitious, your sexual appetite, attached like my neighbour, like everybody else, whether he lives in India geographically, in China or in America. You have understood this? Your consciousness is the consciousness of your neighbour. So you are the world and the world is you. Now, what happens to that consciousness when he dies, when the physical organism dies?
Knowing it is going to die, there is fear and you have the comforting hope of reincarnation. You have never enquired what it is that reincarnates, but there is that hope. When you enquire what it is that reincarnates, what is it? Your attachments, aren't they? Your contents of your consciousness, your gods, the things that you have not done, the things that you should have done, your beliefs, your ideas, your opinions, your second-hand knowledge, all that. That is me, that is you, the self. And if you, as you do, believe in that, in reincarnation, as most of you do, it means that you will be incarnated next life differently depending on your karma. Karma means to act. Now, cause, effect and all the rest of it. It's too long; I'll have to cut it short. Now, if you believe in reincarnation, that what you do matters enormously now because you are going to pay for it next life. You understand all this? That means if you don't behave properly this life, you are going to pay for it next life. Right? But you don't believe so strongly. That's just an idea, therefore you carry on with your mischief and you believe most earnestly, oh! reincarnation, karma and all the rest of that tommy rot. Because what matters is how you behave now. That is the cause, the effect of it is not next life, in the flowering of goodness, you incarnate now. Understand this. Not next life. Incarnation means to be reborn anew. You can't be born anew next life; you have to be born anew this life, now. That is real incarnation, not reincarnation.
Therefore what happens to those who have never died to the known, who are always clinging to the known? It's like a vast stream, isn't it, in which all human beings are caught? A stream from which my son, my brother, my wife, my husband who have lived now are caught in the stream and from that stream they can be evoked, they can be called, I can see my brother, my son, my wife, my husband, through a medium, through various other ways, but it is still the continuance of that consciousness with its content. Therefore there is no release from that unless you die to the known every day. That means, never be attached. Which doesn't mean that in the freedom from attachment there is no love. There is total love when you are not attached to ideas, to people, to buildings, to your jobs, nothing. You understand, sir? So, love is as strong as death and living is not separate from love and death. They are all one total movement. And human beings have divided it and in this division there is conflict. Wherever there is division, there is conflict, nationally when you are divided against Pakistan or Russia or whatever it is, there must be conflict, the Arab and the Jew, there must be conflict. And when you divide life, this life, the future life, love is something different, death is something different, all divided. Then when there is division, you live in constant pain, struggle and sorrow. A man who understands the total movement of life, that is living, love and death are one whole movement of existence and that is the total meaning of life.
Do you want to ask any questions?
Q: In deep sleep, I am not attached to anything.
K: What, sir?
Q: In deep sleep...
Q: In deep sleep...
K: I understand sir, I understand.
Q: ...I am not attached to anything. We are not existing?
K: In deep sleep I am not attached to anything. You see, how clever we are! (laughter) What kind of people are you? When we are dealing with the life, you talk about deep sleep in which you are not attached; therefore, you are asleep and you call that a mind that thinks. Just a minute, sir. In deep sleep I am not attached, therefore, in deep sleep I know what death is, what love is, what living is. But you are asleep. See how we run away from facts of life, not facts of life as sex but the facts of living. Your minds are so corrupt that you can't face facts; you can't look at your life and say 'Look, my life is in torture, pain, agony, despair: I must change it'. You are not concerned with that. You are concerned with some abstraction about the question, in sleep. Sleep, it is really another complex thing, I can't go into it now. You read something from a book about deep sleep and you are not attached and you quote that as though it was yours. You know, if you took a vow - vows are stupid - if you took a vow never to say something that you yourself don't know, never to quote anybody, but say something which you know for yourself, which you have thought out, which you have directly seen, then you wouldn't be second-hand human beings as you are now.
Q: The mind is very much attached to the body and to property, that is why this continuity.
K: I have understood, sir. Mind is attached to the body and to property. You understand? Not to my wife, property. Yes, sir, I know, I know. You are the most materialistic people in the world.
Q: Of course, but...
K: Wait, sir, wait, sir, I know this, I know this. You may have a temple on every hill; temples are nice from a distance, on a hill, they are beautiful on a hill, but the people who enter the temple never find God in temples. You are attached to property and to your body, to your senses and sensuality, the material, the property. You are attached. That's a fact. Now, why is the mind attached? Why are you attached to property? Does it give you security? If you want security, real security, then you cannot be an Indian. The moment you are an Indian, there is another who is a Pakistani and therefore you will have conflict, wars which will destroy your security. You understand? The moment you are a nationalistic, patriotic stupid human being, you will create wars and your security is denied. Please, do see this. Now why are you attached? Go into it with me, please, go into it, why are you attached to property, to your furniture, to your name, to your knowledge, to your superior, you know, all that? Why are you attached? What would happen if you are not attached? Strip yourself of all your attachments. What would you be? You understand? Your property - you can't lose your property, keep it - but if you strip yourself of your name, of your position, strip it, put it aside, what are you? Have you ever watched one of these ministers in this country? They are ministers; strip them of their position, they are just like you and me. So why are you attached, what makes you attached? Go into it, sir? Go into it with me, verbally at least, then perhaps you will go into yourself deeply. Why is the mind attached to anything?
Now, the brain can only function properly, effectively, sanely, when it is completely secure. Right? Have you noticed? Only you can function properly when there is complete security. That's what the baby wants, complete security. Now, it finds security in nationalism. Right? Are you following all this or am I talking to some? It needs security, so it finds security in the idea of a glorified India or in a belief that there is a marvellous father called God. In belief of God, there is great security, but that God, you have invented it. So you are seeking security in an illusion which you think is real and that gives you a great sense of security; that means you are neurotic in a belief which is your own invention. I wonder if you see all this? So, in neuroticism, in some kind of fancy, however unreal, however stupid, however illogical, irrational in that there is security which the brain will find, because it must have security. That's why tradition plays such an immense part in your life because there is security - repeat, repeat, repeat.
So, the brain needs order. I won't go into all that. Order means security, not this property. So, why are we attached? I am attached because without that I am nothing. Right? Without my furniture, I am nothing, without my name, I am nothing, without country, I am nothing, without my belief, my knowledge, my position, my clothes, my face, all that, I am nothing. Therefore, unconsciously, deeply, knowing I am really nothing, just - I will attach myself to something. And the beauty of being nothing you will never know because being nothing is the moment of creation. You understand all this?
So, sirs, it's time to stop. Consider your life and the ways of your behaviour, consider deeply what suffering is and what love is and death and you will then go, if you go into it very deeply, you will see the total movement of life, love and death. In that total movement there is no dying. It doesn't mean that you become immortal. Morality and immortality are two different things. Morality is to die, live tomorrow, all the rest of it; immortality of a mind, that is a mind as it is, can never be immortal, but there is a timeless movement without direction, that absolute sense of being totally nothing. That is beyond death.