The art of questioning
How can one be a light to oneself if there is any kind of dependence?
1st Seminar, Brockwood Park
September 12, 1978
I believe we are going to talk over together the question of what is the meaning of 'Be a light to yourself' - what is the meaning of being a light to yourself. If you don't like that subject we can change it to something else which you want. And I think it would be good, if I may suggest, that we all talk, not one or two of us talk, but each one of us share in the discussion or in the talk. Is that all right? All of us take part in it.
So do you want to discuss that, or any other subject, that is, be a light to yourself. I believe I have said that before so it was suggested that we talk about that. If that is not what you want we can talk about something else.
Questioner: What does it mean to be a light to oneself?
Krishnamurti: That's what we are going to discuss, we are going to go into it, is that what you want to talk over? May I set the ball rolling and then we can... please, this is not a talk, or a sermon, by me, but rather we are all going to partake or share in our discussions, so each one of us, if I may most respectfully suggest that we all talk, each one of us, expressing what we want to say, contradicting each other, doubting each other, questioning each other to find out the truth of whatever we are saying, not only the speaker but all of us. So may I start the ball rolling?
I think most of us are slaves, either to religious concepts, beliefs and symbols, or to some kind of experience, or slaves to institutions, and concepts. And being prisoners to all that how can one be a light to oneself? You understand? I am just starting it. If one is committed to a certain pattern of life, a certain way of living, if one is a businessman or a scientist, or a philosopher, one is caught in that, one becomes completely absorbed in it and the rest of life flows by. We are concerned in our discussion with the whole of life, not just one part, one segment, or one particular tendency, or one's profession. So does one realise - including myself (laughs), that one is caught in a routine, which naturally prevents freedom. We can discuss what freedom is, and we can go into all that. It prevents freedom and so one can never be clear in oneself. One can never understand the depth of oneself, or when one is dependent on something one cannot be a light to oneself. That is the general outline, we can go very much into detail, and we should, if you want.
So that is what we are proposing to discuss whether the human mind, our mind, your mind and my mind - our mind, can be completely free from all institutions, from all the impositions, the pressures of religions, their symbols, their ideologies, their theories, and their dogmas, which is mostly, all of that is superstition, can one be free of that completely? That's one point.
Then can one be completely free from the imposition of language? Language drives us, shapes our thinking, forces us to a certain course of action. So is one aware of that, and be free of being a slave to language? We can go into all this.
The next question: can one be free of ideologies and so on because all these make our minds narrow, limited, prisoners to society, to social environment, economics and so on, so on, so on. If that is so, how can one be a light to oneself? Do we discuss this, or do you want to talk about something else?
Q: Sir, there are several points – that we are caught in language and it looks that our sense of identity is in that, whether it’s images, ideas. It appears that the responses to that is the continuation or continuity of identity. Perhaps we could go into that.
K: I think we all heard that, I don't have to repeat it, have I? Right. How do we start discussing this thing, exploring it in ourselves, not exploring some other person. How can I explore myself, understand the depth of myself, without understanding how one's mind has become slavish, dependent and so on? Avanti.
Q: Sir, in my case it’s been education, as I view.
K: Does education
Q: That’s a part.
K: Part. The way we are educated, does it make our minds slavish, conforming, accepting the pattern, or establishing a new establishment and becoming a slave to that, and so on.
Q: Well, a certain part of education is conditioning itself.
K: Go into it sir. Let's go. You see, I don't know how to discuss this matter or go into it, if each Find out, sir, first, is that what you want to discuss. I am not imposing what we should discuss but that was just suggested. But if there is something better than that please put it forward and we can go into it.
Q: Can we ask the question, what is the instrument of enquiry because there seems a contradiction between not knowing and enquiring. Enquiring always seems to be some sort of direction, a means to something. What is this contradiction between not knowing and enquiring?
K: What is the instrument of discussion which is capable of discussion. Is that it?
Q: No, he is asking what is the instrument of enquiry.
K: Yes, what is the state of the mind, or thought, or what you like, that can freely enquire. Right? What is your state, sir? Don't ask me. Find out, what is your state of mind that is capable of enquiry.
Q: When you talk about the state of mind...
K: Stick to one thing, sir, no, don't - we have understood the meaning of that word, so don't What is your state of mind that says, I must enquire, that wishes to enquire?
Scott Forbes: Krishnaji, could we go into exactly what you mean by being a light to yourself. Does it mean simply being free of words, and being free of institutions?
K: No, sir, it means...
Q: Or is there more?
K: Doesn't it mean we depend on the light of others. Right? The Christian world has been conditioned for example that Jesus and so on, that person will be your salvation. So you are relying on that person, idealised, made divine by the priests and so on and so on, so on, to depend for one's salvation - I am using the old-fashioned word which we will explore - to depend on an external agency for our what freedom from sorrow, pain, anxiety, and so on and so on, so on. The church, the Catholic church has done that, the Hindus have their own pattern of thinking, so have the Tibetans, so have the Buddhists and so on. Along the same pattern, only a different set of words, different set of phrases, different symbols and so on, but always depending on external agency, thinking that external agency is different from us. We have created the external agency, the outside agency. So we have divided ourselves from that and say, that will save me from my anxiety, fear, sorrow and all the rest of it. We have created that. Right? And having separated ourselves from that, then we say how am I going to be 'saved' - in quotes. So can one be free completely from external agency for our all that - for happiness, for enlightenment, whatever word we like to use.
Q: Sir, but surely nowadays many people will say that they don’t believe in god, so they reject that, so they have no obvious external agency
K: Then if you reject the outside agency, in what manner, how will you free yourself, in what manner will you be free from all your entanglements, from all your sorrows, pain and so on, if you don't depend on anybody, including K, including the speaker?
Q: Sir, I think many people have independence as their god... (inaudible) and they see that as just political freedom.
K: No, either that freedom is intellectually, theoretically accepted, or actually one has put that aside completely.
Q: Would being a light to oneself give you real freedom as opposed to political freedom?
K: I haven't understood, sorry. Please, answer her, don't wait on me, discuss it!
Q: I don’t think he means freedom as opposed to anything else – opposed to political freedom, or non-freedom, just freedom per se.
Q: Surely we are talking about freedom which is deeper than political freedom.
K: No. First of all is it possible to act rightly, accurately, truly without any guidance from outside? You follow my question? To think very clearly inwardly and outwardly, and act outwardly, without any imposition, without any pressure.
Q: But what usually happens when somebody hears that is that if you realise you don’t want to be a slave to a guidance from outside, you think OK I will have my inner guidance.
K: First of all if you hear that and reject that, and then depend on your inner guidance, what does that mean?
Q: Well, you feel like you want to gather more experience and formalise your concepts about life.
K: Which comes to the same thing!
K: Eventually it comes to both When you reject the outer as guide you must also reject the inner as your guide.
Q: Yes, so can we go into that?
K: It becomes very complex, you see, that's why I want to explore it, if you will.
Q: Also, sir, it is also complex in the sense that most people, or many people today would reject, would say that they have no guide. Or they would not think in those terms of having an outer guide or an inner guide. They simply go on living, and they don’t want...
K: Therefore if you reject the outer god and the inner god, and then what?
Q: Obviously they live a very confused life.
K: Yes, so, live confused, unhappy, all the rest of it. Is that what we are doing, what you are doing? Surely this is...
Q: We have your words.
K: Ah! Throw those out. You don't have my words, throw them out.
Q: Right, I was going to say that.
K: Throw them out.
Q: We have your words.
K: No, sir, then you become prisoner of those words.
Q: If I stand up and I say, well I am going to throw away everything, all my dependencies, all my external relations
K: No, no.
Q: my crutches, everything I have used to get to where I am and go by myself into the world...
K: You can't.
Q: ...what am I left with?
K: Nothing! Intellectually you have nothing left.
Q: Well, then I can’t operate.
K: If you intellectually reject, verbally say, well I have got rid of the church, I have got rid of god, I have got rid of Jesus, I have got rid of Krishna, I have got rid of the Buddha, I have got rid of this and that, including Jehovah - right? (laughs) - then what? Have you done it intelligently or merely verbally?
Q: How can I do it intelligently?
K: That is what we are trying to find out. When I see something dangerous, stupid, can't I see the danger and the stupidity of it and discard it? Which is the awakening of intelligence.
Q: If I see something that is hurting me...
K: Not you, not only you, but humanity.
Q: Well, yes, humanity itself. Then I have moved away.
K: Which is part of you. Humanity is...
Q: Which is part of me.
Q: Then I have to throw it away.
K: No. Not 'have to'. Do you...
Q: If I don’t I am crazy.
K: Probably we are.
Q: We are. (Laughs)
John King: It is not an intellectual process. If it is an intellectual process, this discarding, then it just stays in the mind. When you see the truth of something you don't say whether you have finished with it or not, you either, have in fact, or you haven't, it doesn't become an intellectual question.
K: Yes, sir, that's just it. Is this what you want to talk about? Please, let's Or do you want to talk about something else? Do you want to talk about your personal problems?
Q: That is a personal problem.
K: Wait, sir, wait, don't, you have said it. Do you want to talk over your personal problems, or, personal problem but make it impersonal, put it that way.
Q: The creative thing is, sir, that it is a personal problem but it is everybody’s problem.
K: Yes sir, may I suggest something? Can we ask the right question? What do you mean by 'right', and what do you mean by 'question'? The right question will inevitably bring about the right answer. But if we ask a wrong question, that wrong question evaporates into nothingness. So can we ask the right question which will awaken our own intelligence, our own native perception? I don't know how to put all this into words.
All right, let's begin with something. Are we sceptical?
Q: Generally only when things are bad.
K: Have we a quality of doubt which is not cynical, which is not born out of bitterness, or negligence, but the capacity to question. Not fanciful questions, not romantic questions, but questions about the way we live, the way we think, our actions, question the whole of our existence, as we live. Have we got the capacity to do that? Can we begin with that at least? The way we live, our actions which have become mechanical, our feelings, our reactions, our fears, out pleasures, the whole of our existence, can we question the way we live. Can we begin with that? What would you like to begin with, for god's sake? (Laughs)
Tunki: One thing struck me, you mentioned that we are a slave of institutions, and all these questions, there should be one fundamental (inaudible) about the nature of us which makes us become a slave of institutions.
K: Tunki, we are old friends. Right? Do you realise the way you live - I am not being personal - do you question the way of your living, of your life, what you are doing, why you think this, why you feel that, why you have certain reactions, sexual, otherwise, question the whole thing, do you? Or do you just trot along in your old pattern which you have established for yourself, or a pattern which your father, your grandfather, your environment, has said, do this, and you follow that?
Q: I think basically we follow most of the time because we have fear of making mistakes.
K: Before you awaken to fear do you question the way of your life? Do I question my way of life? I talk everywhere, do I question it, or do I say 'Well, part of my routine, I have done it for fifty, sixty years, and I'll carry on.' Or do I say 'My god, what am I doing? Why am I doing?'
Q: Sir, I think people generally don’t question.
K: At all. Partly, when it suits them.
Q: I think their minds are mainly concerned with physical survival.
K: Yes, so can we here, the first day, learn the art of questioning.
Q: Wouldn’t it be better to say, or question what is stopping you from getting out of that rut.
K: No, no. I want to learn the art of questioning myself. There is art in it, isn't there? I must do it the right way, or the wrong way. There must be a way of questioning that awakens the whole nature and structure of myself. The way I look at it, the way I understand it, the way I see the whole operation in movement, I must question it.
JK: Why must there be a way?
K: Why must I question.
JK: No, why must there be a way? Why must there be an art of questioning? You said there must be an way of questioning, why must there?
K: I can't hear properly.
Q: Why must there be an art or a way of questioning.
K: Of course, if I put a wrong question to myself I won't find out - you know, I'll have a wrong response. No?
Q: You mean, yes, only respond to pain.
K: No, sir, not only to pain. Isn't there an art in the way you walk? Isn't there an art in the way you talk, you know? So don't you want to find, mustn't one learn the art of questioning, or not questioning, but the art of observing - if you like to put it that way.
Q: Is there an art of seeing that you ask bad questions?
K: Oh, yes, it can become a lovely art too.
Q: No, to see that you are asking bad questions.
Q: You are saying that there is an art in questioning, to ask the right question.
K: Sir, does it appeal to you to find out? To find out together the right way of questioning so that out of that questioning intelligence can arise? Intelligence. Can we do that? I don't know how to push this heavy weight.
Q: What is it to question without motivation?
K: I can't hear.
Q: Without motivation.
K: Well, let's find out. If I have a motivation in questioning I have already directed my questioning. Right? I've already set a line according to which I will question. Therefore I shall never put the right question if I have a motive. So I have to go into it and say, have I a motive in questioning, or in observing, or in listening to myself, listening to what is going on around me and the world and everything.
Q: Isn’t wanting to find out, a motive?
K: No, no, that's not a motive. I see in my enquiry into, in observing, if I have a motive I have set a direction. Right? And so I can never be free to discover the right observation if I have set a course. So if I see that then I am already intelligent, am I not? Somewhat intelligent. So it's dropped. Isn't this clear?
JK: You can ask a question. Experiment. You can say, I am going to ask a question to myself which has a motive in it and see what happens when I have a motive.
K: That's right.
JK: Then find out what it is to ask a question without a motive.
K: That's right, that's right, do it. Let's do it now. Have I a motive in my questioning, in my observation? I see in my observation what the religions - I am taking that as an example, don't I'll expand it much more - I see what religions have done, they have enslaved man. Right? Do I see it because I am antagonistic against Jesus, or against the Pope, or some reason for which I say, that's nonsense? Or is it so, independent of me, independent of my prejudices? Or go to India, they have all this enormous superstition, like the Catholics, like everybody else. And have I thrown those away because I have accepted other forms of superstition, which are more pleasing, and therefore I have got rid of the Hindu superstitions. But my question is, have I got rid of all superstition? Have I seen the nature of superstition, how superstition arises: fear, reward, punishment, hell and heaven - hell and heaven has been going on for millennia. Right? All this we all know, historically. So, am I free of one superstition, one set of superstitions, and fall into another? Or have I superstitions in myself? You follow?
SF: To look at one superstition, or one motivation, is quite easy.
SH: But if we are trying to look at the nature of superstition itself or the nature of motivation itself that is quite different.
K: Which is the nature of superstition: I am frightened, I want to be comforted, I want some external agency to help me.
SF: But what is that process by which - or how is it that a person can go from looking at a single example of something like superstition to seeing all superstition?
K: Do you see what is superstition? Let's understand what do we mean by that word superstition.
K: Which means what, belief in something which you hope to be true.
Q: Hope or suspect or fear.
K: Yes, hope, that will give you comfort, that will protect you, that will help you to get over certain fears and so on. Right? Which is, thought invented some kind of figure, some kind of agency outside yourself which will help you. And all the complications of it. And when you see how absurd, how nonsensical it is - which is superstition - that nonsense you see in every form of religion.
Mary Zimbalist: But, sir, isn't there a possibility of a deception in that. For instance the mind may take it as a fact that a certain scientific something is true, and you base your action according to that because you are healthier; but how does the mind perceive a fact in the external world and see the difference between that and a superstition which he has also been told by someone that it is a fact - I don't know what - not doing something on the 13th of the month, or whatever the superstition is, how does the mind make a perception between that and a physical fact which has validity.
K: Yes, I understand that question. Please answer her, I don't have to answer her.
MZ: It is a very basic, I think, human difficulty in this notion of saying religion, there is a sense of divination, people have said that certain things were real. Now the mind either says, oh yes, it must be so and accepts it, or says, no. But how do we draw the line between perception of the fact and perception of something that has great authority in other people's lives.
K: Answer her, please.
Q: If you have a scientific education, modern education, then your judgement will be based on that fact is non-verifiable, but you cannot verify the existence of god therefore there is no reason to believe in god, that would be the scientific answer to that problem. There would be no reason to believe in god if you had received a modern education because it is a non-scientific fact – not a fact – it is a non-scientific premise, supposition, or whatever.
K: Science also can be mistaken.
Q: Of course. But in answer to that particular problem, many people today would say that god does not exist, or they would say it is stupid to have superstition.
K: Galileo, you know, Galileo says the earth goes round the sun, and the church said that is a heresy, we will burn you. He said, all right, all right, the earth doesn't go round the sun, but I believe in it, I know it. And before that they believed the earth stood still and the sun went round it.
Q: But that doesn’t change anything because Galileo was right.
K: No, but you follow? Mrs Zimbalist is asking how do you differentiate between fact and superstition.
K: Wait. Find out, I want to be clear for myself, I am trying to think it out for myself what she said. The fact and the idea. Right? Let's put it that way. The fact and the idea about the fact. Go slowly. Don't jump on me. Don't jump on me yet, go slowly. The idea about the fact, and the fact itself without the idea. Is there such a state?
Q: Well, the fact is seen...
K: Don't answer, sir, find out. Say for instance, I am frightened, fear - is that an idea, or is it a fact? If it is an idea it is a superstition.
Q: Then there is no...
K: You are not examining sir, find out.
Q: Sir, something goes on, and we call it fear. Perhaps the calling it fear is the idea.
K: That's what we are saying.
Q: But something is actually going on, which is a fact. But somehow we take for facts – we give more credence to the name that we give the fact than what is actually going on. Even with what Mrs Zimbalist said I think in science we take many things as facts which may be just working hypothesis.
K: Quite, quite, that's just it. Can I differentiate the word from the fact? Knowing the door is not the word. If I cling to the word and worship the word I am living in superstition, I have moved away from the fact.
MZ: But most of us have to live our daily lives surrounded by facts unverifiable by us.
MZ: So there is a margin of error there of everyday life.
K: That certainly. But I am talking about the facts about oneself, not whether the moon is made of cheese or rocks and all the rest of it, but I am concerned whether I am living in a world of make-belief, superstition, in a world that has been imposed upon me, which I have invented, and then in turn have been a slave to that, I want to find out that. That is, I want to enquire into facts as they are.
SF: Well, I can see that some facts, I can see that I do live in a world like that, but I only see the particular. You see, I see particular fears, or particular superstitions, but I don't see all of fear, or all of superstition. And there is a jump to go from the particular to the general, which is
K: Now wait a minute, Scott, do you question why you don't see the whole nature and structure of fear? Or do you say, I don't see, I only see part of it, not the whole of it. Do you question why you don't see it?
K: When you ask me why don't I see it, you are depending on me.
SF: No, I have questioned why I don't see it.
K: You might have questioned casually, you might have questioned wrongly, or you might say, look, it is terribly important that I find this out.
Q: Isn’t it connected with authority actually, psychologically?
K: Yes, yes.
Q: The superstition and so-called scientific fact are based on authority, some verifiable and some not.
K: Sir, I can't verify what the moon is made of. Right? The scientists and the astronauts and all the rest of it have told me what it is. All right, I am not greatly yes, it is made of rocks, or dead earth, or whatever it is. All right, why should I believe or not believe, I don't know. May be. Like those people who believe intensely in flying saucers - they come to me and say, do you believe in it, I say, I don't know. But to me we are moving away from the most relevant facts, which is the world I live in, the actions I do, the way I think, feel, all that I am concerned with, which doesn't mean I am selfish, that I disregard the world. I am concerned because I am the world. The world is not different from me, I am the world.
Q: There seems to be hierarchical ideas, that some things are more important. The idea that the moon is made of rocks may be more veracious than the idea that there are flying saucers, or it may not be. And aren’t religions like that, aren’t they essentially statements that have said something quite high about human existence, and we hear them, and we don’t know whether it is true or not but it is important that somebody has said that.
K: Yes sir, I understand.
Q: To move towards.
K: But is it that one is more and more dependent, looking outwardly - you follow, sir? - the baby is born out of a tube, the moon, astronauts and all that is going on around us is so tremendously interesting, and may be tremendously dangerous, and we are fascinated by all that and so we forget about ourselves, our world, our lives. And I say, for god's sake, that exists, let's come back here. From here we can go out there and perhaps do something about it.
Q: But it seems important for instance, for me to know that things are made of atoms, and made of tiny particles of energy so that one knows with one’s mind that creation exists out of energy. That seems to change things, one isn’t taken in only by the senses.
Q: Sir, are you saying that we concern ourselves with these questions outwardly just in order to escape looking at ourselves?
K: Maybe, maybe.
Q: I know I find it very hard to hold to what is actually going on.
K: I mean you pick up a newspaper every morning, if you read it, and you read what is happening everywhere: the floods in India, the butcheries in Nicaragua - the this, that, you know, and you say, my god, I've spent the whole morning, and you go off to your job, again something else, and come back, and again the evening news, and so keep living eternally, till you die, out there. Is that what we are doing?
JK: If you read the paper or anything, if you read the paper in the morning, you can be aware that you are responding to what you are reading, and also what your feelings are, what your responses are.
K: Quite right, sir, quite right. I understand. Mrs Zimbalist's question was, how do I differentiate the fact, the actuality, and superstition, something non-fact. If I live in make-believe, non-fact, it is inevitably superstition - that somebody is going to save me, which the whole of Christendom is based on, then I live in appalling superstition, because I have created that Jesus. I don't know if you follow all this.
Q: Krishnaji, isn’t it how you differentiate between the fact and superstition, isn’t it in the way you approach it? If you say there is a fact and you accept it because some authority says so.
K: Of course, of course. All right, sir. Let's find out. How do you approach any problem, human problem. I think it applies to the scientific too, how do you approach any problem?
Q: We can only look without motive.
K: No, how do you approach it, sir? Don't - one can - how do you actually approach a problem? If you are a scientist, how do you approach it? Your problem in science, in physics, in that and so on, how do you approach it, what is the quality of your mind that approaches a problem, whether it be scientific, business, a problem of relationship and so on, how do you come to it?
Q: By questioning.
K: No. Find out, sir, don't find out how you approach it.
Q: Well, I begin to ask questions about it, that’s what I do.
K: Is that the way to approach it?
MZ: But if you are bringing whatever competence you have in that field to it, otherwise you can't even enter the field.
K: Maria, I am asking a question, you are not... I am sorry I am not making myself clear then. Suppose I have a problem, one has a problem of relationship. One quarrels with one's wife, or one's husband, with a girl - a problem in relationship, how do you approach that problem?
JK: Look at it. You stay with it.
K: No, no. How do you come to it, sir? If you say, stay with it - that's one approach.
JK: But I want to explain what I mean. You asked how I come to a problem. Do you want me to sit here and look at in myself. I am aware of how I come to a problem. Do you want me to speak out and say how I come to a problem?
K: Go ahead, go ahead.
JK: If I come to a problem with relationship I am aware of the response, a response that comes about after that relationship or that contact has taken place. It comes into my mind, I see that there has been a problem.
K: That's right.
JK: So I stay with it.
K: Stay with it, I understand. Now how does another approach it?
Q: I approach it with a feeling that there is something I can do in order to solve it.
K: Yes. So you see, one says I approach it with a mind that says I won't escape from it, I will look at it, I will stay with it and so on. The other says
Q: I’m convinced there is something I can do.
K: Yes, saying I can do something about it. And so how does each one of us approach any of these problems? Jesus! Isn't it important to find out our approach?
Q: I think first of all we have to be clear of the problem.
K: I am not talking of the problem.
Q: No, no, I mean approaching, when there is a problem you...
K: Look, Tunki, old boy, I am asking you, how do you approach a problem - approach, not the problem. How do you come to it?
Q: I think if we set ourselves aside, it’s the ego that says, the problem is separate from me, and we make a separation between that problem and ourself, it is an ego that is approaching that problem.
K: Yes, all right. So you are saying I approach the problem, I approach realising the problem is not different from me. That's your approach - approach, not the problem. Am I making this clear, or am I dumb?
Q: Krishnaji, I think this is a false distinction to make between the approach to the problem and the problem.
K: No. All right. State your case, sir. Go on, go on.
Q: Well, I think it might be a wrong question initially to say how you approach the problem, when you are saying you are given a problem, because as far as I am concerned personally my initial awareness is how I become aware of the problem. How do I know it is a problem. I am using some kind of bench mark, something is not right, I say, and feel in myself, something is incomplete.
K: Sir, there is this whole world around me - right? - of which I am a part. Right? I have created this monstrous society of which I am part. Right? Right, sir?
K: Now, I know it exists there because I am part of it, it is there. I am not talking about the problem at all. I say, how do I look at it, how do I approach it, how do I - what is my mind, or the state of my mind when I look at it, knowing the problem is not different from me, and all the rest of it. I think what is the Is this difficult?
Q: There are prejudices. An open mind without prejudice.
K: Now what do you mean by an open mind?
Q: A mind which is not burdened by any thoughts.
K: So you mean a mind that is not burdened by opinions.
Q: That’s right.
K: By one's own accumulated knowledge, one is not approached by fear.
K: So are you - not being personal, sir - are you free from fear, personal prejudice and opinions and conclusions so that you are approaching it, approaching whatever the problem is, that thing, freely?
MZ: How can you approach any problem, that is really a problem, without any knowledge at all?
MZ: Without knowledge. How can one approach something without any knowledge?
K: No, no. Do I approach the fear that I have with previous knowledge of fears? Just, I am asking a question, please answer me. Is this so? Do I approach the present fear with the memories, remembrances of other forms of fears which I have had in the past, which have become memories, with that memory approach the present fear? Just answer me that question. Do we do this, which is natural.
Q: We do.
K: Now wait a minute, wait a minute. If we do, then are we approaching it rightly? That's all I am asking. What one does may be right, but I am questioning whether it is right.
Q: It seems it is clearly not right, but is it possible to approach without the past?
K: You are asking a question: is it possible to approach the problem of fear as though for the first time, without the remembrance of other fears which you have had. Whom are you asking? General assembly? Ask them.
Q: All of us together.
Q: I think when we have a problem there is no space, and I am stuck to the problem. When there is space there is some seeing.
K: I have asked a question, madame, which is, we generally approach a particular fear with the remembrance of other fears. That's all. If we could stay with that for a minute and examine whether that resolves the problem of fear. Or is it possible to approach without the past remembrances of fear and can that be done? If it cannot be done, it is nonsense.
T: The fact that we have fear is already an operation of the past.
K: Yes, so are you...
T: How can it be that you observe it without the remembrance?
K: Ask her. She has listened to me for a number of years, ask her to answer you. I can take a rest! Good. I'll help you. You teach English, so teach him!
Q: All right, I’ll...
K: Teach him, tell him, sir.
JK: You're approaching a problem
K: You've escaped, I am coming back to you. (Laughter)
JK: Approaching the problem of fear and you are asking yourself what is fear, how do I recognise fear, what do I call fear. You look at what you call fear, and you feel what the fear is, what you are naming as fear, and if you stay with it with real interest to learn about it, you could find, or should find, or may find that the thought or the idea will separate from the feeling. Then you are with the feeling and you stay with that. And then you come to the point of saying, who is observing this feeling, what is this that is looking at this feeling. Then there is something, there is the dissipation of fear.
K: Tunki, you answer it, I am keeping out of this.
JK: While your idea is there
K: Help him, for god's sake!
JK: thought is there, there is fear because there is a separation - fear is in that separation.
Q: If you have got a feeling of fear and you look at that feeling, you stay with the feeling so that there is nothing but the feeling, what else is there but the feeling.
Q: What is looking at the feeling? What is aware of the feeling?
Q: Nothing. There is the sensation of feeling.
Q: No, there’s something looking at it.
Q: Feelings are feelings.
JK: No, there is something looking, you have got to find out what is looking at the feeling, that's the separation, that's where the feeling comes in.
K: Quite right, sir.
Q: Wanting to do something about it
Q: There’s something looking at the feeling, there’s something observing the feeling, and when that is seen – well, you just ask the question then, what is looking at the feeling, and then there is a different state altogether. Then is there a separation? And you find the separation is the looking at the feeling, being separate from it. This is where it is just a bit hard to explain, you have to do it. You have to actually see that the thought and the feeling are separate. Then you live with the feeling, looking at the feeling as it is, not running away from it, you are looking at the feeling, then what is looking at the feeling.
Q: I don’t understand what you mean by thought and feeling are separate.
Q: I am not going to explain it. Krishnaji is much better.
K: (Laughs) That's a dirty trick! (Laughter)
JK: You just have to do it.
Q: I don’t really understand what you mean because whether I have been able to do it when the mind hasn’t moved off from it, which is what usually happens, it doesn’t stay with it and it moves on to something else outside. But when I have been able to do it I see that they are not separate because if I think something the feeling is there too, it comes immediately. I don’t see them as two separate things but rather thought/feeling is happening at once.
JK: Well, if you can experience the feeling without a thought looking at the feeling. If you can experience the feeling on its own without a thought, then you are just stuck with what is looking at the feeling.
K: Sir, if I may ask, are you 'helping' me - helping in quotes, authority, no authority - are you trying to help me to look at fear properly? Is that what you are trying to do?
K: Now, you have told me something that object, you know, there is no separation but actually, and so on, is that an idea to me or is an actuality which I realise?
JK: Are you asking me that question?
K: I am asking (laughs) generally.
JK: For everyone.
K: I have heard you say this, I realise what you are saying, perhaps there is truth in this. And do I listen to find out the idea of it, or do I listen to find out if it is actually me. You follow what I am saying? Have I listened to you, made an abstraction of what you have said, which becomes an idea, or what you are saying is immediately applicable in myself? Is that applicability taking place in me? You follow what I'm saying?
Q: Yes, I understand.
K: Now which is it what we are doing now - all of us. Are we making an abstraction of it, an idea of it; or yes, it is so, by Jove, I realise what I have done - I have separated myself from fear, and therefore I am acting upon it, which is, I see the falseness of it, and that fear is me. Is that a fact to me, or is it an idea to me? You follow, sir? If it is an idea then I am lost. Then I enter into all kinds of theories, superstitions, you know - play with words. But if it is so then, that I am not separate from fear, what takes place in me? So are we dealing with ideas, conclusions and theories, or, as Mrs Zimbalist wanted to know, with facts and not with theories?
Now I want to find out how I approach this, you follow sir? Whether I am living actually realising, or theory. Now these are the two facts, they are both facts. Right? Conclusions, theories, beliefs, and facts. Now how do I see this thing in myself, how do I approach it? I want to be clear. Sorry if I labour that point. How do I approach it, this question, am I making theories of it, verbalising it, intellectually saying, yes, a marvellous idea, and - you follow? - trotting off in that direction, or do I say, now let me look - right? - let me look, which is, I am approaching it. You follow sir? I have discarded that, I see the stupidity of what I have done, making a theory of it. Now if I don't make a theory of it then I am with the fact. Which is, I have separated myself from that. Is that so? Or am I still playing with words?
Now leave fear for the moment. Let's take something else. That may help to kind of widen this thing. Do I realise that I am the total of humanity, the totality of humanity? Not the theory of it, you follow, sir? Not the verbal idea that I am the world, but the actual feeling, the real state that I am, as a human being, I represent the whole of mankind - which we can go into. Because mankind suffers, mankind goes through all kinds of illusions, pressures, agonies, and all the rest of it, and so do I, so does every human being. So the world is me. Is that a theory, a lovely idea, an emotional, romantic - you follow? - all that nonsense, or is it an actual fact in my life?
Q: Well, I can understand that intellectually, but I don’t see really.
K: Wait. The moment you say, I can understand intellectually, what do you mean by that? You mean you understand verbally. You understand the English language which you and I speak, perhaps I speak badly, you better, but we understand the language and you say, yes, intellectually I grasp it.
Q: It is the whole idea, it is sound, I mean it is so. The whole idea it is true but I don’t feel it.
K: But is it so?
Q: Yes. Intellectually it is true, but I don’t feel that way.
K: (Laughs) The moment you say 'intellectually' you are merely accepting the words. And 'intellectually I understand' becomes rather, you know, arrogant, rather silly.
Q: How do we recognise whether we understand or not?
K: No. I am asking about this one thing: do you see actually the reality of it or the idea of it?
Q: How can we see whether we perceive an idea of it, or we perceive the actuality itself?
K: All right. How do you listen to this statement? How do you listen to it actually? Tell me, how you listen to it. Or how anybody listens to it. There is a statement made.
Q: Well, something asks me are you the world, or what have you, and I say...
K: Not 'what have I'. (Laughs)
Q: Or whatever the statement
K: No, sir, I'll make it clear. Every human being, it doesn't matter where they are, psychologically, inwardly, they go through exactly - more or less - the same thing as you do. They suffer, they are uncertain, they run away from family, they dislike the mother, they love the father, there is separation, there is pain, there is anxiety - everybody goes through this. That's the common factor of mankind. Right? You may say that is not so, all right, let's talk about it.
Q: No, I haven’t said that.
K: Wait. This person has stated that, a statement has been made, whether true or false, we will discuss. How do you listen to it? That is, how do you approach it, how do you look at it? Does my brother suffer like me? Actual brother. Does my father go through the same agony that I am going through? Does that man in India go through the same thing that I am? Perhaps a little variation, but basically, fundamentally the common factor of mankind, whether he lives in Jerusalem, or in Mecca, or in Moscow, or in Washington, here, there, anywhere, it is the common thing. No?
Q: Can I realise such a thing? Can I realise that everyone is going through exactly the same thing as I am?
K: Aren't they?
Q: Can I realise whether they are or not?
K: Find out, sir.
Q: By living the fact? Not by thinking about it, but by living the fact.
K: No, but seeing the fact.
Q: Seeing it in the now all one’s life.
K: Seeing in the sense, this is so. Whether you live in France or somewhere else, you are a human being, with all the things that are going on inside you. And the man living in Spain, he has the same agony going on inside him. And we say this is the common factor of mankind. Therefore mankind is me.
Q: And yet the division and isolation continues.
K: Ah, no, it won't continue the moment it is a reality. How can you say, I am isolated? I am the world, all this thing that I have created. So that's why I have been asking how do you listen to this statement? What does it mean to your mind, to your heart, to your feelings, what does it mean when you make a statement of that kind? Do I intellectually argue about it, rationalise it, tear it to pieces, is this so, is it not so, it is partly, it is not partly, and so on, so on, so on? Or do I immediately catch the depth of it?
Q: I doubt if we will ever get an answer on that question. If I ask why the sun is up there, nobody is going to answer me.
K: First of all, do you doubt that statement, do you say, what nonsense are you talking about? I am different from my brother, I am different from that Arab, filthy, ugly, uneducated, I am educated, I have been to Oxford, I have been to Harvard, I have been to this or that, I have got a good business, and there is that filthy little man in India who is nothing at all, I am certainly different from him.
Q: Am I?
K: I am questioning, sir. Are we judging these differences by education, by clothes, by dirt, by having a bigger house, lesser house, outwardly? Or are we saying, look, I know I am different, that man is not educated, I am educated, but he has the same poverty in himself? You follow, sir? The same sense of isolation, frustration, all that, as me. Apparently you don't see this. If you do then a totally different thing takes place. If you don't, I say, what am I to do, rationalise it, explain it ten different ways. I am willing.
Q: I can see when I look at other people’s behaviour and talk to them and so on, that we have the same problems, the same emotions.
K: Yes, exactly.
Q: But yet it doesn’t make me feel responsible.
K: So does it mean your isolation, your egotism, your sense of importance is so colossal, consciously or unconsciously, that you say, that is not me?
Q: Or do we really see it in ourselves? I think perhaps it is easier to see it in somebody else, but do I – most of the time I am not even aware of the complex problems, I mean I can cover them up so easily.
K: Sir, is it also that we like to identify with something greater? A professor, a marvellous engineer, or the admiral, you know something tremendous we think powerful, and poor little chap down there in the street, throw him out.
Q: Well, that doesn’t come into it for me.
K: I know, not - I am just saying, I am asking, is this what we do?[ Identify with something ennobling, powerful, prestigious, or, the little man you say well, what
Q: But he is doing that and so am I.
K: So that goes on. So you are like that poor little man, empty inside, insufficient, and all the rest of it, and so is the admiral, probably. I don't know how to convey this. Why don't you see this? Not see it verbally, intellectually, idea and so on, why don't you actually see it? What's wrong? Either it is wrong, what I am saying is totally wrong, and you have every right to say, nonsense you are talking about. And if you say it is not nonsense then why don't you see the thing actually, as a fact?
Q: It is a fact, Krishnaji, but it doesn’t seem to do away with the fact that our whole existence is based on separatism.
K: Yes, sir, that is egotism, your arrogance, your sense of 'look, I am powerful', I exert myself, so you more and more emphasise yourself, give importance to yourself and so you refuse to see what is taking place. So how are you going to be convinced? What will make you or help you to see the truth of it? Knock on the head? Drug? Pain, suffering? Man has been through all that, and yet we keep this thing going Qu'est qu il dit?
Q: It is all probably the self.
K: No, if it is so, does the self exist in the sense that we have given it importance. You follow my question? When I realise actually, not theoretically, not as a belief, and all that, actually I realise that I am mankind, haven't I really lost an extraordinary sense of my own importance?
SF: Is it our sense of self-importance that keeps us from seeing this, then, Krishnaji?
Q: What makes somebody miserable is the same for every man.
K: My misery may come about because I have lost my money, or another is miserable because his wife has run away, another's misery may be because his son is not fulfilling what his father wants, and so on and so on. It is misery. Isn't it? Not the expressions of misery, it's misery.
Q: Yes, but in the depth – these are the first reasons of the misery – but in the depth isn’t there something that is common to all these miseries?
K: Which is that, which is my misery is equal to your misery. Now why don't I recognise that I am the rest of mankind, the rest of the stupid you know, this miserable thing that I am, like the rest?
So let's now we are going to meet every morning at eleven thirty. You see now we are dispersing - you follow, sir? - we are not putting our minds together over a particular thing and resolving it. Not carrying on next year and meet again, repeat, repeat, repeat. But can we take something together that is common to all of us and dissolve it, be free of it, your know either one way or the other. You follow? Can we do that?
Q: Actually I don’t know I think.
K: No, I am asking, sir. I would like to discuss something, let's say some one particular thing, and you may like to discuss something else, and another something else. So can't we find out together, all together, what it is we would like to talk over together, not verbally, but serious, so that it really affects my daily life.
Q: Why do we feel so different from our neighbour and what can we do to stop it?
K: Is that what you want to discuss, sir? Is that the subject you really want to take up and go into it seriously, at the end of the discussion be free of this separation? Of course you are taller than I am, you have longer hair, shorter hair, you live in a beautiful place, I don't and so on and so on. Apart from all that. Of course that you can't that may be affected if we realise that inwardly you and I are the same. Is that what you want to discuss?
Q: Why I am so important to myself.
K: Why are you so important to yourself? Is that what you want to talk about?
Q: The same question.
K: I give up.
Q: I think it is all the same question as the idea of dependence, because it all comes down to dependence, on some kind of an image about self that you have, which makes a separation. If we can overcome this dependence and become alive – we are young. It frees us from so many things.
K: Do I really want to talk over together with you, and in the talking over with you at the end of the discussion I am free of that totally, completely - of something. You follow what I mean? Am I serious enough, earnest, intense enough to say, 'Look, I am going to go through this thing right to the very end and be finished with it.'? Do you want to do that? Great silence!
Q: It would be marvellous.
K: Do it, sir. Do it. Let's do it. Say for instance, I would like personally to discuss with you meditation. Just a minute, don't jump on me. Meditation. I don't think you can. Because I have to go into it very deeply, but I don't think you can. You haven't gone into it. I would like to discuss with a person who says, I have gone that far, now let's go much further. In the same way I would like to discuss with somebody who says look, what does it mean to have a mind that is completely empty. Empty in the sense that has no problem, no impressions, nor any kind of imprint on it. And what is the quality of such a mind, with that extraordinary energy which is implied in emptiness. You can't. You follow what I am saying? I would like to discuss, for example, with you, what relationship really means, to be related to somebody, whether it is possible to be related without a single image about the other. You follow, sir? Will you do that? Will you say, look, let's take relationship and go through it to the very end so that there isn't a particle of contradiction between her, me and she and you. Can we discuss that? We are here for that purpose, for god's sake!
JK: Krishnaji, this is a problem, listening to you now, you are asking the people in this room. I am very interested in solving the problem of me and the world. It's the same problem as fear and all these things because separation from the world seems to me to be the problem. Once you are the world, then you have solved that division.
K: Yes, now shall we discuss that?
JK: Go into that and finish with that.
K: Go into that. Sir, I am asking you. I will take anything you want - your sex, whatever it is, go to the very end of it and see where we are at the end. But none of you You see you hesitate, you go silent, you play Qu'est qu il dit?
Q: Krishnaji, before going into that question, which is certainly absolutely fundamental, could we also go into for a short while as to how we are going to go into it.
K: How. That's it. What is the quality of your mind - sir, we will go into it, but choose, all of us, take one subject which is common to us and work it out in detail and go to the very end of it, and at the end of it say, right, I'm out - and not always talk about it.
Q: But why this sense of isolation when we know that everybody is in the same boat?
K: Is that what you want to discuss? Will you put your guts, energy - sorry to use the word 'guts', but it is a good word - will you put your guts, your energy, your vitality into solving something? Or you just float around. I thought we were all gathered here for that purpose, that a few of us take one thing or the other, a human problem - not what the moon, or how to fly a kite, or anything like that - but a human problem and work it out so completely. If you don't want to, what is the purpose of our meeting?
Q: Krishnaji, it seems that we can only discuss the problem that is really real for all of us.
K: What is that? Come on sir! What would you, Harsh?
Harsh: I would suggest that we talk about relationship.
K: Now, can we go into that and work it out, in detail, threadbare, break it up, and see it, and find out how to live rightly with another, can we do that, sir? Would that interest you?
K: Can we do that tomorrow morning? You stick to it? And you mean it?
Q: But, Krishnaji, the question that was raised earlier seems to be very important, that we look at the approach, how we approach the question.
K: We are going to do both, sir. We are going to do all of that. That is we are going to discuss tomorrow morning, this one thing, relationship, with all the things implied in it, everything implied in it, and in discussing see if we cannot break down this barrier between woman and man, not sexual, I don't mean that, this psychological division that man has created between themselves. Shall we do this? Right, sir?
K: Right. Lunch time.