The flowering of the seed of a million years
The seed of a million years
1st Public Talk, Madras
December 22, 1979
It is a large crowd, and I hope you will understand what I am talking about.
First of all one would like to point out that we are not doing any kind of propaganda for any ideal, for any society, for any organization. We are not trying to convince you of anything. We are not trying to sell you something. But I think we can talk over together, think together, see together, and understand the enormous significance, which we seem to miss, of existence, of our daily life, our miseries, our confusions, our great sorrows, and the corruption that is going on throughout the world. And so please bear in mind, if one may point out again, that throughout these talks and discussions, we are together thinking, working.
To think together is one of the most difficult things to do, because each one has his own opinion, his own prejudices, conclusions, and aspirations. And one can never meet another who is free from these: from his superstitions, from his experiences, from his knowledge which he has gathered through books, or some guru. And it is infinitely difficult, except under great crisis, that we can come together to think out the problems, not only one's own problems, but the problems of human kind of which we are part.
So if we could begin this evening attempting to think together. Because we are going to go into the question of the whole structure and the nature of the mind, which directs all our lives, which shapes our activities, our specialties, our miseries, our meditations, our innumerable escapes. So, if we can, this evening, think together.
One is likely to agree to think together about something - about the nation, about oneself, about what organization to belong to, and so on. To think about something is fairly easy because that is comparatively adjustable and easy. But to think together is quite different. I hope you see the point. That is, to think about something and to think together not about something. Right? Can we go on? That means can we together, forget our prejudices, put them aside for a while, if you can, perhaps, permanently; put aside our experiences, because if you have your experience and you cling to that, and I cling to mine, then we will never meet. If you have your conclusions and another has his, it is impossible to think together. So one has to put aside not only one's experiences, one's knowledge, one's prejudice, one's ideals and superstitions, if you can, then we can talk together, then we can think together, because our minds then, our brains, are meeting. But if we, or each one of us, holds to his point of view because he has read so much, or he is ignorant of books, or he wants a particular answer to his own problem and so on, then it is impossible to think together. Right? I hope you will meet this point.
That is, you and the speaker are thinking together, not about something, but the quality of a mind that is capable of putting aside its own particular points of views and opinions and ideals, and meeting another who has none of those. Then only it is possible to think together without any kind of pressure.
I do not know if you have not noticed that we think together when there is a great crisis like war. When this country is fighting Pakistan or Germany - not this country, another country, then everybody is together. Because their security, their so-called patriotism, which is nonsense, their flags, which they worship, I don't know why, it is just a piece of coloured cloth, and they are willing to kill each other. And for this they come together. One has seen this all over the world. When there is a great, immediate, urgent crisis then we drop our own particular selfish arrogance and meet each other. And I hope we can do this not only this evening but throughout the talks, because then we can move together. Then we can touch something that is beyond all knowledge, all words, all experience. And that is after all the essence of religion. Not the organised religions of the world which are merely a lot of superstitions, and make-belief and doctrines and rituals invented by man out of his fear and loneliness; but when one uses the word 'religion', etymologically it is rather doubtful - its origin - but it is generally accepted now that it means coming together, not physically, coming together to observe, to collect one's energy completely to see, to perceive. And that requires a great diligence, that is great care, not a mind that is negligent. That is, a mind that is capable of investigating, looking, observing, its own structure, its own nature both the conscious as well as the unconscious, the deeper layers of one's mind.
And in this gathering of this total energy is the beginning of a religious life, which demands diligence, not superstition, not all the images that man has created - the temples, the mosques and the churches and the cathedrals. They are marvellous architecturally, the structure, but inside them there is nothing.
So we are thinking together without resistance. You may be Hindus, Muslims, or Christians, or some sect, or belonging to some guru - I hope you don't. If you do, then I am afraid we shall not meet each other, because this is an enquiry into the very depths of the mind, because the mind is the most important thing man has. By the word 'mind' one means not only all the senses, the sensory responses, with their emotions, with their desires, the capacity to discern, to understand, to awaken that intelligence which is not mere book knowledge, or clever argumentation. This is the mind which we all have. Our brains are very, very, very old. Perhaps you are hearing this for the first time, so please don't resist. Not that you must accept, or reject, but in the process of evolution, from time immemorial the brain has collected innumerable experiences, innumerable accidents, incidents, crises, various forms of despair, agony, anxiety, fears, seeking everlastingly security, both outwardly and inwardly; seeking that which may be timeless, which may give a total comprehension of life. This is the result of a million years, which is our brain, our minds. It is not your mind and my mind but the mind. I hope you are all understanding all this. No? (Laughs)
Please, you may not have thought about all this, or enquired into this. Or if you are a neurologist, or a brain specialist, not in the sense of surgery, or pain, but a professor who investigates the brain of an animal, of some other thing, but never his own brain. I hope you are understanding all this. He is willing to examine the brains of others, of various accumulating much knowledge throughout the years, and may be a brain expert. But to understand one's own brain, one's own mind, is much more arduous, demanding infinite, scrupulous attention.
And to go into this, to examine, to understand this nature of our minds, the very core of it, and whether it is possible to bring about a mutation in the very brain cells themselves. Because unless we do this we are always operating, functioning, moving in the field of the known. Right? Our brain, as we said just now, is the result of a million years. During those time periods it has gathered innumerable experiences. It has suffered, there has been pain, mutilation, wars, despair, a sense of great sorrow. It is all there, of which you may not be conscious, but it is deeply seated there, that is the ground of the brain. You can observe this yourself very simply if you watch yourself. You don't have to study innumerable books. There is a danger in books. There are those people, the worshippers of books, who live according to books. That is, live on other people's knowledge, or experiences, and so they become second-hand people. As most people are.
So together we are going to observe, not what the speaker is saying, but what is actually going on in our brains, in our minds. That is - I hope you are all following this, some of you at least. I am not talking to myself! I can do that walking along the beach, or sitting in one's room, have a dialogue with oneself, which is fun. But here we are together, we are together to find out. To find out, first, what it means to observe. Not only visually, optically, but also to observe without the word, without the past, which is knowledge, to observe without any kind of distortion. That's the first thing one has to learn: to observe so precisely, so accurately, with a sense of scrupulous honesty. And that is very difficult for some people. Probably they have never been honest with themselves. Probably they have never looked at anything without the word, without the image, without the symbol, which is the memory. Please, as the speaker is talking, find out if you can look optically, with your eyes, look at something. And see whether you can observe without the word, without the past impinging on your observation, without the accumulated memories interfering. Can you look at a tree, at the person sitting next to you, at your wife or husband, girlfriend or whatever it is, to look, and see how extraordinarily difficult it is to observe someone to whom you are related, so precisely, so accurately. You may be able to do it with regard to a mountain, where swift running water, or a sheet of water full of light and beauty, that is comparatively easy. But to observe the activities of one's own mind, the desires, the sensory responses, the tremendous sense of insecurity, to observe that without the word. You understand what I am saying? I hope you are doing it.
As we said, that is the first thing - the capacity to observe. You know - I hope you don't mind my digressing - our capacity is based on knowledge, on experience, on specializations. You are an electronic expert and your capacity has come through great study, examinations and you know, all the rest of it. That capacity of specialization is very limited. Right? Like a carpenter, a master carpenter, he has spent years with his tools and with his hands. He produces a marvellous thing. And his capacity is limited, naturally; like the scientist's capacity is limited, like an engineer, his capacity is limited because it is always based on knowledge, experience, accumulation of information and so on. Right? That's simple.
There is a capacity which is not based on knowledge, which is not the result of experience of others, as well as one's own. Which we will go into presently when we begin to understand the nature and the structure and the extraordinary complexity of the mind.
And the other thing is to listen. To listen not only what is going on around one, that car going along the street changing its gear, but also to listen to all the noise and the rumblings of the mind. Not only listen to what is being said now but also listen to your wife, to your children, to your neighbour, to the politician. In this country there are no politics, they are all ambitious men trying to achieve power. Politics means to govern, concerned with the people, with their food, clothes, shelter and their happiness. But when politicians change from one party to the other overnight without any scruples, without any statesmanship, then those people are unworthy of government. And to listen to them too. And to listen to your gurus, if you have one. Have you ever listened to them? Have you ever listened to your professor, if you are a student? And if I may ask, if one may ask, are you listening now? Actually listening to that crow, to the words that are spoken, to the words that have their meaning, listening not only to the word but behind the word, to capture the meaning of listening. Not only through the nervous organism of the ear but also to hear not only with the ear but to hear beyond the ear. That requires great sensitivity, that means no barrier, no resistance. Are we doing this? Or we are merely waiting for some deep revelation?
Because if we are not capable of listening we are not capable of learning. That is, not from the teacher, from the professor, from a book, but listening to the vast depths of one's own existence, one's own anxiety. Have you ever listened to your anxiety? That is, to listen to it so that you are not escaping from it, you are not trying to translate what it must be, what it should be, or trying to go beyond it. Just to listen to that feeling that comes about when one is anxious. You need to have a sharpness, a quickness because those moments of great anxiety, the moment you listen they slip away. I don't know if you have noticed all these things. But to listen to them without demanding a solution, an answer, a way out of it, an escape, but just to be with it, move with it, so that it flowers. And as you listen, as you observe, the flowering of that anxiety comes to its head and withers away permanently, if you can do this. You see, you are not
And the other thing is to learn, not from another, not from a book, not from those people who have accumulated, or think they have accumulated knowledge and enlightenment and all that business, but to learn through observation, through listening. We have only learnt as a means of acquiring a capacity, a job, and that learning has becoming the accumulation of information and memory. I hope you are listening. And that memory is limited, as all knowledge is limited. All knowledge is within the field of ignorance. All right? Isn't it? I hope you understand all this. It is rather fun sirs, and ladies, don't be so serious. It's fun to discover for oneself. That is the beginning of creation. You see, there is learning through accumulation of knowledge, in many ways: acting, then knowledge, and further action. Accumulated knowledge, then act, but they are both the same. And therefore all action which is based on knowledge must ever be limited. Right?
And our brains, our minds are the result of a million years of knowledge. Man from the beginning of time must have asked himself if there is something more than this everlasting grind of work, of thought, of suffering, of sexual desires satisfied and the agony of having more, and all the rest of it. He must have asked a million years ago if there is a reality, if there is truth, if there is something timeless, something that cannot be measured by man, however clever, however erudite - from the very beginning of time.
And that enquiry, that seed, is still with us. You are following all this? But in the enquiry, in the flowering of that seed of a million years of human longing, hoping, trying to find out, we are caught by illusions - the illusory nature of gods, the illusions that man has created - not only for himself: having created them for himself he imposes those illusions on others, which is the function of the guru. So that seed has never completely developed because we have been side tracked, we have been carried away by those who say, I know. Do this, don't do that, follow this system, don't follow that system. I am a better guru than your guru. I know more, I am much more illumined than you. So we have been side-tracked through centuries by the priests, by believers in books, by those who say, I know god. You know, all that. So that this seed that has been planted in man, in the brain, for millions and millions of years has never had the right soil, the right light, the right darkness. You follow? Nothing! So it is there still. I hope you are following all this.
And during these talks we are going to find out whether it is possible for that seed to grow and flower, multiply and cover the earth. That is the function, the necessity of every man, because in this world there is such confusion, such violence, corruption, every form of degeneration, and if we do not find that seed and let it flower we are going to destroy ourselves.
So, can we now think together? - not about the original beauty of that seed or the flowering of that, but think together. That is, thinking is the capacity of the brain, the function of the brain, one of its major functions. And on thinking all civilizations are based. You can observe it. All the things that fill the earth and the air, all the things that are created by man, the churches, the mosques, the temples are the result of thinking; and the gods within them are the result of thinking. Thinking is the basis of our life, the basis of our action.
And thinking, if you have noticed very carefully, is always directional. Right? Please, we are doing it together, don't go to sleep. It is directional, which is either horizontal or vertical. Thinking, when you read a book, is linear, straight line, horizontal. So our thinking is always in a straight line, or moving forwards and backwards. You must see this - obvious. So thinking, which brings about all our action, all our perceptions, all our activity, is based on thought. And if you observe, thought is limited. It may be extended in any direction - horizontal, vertical - but it is still limited. One may be a great thinker, but the thinker, that great thinker is limited because knowledge, which is the result of experience - right? - knowledge has come because one has had a million years of experiences, that knowledge is limited. There is no complete knowledge. Right? So thought is the result of that knowledge and experience, which is the memory, and so thought is everlastingly limited. Right? I hope we are together in this, please. Because we are going into something which we must get together. We are working together. Not I am working and you are listening, which is generally what happens when you go to meetings. But we are working together, which is much more fun, much more alive. You are not just listening to a series of ideas, but together we are working to see how extraordinarily this thought has pervaded all our actions, all our life. And thought being limited our brains have become limited. You understand? Oh, for god's sake, come on sirs.
And when specialization takes place the brain becomes much smaller - smaller in the sense the other parts of the brain become rather dull. Have you ever talked to a specialist, whether he is a doctor, a scientist, an engineer, or a first-class master carpenter, or even to your gurus, how it is all so small. They may talk about the universe: god is love, and beauty is all this, and you know, all that kind of stuff, but it is all the movement of thought.
So thinking is corrupting our lives. Right? Because everything is based on thinking. Your meditation is the result of thinking. Your religion is the result of thinking. The sects, the gurus, all this is this immense movement of thought. And thought has its right place, otherwise you couldn't come here and go back home, you couldn't go back on Monday morning to your work. So thought and knowledge are necessary to employ them skilfully. And on this thought, mind has lived. I don't know if you've isn't it, noticed in yourself? One thought contradicting another thought, one thought trying to control another thought, one thought seeking something more and failing and then that thought says, I am frustrated. One thought says, I must become some marvellous human being, and another thought craving for money, position.
So thought is always dividing itself, one group against another group of thoughts. I don't know if you are aware of all this. And we give such tremendous importance to thoughts that have nobility - you understand? - that act on principles, on ideals, on service. You know all the - so watch it!
So we are saying that as knowledge is limited and is always in the shadow of ignorance, because knowledge can never be complete, however distant in the future, and so all our life is limited. Just listen to that. Listen to it, not resist it, not agree nor disagree, but just listen to that absolute fact that your meditation - the deliberate posture, the deliberate control, the deliberate breathing, the deliberate, directed will to achieve something, that's the thought. And through that meditation you hope to discover something which is limitless.
So the mind, which is the senses, from the senses emotions, from the senses desire, from the senses the accumulation of experiences, knowledge, memory, thought. That's the whole content of our mind in which there is contradiction: saying one thing and doing another, wanting peace and doing everything to contradict that, wanting to be happy and destroying that by an action, every desire opposing another desire. Haven't you known all this? So the mind - please listen to this - the mind has become so confused, so torn apart. And thought sees this and thought says, I must do something about it. Which is to control it, to go and join a guru, to become a Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, whatever it is. You are following all this? Which is, when you are doing this the mind is becoming more and more confused, more and more uncertain, more and more destroying itself. Please realise this!
And from that degenerating process comes violence. What is happening in the world, you all know it. So can this course of the mind be totally altered? You understand the question? No, please just listen quietly. The mind, which is the brain, the senses and all that, has been moving through time for millennia, and getting more and more experience, more and more knowledge, and more and more the capacity to think, memory and so on. And its activity is always limited because of its own knowledge, it is breaking up. It is happening in this country, don't you know it? One group against another group. The group which is anti-Brahmin, and the group which is Brahmin, the Muslim. You follow? You know all this. And in this state the mind says, is there security? Because it cannot live, the brain cannot live without security. You understand all this? Like a child, if you have observed a child, it needs security, it needs the security of the mother and the father. The baby has to be held, nourished, looked after, put in your lap and love it, protect it. Which very few mothers do anyhow. They treat the babies as their toys. That is irrelevant, that's a side issue.
So the mind, the brain has now reached a point where it is completely confused. Aren't you all confused, if you are honest to yourself, not knowing what to do, what is the right action? The right action which would be right under all circumstances, not right action this moment and the right action, another action which is not right. An action which will be absolutely, accurately under all circumstances right. Right means precise, accurate, absolute. How can that right action come into being when the mind is so... you understand, sirs?
So we are saying can there be for the brain not security of knowledge, because in that knowledge there is no security. I don't know if you realise it, because it is in the field of ignorance. Therefore that knowledge brings about contradiction. You are following all this? Am I struggling by myself, or you are joining me? The brain needs absolute security for that seed to flower. You understand? The seed that man has sown throughout the ages to find something beyond all this confusion, misery, something that is incorruptible, something that is not measurable, something that may have tremendous ecstasy. But a mind which is so confused can never find it, can never allow that seed to flower.
So we are asking: what shall we do together? You understand, sir? What shall we, you and the speaker do together? Not the speaker by himself, but you and he together. That is, what is our relationship? You understand, sir?
It's half past six, have you had enough of it for an hour? I think you have, haven't you?
Krishnamurti: Ah, wait a minute, there are six talks. (Laughs)
If you have been working together for this whole hour, giving your attention to listening, to seeing, to learning, you must be... you follow? You must have gathered tremendous energy, and with that energy we are going to enquire. Not stimulated by the speaker, then it is like taking a drug, it will be a verbal drug. But if we are moving together, like a river, which has tremendous volume of water behind it, then we can move, to bring about a mutation in the brain itself. Which we shall go into as we go along. That's enough.