The relationship between teacher and student
How can we help the student to understand the nature of conditioning?
1st K School - Adults Discussion, Brockwood Park
June 17, 1979
Teacher A: Krishnaji, I was wondering if we could talk about the question of the educator, that is, the teacher, both in the classroom and outside, and how he is able to educate, having some understanding of what the nature of education is, that is, a total responsibility for the life of the student and for the life of the community, and for perhaps some understanding of the place of his specific instruction, his specific knowledge in the whole scheme of things, but having only a partial understanding of the depth of things, the reality of things. How is he to proceed to bring about a different kind of understanding in a student, that is an understanding that is not just of the subject but deeper and beyond the subject, a more global understanding?
Krishnamurti: Would you consider the relationship between the student and the educator, what is the relationship?
A: Well, so far as the subject is concerned, the teacher knows more about the subject than the student.
K: And so he informs.
A: So he conveys certain information. So that is...
K: ...fairly simple.
A: Yes, that is fairly straightforward.
K: But what is more involved in this relationship? You are the teacher and I happen to be your pupil, your student. What is our relationship apart from the subject and the information involved in the subject? What is our deeper relationship, if we have any at all?
Teacher B: I don't quite understand how you are using the word 'relationship' in this context. Surely one relationship between the teacher is to instruct and is there any relationship beyond that?
K: If that is all the relationship one has, which is generally what happens in ordinary schools, then it is very simple. You inform the students about mathematics, or whatever subject you teach, and you go back home, or go back to your room and forget about the whole thing. But we are not talking of such a superficial relationship, we are talking of much more a relationship where we are living in a community of teachers and students.
B: Most teachers would say that they have a concern for the student which goes beyond just instructing them in the subject, they have a concern with their wellbeing, with their...
K: I wonder if that is so. Take an ordinary school in England, or in India, or in America, are they really concerned?
Teacher C: I think some of them are concerned but it is very difficult if you have thirty students in your class and you see them three times a week and where else do you see them?
K: That is all, that is what I am saying. If it is an ordinary school there is very, very little relationship.
C: But you might want to have some more relationship.
K: Ah, that is a different matter. If you want it how do you set about it?
A: You probably have to start a school of your own eventually.
K: (Laughs) Yes.
A: Or join a school that was moving in that direction: one of the two.
B: Are you saying it is not possible in this system, the school system that we have just now to have that kind of relationship?
K: I don't see the possibility there at all. Take even Winchester College, or any of these Public schools, what is the relationship?
B: Well, you would have thought that in a residential school where the teachers are living nearby and the student is there all the time, that they would be in a position to have more...
K: No, generally they have rules, regulations - you must, must not, and there it ends.
C: But surely we have to have rules.
K: Oh yes, of course we have to have rules. I am not saying that. But we are talking of relationship between the educator and the student in an ordinary Public school, or even in a Grammar School, it means very little.
Teacher D: But that seems also to be the source of a lot of dissatisfaction with teachers these days who work in ordinary schools. There is some feeling that they would like to reach out more to the people they are working with but they can't, just because of the physical circumstances.
K: Yes, that's what I am saying. The system prevents it.
D: Yes. Or seems to prevent it.
K: Would you say that is so, that is a fact?
B: I don't quite see how the system prevents relationship. Surely it would be possible for a teacher to have a relationship with a student if he wanted to.
K: I wonder if it is possible in an ordinary school, in Public school, or an ordinary Grammar school, is that possible?
B: Well, let's take a teacher in an ordinary school.
K: Yes. What does he do?
B: Where he comes to school in the morning and he, maybe, goes to an Assembly, and then...
K: There is the class, subject. And he takes it for forty-five minutes in the morning, or in the afternoon, or something like that, and he tells them, and there is the house-master, and he passes them all to him. And there is the game-master and the prefects, and you know the whole system of fagging and all the rest of it, where is the relationship possible there? Relationship in the sense we are talking about, in the sense feeling responsible for the student, not only academically but morally, socially, his behaviour, his way of thinking, and so on, concerned totally. It doesn't exist.
D: I mean, why not? Why not when they are eating meals, or after school is done?
K: What we are saying sir it is possible but it doesn't exist.
D: But it is possible.
K: Anything is possible. (Laughs)
Teacher E: It can exist sometimes. I know some people, friends of mine who are teachers in an ordinary school, and they are really trying very, very had to build up relationship with the students.
K: Build up relationship. That's a different matter.
E: But to some extent they are succeeding but always they are limited by the school they are in.
K: That's what I am saying. The system prevents it. The modern education is merely concerned with giving information, giving a certain amount of knowledge and helping him to get a career. Right? Isn't that so?
A: Well, I think ambition comes into it at some stage.
K: Of course. Of course.
A: In many schools, however well meaning the teachers are, eventually they have been there for three or four years, and they want to go on a bit further, they want to get - a better job.
K: Of course, of course.
A: So ambition comes into it.
K: So at what level are we talking about education, about the ordinary education that the average person receives. Or are we talking, having a dialogue about a school where both the educator and the student feel totally responsible?
B: Krishnaji, we seem to be talking about education and we don't really have a very clear idea of what that means.
K: I think we have, don't we? First of all they need academic training, discipline - right?
K: You all agree to that.
B: They need scales, they need...
K: And also we also want, or desire, or wish, that they should have social consciousness, socially be conscious of what is happening in the world, morally, in behaviour, the way they talk, that is what I consider education. Totally educating the whole human being.
B: But attention is given to behaviour and to the moral upbringing or whatever.
K: It is all discipline, you do this and don't do that.
A: I think there the question comes in about being on the same level here really. About the way what you are saying is conveyed in the sense that you approach it from a position of not being higher or superior to the student but rather you may point something out, but without the implication of a psychological superiority.
K: That's right. And also sir, isn't the question here, the student comes conditioned and the teacher, the educator is conditioned, both are conditioned.
A: Both are conditioned, yes.
K: Conditioned according to the culture and so on, so on, so on. And as far as one observes, one is helping them to conform or fit into the wider or narrower conditioning. Would you say that?
B: Well, I am not so sure that I would say that. I would say that, as most teachers would say, they are interested in the moral upbringing in a much wider aspect. Whether they can do it is a different question.
K: Ah, that's what The idea and the fact is different. I would like to be something but the fact is I am not.
B: Most teachers would say they are trying, but...
K: So what are we discussing, that is what I would like to find out. Are we talking over together the average school, either Public, or Grammar schools, or a school like this at Brockwood, where we are concerned with the total cultivation of man, or the student, and so ourselves. I don't know if I am conveying this.
D: We have all decided to come here rather than to teach at an ordinary school. So really we have to talk about this school.
K: So we are talking about this school. Then let's talk about that. Not the average and the people who want to do this but can't and so on, so on. So let's start from here, shall we? Is that it? You all agree?
B: Yes, let's start.
K: What are we trying to do here? If we could talk frankly and openly, what are we trying to do?
A: I would say that we are trying to bring about some learning through understanding, which is not an understanding in a particular area but rather understanding per se, if there is, if you could refer to some kind of universal understanding.
K: Would you explain that, I don't understand it. Would you explain that.
A: Generally knowledge is assimilated in fragments, or in parts, mathematical parts, physics, a language, we also do this here, the student learns, not six or eight subjects but...
K: No, my question is: what are we trying to do here as a community, as a teacher and the relationship with the student, and the student with the community and with the teacher, together, as a body of people, what is it we are trying to do?
A: Well, I am trying to work round to it by saying this. In a school, in any school, it is necessary at some point to point things out to others. That is part of one's responsibility, as I see it anyway. Now the significant thing seems to be that if you are able to point this thing out in such a way that it would make sense to the other person, that he sees the point of it, then that also becomes part of his own learning, and it is also part of your learning as well because you have learnt how to convey it.
K: Have you answered my question?
A: That is what we are doing.
K: No, what is it that we are trying to do? Have you answered my question?
A: I am trying to answer the question. (Laughter) I have got it in myself but I can't bring it out.
B: We might not be able to get at it.
K: Can't we all we have had the school, you have been here for a number of years, and so has he, and all of us, what is it together we are trying to do?
C: I think part of what we are trying to do is actually live together rather than separately.
K: Actually you are living together in the same house.
C: Yes, but I mean actually co-operate and work, all that living together involves without necessarily avoiding each other.
K: Is that what you are doing here?
D: It seems to me part of it.
C: It is a part of what we are trying to do.
D: Also when you ask that question what immediately comes to my mind is - I don't know how to express it, except perception, to begin to learn how to look at things because we don't know how to look at ourselves, or to look at anything just clearly. We have thoughts, it seems sort of guide-lines with which we look at things. So to learn how to perceive things clearly.
K: Sir, what do you say, what is it we are doing here, not only trying, actually doing? Trying becomes rather vague and rather indefinite but what is it actually we are doing?
B: We are looking at the way we live. We are looking at it in relationship and trying to understand how we are, what we are and...
A: I would say we are working for a common understanding, which is not a personal understanding, which is not an understanding of this person or that, but a common understanding.
B: It is very difficult to put into words.
K: You are leaving me rather vague about all this.
D: What would that mean?
A: Common understanding?
D: It sounds nice, how do you work towards that?
K: Sir, are we concerned, if I may ask, are we concerned, not only with the present activities of living, relationship, and academics, informing the students academically, and all the rest of it, or are we also concerned about what is going to happen to them in the future, when they leave here. What is their life, whether they are going to be absorbed into the whole mass of the average?
A: That relates to it.
K: So are we concerned, that is what I am trying to get at. Not only the now, the now being good relationship, helping them to understand not only mathematics but understand the whole significance of life, and also be concerned with the future of their lives.
C: But surely the now is inextricably related to the future. How you look at life now and work on that.
K: That's just it. How do they look at life now? How do we look at life now? How do we help the student or ourselves to understand the now, what is happening now?
E: I was on holiday last month with two students from this school, and there were two or three children who spent some time with us who went to ordinary local schools, and they couldn't understand the relationship which I had with these students. They kept on asking, 'Won't he be cross if you don't do the work?' or 'Why don't you call him sir?' And so on. They sometimes just stood there watching us. They couldn't understand what was happening.
K: That I've seen, but are we That is what I want to get at. Are we concerned not only with the actualities of present living, our relationship with each other, whether it is personal, or whether it is objective, whether we are cultivating the mind, the brain, the capacity to think, to think objectively, sanely and also the sense of affection, all that. And will that sustain them right through life? You follow what I am saying? Or they will be caught in these traps?
A: They may be caught after being here.
K: I want to prevent that. If I have a son and a daughter and I send them here. I would say please help him not to be caught in these traps.
A: Well, of course. Some are not caught, but some are also.
K: I want my children not to be caught in the trap, in this rat race that goes on, whether it is in India, here or in America, this perpetual struggle.
C: So surely the only way we can help them is to make sure they develop a real understanding of what this struggle is.
K: Are we doing that? Are we actually doing that? I am just questioning it. I am not saying you are not. Are we actually seeing that they have this quality of intelligence which is not the intelligence of ideas and all that but this intelligence that will help them to ward off danger, ward off, keep away from all the travail of man - you follow? Are we doing that?
E: We are certainly trying but we are not always succeeding.
K: Not with every student, therefore we are Now let's come back, down to earth again. Are we saying that this is the purpose or the intention of this place?
K: Then how do we carry it out?
A: I don't think it can be carried out in an unfailing way. That is, in such a way that there will be no casualties, so to speak, that is not possible.
K: Yes. But I am saying, we understand the basis of the school. Now how do we bring it about?
D: I think that is the question we have all been asking ourselves.
K: I am asking you.
D: We are attempting to do that but we don't quite know, we are feeling it out.
K: I am asking you, what shall we do? I leave my daughter and my son here - I haven't got any but if I leave them here. And I say, please sirs, and ladies, it is your responsibility to see that these two are not thrown to the wolves, are not caught in the social machine, or become mediocre, average, unintelligent citizens. I say it is your responsibility. And what shall we do? We are together as a community, as a community of teachers and so on, what shall we do? That's what I want to get at, you are not answering my question.
B: Well, we can't help the student if we are mediocre and unintelligent ourselves.
K: Now, so will you wait till you become intelligent, not mediocre, and then become the teacher?
B: We can't because it is the here and now.
K: That is impossible. I mean that would be like saying it is too stupid to say 'I will wait till I make myself all right and then come to teach'. So our relationship then is, I am not totally stupid, conditioned, and the student is, so we both are on the same level. Right?
A: Yes, that's very important.
K: That is really important, except when you are giving information about mathematics, that's a different matter, or history, or language and so on.
A: Psychologically on the same level.
K: So psychologically we are on the same level. Now how shall we help each other to be free of our mediocrity?
B: Can we stay with this Krishnaji, because this is a tremendous thing you are saying.
K: I know. I am doing this.
B: We should be psychologically on the same level as the student.
K: Absolutely. I feel that way.
C: Yes, I think it becomes difficult sometimes because when one is older one feels sometimes that you have in a sense more experience.
K: About what?
C: Well, one might say...
K: Wait, wait. No, my lady, just look at it. Sex, drink, smoking, what?
A: There are other things as well.
A: For instance, you may...
K: Climbing the mountains?
A: No, you may also have gone through the war, you may also have been a conscientious objector, you may have gone to prison for that.
K: Now that is a different matter. That is a different matter.
A: So you have stuck your neck out in some way probably.
K: That is a different matter. So I am just saying, look if we are on the same level with the student, how shall we begin to free ourselves from the results which society and ourselves have imposed upon ourselves? That is the problem, no?
B: I am not quite sure that we see the necessity for being on the same level, that we are on the same level as the student.
K: No, no, not necessary, no, it is a fact. We, as a human being, one is conditioned - if you agree to that. Then the student is conditioned by his father, by his mother, by his friends, by the society he lives in, and so on, books he reads, television, he is conditioned by all that. So the teacher is also, not exactly, but they are both conditioned. Now how are we to help each other to, if I may use the word, uncondition ourselves?
A: Are all conditionings equal?
K: No, no.
A: Is it possible therefore...
K: It is a good question, sir, let's stick to it. Is there a common factor which is the actual conditioning? You follow?
K: I mean as an Englishman you are conditioned in a certain way. And another as a German, or comes from India, it doesn't matter, America. Time, the climate, the food, the language, the television, all those, religion, the superstitions, all that has made him what he is, and more. What is the common factor in all human beings who are conditioned? You follow what I am saying?
A: You mean more than the fact of conditioning itself? Or different from the fact of conditioning itself?
K: You are an Englishman and I happen to be born in India, what is the common factor in our conditioning? Language, is it?
A: Well it could be.
K: Could be. That's why I want to eliminate. Is it climate?
A: Definitely not. (Laughter)
K: It's awful spring, isn't it? Climate - wait, wait - food, literature, television, the magazines, go on sir, wait, don't say, no, no, no. And the upbringing, the tradition, being the British and all the pride in that word, and another born in India he has got the same pride, the same religious superstitions, only he is darker, probably not as strong as you are physically, malnourished and so on, so on. What is the common factor between these two?
A: So you are saying only the form is different.
K: That's all.
B: They might be proud about different things, or they might have different gods.
K: Of course but it is the same movement. So if we agree the educator and the students are both conditioned in their own way, and the central factor is to be free of this, to become human beings, not labels. I don't know if we can put it that way.
A: Yes. So the movement you speak of is a psychological movement, which is common to all. I think we perhaps ought to pause over that for a minute.
K: Obviously. After all what is the common factor to an Englishman, to a German, to a Russian, or Indian, or an American, the common factor is they all have this enormous sense of ambition. The common factor of fear, the common factor of pursuing pleasure, the common factor of suffering, struggle, anxiety, grief, lack of love, and all that is the common factor between all of us.
B: So you are saying now that there's the educator and the student...
K: ...are in the same boat.
B: ...they are exactly the same.
K: Exactly the same.
C: But the expressions might be different.
K: Oh yes. You might express it by going to church, and another might express it when he goes up to his room crying. That's irrelevant how you The factor is we all go through the same phenomena.
Now as an educator and as the student, that is the common factor. Right? Or would you disagree there?
A: No, we seem to agree.
K: Don't easily agree. If we both of us see that is the common then we can do something together.
B: But why is this so important in education, the fact that both of us may be afraid but of different things? Why is that so important?
K: Because fear, whether it is in the educator or in the student, what does it do? It cripples a human being, it dulls the mind, it creates havoc in one's life. No?
E: My daughter is just seven years old and every time I see her again she has picked up things some of which are just making it not easy for her to see straight.
E: So one has to say where do you get this from, and why, is it true, all the time.
K: If we all agree that it is the common factor for all of us, how shall we help each other to be free of all this? That is the function of the educator.
C: Surely one must want to be free of it first.
K: Ah, no, no. No! See the dangers of it. One is born in India with all the cultural, religious, climatic, malnourishment and so on and so on, and here you have the opposite - marvellous climate - sometimes. Good food, you know, sanitary, and all that. But you, as a human being, and he, as a human being, go through extraordinary miseries, wars, deprivations, tremendous sense of guilt, depression, you know all that. And if you are an educator, that is his function, say look, let's work this out, and don't let's be caught in all this.
C: But is it possible? I think there is also a feeling that in a certain sense may be it is not possible to be free of all this.
K: Then you are admitting something terrible. If you say it is not possible then you are caught in this.
C: But if that is all I know how could I possibly be free of that?
K: If you only know fear don't you want to be free of it?
C: Yes but how can I if that's all I know?
K: But aren't you aware that there is fear?
K: So don't you want to be out of it?
K: So does the student. He is afraid of exams, he is afraid of a dozen things, public opinion, you may not, but fear is common to us. He expresses one way and we express it another way.
B: So now we are saying that we must help the student to be free of his fears, anxieties.
K: Aren't we? That is my responsibility. Our responsibility as a group of teachers.
A: Or we must understand the nature of fear itself.
K: Yes, yes sir, that is what I mean.
C: So it is not just the student but for both of us.
K: Because both are related, we are both in the same boat.
C: Yes. So the student might help us as much we help the student.
K: That is what I want to get at.
E: As a matter of fact, it happens my daughter helps me as much as I help her, as well as students.
K: Is this what education is? Or is it merely to help the student to become the average, mediocre, clever, cunning citizen, ambitious, greedy, envious, fighting each other, you know, killing each other, the whole modern society?
B: But now we have to deal with all the pressures of society because we want to understand what fear is and we want to be free both the teacher and the educated wants to be free of all those things that will make life difficult, but there is the pressure of earning a livelihood, of exams.
K: No, here the pressure of earning a livelihood is not, for the time being.
A: Well, it is in abeyance you see, because very early on the student for instance discovers that examinations are the means to a certificate which is the means to...
K: So can we find a method, or a way of not having exams, or treating exams as though it were nothing? 'A' level and 'O' level, the whole business of it?
C: But if I feel that the only way I can get a job is by having it.
K: No, but we might find out a way of not being afraid of exams, or - you understand what I am saying?
K: Or during the whole term, or couple of terms, or whatever it is, watching students and say he is good enough, you are all right, so as to remove the fear of these beastly exams. Watch him throughout the year - the student - say look, study a little more - you follow? - encourage him, and all the rest of it, so that when the final horror comes he says it is not a horror at all, he goes through. Can we do that?
A: One does that but seemingly at the last moment so to speak, and the student may feel that it is nevertheless a horror. One has protected him from the horror in a sense, one has protected him from the horror but the horror is still there, the horror is still waiting.
K: Who invented exams? (Laughter) The Chinese? The Mandarins? I believe they were the original people who kind of invented this monstrous system.
E: But you obviously do need some exams at some stages, if people are going to build bridges, or be doctors, it has to be clear to themselves and to everybody else.
K: Yes, but is it possible to help the student not to be afraid of exams?
E: If you really had time to do the teaching properly, yes, you can, I think.
K: That is what I am trying to get at.
C: I think it is just a fear. I am not sure it is just a fear of exams actually. I think it goes a lot deeper than that really. It is not just a fear of examinations, it is a fear of the future, and fear of not being secure, with having your exams.
K: So what does that mean? Fear of not being successful.
C: Yes. I think that is much stronger than any teaching you can do.
K: So we all worship the god of success.
C: That is much stronger.
K: So can we go into it, can we go into it with the student and say, look, what is this whole idea of success? Why has it become so important in life?
C: It seems also allied to something to do with self-fulfilment too, part of fulfilling yourself.
K: All that is involved. Like a boy I heard the other day, 'My ambition is to become prime minister'. (Laughter) No, no, he really meant it, not here. I met somebody and his son was saying that. 'I am going to devote my life to becoming the prime minister'. You follow sir? And probably he will.
B: What puts that kind of idea into one's head?
K: Our whole culture is that. A man who is not successful, he is considered beneath, you know, he is treated with contempt.
B: So now we are saying that we are putting ourselves against the whole of culture and society.
K: Against the whole current of this modern world. I mean I am for that, anyhow. (Laughter)
B: We must be careful here because we aren't just talking about revolution in the sense that it is known about - destroying the system, destroying society, getting rid of exams or whatever it is.
K: No, I am not getting rid of exams. We are not getting rid. We are trying to help the student to understand the whole meaning of success, what is implied in it, and whether he is going to give all his life to this idea of becoming something in the world. Look sir, it is not only in this physical mundane world, but also spiritually, the ordinary priest is ambitious to become the bishop. And the bishop wants to become the archbishop, or the cardinal wanting to become the pope. It is the same pattern.
E: And it's for the parents just as much as the students.
K: Of course.
E: They may be saying if you don't pass your exams you can't stay on at Brockwood for another year.
K: That's right. So can we as educators go into this with the student and say, do we see the danger of it?
B: This wanting to be is so deep rooted, Krishnaji.
K: I know sir, that is our conditioning.
C: I mean the educators have it themselves too.
K: Of course. That is what I am saying.
C: So surely we must start looking as well at ourselves, we can't just point it out to the students.
K: No, can we have a dialogue about it with the students. In the course of the dialogue I am freeing myself, and helping the student to get free of this goddess! (Laughter) I don't know. I have watched it all over the world this extraordinary phenomenon of success. Be somebody in the world.
A: Are we also suggesting that in our discussion we would uncover something which is of greater value?
K: Of course. Aren't you reversing, sir, the whole way of thinking about oneself? Now we think I must be a businessman, I must be an executive when I grow up, even if I fail I must be the foreman of the factory, I must be the shop steward - you follow? - the whole thing is this.
A: Is it that, or is it also confused because the person wants to be those things, he is ambitious, and yet he feels perhaps in the back of his mind that he would like to be free, he would like to be less bothered, you know, he would like to have a free life but he is caught.
K: He would like to but the fact is he is caught by the throat.
A: Has this dichotomy come about in culture itself?
K: That's what I am saying. I mean you are always comparing 'B' to 'A', which begins the idea of success. So can we as educators discuss this or have a real serious dialogue and point it out to them what is involved in it.
C: I am worried by when you say point it out to them, because...
K: Point it out in the sense I am doing it, I am pointing it out to myself, I am not saying, pointing out to them.
K: In the course of the dialogue I am aware that I am also pursuing the goddess.
D: I seem to do that, it goes back to what we were saying earlier, which was what Harsh was suggesting staying with, that the student and the teacher are psychologically at the same level.
K: Of course.
D: But if we both really realise that, that creates a certain atmosphere.
K: Yes. No, that creates a quality of, you know, an intensity. Look, we are both in the same boat. And that gives us a strange sense of responsibility. It is not I row and you sit still. (Laughs) Or you row and I look at the heavens! We both are Can we educate them that way? Is that possible?
C: We have said pointing out but we have not really talked about how we actually work on this.
K: We'll go into it. Let's have a dialogue about it now.
C: Because it is all very well saying we worship success but...
K: No, wait, wait. I am your student, how will you deal with this, with me? How will you all, five of you, who are going to be my educators, teachers, how will you explain, go into this question? Pointing out the consequences, the dangers, how will you show it to me?
C: We would have to find out first what we mean by success and what it is.
K: It's very simple. To be somebody, financially, bigger car, bigger house, to be somebody. Money, if you can't have money, all that, you are somebody with an enormous sense of information, scholarly. Right? Being somebody implies, you know what it implies, whether you are a doctor, whether you are a surgeon, whether you are a prime minister, or just an ordinary clerk, he wants to be somebody.
C: Perhaps we have to find out what is behind the wanting to be somebody.
K: That is again, what do you think is behind it? No, you are teaching me! (Laughter) You are helping me to understand this. We are in the same boat, don't immediately wander off. We are in the same boat, help me to understand this. What is behind it? Why has man right through the world made this goddess so extraordinarily important?
D: It seems there is a desire within us.
K: Look at it sir, go into it. I am your student, don't just give words, throw out words. Why has man right through history, sir, it is not just now, right through.
A: It seems in some sense to be connected with survival.
K: That's right, isn't it? Security.
A: Because he survived at the physical level and then as society gets more sophisticated, more developed, he feels that he needs to survive at the psychological level also.
K: And also each one wants to survive. He is only concerned with his survival. Obviously. So I want to survive at any price and my survival is laid out as success, money, position, all the rest of it. And yours is also in a different way but both of us desire to survive, individually. Family, the nearer family, and then the nation, and so on, so on. The tribal instinct is very strong in all of us.
C: It is continued, being reinforced by everything that you do, by how you are educated.
K: The British, the British, the British. And when you go to France, 'La France', 'La France', 'La France', I mean, of course.
D: And we also seem to make the assumption since we need a physical security, and we understand that, we also assume that similarly we need a psychological security. We don't even question that at all.
K: We never question psychological security, which may affect our physical security. So...
A: You mean by that endanger our physical security.
E: Or even if someone is worried to death it works so well. They do what they need to do.
K: That's right. So can we being on the same level, at the same time - right? - can we convey all this to the students and to ourselves, not verbally, just words, but in depth?
A: In discussion therefore.
B: Not just in discussion.
A: Not just in discussion, but in discussion, in action, in games, in everything you do. That seems to be implied in what you have said there.
A: In a variety of ways.
K: It means sir, I am very keen to find out why I worship this goddess, which has so many facets, so many faces. Why? Is it security? Individual? Then the family and so on, so on? Or is there much more to it? There is much more to it, surely, than mere physical survival, as well as psychological survival, there is much more involved in it. Is man nothing but this? You follow sir? Wanting - the priest wanting to be a bishop, bishop wanting to be pope and so on - you follow? Is this all? That's what we make life into.
A: Generally by implication that is all.
K: That's just it.
B: So far Krishnaji we have said nothing about a whole range of things: about beauty, about love, about affection.
K: I am purposely avoiding it because as long as I am worshipping this extraordinary strange goddess I can't have the other. Obviously. I can't love...
B: ...if I am only concerned with myself.
K: Obviously. I can't see beauty if all the time I am worshipping this goddess.
B: But still I hang on to this question.
K: You see, sir, it is right through - you follow? The painter wants to be somebody. The musician always - you follow? It is right through. So it is like a tremendous mountain which you have to climb, but it is not. If we see the truth of this it becomes very simple.
Yesterday morning we had a discussion with the students only, and we went into this question about, they wanted to know whether this hall should be used for this or that. I said cut that out. It took fifty five minutes to disentangle them! And I said, look, let's find out if you want a room where you can be quiet. They all agreed we must have a room where we can be quiet. They said why not in the library and I said somebody is reading, all the rest of it. They ultimately came to the point that we must have a room where we can all be quiet, or I want to come here and be quiet, each one of us. They agreed. I said from that principle work it out. You follow sirs? Not - one began to say 'No we must have it in this room, whatever we like, jazz'. I said look, don't offer opinions, let's...
So we continue with this, don't we? I think we should.
Q: Yes, yes. (Pause)
K: You see in India in those schools it is frightfully hard. Most of them come there because they can't get any other job, or because - they're there - job. They'll listen to you, they'll talk, argue with you, there it ends. Whereas here it's all so much better.
Q: It’s really good.
Q: Very good. (Laughter)
K: Sir, can we continue this?
Q: Yes, by all means.
K: When shall we do it? Wait - Friday morning.
Scott Forbes: But you talk on Friday afternoon.
K: Oh, it doesn't matter.
SF: Are you sure?
K: No, it's Friday afternoon with the teachers, right? (Laughter) Right? All right?
Q: Yes, very good.