Time perpetuates the agony of humanity
The brain can function excellently only in order
4th Public Talk, Bombay
January 27, 1980
I am afraid we have to apologise, all of us who are responsible for the microphone and the loudspeakers, that yesterday didn't work. It is thought there was some kind of sabotage in it, but it doesn't matter. I am sorry if it made it uncomfortable, coming from a long distance and for nothing.
As we were saying yesterday when we had this misfortune, that we have cultivated fear, pleasure, sorrow, grief, anxiety and the various travails of life. This has been the lot of man to struggle, to bear pain, to be wounded, to feel very lonely, and this has been going on for many, many, many centuries. Our brains have become accustomed to this. Our thought is wrapped around all this. And also we have not cultivated, or given a great deal of enquiry into the first man who must have thought or enquired: is there something beyond all this misery, misfortune, sorrow, this endless time movement; is there something beyond all this? And that we have never cultivated; we have never allowed that enquiry to flourish, to flower and bear fruit; we have been caught in various forms of rituals, dogmas - becoming monks and sanyasis and various forms of sacrifice, following, obeying, conforming. We have never gone into this question why man throughout the ages has not found a state of mind that is beyond time. And why human beings throughout the world, whatever part of the world they live in, why human beings have tolerated, supported, adjusted themselves to this fear, sorrow, grief; to the various wounds that one receives from childhood, wounds that apparently are never healed, the deep psychological wounds that pervert our life. Apparently we have not gone into this.
So we are asking a very serious question: whether the mind which includes the brain, the senses, the feelings, thoughts and that quality of intelligence that is not the product of thought, that is not the result of knowledge - so we are asking, if we may this evening, whether the mind can ever be free, whether the mind can ever put an end to its immense continuous struggle, strife and violence and all the rest of it. I think this is a very serious question which each one of us if you are at all serious, should ask. Is there freedom from the thousand yesterdays with all the remembrance of grief, violence, brutality, accepting and obeying others, following others and never, never resolving the human problems? After a million years look at ourselves. Look at the confusion we live in: the mind corrupted, distorted, never free, never clear, pure. I am using the word 'purity' in its original sense, which is a mind that is not polluted, that is not distorted, that has no problem whatsoever. That is the nature of purity which has in it deep integrity. And throughout the ages man has borne this burden, trying to run away from it through various forms of entertainment, both religious and the cinema, the football, and all the rest of it.
So if you will this evening, walk together, perhaps hand in hand, not with so many - it is impossible, but walk together with a certain quality of dignity as human beings, a certain sense of care, affection, between two friends who are enquiring into this very complicated question whether the mind, of a million years with all its vast experience and knowledge, can ever be free and be as originally pure so that it can live without a single problem. And if one may point out, there is no authority here. This is very serious to understand. Authority, specially in the spirit of the mind, has no place whatsoever. Authority, laying down certain sanctions, rules, systems, policies, doctrines, in the world of the spirit, that is, in the world of so-called spirituality, so-called inner flowering of man, authority has no place whatsoever. The authority of a book, the authority of those who say they know, and those who say they know, don't know. So please from the very beginning of this talk and also the talk of next Wednesday, let us put aside all authority, conclusions, opinions, like two friends who are open to each other, enquiring, demanding, questioning each other. And in questioning there must be a great deal of scepticism, doubt. But all scepticism must always be held on a leash, like a dog that is held on a leash - if you keep it all the time on a leash you destroy the very nature of the dog. But you must occasionally, often let it go, run, on the beach, on the hills, in the meadows, along the river. So likewise, one must have this scepticism on a leash, and also know when to let it go. That is an art.
And in our enquiry, in our questioning, in our wandering along the path, not some mysterious path, to glory, to nirvana, but a path of enquiry, the first thing to enquire, if you will allow, is the nature of time. Because time plays a great part in our life, not only the chronological time but psychological time; the inward sense of movement from here to there not only physically but psychologically. It took time for you to come from where you were to come here. That took time, and psychologically, inwardly time is the remembrance of the past, modified by the present and continuing. You are following all this? Just listen. If you don't understand, it doesn't matter. Because you know a talk like this is not only at the conscious level, at the verbal level, but also if you listen, the unconscious, the deeper layers of the mind absorbs what is being said. It is like sowing seeds. It will take, if the earth is good, well-watered, manured and so on, so likewise, if you will, listen not only to understand the words, but also grasp if one can, the deeper meaning of the word. So one has to listen not only with the hearing of the ear, but also listen at a different level, with a deeper demand, with a deeper sense of giving oneself over to find out. So we are talking about time.
And time has played an immense part in our life, our whole brain structure and its cells is the result of millions of years and more, so-called evolution which is the movement from the very beginning to the very end. And the brain is accustomed to time. That is: I will be, I am not, but I will be. That means you are allowing time from 'what is' to 'what should be'. You are following all this? Sir, follow it, not mere words but see the fact of this. So the brain, the mind is accustomed to this movement of time. And man has always sought whether there is a possibility of going beyond time - not the science fiction time, but time as we know it: time as remembrance, time as the past, the present and the future, this constant movement in which we are caught. And time is also postponement. Time is also action depending on the past - knowledge, experience, memory, action modifying that memory and the future. Right? Right sir? So there is this quality of time in which we function not only physically, but also psychologically, inwardly, inside the skin as it were. And is it possible - just listen to it - is it possible not to allow time in action? Do you follow it? Perhaps this is something new that you have not heard before and so you might get puzzled, or reject or resist. But one must ask this question: that is, time which is an interval between now and then, between 'what is' and 'what should be'. Time as what has been, what will be, what is now. So all that is time. And when you allow time to change 'what is' to 'what should be', that is, in that interval between 'what is' and 'what should be', which is time to reach that, in that interval there are other factors entering into that. Naturally. You follow all this? Right?
We are walking together? Or are you lagging behind? I will wait. The speaker will wait till you come back. We can walk together. Which is, this is very important to understand. Please give a little attention to it.
You understand? Violence and the freedom from violence. Right? That is, human beings are violent, they allow time to become free of violence. Right? In that interval what is happening is, you are expressing, acting violently. So there is never an ending to violence. Do you get this? Human beings are violent. You are violent. And you have the idea, concept, the ideal, of not being violent. In that interval between now and then you are being violent. And so there is never an ending to violence, because you allow time to come into the factor of ending violence. You get it, what I'm saying? So can time be abolished? You understand my question? So that there is no 'between now and then', which means acting immediately. You have understood this, sir? Just capture the meaning of it. Don't be too analytical. The speaker is pretty good at analysis. But don't be too analytical, for the time being, we'll go together. As we pointed out, when there is violence, act instantly, not become violent, act to the ending of violence immediately. Which means not allowing the idea of non-violence to come into being at all. Got it? I wonder if you see this.
Please, once you capture this, not intellectually, but actually, it transforms your whole way of living, your whole way of acting. That is, violence or any other human factor, like greed, envy, anger, grief and so on, never to allow time to create the opposite. You have got it? It is time that creates the opposite, time being thought. Am I complicating it? Say, you are hurt, wounded psychologically; you know the cause of that wound, because you have an image about yourself and somebody treads on that image, puts a pin in that image and you get hurt. And that hurt, the consequences of that hurt are great in life, because you build a wall around yourself not to get hurt any more. Which is allowing time. So to see the fact that you are hurt because of the image and finish with that image immediately. Right? Are you doing it? If you don't do, it's no fun. It just becomes a lot of words without much meaning. But if you see that time is a dangerous factor in human life, and that time distorts action, and so we are going into something, if you understand the nature of time fully because all our thinking is based on time. Time is movement, isn't it? Right? From here to there, or psychologically from being 'what is' to the ideal or 'what should be'. All that involves time, movement. So thought is movement. Right? When you think about your business, about anything, it is a movement from the past to meet the present and carry on to the future. Right? So time is thought. And time is the distorting factor in life, which is, if you can act immediately there is no time. You understand what I'm saying, sir?
So bearing that in mind we are going to enter into the field where time has played an immense part in our life, which is, the factor which man has lived with from the beginning of time - fear. He is not only afraid of physical security, but also he is afraid inwardly, psychologically of what's going to happen. He is afraid of the past, he is afraid of the future, he is actually afraid of the present. Right? Don't look so bewildered, please. And we have borne this cloud of fear which darkens our life and accepted it. We never said to ourselves, is it possible ever to be completely free of fear. Fear: physical fear can be dealt with fairly easily. The physical pain can be modified, put up with or altered. But the psychological fear is very, very complex. It has many, many branches, and its fruits are many. One may be afraid of the dark, afraid of one's husband, or wife, or girl, afraid of losing a job, afraid of not achieving nirvana or heaven or illumination this life, afraid of the bosses, the gurus, the authorities, and so on. This tree of fear has many, many branches and its fruits are multiple. So we are asking: is it possible to end fear completely - not I am free one day of fear and back again. So we are asking: is there an end to fear at all? Do you follow sirs? Have you ever asked that question? Or you put up with it, saying, it is our lot, our karma, you know, some kind of verbal structure which will cover up the fear.
If you have asked, is there a possibility of ending psychological fear so completely it never comes back. The speaker is asking that question for you, though you have not asked it, the speaker is asking that question for each one of us. What is fear? Think with me, think about it together. What is fear? You have fears. You don't have to tell me what your fears are. This is not a confession. You know what your fears are very well. If you are a Brahmin, you are afraid to be a Brahmin in an economic world where Brahmins are looked down upon. Right? So you hide you are a Brahmin, your Brahmanism, cut out the name Iyer, or whatever it is because you adjust yourself. Basically you are afraid. You conform to the pattern which exists around you. And if you say, I am not a Hindu, that creates a problem around you, so you keep on repeating you are a Hindu, or a Muslim or a Christian or whatever it is. So there is this constant, hidden, secret pressure of which we may be conscious or not aware - it is there.
And how can love exist when there is fear? This is not a rhetorical question. I am asking as a human being, how can love, compassion, great sense of affection and care exist with fear? It cannot. Obviously. So is fear which man has carried for a million years with him, can that burden be put aside completely? I will, the speaker will point out the nature, the movement, of how it can end. Not a system, not a method, not a practice, not a suppression of fear, nothing of that kind. You are following all this? Because if you suppress fear it is always there. Even if you analyse, and I believe Indians are quite good at analysis, but they never end it. They are very clever spinning it out and finding the cause and there it ends. So we are not saying suppression, escape from it, transcending it, conquer it, nothing of that kind. We are saying, are you ever aware at the moment of fear? Listen to it carefully. At the moment, at the second when fear arises. You are not. You are aware of it a second afterwards. Right? Are we meeting each other?
Please, sir, we are communicating, not only verbally, but actually in your heart - feel it, then we are really in communion with each other. Fear is time. Right? Fear of the past, of the things that one has done, not done, commissions and omissions, regrets and all that. The remembrance of all that and be afraid of something that you have done, which is time and the future, of what might happen, which is also time. So fear is the essence of time. You get it? Oh come on, sir! That's why you have to understand time and abolish time. Which is, the moment fear arises, be completely watchful of it. Don't run away, don't escape, don't find causes, be completely attentive to that fear. Where there is attention there is no time. You understand? No, don't say, please, sirs.
So there is instant action: immediate response to that fear and ending that fear which means you are not only aware of all the branches of fear but you are going to the very root of fear. Which is, thought has movement which is time and to act instantly immediately so that time is not a factor in fear. You have got it? Do, please, give your mind, your heart to find this out. Because life without love is meaningless: you may be rich people, you may be comparatively happy, having pleasure untold, unlimited, but without love, which means the ending of fear, life has no meaning whatsoever. Love is not pleasure. Love is not desire. See this, please follow this carefully. Pleasure is the movement of the remembrance of things past and the picture created by thought and the pursuit of that picture, image is pleasure. Right? Which is time. Oh, come, sir. You have got it, sir? You have understood it?
And again pleasure plays an important part, perhaps the greatest part in our life: sexual pleasure, pleasure of achievement, pleasure of controlling oneself, pleasure of possession, pleasure in attachment, pleasure in being free if you have money, if you have position, if you are a politician - and pleasure is not at the actual moment but the remembrance of things past entering into the present and continuing as a pleasure. Have you got it? Now if you can be totally completely aware at the moment it is taking place, then there is complete action. I will show it to you now.
Desire is the movement of pleasure. Right? And desire, as we have explained the other day, is seeing, seeing with your visual, optical eyes, contact, touching, smelling, whatever it is, and sensation. Right? Seeing, touching, contact, then the sensory responses, which is sensation, then thought makes an image of that object which you have seen and desire then begins. Right? You see - I don't know what you see - you see a woman or a man, nice looking, clean, healthy, beautiful. You look at the mountain, the hills, the waters, the glory of the earth and heavens, you look and you touch, you have the sensation. Then thought comes and says, how lovely that shirt is or that dress is, and imagines, creates the image of being dressed in that shirt or in that robe, at that moment is the beginning of desire. Right? You have understood this? Don't hear my words, know it in your blood.
So desire, that is, desire to achieve, desire to have, desire to possess, desire to dominate, desire to do so many things, is the movement, not only in time, but the movement that creates duality. Oh no, come on! Which is, one desire opposed to another desire. Right? So there is conflict. This conflict can never be ended. What will end is the comprehension, the deep profound truth that desire comes the moment thought creates the image. To be aware of this total movement is immediate action.
Are your brains working? Or are you merely hearing words, because our brain is full of words, and the word has tremendous importance in our life: the wife, the husband, the nation, India, communist, socialist, Catholic, you know all the rest of it. Words have an immense significance for us. And if you only listen to words, then you will not grasp the beauty of a life in which there is no fear and the understanding of pleasure. And where there is pleasure there must also be fear. Yes, sirs, don't you know that? And where there is fear there can be no love. So desire, fear, pleasure, berefts life of love. And love is not to be cultivated. You can't say, I will practise love. No, sir, that's what you are all doing: practise kindliness, tenderness, this sense of oneness.
So we are asking, a mind that has lived for a million years carrying all these burdens, can that mind ever be free of all its content. You understand my question, sir, now? Its content. The content makes up our consciousness. Our consciousness is made up of your beliefs, conclusions, your fears, your pleasures, your dogmas, your opinions, your superstitions, your gods, your nationality, the whole consciousness of the human being is its content. Right? And as long as you are living within the field of that content there is no freedom. So we are saying, this content is the immense memory of man, including woman, of course. This tremendous burden of the past which is guiding, distorting, creating a thousand problems in our life. And we are asking whether the mind with that complicated, subtle, extraordinary beautiful brain, can that brain, mind, which are one, can that put aside all its burdens? - that is, the burden exists as long as there is time. I wonder if you see this. Right, sir? Say for example, you have problems: sexual problems, career problems, problems of loneliness, despair and so on. Have you ever asked: can the mind ever be free of every problem?
So what is a problem? Something that you have not resolved, something that you have not finished. A problem exists only when you carry it over the next day. You are following this? Right sir? Somebody agree with me! You have many, many problems. And a mind that is burdened with problems, can never be free. So is it possible to live a life, here on earth, without a single problem? You understand the implications of that question? And do you understand the beauty of that question, the depth, the vitality of that question? As we said, a problem exists only if you allow it to have duration. Right, right? Why do you allow problems to endure even for two days, three days, why? Come on sirs, why? Is it that you are used to this method, used to carrying problems till you die? Is it that we are habituated to it, we have accepted it, we say, yes, that is the normal fate of man, to have problems and so struggle, struggle, struggle. They have never said or asked, not verbally, with passion, with care, with attention to find out if you can end problems. I will show you. The speaker will point out. No authority. Just pointing out. If you are serious, if you want to live a life without a single problem, oh, you don't know the beauty of that: the quality of a mind that has no problems and therefore no experience. Sir, you don't know it.
Your minds are full of experiences, the present and the future experiences and the past. The word 'experience' means to go through and finish, not carry the memory of it. You understand? Finish the physical pain that you have today, end it, and not carry it to the next day. How do you approach a problem? I am not talking of physical, or technological, or electronic problems, computer problems. They are experts at that. I have a friend who talks a great deal about it, I am not talking of those problems. But we are talking of human problems: the loneliness, the sense of isolation, the sense of deep abiding despair. How do you approach a problem, an intimate, perhaps even secret problem that you have, how do you approach it?
Please find out. Find out now as you are sitting there. Find out how you approach a problem. Is your approach to finish with the problem, to go beyond the problem, to resolve, finish, anxiously end it. How do you approach it? Do you approach it with a motive, with a conclusion which you have already come to, how that problem should be resolved? You are following all this? So the approach to a problem is more important than the problem itself. You understand this? Are you all asleep? Sir, the speaker is saying something which he actually lives; this is not to encourage you, not to stimulate you, but one can live a life which has no problems whatsoever. It is not for you to believe, or disbelieve, I don't care. But it is important to find out for yourself because a mind that is full of problems, a crippled mind, whether it has religious problem, sexual problem, problem of attachment.
Now take that. You know you are attached to your belief, to your wife, to your gods, to your puja, to your rituals - God knows - to your gurus, whatever it is. You are attached. Why? Because in attachment you feel secure. Right? Right? You feel secure, you feel comfortable, you feel protected, safe. I am attached to you, to the audience - if I am attached then I depend on you for my stimulation, for my elation, for my endeavour. But I am not attached to you. I am not your guru, you are not my followers. So take that one thing: you are attached, not to a baby, not to a person, but to an idea, to a conclusion, to a hope, to something that you cling to, craving, permanence and therefore holding. Now if you know how you approach that attachment, but you don't want even to enquire how you approach because if you are detached you will feel tremendously lonely. Right? No? So the more you are attached, the deeper the loneliness is. And so you say, don't talk to me about attachment, I like what I have, for God's sake, status quo, don't talk about it. So you go back home and being attached you become jealous, angry, quarrelsome and all the things attachment brings, shedding tears and laughter and the ache of losing.
So if you can approach that question of attachment freely, that is, not have a motive - 'what might happen if I gave up'. But if you could see the full meaning and the consequence of attachment at one glance, not keep on at it, at one glance see immediately what the implications and the consequences of attachment and act immediately - not allowing time to come into being. Then you are free from that attachment to face the fact that you are a lonely, desperate human being. To face that fact, to look at it, not run away from it. It is like a surgeon who discovers the patient has cancer and the patient gets so frightened by the very word and he postpones it, and says, wait doctor, allow me to enjoy my smoking, or whatever you are doing, I'd better come back next week. The thing has grown much deeper, destructive, it may become terminal.
So when we allow time - you understand what I am saying? - in any form, then you are perpetuating the agony of man, because your mind is the mind of humanity. It is not your mind, both genetically, this remembrance of millions of years is the common mind of humanity. You are humanity, you are the whole essence of human endeavour. You may be a different colour, shorter, darker, but your mind your brain is the world. And if that mind has never known freedom, then you live always in despair and anxiety, pain; and that freedom is the ending of time, which means acting immediately. Which doesn't mean irrationally, unintelligently, on the contrary, it is the act of supreme intelligence and therefore that action is of excellence. Right, sirs.