Understanding sorrow, love and death
Looking at the complex problem of living
3rd Public Talk, Santa Monica, California
March 23, 1974
The last time we met here we were talking about relationship and the importance of it, because all life is based on relationship. One cannot possibly isolate oneself from being related to another, and in that relationship we have all kinds of problems and pains and suffering. And we have accepted that as the way of life - conflict, suffering, a great amount of sadness and the pursuit of everlasting pleasure. This is what we have accepted as the way of living. As we have been saying in all these talks this time and the last time we met here, we are concerned, aren't we, with the deep regeneration of man, whether he lives in India, or in Europe or here, to bring about a different quality of mind that does not accept suffering, conflict, both outwardly and inwardly, and the enormous burden of sadness that exists in the world. I don't think we have realised how for generation after generation we human beings, living in whatever climes we do, not only the personal sorrow, the grief and the sadness that goes with it but also the suffering, the sadness of the whole of humanity. Because unless one really resolves this problem, not intellectually or theoretically, coming to a conclusion that it cannot be resolved, or that it can be resolved, that man can put away suffering, or that he cannot put away suffering, if we could learn about it, sufficiently be curious, sufficiently careful, resolved to go into it very, very deeply. Unless this burden from the human mind and the personal mind is removed suffering makes either for bitterness, cynicism or irrational activity, or mere acceptance of sorrow as inevitable.
In the East sorrow is accepted through various forms of beliefs, rationalisation and various forms of explanations. Here in this country, and in Europe, this sorrow is transferred to somebody else whom you worship, and somehow you think that sorrow can be resolved by putting your own sorrow on somebody else's shoulders. Unless this question of sorrow and sadness, not only the personal but also the collective of which you are a part, our life becomes rather superficial, inane, and without much meaning. And because there is not much meaning in our existence as we live nowadays we turn to various forms of escapes, drugs, communes, doing what one pleases, or going off to India or to Japan to learn new techniques of the same old problem, and unless this question is very deeply understood and resolved our minds can never be free. And without freedom from sorrow there is no wisdom. Wisdom isn't a thing that you buy in books, or accept it from another. Wisdom comes into being with the ending of sorrow.
So if we could this morning not only go into that question, but also if we have time, and we must have time, to talk about love and death. Suffering, love and death are not three separate things, not fragmented, broken up, as we have, but rather a total movement in which all this is involved, and merely to be concerned with love or with death without understanding sorrow has very little meaning; either you take the whole movement as a whole, or you don't take it at all. You cannot take fragments of it and go home with it, and observe it and cherish it. But rather to look at suffering, this question of love and the enormous, and if we can use the word, mysterious thing called death, as a way of living, a movement which is not fragmented, but inter-related. If we could do that this morning, and we should if we are at all serious, then let us partake in sharing of it. Sharing implies learning, learning what it means to suffer, whether it is possible to end suffering, not only in our own private lives but the collective suffering of human beings right throughout the world. And also to learn, which is to share, this word which has been so spoilt, so besmirched, so trodden down, this word called love which is used so sloppily, so unintelligently. And also that thing which we dread, which we try to put away as far away as possible, which we don't think about at all. And if we do we are so frightened and so incapable of understanding the great thing called death. And that is what we are going to talk about, or investigate, or understand together this morning. That means we are going to learn together. To learn implies that one must be curious, one wants to know, understand, not bring your opinions about it, your judgements, what you already know. If you come with what already you know about these things, then you have stopped learning, you may add to what you know but that is not learning. Learning implies, as you learn a new language, that not knowing, and not knowing you begin to learn. Therefore there must be a quality of humility, a quality of a mind that says, 'I really don't know', a mind that is willing to observe, a mind that is willing to learn. And if we could this morning learn about these things, and when you leave this hall, leave it with a mind and a heart that is really free from the burden and the agony of sorrow and the loneliness of it.
Why, if one may ask, why have human beings accepted sorrow? Sorrow means pain, pain of not achieving, not fulfilling, of being lonely, of what you call success, which has become a virtue in this country and is spreading all over the world unfortunately. And you feel sorrow when you have lost not only someone whom you consider near, but also sorrow for yourself, the sorrow of ignorance, not of book knowledge that any fool can have, you only have to pick up the encyclopaedia and there is all the knowledge accumulated by man. The sorrow of ignorance, haven't you seen it, when you talk to others how little they know about themselves, how inexperienced, unthoughtful they are, how precipitous they are in the activity of their desire and pleasure, how eager in their desire to fulfil and thereby find frustration.
And so there is sorrow. Sorrow in the loss of another, sorrow of loneliness, the sorrow of the desire to fulfil and the frustration of it, the sorrow of not being able to see clearly, to act totally without any motive. And there is the sorrow of not being able to be whole, complete, total, that means completely sane, rational and therefore holy. And one sees this throughout the world, and it does bring a great sadness, not only to the observer but also as it is in the world. Apparently nobody talks about it, especially in this world, in this part of the world because you have given it over to somebody, to your saviour, and there you have relinquished the burden of your sorrow but it is with you all the same. And is it possible for the mind, for a serious mind, not a mind that is careless, indifferent, that is seriously that is pursuing its own desires and pleasures, but a mind that is very serious to find out whether it can be free of sorrow. And that is what we are, if we may, going to learn, what it means to be free, whether the mind can be free from it.
Everybody suffers, either physically or inwardly, psychologically, there is not a single human being that has escaped from it. We all know what suffering is. One can deal with physical suffering, the pain of operations, disease, and the fear of that pain, of that disease recurring. And to be aware of that pain and not let it interfere with the clarity of thought, with the clarity of perception. That is fairly easy if one is at all aware. But the psychological suffering is much more difficult to understand, to go beyond because when we do suffer our instinctual response is to escape from it. Never to come face to face with it, to live with it, to go through with it, to understand it completely, but rather to take a flight into something that will be much more pleasurable, more inviting, more enticing.
First, knowing suffering, as every human being does, to be aware of the whole implication of escapes. And we have a whole network of escapes, through drink, through sex, through every form of entertainment, religious or otherwise; and so to see the futility of escape and therefore negate it. When we use the word 'negation' we do not mean violence. You can only negate something when you understand it completely. So to negate, put away all escapes because you see the futility of it, you see the rationality of it, you see the meaninglessness of escape when the actuality is, which is suffering.
So can the mind, which has been educated, which has built for itself various forms of security in escape, can that mind put away all these escapes? Can you, if one may ask more directly, can you put away all the escapes that you have cultivated so sedulously, so carefully so sophisticatedly? That is part of your education, part of your culture. And when you do so put away these things then you are with that sorrow completely. Not as an observer seeing the suffering, but the observer is part of that suffering, and so to remain completely with that. To remain wholly without a movement of escape, without a movement of trying to go beyond it, accept it, rationalise it but just to remain with it. Then you will find that energy that has gone into sorrow becomes passion, and without passion you cannot act. And you will find if you have gone into it sufficiently, energetically and intelligently, rationally, using your reason and not merely your desire and your pleasures, then you will see for yourself that sorrow ends. And the ending of personal sorrow brings that energy, that passion which then can operate, work, act upon the sorrow of the world. And I hope, the speaker hopes that you are learning from what is being said, not merely memorising or agreeing, or disagreeing, but learning so that when you leave this hall you have really understood the nature and the structure of sorrow, and are wholly with it without any escape. Then out of that complete watchfulness, and the flowering of that sorrow comes wisdom. And wisdom is intelligence, the highest form of intelligence. And the mind must be highly sensitive to be intelligent.
From there we can begin to enquire into the question of what is love - because without understanding suffering there is no love. Please do see this. We have used that word so childishly, without any maturity. The love of the country, which has become patriotism, that love enables you to go and kill another, that love is your own personal security, or the security of your family, or security of yourself committed to a belief, and is that love? When we are asking that question you have to answer it, not intellectually or off-hand, you have to answer it from your heart, from your mind, from your whole being so that it is a reality and not a verbal, rhetorical question and an answer. And is it love that kills nature, birds and animals for your appetite and amusement and entertainment? Haven't you seen the young seals, baby seals killed for your pleasure? You may not participate in that killing but you are part of that killing because you support it, it is part of your culture to kill. You hear this and what do you do about it? And is love pleasure? And apparently it has become the very essence of pleasure, which is the highest form of sexual pleasure.
And Western civilisation - please, I am not attacking the Western civilisation, the speaker is only observing it, as you must observe in order to learn - apparently the Western civilisation has lost all modesty, and has made sex into the most extraordinary thing, probably the highest form of physical demand and appetite. Haven't you noticed all this - not only in your own life but in everything you see around you, the advertisements, the pictures, everything is concerned with that almost. Why?
The other day in India there was a group of us sitting in a room talking about serious things, and a girl comes in with a mini skirt, an Indian girl, showing almost everything, and there was a gasp; astonished look on everybody. But here it is quite accepted. There the tradition is still strong, and here all that has gone except this demand. Why? Why has man made of this thing called sex such an extraordinarily important thing in life? Have you ever asked? Volumes are written about it, it is one of the best sellers - why? Why has man specially in this world, in the Western part of the world, not that it doesn't exist in India, they do it a little more darkly, why? Is it because intellectually you are all second-hand human beings? Intellectually you are slaves, you accept, read and follow what others have said. Intellectually you are not free, you are mediocre. Please observe this, learn. The speaker is not condemning, just showing what we have to do in life. Intellectually there is no freedom, you may think what you like but that thinking is based on your acceptance as knowledge, which is tradition, therefore the mind is never free, and is that one of the reasons why human beings in this part of the world have put sex above everything else? Sex and money. And is it because we don't know what the word 'creative' means. To be creative. You cannot possibly be creative if you are living in a world of ideas and speculative conclusions, and accepting formulas, slogans, and living a life of constant repetition. There must be freedom to be creative.
And so mentally, psychologically, we are not free and therefore sex has become the only thing in which there is some kind of freedom, and that too becomes repetitive, and therefore we have made love into something that is of great pleasure with all its pain, with all its frustrations and dependency, attachment. And so is love pleasure? Is love a form of dependency, attachment? And to allow your children to be educated to be killed, to conform to the society that is corrupt, is that love? Probably you will all agree intellectually or verbally that it is not. And yet we carry on in our own way. So generation after generation, the past and the future and the present pursues the path of insanity. So what is love? Love is not jealousy, envy, attachment, dependency, when that is not then there is the flowering of love which is goodness. You know one can talk about all this but unless you live it verbal explanations, verbal statements have very little meaning because the word is not the thing. So explanations become entanglements, a barrier, and when one has to look at this thing called love one has to look at it rather vividly, carefully, attentively in our daily life.
And with the understanding of suffering, love has a different meaning. Then it becomes a compassion for everything, for nature, for birds, animals, for other human beings, and the responsibility for children, for everything. But where there is pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure then you destroy everything.
From this we can go into the question of death. They are all, as we said, inter-related, it is part of life, which is death, it is part of life which is love, part of life which is suffering. And without understanding the depth and the beauty, and the inwardness of suffering and the compassion with its responsibility, it is part of love. Passion for all things. You know every religion has talked about compassion. The ancient Hindus, which is pre-Buddha, 550 BC before that, they talked about love. That if you have no love, no compassion you are not a human being. That you must love all things, nature, birds, animals and you must love the earth, the beauty of the earth and not pollute it, not destroy it, not waste it away through our pleasure. They have talked about it endlessly. And Christians have also talked about it - love of God, love of Jesus, you know, all that, and yet we are too ready to kill, to be violent, to be brutal. And when you see all this there is not only great sorrow but also the passion to see that things are different, that human beings can be intelligent, can love and be aware of the meaning of killing and never kill. I know the inevitable question, 'Don't you kill when you eat something?' You have to kill a cabbage. Right? A small living thing. Personally I have never eaten meat in my life because I think there is a way of living, and in that there is great beauty and great sensitivity, and therefore intelligence.
Now when this is more or less deeply established in oneself as a movement, not as a thing that you imitate, memorise and copy, then we can look at this enormous question: death. I do not know if you have ever considered it, whether young or old, whether you have ever enquired, what does it all mean, living, struggling, going to the office, or to the factory for forty or fifty years, endlessly work, work, work, build, destroy, rebuild again, be good if you can, struggle to achieve something, and then at the end of it there is this terrible thing called death. Man has tried to put it away, as far away as possible, a wide interval between the living and the dying, a wide gap which time and thought have created. And this is the way of our life, never think about death, don't even talk about it. And when someone dies very close to us then the agony begins, the sorrow, the pain, the loneliness, the emptiness, and the various explanations and beliefs of comfort and the escapes. There is death for the young and the old, the aged and the immature. And it is part of our life whether we like it or not. So without understanding death, without understanding sorrow and love, life as it is lived now for most people, for millions and millions and millions, life has no meaning, literally no meaning, they may invent new meanings, new purposes, new excitements, new forms of pleasurable activities, but without understanding all this, life is really lived in vain. Therefore to a mind that is serious, it is only such a mind that can live, that does live totally, completely.
And in understanding love one understands what is joy and enjoyment. Because pleasure is not enjoyment. When you are enjoying the beauty of a sunset, the line of the hills, the clear morning light upon the waters, and the beauty of flowers in the spring, when you are really enjoying it, into that comes thought which pursues pleasure as enjoyment. And pleasure has nothing to do with joy. You can invite and cultivate pleasure, but you cannot possibly invite or cultivate joy, then it is something ugly, artificial.
So unless one understands this enormous problem, and it is a great problem, this thing called death. Man has tried to overcome it, man has tried every kind of thing, to go beyond it, to conquer it, to invent all kinds of beliefs. The ancient Egyptians lived in order to die to live eternally - in their tombs, in their paintings, all their literature. And there are those who believe in some form of incarnation in the future life, the whole of Asia is committed to that belief. And the Western world, if it at all thinks about it, except perhaps on the death bed, is committed to resurrection or some future kind of life. Because we have considered death as something terrible, something to be avoided, something to be put away until the last moment. And to learn about it is something entirely different. Because what is it that is dying? What is it that dies, that comes to an end, of which we are so frightened? In India, and in Asia, they say they believe in reincarnation, to incarnate in a next life. That means incarnate, reincarnate in the next life by doing something more noble, something worthwhile, because whatever you do now you will pay for it next life, therefore behave now, be righteous now. And of course all those believers in reincarnation are not righteous now, they don't behave now, that is just a form of belief without much meaning, but it is a comforting thing to have that belief, you can play around with it, and in the meantime be violent, cruel, bitter, cynical, ugly. And in the Christian world they also have some kind of comforting belief.
Now if you can put away all belief, which means the desire to be comforted, but to face actually what is. And you cannot see clearly what is if you are frightened, if you are surreptitiously seeking comfort. So if you can go into the question of fear and the desire for comfort, psychologically, then we can learn what it means, because this demands a tremendously serious person to go into this. You must go to the very end of it, not just half-way stop because you are not interested, or some other attractive belief or rationalisation comes into being.
So what is it that dies? Is it the physical organism? That will inevitably come to an end, you can prolong it, and most people long to prolong it and we don't know why, because they live such a shoddy, disorderly, stupid life, and yet they go on wanting to live endlessly. Now if you can put away fear and the desire for comfort, then we can consider what is it that dies. Is it the me, my ego, my personality, my - all the things that I have accumulated, the things with which I have been identifying myself with, my house, my pictures, my furniture, my character?
Please share this with me as I go along, don't let me talk by myself - you are part of it. Is it my bank account, is it my pleasure, is it the things that I have said, written, developed my character and so on? Is all that me which is me? My selfishness, my ambitions, my greeds, my envies, my identification with everything that gives me delight, pleasure, all that is me. Is that what is going to die? That is, what is it that is going to die? What is the me? Is it a verbal construction, a verbal construction based on the memories which have been handed down, which I have also cultivated, the me that is pretending all the time to be something else, the me that has different masks, the me that is ideological, that is full of ideas and hopes and wanting to be something different, improving itself, and the me that is contradictory to all that, which is ugly, which is vain, stupid, indifferent, careless. All that is me, memories, the verbal structure of thought without any reality, for which we are willing to fight and kill and maim each other. Is that what is going to die, what you call the soul, which is the invention of thought? As it is the invention of thought in the Eastern world, called the Atman and so on and so on. So why not die to it? Why not die to your identification? Do enquire into this. To your jealousies, to your angers, to your bitterness, to your pursuits of pleasure and all that, why not die to all that so that the mind incarnates differently now?
You know man has sought immortality. That is, to be immortal, not to know death. And in his search for immortality he has done all kinds of idiotic, rational and irrational things. But he has never gone into the question - at least a few may have - into the question of dying totally to all the things that a man has acquired as the me, and therefore when that ending of me, which is the very essence of the self, with all its self-centred activity, comes to an end there is quite a different kind of life, which can only be understood and lived if you have gone through all this. For that you need care, attention, and if that doesn't take place what happens?
If my son, my brother, my neighbour has not understood all this and lives it, he lives the ordinary kind of life, a meaningless life, from sorrow to sorrow, from pain to pain, from the furthering of envy to greater envies, and the everlasting pursuit of pleasure, what happens to such a person? That is, what happens to the vast human beings who are caught in this current? It is like a river that goes on, carrying all this human thought with its miseries. And that is what is happening in the world. And when my son or brother or somebody dies, and I go to a medium or to somebody who will tell me whether my brother lives, he lives in that stream, in that stream of sorrow, pain, agony, despair, and it is only the man that moves out of that stream, aware of what the implications of that stream are, then that human being is reborn totally anew, afresh, he incarnates not as the past but a totally different kind of mind and heart. And that is innocency, and that is immortality.
Do you want to ask questions about this, about what we have talked? Love, suffering and death, which is the whole of our life. Yes sir?
Questioner: I have been listening to you for some time now, and no change has come about.
Krishnamurti: I have been listening for some years to your talks and no change has come into me. Then don't listen any more. (Laughter and clapping) Please it is a waste of your energy to clap. Look, if you listen to somebody for years and you see the beauty of what is being said for yourself, then you want to listen more, then it opens doors that you have never seen before. But if it doesn't then what is wrong, what is wrong with the speaker who says these things, or what is wrong with the listener? What has happened? Why a man who has heard, or a woman, for many years and has not changed. In that there is great sorrow, isn't there? You see a flower, a lovely flower on the wayside, and you look at it and pass by, you don't stop, you don't look, you don't see the beauty, this quietness, the dignity, the loveliness, but you pass. What is wrong? Is it that you are not serious? Is it that you don't care? Is it that you have so many problems that you are caught in it and have no time, no leisure so that you never look at that flower? Or is it that what the speaker is saying has no value in itself, not what you think about it, in itself it has no value? Has it no value? To say it has, or it has not, you have to investigate what the speaker is saying. And to investigate you must have capacity, you must be able to listen, you must be able to look, you must give your time to it. So is it your responsibility? Or is it the responsibility of the speaker? It is our mutual responsibility, isn't it? Both of us have to look. I may point out, the speaker may point out but you have to look, you have to go into it, you have to learn. And if a mind is not diligent but negligent, if your mind is not watching, highly sensitive, it is your doing. That means you have to change your ways of life, your eating, your way, everything has to be changed to learn a way of living which is entirely different. And that demands energy, you can't be lazy, indolent.
So since it is our mutual responsibility, perhaps it is more yours than that of the speaker, perhaps sir, you have not given your life to it. We are talking about life, not about ideas, not theories, not practices, not new techniques, but to look at this whole life, which is your life, and to care for it, to look with it, to learn from it, and that means don't waste your life, you have a very short time to live, maybe ten years or fifty years, don't waste it, look at it, give your life to understand it.
K: Madam, madam. Is this your life or theory you are talking about? Is this part of your life, or is it merely a theory that you are discussing?
Q: Oh no, I am talking about my life that I’d like to share.
K: Then there is nothing more to be said madam. Yes, sir?
K: Have I understood your question rightly sir? Is it to experience ...?
K: You experience jealousy, and to look at it wholly, and is that all? Is that what you are asking sir?
K: I don't quite understand your question, sorry. Would you mind repeating it simply.
Q: Can you do something else or only look at it?
K: Can you do something else than merely look at the phenomenon of jealousy. Can you do something else? Haven't you done everything else but look at jealousy? Haven't you escaped from it, tried to conquer it, tried to justify it, and become angry, hatred, bitter about it. You have done all that, but you have never said, 'I am going to look at it, see what is involved in it'.
K: How do you go beyond the verbal? Now sir, look. That word is not the thing, is it? The chair, the word 'chair' is not the chair, is it? So the word is not the thing. Right? The description is not the described. Now most of us are caught in the word, in the explanation, in the description. So can you put away the word, the description, the explanation and look? That means you have to be aware of the whole significance of verbal enchantment. How we are caught in words like 'America', what does it mean? Like a Hindu, what does it mean? The word is a symbol. And we are caught in symbols, our whole religions are based on symbols, on words. So can you be free of the word? The word is necessary to communicate, but can you be free of the word so as to be able to look at that thing? The word is your prejudice, the word is your conclusion, your conceptual attitude towards that thing, your opinion, all that is a verbal construction. So can you be free to observe without the word? The word is the thought, isn't it, sir? You see how you can learn so much from it. That is, look, I'll go into it for a minute.
The word is the means of expression of a thought. So what is thought? You see what we are doing? There is jealousy, we are trying to look at jealousy without the word. Is that possible? Because jealousy, the moment that reaction arises it is identified with a word, 'jealousy'. That identification takes place when thought identifies that feeling with a past experience as jealousy. I hope you are following all this, if you are not tired at the end of an hour and a quarter.
So one has to go into the question of what is thought? What is thinking? Is thinking new, free, or is it the response of memory? Obviously, a response of memory. If you have no memory you can't act, you can't speak. So thought is the response of memory, memory is experience, is knowledge, accumulated or stored up in the brain. The brain is the recording machine and the responding machine. Now thought is that. So thought to express itself must use words. The words are part of its own memory, of course. So when words become important and not what is, what is actual, then semantically life becomes extraordinarily difficult. You understand all this sir? So in understanding jealousy you have uncovered such a lot, not just observed jealousy. In observing jealousy you learn the meaning, the significance of a word, why when that feeling arises immediately you recognise it as jealousy. Right? Why? Because you have had that feeling before and before you have identified that feeling by a word called jealousy, and now when that feeling arises the immediate response is to identify it with that word, and therefore you are not looking at it afresh. Do you follow? So memory is all the time responding, which is tradition and so on and so on. Now is it possible for knowledge to function in the field where it is necessary, and be free from that knowledge so that you can observe? All that is involved in the understanding of that word 'jealousy', it isn't just observation. Yes sir?
Q: My father died recently. Can one send positive thought forms to the dead?
K: My father died recently. Can one send thought to him. Right sir? Look, I am not a medium. Right? You know nothing about all these things. As I explained before, the whole thing is this sir, please try to understand what I am saying. Understand, learn from me, not accept it. My father dies, he has lived the ordinary life of the ordinary person, the bourgeois, the man - you know, ordinary life, competition, anxiety, success, money, sex, conflict, bitterness, anger, hatred, enmity, that is his life. That is the life of 99 per cent of the people in the world. And he dies. What happens to him? He is like everybody else. Right? And there is this vast stream of everybody. Right? It is a stream of human beings who have lived, and have lived a stupid kind of life like my father has lived. My father would object to it if I told him that but fortunately he is dead. (Laughter) And I like him, I want to send him kindly thoughts. Now what is my father? To whom am I to send my kindly thoughts? The father as I knew him? Please listen to this sir. Rather angry, impatient, putting me off, throwing me away to the wolves who are educating me - who is my father? To what image am I to send my thoughts? You understand sir? The father who beat me? The father who liked me? The father I went out for a walk with? The father who was traditional? The father who sent me to education where the tragedy of my life begins? Who is my father to whom I am to send, because I have got so many images about my father? You understand sir? So which image am I going to send to? To all the images? Or the one image I have about him whom I like, and to that image I send my thought. Do you understand my question sir?
Once a mother with several children came to see the speaker. Her husband had died recently and she said, 'I would like to meet my husband, I liked him so much, I loved him and I am in despair, I feel terribly sorrowful, lonely.' And we said to her, 'Which husband do you want to meet? The husband who was sexual, the husband who went to the office, the husband who was caught up in his own ambitions and so on, the various husbands that you have had in one person'. She looked at me and got very annoyed. She said, 'What do you mean by saying such a thing? I want to meet my husband.' I said, 'Your husband was all these things, wasn't he?' And she wouldn't have it. She wanted to meet the husband whom she liked, and none of the other images of the husband. So seeing that, you send a thought, a kindly thought. Don't think me brutal, sir, please, or evasive, or callous, but what is your thought made of? The image that you have about him, and the image that you have about yourself. Right? The image you have about him and the image you have about yourself is partly your projection, isn't it? It is not the whole man who is my father. It is the fragment of one image. And that fragment appeals to me. And my thought which is also fragmentary thinks about him. So is my thought love? Is thought love? Is thought which is based on memory, symbol, words, images, conclusions, is that love? And if that is not love then love is not the product of thought. Right? So, when love is, thought is not. And when I love my father I don't have to think about him, love is. Do you understand all this? No, I am afraid you don't. Yes, sir?
Q: Could you say more about the relationship between love and killing and what is the difference between eating meat and wearing leather shoes?
K: What is the difference between killing animals, wearing shoes and ...?
K: Will you talk about killing. What is the relationship of love to killing. Is that it sir? Don't we know?
K: Yes I know all that, yes sir. What is the relationship between killing and love. You wear shoes and yet you are a vegetarian. Why do you wear shoes?
Now, this is a very, very old question I have answered a thousand times. I'll try and think of it differently. First of all, is killing necessary? Perhaps in a very, very cold climate at the North or South Pole, it may be necessary to kill animals. And is it necessary in a moderate climate like this and India, and so on, to kill animals to live. They are finding out more and more that you can be equally healthy, if not healthier, without eating meat. And cattle are taking more and more of the earth and as there are more and more people earth is necessary, therefore it may not be in the future necessary to kill animals, but that is the rationalisation that is going on. And probably the killing industry will object to all that. I read somewhere, written by a famous author that vegetarianism is like some loathsome disease that is spreading in America. And one has to live, I don't know why but apparently one has to live. And where do you draw the line? Personally I won't kill, or eat anything that is killed, animals, fish, fowl and all that because in it is involved cruelty and so on. I won't eat it. But I put on shoes, do I put on sandals? In India sandals are made out of cattle which is not killed. Listen to this carefully - which are not killed. They are allowed to wander, which means you use them up and then throw them out. And they wander and they die naturally and then you use their skin. So where do you draw the line?
Once I was in a country, in a Buddhist country, where a couple came to see me, a husband and wife, they said, 'We have a great problem. We are Buddhists, we are practising Buddhists, and Buddhism says, Don't kill, don't eat meat and so on'. And the man said, 'We have got a problem, which is this: we are Buddhists and we don't eat meat but I change my butcher every week because then I don't kill but the butcher kills' - you are following all this? 'The responsibility is on the butcher, not on me! But that is not our problem. You see our problem is we like eggs, and a fertilised egg is life, and we are rather afraid to kill that, to eat a fertilised egg, what do you advise?' You follow to what level of stupidity one can make all this into.
Now where do you draw the line? The speaker has drawn the line at a certain point. Killing a vegetable is the lowest form of killing, isn't it? So that is all right. Putting on shoes, what am I to do? Put on sandals? But that involves somebody else killing and so on and so on. So what shall I do? Shall my intelligence dictate - please, I am using the word 'intelligence' very, very carefully - or shall opinion, or my tradition, or my feelings, dictate what shall I do? So I have to enquire into what is intelligence. The word 'intelligence' means intelligere which means to read between the lines. I can read anything I like between the lines, therefore I must be extraordinarily careful to read properly between the lines. You understand? The meaning of that word we are talking about, 'intelligere'. So intelligence means the capacity to look with sensitive eyes, with a sensitive mind, with a sensitive heart, not an opinionated heart. Not a mind that comes to a conclusion or
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So a sensitive mind means a mind that is free from conclusions, conceptual thinking. And a sensitive heart means a mind a heart that has no desire to hurt. And out of that comes intelligence and that intelligence will operate and that intelligence is supremely kind and therefore: care, love. That is where I've drawn the line.