What is truth?
Can humanity change?
1st Buddhist Scholars Discussion Brockwood Park
June 28, 1979
Narayan: Mr. Feroz Meta is a scientist and has written a book about a couple of years ago, 'The Heart of Religion', which was very well received. He came here last year once and he also knows Dr Rahula, who was here for last year's discussion
Krishnamurti: Begin, sir.
Rahula Walpola: Why don't you speak one word first?
K: What am I to say? I don't know. We all join in?
R: Sir, I thought of to ask you one thing today. You see we all talk of truth, absolute truth, ultimate truth; and seeing it and realizing it; always we talk about it. And of course in Buddhism, according to Buddha's teaching, these are very important central points, as if that is the essence really. And Buddha says there is only one truth, there is no second. 'Ekam hi sachcham na, dwitiyamavati', that is clearly mentioned. But this is never defined in positive terms. That is, this truth is equated also with Nirvana.
R: Yes, it is equated. And sometimes the word 'truth' is used in place of Nirvana, ultimate truth, absolute truth.
And then Nirvana is never defined, except mostly in negative terms. If it is described in positive terms it is mostly metaphorically, as a symbol, symbolic way. And there is a very beautiful Mahyna Sutra; of course when I use the word 'Mahayana' you all understand, I think, there was the original, authentic teaching of the Buddha known as 'Theravda', that is the tradition of the elders. Then about the first century B.C., round about that period, Mahyna, which is a later development, began to grow: free interpretation of the teaching of the Buddha. There is a very beautiful Sutra written, of course it is a late work, all students, followers accept, called Vimalkeertinirdesha that is the teaching of the Bodhisatva. Vimalkeerti. There is an assembly in this house of the Bodhisatvas, disciples and like this great assembly. There, in that assembly the question was put: 'What is non-duality?' That is, non-duality is another word for the absolute truth, or Nirvana. It is in Sanskrit called advaida
K: Advaita, in Sanskrit, yes.
R: No, the advaita is different from advaida, yes mark these the Vedanta 'advaita' is, you are the God, there is no difference. 'Aham Brahmsmi' that is the idea. In Buddhism, in Buddhist terminology advaida means, neither existence nor non-existence, Buddha says: 'The world is duality', that means, either is or is not, either exist or does not exist, either right or wrong, that is advaida, according to Buddhist teaching: 'dvaida' that is duality. Buddha says the world is depending on this dvaida. But the Buddha teaches without falling into this dvaida, that is advaida.
And the question was put, 'What is advaida?' And there are 32 definitions, by Bodhisatvas, disciples, various long list, 32. Then Vunalakirti is the leading figure in this story, they said: 'Sir, it is not our opinion, but we want to know your opinion.' And then Sutra says - it is very interesting, Vimalakirti answered the question with a thundering silence
K: Quite. (Laughs)
R: (Laughs) That is that. If you speak it is not duality. And I was asked in Oxford by a professor when I gave a series of lectures, 'Can you formulate this non-duality or truth?' I said the moment you formulate, that is not non-duality; that becomes duality, the moment you formulate.
So, just as they asked Vimalakirti, I ask you today: (laughs) what is truth, what is absolute truth, what is ultimate truth and what is that non-duality as you see it? Tell us. This is a challenge
K: They're all looking at us.
R: Yes, yes, yes, that is so - all looking at us. Rather, looking at you.
K: At us, sir. Do you think, sir, there is a difference between reality and truth? And is truth measurable by words? And if we could distinguish between what is reality and what is truth, then perhaps we could penetrate more deeply into this question.
What is reality? The very word 'res', means 'things', thing. What is the 'thing'? Could we say that everything that thought has created is reality - including the illusions, the gods, the various mantras, rituals, the whole movement of thought, what it has brought about in the world, the cathedrals, the temples, the mosques, and their content? That is reality, like the microphone - it's made by thought, it is there, actual. But nature is not created by thought. It exists. But we human beings have used nature to produce things, like our houses, chairs, and so on, so on
R: You mean to say, nature of things. Nature of things.
R: Nature, yes,
K: The beauty of the earth, the rivers, the waters, the seas, the trees, the heavens, the stars, and the flowing winds, and all that.
R: And why not the beauty of this thing?
K: Oh, there is a beauty in this.
R: That's right.
K: But we were saying, I mean, a beautiful cathedral, a beautiful poem, a lovely picture, are all the result of thought. So could we say then that anything that thought has created, brought about, put together, is reality?
Mary Zimbalist: Sir, when you speak of the beauty of the object, are you including their quality of beauty as reality, or the object itself, and the beauty may be some other quality.
K: The object itself could be beautiful or one can attribute beauty to the thing which may not be beautiful in itself.
MZ: So it's the idea of the beauty of that object that you are including in this category.
K: Yes, both. Yes. So could we do that, sir. That reality, including the illusions it has created, as well as the material things it has created through technological knowledge and so on, so on, all that is reality.
R: Yes. May I add a little to that? That is, reality - I should say, I am explaining to you the Buddhist attitude about this problem - according to Buddhist thought, Buddha's teaching, there is relative truth or reality.
K: Don't let's use the truth and reality, just...
R: Yes, let us say reality, reality is relative.
K: Of course.
R: And absolute. What you say is fully accepted, that is a reality.
K: That is, everything that thought has created is reality.
R: Reality. Reality
K: The dreams...
R: Reality, even the dreams.
K: Yes, dreams, all the sensory and sensuous responses.
K: All the technological world of knowledge, all the things that thought has put together as literature, poem, painting, illusions, gods, symbols - all that is reality. Would you accept that, sir?
Firoz Mehta: Yes, but this word 'reality' has its denotation - its first meaning as well as its connotation.
FM: And through the centuries people have tended to talk of reality more in terms of one of its connotations of ultimate reality.
K: I know, I know, but I would like to distinguish, separate the two - truth and reality. Otherwise we mix our terms all the time
FM: That is true.
Scott Forbes: Sir, are you also, excuse me, are you also including nature in reality?
SF: No. Right.
K: No. That tree is not created by thought. But out of that tree man can produce chairs and so on.
SF: Yes. Is there then a third category of things, which is neither truth nor reality? Or are you calling nature...
K: Nature is not created by thought.
K: The tiger, the elephant, the deer. The gazelle that flies along, that is obviously not created by thought.
R: That means, you don't take the tree as a reality.
K: I take is as a reality, of course it's a reality, but it's not created by thought.
R: That's true. Then do you mean to say, only things created by thought, you include in reality.
R: Of course that is your own definition.
K: No, no, I'm trying to be clear that we understand so as not to get involved in these two terms, truth and reality.
R: Yes, I can understand, I can understand, yes. Leave the word 'truth' for another purpose and let us...
K: No. Not another purpose, let us look at reality - what is reality? The world is a reality.
K: These lamps are a reality. You sitting there, this person sitting there, are realities. The illusions that one has is an actual reality.
MZ: But sir, the people sitting there are not created by thought.
K: No, no.
MZ: So could we more or less define another category for living creatures, nature, trees, animals, people?
K: A human being is not created by thought.
MZ: No, but you...
K: But what he creates...
MZ: Yes. So the reality category of which you are speaking is man-made, in a sense.
K: Man-made. Like war is a reality. Would we You're a bit hesitant about this.
FM: Yes. Could we regard all that is apprehended through the senses, and then interpreted by the brain as reality.
K: Reality. Yes, that's right, sir.
SF: Sir, at one time we made a distinction, in talking, between reality, which was anything that was created by the mind, and actuality, which is anything which could be captured by the mind, anything that existed in time and space.
SF: And then there was truth. Now, reality was part of actuality. In other words, the tree was an actuality not a reality.
K: Why do you want to separate...
SF: Otherwise it becomes very confusing, because if we say, look, you and I, as people, we are not created by thought, so we're not realities.
K: You want to separate actuality, reality and truth. Is that it?
SF: Well I just offer that as a convenient definition of words that we used before, so that we can distinguish between...
K: Would we say the actual is what is happening now? What do you say?
FM: Yes, that's a good way of putting it. The point which arises there is that, are we capable of apprehending the totality of what is happening now. We apprehend only a portion of it.
K: Yes, but that's a different point, that's a different we can go into that. But what is actually happening, what is happening is actual. That's all. Not whether we understand, whether we comprehend the whole of it or part of it and so on. What is happening is the actual
FM: Yes. That is the fact.
K: That is a fact.
K: So, what do you say to all this, sirs?
R: I am still hesitating, and waiting, to see more.
K: So can a mind see the actual, incompletely or completely, that's not the point for the moment. And whether the mind can apprehend or perceive or observe or see that from reality you cannot go to truth
Stephen Smith: That's quite a big jump, probably.
K: Sir, could we put it this way too, as you pointed out, sir, that all these sensory responses is the beginning of thought.
K: And thought, with all its complex movements, is what is happening now when we're talking.
K: And what is happening is the actual, and the interpretation or the understanding of what is happening depends on thought. All that, including illusions and the whole business of it, is reality
FM: Yes, yes, that is so.
K: Then if we agree or accept that for the moment, then the question arises: can the mind, which is the network of all the senses, actualities and so on, can that apprehend, see, observe what is truth?.
FM: Provided the mind can be free of all its conditioning.
K: No, that's what I'll come to that a little later. But that's the problem. To find out what absolute truth is, thought must be understood - the whole movement and the nature of thought must be gone into, observed. And it has its relative place, and so the mind then becomes absolutely still and perhaps out of that, in that stillness, truth is perceived, which is not to be measured by words
FM: Yes, there I'd agree, completely.
R: Yes. Fully, I agree with that.
K: Now, these are the two - isn't it?
K: A human being is caught in the movement of thought. And this movement projects what is truth.
FM: This is the mistake that man makes.
K: Of course. I'm coming He projects from this to hoping to find what is truth. Or projects what he thinks is truth. And the truth can be put in different words - God. Brahman as it is called in India, or Nirvana, or moksha, you know, all that business
K: So our question is then, sir, can the mind cease to measure?
FM: That is to say, the mind as it functions at present in each one of us as an individual.
K: As human beings.
FM: As human beings.
K: Measurement is our whole educational environmental, social conditioning.
K: Would you agree?
K: Then what is measurement?
K: No. What is measurement, to measure? I measure a piece of cloth, or measure the height of the house, measure the distance from here to a certain place and so on. Measurement means comparison. Right sir?
K: I'm going on talking, I don't know why you all don't join.
SS: Well, there's also psychological measurement in all this.
R: Oh, yes.
K: Yes, there is physical measurement and psychological measurement. One measures oneself, psychologically against somebody
K: And so there is this constant measurement of comparison, both externally and inwardly. Right sir? I'm giving a lecture - what's the idea?
R: Well, I put the question to you.
K: Yes, sir.
R: As they put the question to Vimalakirti, I put the question to you.
K: What is the question?
R: (Laughs) What is non-duality? What is truth?
K: Ah, no, no.
R: You are explaining.
K: As long as thought is measuring there must be duality.
R: Absolutely, that is, that is so.
K: Now, how has this conditioning come about? You understand, sir? Otherwise we can't move away from this to that. How has this constant measurement, comparison, imitation, conformity - you know, the whole movement of measurement, why has man been caught in it?.
R: The whole measurement is based on self - self, the measuring is done...
K: Yes, but how has it come? Why have human beings, wherever they live, why are they conditioned by, through this measurement. I want, one wants to find out what is the source of this measurement. You follow, sir?
FM: Yes, yes.
SS: Part of it seems to be the fruit of observation, because you observe the duality of life in terms of night and day, man, and woman, the change of seasons and this kind of thing, which is a certain kind of contrast, there's a certain contrast apparent.
K: So you're saying...
SS: So it may seem a natural step to say that there's therefore a kind of contrast or comparison which is applicable in man's own life.
K: There's darkness, light, thunder and silence.
T. K. Parchure: It seems the thought needs a static point to measure, and it itself is moving constantly. And in a state of continuous flux or movement it can't measure, so it creates a static point which is immovable, which is taken as the centre or the self. And from there only it can measure
K: Yes, sir, yes. I mean, the very word 'better', 'greater', in the English language, is measurement.
R: Measurement, yes, certainly, measurement, certainly.
K: So the language itself is involved in measurement. Now, one has to find out, shouldn't one, I'm just asking, what is the source of this measurement, why has man employed this, or as a means of living? You follow all my questions, sir?
FM: Yes. Yes.
K: One sees night and day, high mountain, low valleys, the tall man, short man, woman, man, child, old age - physically there are all these states of measurement. There is also psychological measurement, that's what I'm talking about, much more than the mere physical movement of distance and so on. Why has man been held in this measurement?
SS: Probably he thinks it's the way forward, to some extent, because, if you're a farmer and you plant to crop in a certain way, and you get this kind of result, the next year you plant it in a different way, and you get that better result.
K: Yes, so it is time.
SS: It's time.
K: Go on, sir, a bit more. Time.
SS: There's a kind of It includes the ability to reflect, to have experience, to reflect on experience, to produce something better out of that experience in terms of probably an established notion of what is, you know, what is the good, what is the better thing to have, or what is the right situation of things.
K: That is, sir, of course, but I want to go a little further than that. Which is, why has man used time as a means of progress? I'm talking psychologically, not time which is necessary to learn a language, time is necessary to develop a certain technology and so on, so on, so on.
P: Perhaps the need of security of thought for itself.
K: No, time, which is measurement.
FM: Sir, do you think that our tendency is, that starting with the facts, the physical facts of difference, in size, in quantity, and so forth...
K: That's what I want to get at.
FM: Yes, we apply that analogically to the psychological process also.
K: Yes, yes. Or, without measurement there would have been no technology.
FM: That's true.
K: Right, sir, I don't know if you all...
N: As in science and mathematics, as it progresses, measurement becomes more and more refined, and each refinement in measurements leads to a further step of progress, computers, so...
K: We're not saying that we're not denying that.
N: In one sense, measurement and refinements of measurement do lead to a certain kind of progress, in science and technology.
K: Of course, we said that.
R: But we are not talking of physical measurement so much as psychological measurement.
K: Yes. Why has man used psychological time as a means of self-growth, self-aggrandisement, he calls it 'getting better', getting more noble, achieving enlightenment? All that implies time.
N: Is it, as Mehta says, carried over from the day to day living of measurement, science, to the psychological field? Is it carried over, or does it exist in the psychological field without reference to this?
K: That's what we're discussing. Whether there is any psychological evolution at all.
SF: Could we say that we began to apply measurement to the psychological field, one, out of habit, because that's what we've been using for the physical field, but also could we have made that transfer because it's very comfortable to think...
K: Of course, sir.
SF: ...that I might be in a mess now but later I'll be fine.
K: Let's be clear on this. On the technological, physical level, we need time. We need time to acquire a language, time to build a house, time to go from here to there, or time as a developing technology, science, we need time there. So let's be clear on that. So I'm asking something else. We're asking something else, which is, do we need time at all psychologically?
Shakuntala Narayan: What is it that creates time?
K: Thought, thought is time.
SN: So doesn't thought have something to do with it?
K: Which is what we're saying: time is movement, isn't it? So thought is movement, thought is movement, time is movement - from here to there; one is greedy, envious, I need time to be free of it. Physical distance and psychological distance. One is questioning whether that is not an illusion - not the physical distance but the psychological distance. Is there, sir, to put it very succinctly, is there psychologically, tomorrow?
FM: Only in terms of anticipation.
K: Ah, in terms of because thought says, 'I hope to'.
FM: And in addition to thought, there is the fact of our physical experience, of day and night, and therefore the words 'tomorrow', 'today'.
K: We said that very clearly. There is yesterday, today and tomorrow; that is a reality, that is a measurement also. But we are asking: is there psychological time at all, or thought has invented time, psychological time, in order to feel that it can achieve or live in some kind of security?.
R: What is time?
K: Time, sir, time is movement.
R: Yes. Time is nothing but the unbroken continuity of cause and effect, that is movement.
K: Movement, we said. Cause, effect, effect becomes the cause
R: That's right, that's perfect.
K: cause becomes the effect and so on, so on, so on, so on.
R: That is time. We give a word called 'time' for that movement.
K: Yes, which is movement. It's now five minutes past twelve, it's a movement till it reaches one o'clock.
R: Yes, it is a movement.
K: It's a movement.
R: Movement of cause and effect, continuous.
K: Yes, that's one aspect of time. And also the aspect of time which is from here, physical distance. I have to go to London and it takes time to get there
R: Yes, that is another conception of time.
K: Another time. We are looking at the various facets of time.
R: Yes, another time.
MZ: Sir, would you say that thought in itself implies time, because the action...
K: Of course.
MZ: ...of the mind consulting thought, going through the thought process takes, even if it's a very quick, short amount of time, it is still time.
K: Surely, because thought is response of memory, memory is time.
MZ: Then one has to...
K: Yes, memory is time. Right sir?
K: So please, don't go back and forth. Let's stick to one thing, which is, there is physical time, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Time as movement
FM: What we call chronological time.
K: Chronological time. Right, let's call that chronological time. Time also as from distance. Time also to put, for the cause, effect - acorn, tree. To climb a mountain - time. So we are saying, time, physically exists
K: Right sir? Physically. The baby grows into man and so on. So time is necessary, time exists. That's an actuality, that is a reality. We are questioning whether psychologically there is time at all. Or thought has invented it, time as a means of either achieving security, or, it is lazy to completely transform itself
K: Immediately. So it says, 'Give me time'. Give me time to be strong psychologically.
FM: Strong in mind.
K: Strong. Psychologically strong. Psychologically give me time so that I'll get rid of my anger, my jealousy or whatever it is, and I'll be free of it. So he's using time as a means of achieving something psychologically
MZ: But then one must ask you about the use of the word 'psychological' in this instance, because if a thought process is involved and we just said time is implicit in thought, how can you be without thought psychologically?
K: We are coming to that, we are coming to that.
MZ: Or is this psychology realm in this discussion outside of thought, part of thought, or could be either one?
K: Isn't the whole psyche put together by thought?
SS: There seems to be a question here, whether it is or not.
K: I'm asking sir, go slow. Isn't the whole psyche the 'me'?
SS: Is that the psyche?
K: Isn't it, part of that, the 'me' - what I think, what I want, what I don't want, what I wish, I wish, and so on, the whole movement, self-centred movement of the 'me' is put together by thought.
MZ: If that is so, then how would it be possible for there not to be time involved in any psychological movement?
K: We're going to go into that. I want first to be clear that our questions are understood.
N: Would you make a distinction, sir, between hope and aspiration, because many people say to aspire is something noble, but hoping is...
K: Aspiring is time.
N: Yes, there is time, but...
K: Hope is also - I hope, yes.
N: Yes. But in aspiration there seems to be the idea of something very right.
K: I aspire to become god - I mean, it's so silly!
N: In the whole religious endeavour there is aspiration. Would you say that?
R: Of course religious tradition, there is aspiration, always. What we discuss is, I think the point is whether you can see truth without thinking or time, whether seeing truth is now, this moment, or whether you postpone it till you become better.
K: Ah, you see!
R: That is the question.
K: That is, whole the moment you introduce the word 'better'...
R: That is what I say.
K: Yes, of course.
R: That is what I say, that is where the question arises. Now the question is: it is true, you see it now.
K: Ah, no, no, we haven't come to truth yet. I am very careful, sir, I don't want to enter the world of truth yet. One wants to be clear that one's thinking, either is logical, sane, rational, or it comes to a conclusion which is illusory. And so one wants to examine this whole nature of time, psychologically. That's all I'm talking about. If there is no tomorrow psychologically our whole action is different. But psychologically we say, tomorrow is important, tomorrow I will do this, tomorrow I hope to change, psychologically. I'm questioning that, because all our aspirations, hopes, everything is based on the future, which is time
N: You would say then, any aspiration, however noble it is, is in the field of reality.
K: Is in the field of thought, yes.
FM: Yes, because it is a formulation.
K: Formulation, by thought.
FM: Exactly. So would I be right in saying you are concerned with being free of the time factor totally, in psychological terms.
K: Yes, sir. Otherwise I am caught, our mind is living always in a circle.
FM: Yes, that is true. We are tied to the past, to that which has become fossilised.
K: Yes, so the past modifying the present and going on. This past modifying itself into the future is time. So when one says, 'I will be better', 'I will understand' or 'I will try', all these are involved in time. So I question that, whether it's merely an invention of thought for its own - whatever reason, we can go into, and so it is illusory, and so there is no tomorrow
FM: In psychological terms.
K: Of course, we said that very clearly. So if one is envious, which is a sensory response, and therefore thought has created this envy. Now we say, generally we say, give me time to be free of that envy
FM: Yes, provided we perceive that this is envy.
K: Oh, yes, I'm envious, you've a bigger house, better dressed, you've more money, all the rest of it, everybody perceives this envy, this jealousy, this antagonism. So is it possible, being envious, to be free of it instantly, and not allow time to intervene? That is the whole point
FM: Isn't the envy, a psychical reaction to what is perceived through the senses?
K: Yes, that's right.
FM: And are not the sense functionings...
FM: Yes, they are. Determined by actual, physical conditions?
K: Yes, obviously, sir.
FM: So the psychical reaction follows the sensuous activity. And that involves the pleasure/pain drives within us.
K: Obviously. One sees you driving in a big lovely car. And I'm driving a small car, so there is comparison.
FM: Yes. The comparison arises, surely, partially through what others have put before us, that this is better than that.
K: Than that.
FM: This is more pleasant or this is less pleasant.
K: But that begins from childhood.
FM: So we get into the psychological habit.
K: Yes. That begins with childhood.
K: You are not as good as your brother, in examinations and the whole educational system is based on this comparative evaluation of one's capacities.
K: Now we're going, you see, we're moving away from...
SF: Yes, sir, didn't we just come to the fact that anything that is involved in measurement and thought cannot get rid of measurement and thought.
K: First it must realise the actuality of it. Not say 'Yes, I've understood it' - intellectual.
SF: Does it realise that with thought?
SF: So then what is the...
K: Wait, we're coming to that, slowly, wait. Do we see that we've used time psychologically and so, that psychological usage of time is an illusion. That is, first I want to see, we must be clear on that point - I will reach heaven. I will become enlightened. I will eventually through various series of lives, or one life, achieve Nirvana, Moksha, all this. All that is psychological time. We are questioning whether that thing is an illusion. It if is an illusion it is part of thought
SF: Right. Now we can't, we don't use thought in order to see all this.
K: No. Wait. Do we understand even verbally...
SF: Even with thought?
K: With thought Communication now is, between us, through words. Those words have been accumulated and so on, so on, and we both of us speak, apparently for the moment we speak both of us in English, so we understand the meaning of it. Now do we see - see, not through argument, through explanation, through rationalization, that thought has created this psychological time as a means of achieving something
MZ: Sir, we can see that still within the thought process, still within the realm of thought.
K: Now wait.
MZ: Is that the seeing you're talking about?
K: No, I'm coming to that. I'm coming to that slowly, (laughs) I want to lead up to it, otherwise it won't be clear. Am I all right, we are following each other, or not?
R: I am following very...
K: Is this accurate, sir?
R: That I can't say still. Still I can't tell you. Because I don't know where we are going.
K: Ah, I don't know where I'm going either! But this is a fact.
R: Yes, yes. (Laughs) That's right. That is what, I am watching. (Laughs)
N: I think there's also some difficulty in apprehending what you're saying, because there is maturity and growth in nature, through time.
K: We've been through that, Narayan. Don't go back to it.
N: No, I'm not going back to it, but unconsciously you're identified with it. Is there maturity and growth in human beings, through time? There is some kind of maturity through time.
K: We said that.
N: Yes, so one gets stuck to it.
K: One holds on, is attached to this idea of time as self-improvement, not only physically but psychologically.
N: I don't even say 'self-improvement' - maturity.
N: A kind of natural
K: natural, comparing yourself with nature, as you see all over.
K: Yes, therefore, wait, what do you mean by maturity? We may have different meaning to that word, 'to mature'. A tree is mature at a certain age, a human being physically is mature at a certain age. And mature cheese! (Laughs).
N: Yes, the whole, the fruit from the bud.
K: Yes, the fruit is mature to be picked. And so on, so on, so on. But is there psychological maturity at all? That's my whole point.
P: Perhaps there is a third factor of life, intellectual maturity which is mental level and...
K: Yes, sir, I agreed, you're going...
MZ: Within the illusory world, psychologically, there is a certain maturity, but it's still founded on thought and time.
K: Yes, but I'm just asking, Maria, do we understand clearly, even verbally, and so intellectually, that we have used time as a psychological catalyst to bring about change? Right?.
R: That is...
K: And I'm questioning that catalyst.
FM: May I enquire, sir: what precisely do you mean when you say, 'Do we see that psychological time is an illusion', what do you mean by the word 'see'?
K: I'm coming See, I mean by that word 'see', observe without the interference of thought.
FM: That means, to be completely conscious, to be completely aware of psychological time being an illusion as a fact.
K: Yes, to see this is a like I see a snake, and I don't mistake it for a rope.
FM: No. So you would agree that that involves - would you agree, that that involves a complete transformation of your mode of awareness, your consciousness? When you're really conscious of something, you don't have to...
K: Now wait a minute. Again, sir, the word 'consciousness' and 'conscious'...
FM: Those are difficult words.
K: Those are difficult words. I see this, can I see this and not call it a microphone.
K: Not call it, see the shape, just to observe without any reflection.
FM: Quite, without naming it.
K: Naming it, all the rest of it.
K: Analysing it.
FM: In other words, the seeing is a whole seeing...
FM: ...almost in the sense of your being what you see.
K: No, no. That becomes then a duality, you become that. No!
FM: You don't become that in the sense that you are merged into it. But you are awake in terms of a unitary whole.
K: Just a minute, sir. These again are rather difficult words.
R: No, I don't think that is what he means. No.
K: Sir, to observe implies - first let's look at it as it is generally understood - to observe a tree, I name it.
K: I like it or don't like it. And so on, so on. But we mean by observation, seeing, is to listen first and not make an abstraction of it into idea, and then the idea sees.
K: I wonder if you see.
R: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
K: Say for instance - I said a little earlier that psychologically there is no time, psychological time is the invention of thought, and may be an illusion. Now to listen to that without interpreting it: what do you mean by it, rationalizing it, or saying, 'I don't understand', 'I do understand', just to listen to that statement and not make an idea of it, but just to listen. As one listens that way, in the same way observe, see. What do you say, sir?
R: I want to ask you, what are you trying to tell us?
K: I'm trying to say, sir, that truth cannot possibly be perceived, seen, through time.
K: Ah, ah, wait a minute, you can't agree!
R: Not agree, I see it. That is why I was waiting to ask you what are you trying to say.
K: I'm trying to say that - I'm not trying, I'm saying. (Laughs)
R: (Laughs) That's right. That is what you want to say.
K: Sorry. (Laughs) I'm saying that man through comparison with the outer world has created a psychological time as a means of achieving a desired, rewarding end.
K: No! Do you see that as a fact - fact in the sense it's so.
SF: Is the facility of the mind that sees that, the same facility that sees truth?
K: Look, Scott, first you listen, don't you, to that statement.
K: How do you listen to that statement?
SF: Well, at first I just listen.
K: You listen. Do you make an idea of it?
SF: Often, later, yes, but...
K: No. It's a simultaneous process going on. You listen and you get an idea of it and the idea is not the actual observation. That's all I'm saying
SF: But if there is that...
K: No, this is, sir, from Greeks and the Hindus, all our whole structure is based on ideas. And we are saying the idea is not the actual happening, which is the actual listening.
FM: The idea is just a picture of the actual listening.
K: Yes. Which is an evasion, an avoidance of actual observation.
FM: Of the immediate fact.
K: Yes, looking or listening.
SS: Then there may be something which we are evading constantly.
K: Yes. (Laughs)
SS: I would like to suggest that, as we've been talking about thought, and the various things which it has devised in order to create some kind of freedom or liberation or salvation or redemption, that there may be some driving factor which is part of thought, or there may be a driving factor which accounts for this, which may be sorrow.
K: Yes, sir, escape from pain through reward.
SS: This seems to apply to the most sophisticated and the more primitive civilizations, all of them.
K: Obviously. Because all our thinking is based on these two principles: reward and punishment. Our reward is enlightenment, God, Nirvana or whatever you like to call it, away from anxiety, guilt, all the pain of existence, you know, all the misery of it all
FM: Is it not possible to be free from the idea of reward or punishment?
K: That's what I'm saying. As long as our minds are thinking in terms of reward and punishment, that is time.
FM: How is it that our minds think that way?
K: Because we're educated that way.
FM: Yes, true.
K: We are conditioned from childhood, from the time of the Greeks in the West, because there measurement was important, otherwise you couldn't have got all this technological knowledge.
FM: Yes. And would you say that this is due to the fact that we are tied to the idea of a separate 'me', a separate 'I'.
FM: Supposing one sees, hears, touches, etc., all in terms of a wholeness, an awareness of wholeness.
K: You can't be aware of the wholeness, unless you have understood - not you, sir, I'm just Unless one has understood the movement of thought.
FM: Movement of thought.
K: Because thought is in itself limited.
FM: Yes, of course, which means the intrusion of the self-consciousness as a separate something.
FM: Otherwise it won't be there.
K: Sir, how did this self separative consciousness come into being?
FM: Conditioning in the first instance.
K: It's so obvious.
FM: I, you, me.
K: Of course, measurement.
FM: Measurement, exactly, exactly. And that analogically inevitably gets transferred to the realm of the psyche, to the realm of the mind...
K: Of course, of course, of course.
FM: ...or whatever it is.
K: So we come to this point, you make a statement that psychological time has been used by man as a means of achieving his reward.
FM: Yes, that is so.
K: It's so obvious. And that reward is away from the pain which he's had. So we are saying, this search for reward or the achievement of the reward, is a movement of time. And is there such a thing at all? We have invented it, it may be illusion. And from this illusion I can't go to reality - I mean to truth. So the mind must be totally, completely free of this movement of measurement. Is that possible?
FM: As a short answer, I would simply say yes.
K: Yes. Either you say yes as a logical conclusion, or a speculative assertion, or a desired concept, or it is so.
FM: Yes, an 'of-courseness', is there. If there is a sense of 'of-courseness' - of course it is so, then there is...
K: I can assume it is so, but I go on the rest of my life moving in the other direction.
FM: If one really sees...
K: Ah, that's what we are saying.
FM: ...then one doesn't go in the other direction.
K: So that's what we're saying, do we see it, or is it, we think we see it.
MZ: Can we go back for a moment to - you said you observe, you hear a statement, you observe that - actually what the mind does in that observation.
K: Please, if I can put it this way: please don't accept what one is saying but let's find out. Observation in the sense, implies, a seeing without naming, without measuring, without a motive, without an end. Obviously. That is actually seeing. The word 'idea' from the Greek, the word itself means to observe.
MZ: But, sir, we would probably all agree with that. And what is acting at that moment? It is a kind of logic, I think, in most people.
MZ: It seems very evident what you've said.
K: Observation implies silence and not forming any conclusion, just to observe silently, without any psychological or sensory responses except either visual or inward, insight without the responses of memory.
R: Without any value judgement.
FM: Would you say, sir, that implies without any reaction from the brain or the senses or...
K: Yes, sir, that Wait, sir, that's dangerous thing, to bring in the brain. Because then we have to go into the whole question of, you know, I don't want to go into the question of 'brain' for the moment. It implies that. That means, thought is absolutely quiet in observation
FM: Scientists, for example, who have really new remarkable inspirations, or again great artists when they create wonderful things, this happens when everything is quiet inside, which allows this new to emerge, the new, the truly new, the pulse of creation.
K: Yes, sir, but that insight is partial. The scientist's insight or perception is partial.
FM: Partial, yes. That is to say, the formulation of that insight.
K: Ah, his insight is not only formulation but the very fact of his insight, because insight implies a whole transformation of his daily life, it isn't just, I'm a scientist and I have an insight into mathematics, into matter, into the atom. Insight implies the way the man lives as a whole
R: That is perfectly so.
FM: And any insight is a particular manifestation rooted in the background of the whole.
K: Ah, ah, no, we go off into something. I won't accept, sorry, not I wouldn't accept, it's rather confusing, that. Sir, let us talk a little bit about insight, or seeing. Insight implies an observation in which there is no remembrance of things past, therefore the mind is alert, free from all the value judgements and so on, just to observe. Only then you have an insight. But that insight of which we are talking about, implies, his whole life, not as a scientist, as an artist. They have partial insight.
R: That is only a small fragment.
K: Fragment of insight, but that's not what we're talking about. So it comes to this.
R: And what we talk of is the whole existence.
K: Of course, man's existence.
R: Existence, yes.
FM: So in that state of observation which you're talking of, there is no reaction whatsoever.
K: Of course, obviously. It isn't cause/effect reaction.
FM: Quite, quite. It's free of causality.
K: Of course, of course, obvious, sir. Otherwise we are back in the old cause being a motive and so on, so on.
R: And that seeing is beyond time. It is beyond time, that seeing it is not limited or caught in time.
K: That's right.
R: It is not caught
K: And that insight is not involved in time.
R: Time. That's right. And naturally it is neither cause or effect.
K: Yes. But, wait, wait. Have you - not you, sir - have we got this insight into - wait, just a minute, let me finish - into the psychological invention of time by thought, as achieving some result? Have you got insight, do you see it, or it is just at a verbal, ideological level?.
R: Or whether it is a fact.
K: Ah, no.
R: That psychological time, necessary for seeing.
K: No, sir. We went into this question. Man has invented time, psychologically, to achieve a desired end, purpose, reward. Does one see this as an idea, or it is so? It's so obvious it is so. Then how is man - this is the point - how is man, a human being, to totally move away from that, totally transform this whole concept of idea - of time? I say it's only possible when you have an insight into this whole thing, which doesn't involve effort, which doesn't involve concentration, all that. This is real meditation
FM: In fact, it just happens.
K: It's real meditation.
SF: Sir, there is a dilemma which I think many people find themselves in when they listen to that, which is that in order to have this insight...
K: Ah, you can't have it.
SF: Well, in order for this insight to occur, there must be an insight into thought. And it seems like it's...
SF: ...somewhat of a closed circle.
K: No. We went into this, sir. Thought, as we said, is response of memory, memory is knowledge, experience, and so from the past, thought is moving.
K: But always from the past, it is not free from the past ever.
SF: And we said that there must be a seeing, and an observing...
K: Seeing that.
SF: Right. Now we can't see that with thought, we must see that...
K: Wait, wait, wait, wait, no, don't say that. I said just now - what did I I've forgotten, sorry.
SF: Well, we were saying that there must be a seeing, an observing, which is an insight...
K: ...into thought.
SF: ...into thought.
K: Wait, just hold it. Now, thought is the response of memory.
Memory, stored up in the brain, through experience, and that has become knowledge.
K: So knowledge is always the past. And from that thought arises. This is irrefutable, I mean, this is so.
K: Now is this an idea or an actuality which you yourself have perceived: that you yourself see that ascent of man through knowledge is not so. Man can only ascend perhaps technologically, but psychologically, if he continues with the accumulation of knowledge, he's caught in the trap. Do you see that? Or do you make it into an idea and say, 'What do you mean by it?', and so on, so on, so on
SF: But, sir, just to see that, I must be free.
K: No, observe, you first listened
K: Listening without analysis, without interpretation, without like or dislike, just to listen. And if you so listen you have absorbed it, absorbed the fact that thought is the response of memory. Then you can proceed. Then can thought ever free itself from its mother, (laughs) from its roots, from its source? Obviously not
SS: But thought can be aware of its own activity.
K: Oh of course, of course, we went through all that.
MZ: Sir, would you say that if insight comes into being at that moment, that then that insight doesn't fall back into the thought mechanism?
K: Oh no, of course not. Say, for instance, you have an insight and you act. Now let's be clear. Insight means action, instantly, not have an insight and later act. That very insight implies action. And you act. And that action is always right, right being accurate, precise, without any regret, without any effort, without any reward or punishment, it is so
SS: That action is not necessarily doing anything, though. It may be non-action in terms of doing things externally.
K: You may have to
SS: But you may not have to.
K: both externally and inwardly. If I have an insight into attachment: attachment to ideas, attachment to conclusions, attachment to persons, attachment to my - you follow? - knowledge, experience. If I have an insight into that, the whole thing is abandoned
R: And may I put it, sir, in another way - I don't know whether you agree - to see this illusion, to see this illusion.
K: Yes, yes. But one must be sure that it is an illusion.
R: Whether you call it illusion or whatever name you give to it, to see...
K: 'What is'.
R: 'What is'.
K: That's all.
R: Yes, see 'what is'. Don't give a term.
K: No, to see 'what is'.
R: 'What is' is to see the truth.
K: Ah, no, no, no, no, you see, you're bringing in truth - I'm not yet ready for that.
R: Yes, I want to get it, before one o'clock! (Laughter) I don't want to postpone, but your main thesis is, don't put in time.
K: Yes, I've said, just now, one o'clock. (Laughs)
R: No, no, no, not yet one, not yet one, yes. (Laughs) To see 'what is' as it is, is to see the truth. That's what I would like to put, to cut it short.
R: And truth is not away from...
K: Ah, I don't know what it is.
R: That is what I tell you: to see.
K: I don't know what it means to see. You have told me what it means to see, but I may not see. I may think I see.
R: Yes, then you are not seeing.
K: I must be very clear that I am not thinking I'm seeing.
K: Sir, my whole life is that - I think I see.
R: It is different from seeing.
K: Ah, you say so, but ordinary person says, 'I see, yes'. Which is, I think I see what you're saying. But I may not see actual 'what is'. I think I see 'what is'
SF: Krishnaji, could I, this might be a simple question but you say that the ordinary person says, 'I see, I see what you're saying,' but in fact he doesn't.
SF: It's just mentally that he see something, or intellectually. Could we say, what is going to bring about for the ordinary person this correct seeing, this seeing without thought?
K: I explained, sir, I explained it. First I must listen.
K: Ah, do we listen? Or we've all kinds of conclusions, so filled, full of our minds, that it isn't capable of listening. You see me, you say, 'He's an Indian, what the heck, get rid of him, he knows nothing'. Or you say, 'Well, he's a conceited person,' this or that. You don't actually listen
SF: Well, then the question is, I would just change the terminology - what could bring about that correct listening?
K: It has been said, through suffering, which is nonsense. It has been said, make effort - which is nonsense. You listen when somebody says, 'I love you', (laughs) Don't you? So can you, the same thing, to listen to what you think is unpleasant
So, sir, now come back to this question of truth. Do we have a discussion this afternoon?
MZ: I believe it was said at 3:30, we'd meet.
K: 3:30? All right. Can we then pursue truth?
R: Yes. No. I don't want to wait for truth. (Laughter)
K: (Laughs) You want it all in five minutes, sir?
R: Not even five minutes.
K: One minute?
R: One minute. (Laughter) If you can't do it in one minute, you can't do it in five hours.
K: I quite agree. All right, sir, in one second. Truth is not perceivable through time. Truth doesn't exist when the self is there. Truth doesn't come into existence if thought in any direction is moving. Thought is something that cannot be measured - measured
K: Truth, truth. I said that.
SF: You said thought.
K: I beg your pardon - truth. And without love, without compassion, with its own intelligence, truth cannot be.
R: Yes, now again you have given it in negative terms, in the real tradition of the Buddha. Yes.
K: Ah, you see, you know what you have done, sir, look. Look. You have translated into terms of tradition, therefore - forgive me for pointing out, I'm not being impudent - you've moved away from the actual listening of this.
R: I listened, I listened very well.
K: Then you've captured the perfume of it.
R: Yes, and I captured the perfume of what you said. And that is why I wanted to have it in one minute.
K: Sir, sir. What then is the relationship of truth to reality? Be careful, sir, be careful. I mean, are these two everlastingly divided?
K: No, no - no.
R: No, I don't hesitate, I am not hesitating like that. They are not divided.
K: How do you know?
R: I know it.
K: No, sir. They are not divided. Now what do you mean by that, sir?
R: That is what I said, to see.
K: No, just a minute, sir. Truth and reality, they are not divided. That means, thought and truth, are always together. No? If they are not divided, if something is not divorced, separate, they are together, a unitary movement. Thought
R: Not thought.
K: Wait, sir, reality, no, that's why I went into it, sir. Reality is everything that thought has put together. We are all agreed that is so. We may use the word, terminology, the word 'reality' and something else, I don't care, but for the present we are saying, reality is all the things that thought has put together including illusion. And truth is nothing whatsoever to do with this, it can't. And therefore the two cannot be together
R: To see that illusion, or whatever it may be, to see 'what is', is to see the truth. 'What is' is the truth. 'What is' is the truth. There is no truth apart from that. 'What is' is the truth.
K: No, sir.
R: That is, 'what is' is the truth.
K: Sir, what is?
R: What is not is untruth.
K: No, no, what is? We said reality is the movement of thought. Right, sir? And truth is timeless. Truth is timeless, it's not your truth, my truth, his truth - it is something beyond time. Thought is of time, the two cannot run together, that's what I'm
R: What I say is, there are no two.
R: That is again duality, again you are dividing.
K: No, I'm not. I'm pointing out, sir - I may be mistaken but I'm just pointing out, that thought has created such illusion, and so many deceptions it has brought about, and it may deceive itself by saying, 'Yes, I've seen truth.' Therefore I must be very clear, there must be clarity that there is no deception whatsoever. And I'm saying that deception exists, will inevitably exist if I don't understand the nature of reality
We can continue this, sir, because we'll go after lunch.
R: I would like to take this afternoon another question. Because there will be no end to this question.
K: Yes, sir, what is the question?
R: (Laughs) The other question that you yourself wanted to talk about, whether there is pre-existence, the continuity, what people call generally rebirth or something like that.
K: Oh, yes. Shall we do that after lunch, sir?
R: I think so.
R: Yes. I think here we have come to truth. I don't know whether you...
K: I haven't come to truth, I can't go to truth.
R: No, you see the truth.
K: I don't see truth. Ah, there's a tremendous difference: I can't go to truth, I can't see truth. Truth can only exist, can be, or is only when the self is not
R: That's right, that's right.
K: Let's go and eat, shall we?