What is your mind?
Living, love and death are one movement
1st Public Talk, Bangalore
January 05, 1974
I think it would be good if you could find out why you are here. Obviously to listen to the speaker. But it would be much more profitable and worthwhile, I think, if you could really discover for yourself why you want to listen to the speaker and why you have gathered? What is your intention? What is behind your sitting there and listening, if you are going to listen, to what is being said? Is it that you want to gain some merit? Is it because you want to find out earnestly, seriously, what the speaker has to say? Or is it that you will listen to what he has to say and translate according to your like and dislike, according to your tradition, according to your specialised knowledge? Or are you going to listen to find out if it is at all possible for human beings like us, living in a world that is almost insane, in a world that has become extraordinarily complex, in a world where there are so many, many doctrines, philosophies, ideologies, or do you want to listen to find out if the human mind, that's your mind, can be transformed? So, it would be worthwhile, I think, if you could discover, if you are at all serious, why we listen to anybody at all. Why do we attend talks at all or go to any guru, go to any temple, do puja and all the rest of the things that you are doing in the name of religion?
And we are going to, together, find out what our life is. Why we do all these absurd things. And in listening to the speaker words are necessary because, after all, words we have to use to communicate. And as we are speaking in English we have to understand the meaning of words, how they are used. And in this communication, that is, in listening to what is going to be said, either we share in what is being said or merely translate what is being said into ideas, into abstractions. Either we share together what is being said and not translate it into an ideology, into an abstraction and therefore share, partake in that which is being spoken. Communication means really, if you will go into the dictionary meaning of it and look into it very carefully, you will find that it means to share, to think together, to partake, to enjoy, not only that which is given but in the very receiving of it. All that is implied in the word 'communication'. And we are going to communicate together. You understand? Communicate together. That means sharing, partaking, therefore you are responsible not merely to listen but responsible in the very sharing of it. Therefore one must give a great deal of attention. And you will attend if you are interested; you will not attend if you are not interested. It's as simple as that. If you are interested in trying to find out if there is a different way of living, a different approach to life, a different kind of mind that is really religious, then sharing together becomes quite exhilarating, becomes an intensive investigation. And that's what we are going to do this evening. We are going to investigate, not accept nor deny but together explore, take a journey into the whole mess in which we are living. And if that is the reason that you are here, then the gathering of the fruit depends on you.
Let us together look not only at the world about us, but also at the world that is within. Not only externally - the misery, poverty, injustice, corruption, the lack of beauty, the self-concern, the violence, the brutality, the utter indifference to immense suffering: and also we have to look inwardly too, in ourselves. And perhaps that's much more important. To look at ourselves, not according to some religious book, not according to some philosopher or psychologist or according to your Gita, Upanishads, or whatever you like, but actually look at ourselves as you'd look at a mirror. You look at your face every morning and you comb your hair and do all kinds of things you do to your face, you look at that. In the same way to look inside, to look at ourselves. And I don't believe many Indians do this. They don't know themselves. They know according to somebody who has said what they are, according to some guru, some - oh, you know all the rubbish that's going on in this country. But you never investigate for yourself originally, without any authority, without any pattern, investigate actually, not ideologically, factually, look at yourself. So, that's what we are going to do.
Look at the world objectively, not as an Indian or as a Muslim or a Parsi or a Pakistani and a Hindu, which are all nationalistic divisions that have no value at all, except for the politicians and the people who want to corrupt the world. To look at this world in which we live, the beauty of the earth, the beauty of a sunset, with the fleeing clouds, and the dark trees and the shape of the lovely earth. And look at it with sanity, look at it without any opinion. Then only you can see actually 'what is'. But if you have opinions, conclusions, then you are looking at it with distorted eyes. In the same way to look at yourself inwardly, without any opinion, without any conclusion, that you are God or no God, that you are the higher self, the Atman and all the things that man has repeated thousands of times, but to look at yourself with eyes that are capable of reason; with a mind that is not wanting to shape what you are, but to look actually what your thoughts are, why you say one thing and do another, why you are corrupt, why you follow another, why you have a thousand gurus, each with his own little enlightenment, with his own little miracles, why you accept authority where authority should not exist at all.
So, we are going together, not only this evening - with a lovely sunset - we are going together to share the world about us: the world at war, the world of divisions into nationalities with their sovereign governments, with their armies, with their airforce to destroy each other, why human beings are killing each other, not only physically but verbally, why there is so much corruption. The word 'corruption' means not only the things that we do, human beings do for power, position, but also a bit radically the word means to break, 'rompere', to break down, a mind that is broken, fragmented, living in different levels, saying one thing, doing another, thinking one thing and doing quite the opposite, such a mind is a corrupt mind. And why, in this world in which we live, how has this come about, the injustice, poverty, the religious divisions - the Christian, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, followers of one type of guru and followers of another guru, why has this come about? Who has created it and why do we accept it? If we are at all serious, and I hope we are serious here this evening because this is not an entertainment, intellectual or otherwise, certainly not a religious entertainment. So, if you are at all serious, and a human being who is not serious does not know how to live. Serious in the most profound sense of that word. Serious to find out what the meaning of life is, what it is all about, not have theories, opinions, quote endlessly. That person is not a serious person. But a serious man is one who is really committed totally to the investigation of his own life. What he does, what he doesn't do, what he thinks. The whole existence, to be committed to that completely, totally, is a serious person. And if you are such a person and you must be such a person when the world is afire, when there is so much misery, when there is utter lack of affection, care, love, you must be serious.
So, outwardly, you know what is happening: from the highest levels of authority to the lowest person who is hungry, never will know what it means to be happy. Who has brought this about? Karma? Do you believe in Karma, any of you? You do, don't you? - cause and effect. And if you do, does it mean anything, the way you live? After all, your belief has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how you live. How you live is far more important than all the beliefs put together. They have no value at all. So, you know what's happening in the world outside, if you are at all aware, if you are at all concerned, if you are aware that the house is afire, it must be put out. And seeing all this, outwardly, what is a human being now? What is an Indian mind? What is your mind? Please, do listen to this. Very few people talk like this about all this. So give your heart and mind to find out what is your mind. What is the mind of an Indian, Hindu or a Muslim, doesn't matter what it is, what is that mind? What is the mind that you have? Is it in the prison of tradition? Please, investigate with me. Is it bound by authority, by repetition of something somebody else has said? Is your knowledge a direct knowledge about yourself or is it the knowledge that you have acquired from somebody else? Therefore you are living second-hand. Therefore you are a second-hand mind. I'm not trying to insult you or abuse you, but when one looks at it factually, what is this thing that lives in India, this mind that has created this monstrous world around you? God hasn't created this world. You have created it. You have created the image of God according to your like and dislike. Follow this. You may not like all this, but since you are here - that's why I said I don't know why you are here - but since you are here, listen to it. We are not trying to convert you to any particular belief, philosophy or ideology; that is too stupid, that's mere propaganda. Truth is not propaganda. Truth is something that you have to live daily. Therefore it has nothing to do with what others have said. You have to find out for yourself.
So, what is your mind? If you have looked at it at all, what is this mind that has created this present India? Not only the religion, the superstition, the gurus, the worship of idols, the pujas, the infinite number of rituals, which are all called religion, which are not religion at all, and the corruption, the tradition handed down. The word 'tradition' means to hand out, to give to another and also it has quite a different meaning too. Tradition means also betrayal. You are betraying when you are traditional, because you are not living, you are just carrying on what others have said. Therefore you are betraying your life. So, what is this Indian mind, conditioned by superstition, by the books they have read, by the theories of various religious, philosophical teachers, by fear, by the desire to achieve heaven on one side and to achieve success? Success has become the virtue. I hope you are all listening to all this, not rejecting it.
So, the Indian mind lives in the past and has become highly sophisticated in the present. Haven't you noticed it? That you do puja, take vows and highly - what word shall we use? - highly uneducated. So, we have created this world. You and I. The gurus, the shoddy thinkers, the people who accept religious authority, we are responsible for this world, whether you like it or not, whether you want to avoid it, if you cannot face it, you want to escape from it, rush off to temples, become a follower of some shoddy little guru. You are utterly, totally responsible for this. And can you, as a human being, not as an Indian, not as a Christian, Muslim, all that is so utterly meaningless, totally irrelevant, can you transform yourself, bring about a total revolution in yourself? That's the only thing that matters. Not what you believe, not your gurus, not what your religious books are, not whether you are an Indian and waving the flag and willing to kill others, but whether as a human being, living in this world which we have created with your mind - your mind that is corrupt, your mind that wants authority, which means that it is not capable of thinking for itself. It wants to be told how to meditate, how to behave, what to think. The whole tragedy of our education is what has produced this monstrous, insane world and therefore you are responsible.
You know, when you feel the responsibility of this, not merely verbally, but really, deeply, in your blood, in your heart, when you feel this, then you begin to understand how important it is that you, a single human being bring about in himself a radical, psychological revolution. And we are going to talk about, during the next three talks, this revolution, this transformation of the mind. Because that's the only thing that is going to save the world; not your philosophy, not your Shankaras, your pujas. Please, do listen to this.
Philosophy means the love of wisdom, the love of sanity. Philosophy doesn't mean love of truth. Love of truth in your daily life. Philosophy isn't merely a collection of verbal conclusions. And you have been fed on that, on conclusions of somebody else. Therefore our minds have become second-hand. I wish you would see the fact of this and realise that you are the world and the world is you, and to bring about a radical change in the world, you have to change yourself. Not somebody else, yourself. Therefore you have to understand yourself. And you cannot understand yourself if you are looking at it, looking at yourself through the eyes of somebody else. Please realise this. The eyes of somebody else, however authoritarian, however cunning, however specialised, however experienced, are not your eyes. What you see is far more important than what others see.
So, this Indian mind, which is really the mind of the world, because this is what is happening in the West too. They may accept the authority of a scientist, the authority of a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, but also they accept the authority in spiritual, religious matters, as you do. And a mind that accepts authority in matters of the mind and spirit and love and affection and care, when it accepts authority, it destroys everything. It destroys love. And have you noticed in this country, which is really a very beautiful country, have you noticed that there is so little affection, so little love, each one is so concerned about himself, himself identified with the nation, with the guru, with some ideology? You have lived, if I may point out, if the speaker may point out, you have lived on authority - the authority of another. So you have never been a light to yourself. In a world that is growing daily darker, degenerating, one has to be totally a light to oneself. And to do that you must understand yourself. What are you? What are you, sirs and ladies, if you look at yourself, what are you? Do you want to look at yourself? Or are you frightened to look at yourself? If you look at yourself, what are you? A name, many burdens, many ideas, the desire for success, money and infinite work from the age, if you are a labourer, from the age of ten till you die. If you are a so-called educated, which you are not educated, if you are so-called educated, you go to the office for thirty, forty, fifty years and die. That's what you are - words, ideas, speculations, hopes, despairs, anxieties, sorrow and an infinite number of beliefs, words always on words you live on, except when you are in a crisis, then you have got to face things. Then you find a way out of it. And that's what you are.
And can the mind - please listen to this - can the mind go beyond all this? Not escape from it; face it, look at it, observe it, see it. So what matters is how you see it, how to perceive becomes tremendously important. The manner how you look at yourself, the manner, the way you look at the world, how you will perceive a tree, the earth, your neighbour, your wife, your husband, your sister, your boy, how you look at yourself becomes tremendously significant. Have you ever noticed or enquired how you look? How do you look at the speaker? Because you are there, sitting there, and the speaker unfortunately sitting on a platform, how do you look at him? What is the image you have built about him? You understand my question? Does the image look at him or you are looking at him without the image? You have, I am sure all of you have some kind of guru, don't you? If you are honest, you say yes. Now, how do you look at the bird whom you so elaborately respect? Touch his feet or God knows? Why do you touch anybody's feet?
Q: Why not?
K: I will tell you. So undignified, isn't it? You are a human being with your dignity. Why? Why touch another's feet? To humble yourself? To show respect? If you have respect you would show it to everybody, wouldn't you? To your cook, to your servant, to everybody, but you don't. So, how do you look? How do you look at another? Please, this is really important. Go into it with me. Don't say 'Why not, why should I, it is our tradition, our custom' - that has no meaning. What has meaning is to look and see how you look. Whether you have an image about somebody, then you are looking through that image, therefore, you are not actually looking. That image is your hope, is all the reputation, your identification with that image, your worship of that image. You understand what I am saying? Therefore, when you are looking at somebody through your image, you are not looking at that person at all. Therefore there is no love. Please see this. When you look at your guru, what has taken place? You think he has got something which you haven't got. You think he has got enlightenment or some trivial miracles and you build him up in your mind, don't you? And that image that you have built must give you pleasure, and also it frightens you because if you don't obey that man, you'll have a bad time. So you have built an image about the world, about your guru, about everything. You have an image about your wife, haven't you? Come nearer. Let's forget the little gurus round the corner. You have images about your wife, don't you, your husband? That image prevents you from looking at your wife or husband or your neighbour. And can you look at another without a single image? Then you will know what it means to love. Then you will know what it means to be compassionate. It is these images that are dividing people - the Muslim image and the Hindu image, the Christian image and the communist image, and for that image they are willing to kill each other. You have killed the Pakistanis, haven't you? And the Pakistanis have killed you for an image. You understand what we are doing? For an idea, for an ideology, for words, we are willing to kill each other.
Now, can you look at yourself, you, not at somebody, can you look at yourself without a single image? The image that has been created by another, the image which Shankaras, the Buddhas, your religious leaders, your political leaders have created for you - can you look at yourself without a single image? That means you yourself have no image about yourself. Can you do it? And you find then, when you ask that question, I have those images, if you are at all honest and serious, I have those images. Those images give me security, a sense of safety, and without an image I should be lost. First of all, aren't you lost now, with all the images you have about yourself, about the gurus, about your political leaders, about everything you have images? Images are symbols, images are the knowledge, images are your ideas of what should be, all that. A collection of images. And through those images you are looking at yourself and the world. And the images are the past. So you look at yourself through the eyes of the past. Therefore, you never discover what you are. Do you understand what I mean? Are we journeying together? Are you sharing this thing together or is the speaker talking to himself?
So, we have created the world, you and I, through our greed, through our fears, through our despair, anxiety. Because we are violent, the world is violent and we are responsible for it and the responsibility cannot be avoided. There is no easy way out of this and you want an easy way out of it. Please follow this. That's why the easy way is to follow what somebody else tells you.
Considering all this, after listening to the speaker for forty-five minutes, have you, if I may, if the speaker may ask you affectionately and respectfully, have you seen your own mind in operation? Seen it, not seen it through the eyes or the words of the speaker, but seen it, seen yourself as you are, as though the speaker is the mirror in which you are looking? Then you will see, if you are looking in that mirror, that you cannot observe without a single thought which is the fabrication of the mind - the image. Look, I want to see you. I want to look at you. I want to see what kind your mind is. What your heart is. If I look with all the prejudices which I may have, then I am not looking at you. If I look at the politicians with mindless, corrupt, wants a position, power, prestige, I am not looking at the politician. I am looking at the image I have created about the politician. If I am looking at my guru - thank God I haven't got a guru - if I am looking at a guru, I am looking with the eyes of hope. I want to achieve something I think he has got. What he has got is some mirror, something, a little plaything which amuses people. He has got something which he calls enlightenment and I want that because he says it is happiness, I want that but I don't use my reason. I don't think clearly. Because, what is enlightenment? Can anybody else give you enlightenment? Can any practice, can any discipline, can any sacrifice give you enlightenment or is enlightenment something that comes to a mind in which the 'me' as the ego with all its absurdities has come to an end?
So, can you look? Can you observe sanely? Sanity means not only the sanity of mind, the sanity of a mind that is capable of reasoning, thinking logically at all levels, not at the business level or at the level of corruption, but thinking reasonably, sanely about the religious world. And what we need now is a total transformation of the human mind, your mind. Your mind that has created this world. Unless you transform yourself the world will degenerate, as it is now. Now, this transformation can take place only when you are able to perceive, able to look without any distortion, look at yourself without any direction, without any motive, just to see what you are. That is the beginning of self-knowledge, just to know what you are: the pretensions, the pride, the vanity, the cruelties, the envies, all that. Not at your aspirations. You have to look at the everyday movement of your thought, everyday movement of your desire, just to observe, then you will see in that observation there comes a totally different kind of energy, in the observation, an energy that dispels totally and completely your anxieties, violence, bitterness, frustrations and all the mess that thought has built.
Now sirs, we have talked for an hour and we shall talk again tomorrow evening at 6.0. Now would you care to ask questions? And when you ask a question from whom are you expecting a reply? I know you will smile and laugh, but you are asking, asking a question is important. To doubt everything, especially your gurus, all the books you have read, your Gitas, your Upanishads, everything doubt, which means question. Then when you question find out also who is going to give you the answer. Somebody who knows, somebody who is experienced, somebody who has read much more than you have read, somebody who sits in a sannyasi robe and all that messy stuff? From whom are you expecting an answer?
So, in the very questioning is the sharing of the answer. If you question, which you should, the answer is to be shared. That means you must also investigate your questioning. Why you are questioning, what is the background of your questioning and who is to answer it? If you expect the speaker to answer the question, then you will either agree or disagree, say, oh, you know, that's not good enough - because you want a particular answer. You want an answer that is satisfactory, that gives you comfort or confirms your traditional acceptance. But in asking the question, and I will repeat again, it must be asked, and when you ask it, share the question as well as the response together. Then the answer is yours, not the speaker's. You understand? Then there is beauty in questioning and answering. But if you say I ask a question and you reply and I say 'Sir, I am sorry, I agree or disagree', and there it ends. But if you share it, if you partake it, it becomes vital, it becomes important. All this doesn't mean that you mustn't ask questions. Right, proceed.
Q: Sir, you say when there is an image one moves away from truth, from the fact, but what are the initial factors responsible for the image?
K: I am sorry, can you repeat it?
Q: You say when there is an image one moves away from truth, from the fact, but what are the initial factors responsible for the image?
K: You say, the questioner says, when you have images, abstractions, you are moving away from the fact. Right? Is that so or is it my concern, not yours? The question is, when you make an abstraction, that is, draw away from the fact, which is an image, are you aware that you are doing it, first of all? Not I say so and therefore you accept it, which is too silly, but are you aware that you make an abstraction? I'll show it to you. You are violent, aren't you? Sexually, every way you are violent. Competition is an expression of violence. Imitation is an expression of violence. Now, violence is a fact. Right? And the abstractions, that is, away from that is non-violence. Right? And you live in abstraction, non-violence, not with the fact. Right? Put it round the other way. You have ideals, haven't you? Why? Ideals are an abstraction, a going away from the fact. The fact is that you don't love and your abstraction is that you should love. Whereas, if you say 'Well, the fact is I do not know what love means', then you can go into that. But the moment you draw an abstraction from it, which is an ideal, then you are moving away from the fact. Therefore you will never solve the fact. In this country, you have had non-violence preached, preached from all over the place. Haven't you? You talk endlessly about non-violence, practising non-violence, and yet you are violent. So why not deal with violence and not with non-violence? The more practical thing is to deal with violence, not with an abstraction called non-violence. So the image is non-violence and therefore that image prevents you from looking at the fact of violence. Right? Yes sir?
Q: From the image I agree that there should not be a guru. (Inaudible)
K: Has everybody, that is you, got a rational mind? Not being rational, mustn't you have a leader who is rational? Isn't that right, sir? That's what you said, didn't you, sir?
Q: Every man has got the right...
K: Everyone is in darkness, suffers, uncertain. And there must be a few who will lead him out of that. Right sir? That's what you said, didn't you, sir? You have had the gurus, leaders galore, thousands of them. Are you out of your misery? Are you out of your sorrow? So, another question he raised was, what is a guru? I was told the other day the meaning of that word means one who unburdens the sorrow of another. Right? I believe that is the meaning of it. One who brings light to another who is in the dark. Or one who helps to relieve the burden of another. What is happening actually? Doesn't the guru impose his own burden on you? (laughter) No sir, don't laugh. He tells you what to do, what to believe. He tells you worship me, do puja to me. Think of a human being saying all those things! And you are too willing to do it. So, what is a guru and why do you need another as your guide? When you out of your - please listen to this - with your heart and mind, with your reason, you choose your guru. Don't you? And you choose out of your confusion. Don't you? Out of your confusion you choose your guru. So out of your ignorance and confusion, uncertainty, you choose, therefore the guru whom you choose must equally be confused, otherwise, you wouldn't choose him.
Q: True guru is in me.
K: Wait, sir, wait, sir. So, why do you need a guru? Because you are uncertain, because you are in sorrow, because you don't know how to behave and you hope somebody will relieve you of all that. But can anybody relieve you of your unrighteous behaviour or you yourself have to transform your behaviour? Do look at it, sirs. It means that you, grown-up people, grown-up men behaving like children and not capable of standing alone. You are educated, you have read books, you have children, families and you depend on somebody to tell you what to do. Therefore you have destroyed your minds. That's what has happened in India. You cannot think for yourself. You repeat endlessly what somebody else has said and you think you are terribly religious. You are not. Forgive me for saying so, you are not religious at all. You are sensuous, worldly minded, full of hopes and speculative ideas. You have created your gods. Gods haven't created you. Yes, sir?
Q: Have there been any great men in this world, sir?
K: What sir?
Q: Have there been any great men in this world, sir, who have become great without any traditional background? Second point is have there been any great men in this world without the assistance of gurus?
K: Just a minute, sir, just a minute. Just a minute, sir. Make it brief.
Q: Have there been any great men, sir, in this world who have become great without traditional background?
K: I see. There have been great men in this world whose background is traditional. Is that right, sir, your question?
K: Sir, I am asking, is that your question, sir?
Q: Have there been any great men in this world without any tradition?
K: Have there been any great men in the world without tradition, without the background of tradition. It all depends what you call great men. Any man who is dependent or has his roots in tradition is not a great man because he is living on the past. And therefore betraying the present. And tradition - the mind must be totally free of tradition, otherwise you are a prisoner. But if you like to be in a prison, that's a different matter. But a man who wants to understand what is truth, what is love, what is death, what is meditation must be totally, completely be free of that tradition. Otherwise he will just repeat like a machine. Truth is not something that can be seen, observed with the eyes that have known and lived in tradition. The mind must be free of tradition. That means the mind must be free of the past as knowledge.