What makes our lives so disorderly and confused?
A total regeneration of the mind
3rd Public Talk, Bombay
January 28, 1978
It's very hot, isn't it? Probably you are not used to it, so am I - I am not used to it.
If I may, I would like to talk about several things this evening. First of all, we should establish between us the right kind of communication, not only the verbal communication, because words and language drive us and we very rarely use words with their full significance. So, if I may point out, one has to be very watchful of words. One is caught in words and words become very significant. But language is meant to be used to communicate. So language shouldn't drive us, but we should use language to understand each other. So if I may point out, that when we are communicating, as we are this evening, we should be very watchful that the words don't trap us and the words do not limit our perception, our insight.
I would like to, first of all, if I may, point out again that we are exploring together into some of the problems which the speaker is going to raise this evening. To explore into a problem very deeply, one must be free from one's motives, from one's prejudices, one's fixations and conclusions. To investigate, the mind must be extraordinarily free to look, and we are going to try and look and explore together - I mean together, not that the speaker talks and you just listen, but rather sharing, partaking, participating, in what we are going to talk about together.
First of all, I wonder why you come. That is rather interesting if you go into it and find out for yourself, why you are all sitting there and listening to the speaker. He has something very definitely to say and he would like that you understand what he says completely, totally, utterly. Then he would like that you should participate in what he is talking about. And when you are participating, sharing, you must be equally responsible. Also you must be, if I may again point out, you must also be eager, intense, to find out. I think love is that state of mind which wants to communicate at the same level, with the same intensity, with the same clarity, and if we have not this quality of affection and eagerness to participate in what we are talking about, to get totally involved, then they remain merely words; they remain merely an intellectual concept, ideas. But if we can listen, not merely to the words but to something that is beyond the words; nothing mysterious, but not be caught in verbal, linguistic drives. Right? Is that clear? I don't know if you are, but we will proceed.
First of all, we live in great disorder, both outwardly and inwardly. And disorder is a wastage of energy. Where there is complete order within oneself, there is the essence of all energy. So, we will talk a little while about the disorder in which we live.
What is the root of disorder? What makes our lives so disorderly, so confused, so uncertain? And being uncertain, confused, we try to find something that will give us security, certainty. And in the search for that certainty and security we get caught in all kinds of mischievous activities. So, I would like to, if I may, go into this question: why human beings, you and others, live in such confusion. I don't know if you are aware or conscious that you do live in confusion. Why? And we seem to get used to this confusion, to this disorder. Why? Is it that to break away from disorder is more frightening, more uncertain, than to live in disorder? Because we are used to disorder: the dirt, the squalor, the poverty, the misery, outwardly, the appalling political conditions that are going on, and also inwardly, this great uncertainty, confusion and choosing. I think one of the destructive activities is choice. We think we are free when we can choose, whether it be in the philosophy, or the ideals, or the statement, because you are free, politically, religiously and all the rest of it, we think we are free to choose. It is only the mind that is confused, uncertain, disorderly, that chooses, not a mind that is clear, not a mind that sees everything in order. It has no choice. It does what is actually right under all circumstances. So, one asks, and I hope you are asking yourself, why we live in such great disorder. You know what we mean by disorder - contradiction, imitation, conformity, obeying, repeating over and over and over again the same thing - all that is going on, within and without. Why do human beings support, entertain, continue to live in disorder?
One knows, or if one has gone into this question, one knows when there is order there is great energy. Greater the order, the greater the energy. If you have your room in order, put away things in their right place, then there is no confusion. You go directly and you don't waste your energy in searching where things are. And when one lives in disorder, as most people do, there is constant seepage of energy. And we are going to find out, participate, why one lives in disorder, if one is at all aware. Why? I think one of the reasons is that we accept conflict as inevitable. A mind that is in conflict is obviously in disorder. Are we meeting each other, or am I making statements and you just agree or disagree? Are we sharing this thing together, participating, or you are just casually listening. Because, I think it is very important to find out for oneself whether it is possible to live completely, totally in order, so that there is complete order. Like a machine that is not functioning properly is wasting energy. So, one asks oneself - and please ask yourself, if I may suggest, why, what is the root cause of disorder.
Pleasure is the root. Pleasure. I will go slowly. There is pleasure, enjoyment and joy, and beyond joy there is ecstasy. And what is pleasure and why do human beings, right throughout the world, pursue pleasure - pleasure sexually, pleasure in having a position, status, pleasure in seeking enlightenment, following a guru, following a system and all that, pleasure of belonging to something, to a group, to a community, the pleasure of pursuing an ideal, the pleasure of practising certain systems of meditation. What is this pleasure? And why do human beings pursue it? (Sound in background) There is total disorder (laughter) - lovely country this is! Have you walked down any street, the debris in the road never removed year after year, and we put up with it. That's up to you.
So, we are asking: what is the nature and the structure of pleasure? When we use the word structure, I don't mean merely the form, the scaffolding, but the whole movement of pleasure, because if we don't understand that very deeply, we may get caught in what we call superficially, love. So, it seems to me very important to understand and go into it very deeply why human beings are caught in the pursuit of pleasure. And pleasure is always - I was going to use the word individual, but there is no such person as individual. I am going to explain what we mean by the word 'individual', so don't get alarmed. Pleasure is always secretive, isolating. I mean by isolating, you may join others in the pursuit of a certain form of pleasure, but in that joining a group, you are always isolated, if you have not noticed it in yourself. And pleasure, as being an isolated and secretive process, may be, and probably is, one of the major factors of disorder. And what do we mean by that word - the pleasure of having great wealth, the pleasure of controlling oneself absolutely, the pleasure of austerity. The word 'austerity' comes I won't go into all that - means ash. It comes from the word 'ash', A-S-H. Most people who practise austerity, become very dry. They have the practice, inwardly they have no life, no living quality. So, why do human beings pursue pleasure, and what is the nature of pleasure? You know, the objects of pleasure may vary. One may seek sexual pleasure or the pleasure of climbing a mountain or the pleasure of running a race, and so on, so on. The objects vary but the essence of pleasure is always the same. Right? The root of it, though the branches of pleasure may multiply, vary, but the root of pleasure is always constant.
So, we are asking, what is the nature of pleasure? At the moment of pleasure, at the second of pleasure, is there a recognition that says, 'I am having a great pleasure'. You follow what I am saying? At the moment of anger, there is no 'you' to be conscious of being angry. It is only after it is over that you say, 'I have been angry'. In the same way, at the second of pleasure there is no 'you' who says, 'I have had pleasure'. It is only after that you say, 'Yes, what a pleasurable meal I had. What a pleasurable evening!' Or when you have achieved a status, a position, that gives you a certain form of pleasure. Then that is recognisable. But generally, pleasure is a second, or a little later.
Is it too loud? (Microphone adjusted) Oh lord. Am I talking too loud?
So one discovers that pleasure is the movement of time. Right. After all, when you have had pleasure - sexually, or the pleasure of seeing a most marvellous mountain with all the blue sky, the lines, the valleys, the snow, the marvel of light - the seeing gives you great delight. What actually takes place then? Please observe it in yourself. You see something extraordinarily beautiful. Have you? Have you ever seen something extraordinarily beautiful? I doubt it. A flowing river, a sheet of water, the beauty of a night full of stars, the bird quietly singing away, and when you see such extraordinary majesty of a mountain, what takes place? Have you considered it? You see this extraordinary thing called mountain. The majesty of it for a moment drives all your worries, all your problems, it pushes everything aside because of its greatness, its magnificence. Like a child with a toy - the toy absorbs the attention or the pleasure of the child. So similarly, the great beauty of a mountain, the evening light on a water, drives away the 'me', the self. Then, a second later, thought says marvellous it was, that feeling. Are you noticing all this? Don't you know all this? What a lovely sunset it was. So, thought, which is the movement of time, thought captures that incident and demands more of it. The demand for the more is the pursuit of pleasure. Are we understanding each other? The remembrance of a thing past, and that remembrance re-awakening the memory, that memory says: I must have more of that marvellous state. One has had a marvellous experience or an experience of great delight in the past, it is recorded, and thought then says: I must continue with that delight, though it is over, there must be more of it. The demand for the more is the pursuit of pleasure. Right? That is a fact.
So, pleasure is the movement of a remembrance and the pursuit of that remembrance. Right? Right, sir? Now, can you observe? Please test it, test the statement that the speaker is making, don't accept a thing he says, but test it, test it in your daily life. You see something beautiful, a beautiful woman or a beautiful man or the beautiful sunset with all the light and the glory and the extraordinary radiance of it. To see it and not record it. You understand my question? The moment you record it, you are already caught in the pursuit of pleasure.
So, enjoyment is not pleasure. You enjoy at the moment it is happening. Then thought takes it over and says: 'What a lovely thing that was: I must have more of it.' So, to enjoy and not pursue it - you understand what I am talking about? Will you do it, are you doing it as we go along? No, you are not. And joy is something entirely different. You can invite pleasure, you can pursue pleasure, you can cultivate pleasure. But joy you cannot capture. It comes uninvited, like ecstasy - not the ecstasy of a vision or an experience, but an ecstasy in which there is no recording whatsoever. We won't go into that for the moment. So, there is this pleasure which brings about disorder. There is enjoyment. You can enjoy a beautiful sunset, but the moment that enjoyment is captured by thought, and thought then wants more of it, then it becomes pleasure. And joy is something that cannot be invited. And when there is that quality of joy, to observe it, to not record it. This requires an extraordinary sense of alertness, watchfulness because the whole machinery of the brain is to record, to remember, to store up knowledge.
So, we are asking: is pleasure, desire, love? Please answer that question for yourself. You have many desires, many pleasures, above all sexual pleasures which you call love, and we are questioning: is that love? Or love has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure and desire.
Love of a guru is fear. Right? The respect that you have for your bosses, for your politicians, for your gurus, for your so-called higher authorities, that respect which is never shown to those below you, politically, religiously, morally, ethically, in business, is really a cowardice. Are you accepting all this? The word 'respect' means to look back. Understand the meaning of that word. You understand? It is very significant. When you say, 'I respect somebody,' especially those above you - financially, so-called religiously - there is nobody spiritually above you - right? - I don't think you understand all this. When you show respect, you are looking back and looking back in order to find out that which is most profitable. Right? So, we're asking: is pleasure love, is desire love? Does an ambitious man, who is climbing the ladder of success, does he know love? Does the man or the woman who has a family, husband, wife, do they know what it means to love? Or is there a relationship with another which is not based on memory, image, psychological, sexual pursuit, a relationship in which the 'me' and the 'you' don't exist? You understand all this? And we are asking: is there love in this country? Don't say: is there love in another country? That is a political reply. But actually, when you consider and go into it very deeply, it is one of the most greatest tragedies of this country, that there is no love at all. There is respect, there is devotion, there is bootlicking, sycophantism, everything but the other.
So, to bring about a regeneration of one's mind, one's whole being, love is the flame that burns away all the meanness, the brutality, the cruelty, the ugliness. So we are going to find out through negation what it is, the positive, through negation discover that which is the positive. When there is jealousy, there is no love. Right? When there is ambition, there is no love. When you are competing, there is no love. When there is fear, there is no love. So, can you be totally free of fear, negate fear, not deny fear, understand the nature of fear and go into it, live with it, totally wipe it away? In the same way, to be completely free of ambition. You say in this world, if you are not ambitious you will be destroyed. Be destroyed. You understand? Because without love, you are dead. Without love, you cannot bring about a new civilisation, new culture, nothing.
So how can a man who is thinking about himself, about his problems, his worries, he is building himself up - how can he love? So, can you live a life without ambition, without fear, having a right relationship with another, not based on memories, pictures, images? Do go into it, because without deeply understanding the nature and the beauty of this thing called love, which is so loaded with all kinds of ugly memories and associations, because if we do not clearly understand what love is, you will not be able to understand what sorrow is. And therefore, without understanding what love is - not intellectually or verbally but living it - you will never understand the depth and the greatness of death, which we are going to - going to explore together what is sorrow. You understand what we are saying?
We are saying pleasure is one of the factors, and perhaps the major factor, of disorder in our lives and therefore it is a wastage of energy. Where there is disorder, there is wastage of energy. And also we said in enquiring what is pleasure, perhaps in the understanding, in going into the depth of it, order will come, and therefore you will have greater energy to put aside your ambitions, your greeds, your fears, so that you'll know what love is - and therefore bring about right relationship with man and woman. From that arises the question, naturally and inevitably, what is sorrow? Why do human beings throughout the world put up with sorrow? Why in the Christian world sorrow is worshipped, worshipped in the one man who bears the sorrow of mankind. That is all very romantic and all the rest of it, but actually, we are all, most human beings, everyone is in sorrow of some kind or another. Here in India, they explain it very carefully, the past lives and karma and all the rest of it. But that doesn't solve the problem. You live in sorrow, and the question is: can sorrow end, is there an ending of sorrow? Not get used to it, not accept it, not carry the burden of sorrow in your heart, but to find out for yourself whether there is an ending of it.
When someone dies whom you say you love, you are in sorrow, you shed tears. There is the sorrow of poverty, ignorance. There is the sorrow of not being loved. This is your lot. Please listen to all this, not by the ear, but with your heart, listen. There is the sorrow of disease, there is the sorrow that man feels in complete isolation. There is the sorrow of poverty, when you see all these poor, ignorant, dirty, hopeless people. There is sorrow when you see all the animals of the world being killed, destroyed, butchered in laboratories, and so on. There is sorrow when you see a young seal being killed by a man with a bludgeon, and all the millions of whales being killed. And the wars - thousands of people killed, children maimed, you know all that. There is sorrow. Can all this, can this sorrow in human beings end?
So, there is a peculiar thing: in ending there is a new beginning. If you end something, there is something new taking place. But, if there is a continuity, there is nothing new. But we cling to continuity, because in continuity we think there is safety. Right? Say for instance, you are attached to somebody, or to your ideal, to a belief, to whatever it is, to your guru. I hope none of you have gurus. I will repeat that till I die. It is the most ugly thing to follow somebody, especially in matters of the spirit.
Can sorrow end? Your sorrow. Which means, if you end sorrow, out of that ending comes passion, not lust. Most human beings know what lust is. But lust is not passion. Passion comes into being when there is the ending of sorrow. And sorrow exists only when there is this enormous fear of death. That is the ultimate fear. Isn't it? Sir, look at it; for god's sake, be honest. So, without passion there is no regeneration of the mind, and that passion can only come into being when there is an ending of sorrow. So, you must enquire, find out for yourself, spend time, energy to find our whether it is possible - this thing that man has carried throughout the millennia - to end that thing.
Now what is sorrow? Is it a word? The word - please listen - the word, as we said at the beginning of the talk, drives most of us. The language drives us. We don't drive the language, the language drives us. So the word 'sorrow', the description of sorrow, is not sorrow. Right? Come on! I can describe in various ways what sorrow is; but the description is never the fact, never the described. So, we must be very clear not to be caught in the description, in the symbol, in the word. Right? So we are dealing only with the fact, not with the word, not with the symbol. So, what is the fact of sorrow, the actuality of sorrow? That is - please listen - the word 'actual' means that which is happening now. Right? So sorrow as an actuality, does it exist? My son dies, I will never see him again. I thought I loved him. And that love may be inherited from the monkeys that love their little babies. Please face all these facts; because our brains are very old - it is derived through thousands of years, millennia, millions of years. So it is very, very old. And when a mother loves a child, it may be derived from that ancient instinctual reaction. And is sorrow a word? Does the word create sorrow - please listen - does the word create sorrow or sorrow exists by itself, irrespective of the word, irrespective of the incident, irrespective of my son dying? Do you understand my question? Or is sorrow always associated with an incident? My son dying, my wife dying.
We are asking: is there sorrow by itself, per se, or is it always in relation to something? If it is in relation to something, it is not sorrow. I wonder if you understand No sir, don't nod your head so easily. I don't quite know if I understand it myself. I have just made a statement which I am going to penetrate, enquire because I don't prepare talks. What did I say? I said: is there sorrow without the word? If there is no word, and if there is no relationship which brings sorrow, then has sorrow a cause? Is sorrow an effect? Please go into it with me. If there is a cause, then the effect is sorrow. Then the effect becomes the cause. Right? It is like a chain, isn't it? When there is a cause, the cause produces an effect. That effect becomes the cause for the next effect. Right? So, it is a chain. Now, is sorrow a movement of bondage? I wonder - come on, sirs! Are you following what I am saying? Yes, sir? Or is sorrow something that has existed and will exist for the rest of our lives and for generations upon generations? And it will exist if there is a cause. Do you understand? Leave it there for the moment, because we want to go into the question of death.
We never ask, what is death. Not the unknown, after death, but what is the meaning, the state of a mind, the whole thing, when there is no breath? You understand? Are you understanding all this? I don't think you are. I will go on. Sirs and ladies, death must be a most extraordinary thing - right? - if one is not frightened - because it is something of such colossal importance in our lives, much more than sex, much more than pleasure, much more than all the circus of religions. Death has an extraordinary importance and significance in our life, the dying. And nobody, no religion, or the institutions called religions have answered this question. They have explained it. They say there is another life, you continue with it, you continue what you are, modified, and go on. Or, as with the ancient Egyptians, death is part of our life, take what you live with, when you die you carry on with what you have, and all the rest of it. But nobody, it seems to me - perhaps somebody has; I am not asking this in vanity - nobody has asked how to live a life with death. You understand my question? You see death is something further away from living, death is something at the end of living. The living is the disease, the pain, the anxiety, the hopeless misery, confusion, despair, hope, anxiety, the sense of utter loneliness, conflict in all our relationships, the utter lack of love, and fight, fight, fight, struggle. That is our life. Right? And we never ask, 'Can I live with death always as my shadow?' That is, death says to each one, everything that you have got - your attachments, your beliefs, your hopes, your fears, your despair - when death comes, all that ends. Actually, your brain cells, not having enough oxygen, come to an end within three to five minutes. That is complete death. And to live with death means to end your attachment now. Can you do it? Your attachment to your wife, to your husband, your attachment to your beliefs, to your experiences, to your gurus, to your visions, to everything that you are attached to. Can you? Not with effort, not with the hope that by getting rid of attachment, you will get something else. That is a merchant mentality, in which you are very carefully trained: if I give up this, will I have that?
So, can one live with death? That means, ending everyday all that you have acquired. Do you know what it means then? Then there is the ending of sorrow. Therefore, out of that ending comes tremendous energy of passion; and that passion is love, compassion. Therefore, love, passion and death are very closely related together. But all that we are concerned with is: my son dies, I shed tears, and I hope to meet him next life. Or you say: is there a next life? Out of that you have nothing. You understand? You have just ashes - which is just words, beliefs and comfort. You know when you end something - like attachment; I take that as an example, or violence, your personal vanity, arrogance - end it, and you will see out of that comes a totally different beginning.
So what is important is not what death is, but what is your life, your life now. Because your life now is a tragedy - right? - tragedy of despair, therefore the tragedy of hope. Because you are in despair there is the desire, the longing for something hopeful. But if you end despair, there is something entirely different. Hope is the most silliest form. But the ending, the ending of your attachment to your husband - the husband may not like it, because he feels secure when you are attached to him, and you like being attached to him or her because you feel in there you are secure. So, out of that comes jealousy and anxiety, hatred and all the rest of the nonsense. So, what is important - please listen, not hearing with your ears but listen inside - what matters is your daily life, which is conflict. End conflict, see what happens. End your ambition. If you say they will crush me, be crushed, die to it.
Because, sirs, if you have no love in your heart, if you have no love for the skies, for the rocks, for the trees, for the birds, for the stray cat - love, you understand? - love of beauty - beauty does not exist in this country because you have no love in your heart. So, the ending is the dying and the beginning. If you are only interested in understanding what death is, or crying over your son or your uncle or your aunt or somebody dying, then you are not concerned with life, with living. So, can you end your conflicts, your worries, your hatreds, your anxieties, abandon them. That is death. Then, life and death are not separate. They move together. Right, sirs.