What relationship has time to fear?
Is it possible to bring about a deep psychological revolution in ourselves?
2nd Public Talk, Madras
January 01, 1984
A lot of people, aren't they? A large audience. I wonder why you come. It's very good of you to come but I wonder why? Do you take what is being said by the speaker seriously or is it something that you attend, weekend, and forget the rest of the week? It would be rather interesting to find out why human beings are lectured to, why they attend meetings, why, hearing so many things contradictory, very learned and full of information and knowledge, at the end of it all, we remain more or less what we were before, with our own problems, with our own petty little lives, unhappy and struggle from the moment we are born till we die, constant strife, conflict, struggle. I wonder if you come here just to pass the time of the day; or you come because of the reputation; or you are really serious people. Serious not in the sense - not easily convinced. We are not doing any kind of propaganda, not trying to convince you of anything whatsoever. Nor is the speaker your guru. Thank God! Nor are you his followers. You are both the teacher - you are both the teacher and the person who learns. When you are learning, that very act of learning makes you into a teacher. So we are both the disciple and the guru. If you listen very seriously you should consider, if one may point out.
We are going to talk about many things together this evening, in the next two meetings that are to follow next weekend, and you may hear several things which probably you have not heard before. And if you have heard or read what the speaker has said, merely to repeat what he has said has very little meaning. But in the very act of listening, that very act helps one to understand and live, apply - not 'I will try to apply'. But one applies, as you do if you are a student in a college or university, you work. If you want to learn mathematics, history and so on, you have to study, you have to enquire, you have to have a good brain. But most unfortunately, so-called religious people never use their brains. Am I saying something extravagant? They never enquire, they accept so easily, gullible. And specially when the world is in such a mess, so much destructive activity going on, we try to find someone who will help us to understand all this mess and so get entangled. Whereas here, this evening, and the following two probably, we are going to talk over together - a conversation, to converse about the things that are quite common to mankind, quite accepted, with which we are struggling to understand, to resolve and perhaps go beyond.
So, this evening we are going to talk over together why human beings right throughout the world are what they are actually, after such long duration of evolution, why we are so primitive psychologically. Though technologically you may be marvellous, you may have excellent degrees and so on, but psychologically, inwardly, we are rather barbarous, primitive people, brutal, violent, cruel lacking any sense of great beauty, moral rectitude and so on. One wonders why we have become like this, why we look to others to help, why we want leaders. We have had leaders galore, and they have led us to all kinds of troubles. So we are always looking for the best leader, for the super leader - both in the political, economic world and also in the religious world. And, unfortunately we never find them - unless you have found your own particular little guru around the corner.
So, this evening we are going to talk over together many problems. And one of the problems is: why human beings have ideals at all? This is really quite an important, question: why human beings right throughout the world cling to some form of ideals. The ideals are not facts, they are not actuality. What is actuality is what is happening now. The now, contains all the past, the present and the future. We'll go into that a little. So, we are asking why we have become like this, so narrow, selfish, brutal, concerned with ourselves, you know all the rest of it, what we are. And we never seem to be free to look at the world and our own little world afresh, anew unless we have the capacity to wipe out all the past, to have a clean slate - tabla rasa - and start from there. It's a marvellous world, unfortunately we can't wipe out the past. And the past is a very complicated process of time. Time is one of the factors of our life, daily life. The time that's past, the time as the present and the time as the future, both biologically as well as physically. All the remembrances, the remorses, the guilt, all that is a movement of time, which is the past. And the time of the past is the present in which, or the now, in which all time is contained. This is going to be rather difficult, we'll go into it step by step.
Because we live by time: I hope to see you tomorrow, I hope to achieve, I want to be better than I am, in my job, in my way of living and so on. There is always a becoming, a growth and that which is always growing is always ending. Right? Are we together in all this? And the future is now. Do you understand? What we are now, we will be tomorrow and a thousand tomorrows. That's a fact. But if we change radically now, psychologically, inwardly then the future is now. Do you understand? We'll go into it presently, much more in detail. You all look so puzzled, it's not so very complex, but we make everything terribly complex, we are not simple people. We are full of knowledge and perhaps that is one of our difficulties. And knowledge conditions the brain. And knowledge is time. And to understand something like violence, which most human beings are, violent human beings, and to understand this whole process of violence, the knowledge which we have acquired about violence and the knowledge, and rather - not knowledge - the theory of non-violence, that's also part of knowledge. And so we are never free from violence. We have to go into it a little bit more.
Let's take an example of violence: we are violent people. We may have a quiet life, you may not quarrel with your wife and husband, which is rather rare, but deeply we are violent people - anger, aggression. Violence isn't merely physical action. Violence is part of imitation, conformity. And we have its opposite, non-violence. And in this country they have talked a lot about non-violence. And in the recent wars which you have had in this country, there isn't one person, I was told, who stood up against war. But that's irrelevant. What's important is, is it possible to understand the whole nature of violence and be free of it and not pursue non-violence? Do you understand? Are we meeting each other? Yes? I am violent - suppose, the speaker has only once been angry. It sounds rather strange. And at that moment when he was angry, it seemed so absurd, so silly to be angry about something. And when you see the stupidity of anger it's gone. You don't try to control it, you don't try to suppress it. You see the absurdity of getting angry about anything and that's the end of it. Do think about this. To observe, to be aware, to give your full attention that you are angry, at that moment you see the whole nature of anger. So violence, for example, what is violence? It's a fact. The non-fact is non-violence. Right? Would you agree to that? The pursuit of non-violence, which may take all your life, and in the pursuit of that ideal you are all the time being violent. You try to control it, you try to suppress it, you act upon it. But you are part of that violence. Aren't you? When you get angry you are part of that anger - you are anger. When you are greedy, that feeling is not separate from you - right? - you are that. But when we try to suppress or analyse or control, you separate yourself from the fact and then try to dominate it or suppress it, and all the rest of it. But one realises you are that. I wonder. When one realises, when I realise completely that I am violent, then I remain with that fact, I don't pursue stupidly the idea of non-violence. It's a fact, I am violent, mad, angry, brutal and that's a fact and I realise there is no violence separate from me, I am violence, because I am angry, I'm competitive, ambitious, ruthless and so on. Also I imitate, I conform - that's part of anger, violence. So, the observer who says 'I am violent', the observer is part of that. Right? So there is no contradiction.
Where there is contradiction there must be conflict. I wonder if you have ever gone into the question - not a problem, we are questioning - whether one can live in this world normally, healthily, sanely, not neurotically or other directions, without a single shadow of conflict. I wonder if you've ever questioned it, to find out if you can live actually, whatever the circumstances are, whatever the environment, whatever the pressures, the limitations whether one can live a life in which there is not a single conflict. Have you ever questioned it? Come on! Or it has never occurred to you? We accept conflict as the way of life, as corruption in this country, and other countries, a way of life. So we accept it, it's part of it, we get on with it. So conflict makes the mind, the brain dull. The brain is a machine. Like a good car, we must keep it in perfect condition, tuned, give proper oil, change oil every 2000 miles if we are lucky, to make the engine last long. So the brain is matter, a material thing, a machine with all its extraordinary capacities, which is really quite infinite. But if that brain is in constant struggle, conflict, going round and round with its own problems, its own miseries, that very conflict degenerates the brain. It's worn out, and so we are incapable of meeting life afresh. Are we together when the speaker is talking about all this? Are you taking interest in it, or is it just another meeting you go to and you are being lectured at, not understanding, investigating yourself, your own life, the way you live.
So it is possible to be free of total violence. Not in the future which is the ideal - and the pursuit of that ideal has led people nowhere - but if one is taking violence and looking, going into it, not analytically - that's another question. Who is the analyser? You understand? Who is the entity that analyses any reaction that you have, like violence? Violence is a reaction. And who is the entity that analyses violence? Because you are violence. But when you separate yourself from violence then you can analyse it. Right? So, the separation by the analyser away from the analysed creates a division, and therefore in that division there must be conflict. Whereas - please listen to me, even for fun, just listen to it - whereas the analyser is the analysed. Right? I am violent, the analyser is also part of me who is also violent. And one violence examines, analyses, another violence. So there is always this contradiction. There is no contradiction if there is no division. So the analyser is the analysed, like the thinker is the thought. The thought is not separate from the thinker. I wonder if you see this. The experiencer is not different from the experience. But we are always seeking experience, as though experience is something different from me. So there is no duality at all. I wonder if you understand this, in spite of your Advaita and all that kind of business. In spite of all your philosophy and all your teachings about Advaita - is it? Good enough, that word. They have all theorised about duality; only the enlightened escape from all duality and all that kind of stuff. But the actual fact is, if you go into it, there is only 'what is'. There is only violence and there is no opposite to it. You understand? But our brains are conditioned to the opposite. Therefore our brain is struggling to achieve the opposite. And therefore, in that, there is conflict, suppression, and so on. But whereas the fact is, there is only this. That is 'what is', which is violence. Right? And if you give your attention to the fact of violence and look at it without any analytical process then you will see it's like a map that is being slowly revealed. Then you see the whole content of that word. Are we meeting each other? Are we together in this? You are all asleep! All right, I'll go on.
We ought to talk over together, fear, cause that's part of our life, probably the major part of our life. Fear: what is the cause of fear? Not the object which creates fear. Not something the word evokes. You understand? The word may bring about fear. The word 'fear' may arouse fear. But when you have no word but only observe the reaction which we call fear, what is the root of it? This requires a great deal of exploration. And one hopes that you are willing to go into this with the speaker. Fear is time. I'm going to go into it. Fear is a movement in time. So, first let us examine carefully what is time. Time as rising and setting. Right? Sun rises and sets. The interval between the sun rising and the sun setting is time. Right? Right? There is time to cover a distance from point to point. There is time which is for you to come here, to go to your home takes time. It may be an instant or an hour. So there is physical time. Which is to learn a language takes time; to learn to drive a car takes time. If you a want to be a pilot you have to learn a great deal for months and so on. So there is physical time. Right? You understand? And also there is psychological time: 'I will be', 'I will become', ' I am a clerk but I will become the manager, one day'. 'I am ignorant but one day I will be enlightened'. That is, 'I am this, I will be that'. That is psychological time. There is physical time, sun rising, sun setting, moving from one point to another point. And there is psychological time, which is: ' I am, I will not be', ' I am living but I will die'. That's a tremendous interval. I am fifteen - I am not - I am fifteen but I will die one day when I am eighty. That is the movement of that long interval which is psychological time. Right? And also there is the time as the future. Right? 'I have a job now, I might lose that job', 'I am quarrelling with my wife, but one day we will be happy together'. So, there is time as the past, time as the present. Please listen carefully, if you don't mind, if you are interested. There is time as the past, time as the present, now, and time as the future. Right? But the time now, is the future. Right? The time now is what I am now. But the future is what is present. Right? Got it? So in the now all the past and the future are contained. Right? So the future and the past exist now. I am the result of all the past modifying itself in the present, and the future is the present. Right? Unless I radically bring about - or rather, there is a mutation in my brain cells, I will be what I am now, unless there is tremendous psychological revolution. Right? So the present is the past and the future, contained now. That is time. Right?
What relationship has time to fear? Because that's what we are going to discuss, talk over together. Cause most human beings are frightened, have innumerable forms of fear: fear of darkness, which is neurotic, psychopathic and so on, fear of dying, fear of living, fear that you might lose what you have, fear of your wife and your husband. Is that rare in this country? I wonder if you are all saints! You don't seem to react to anything. If there is fear of what you possess, you might lose; fear of growing old and dying. So, human beings right throughout the world have tremendous anxiety, which is part of fear. Anxiety of not fulfilling, anxiety of not being yourself, anxiety of what other people might do to you and so on. All that is a form of fear. So what is the relationship between fear and time? And shall we, in our conversation, trim the branches of fear? You understand? Take one branch after another, or, should we deal with the root of fear? You've understood my question? I may be frightened of my wife, or frightened of darkness and I want that particular problem solved. But also I have other problems of fear, that's not just only one: fear of dying, fear of growing old, fear my brain will degenerate, fear God won't give me what I want, unless you go to a particular temple. We were told the other day there is a temple nearby, 200 miles or 150 miles, where every three days they have a million dollars. God is very profitable! (laughter) Yes, sir, you laugh at it, but your gods are very demanding of your pocket. That is, you give him something and he gives you something in return: reward and punishment. And that's what we call worshipping God. You are a strange crowd, all right!
So, what is the relationship between fear and time? And also what is the relationship of fear with thought? You understand? I'm afraid, afraid of so many things but I want to understand the root of it. Because if I can understand, see the quality, the nature, the structure of fear, then it's finished. But if I merely trim the branches, then fear will continue. So our concern is not how to be rid of fear, that's another one of our fallacies. But if one can go, delve deeply into the nature of fear, then we should be able to be free of it entirely. And we are going to talk about it this evening and if you apply your brain - not the explanation which the speaker is going to give, but the actual investigation on your part, not just listen or hear and forget all about it - but if you actually listen, apply as you are sitting there, and go with the speaker in investigating, not accepting what he says, but investigating, questioning, asking yourself, then one might get up so utterly free of fear, and then there will be no gods. A man who is free of all fear, he needs no comfort, he needs no reward. He doesn't seek something that will help him. This is a burden which mankind has carried for a million years - fear. So, let's go into it.
We said time is a factor of fear. Time being the remembrance of an incident which caused fear. Please follow this if you don't mind, if you are interested in it. Remembrance of an incident that caused fear, which is registered or recorded in the brain. And that record is still there and I now have fear. So the record remembers the fact of fear. So from the past I recognise the fear. You understand? The knowledge of a past incident which caused fear is registered in the brain, as in a tape. So the brain has knowledge of fear. Right? Knowledge of fear, so knowledge is fear. You understand? Go into it sir, see the beauty of it then you will see what it means. So when fear arises now memory steps in and says 'Yes, I know that is fear'. Right? Which means the knowledge which you have had with regard to fear, that knowledge says that is fear. So knowledge itself becomes fear. Right? You understand this? And the word, the word 'fear' may also contribute to fear. You understand? So knowledge is the word and the word may cause fear. So can you look - please listen to it - is there an observation of fear without the knowledge of other fears? So that you are looking - there is a perception of fear without the movement of knowledge. You understand? So fear is the movement of knowledge as the past, and that knowledge is time. Right? So fear is also part of thought. I might die tomorrow; I might lose my job; I am this but I will become that; it's all the movement of thought. Right? No? I have a job now, I work in a factory, or I'm a cook, a carpenter, not your big top people, I'm just an ordinary person. Even the top people have a great deal of fears - I assure you. And I'm a carpenter and I might lose my job tomorrow. The 'tomorrow' is time, and thought says ' I might lose my job'. It is thought. So thought, time are movements. Right? Movements of knowledge. I wonder if you see all this. I am discovering this myself as I am going along. Which is, can the brain not record? You understand? I'll show you. Listen to it, if you want to have fun.
In flattery, the brain immediately records it, and you insult me, the brain again records it. It's a machine that is recording all the time. Right? And that becomes our knowledge and from that knowledge we act. Now if you do not record - you flatter me and the brain doesn't record. I don't say 'You are a great friend of mine'. Or insult me - neither insult nor flattery is recorded. You understand? Then knowledge is not necessary which might create fear. But I must have knowledge how to write a letter, how to do business, if I am crooked or otherwise, I must have knowledge. If I am an accountant I must have knowledge. I don't know if you are following all this. But the psychological knowledge which is recorded, is it possible not to record psychologically? You understand? Find out sir, don't agree with me. Find out whether it is possible psychologically not to record. Which means the brain has seen the fact of this and, therefore it's unconditioning itself. So fear is a movement of time and thought. Right? Now don't please ask 'How am I to stop thinking?' Now, if the speaker is silly enough to give you a system, in that very system there is inherent decay, whether it is a bureaucratic system or a particular system of meditation, system of thought. In the very structure of a system, inherent in it there is decay. It is called entropy, but I won't go into all that. Physicists know this - wastage of energy - which can be measured.
And the brain is now burdened with a great deal of knowledge and that knowledge has become our conditioning and, therefore that very knowledge prevents us from seeing something new, fresh. Whereas if you can look at fear as it arises for the first time, then it's something entirely different. It's a reaction: a physical reaction and a psychological reaction. So the root of fear is the movement of time and thought. But if you understand the nature of time - not intellectually, but actually - the nature and the structure of time and also understand the nature and the structure of thought - understand. That means investigate, be completely familiar with the thing, with the movement of time and movement of thought, which are the basis of fear, then fear, because you are so completely holding this thing in your hands as it were, it requires your attention, that very attention burns away fear. I wonder if you understand all this.
Now, how can you love if you have fear? You are all frightened of your gods, aren't you? You are all asking rewards of your gods. You pray, you do pooja, some rituals. All that indicates, doesn't it, I am just asking most respectfully, doesn't it indicate that you are frightened? Frightened of living, frightened of your problems and so you are asking the gods which you have invented - right, do you agree to that? Your thought has invented these gods. Would you agree to that? Or you are too holy to admit such a thing? You understand, sirs? Please understand this thing for yourself, I am not dictating, we are not doing propaganda, it's your life. And out of this fear, thought has created the most marvellous churches, cathedrals, marvellous architecturally, great beauty, great weight and strength of a building. But thought has created the cathedral, the temple, the mosque and also thought has created all the things that are in it. The rituals, the dresses, the incense, the words, are all a result of thought, and thought is a material process. Isn't it? Because memory - the cells in the brain hold memory. That's a fact, and that memory is based on knowledge and experience. So this whole movement, is a movement of matter. So thought, has invented the god - or the goddesses, gods. I believe there are over three hundred thousands gods in India, and only one or two in Europe. They are unfortunate people because you can choose any number of them, because there are so many of them. You can have a great deal of fun going from one god to another. Don't think I'm sacrilegious. Those gods that thought has created are not sacred, though we worship them.
What is sacred is not in the temple, not in the mosque, or in churches. What is sacred exists only for a mind that is free from fear, free from conflict, free from violence. But having violence, fear, anxiety we only have multiplication of these gods. So thought and time are the same. Right? Because to have knowledge, scientific knowledge or any kind of knowledge requires time. And time and thought are the root of fear. And time and thought are now, are in the present. And out of this arises a very serious question: whether there is a time which doesn't belong to thought or the movement known as time. Do you understand?
So, if one has listened, not merely heard, what we have talked for an hour, if you actually have listened, absorbed, as you absorb on a hot day cool drink, if you have absorbed what has been said or listened to what has been said and seen the truth of it, that very perception - and perception is not of time. I wonder if you understand this. We must also talk over briefly - it's time to stop - perception, to see. You see that tree. Do you really see the tree at all ever? Do you really ever see the beauty of the sunrise or the sunset? Or you are too occupied with yourselves that you never see the beauty of the earth. When you see that tree, what takes place? The word 'tree' interferes so that you don't actually look at it. Have you noticed it? All right. Come much nearer. When you say 'it's my wife', have you ever looked at your wife? You look at her or your husband or your girl friend or whatever you have, you look with the word, with the image, with the pictures that you have about her or him, so this acts as a barrier, you never look, so you never become sensitive. Right?
There is dirt and squalor all over Madras. You never look, do you? Or you are so accustomed to it, you put up with anything, any government, any bureaucracy, any gods, anything goes. Sir, one has to have great sensitivity, that sensitivity is not to be cultivated, it comes into being when you look at the beauty of a single star in the sky, when you see the new moon, when you see the sea. But when you only employ one or two sensory responses, that very limitation creates a narrow outlook. But if you look with all your senses, at a tree, at a sky, at a cloud of an evening full of light and great beauty with all your senses, then in that observation, there is no self, the 'me'. It's only when there is partial responses of the senses, then that very partiality, limitation, creates the 'me'. So, fear can come to an end completely when you understand the nature of time and thought.