When the illusion of individuality ends
What is correct action in a deteriorating world?
4th Seminar, Brockwood Park
September 16, 1979
I wonder where we are. We've had three talks.
We are still concerned, aren't we, with what is one to do in a world that has become so appallingly disorderly, violent and so on. What is one to do? That is the central issue. So we're not just indulging in a lot of words or theories or holding on to one's own experiences and points of view, but those of us who are here, and I hope we are serious and not playing around with all this, that our principle question is, what is one to do?
And I think we ought to also to consider what is the individual action which may, or we think is separate from the integral part of the whole. Right? Have I made my question clear? We may think we are separate individuals and act from that self-centred intention, or from that self-centred movement, because we think we are individuals. And I wonder if we are individuals, though we have accepted that for millennia, that we are separate individuals, with its own consciousness, with its own sorrow, different from all humanity. Right? Am I
And we have found for ourselves through all these talks that we are the whole, we are the part of the world. And our actions are like the rest of the world. Right? What we do the world is doing. So psychologically, as well as in action, we are the rest of the world - we are the world. And when we have reached that point, is there any individuality at all. You understand? We have accepted that we are individuals, separate, something unique which in its whole life has to fulfil in various forms. And when we discover the truth that we are integral part of this enormous humanity, where has what place has any individual, individuality. Or there is no individuality at all. It's up to you to discuss.
Questioner: The world is us and we are the world. That is no longer an idea, it is a fact. The world being us and the world is us, the action from seeing that, the full realisation of that as a fact, is a different action.
Krishnamurti: Yes, sir.
Q: Now I don’t know what that action is.
K: We're going - we're coming to it.
Q: But it means no further contributing to the disorder and the violence that is going on in society. Now whether the individual comes in there or not, I don’t know.
K: How can Sir, first, that's why I want to go into the question of individuality, if there is such thing at all. I know it's rather, maybe you may not like to go into the question because you may think individuality is very important, or one who is bound to that tradition, and so it's very difficult to break through that wall of individuality. But I am questioning we are questioning whether the individual exists at all. If and when we see the truth or the fact that we are the whole of humanity - go into it, sirs.
If - no, when we see the fact that I am part of the world, I am the rest of mankind, what is the quality of my mind that has seen this fact? Seen in the sense, be absolutely in contact with it, wholly, realise completely, that is integral part of that vast mankind. What happens to the mind? Could we discuss this? Or it is too...
Q: The family is one, there is love. It is your family.
K: No, no, no. What is the quality of your mind, sir, before we say it is the family or it is this - what has taken place in your mind, mind in the sense your emotions, your sensitivity, your quality of your senses, feelings, affection, the capacity to think clearly - all that. What has happened in that - you understand my question?
K: What has taken place in the mind that has seen that it is part of the whole, it is not separate.
Q: It is becoming very quiet then, sir.
K: What, sir?
Q: It is becoming very quiet.
K: No, no. Find out, let's talk about it a little bit.
Q: Sir, if the mind realises that it is part of the whole of humanity, that it is humanity, human beings...
K: Does the mind realise it, or does thought realise it? You understand?
Q: If it is watching...
K: Wait, sir. You understand my question? Is it thought that realises I'm the whole, part of the whole, or the whole consciousness, which is the mind, the whole of your consciousness realises, sees, in contact, it completely comes to the truth that it is the rest of the world. I'm asking, what is the quality of the mind?
Q: What was outside before has now become intimate. One feels things from the inside, rather than just as an objective series of events one has some sort of loose connection with.
K: Are you answering my question, sir? What is the quality of your mind, your consciousness when you realise, or when there is the realisation that you are part, integral part of the whole, whole of humanity? What has taken place when there is perception of that?
Q: Sir, we might not be able to answer that question, because that action, that perception is something that is unfamiliar to us.
K: That means we have to go back and go over all the...
Q: Well not necessarily go over all of it, but that last activity that, because we seem to be able to go most of the way, but that last action or that last activity that sees everything, that sees the whole is something that is new to us, is something that we are...
K: No, I'm not saying that sees the whole. That has realised that it is not separate from the rest of mankind.
Q: Could I ask a question?
K: Yes, sir.
Q: Because I feel there is a difference between someone who has never experienced, who has never actually been through that and say someone who has listened to what you’ve said, and has already had an experience of that, of being not separate from the world and therefore has found himself...
K: Sir, may I add a word there, the word 'experience' is rather difficult.
Q: Well, I don’t want to get into the semantic thing, I have got to use language, I mean language is limited.
K: Yes, so, what is your question, sir?
Q: Well, what I’m saying, what I’m interested in is the fact that I have – you were mentioning about toothache. I have a problem here. We never seem to be able to get to it because no one will get beyond the idea that it seems that there’s a kind of you are saying what is it like to have to be the world.
K: No, sir.
Q: Or that you are the world, or you are not separate from it or something of the sort.
K: Not something - we made it all very clear, up to now, that...
Q: But it’s not. But it’s not clear. That’s the problem.
K: Oh lordy!
Q: Sir, yesterday you were talking about, we were talking about how just before one could see the root of the separateness of the problem, that there had to be a sort of subsiding of the problem or the bundle.
K: Sir, he's asking a question, that gentleman. He says, what you have been saying is not clear to me. So we have to clear it up with him. Right? What is not clear, sir?
Q: You seem to be asking what am I doing at this moment, what is my response at this moment, and yet I feel as though, I mean, if you have toothache – if I may use that metaphor – if you had toothache yesterday and you haven’t been to the dentist, you’ve still got toothache today. And I feel as though I’ve got toothache, if you like...
K: You must have a bad dentist!
Q: and you’re asking me what am I doing about it now. And I’m saying that I can’t discuss that because you’re talking about the first principles.
K: No, sir - look, what we have said so far is fairly simple and clear. We think we are separate. Right?
Q: But I don’t. I mean, for me there are problems of privacy, what happens if you are conditioned into having a private space, say mentally, I mean, how is one not to respond neurotically? I mean implicit in what you are saying, if one is not an individual, is that one has no privacy, for example.
K: I don't catch your meaning, sir. Sorry.
Q: He’s saying that there’s a physical correspondence
Q: He is saying, I think, that there’s a physical correspondence to seeing that your consciousness is the same as the consciousness of mankind, that somehow hasn’t had the physical correspondence in that you don’t have a private space, or you don’t have a private life, or you... He seems to have made a logical jump there.
K: Is that it?
Q: Well, that’s not only it, I mean, then – I think that the number of people who’ve actually done what you’re saying is very few. I’m not saying that...
K: Don't bother about the few or the many, sir, but what is the quality of your mind, your mind, after examining all this? That is, psychologically we are the rest of mankind. Right? That's obvious, isn't it? What you suffer, people suffer similarly in India, in America, in Russia. What you go through - your sorrows, your pleasures, your anxieties - the rest of the world goes through that. You may be physically different, you may be taller, whiter, blacker, purple, what am I? - brown, and so that is superficial. Basically, psychologically, we are the rest of mankind. Would you have you accepted that?
Q: Well yes, I accept that.
K: No. Wait, wait. Now, is that an idea or an actual living fact? Stick to that one thing, sir. Is it an actual living fact or just a concept which you have gathered from the rest of us?
Q: How is one to tell the difference?
K: Oh yes, that's fairly simple - either it is an idea which you have accepted, or it is a living thing. Like breathing, like your whole being sees it is so.
Q: But I don’t know if what the state I’m in is a living thing or not.
Q: I mean I don’t know the relationship with what’s in the mind.
K: I explained what the mind - all right, don't use 'the mind'. Is there seeing that fact with all your being?
Q: But I can be consecrated to the thing and it can still be in my mind, that’s what I’m saying.
K: What, sir?
Q: I can be consecrated to the idea, also the fact, my action can be an act of consecration, a passion, if you like.
K: I don't quite follow that.
Q: Someone can be devoted, you can be devoted say to say the Nazis, or some of them were devoted to Nazism
K: Ah, no, no, this is not, you're still devoted to something.
Q: Quite, that’s what he’s saying.
K: I know Q: And it has an immense effect on one's life but it's still an illusion, but that illusion is also a reality.
K: Illusion is also a reality. Oh yes, we've been through that. We've been through that. I can accept an illusion and see, think that it is a reality.
Q: But he’s saying he doesn’t know how to tell the difference between the two.
K: What? Between what? The illusion and...
Q: And a fact.
K: a fact?
K: Is that it, sir?
K: Between illusion and fact. All right.
Help me out, please - it isn't a battle between him...
Q: It’s not like that for me. I say, the realisation of the world is me and I am the world, to me it was an idea, it’s a fact, and I know that there will be a different action – what that action will be I don’t know.
K: No, just a minute, sir. He says, how do you distinguish, how do you know what is an illusion and what is a fact?
Q: I’ll tell you...
K: Tell him, sir.
Q: Yes, I’ll tell him. Things are not going to be the same again. My own urgency about my self-centred activity, about my business, and all the personal problems have fallen away, because the world is me and I am the world.
K: No, no, you're not answering him.
Q: There is a different approach.
Q: Yes, but how do you know that the different approach is the right approach, or a correct one, or an intelligent one, or a sensible one, or one that is not violent, one that doesn’t further violence or lead to more violence?
Q: Because I am no longer further going to contribute to those problems, the violence of the world.
Q: But you are those problems.
Q: Exactly, I see that I am that. And it was an idea that the world is me and I am the world. It is no longer an idea. And if it is no longer an idea with me, then I will not be acting from what I was acting from, which was self-centred activity. Now there’ll be an action from something else.
K: He's asking, sir, if I understand him, how do you separate illusion and fact.
Q: Sir, could we talk about the nature of that total perception that we talked about...
K: No, we haven't answered that question.
Q: But that would answer it because if we saw the nature of that and we saw the nature of illusion we would see the difference.
Q: Sir, there is difference between feeling and being and...
K: Then feeling and being both may be illusion. How do you separate the two?
Q: Well, is illusion created by thought only?
K: Yes. Illusion is created by thought, by desire and so on.
Q: If there were somehow a way to test it out, then you could tell, because a fact, I mean, if that microphone is actually there I can touch it, but if it’s only a
K: an idea, you can't touch it.
K: But can you touch, as you can touch the microphone, the fact? That's what he wants to know, as far as I understood.
Q: But you could test it, I mean if one thought one saw that one was the world, then you saw that...
K: No, forget the world, forget the world, forget me and... He's asking a question: how do you distinguish, discriminate or find out which is illusion and which is a fact? Fact is something that is actually happening. Right? Right? Right, sir? Yes? You are doubtful about it. And illusion: what I conceive or have an opinion of what is happening. I am suffering. That's a fact. And being a Christian I say, Jesus is the embodiment of suffering, I'll leave it to Him, he'll save me. That is an illusion - the actual fact is I am suffering. Right? So we don't have to go back to that. We can distinguish, separate the two, what is actually doing, happening. I am unhappy, I am greedy, I am anxious, I am frightened - that is the actual fact. Right? And I can say that somebody will save me from this - is an illusion. Right?
Q: The proposition
K: Wait - just let's get this clear. Is this clear, sir?
K: Now wait a minute, from there we move. Which is, the world outside is put together by me, by my parents, by generations past. Right? That's a fact.
Q: I think the problem It’s easy to see that one has suffering, pain, greed and things oneself. It’s not so easy.
K: That your neighbour is not suffering? That your wife doesn't go through hell?
Q: I don’t know, I haven’t got a wife, I don’t suppose
K: No, no, no, sir, I have no wife but I can see. For god's sake, I don't have to...
Q: But it does look to me as though some people are happy.
K: Sir, sir
Q: Is it a question of degree, is part of our difficulty the fact that some of us feel as though we have lost some of our relations, that we might have seen through religious dogma, we might have seen that physical violence is rather useless, not a good way of going about it. Do we feel it is a question of degree? And that the illusion is that possibly we might have lost something that they’ve still got.
K: To a Catholic who believes very strongly in all that business, to him it's a fact. But when you examine it closely it is illusion. So is this clear, sir? Now wait a minute. The world, which is violent, which is all that, I am also like that. Right? So I am the world, that's a fact.
Q: No, it’s not – you’ve jumped.
K: No - all right - wait. The world...
Q: You have. There is disorder outside, there is disorder inside, but it doesn’t mean that the disorder inside is anything to do with the disorder outside.
K: Sir, your neighbour is like you, psychologically. He may have a different business, different job, he may be a carpenter, he may be a professor, he may be a doctor. But psychologically, inwardly, he's like you. He suffers, you suffer. He's anxious, you are also. We've been through all this. So you are your neighbour.
Q: Sir, it’s one thing to say that you are like your neighbour, because he suffers and you suffer, but isn’t the difficulty that you were saying, you are your neighbour, because obviously one is not someone else – we share certain things, we share one head and two arms and so forth, and we share things psychologically, but to say that you are that I think may be...
K: Psychologically I am my neighbour. There is no...
Q: I am like my neighbour, I share all kinds of things with my neighbour.
K: All right, I share, I share the same thing. You see, use different words but the fact is that.
David Bohm: Well, I think that one may feel that, it's true I share some things with my neighbour, but there may be some other things I don't share that may seem more important. You see, for example, if one believes in individuality, one will feel, it's true I suffer but my individuality, which is more important, is not shared with my neighbour.
K: Of course, that's just it. You see, I don't...
Q: Sir, have you an objective in being here this morning?
Q: Have you an objective in being here this morning?
K: Have I an objective?
Q: Being here this morning – that’s what he said.
Q: A motive.
K: A motive?
K: Have you a motive being here?
Q: I think so, yes.
K: Then why do you ask me?
Q: Because you are not...
K: I don't know, how do you know?
Q: It seems to me from your reactions that...
K: Sir, why do you bring that up, when that poor gentleman says I don't know what you're talking about.
Q: Because the turmoil in this room is affecting me, and I think to some extent you’re perpetuating it.
Q: He said, the turmoil in this room is affecting him and you are in some way perpetuating that turmoil.
K: I'm answering his question, I'm not perpetuating the turmoil.
Q: If you’re not, sir, how can you ask a question?
K: He asked a question, sir. What are we all talking about?
Q: But I mean, you are stirring up turmoil, because you’re trying to bring to our attention the nature of the turmoil. (Laughter) It seems to me a perfectly legitimate and desirable thing to do.
K: Yes, sir. That doesn't mean I'm in turmoil.
Q: This is perhaps, sir, that we are not really giving our attention, that we cannot observe.
Q: In order to see a fact, to examine it carefully, isn’t that the difficulty, I mean, to accept something is one thing, that microphone is a microphone, it might be made out of chocolate, but in order to examine it carefully I have to see that that microphone couldn’t possibly be made out of chocolate. We are very serious here.
K: Sir, would you kindly explain to that gentleman the fact and illusion, if you have understood it. And the world is me and I am the world, that is a simple fact.
Q: But in order to see it as a fact...
K: He asks, explain to him, not to me.
Q: But I’m just saying, in order to see it as a fact, I have to go into it very carefully.
K: We have been - three mornings we've been into it, very, very carefully.
Q: Yes, but each individual has to go into it very carefully.
K: I thought we were doing it, each one of us, as we went along, step by step.
Q: But it seems that isn’t the case.
K: Then what am I to do? Go all over again? I don't mind. Is that what is, sir?
Q: Couldn’t one use some analogy? If one is sitting and looking at the movie, the film, he will have the idea, the illusion that you are seeing, for instance, a stream, water flowing, and you really think this is water flowing and you can’t tell if this is water or is it not. But if you go out and put your fingers down into the stream you will know this is water. Then you can tell the difference, but not while you are sitting there.
Q: So it’s only a fact if you test it in your life.
Q: There may have to some doubt. As I feel it, the mind may fall onto an illusion despite facts which show it to be nothing factual, to be something simply of the mind. So an illusion can always be challenged by facts, but a fact can never be challenged by an illusion and be seen to be anything but of the mind. The fact exists, the illusions are something which the mind grasps, holds onto, in many cases as a denial of the facts, as a retreat from facts. This is how it is for me. I don’t know if this helps the discussion.
Q: Returning to his point about distinguishing between an illusion and a fact, all illusion is created by thought, then it is clear that the only way to distinguish between illusion and fact is to go beyond thought to some other form of apprehension which does not involve thought.
K: Is that clear, sir, or is this still
K: Is that clear, so far?
Sir, he's saying, Professor Wilkins is saying that any form, any movement of thought, anything that thought has created as an idea, as a concept, a conclusion, must be illusion. Only that which is happening without the interference of thought and the observation of it, is fact.
Q: Sir, you don’t mean that thought always creates illusion
K: No, of course of course.
Q: but all illusion is created by thought.
K: I mean, I took an example, sir, that I suffer as a Christian and as a great believer always accept Jesus or Christ as the Saviour, I leave all my suffering to Him. Somehow He will help me, save me from suffering. That is an illusion. The fact is I'm suffering. That's all I'm saying.
Now have we come to the point that we have found an answer to what is one to do in a world that is insane. Have we found the answer, what is one to do? This is the fourth morning. Right? We've got two more mornings, and I'm asking myself if we have understood the question, we have investigated the whole three mornings and this is the fourth morning, and we are asking, have we found an answer to the question, 'What am I to do, what is the right action in this world?'
What am I to do? To find an answer to that, is individual action right action? Right, sir? Just a minute, I want to explore that. We have so far acted as individuals, and whatever we do or modify, somehow we say that is right action, not all the things we do, but as an individual we are trying to find what is right action. And the speaker says you can never do that, because the individual is a fragment of the whole. And when a fragment acts independently, whatever his actions be, they'll be fragmented, incomplete. That's all we have said.
Q: Man cannot do it
K: Wait, just - as an individual, whatever action I do must be either destructive, pleasurable, violent and so on, so on. It is a fragment that is acting.
K: And therefore it must create division, conflict and so on. So I say to myself, that is not right action, as self-centred human being, that's not right action. Therefore I say to myself, what is right action? Let me follow this, sir, a little bit. What is right action? I don't know. But I know this is wrong - wrong, right, please understand, quickly. So I say, am I different from the rest of the world? Psychologically, not peripheral differences, not colour differences and so on, but basically, at the root, am I different from the rest of mankind? I find I'm not, psychologically.
So then what place has individuality? You follow? If I have discarded individuality as being not capable of bringing about right action, then when I realise that psychologically I am the rest of mankind, then my individuality has disappeared. That's what I want to find out.
Q: Sir, isn’t it the illusion?
K: Wait, sir, let me...
Q: Isn’t it the illusion of individuality?
K: Yes, sir, I said that, we've said - that's gone.
Q: So it’s possible, isn’t it possible...
K: Is that so with you?
K: Or am I just talking to myself?
Q: That is so.
Q: I think you are talking to yourself.
Q: Speak for yourself, please.
K: Am I talking to myself - he says I am. Sir, the individual action - right? - which the world is doing, acting, each one acting for himself. Right? His own security, his own pleasure, pursuing his own experiences, his own little family - you follow? - all that, every human being is doing that. That's a fact. And that has produced chaos in the world.
K: Right? Division. And where there is division there must be conflict. Right?
Q: The logic...
K: Follow it, sir, follow it. So any action as an individual I do is not productive, is not productive of peace, of real security for mankind. Right? So I discard, not as an idea but as a fact, I am not an individual.
DB: I feel this is where the difficulty is, that it doesn't follow logically from the fact that working as an individual has destructive results, it does not follow that I have power to discard my individuality, you see this is where the question is.
K: I have not the power of discarding
DB: Individuality, because if I believe I am one.
K: No, because I perceive the truth that I am part of the whole, integral part of the whole, I see that as a fact, not as an idea.
DB: That's the step, you see to see as a fact that I am not an individual.
DB: To see it as a fact that I am really not an individual.
Q: I can see how you can identify but I can’t see how you can see it as a fact.
Q: It’s an illusion to see that you are an individual, that’s what you are saying.
K: Yes, that's what I'm saying.
Q: And if you see that illusion, that’s a fact.
Q: I’m saying it’s an illusion to identify with my mind, that I am the world, because that leads to all sorts of tortuous things and stays in mental hospital and god knows what, as a result of making a mistake. The thing is, I don’t want to make a mistake.
K: Sir, look at it the other way. You are an individual, aren't you. You think you're an individual and you are acting as an individual. Right? Each human being is acting separately. Right?
Q: Well my personal situation is that I find that I can’t act as an individual because there’s so much violence in the world, it’s not possible to function hardly.
K: But the world - you're doing it, sir.
Q: Well, not effectively.
Q: None of us are, that’s the problem.
K: This is incredible!
Q: Yes I see that’s the problem.
Q: But you have the sense of your own individuality, don’t you.
Q: Well, sometimes, yes.
Q: Sir, isn’t there some confusion which maybe we could sort out, that, I think we can all see what you’re talking, of the illusion, of being individual. I think we’ve followed that.
K: The word 'individual' means indivisible, obviously. But we are divided, we are broken up, we are contradictory, in ourselves. We are not individuals in the ordinary dictionary meaning. We think we are individual. And I am saying that the very thinking that you are individual, acting separately etc., etc., is an illusion.
K: I know this is very difficult to realise, because we are so stuck in this individuality.
Q: Isn’t one of the blocks the every day sort of common sense that, the feeling that we have separate bodies, that – I mean, what you’re saying is, surely you’re not saying that if this illusion goes, and we no longer...
K: I don't - sir, that is an illusion, therefore it has no reality, no - so I discard it personally, I said, nonsense.
Q: But there is still a response of one human being...
K: Wait, sir, wait, sir. I don't - you're all so - you want to step afar ahead. First - sorry.
Q: The other day Professor Wilkins said that we don’t want to disappear.
K: That's right.
Q: I think that’s the point.
K: We like the idea of individuality which is an illusion, but I'll hold onto it. It is part of my blood, I've accepted it for generations, the world around me says, 'You're an individual, you must be ambitious, you must fulfil.'
Q: That’s right.
K: You are separate.
Q: Because it’s like dying to something so important.
K: Yes, sir, that's why...
Q: Because if I am dying
K: I am saying that. It has become part of our whole structure of thinking, part of our nature to say, 'I am an individual.' And somebody comes along and says, 'Look! You are an illusion.' I say, 'Nonsense.' So he says, 'Just, before you call it nonsense, examine it, look at it.' But I'm unwilling to look.
Q: Why sir?
K: Therefore there is no communication.
Q: I’m trying to look.
K: Wait, wait, therefore you are willing, you as a human, as another person, willing to listen to. You're willing to listen. Therefore we're beginning to establish a communication between you and me. And the speaker, I, say to you, since individual action throughout the world has produced such chaos in the world - right, that's obvious - is there an action which is not individualistic? That's all.
Q: Sorry, which is not individually what?
K: Is there an action which is not born out of the idea of an individual?
Q: Well obviously there is. Obviously there is.
K: Obviously no.
Q: There is, I mean, there are questions implicit in that. Are you suggesting that there is some kind of intelligence which means that one is in touch with...
K: We're going to find out.
Q: ...connected with other people, and therefore not selfish, or self-centred.
K: I can only find out if I am not living in illusions. If I am living an illusion, any amount of your telling me there is something greater or wider, I reject, because my illusion is stronger than the fact.
So have I, have you gone into this sufficiently and say, 'Yes, I see for myself very clearly that the individual is an illusion.' My god! To accept that, sir! When all the world round you is saying you're an individual, that means you're going against the current of the world, and nobody wants to listen, stand against the current. Right?
So if you want to find out what is right action, I say the individual illusion must come to an end. That's the first thing, because you are the world.
DB: I think it's not merely the pressure of outside circumstances but also there seems to be the direct feeling of the reality that you are an individual. It seems that is your experience of individuality...
K: Yes, sir.
DB: It's not the way that other people tell you about it.
DB: And then how will you see that this experience is an illusion?
K: How do you convince me, or show me, that I am not an individual? How will you show me, how will you help me, when all my education, all my conditioning is I am an individual. And I won't let that go.
DB: I can see that this feeling of being an individual is coming from a thought. Then it will begin to loosen. Right?
K: Yes, sir, I agree
DB: If I don't see it coming from a thought, I don't know.
K: I agree logically to everything that you're saying. But inwardly this thing is so strong that I won't let go.
DB: But I'm also convinced that it's real, you see - that's one reason that I don't want to let go.
K: That's our majority of people here, that's our position. I've lived 40, 50, 80 or 20 years - individual: my pleasure, my fears, my possession, my etc., is so embedded in me that I refuse to listen to you. Or I listen to you and say, 'Please, I don't understand what you're talking about.'
Q: I suppose one might say that something which is real is essentially non-contradictory and makes sense, and if one can draw people’s attention to the fact that the regarding oneself as an individual is filled with contradictions...
K: Yes, sir, we've said that. Umpteen times. But nobody wants to listen to it, because the individual is so tremendously important. You see, the painters - Picasso is an individual, you see - you know, all the rest of it - I don't have to explain.
So my question then is, if one has gone so far, say 'What am I to do?' Is there an action which is not born out of the idea or the illusion that I am an individual? That is really the question. If we want to face it.
Q: From what you’ve said about people in this room, working together and turning these questions over, of communal enquiry...
Q: ...then presumably this is not, or goes beyond the action of the individual.
K: Yes, sir. You see, we're not all together in this, are we? We're not thinking together are we, about this?
Q: As you’ve pointed out, no action, real action that will operate directly is possible while we retain the sense of separateness. It’s self-defeating in this way, so there is, as far as we are concerned, there’s a question, is there an action that can take place, implicit in this, is there the possibility of an action that can take place, when a sense of separateness is not operating, here? Now, this process of enquiry has been into the nature of what we regard as separateness.
K: Sir, we've come to the crossroad. Either you accept individuality and go on.
Q: That’s it.
K: Or you say, 'Let us look in another direction.'
K: And to look in another direction you must kind of put that aside for the time being.
Q: I see that, yes.
K: All right. Are we at that point together?
Q: We have got to be serious enough
K: Together, together - I may be and you may be or some - but together are we at that point?
Q: Sir, can I ask you, is there any factuality at all to individual differences – obviously there are different bodies and so on. I mean, there might be some confusion there about those obvious differences.
K: Sir, you see, you go back to something, sir, forgive me. I said we've come to a crossroad, either you see that individuality brings about conflict, all that, and therefore you say, 'Look, I turn my back on it and let's look in another direction.' That's all I'm asking. Are we looking in another direction? If we are, then I'm saying we have to go into the whole question of our consciousness. You follow? Our mind, which is, the world is me and all that. So is my consciousness, has my consciousness lost its sense of separateness? Because separateness brings conflict, inevitably - Britain, France, Germany - you follow, sir? - the Arab, the Jew and all that - the Hindus, is invariably bringing conflict.
Q: Every peace conference is separate – my country against your country, and they will not look in another direction.
K: I know. The politicians won't, general public won't, but we are here to find out if we can look in another direction.
So, when we look in another direction it means have I really realised that I am the world? That comes to the point. Have I really am I really in contact with that absolute fact? If I am, then what is the quality of my mind, from which action invariably comes? I don't know if I am
K: If I am not clear, if there is not clarity in my mind, all my action will be unclear. Right?
So I'm asking myself and therefore asking you, if I may, what is the quality of your mind when you see that individuality brings conflict, all that? Therefore it's no longer holding onto that. And realises it's a part, or integral part of the whole of mankind. So from that realisation of that fact, what is taking place in the mind? You understand? That is my question.
Q: Krishnaji, the question is, what happens when I’m really in contact with the fact that I am the world and the world is I. And your question is that what happens when it is fact, and if it is a fact, surely something will happen that is also...
K: We're going to find out, sir, we're going to find out. You see, you want you're all so quick in this. We want to find out what happens and that's why I'm asking after talking for four days, what has happened to your mind?
Q: Krishnaji, it seems that fear seems to dissolve instantly at those moments.
K: If there is no fear - wait - then what is the nature of your mind?
Q: It’s much more peaceful
K: No, go into it a little more slowly, Madame.
Q: Less problems, certainly, because no separation.
K: Surely there's something else going on. You're not - examine it a little more closely. That is, individuality has lost its meaning to me, personally. And I realise that I am part of this whole of mankind, I realise it, it means something tremendous, not just words. Something enormous has taken place.
And have I lost the memory - please listen to it - the memory of individuality? I don't know if...
K: No, please, sir, this is very, very serious, don't let's play around with this. Have I lost the memory of my individuality with its experiences, with its sorrows, with etc., etc., etc.?
Mary Zimbalist: What do you mean by losing the memory of it?
K: Oh, Maria!
Q: The past has gone.
K: Memory, remembrance of my sorrow.
MZ: You mean that it is no longer an active something?
K: No. No remembrance.
MZ: How can you have no remembrance?
K: I'm going to show you. Go slowly, Maria. First find out what I am saying first, before you say. That is, I have collected during my 80 years of life, 84 years of my life, as an individual, lots of memories. Right? Lots of experiences. The memory of sorrow, the memory of happiness, the memory as an individual. It is there, in my consciousness.
Now, when I when there is the realisation of the truth - I'm using the word 'truth' in its right sense, absolute truth - that individuality is an illusion, with that realisation, is there a loss of all the memories which I have collected during the 80 years?
Scott Forbes: Sir is...
K: Just go slowly, sir. I may be crazy in saying this.
SF: Is it that there is a new mind that does not have that memory?
K: Scott, Scott, Scott, have you listened to what I've said?
SF: Yes, sir.
K: Which is, have you, who have understood or seen the truth that you are an individual and therefore no longer - are you still carrying the memories, the structure, the nature of your remembrance, your past, all that, in your mind? Yes, sir, this is a real question, don't...
Q: I may be but it doesn’t touch me any more.
K: Ah, no, no, no, no, no. That is again, maybe it doesn't touch me - what do you mean it doesn't touch me?
Q: I mean...
K: Me is part of that.
Q: The memory may be there, you can’t turn off all the memory, but it doesn’t affect me
K: No, sir, no, sir - you see how...
Q: Wiped out.
K: how we have translated it immediately? That is, I have memories of my sorrow, but it no longer interferes with my action. Right? Is that so?
Q: That’s how I see it. I may be wrong.
K: I have memory of being hurt as an individual...
Q: There’s no more me.
K: Wait, wait, listen, sir - memory of it, remembrance of it, it's in my brain, in the cells. And when I say 'Individuality is nonsense', have I lost the memory of the hurt?
MZ: How can you lose the memory if it's in the brain cells, it may not be operating, it may not be...
K: No, I say...
MZ: It is like amnesia?
DB: I think that if there is an illusion, you see, what one remembers is an illusion, when the illusion is dispelled, the memory must go. We can't remember an illusion when you see it's an illusion because it is nothing.
MZ: Something is in the brain cells, is that an illusion or an actual...
DB: What has been in the brain cell has been changed from illusion to non-illusion, the brain cell itself must have changed, it's like waking up from a dream, you're not, you know, the thing is dispelled.
MZ: But you may remember the dream.
DB: If you do, then you're not free of the dream, you see, if you remember the experiencing, the experience of pain, in the illusion, then it's still the illusion.
Q: It’s of the past, it’s not the present. The present has nothing to do with memory, remembering...
MZ: The imprint on the brain cells of certain experiences, are they...
DB: But the imprint was an illusion and when the illusion is dispelled, the imprint must go.
DB: Otherwise we still have the illusion.
K: Maria, may I say something - have you heard my question?
MZ: Yes, sir.
K: Have you investigated the question?
K: Are you reacting to the question? Wait, slowly, go slow. Have you investigated the question which I have put, or are you reacting to the question and asking out of that reaction? Go slowly, Maria, find out first. Piano, piano.
I put the question to myself, perhaps you will see it. As an individual, which is an illusion, for the moment, as an individual, I remember certain incidents which have caused pain. The remembrance of it, the memory of it, the room in which the thing happened which gave pain. And all the circumstances involved in that incident. And that has, as an individual, it has been, it is there, circulating. Right? You've followed up to now? Have you followed it up to now?
K: And if I drop my individuality as an illusion, will the memory still remain? I'm asking a question.
MZ: Well, you used the word 'circulate.' If...
K: My god, you're all...
MZ: ...there are the memories that are factually in the brain...
K: I'm going to find out, Maria, you're all too quick in your answers. I remember where it happened, the house, I can go back to the house and see it happened there. I lived in Ojai, ten years or whatever time, I can see the whole thing, but the memory of pain, that's what I'm talking about, the memory of pain - I won't listen, I won't answer you - the memory of the pain has gone. Have you listened to what I've said?
MZ: Yes, carefully, sir. May I ask a question? The memory of the pain, you say, is gone, but you've just referred to the fact that there was pain at a certain point, therefore...
K: That's only a description - please, Maria, careful, that's why you are...
MZ: There is some record in the brain.
K: You see what it is...
MZ: But Krishnaji, I think some of us are trying to see, if one is to relive the pain, the pain is active, the pain is...
K: No, you're missing the point.
MZ: it has a certain action. The other is a simple factual memory, that there was once a pain, it isn't doing anything or affecting one today.
Q: The hurt has gone.
K: No, sir, be careful, this is very, very serious, you can't...
Q: Is the pain different from the memory?
K: Oh, lordy - don't sir, this is...
Q: Sir, could you use the word ‘imprint’ when talking about pain?
Q: Could one use imprint?
K: Imprint. Answer Mrs. Zimbalist, sir.
Q: It’s possible, I think, if this is so, then one would remember the circumstances and perhaps remember the figures, in the sense that perhaps if they were in a play, something like that, but there would be no imprint inside.
MZ: At least to me there is a distinction between an active memory of one that is affecting my reactions, my life, my - whatever I am. The other is just something that happened that has no meaning for me any more but I can remember it as a fact. Now, I'm trying to find out, when you say, be without memory...
K: Wait a minute - could you put it this way, just - you're attached to somebody.
K: I'm not asking, saying this personally. You're attached to somebody. And you see the whole business of attachment, what is involved, the whole structure, nature of it, the consequences of it. And you end it. Right?
K: Then what happens? Wait - go slowly! What happens? The person is there, the furniture is there or whatever you are attached to. What has happened?
MZ: There is no longer any attachment.
K: That's all. What has taken place in the mind which is no longer attached to?
MZ: I don't understand.
SF: Sir, are you saying that there is a new mind which is different than forgetting.
K: No, I don't want him to suggest a new mind. I just want to see, if you have been attached to something, to a belief, to a person, to a piece of furniture, and you are no longer attached - completely what has happened?
Q: Sort of sense of falling away.
K: She began.
MZ: Well, this is...
K: What has happened?
MZ: ...example because in the instance that you have raised, the attachment is no longer there, there is no...
K: So what has happened - you're not answering.
MZ: There's been a change...
K: Which means what? Have you lost the memory - quiet, please listen! - have you lost the memory of having been attached? I'm not going to - please I'm going to prevent you from answering. Have you lost the memory? All the consequence, all that, when you drop completely attachment? Go ahead.
MZ: I think this use of the word 'memory' is where...
K: Use some other word. Contact.
Q: Could you say it is like a wound healing without a scar?
K: I'm using the word 'memory', purposely because that is what is keeping me attached.
Q: But if it is wiped out that’s the finish.
K: This is important, because if one has done this, what takes place? That's all I'm asking you.
Q: Sir, can you go back a couple of steps about the individuality and just recap what you were saying because I’ve lost the thread of the argument.
K: Oh my lordy.
Q: Sir, aren’t you saying that if there is an actual recording of an event you remember it, you have a picture of the event
K: No, sir, I'm asking something else. I have recorded when I am attached.
Q: There’s an emotional...
K: Just follow it, sir, please. Two minutes - forgive me, I'm not suppressing anybody from asking questions. When I was attached the whole mechanics of registration was taking place. Right? Now when I am not attached, absolutely, the mechanism of registration has stopped. If it has not, the attachment is still going on, in a different form.
Q: Can I make something clear? Emotional – we’re talking about emotion, emotional registration, we’re not talking about recording in the same way that a camera...
K: No, no, sir, of course not, memory, all the recording is memory.
Q: Yes, we’re talking about emotional
K: No, not only - recording. I record. You've said something and my mind records.
Q: But I remember the fact that the person was standing there, I mean, obviously
K: Yes, sir, that - have I, when the mind is free from that attachment, has the recording been wiped out? That's my point.
MZ: The recording of what? Of what? What recording?
K: All the memories. All the incidents.
MZ: as this gentleman just said you remember, say it's a person, or a place, the circumstances, but you're no longer in that, you're not, none of that is operating in you.
K: But I am not attached to you.
K: Just a minute - I'm being personal, I'm sorry. I'm not attached to anybody - forgive me.
Q: It’s all right.
K: I'm not attached to you. I know you, you are there, you do all kinds of things. The mechanism of the whole process of attachment has completely come to an end. But you are there.
MZ: That's right. But what I'm talking - I think, OK, that I do understand, that attachment is not going on, but if you say, is the memory of the attachment in the past, it's not going on, it's not active, it's not in one, in me...
K: It is not there.
Q: ...once it was and I remember the fact that once...
K: Oh for god's sake, somebody explain to her something.
Q: It’s a kind of burden.
MZ: It's gone, there's no burden, there's no attachment, there's none of that.
K: There is no memory, I'm telling you.
SF: Sir, is that the same thing...
MZ: But it's still active.
K: There is no memory.
SF: Is it the same thing as forgetting, that having no memory?
Q: No, no, no, not at all.
K: No, I give up.
SF: Right, then...
Q: Why is it so difficult to understand that?
K: No, sir, don't say this - this is one of the most difficult - you don't know - if you say, what is the difficulty, it's so simple - it's not.
MZ: I think it is the (inaudible) in this case, at least it is with me. You say the memory is different from forgetting.
MZ: Is it different from forgetting, Scott asked.
MZ: Having no memory, is that different from forgetting?
MZ: It's not?
K: Forgetting is something else and having no memory is something else.
MZ: All right. Then
K: Oh, no - this is enough.
Q: Isn’t Mrs. Zimbalist rather saying, my son dies, I wipe it all out, I don’t even remember that there was a son. which is sheer nonsense.
K: No, sir, sir, sir. Sir, it is not like that. Don't... I give up!
Q: Isn’t it like I remember that yesterday you called me stupid but I don’t remember the hurt...
K: I didn't call you stupid.
Q: No, if somebody did. (Laughter) Somebody called me stupid yesterday but I don’t remember the feeling that arrives of hurt any more, it’s gone.
Q: That’s what you’re saying?
K: Something like that.
Q: He remembers that he was hurt but he can’t remember the hurt itself..
Q: I remember being called, the words, the person said these words: ‘You are stupid.’ But the feeling that arose is gone, cannot be recalled.
Q: So there is no real memory of the feeling you had. So the emotional contents are gone.
K: That's right, that's right, sir. Sir, could we take another example. Suppose I've been hurt. The memory of that hurt, the feeling of that hurt is there. Now if I wipe out that hurt completely, therefore in that wiping away, cleansing, there is no feeling of ever being hurt. I know, this is difficult for people - there is no feeling ever of being hurt.
Q: I think the difficulty is that people are so used to remembering factual things, that the idea that you cannot recollect the actual hurting, the nature of the hurt...
K: All right, you cannot recollect, if you want to put it, you cannot remember, recollect what was the state of the mind or feeling when it was hurt. Is that explained somewhat?
Now, come back. As an individual, I remember certain incidents which have caused pain or pleasure, whatever it was. And with the cessation of the individual as an illusion, absolutely, then what is the quality of the mind which has remembered, recollected? I say it has gone. That's all.
Now, what is my action, what am I to do in this world? I've lost my individuality, I mean it, I'm talking about myself, I've lost my individuality, I'm no longer separate, fighting for myself, struggling, conflict - all that. Then what is the nature of my mind which sees that I am part of the whole? The realisation that I am the entire mankind.
Q: One feels a total responsibility.
K: Responsibility. One may not - Madame, do you feel that, or it's just a lot of words.
Q: No, I feel that.
K: How do you act from that responsibility?
Q: I don’t know.
K: So I'm asking what is action?
Q: An action of great care, great attention.
Q: Sir, I think that any attempt to answer your question is rather speculative, on our part.
K: Yes. So what will you do, how will you meet this question, how will you meet this challenge? The challenge is: what are you to do in this world, if you have lost if you put away your ugly little individuality which means nothing.
Q: At this moment we have no basis from which to act that is of the same order, from which we’ve acted in the past.
K: Sir, you can only answer my question - have you really put aside your individuality? Or is it just, say, 'Yes, convenient today in this meeting but the rest of the time I'll carry on.'
Q: There you are stopping us from answering, because how can I say I’m sure that I’m
K: I don't know, I'm asking, sir, I'm just asking. I'm not asking you to be sure.
Q: I think that the only thing that can be after your question is silence.
K: No, sir. After four days...
Q: What I mean by silence is not answering.
K: After four days, you're just silent at the end of it?
Q: Exactly, I am, completely.
Q: I’m not, because if we are silent nothing will change the world and we can sit here and go out and nothing has changed. But I feel, if I may, is that if you have that big feeling in yourself that you are not separate from all people, that you really want to share with other people, really want to listen to other people...
K: No, no sharing - you see, you've gone off to living with other people, sharing.
Q: Well, maybe that’s the wrong word.
Q: Could one say that before I was acting for my individual, then after this change occurs, my individual being the whole, I act for the whole.
K: What is the action that is born out of that?
Q: Perhaps the realisation, sir, that we actually cannot do anything ourselves, from a me.
Q: How can we say any of this? How can we say that it hasn’t happened? We can’t say anything. I mean this affectionately but I don’t think we can say anything.
Q: You see, this happens because the moment is the happening, and each moment new, free from the past, because there is no illusion of memory, there are no more illusions, there is only the reality of the moment, and that is the responsive action, the thing from which you cannot divorce yourself. So there has to be some response. It is the moment, and each moment, that is the moment. At least this is how I feel now.
K: Sir, could I put...
Q: I feel so hesitant in making any statement at all.
K: Could I put the question differently.
Q: I am plaintively looking to see is this true or not.
K: Is my individuality dead? It cannot be resurrected, it cannot be called back - it is dead. Then what is my action? The mind is not recollecting, remembering the individual, feeling separate. Therefore what is its action when it is dead to separateness?
Q: Somebody said ‘love’ and you said no, and I don’t understand because surely it is an act of love.
K: I said no because it comes out - love is one of the easiest words that we all use.
Q: All right, but he’s right.
K: He's perfectly right, but I just wondered if it is a reality or just a word.
Q: If one has lost one’s individuality, sense of separateness, one is a whole being. But am I whole when I say this?
K: You understand, sir, if you feel you are the rest of mankind - you understand that, sir - a tremendous realisation.
Q: There’s a tremendous different feeling.
K: From that there is action.
Perhaps we'll go into it tomorrow, from that point, if we may. It's now one o'clock - sorry.