When you change radically it affects all mankind.
A total regeneration of the mind
1st Public Talk, Bombay
January 21, 1978
If I may, I would like to remind you that this is not an entertainment. This is not a gathering of people who want to be amused or intellectually enlivened. We are concerned, if I may point out, with the total regeneration of man. Because as one observes throughout the world man is destroying himself by his education, by destroying the environment, pollution and all the terrible things that are going on in the name of technology and war. The division of people into races, countries and the division of religions. All this indicates, doesn't it, that there must be a new kind of mind to deal with all our problems, a new quality of apprehension, to perceive a different kind of action which will always be right, correct, true, under all circumstances.
And it seems to me that we should be concerned, if we are at all serious, whether it is possible for man - that's you - to be reborn anew, not in some future date or future time, but during one's short period of life; whether it is possible for you to bring about in yourself a moral revolution. The essence of moral revolution is religion, not all the phoney stuff that is going on in the name of religion, not all the rubbish, superstition, nonsense. But, rather, we must be concerned whether it is possible for a human being, which is you, to bring about a total regeneration of the mind. We mean by that word 'mind' not only the movement of consciousness, the quality of the brain which is so damaged under pressure and also we mean by the mind the quality of action. That is not only action in our daily life, which we shall discuss presently, action with regard to our social, environmental existence; action with regard to our state of consciousness - I am using that word not as a noun, but as a movement. And to bring about a total psychological revolution is our concern, not only this evening but throughout our existence.
Before we go into that we must understand each other. We are using ordinary non-technical language, language that is spoken ordinarily. So, to understand each other we must use words. Words have great significance in our life. Most of us are slave to words. We live in a network of words and we think by understanding the word we have understood the whole significance of existence. So we must be very clear right from the beginning that however important word in communication, but the word is never the thing. The description is not the described. But most of us, unfortunately, are apt to fall into the trap of description and think we have understood, think we have captured the full significance of existence. So we must be very wary, advisedly careful in the usage of words and the limitation of words, and we must use words as a means of communication. We can communicate with each other only when we have the same direction, when we capture the meaning of what the speaker is saying, which is to communicate with each other, which means sharing together, investigating together, exploring together this question whether human beings - you - whether he lives in Russia or America or in Europe or in India or in Asia, whether that human being is capable of bringing about not only a moral revolution, but a regeneration of the totality of one's existence. That's what we are concerned, and that's what we are going to talk about.
So, we must first, it seems to me, establish proper communication. That is, to listen to what is being said and not translate what is said into your own particular pattern of thought, into your own particular images or knowledge or conclusions. You are apparently here to understand what the speaker has to say. That is obvious isn't it - otherwise you wouldn't be here. To understand what he has to say, he must use words. But words are very deceptive. You will translate the word which he uses to cover your own particular mode of thinking, your own particular way of life, which excludes naturally whether you are listening or not. Right? That's simple, isn't it? If you go on thinking your own way, you are caught in your own particular pattern and translate what is being said into your pattern, then you obviously are not understanding the speaker. Right? It seems to me that is very, very simple. That is to listen to what the speaker has to say without interpreting it, without translating it according to your own particular way of life or conclusion.
So first, if I may point out, there is an art of listening. I don't know if you have ever thought about it. I wonder if you ever listen to your wife, to your husband, or to your girlfriend. Do you? Do you listen? Or you have already come to a conclusion that you know her or him and whatever he says passes by very lightly, doesn't actually penetrate your mind. So what we are trying to do here this evening is to learn the art of listening. To listen. To listen to those crows, though they are nuisance, to listen to what the speaker is saying, to listen to your own thoughts, to your own reactions, to listen to your responses to what is being said. So all this requires, doesn't it, a careful, attentive, precise mind; not just casually listening while you are talking to somebody else. Because it is very important it seems to me, from the very beginning of these talks, that we should understand each other, that we should share the problems together. We have got many human problems and it is possible, if we give our care, our attention to completely, totally, utterly solve them.
So please learn, understand the art of listening. It means to listen with affection, with care, with a sense of urgency. And if you are at all serious, and I hope you are - not serious in your own particular mode of life, but that quality of seriousness that comes about when you are comprehending or aware or understanding the global problem of man.
Please, if anybody wants to leave now, please get up and go. Much simpler now rather than in middle of the talk and disturb people.
When I use the word 'global problem', aren't you as a human being, whether man or woman, representative of all mankind? Please understand this question; this is a very serious question - aren't you, as a human being, representative of all humanity? Because your problems are the problems of every other man - economic, social, moral, private, personal. And whether he is an American, or Russian or Chinese or this country, your problems are shared, are common to every man because you suffer, you are anxious, uncertain, insecure, confused, caught up in a world of utter insanity, madness. This is the problem of every human being in the world. There is fear of death. They want to find out what is meditation, how to go beyond and be utterly free of all fear, to find out the full significance of existence. And to find out also a way of living that is true, not hypocritical. This is the common problem of every human being in the world and so you represent the common factor and therefore you are the rest of humanity. Your consciousness is the consciousness of the world, not your private consciousness.
I hope we understand each other about this question. That's why when one says, as we say, you are the world and the world is you, it is literally so. And whether you as a human being representing the common factor of humanity, whether it is possible for each one to bring about a regeneration of his mind. So that is the question. Right? That is the problem we are facing, not as individuals, but as a human being; not as a group, but as one entity who represents the whole global man with all his problems. So, if you as a human being can bring about a radical moral revolution, that revolution affects the whole of mankind. I wonder if you understand this. You know, one or two people in the world affect the consciousness of mankind. The great butchers of the world called war people, the great conquerors affect your consciousness, as the consciousness of this country is affected by their superstitious beliefs; as in Europe, two thousand years of a certain incident and glorified into a religious symbol does affect the whole consciousness of Europeans and Americans. And the same way when you, if you are a communist and if you accept that pattern of and the way of thinking, that whole consciousness is affected. I wonder if you follow all this.
Questioner: We follow.
Krishnamurti: So, please understand the utter simple responsibility of a human being - you - living in this mad world. When you change radically it affects the consciousness of the world. So that's what we are concerned. The word 'regeneration' means to be reborn, not in some future life, which may or may not be true, but in this life, in this short period of existence, whether it is possible for you as a human being who represents all mankind, whether it is possible for you to be reborn. Do you understand my question? That is the question, the challenge that the speaker is putting before you. How you respond to it is very important. Morally, every country in the world is immoral. Our society is immoral, our religions are immoral. And we live in that society. We respond to that society. We are part of that society. We are that society. We are not different from that society. Right? Please see this - not intellectually, not verbally, but actually - that you are the result of your environment, of your culture, if there is such culture, the result of your religion, of your gurus, of your books, of your education. You are that. And in that we pretend that there is something extraordinarily spiritual. And we are trying to discover that spiritual entity, which is sheer nonsense.
So, we are asking you as a human being, whether you can bring about a regeneration in your life, your life being your daily relationship with another human being. That's our life. You may technologically be a marvellous engineer or a scientist and so on. That is merely a calculated, specialised entity to earn a good livelihood. But we are not talking of that. As a human being, we are referring, not as a specialist. You know I always thought that a doctor who is always investigating, who is a specialist in nose and throat and ear specialist, his heaven will be nose, throat and ears. Won't it? I wonder if you understand all this. So those who are specialised have their little heaven of their specialisation. Obviously. If you spend all your life, being a doctor or a surgeon - good or bad - obviously, if there is such a thing as heaven, you will be there a surgeon. Right? Obviously. So it matters very much whether you can bring about a change in yourself radically, morally. We are going to investigate that together.
When we use the word 'investigate' it implies, doesn't it, that your mind must be capable to explore, to look. But if you come with a prejudice, with a conclusion, with a direction, you will not be able to observe. Right? So, investigation implies that you must be free to look - right? - free to look at your life, free to look at your reactions to life, free to look at your reactions or responses to your wife or to your husband, because there is the life. So we are going to investigate into that and to investigate you must be free to look. So first find out for yourself whether you are free to look; look at your life, your daily, ugly, conflicting life, to look at it, to investigate it, to explore it. Right? If you have a conclusion, then your investigation will be directed by what you have concluded. I wonder if you see all this. If you have a prejudice, that prejudice is going to dictate your investigation. If you have a belief, that belief is going to direct your investigation. So the mind - and please do it as we are talking - your mind must be free to explore. And is your mind free? Obviously not. Because if it was free you would already be investigating. So, if I may point out, it is very important in our investigation whether it is possible for a human being - you - to bring about a radical, not only transformation in his consciousness, but also a moral regenerating action.
Then the next question is, in this investigation the investigator is not different from the investigation. Now this is going to be rather difficult. When you examine as a scientist - a good scientist - should, through a microscope into something, if he comes with a hypothesis, that hypothesis is going to direct what he observes. Right? So he must observe what is actually going on, not what he thinks is going on, not what he would like to see what is going on. So, investigation implies that your mind, your eye, your whole being which is being investigated, be free to be observed. Right? Is this clear? Are you doing it? Or you have the habit of listening to somebody, words, words, words, and you're caught in that habit of just attending some speaker. You understand what I am saying? So, we are going to investigate together whether it is possible for a human being like you to bring about a regenerating factor, regenerating energy, regenerating action in our daily life. That is our question.
First of all, what is our life? Our daily life. What is our daily life? Your daily life. Your daily life isn't it, is one series of conflicts. Right? One series of struggles, conflict between the opposites - wanting to be something and denying that. And a series of conscious as well as unconscious fears, a pursuit of pleasure, and a relationship, actually, not theoretically, actually a relationship with another, with your wife, with your husband, with your whatever it is, in which there is no love at all. Right? And our life is made up of this continuous burden of sorrow and also fear of death. That is our life, our daily conflict of our life. Right? And added to that we try to find out how to live a life which is peaceful and so we escape through meditation denying this life, try to find through meditation a way of living which won't be in conflict. Right? Look at your life, not at the description which the speaker is making - right? - at your daily life. So we are going to first find out whether it is possible to live in our daily life without conflict. Please give your attention to this. Nobody talks to you like this, give your attention, your heart to this, to find out whether you can live a life, in your daily life, to live without conflict in relationship, because our life is relationship. Right? Our life is in contact with each other and in that relationship there is conflict.
So is it possible to live a life, live in a relationship with each other, in which there is no conflict whatsoever? Right? Let us investigate that and find out if it is possible or not possible. We are not saying yes or no. We are going to investigate and therefore find out for yourself, because the speaker has no authority whatsoever. He is not your guru. Right? I wouldn't accept you as you're followers. This is very important to understand. You are all trained to follow, to obey. And the speaker says, together, you and I as two human beings going to investigate whether it is possible to live a life in which there is no conflict. You understand what this means? See the greatness or the beauty of that question, not intellectually put, but the actual reality of that question. Why do we live in conflict? What is the root of conflict? You understand? The root of it. There are many expressions of conflict. Right? Many expressions - the neurotic expressions, the common expression of conflict and the ultimate conflict to achieve peace or some enlightenment. All that is based on conflict. Right? So we are asking why do you have conflict? When I ask you that question, please look at yourself - your own thinking, your own way of life and find out if that question, why you live in conflict, how you respond to it, how you receive the question. You understand? Is it an actual question which disturbs you as pain disturbs you, or is it a theoretical question put to you and you are trying to answer a theoretical answer? Or do you realise for yourself that you live in conflict and ask yourself whether it is possible to live without conflict. Don't say yes or no but let us investigate it. Right? As we said, to investigate there must be freedom - you can't be tethered to a belief, to an idea, to a tradition. You must be free to look. What is the cause of conflict? Are you waiting for me to answer it? You are. Therefore it means you are not investigating. That means we are not sharing the problem.
We live in duality, don't we. I want this and I don't want that. I like to be this but I am not that. I'd like to be happy and I am not that. I am angry and I would like not to be angry, and so on, so on, so on. Why is there - please listen - why is there an opposite at all? You understand my question? Do you understand my question? I am asking you, if I may most respectfully, why is there an opposite? Why have we accepted an opposite? There is an opposite as light and darkness, man/woman. I am asking this question psychologically - why is there in you a dual process of thinking? You understand? Or - please listen - or there is only the fact, what is actually happening and nothing else. You understand my question? Look, one is greedy - right? - or one is violent. Why have we invented the non-violence? Why have we invented the idea of not being greedy? Why? When we are actually greedy, actually violent, why have we the opposite of it? This country has lived with non-violence, which is sheer nonsense of course, because you are all violent. So please follow this. It is not rubbish that we are talking about. This is a very serious fact. Because this may totally eliminate altogether conflict, if you know, understand what is being said.
When we use the word 'fact', we mean by that word 'that which is', 'that what is'. The 'what is not' is non-fact. Right? Non-violence is a non-fact. But the fact is violence. I am asking why has humanity - you - have invented the opposite? You understand my question?
K: Yes sir, later. Either you have invented it because you don't know how to deal with 'what is', with violence, and therefore it is an escape from 'what is'. Or you think you need an ideal, which is the opposite, to eradicate 'what is'. Or use the ideal as a means of getting rid of 'what is'. The 'what is' is a fact, is actual, but the ideal is non-actual. It's an escape from the fact. So, can you drop your ideal? Can you drop the opposite and deal only with 'what is'? You understand my question? I can't see your faces but you can see mine, which is unfortunate - it should be the other way round.
So, we are saying observe and investigate 'what is', not how to go beyond 'what is', not how to transform 'what is'. If you do, then the duality comes into being, therefore conflict. I wonder if you understand this. That is, suppose I am jealous - I have never been jealous in my life, but suppose I am. See what is involved in observing 'what is'. Suppose I am jealous, and my education, my culture, my religious upbringing has said, don't be jealous, it is wrong to be jealous, because jealousy implies hate, anger, all the implications of jealousy - bitterness and so on, so on, so on. So don't be jealous. So I have been educated in not being jealous. But the fact is I am jealous. So immediately I have a conflict. You understand? Immediately the conflict begins - I am jealous, and I mustn't be jealous. Right? But the fact is I am jealous. So I am only concerned with jealousy, not 'I should not be jealous'. So I have no conflict of duality. I have only the understanding and the observation of what it means to be jealous. Right? Are you following all this? Right.
So, I am going to investigate into 'what is', which is jealousy, which is a common factor of all humanity. A feeling which I have named as jealousy arises, because - oh, I won't give you the reasons, it's so obvious. Don't you know jealousy? So I don't have to give the reasons. Now, a feeling arises and there is immediate naming of it, immediate recognition of it, through verbal association. The feeling arises - instantly there is naming of it as jealousy. The naming of it is to strengthen it. When you recognise it, which means you have had that feeling before and you have named it and that memory reacts to the present feeling. So you are looking - please listen to this - you are looking or observing that this new expression of that thing called jealousy with old memories. Therefore the old memories are contradicting or trying to bring the present feeling into its own record. I wonder if you follow all this! So to observe that feeling without naming. Will you do it? Next time you are jealous - probably you are jealous even now - can you observe that feeling arising and not name it at all? Then what takes place? Then as I said, that very observation without naming brings about a transformation in the fact.
You know, I have talked, one has gone into this question considerably, previously, many years ago, and we were talking to some scientist the other day, and I asked him, the speaker asked him, what actually takes place - please listen - what actually takes place when a scientist observes a phenomena through a microscope, a phenomena that he is investigating. Right? And when he observes without any prejudice, without previous knowledge, without a direction, then that which he observes is undergoing a radical change. You understand this? That the scientists, some of them, have assured the speaker that it is so. So we are saying, if you can observe your the reacting feeling which you have named jealousy, without naming it, just to observe it. Then that very observation brings about a radical transformation in that which is being observed. Have you got it? Or must I explain it again?
Look sir, the word 'violence' is associated with so many things - right? - and when we use that word we are already educated to condemn it because violence is something unholy. So, to observe our feeling of violence without the word, and in that observation you will find that feeling is undergoing a radical transformation. You can only test this, not accept it. Right? You can test it for yourself in your daily life, if you know how to do it. And therefore we are sharing this thing together, that it is possible to live completely without conflict of duality, because there is no duality. It is the invention of thought. What is fact is real. Everything else is non-real. So can you in your daily life, in your relationship live without the opposite and only live with what is? And you can test this. You know what I mean by testing? Actually finding out for yourself, by watching yourself and see whether what is being said is true or false. Because it is your life. It is not my life. You have to test it.
So - and also in that conflict there is the problem of desire. Right? So we are going to investigate together, because there is no authority here, and I really mean it - I am not an authority. Because to me the authority of a surgeon is totally different from the authority of a guru. You know sir, when you are seeking truth, really seeking truth, you are never alone. Do you understand that? Oh no, you don't
Now we are trying together to find out for ourselves how to live a life in which there is not a shadow of conflict. We have gone into this question of duality. Right? I hope you understand it with your heart, with your depth of, with your not intellectually but with tremendous attention, because your life is in conflict. The other question the other problem the conflict arises when there is the dual opposing desires. So we are going to investigate together what is desire.
It's the foul air of Bombay that makes one cry. I am not crying, but the air is so polluted, and I happen to be rather sensitive of the eyes. So, don't weep with me.
We are together investigating into this tremendous problem of desire. Because that is one of the root causes of conflict. All religions have said get rid of desire because a man who comes to serve god must be free of desire. And we are educated, unfortunately, to suppress it, to run away from it, to find a substitution or desire for the noblest thing - god or whatever it is. And modern society, modern world says express yourself fully, indulge in your desires, nonsense of all the religious edicts - throw them all away. Our society has become permissive, to do whatever you like. So we must together investigate into this question of desire.
I do not know if you have ever asked yourself why desire plays such an important part in our daily life - desire to be perfect, desire to achieve a status, a position, a power, desire to have money - all the rest of it, the whole gamut of desires. Please listen. Does the objects of desire vary or desire itself varies? You understand the question? When you are a young chap you desire a car or later on a woman or later on a man or later on a house, and so on. Do the objects of desire, do they vary or intrinsically desire has in itself a variety, changing - no, not change - different objects inherent in it? We are going to find out. So first let's find out the root and the meaning of desire. How desire arises, not how to suppress it, not how to run away from it, but see for ourselves the whole movement of desire, the origin of desire, the beginning of desire. Right?
Are you prepared? (Laughs) Are you also working as the speaker is working - right? - working, you know, not physically, psychologically, intellectually, verbally trying to communicate something and are you also working together or you are just listening, half asleep. Because it is really a very important problem in our daily life, whether it is sexual desire or desire for power, desire for siddhis, desire for enlightenment, desire to have a bigger house or a more beautiful wife and so on, so on, so on, so on. What is desire? If one can understand it very deeply you will find that the object becomes totally irrelevant.
So we are going to - together - to understand the movement of desire - movement, not a desire for something - the movement. Now just a minute. When we use the word 'movement', it means moving from here to there, which is time. Movement implies time. Not only chronological time but psychological time. That is, I desire to have a big house. I don't, but suppose I desire to have a big house. It's a movement which will take time. You understand? To have that house, I must work, I must gather money, and all the rest of it, and get that house. That is a movement in time. When we use the word 'movement' of desire, in that is implied time also. I wonder if you see it. Do you see this, the implications? You don't. So, let's We will come to it. We'll come to it. I just thought of this - marvellous idea.
Desire means movement. Movement means time. We are not only investigating time but also desire. Are you getting tired at the end of the day? If you are tired at the end of the day I am awfully sorry, but we will go on. Because desire for enlightenment is as the same as desire for a house. There is no difference for a sannyasi who desires heaven and a man who desires a house. They are still movement. He must do certain things - control, celibacy and all that business, and arrive at that state when he says, 'I have got enlightenment', which is absurd. When you say 'I am enlightened', you are not enlightened. (Laughter)
So, in investigating desire we are investigating time. It is really extraordinary you don't see the beauty of it. What is desire? Desire is never static. It is always moving, living. And most of us think that it is static and therefore can control it - right? - therefore can suppress it, can escape from it, but it is a living thing. So, we are trying to capture a living thing, not a static, dead thing. So your mind must be equally alive to understand it. That means your mind also must be alive to investigate. What is desire; how does it arise? I am putting this the speaker is putting this question for you to find out for yourself, not wait for the speaker to tell you. Unfortunately I will tell you! (Laughter) But find out for yourself as we go along. Then it becomes exciting, fun, alive. But if you merely listen to what he is saying, memorise it and then apply it, it is a dead thing. So together we are doing it. What is desire? One sees a beautiful watch in the window, or a beautiful car, a beautiful dress - whatever it is. There is first the seeing - right? - the seeing, then there is contact, then there is sensation, then thought comes in and says 'How nice if I had it'. So - perception, contact, sensation, then thought, image - right? - thought creating the image of you driving in the car and having the pleasure of driving the car, and then desire. You understand? Watch it in yourself, not what the speaker is saying.
I thought somebody was yawning.
So, there is first perception, the seeing, the contact, the sensation, thought creating the image and - desire. This is the movement of desire, which is the movement of time. When I see the car and thought says 'How nice it would be to drive a car', the power, sitting position - all that - and then desire; to get the car needs time, and all the rest of it.
So our question is why does thought create the image and out of that image desire is born? You understand my question? Is it possible for thought not to create the image? You understand my question? Seeing, contact, sensation, then thought creating the image and the pursuit of that image - desire. We are asking whether thought can be in abeyance and not create the image. Look at it. I see a beautiful watch in the window. I see it, I contact it, sensation and thought comes and says 'How nice it would be for me to have it'. Now, before thought comes in, just to observe - contact, sensation and stop there. This requires great attention of your reactions. Right? Then desire becomes a minor part. Then you begin to understand the movement of desire. But when the image becomes strong, then the pursuit of desire is intense. Have you understood a little bit of this? Not understood; are you doing it? That is, memory which is stored in the brain - I am not a brain specialist but you can observe it in yourself - memory is stored in the brain like a recorder - please listen to this - seeing, contact, sensation and for the brain to stop the movement of recording. You understand this? I wonder if you understand this! This is No sir, you don't Don't, don't Please, keep quiet. You know, the function of the brain is to record - right? - record every kind of experience, every kind of incident; that is its business to record, like a tape recorder - everything that is being said is recorded. So the brain is the recording instrument. And the question is - this may be a little bit difficult - the question is, not to record what is not necessary. Find out. To record only what is absolutely necessary. Not to record your jealousies, which is not necessary. Not to record your hurts, which is not necessary. Not to record your ambitions. Right? So you are Then the brain is only recording that which is essential - the language, how to drive a car, how to do business and not do tricks in business, and all the rest of it. Just to record what is necessary. Then you will find that the relationship between desire and the non-recording process is that the desire is not recorded. I wonder if you understand this. No, no, please don't agree. You haven't done it. You can only agree when you have tested it, gone into it. Find out for yourself and do it, test it. But just to say, 'Yes, I agree', your head is loose, that's all. So this is a tremendous problem for humanity to find out. As we are discussing we are trying to find out a way of living in which there is no conflict whatsoever. And we are showing, the speaker is showing, that is it can be done, completely, which means you must understand, discover through your own investigation the conflict in which we live, between man and woman, sexually and otherwise - the conflict of ambition, the conflict of competition - all that. And we said it is possible only when you actually live with 'what is', not with the ideals, with the supposition, with fixations. And also in trying to understand the whole movement of conflict is to understand, find out, the movement of desire. Desire comes into being only when thought creates the image and that image is recorded. I wonder if you see this. I have found something very new. It doesn't matter, you won't understand this.
So, we have to stop. Can you who are the representative of all humanity - and that is the fact - you represent me, the American, the Russian, the because they are all in conflict, misery, confusion, that is a common factor between all human beings, though you may be a doctor, a rich man and many possessions and all that, but you still go through the misery of sorrow, pain suffering, fear. So you are that, the rest of the world, you are the world. So if you understand and transform yourself, you are bringing a great blessing on the world. So we are saying that there is an actual way of living - when I use the word 'actual' it means what is taking place, actually what is happening - if you can understand that, there is a life opens, has a totally different meaning. Finished.
I've finished, sirs.