Where do I look to see what I am?
A good human being is one who is not fragmented
3rd K School - Students Discussion, Rishi Valley
December 16, 1983
Krishnamurti: As this is the last talk what would you like me to talk about?
Student: Seriousness, sir. Can we talk about seriousness?
K: Yes. What would you like to know about it?
S. This whole thing of looking at oneself, and looking hard at oneself and not letting it be just an idea, something out there. Really having contact with it.
K: Contact with what?
S. Contact with whatever you are doing, whatever you are looking at.
K: I understand all that. Looking at oneself, being in contact with oneself, observing oneself, aware of what you are doing
S: And acting on that.
K: All that. And you call that seriousness, would you?
S: How would one seriously do that? I mean how one would seriously do it - I am not asking for an explanation.
K: Why do you make it complex? I want to look at myself, not in the mirror, but where do I look to see what I am? Are you interested in all this? I want to know myself. I am a very complex human being. I have inherited so many experiences, so many concepts, opinions, judgements, tradition, vast accumulation of memories both conscious as well as unconscious, I am all that - my beliefs, my faith, my anxieties, my loneliness, depression, ambition, remorse, guilt, pain, sorrow, affection - I am all that. Now, how do I look at myself? If I am all that, where do I see myself as I am?
S: How do I see that I am all that?
K: I am going to point out, sir. Let's talk about it, shall we? As I pointed out the other day, hearing and listening are two different things. I can hear what you say verbally, understand what you are talking about verbally, intellectually, but actually I am not listening. Do you see the difference between listening and hearing? Hearing with the ear and listening not only with the ear but much more deeply. You were hearing last night some western classics, weren't you? You listened to it. If you appreciated, loved, western classics, you listen to it very, very carefully - the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the vitality, the originality, the depth of it. And as you listened you began to see the beauty, move with it, run with it, explode with it. Now, how will you do the same in understanding yourself? Do you understand my question?
K: I want to know what I am - let's begin very simply. I can't look in my mirror. My mirror tells me what I look like outside. Right? But that mirror can't tell me what is inside, what are my thoughts, what are my feelings. Right? Now is there another mirror in which I can see myself very clearly? You wanted to talk about relationship. Don't you see yourself very clearly in your relationship? How you react, what are your responses, in what way you show your prejudices, the weight of your opinions - right? - of like and dislike, of reward and punishment? You follow? You begin to observe slowly, bit by bit, in the mirror of relationship. Right? Are you doing that as I am talking to you?
You and I are related because you have seen me several times here, we have walked together, had somewhat of a discussion together, and in that discussion, in that walk, in listening to that music - you listened much more than I did - there was a certain relationship. Right? In that relationship, which is a mirror, and you can observe yourself, your reactions, all that. Can you? Will you?
S: Yes. But there is a separation - it is out there.
K: It is not out there. No. Just look at it. You are looking at, in that relationship, your reactions - right?
K: Your opinions, your prejudices, your fears and so on. Now are all those reactions different from you?
S: Yes. They are
K: Just sir - examine carefully, if you don't mind my telling you respectfully, don't answer immediately.
S: Sir, when I say I am observing my relationship
K: Come on up here.
S: When I say I am observing - no sir, I'll sit down - when I am saying I observe my relationships with somebody, it seems as if I am dividing myself into two different entities.
S: I am observing something - it seems to be different. When I say, 'This is my mind', what does that mean?
K: Is your mind, is your prejudice, is your anger different from you?
S: I don't understand, sir.
K: I am angry, impatient. Is that impatience, anger, greed, different from me?
K: Therefore when you say no, what do you mean by that?
S: It is the same thing.
K: So you are the anger, you are the prejudice - right? - you are the greed. So there is not something outside of you or inside of you at which you are looking. You are that. Suppose you are this colour; you are that colour. But you can describe that colour - the description is different from the colour. Look, I can describe the Himalayas because I have been up there - the beauty, the grandeur, the enormity of it, the immensity of it, snow-capped, clear blue sky and the marvellous sense of aloofness and a great sense of solidarity, solid - the glory of a mountain. I can describe all that, but the description is not the mountain, is it? Is it?
S: No, it isn't.
K: Why do you say that?
S: It is the same thing. It is the same thing with yourself.
K: So, I can describe my reactions - right? - but the description is not my reaction. What is the difficulty?
K: I said I can describe my reaction. The verbal description is different from the actuality. Right? The word 'auditorium' is different from the actual fact. Do you see that?
K: So the word is not the thing. Are you clear?
K: Your name is not you.
S: But sir, very often we tend to...
K: Just - wait, I haven't finished. You are not listening, that means, when you are so quick with your answer. So you have learned something: that the word is not the thing, the actual thing. Right? See the implications of that. My wife - the word 'wife' is not the actual person. But the word becomes very important, not the person. Right? So, you begin to discover that the brain is full of words, not actuality. Right? Have you found that? Here is my sister, that is the end of it. Right? The word 'sister' is not the actual person.
S: But she is called by that name, sir - 'sister'. Sister means her.
Teacher: She is called by that name.
K: That's right.
S: Sir, the word 'sister', in your mind you associate it with that person.
K: That is right. When you associate with that person the word becomes all-important.
S: Sir, it's not as though the word is separate from the thing itself, because you connect it to that thing. If you have a common understanding that when you say the word 'sister' it is connected to that thing.
T: He says when he says the word 'sister' it is associated and connected with the thing.
K: All right. Microphone. Right? You know the word 'microphone'. There is the microphone. The word is not the actuality.
S: What can you call it without the word? What can you call the thing without the word?
T: I think he is saying that
K: I know what he's saying. What would you call that thing without the word. I don't know. What would you call yourself without the word? Don't look up at the sky. What would you call yourself if you hadn't your name? Would you invent another name?
S: What would I
K: You are not thinking, sir, you are just responding. Find out. I said to you, the word 'microphone' is not the actual thing. Right? That's all. I didn't go any further. So you begin to differentiate, the word is not actually the thing. So you begin to differentiate between the actual and the idea - you get it? - the actual and the idea about the actual. The idea about the actual is not real. Only what is touchable, and so on. You get it?
So, in relationship you begin to discover what you are. Whether that relationship be very intimate - like husband wife - or friends and so on. So you begin to discover - let me put it the other way. Are you related to nature?
S: Yes sir, you are yourself nature. You are yourself nature.
K: Come up here. Come and sit down comfortably.
K: You are saying you yourself are nature.
S: Yes, sir.
K: How do you know?
S: You are from this earth, sir. You are from this earth only, from the earth itself.
K: All right. So you are part of nature, you are saying. What is your relationship with your nature - all those flowers, all the hills, the trees, the mountain, the dry river - right? - what's your relationship to that?
S: Sir, it's life. The relationship is life.
K: The relationship is love.
T: Is life - life.
K: What do you mean I am asking you, what is your relationship with nature. Don't say just life.
S: (Inaudible) life and the nature.
T: He is not clear.
K: Look - I won't use the word 'nature', it's too big a word. What is your relationship to a tree?
S: You have life and the trees have life.
K: Old boy, you are not listening to what I am asking you. You see that tree, don't you? What do you feel about it?
S: Affection, sir. Affection.
K: Affection? Do you love that tree?
S: Yes, sir.
S: Sir, admiration. I admire the tree.
K: Do you?
S: Yes, sir.
K: And then what? You are missing something - you are not paying attention to what I am asking you.
S: Sir, it is because of the trees that you have come into existence.
T: It is because of trees he exists.
K: You are just saying any old thing.
S: Sir, my relationship with the tree is: I am looking at it, I feel it, I am with it for some time, whatever.
S: And it's separate from me.
K: I hope so. (Laughter) Though you are separate from that tree, what is your reaction to it? You understand my question? Don't go to sleep.
S: When I see a tree, I just look at it, I don't feel that tree, I just know it's a tree. That's all.
K: The word 'tree' is not the actual. Right? Now, do you look at it? Take time to look at it? Do you listen to it? Do you listen to the sound of it?
S: We take it for granted, sir, we don't Like we see the tree, we just
K: I am asking you something; you reply so quickly. You don't listen to somebody, do you? You have already made up your mind what so say. I am not scolding you, sir, I am just telling you. I am just telling you, you don't listen. I am saying: do you ever stand still and look at a tree, the whole of it? And do you hear the sound of it? See the beauty of it? The extraordinary capacity of it?
S: Not always.
S: Sir, whenever
K: You haven't even done it! Don't say 'always'. You have never looked at a tree and see the beauty of it, the quietness, the dignity, the sound, the extraordinary thing that a tree is. Now, wait, do you look at your sister or your wife or your husband that way? Look at it. Or do you say, this is my sister, all right, get on with it? I am asking you, sir, because it is very important to understand this. Please. We live by relationship. Right? We cannot exist without relationship. Even the hermit, even the sannyasi, even the monk is related. He may disappear into a monastery, into a forest, but he is still related to the world. Right? The world of memory, of all his experiences - right? - he still carries it with him. Right? So, relationship is life. Relationship is the extraordinarily important thing in life. Where there is conflict in relationship there is no relationship. Right? So you find or you discover or you see yourself in the mirror of relationship. That's clear? And the mirror is not different from you - you are that mirror. And penetrate it, go into it much deeper and deeper every day. Or - this is much more difficult - you might take twenty years to understand yourself, bit by bit by bit. Right? Or you can take it - in one second the whole thing. Do you understand what I am saying? I can know myself by studying myself, what other people have said about me - right? - philosophers, the analysts, Freuds and Jungs and all the rest of them, I can also read some so-called sacred books, and say, 'I am that'. But the books and the words is not me. Right? So I have to find myself. This has been, from the ancient Greeks and the ancient Hindus, they have said: 'Know thyself'. Right? And very few people really know themselves. They have not even tried. Now, we say to you, relationship is the most sacred thing in life - one of the most sacred - and in that relationship you can discover everything that you are. Either take time, or understand it instantly. This is more difficult because this requires going into the whole question of time, thought, perception, and to see that the past doesn't interfere with your perception of the now. That requires extraordinary attention and...
S: But sir, it seems we base our relationship on experiences and memories.
K: Yes. Your experiences are based on memory
S: Our relationship.
K: Yes. Now, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Go into it a little more. Would you have the capacity to think without experience? Do you understand my question? Would you? Think it out, old boy, think it out carefully. Don't answer something you don't know. Don't then become like a parrot. I am asking you, sir, all of you are 'A' level and 'O' level, and all kinds of stuff - without experience is there thinking?
K: No. Wait, go step by step. Why do you say no?
S: Because of the experience only we think. Without experiences we cannot think.
K: You are saying without experience there is no thinking. Is that what you are saying? Don't be nervous.
T: He said because of experience, we think.
K: Yes, that's right, same thing. Now, just a minute. Is experience limited? Carefully answer this, all the top big boys and little boys, girls: is experience limited?
S: No, sir.
K: No, look at it carefully. Careful - don't answer. Think it out. Look at it carefully.
S: Sir, every day you keep on having a new experience.
K: All right. What do you mean by experience?
S: Sir, something interesting that happens to us.
K: Something interesting happens to us. It can be unpleasant too, painful, and so on. So, what does - no this is too difficult.
T: He says it depends on you whether your experience is limited or unlimited.
K: (Laughs) The experience depends on you to find out whether it is limited or unlimited. You are not answering my question, old boy.
S: Sir, whether you want it or not, you gain experience.
K: Is this all that you have learnt in this school, just to repeat? Now sir, I'll go slowly with you. Learn. Don't memorise - you understand? - but learn, discover as you go along. Right? I have an experience in a car. I wasn't paying attention and I bumped into another car. Right? Right? And it has destroyed the radiator. So, that incident has been registered in the brain - right? - as memory. Right? And I have an experience going up to the top of the hill and seeing what is on the other side. Right? And there are other hills, much higher. So climbing this little hill is a limited experience. Right? You understand? Going to a higher mountain and seeing - a little more - but still limited because there are still higher mountains. All experience is always limited. Careful, careful - think it out.
Look sir, the scientists, during the last two hundred years, have accumulated tremendous experience, knowledge - right? - bit by bit - theory, and that theory being proved or disproved, and then a new theory, a new hypothesis, proved and disproved, so gradually they build up enormous amount of knowledge, but that is still limited because there is more to be discovered. Right? So all knowledge whether in the past or in the future is always limited.
S: Sir, if experience is limited that implies some sort of division. I don't understand
K: No, no. Don't bother about division and all that. Just look at the fact that all experience is limited.
K: Not OK.
S: Experience is limited, isn't it?
K: It is so.
S: Yes it is.
K: Is that a fact to you, or are you repeating after me?
S: No, it is a fact.
K: Which means all experience, and therefore from experience you have knowledge, therefore knowledge is always limited. Right? Now proceed a step further. All knowledge is stored in the brain, as memory. Right? Agreed? So memory - what? - remembrance of things past - right? - and so on, that memory, from that memory thought arises. Right? Right? Clear? So thought is always limited. Once you admit experience is limited, knowledge is limited, then memory is limited and thought invariably is limited. See the importance of this.
Are the older people paying any attention to all this - the older boys - I suppose not. Are you bored by all this? The upper class - Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth? Yes, I am afraid you are. They don't pay attention, it's all right. Some of you pay attention to this.
So thought, born of memory, memory born of knowledge, knowledge born of experience, right through is limited. Right? The things that limited thought has done is to divide the people - Indian, Muslim - thought has done this. Right? Agreed? Thought has divided religions, built great cathedrals, temples and mosques and so on, so on, and all the things that are in it are invented by thought. Do you understand? Careful, really see the truth of this because it will help you tremendously. So all our action, our feelings, everything that we do is limited because it is controlled by thought, or shaped...
S: Our whole life revolves around thought.
K: That's right. So your whole life is limited. And where there is limitation there must be conflict. Right? Look, when you are thinking about yourself all day long, that's a very limited affair. He thinks about himself and I think about myself and therefore what happens? We are perpetually in conflict - not with him because he is a nice boy. You understand? Whatever is limited must induce conflict. I think about myself and you think about yourself, and myself is a very small affair, and your thinking about yourself is a very, very small affair. And our relationship is a very small affair, and therefore what is small, what is limited must induce, must bring about conflict. It is a small affair to belong to a country. Right? Say, 'My nation, I am an Indian', it is very limited. And the Muslim says 'I am Pakistani' blah blah. So there is division, there is conflict. That is, where there is limitation there is division, and therefore there is conflict. This is law.
S: You say where there is conflict there is no relationship.
K: That's further. Do you get this? You get it, sir?
S: It is a thought still. It is still a thought, because nothing is coming out of it.
K: No. Why should anything come out of what?
S: Come out of seeing (inaudible)
K: Sir, you don't see something, your brains are so atrophied.
S: Sir, does that mean whenever there is conflict it has to be small?
K: Of course. Sir, look: there is America and Russia, so-called super powers. Right? This division exists by their nationalities. The division exists by their concepts of what government is, division brought about by ideals - I believe in Marxism and they believe in democracy - my country, my ideals, and they fight, fight, fight. Right? So, ideals are limited, naturally. So there is conflict. Get it? Get it somewhat.
Now, we began by saying you can see yourself, what you are, in the mirror of relationship. Right? Now, you can go infinitely far in yourself; you can't go very far outwardly. You can go to the Himalayas - taking several days or several months by walking, or a couple of hours in an aeroplane - you understand? - but that is also limited. You can go round the earth - twenty-four thousand miles - twice or three times; that's limited. But when you know through your relationship what you are and penetrate that, then you can go immeasurable distance inwardly. Right? And I won't go into that because that is real meditation and all kinds of things are involved in it.
The other day when we met, I asked you, 'What's your future?' Not only your future, the future of your educators, the future of mankind. You understand? I asked you this - don't go to sleep. What is going to be your future? Don't go off into - as we did the other day - what is time? - you follow? - all that. We went into it, don't get lost in that. You are young - seven, ten, fifteen, eighteen, twenty, and you are off to university, college, university, take a degree, get married, if you can you get a job, or some other thing and there you are there, stuck for life. Right? That is your future. Right? Isn't that future very limited?
S: Yes, it's very limited.
S: Yes, it's brought by thought.
K: It is brought about by thought, and maybe other factors; it's limited. So your life, being limited, is going to create tremendous trouble for others and for yourself. Do your realise that?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So what are you going to do? You understand? Wars are created through mediocre limitation. We went into all that, what is mediocrity. Mediocrity is, the root meaning, you know, I explained, you're half way up the hill. You can be very good in a career but yet be thoroughly mediocre - as most people are. And your future life as your parents plan it, as your society plans it, you are going to lead a very limited life, and that very limitation is going to bring about conflict. When I am thinking about myself, you are thinking about yourself, all of us are bound to be in conflict. Right, sir? So what are you going to do? Don't say 'Yes, sir'.
S: Look, why? Why does it have to be?
K: What do you mean?
S: Why is it that we why do we live that way?
K: Why do you live that way? Because we are afraid to let go that way.
S: Then we let go, I mean if you see that.
K: Then let go, and see what would happen to Sir, work it out, don't be so utopian and indifferent. See what happens. I don't pass exams, I am not interested in all that. Then what shall I do? I have to earn a livelihood.
S: I would look at the possibilities.
K: You look at the possibilities. The possibilities are, you might become a cook, a gardener, a teacher, or one of those awful politicians and one of the business people - right? - or a professor. It is all so terribly limited. Right?
K: Now - follow it, sir! When you say it is limited - right? - what makes you say that?
K: Yes, you see it, then do you also see where there is limitation there is no space, there is no - you understand? - it is limited, and therefore there must be various forms of contradiction, struggle, all the rest of it. Right? Now, when you say 'Yes, I see', is that intelligence operating or you merely agree with the idea? You understand what I am saying? These chaps are getting impatient, I'm sorry.
S: Sir, when I observe myself in my relationship I see that I want to be something, and I do something else, but that's because of thought.
K: Yes, that's also, I said, that's limitation too.
S: How do we break it? How do I have relationship with myself, without that?
T: He says how do we break it.
K: You don't break it. You see how idiotic it is and move away from it. If I see that nationality is one of the causes of war, killing people by the million, appalling idea, brutal, vicious, I no longer I don't belong to any country. Sir, you are missing something really important.
S: Sir, then how do you live? After you realise it, how do you live?
K: How do I live what?
S: I mean, if everyone over here sees that it is mediocre to become a cook or a gardener, then I mean they won't become a cook or a gardener, then where do we get food from?
T: If you say everything is mediocre and limited, what do we do?
K: If you realise that you are mediocre and you break through that, you are intelligent, then you cease to be mediocre. You are an intelligent human being, then that intelligence will tell you what to do. You don't have to bother about it then. You see this is the unfortunate part of it. I leave off in the middle of something very interesting, and you have still not grasped the real thing at all.
Now, look at it the other way. What do you consider religion? What is, to you, religion? To you, to you - what is religion? You understand, you must answer this question.
S: In which way you want to live.
K: Is that religion - the way you want to live?
S: In one way it's religion.
K: No, I am asking, sir, you see people going to temples, all the temples in India, and you see the mosques, you see the churches, and inside the churches, inside the mosques, inside the Hindu temples, and they worship and all that goes on. Do you call that religion? Go on sir, answer me. You are so quick, answer me.
S: An easy way to separate yourself from others.
K: Oh no, when you go into a temple there are lots of people there too.
S: Sir, when you follow someone else, when you don't want to think for yourself and you're following a system.
K: Do you mean to say you have lived in this country and you haven't enquired into all that? What do you say, sir? What to you is religion?
S: Religion is full of hatred, sir, because we can't understand each other.
K: As we don't understand each other because we are full of hatred, religion has very little meaning - is that it?
T: He says religion is full of hatred because we don't understand each other.
K: (Laughs) Same thing. You see, sir, how can you go out in the world and not understand all this?
S: Sir, what I understand by religion is all this - temples and the mosques, and...
K: Do you consider that religion?
S: That is what I have been told is religion. I don't know anything else.
K: Why do you accept it? Why don't you investigate it? You are old enough. Why don't you find out what religion is? All this superstition, belief, tradition, going to the temple, doing puja.
S: But that's not religion. It's not religion.
K: Then what is religion?
S: That's not religion.
K: If you say that's not religion, and you really mean it - just a minute, old boy - if you say that's not religion and you really mean it, then you must find out what is religion, because man from the most ancient of times has said, what is all this, there must be something much greater than all this. From the most ancient Sumerians, the Greeks, the Egyptians - no, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Israeli, all those people who were at Hara, you know, Mohenjadaro - you know all those? - they all wanted to find out what god was. If not god, something else. And it has all come down to some kind of superstitious rubbish. Right? But there must be something. Right? What is religion, what is all this about?
S: You would be following your own set of ideas.
K: Oh, good lord. Religion should be following your own set of ideas - what are your ideas?
K: Do you know what 'ideas' means? No, I won't go into it.
S: Religion is love, the true religion.
K: Religion is love, the little boy says. Do you love the tree? The blade of grass? You love the birds, the monkeys that come? Perhaps you are all a lot of monkeys, aren't you?
Sir, we must stop. But put your mind to this, sir - grown up people - find out because otherwise life has no meaning - you understand, sir? - going to the office every day, being a cook all day long, or a big politician. What's the point of all this? Or you having a marvellous career.
S: You have to do something to keep your body and soul together.
T: She is saying one is forced to do something to keep the body and soul together.
K: There is no answer to that is there. Then do something that will keep the thing going. Then you become a cog in the machinery. You see, you are all on the defence. Right? You don't investigate, you don't work it out, go into it. It is the function of the educator to help you in this. If I stayed here - I am not going to, so don't worry - if I stayed here as your educator, I would go with you into all this - what is meditation, if there is something beyond all this, something sacred, and if the brain can be quiet, really quiet, and so on and so on and so on. But you see you are all trained, oriented to have a job. That's all your concern. To get married, to have a good career and to hell with everything else. Right? Right, sir? Right? Be honest. Yes. So you are only concerned about yourself. And yourself is a very small affair. It's like a toad in a little pond, making a lot of noise. And the whole world is going through tremendous catastrophes - nuclear wars. If there is no nuclear war, the warfare of germs, ordinary wars, conventional wars. The computer is going to take over your brains. If you go into an American supermarket the girl there doesn't even count, it is done by electronic and laser beams, and it is gone, in a few seconds the bill is there for you. Our brains are gradually becoming atrophied, as yours are. Unless you actually work, not repeat, repeat, repeat.
Well, sir, we have talked enough. Let's sit quietly for a while and see. When you sit quietly, watch your thoughts, follow them, whether you can pursue one thought, or one thought is interrupted by another thought and so on, just watch it.