The First and Last Public Talk After the Calamity
Indian Institute of World Culture, Bangalore, 1972
Let me, at the very outset, thank the authorities of the Indian Institute of World Culture for giving me this opportunity to meet you all here. I was very reluctant to accept the invitation of Mr. Venkataramaiah. But somehow, if I may use that word, I was trapped into this kind of a thing. As Mr. Kothari pointed out, I don't like to give talks at all.
You all seem to be very fond of listening to speeches, talks, lectures, discussions, discourses, conversations, and so on. I do not know if at any time you realize for yourself and by yourself that you never listen to anybody or anything in this world. You always listen to yourself. I really don't know what to say. I don't know what you want to listen to and what I am expected to do.
This is supposed to be a discourse and a dialogue. I very often point out to those who come to see me and talk things over that no dialogue is possible and no dialogue is necessary. It may sound very strange to you but nevertheless the fact does remain that no dialogue is possible, and yet no dialogue is necessary.
If you will permit me, I will say a few words to set the ball rolling, as it were. That's a very hackneyed and over-worked expression but that would serve our purpose.
I am going to say a few words about the state of not knowing. How can anybody say anything about the state of not knowing? I have necessarily to use words. Can we use words without indulging in abstract concepts? I say we can. But I do not, at the same time, mean that it is a non-verbal conceptualization. That is a funny thing—there is no such thing as non-verbal conceptualization at all. But, perhaps, a few words like this will enable you to understand the methods of thought prevent you from understanding the limitations of thought as a means to directly experience life and its movements.
This state of not knowing is not my particular state. This, I call it a natural state of your being. This is as much your natural state as it is mine. It is not the state of a God-realized man. It is not the state of a self-realized man. It is not the state of a holy man. It is the natural state of every one of you here. But since you are looking to somebody else and you are reaching out for some kind of a state of liberation, freedom, or moksha—I don't know what words you want to use—you are lost.
But how can one understand the limitations of thought? Naturally, the only instrument we have is the instrument of thought. But what is thought? I can give you a lot of definitions, and you know a lot of definitions about thought. I can say that thought is just matter, thought is vibration, and we are all functioning in this sphere of thought. And we pick up these thoughts because this human organism is an electro-magnetic field. And this electro-magnetic field is the product of culture.
It may sound very inappropriate on this occasion to say that in order to be in your natural state, all that man has thought and felt before you must be swept aside and must be brushed aside. And that means the culture in which you are brought up must go down the drain or out of the window. Is it possible? It is possible. But at the same time it is so difficult because you are the product of that culture and you are that. You are not different from that. You cannot separate yourself from that culture. And yet this culture is the stumbling block for us to be in our natural state.
Can this natural state be captured, contained and expressed through words? It cannot. It is not a conscious state of your existence. It can never become part of your conscious thinking. And then why do I talk of this state of not knowing? For all practical purposes it does not exist at all. It can never become part of your conscious thinking.
Here I have to explain what I mean by the word consciousness. You and I mean two different things probably, I don't know. When do you become conscious of a thing? Only when the thought comes in between what is there in front of you and what is supposed to be there inside of you. That is consciousness. So you have to necessarily use thought to become conscious of the things around you or the persons around you. Otherwise, you are not conscious of the things at all and at the same time you are not unconscious, but there is an area where you are neither conscious nor unconscious. But that consciousness, if I may use that word, expresses itself in its own way and what prevents that consciousness to express itself in its own way is the movement of thought.
What can anyone do about this thought? It has a tremendous momentum of millions and millions of years. Can I do anything about that thought? Can I stop it? Can I mold it? Can I shape it? Can I do anything about it? But yet our culture, our civilization, our education—all these have forced us to use that instrument to get something for us. So can that instrument be used to understand its own nature? It is not possible. And yet when you see the tremendous nature of this movement of thought and that there isn't anything that you can do about it, it naturally slows down and falls in its natural pattern.
When I say that, I do not, of course, mean what these people in India talk about—that thought must be used in order to get into a thoughtless state or into a meditative state. But there is no such thing as a thoughtless state at all. Thoughts are there; they will be there all the time. Thoughts will disappear only when you become a dead corpse—let me use these two words—dead corpse. Otherwise, thoughts are there and they are going to be there. If all the religious teachers tell us that you are going into a thoughtless state, they are taking us all for a ride. They can promise you that in that thoughtless state—in that state of silence, in that state of quietness or in that state of a quiet mind or whatever phrase you want to use—there will be this real bliss, beatitude, love, religious joy, and ecstatic state of being—all that is balderdash. Because, that state, if there is any state like the state of bliss, it can never become part of your consciousness. It can never become part of your conscious existence. So you might as well throw the whole thing—the whole crap of these ideas, concepts and abstractions about the blissful states—into a cocked hat, if I may use that American slang.
So what is one to do? Can anybody help you? No outside agency can help you. That means a complete and total rejection, as I said in the beginning, of all that man has thought and felt before you. As long as there is any trace of knowledge, in any shape, in any form, in your consciousness, you are living in a divided state of consciousness.
Mr. Kothari referred to my coming into a state of not knowing or the calamity, as I myself refer to that. What happened? I don't know. Suddenly thought has fallen into its natural state. The continuity has come to an end. So what I am saying is not the product of thinking. It is not manufactured by my thought structure inside. Nor is it a logically ascertained premise. But what is happening here is only the expression of that state of being where you do not know what is happening. You do not know how this organism is functioning. As he (Mr. Kothari) himself referred to, this is a pure and simple physical and physiological state of being. It has no religious undertones or overtones. It has no mystical content whatsoever and at the same time this extraordinary thing, the extraordinary intelligence that is there, which is a product of centuries of human evolution, is able to express itself and deal with any problem and any situation without creating problems for us.
There is no entity here. There is no center here. There is no self here. There is no atman here, there is no soul here at all. You may not agree. You may not accept it but that unfortunately happens to be a fact. The totality of thoughts and feelings is not there. But there is an illusion that there is a totality of your feelings and thoughts. This human organism is responding to the challenges from outside. You are functioning in the sphere—so thousands and thousands, perhaps millions and millions of sensations are bombarding this body. Since there is no center here, since there is no mind here, since there is nothing here, what is it that is happening? What is happening here this human organism is responding to the challenges, or to the stimuli, if I may put it that way.
So there is nobody here who is translating these sensations in terms of past experiences but there is a living contact with the things around, that is all that is there. One sensation after another is hitting this organism and at the same time there is no coordinator here. This state of not knowing is not in relationship to your brahman, or your nirguna brahman or saguna brahman or any such thing. This state of not knowing is in its relationship to the things that are there around you.
You may be looking at a flower. You may think that it is a crazy state. Perhaps it is, I don't know. You do not know what you are looking at. But when there is a demand for that—and that demand always comes from outside. "What is that?" And then the knowledge, the information that is there locked up in this organism comes and says that it is a rose, that this is a microphone, that's a man, that's a woman and so on and so forth. This is not because there is a drive from inside but the outside challenge brings out this answer. So I say that this action is always taking place outside of this organism, not inside.
How do I know that these sensations are bombarding or hitting this organism all the time? It is only because there is a consciousness which is conscious of itself and there is nobody who is conscious of the things that are happening. This is a living organism and that living state is functioning in its own way, in its natural way.
What do you want me to say? (Laughter) If they have understood what there is they wouldn't be here. They wouldn't go to anybody. They wouldn't ask these questions at all. If they translate what I am saying in terms of their particular fancy or their particular background, that's their tragedy, it would be their misery. It hasn't helped them. This is my question, "Has it helped you?" Why are you hung up on these phrases? They are after all phrases.
When once you realize, when once this is understood—how this mechanism is operating, how automatic it is, how mechanical it is—you will realize that all these phrases have no meaning at all. You may very well ask me why I am using these phrases. Because you and I have created this unfortunate situation where you have put me here on the dais and asked me to talk and naturally, as I said in the beginning, I have to use words. So the moment I stop talking the whole thing has come to a stop inside. Is that so? It is so here in my case because there is no continuity of thought.
We go back to the thing he (Mr. Kothari) referred to about the things around me. Here there is a table. I don't know what it is. And at the same time, if you ask me, "What is that?" I would immediately say, "It's a chair." It is there in the background. It comes automatically, like an arrow. But otherwise, this is just a reflection of this. I don't translate this as bimbavatu at all. But I have to use that word—this is reflecting the thing exactly the way it is. I don't want to use these metaphysical phrases because you will immediately translate them in terms of your particular parallel.
There is no subject here independent of the object at all. So there is nothing here. What is there is all that is there and you do not know what it is. So now you turn there and this object has just disappeared, there is something else. This has completely and totally disappeared from here and then what is there is a thing that is there in front of me and it is just like this object, exactly the way it is. But you do not know what it is. That is why I say it is a state of not knowing. Probably you will find parallels to these things. What I am trying to point out is the absence of what you are all doing at this moment is the state that I am describing and it is not my state, that is the way you are functioning.
May I give an example of what is happening in the field of spectroscopy? I don't read books but sometimes I read magazines. I get interested in these things. They have developed very powerful lenses to take photos of objects. They have developed micro-seconds, nanoseconds and picoseconds. It doesn't mean anything to you and me, it's all technical language. Now they are able to take pictures of objects, say for instance, of this table, every pico second. Every picture is different. In exactly the same way, the reflection of that object is once now; another time, you turn this side, you are back again—it's again you. But don't translate this in terms of newness and oldness. It cannot be communicated to you at all. This can never become part of your experiencing structure.
I am throwing a lot of conclusions at you but even a thing like this cannot be experienced by you at all. I don't know if you understand this. You have necessarily to abstract this in order to experience a thing. So what I am trying to say is that you can never experience your own natural state. This can never become part of your experiencing structure. And what you are all trying to do all the time is to make that—whatever you want to realize or discover—part of this experiencing structure. So your experiencing structure and your natural state cannot co-exist at the same time.
This I must stress, that the need for the operation of thought or the movements of thought to come into being is decided by factors outside of this organism. When and why and how this translation is to come into being is decided by an action outside. The actions are always taking place outside. When there is a demand, the movement of thought probably separates itself for a while to meet the demands of the situation and then it is back again in the movement of life. So thought is only functional in value and it has no other value at all.
What is more is that the continuity of thought is destroying the sensitivity of your senses. When the movement of thought is not continuous, the senses begin to function in an extraordinarily sensitive way. When I use the word sensitivity, I mean the sensitivity of the senses and not the sensitivity of the mind. The sensitivity of the mind is a trick of your mind and you can create a state of mind where you feel sensitive to the feelings of everybody, to the things around you, and wallow in that sickly state of mind and think you are getting somewhere. This is a thing that is there all the time.
There is nothing to achieve, there is nothing to accomplish, nothing to attain and no destination to arrive at. And what prevents what is there, this living state, from expressing itself in its own way is the movement of thought, which is there only for the purposes of functioning in this world. When the movement of thought is not there... I have to use the clauses in terms of time, but time is thought. When thought is there, time is there. When thought is there, sex is there. When thought is there, God is there. When thought is not there, there is no God, there is no sex, nothing is there. It may sound objectionable to you to accept my statement... but the drug of virtues you practice, the practice of virtues, is not a foundation for it at all. And the practice of abstinence, continence and celibacy is not the path to it. But if you want to indulge in them and feel greatly superior it's your own business.
I am not here to reform you. I am not here to lead you anywhere. But this is a fact. You have to understand a fact as a fact. It is not a logically ascertained thing, it is not a rational thing to understand it rationally. A fact is a movement. Truth is movement. Reality is movement. But I don't want to use these words because they are all loaded words. You know all about them. The unfortunate thing about the whole business is that you know a lot about these things and that is the misery of you all. This is a thing which you do not know at all. I am not claiming that I know it. I myself don't know. That is why I say I don't know. It's a state of not knowing.
Let alone God, let alone reality, ultimate or otherwise, I don't know what I am looking at—the very person who has been with me all the time, day and night. That is my situation. If I tell this to a psychiatrist, he will probably put me on a couch and say something is radically wrong with me. Probably, I am functioning like any other human being. He doesn't understand that. That's his problem, it is not my problem anymore. So all your search—for truth, God, reality—you use any phrase you like, is a false thing. You are all on a merry-go-round, and you want to go round and round and round.
How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? You all seem to know. You have an image of this state from the description of this state probably you have already created. What state? Somebody asked me: "What is the state you are in?" "What State? Mysore State or Tamil Nadu State? What state are you talking about?" This is my response. What is the state you are talking about? This is your natural state. You don't want to understand that. You don't want to be in your natural state. It requires an extraordinary intelligence to be in your natural state, to be yourself.
You always want to be somebody else, you want to imitate the life of somebody else—you want to imitate the life of Jesus, you want to imitate the life of Buddha, you want to imitate the life of Shankara. You can't do it because you don't know what is there behind. You will end up changing your robes from rose to saffron, saffron to yellow or from yellow to rose, depending upon your particular fancy. How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? That is my question. So search has no meaning at all. Only when the search comes to an end what there is will express itself in its own way. You cannot tamper with that. You cannot manipulate that. You cannot manipulate the action of the thing which is there, which has an extraordinary intelligence.
To be yourself is the easiest thing. And you don't want to be in your state. You'd rather be somebody else, imitate the life of somebody else. That's your problem. To be yourself doesn't need any time at all. But you talk of timelessness, which is a mockery. To be yourself, do you need time? To be a good man, to be a marvelously religious man, to be in a state of peace, to be in a state bliss, naturally you need time. That will always be tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, you say, "All right, day after tomorrow." That is time, not this metaphysical or philosophical thing, I am not talking about metaphysical time and timeless. There is no such thing as the timeless.
I am making assertions, statements and conclusions—you will object to them. Take it or leave it. I don't expect you to accept anything that I am saying. You are not in a position to accept or reject it. You can reject it because it does not fit into the particular framework of your philosophy—Shankara, Gaudapada, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, God-knows-what—we have too many of them here. So how can you understand this? The only thing to do is to throw in the towel. Turn your back on the whole business. That is why it takes extraordinary courage, not the courage or the bravado of these people who climb Mount Everest or try to swim across the English Channel, or cross the Pacific or Atlantic, whatever their fancy, on a raft—that is not what I mean. What I mean is the courage...
You quote your Bhagavad Gita or your Brahma Sutras, kaschid dhirah. All these phrases, what do they mean? Abhayam brahma—why do you all repeat these phrases? It has no meaning. It's a mechanical thing. "How are you?" "I am all right, I am fine. Just fine. I couldn't be better." In America, you know... "How are you this morning?" "I am just fine. I couldn't be better." In exactly the same way, you throw these phrases at everybody. If you understand the way this mechanical structure is functioning inside of you, you see the absurdity of the whole business of discussing these matters everlastingly. Can you throw the whole business out of the window and walk out?
First of all, there is no hunger at all in the sense in which we use the word. It's pure and simple chemistry. And then there is what you call hunger which is like any other sensation, you understand. The consciousness or life, or whatever you want to call it, becomes conscious of that thing and it is gone, it is not there. It does not push you to reach out for food. And so the next sensation is coming. It's a continuous movement. You are looking at something and this is finished. Probably your body will become weaker and weaker if you don't eat food.
People give me food, so I eat food. Otherwise, there is no such thing as hunger at all. And the pain, there is physical pain—since there is no continuity of thought, as I pointed out, there is no continuity of pain. It comes in impulses like that, just the way you are throwing out words. There is no continuity of the pain. I don't want to use the word psychological pain because it gets us involved in... because we will begin to tie things in knots. There is only physical pain and there is no other pain but even that physical pain is not continuous and so it is not much of a pain in the sense in which we use the word.
When the movement in the direction of wanting to be into your own natural state or in the state of God-knows-whom you want to be—your idol or your hero or your master—it is there, this movement in any direction is taking you away from yourself. That is all that I am pointing out. When the movement is not there you are your natural state. So the sadhana, the method or system or the technique is taking you away from yourself in the direction of the state you want to be in and that is the state of somebody else. As I pointed out, you have the knowledge about this state. Unfortunately, so many people have talked about it. I am already doing mischief, perhaps. Kick them all out on their backs.
Yes, throw stones at me and walk out. My interest is to send you packing, as the expression has it. If you can do that you will never go to listen to anybody.
I will not take you to jail. That's a problem with the society in which you are caught. I can't help you. I will not be the first one to complain about it.
I haven't said anything. What all you think I have said is a bag; you think it makes sense. How can it make sense? If you think that it makes sense, you haven't understood a thing. If you think that it doesn't make any sense, you haven't understood it either. It's just words, listening to this noise—words, words, words—mechanically coming out of this organism. I don't know how they are coming. I wish I knew. I wish I knew how I got into... What state? It always irritates me when people ask me, "You tell us something..." About what state? What state are you talking about? I know Mysore. I am in the Mysore State. How do I know that I am in the Mysore State? Because people tell me that I am in Mysore. So what state you want to get into? That is your natural state, I am saying.
What takes you away from your state is this movement in the direction of wanting to be in some state other than yourself. To be yourself doesn't need time. If I am a village idiot, I remain a village idiot. Finish. I don't want to be an intelligent man. Even if my neighbor takes advantage of his extraordinary intelligence and exploits, good luck. What can I do? To accept the reality, this is the reality of the world. There is no other world. There is no other reality, ultimate reality. This is the only reality. You have to function in this world. You can't run away from this world. How can you run away from this world, because you are that world? Where can you go? Hide yourself in a cave?
Yes, you are taking your thoughts wherever you go. You cannot run away from your shadow. It's there all the time. So you can't do a thing about thought, that's all that I am saying. When you realize the absurdity of all your effort to do something about the thought, it's creating the problem, it's misery for you, you can't do anything. When you can't do anything, when you realize that you can't do a thing about it, it's not there. You are not using it as a means to get something for you.
I want to say this again. You desire. If you do not want anything, there is no thought at all. You understand? Wanting is thinking, it doesn't matter what you want—want self-realization, want God-realization—you want anything, that means you have to use this instrument. These are not your thoughts, these are not your feelings. You may not like it. They belong to somebody else. You want to make them your own. You have unfortunately made them your own. That's why you ask all these questions. Why do you ask all these questions?
These questions have been put before to so many people—all the sages, saints and saviors of mankind, the holy men dead and alive. They are all ready to answer. They have composed a lot of lullabies. You go and listen to them and go to sleep, if you want to. That's what you are interested in. You want somebody else to pat on your back and say, "Oh, fine, just fine, you are doing very well. Do more and more of the same and you will reach the destination you want to arrive at." What is the destination you want to arrive at? To be gentle, meek, to be soft, to talk and whisper. You know if you go to some of these monasteries in the West, the Trappist, they talk and whisper. They don't even understand what the other man is saying. That's the secret to the spiritual path.
You want to reassure your partner that you are in love with that person. It isn't worth a tinker's damn, that love. That's not love at all. You can call it love. I don't want to go into that. It's a forbidden subject. They ask me, "Do you have anything to say about...?" It's a four letter word. It's like any other word—dog, pig, love. In love, can there be any relationship at all? Can you have any relationship?
This is your problem. You are all the time trying to have relationship with people. You cannot have any relationship with people at all. "Love is relationship. Life is relationship." All that guff, trite crap. You memorize and repeat them. They all become fancy phrases these days. "Freedom," "first and last freedom" and the freedoms that come in between—what is this nonsense? This is like any other trite... any other crap that these people are repeating. You have memorized a new set of phrases, that's all you are doing.
You sit and discuss everlastingly all this awareness. What is that awareness you are talking about? How can you be aware of this? Can you at any time be aware of it? If you are aware of this once in your lifetime, the whole structure has collapsed, it has fallen in its proper place. You don't have to do a thing about it. So it doesn't mean a thing at all. You can talk of awareness, choiceless or otherwise, or conditioning.
Conditioning, what can you do about it? Conditioning is intelligence. You can't do a damn thing about it. You can't free yourself. If you want to free yourself from your conditioning or uncondition yourself and all that nonsense that is going on... How are you going to uncondition yourself? You create another conditioning, instead of repeating Upanishads you will repeat some other thing, the fancy books.
There is no mind. Where is the mind? Is the mind separate from the body? Distinguished from the body? Apart from the body? These questions have no meaning at all. You have no way of separating yourself from what is going on. The moment you separate yourself means you have a knowledge about it—the knowledge given by either the biologists, the physiologists, the psychologists or the religious people. So through that you are looking at it. You cannot experience anything without knowledge. You cannot experience this at all, let alone Brahman or reality.
You cannot experience this at all. Only through an abstraction. And what is that abstraction? The knowledge you have about it. This has been put there. Your mother told you, or your neighbor or friend told you that this is a table. What the hell is that, you don't know, apart from what you have been told. Every time you look at this, you have to repeat to yourself that it is a table. What are you doing that for? This is my question. This is the continuity I am talking about. You want to reassure yourself that you are there. The "I" is nothing but this word. There is no "I" independent of this word. Maybe you find some parallel in Shankara or God-knows-what.
The consciousness I am talking about is a state where there is no division which says that you are asleep, that you are awake, that you are dreaming... There is no division at all. I don't even know if I am alive or dead. This is my state. I have no way of knowing for myself. The doctor can come and say that I want to examine your lung, your lung is functioning alright, there is heartbeat, there is this, that and the other. You are alive. That's alright. I am delighted. You reassure me that I am a living being but...
What I mean by action is the action is taking place always outside. The senses are working at their peak capacity all the time. It's not because you want to look at a particular thing. There is no time even for the eyelids to blink for a second. They have to stay open all the time. And when they are tired, it has its own naturally built-in mechanism which cuts off the sensation. And then it's back again.
Supposing somebody gives you an answer. So where are you? Can you separate yourself from that mechanism? This is what I am saying. You can separate yourself from the mechanism and look at it only through the knowledge, whether the knowledge is provided by a physician or by a saint or by a sage. And that is worthless because you are projecting this knowledge on what you are looking at, and that knowledge is creating or producing these experiences. That can never become part of that experiencing structure. That's the trouble.
You want to experience this. You can't experience this at all, whether it is the consciousness that I am talking of or the living state or the state of not knowing or the things that are there around. How is it expressing itself? It is expressing itself as energy, it is expressing itself as action, in its own way. If I use some words, "It is aware of itself, it is aware of its own incredible death, it is conscious of itself"—all these phrases may sound very mystical to you—but you cannot. The brain physiologists, if I may quote somebody—they are trying to understand the brain and they have to find some means to define... They have defined the brain as an instrument with which we think. They are not so sure.
You cannot separate yourself from the brain and its activity and look at the brain. Can you look at your back and tell me something about your back? Somebody else must come and tell you. And he has his own ideas, fancy ideas. "You have a straight back." The doctor always observes people and from his point of view he would say that that man is sick, this man's back is not correct and so forth. Or if I see a painter, his description is something else. So this is a thing which you cannot communicate to somebody else. Can you communicate your sex experience to somebody else?
I don't bother. Do I exist in this world? Does the world exist for me? Where is the world? I am not trying to be clever with all these phrases. I don't know a thing about it. Am I talking, am I saying anything? This is like the howling of a jackal, barking of a dog or the braying of an ass. If you can put this on that level and just listen to this vibration, you are out, you will walk out, and you will never listen to anybody in your lifetime. Finish. It doesn't have to be the talk of a self-realized man. You will realize that there is no self to realize. That's all. There is no center there. It is working in an extraordinary way.
There is no death. You are never born. You are not born at all. (Laughter) I am not trying to mystify. Because life has no beginning, it has no end. Has it a beginning, has it an end? What creates the beginning is your thought. Why are you concerned about death? There is no such as death at all. Your birth and your death can never become part of that experiencing structure. If you want to experience death, you are not going to be there. (Laughter) Somebody else will be there. It will be somebody else's misery.
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Transcript of Audio Tapes
You want comfort. You want affection from the person you are living with. You want this, that and the other. But what you want to get—the get of all the gets—you are not going to. That is in relationship with your enlightenment, your freedom, transformation and all that kind of thing. There is nothing to get from me or from anybody. You want to be at peace with yourself. You will not get anything from anybody. All this is disturbing the peace that is already there. Your idea of peace is altogether different.
You have to live with your ideas and suffer. There is no way out for you. If somebody says there is a way out, go there. Stand on your head, stand on your shoulders, hang from the tree, meditate, do what you like—misery continues. That is another misery. What are you? You are miserable. You are a sitting misery, walking misery, talking misery, living misery. You want to get out of that misery. You are choked. What is it that is choking you, destroying the very thing that you want? All those human values and all the good things. You want freedom and that is killing you. It is very difficult to understand. To be free from the very demand to be free is all that you have to do. That is not easy.
If I talk of life, living moments, it becomes poetry, romantic stuff, it is another carrot. Anything I say will be added to the stuff you already have. This will be another burden. It looks like another new thing but it is the same thing. The newness of it is lost because you have captured it within your framework.
That is why I was telling him that you have not moved away from your background. It doesn't matter where you go—JK, UG, Baba Free John—the basic situation remains unchanged. No matter where you go, you are looking for a new Bible, new church and a new priest. That is all you can do. You can't do anything else.
Whatever you need to know to function in this world intelligently and sanely is already there in you. You don't have to do a thing, to learn anything, to function in this world. Whatever you learn afterwards is of no use to you. Knowledge is widening. They say that the growth of intelligence stops by the time you are sixteen. Whatever you learn afterwards is only widening the horizon and not in anyway improving your understanding.
As far as the body is concerned, the growth of the body stops by the time you are 22 or 23 years. From then on it is slowly deteriorating. It is aging slowly. The interest of everybody is to stop the aging process. That is all the interest of people. In that sense I am not interested in expanding—having more and more people. One or two... it doesn't interest me. Moreover, I feel uncomfortable. It is happening in India and it is happening in America. Because there is more and more publicity, more and more curiosity is created in people. I don't know if there is anything to astrology but they say, "You will become the idol of the masses."
Assuming for a moment that there is an enlightened one, that man cannot die unless everybody in this world comes to know that there is such a man. They may not even know what he is saying. That is the great tradition. It is in that sense that this fellow has a message to give. Not like Rajneesh scandals and all that. The astrologer said, "Until that happens you are not going to die. Another 21 years you will constantly move, running away from the people in order to avoid them from following you." I don't know, the age is going to catch up, I don't care what the astrologers say.
* * *
You see, there is no gap between my needs and my goals. I have no goal independent of my needs. The needs are the physical needs of the body. There are no other needs.
I really don't know. What I know is in the background; and that is brought into operation in response to the demands of the situation. It plays its part and then it is gone.
I don't know, thoughts are there. They are not your thoughts or my thoughts, they come and go. They are neither holy nor unholy. You have to use thoughts to achieve something, to accomplish something. Here I can't use thoughts. Wanting is thinking. They go together. My wants are my physical needs. The moment a thought arises there the action is complete. You may feel the time-lag between what I call an action here and the completion of that action out there. But to me there is no time-lag. For example, there is thirst. You have to say to yourself that you are thirsty. Thought has got to come into operation and separate itself from that sensation of what you call thirst. Then the action is complete. That is what I mean by action.
Every action is independent. Life is action. Life is acting all the time. There is not one moment where there is no sensation of some kind or the other. You are responding to the sensations all the time. But, of course, there are some moments the nature of which you will never know. I don't know what you call samadhi or nirvikalpa samadhi. The body has to go through the process of death every now and then to renew itself. It is a renewal process. All the sensory activity has to come to an end for a kshana, a fraction of a second, and it is impossible for you to visualize and capture that. But if the body is in a state of repose it takes a longer time. Sometimes for forty-nine minutes the body goes through a very elaborate process of dying. Somehow it has to snap out of it because there are constant demands on the body. This can hit you all of a sudden while you are walking in the street. But the demands are so great that they cannot allow this for long.
You are talking of a you after death. Is there anything like what you call you now? Where is it now? Are you awake? Are you alive now?
I also function as if the whole world is real. You have to accept the reality of the world up to a point. Otherwise, you can't function in this world. But I can't say that I am awake. I can't say that I am asleep either. I see and I don't know what I am looking at. My sensory perceptions are at their peak capacity but there is nothing inside of me which says that is green, that is brown and that you wear a white shirt, a dhoti and glasses, etc. No anesthesia has been administered on me but still I really don't know what I am looking at. The knowledge I have about things is in the background but it is not operating. So am I awake or asleep? I have no way of knowing it for myself. That is why I say that in this consciousness there is no such division as jagratta, swapna and sushupti—aren't those the words for wakeful, dream and deep sleep states? A total absence of this division in your consciousness into wakeful, dream and sleep states may be called turiya—not transcending these things but a total absence of this division. So you are always—to use your Sanskrit phrase, in the turiya state.
There is a constant demand on your part to experience everything that you look at, everything that you are feeling inside. If you don't do that, you as you know yourself and as you experience yourself is coming to an end. That is a frightening thing. You don't want to come to an end, you want continuity. All the spiritual pursuits are in the direction of strengthening that continuity. So all your experiences, all your meditations, all your sadhana—all that you do is strengthening the self. They are self-centered activities. Whatever you do to be free from the self is also a self-centered activity. The process you adopt to attain what you call being is also a becoming process. So there is no such thing as being. Anything you do—any movement, in any direction, on any level—is a becoming process.
* * *
Then there is no mirror which is reflecting. All your actions from then on are reflex actions. Many of these things are handled by the spinal column. That is why so much importance has been given to the spinal column. Sensations don't reach the sensorium at all. They are handled and disposed of before that. The moment they reach the sensorium, thought has got to come into operation. Then there is an action necessary which is for the protection of the body.
* * *
The comparative structure is absent here. When you ask some questions, naturally I use this comparative structure. I have to use adverbs and adjectives because they are part of the language, but really they don't mean anything to me. Not that I am a hypocrite or any such thing. I say, "It is a beautiful thing." Yes, it is a beautiful thing within that framework. I have to accept the reality of the world. Otherwise, I can't function in the world. But actually there is nothing beautiful.
There indeed is beauty. That beauty is not an idea, not a concept. It is not a thought. It is a response to something there. Maybe that is why they used the phrase satyam sivam sundaram. They didn't mean this beauty. For example, there is a mountain or some extraordinary thing. Here is a response to that beauty and that response is a sudden change in your breathing. You take a deep breath and look at it. By the time you realize what is happening, you have moved on from there to something else. So you don't sit there and watch the sunset for hours and hours and write poems. Nothing of that sort, because you are moving with it.
I make a distinction between reaction and response. Reaction is the interference of thought and the translation of thought in terms of the experiencing structure. But the response to the stimulus, or sensation are one movement. You cannot separate the response from the stimulus. For example, you have moved your hand from there. I don't move my hands in response to that movement, but all that movement is felt here. This is the feeling—not an emotion, not a thought, not any of those things. If you hit something there, here you automatically say "Ouch!"—the expression of pain, you see. There is nothing here independent of what is happening there. That is why I call this a movement. This is totally attentive. Not that there is somebody who is attentive. Everything that is happening there is registered here as a movement. Where is the movement taking place? Is it there? Is it here? Or where? I can't say, I really don't know.
* * *
There are no images for me. Impressions are made through words like the rods and cones. They come out of me in exactly the same way. So there is nobody who is doing that. Memory is extraordinarily sharp. Supposing I want to memorize a poem or something—it is very difficult for me to do that. It's very strange. So if I look at anything, it is automatically registered. There is no effort. Any effort means that there is a distortion of the whole thing. If there is a demand for that, it automatically comes out without any effort. Sometimes I can't recall names. At the same time, I don't bother even if I don't happen to remember.
What I am saying can't be experienced by you except through the help of thought. In other words, as long as the movement of thought is there, it is not possible for you to understand what I am talking about. When it is not there, then there is no need for you to understand anything. In that sense, there is nothing to understand.
* * *
You are all occupied. You are interested in listening to what I am saying. I am not interested in telling you anything at all. Do you hear the barking of the dog out there? You translate it and say that is the barking of a dog. But if you are just aware of that, it echoes here inside of you. There is no separation from you. There is no translation. You are barking, and not the dog out there.
But one thing I must say. What I am saying is not born out of thinking. This is not a logically ascertained premise that I am putting forth. These are just words springing forth from their natural source without any thought, without any thought structure. So take it or leave it. You will be better off if you leave it.
* * *
They come here and tell me about their spiritual experiences. What do they expect? They want me to pat on their back and tell them, "You are doing alright. Do more and more of the same and you will reach your destination." I can't do that. I emphasize that the experience which you are considering as something extraordinary is totally unrelated to the final thing you are after. This is very difficult to understand.
I always give the example of these tremors. Tremors do not mean that one day there will be an earthquake. These tremors have nothing to do with the earthquake. This earthquake hits somewhere else, not at the place you think it would occur. When this thunderbolt hits you, you will find out that all those tremors you have been experiencing during what you call sadhana are totally—in fact, in no way—are connected to that. This is very difficult to understand. That is why all those doing sadhana ask me that question: "How do you know that what you did—all the sadhana—is not responsible for where you are today?" I can say that now this is not in any way related to what I did or did not do. Not a whiff of it. Then you see the whole business of sadhana collapses. Because the sadhana is always related to the goal you have fixed to yourself.
As a matter of fact, what is going on here is sadhana—because I am blocking every escape door. Somebody said, "Why don't you leave at least one ventilator open?" Even that has to be blocked. You must be choked to death as it were. Only a real teacher can tell and point out that, nobody else. Nobody else should talk about that. Not that I claim that I am the real teacher or any such thing, don't get me wrong. They are not those who interpret the texts. Only such a man can talk and such a man will never encourage any kind of sadhana, because he knows that sadhana is not going to help.
Life is energy. It is all the time trying to convert itself into energy. In the final analysis there is neither matter nor energy. They are interchangeable. But when thought takes its birth, then it is matter. In its very nature it splits itself into two. If through some luck or strange chance it remains without splitting itself into two, something has got to happen to that. And there it explodes. It is an atomic explosion. The human organism has trillions of atoms. It's an electro- magnetic field. When one atom explodes, it blasts everything that is there. It triggers a chain reaction. You can't make this kind of a thing happen at all. Yet the possibility of its happening in everybody is 100%. Not that I am placing a carrot before you. That is its nature. That is why it happens in one in a billion. "Why does it happen to one individual? Why not me?" If you question in that fashion you ain't got a chance.
Last Public Talk of J. Krishnamurti
Madras, January 4, 1986
Will you kindly participate in what he's talking about? Will you not only follow it, but together participate in it, not just think about it or casually pay attention to it? One or two things must be made very clear. This is not a personality cult. The speaker has an abomination of all that; everything he is saying is contradicted if you personally worship an individual, or make him into a god. What is important is to listen to what he has to say, share it; not only listen, but actually participate in what he's saying.
We have talked about life, the very complexity of life, the beginning of life. What is life? What is the origin of all this—the marvelous earth, the lovely evening and the early morning sun, the rivers, the valleys, the mountains and the glory of the land which is being despoiled? If you say the origin of all this is 'god', then it's finished; then you can trot along quite happily because you've solved the problem. But if you begin to question, doubt, as one should, all gods, all gurus—I don't belong to that tribe—if you begin to question all that man has put together through a long evolution down the corridors of history, you find this question asked: What is the beginning? What is the origin? How has all this come about? I hope you're asking this question; don't just listen to the speaker, but share it, tear it to pieces. Don't please, accept anything he says. He's not your guru; he's not your leader; he's not your helper. This is the platform, that is the beginning of this talk.
This is a very serious talk, and unless your brain is actually active, one is afraid that you won't be able to follow. It would be useless for you and for the speaker to listen to a lot of words, but if we could together take a very long journey, not in terms of time, not in terms of belief or conclusions or theories, but examine very carefully the way of our lives, fear, uncertainty, insecurity and all the inventions that man has made, including the extraordinary computers—where are we at the end of two million years? Where are we going, not as some theory, not what some wretched book says, however holy it is, but where are we all going? And where have we begun? They're both related to each other: where are we going, where we began. The beginning may be the ending. Don't agree. Find out. There may be no beginning and no ending, and we're going to investigate into that together.
From the beginning of time, right down to the present day, man has always thought in terms of religion. What is religion? Man has always sought something more than this world. Men have worshipped the stars, the suns, the moons and their own creations; there has been tremendous endeavour, effort, energy, spent on ancient temples, mosques and the churches, of course. They have spent tremendous energy on this. What is the spirit of man that has sought something beyond the world, beyond the daily agony; the travail, work, going to the factory, to the office, and climbing the ladder of success, making money, trying to impress people, trying to command? Are you agreeing to this? It is a fact whether you agree or not. They're all seeking power in some form; they want to be at the centre of things—in Delhi, or here, or in other places. They want to be there.
We're asking: What is religion; what has made man give enormous treasures to a temple; what made him do all this? What was the energy that was given to all this? Was it fear? Was it seeking a reward from heaven, or whatever you like to call it? Was seeking a reward the origin? You want a reward; you want something in exchange; you pray three or five times a day and you hope in return that some entity will give you something, from a refrigerator to a car to a better wife, or better husband, or you wait for grace, something that you can hope for, cling to. This has been the history of all religions. God and money are always together; the Catholic Church has tremendous treasures. You have it here, too, in your various temples, puja and worship and all that triviality; all that is really nonsense. We are trying to find out by enquiring very, very deeply what religion is; it is obviously not all this moneymaking stuff. We are asking: What is that, which is nameless, which is the supreme intelligence, which has no relationship with all our prayers, with all our gods, temples, mosques, churches? That's all man-made. Any intelligent man must put all that aside and not become cynical, not become merely sceptical, but have a brain that's really active, a brain that enquires into everything, not only the outside world. Have we got a brain that is enquiring into its own thoughts, into its own consciousness, into its own pains, sufferings, all the rest of it? Have we got such a brain?
Here, we must separate the brain from the mind. The brain is the centre of all our nerves, our knowledge, all our theories, opinions, prejudices; from college, university, all that knowledge is gathered in the skull. All the thoughts, all the fears are there. Is the brain different from the mind? If you seriously pay attention to what the speaker has asked, is there a difference between the brain, your brain, what is inside the skull with all the knowledge you have gathered, not only you, but your forefathers and so on, for two million years, which is all encased in there—is there a difference between that brain and the mind? The brain will always be limited. Don't agree; this is much too serious. And is the mind different from this, from my consciousness, from my daily activities, from my fears, anxieties, uncertainties, sorrow, pain and all the theories which man has gathered about everything? The mind has no relationship with the brain; it can communicate with the brain, but the brain cannot communicate with it. Don't agree, please, that's the last thing to do. The speaker is saying the brain is the keeper of all our consciousness, of our thoughts, of our fears, and so on, and on, and on. All the gods, all the theories about gods and the unbelievers, it's all there. Nobody can dispute that unless he's a little bit odd. This brain, which is conditioned by knowledge, by experience, by tradition, cannot have any communication with the mind which is totally outside the activity of the brain. That mind can communicate with the brain, but the brain cannot communicate with it because the brain can imagine infinitely; the brain can imagine the nameless; the brain can do anything. The mind is too immense because it doesn't belong to you; it's not your mind.
We are going to investigate—together, please bear in mind always together—not only the nature of religion, but also the computer. You know what the computer is? It's a machine; it can program itself. It can bring about its own computer; the father computer has its own son computer which is better than the father. You don't have to accept this; it's public; it's not something secret, so watch it carefully. That computer can do almost anything that man can do. It can make all your gods, all your theories, your rituals; it's even better at it than you will ever be. So, the computer is coming up in the world; it's going to make your brains something different. You've heard of genetic engineering; they're trying, whether you like it or not, to change your whole behaviour. That is genetic engineering. They are trying to change your way of thinking.
When genetic engineering and the computer meet, what are you? As a human being what are you? Your brains are going to be altered. Your way of behaviour is going to be changed. They may remove fear altogether, remove sorrow, remove all your gods. They're going to; don't fool yourself. It all ends up either in war or in death. This is what is happening in the world actually. Genetic engineering on the one side and the computer on the other, and when they meet, as they're inevitably going to, what are you as a human being? Actually, your brain now is a machine. You are born in India and say: 'I'm an Indian'. You are encased in that. You are a machine. Please don't be insulted. I'm not insulting you. You are a machine which repeats like a computer. Don't imagine there is something divine in you—that would be lovely - something holy that is everlasting. The computer will say that to you too. So, what is becoming of a human being? What's becoming of you?
We have also to enquire—this is a very serious subject, don't agree or disagree, just listen—into what is creation. Not the creation of a baby, that's very simple, or the creation of a new something or other. Invention is totally different from creation. Invention is based on knowledge. The engineers can improve the jet; the movement is based on knowledge and the invention is also based on knowledge. So we must separate invention from creation. This requires your total energy, your capacity to penetrate. Invention is essentially based on knowledge. I improve the clock; I have a new gadget. All invention is based on knowledge, on experience; inventions are inevitably limited because they're based on knowledge. Knowledge being ever limited, inventions must always be limited. In the future there may be no jets, but something else that will go from Delhi to Los Angeles in two hours; that's an invention based on previous knowledge which has been improved step by step, but that's not creation.
So what is creation? So what is life? Life in the tree, life in the little grass—life, not what the scientists invent, but the beginning of life—life, the thing that lives? You may kill it, but it's still there in the other. Don't agree or disagree, but see that we are enquiring into the origin of life. We are going to enquire into the absolute—something that's really marvelous. It's not a reward; you can't take it home and use it.
What is meditation to you? What is meditation? The word, in common language in the dictionary, means: to ponder over, to think over and to concentrate, to learn to concentrate, not let your brain wander all over the place. Is that what you call meditation? Be simple, be honest. That is what? Every day taking a certain period and going to a room and sitting down quietly for ten minutes or half an hour to meditate? Is meditation concentration, thinking about something very noble? Any conscious effort to meditate is part of your discipline of the office, because you say: If I meditate, I'll have a quiet mind, or I'll enter into another state. The word 'meditation' also means to measure, which means compare. So your meditation becomes mechanical because you are exercising energy to concentrate on a picture, an image, or an idea, and that concentration divides. Concentration is always divisive; you want to concentrate on something, but thought wanders off; then you say you mustn't wander off, and you come back. You repeat that all day long, or for half an hour. Then you come off it and say you have meditated. This meditation is advocated by all the gurus, by all the lay disciples. The Christian idea is, 'I believe in God and I'm sacrificing myself to God; therefore, I pray to save my soul.' Is all this meditation? I know nothing about this kind of meditation; it's like an achievement; if I meditate for half an hour, I feel better. Or is there a totally different kind of meditation? Don't accept anything that the speaker says, at any price. The speaker says that that is not meditation at all. That's merely a process of achievement. If one day you have not been able to concentrate, you take a month and say, 'Yes, I've got it.' That's like a clerk becoming a manager. So is there a different kind of meditation which is not effort, which is not measurement, which is not routine, which is not mechanical? Is there a meditation in which there is no sense of comparison, or in which there is no reward and punishment? Is there any meditation which is not based on thought which is measurement, time, and all that?
How can one explain a meditation that has no measurement, that has no achievement, that doesn't say, 'I'm this, but I'll become that'? 'That' being god or superangel. Is there a meditation which has nothing to do with will—an energy that says, 'I must meditate'? Is there a meditation which as nothing to do with effort at all? The speaker says there is. You don't have to accept it. He may be talking nonsense, but he sees logically that the ordinary meditation is self-hypnosis, deceiving oneself.
And, when you stop deceiving, stop all that mechanical process, is there a different kind of meditation? And unfortunately, the speaker says: Yes. But you can't get at it through effort, through giving all your energy to something. It is something that has to be absolutely silent. First of all, begin very humbly, very, very humbly and, therefore, very gently and, therefore, no pushing, driving, saying: 'I must do this'. It requires a tremendous sense not only of aloneness, but a sense of—I mustn't describe it to you. I mustn't describe it because then you'll go off on descriptions. If I describe it, the description is not the real. The description of the moon is not the moon, and a painting of the Himalayas is not the Himalayas. So, we'll stop describing. It's for you to play with it, or not play with it, going your own way with your own peculiar achievements through meditation, reward and all the rest of it. So, in meditation which is absolutely no effort, no achievement, no thinking, the brain is quiet; not made quiet by will, by intention, by conclusion and all that nonsense; it is quiet. And, being quiet, it has infinite space. Are you waiting for me to explore? And you will follow what I explain? What kind of people are you? So, is your brain ever quiet? I'm asking you. Your brain is thinking, fearing, thinking of your office work, of your family, what they will do, your sons, your daughters; thinking, which is time and thought. Is your brain ever quiet? Not made quiet by drugs, whiskey and various forms of drugging yourself. You drug yourself when you believe. You drug yourself and say: 'Yes, this is perfectly right, the Buddha has said that, therefore it must be right'. You're drugging yourself all the time; therefore, you have no energy of that kind that demands the penetration of something immense.
So, we're now going back to find out what creation is. What is creation? It has nothing to do with invention. So what is creation, the origin, the beginning? What is life? Tell me what you think of it. What is life? Not going to the office and all the rest of it, sex and children, or no children but sex and so on and so on and so on. What is life? What gives life to that blade of grass in the cement? What is life in us? Not all the things that we go through—power, position, prestige, fame, or no fame, but shame; that's not life; that's part of our mishandling of life. But, what is life?
Why are you listening to me? What makes you, if you are listening at all, listen to the man? What is the motive behind your listening? What do you want? What's your desire? Behind the desire there is a motive. So what is desire? Desire is part of sensation, isn't it? I see this beautiful clock or ugly clock; it's a sensation. The seeing brings about a sensation. From that sensation, thought comes and makes an image of it. That is, I see this clock, rather nice, I would like to have it. The sensation of seeing, then thought coming and making an image of that sensation; at that moment, desire is born. It's very simple.
Is there a brain, your brain, which is not muddied up, muddied by environment, by tradition, by society and all the rest of it? So what is the origin of life? Are you waiting for me to answer it? This is much too serious a subject for you to play with, because we are trying to enquire into something that has no name, no end. I can kill that bird; there is another bird. I can't kill all birds; there are too many of them in the world. So, we are enquiring into what makes a bird. What is creation behind all this? Are you waiting for me to describe it, go into it? You want me to go into it? Why...
(From the audience: To understand what creation is.)
Why do you ask that? Because I asked? No description can ever describe the origin. The origin is nameless; the origin is absolutely quiet, it's not whirring about making noise. Creation is something that is most holy, that's the most sacred thing in life, and if you have made a mess of your life, change it. Change it today, not tomorrow. If you are uncertain, find out why and be certain. If your thinking is not straight, think straight, logically. Unless all that is prepared, all that is settled, you can't enter into this world, into the world of creation.
It ends. (These two words are hardly audible, breathed rather than spoken.)
This is the last talk. Do you want to sit together quietly for a while? All right, sirs, sit quietly for a while.