Fifth Public Talk in New Delhi
Sunday, February 4, 1962
We have been talking about the necessity of having a new mind, a mind that is capable of meeting all the innumerable problems of life at all levels and also at the depth of one's consciousness. We have been talking of the necessity of a revolution, not an economic or social revolution, but a religious revolution. I would like, if I may, this evening, to talk about the religious mind. But before I go into that, I would like to point out – I think it is relevant – that there must be a denial of thought. We never deny; we are all yes-sayers. We accept according to our tendencies, idiosyncracies. When we do deny, that denial is a reaction and therefore not a denial at all.
I would like to talk a little about denial, for it is important to understand that in order to pursue and find out for oneself what is the religious mind. We never deny. If you have observed yourself sufficiently carefully and seriously, you will see that we have always found an easy path, accepted the easiest solution. We have accepted tradition and various cultural, economic, social influences. We have never stood against them, or if we have stood, we have stood against them by force, not willingly, not comprehendingly. And so our denial is always tinged with fear. It has always come about through a form of acceptance in which there is a hope. It is never a denial of not knowing what is to come; it is a denial with an acceptance of a regulated orderly future.
Please do listen to what I am saying, because when we talk about the religious mind, we are going to deny the whole structure of religion as it is, totally, because it is utterly false, because it has no meaning whatsoever. And to understand what we are going to say a little later, you must, if I may point out, comprehend deeply this act of denial.
You can be forced to deny; circumstances can force you or compel you to say no. All circumstances such as lack of money, environmental influences, some trouble or the other can force you to say no. But to say no with clarity, without any motive, without wanting a reward, or not for fear of punishment; deliberately to say no to something to which you have given your thought completely, uncompromisingly; to say no when you have thought out the problem completely, seriously – that is quite a different matter. To say no seriously means to go into a problem to the very end, not romantically, not emotionally, not according to your particular idiosyncrasy of vanity, of pleasure or desire, but to go to the very end of the thing, putting aside your personal fancies, myths, likes, and dislikes. To go to the very end of a thought, of an idea, of a feeling is to be serious.
I would like this evening to go into this question of religion because I feel that if we could walk out of this tent with a very clear, strong, religious mind, we would solve our problems. Religion is something that includes everything, it is not exclusive. A religious mind has no nationality. It is not provincial; it does not belong to any particular organized group. It is not the result of ten thousand years of propaganda or two thousand years of propaganda. It has no dogma, no belief. It is a mind that moves from fact to fact. It is a mind that understands the total quality of thought – not only the obvious, superficial thought, the educated thought, but also the uneducated thought, the deep-down unconscious thought and motives. When a mind inquires into the totality of something, when it realizes through that inquiry what is false and denies it because it is false, then the totality of that denial brings about a new quality in that mind, which is religious, which is revolutionary. But for most of us religion is not merely the word, the symbol, but it is the result of our conditioning. You are a Hindu because you have been told from your childhood that you are a Hindu with all the superstitions, beliefs, dogmas, traditions of Hinduism, and you have all accepted what you have been told. The same thing applies when you are a Muslim or a Christian or what you will. As the communist accepts in his youth that there is no God, you accept that there is God. There is not much difference between you and the person who denies God; both are the result of a conditioned mind. Please, I am not attacking you; therefore, there is no need to defend yourself; you do not have to resist. We are dealing with facts, and it would be utterly unwise to resist a fact; it has no meaning. The world is in such a chaos that even if you deliberately set about to make the world more chaotic than it is, you could not succeed – in spite of the politicians. And it needs a very sharp, clear, decisive, sane mind to resolve such a chaotic condition. I do not think such a mind can come about except through religious perception.
Please follow the operations of your own mind – not the word, not the speaker, agreeing or disagreeing with the speaker. If you watch your own conditioning – not because I tell you, but because it is a fact – when you look at that fact, when you become aware of that fact, then you can proceed to dissolve that fact, that conditioning. But first you must be aware of the fact that your mind is conditioned. When it says it is a Hindu, it is conditioned; it is shaped by the past, by centuries of culture; it is the result of a historical process and a mythological process. The religions that you have are the result of other people's experiences. Your religion is not your own direct experience; it is what you have been told either in some book or by some teacher or by some philosopher; it is not something which you experience. It is only when your mind is completely unconditioned that you can experience or discover if there is something real or not.
But before you uncondition your mind, to say that you are religious, that you are a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Christian has no meaning whatsoever. That is pure romanticism, which is exploited by the priest, by an organized group, political or religious, because they have a vested interest in it. These are all facts, whether you like them or not. I am merely describing the fact. These divisions into religious groups, believing in this and that, accepting this dogma and denying that dogma, going from prison to prison, from temple to temple, doing endless puja – all that is not a religious mind at all; it is merely a traditional mind bound by fear. And surely a mind that is afraid can never find out if there is, or if there is not, something beyond the word, beyond the measure of the mind.
Do please listen – not only listen to what the speaker is saying, but also listen to the operations of your own mind. When I use the word listen, it is not a command. I use that word listen with a special significance. Listening is an art, because we do never listen. We listen halfheartedly, with our thoughts elsewhere. We listen with condemnation or comparison. We listen with likes and dislikes. We listen either to agree or disagree. We listen by comparing what we hear with what we already know. So there is always distraction; there is never an act of listening. And it would be worthwhile if you could listen without any of these distractions of thought, so that the very act of listening is the breaking down of that condition.
When I use the word religion, all kinds of images come to your minds, all kinds of symbols. The Christian has his own symbols, dogmas, and belief. The Hindu, the Muslim, all the people who call themselves religious – they have a peculiar approach, an idiosyncratic approach, a traditional approach; so they can never think clearly about the matter. They are first Hindus or Muslims, and then they begin to seek. So to find out if there is, or if there is not, something which is beyond thought, which is not measurable by the mind, the mind must first be free. Surely that is logic. You see, another peculiarity with religious people is that they are totally illogical. Psychologically they have no sanity. They accept without inquiry, and their inquiry is motivated by fear, by the desire for security which prevents their thought; they become romantic because it pleases them. They become devotional – it gives them a sense of joy, happiness. But that is not a religious mind at all; it is a fanciful mind; it has no reality.
If you observe your own mind, you will see how cluttered up and burdened it is with belief, and you think that belief is necessary. You use belief as a hypothesis – which is sheer nonsense. When a man is inquiring, he does not start out with a hypothesis, he has a free mind. He is not attached to any dogma and he is not bound by any fear. He starts out denying all that and then begins to seek. But you never deny for various reasons. You never deny because it would not be respectable in a respectable society – though that society is really rotten. You never deny because you might lose your job or position. You never deny because of your family; you have to marry off your daughter, your son, to do this and that. Therefore, you are bound consciously or unconsciously, through fear, to the dogma, to the tradition in which you have been brought up. Again this is a fact; this is not my fancy. This is a psychological, everyday fact.
So a mind which is bound to a belief, to a dogma, however ancient or however modern, like the communist – such a mind is incapable of bringing about an orderly world, a sane world. Such a mind is incapable of being free from sorrow, from conflict. Surely it is only the mind that is free from conflict, free from problems, free from sorrow that can find out. And you must find out because that is the only way out of this misery, this confusion that we have created in this world – the way out is not by joining innumerable groups, or by going back to the old tradition which is dead, or by following a new leader. I do not know if you have not observed that when you follow somebody, you have destroyed your own thought, you have lost your own independence, you have lost your freedom – not only politically but, much more, psychologically, not only outwardly but, much more, inwardly.
So where there is a following and where there is a leader in matters that are really spiritual, really psychological, there is bound to be confusion, because in that there is a psychological contradiction between your own deep-down urges and compulsions and the imposition upon them by the leader, by what you think you should do; and that contradiction leads to conflict; and where there is conflict, there is effort; and where there is effort, there is distortion. The religious mind has no conflict. The religious mind does not follow anyone.
The religious mind has no authority. Authority implies imitation, authority implies conformity. And there is conformity because you want success; you want to achieve, and therefore there is fear. Without dissolving fear completely, how can you proceed to inquire, how can you proceed to find out? These are not rhetorical questions. If I am frightened, I am bound to seek comfort, shelter, security in whatever form comes along, because fear dictates – not sanity, not clarity. Fear dictates conformity; fear dictates that I must imitate, that I must follow somebody in the hope I shall find comfort. The religious mind has no authority of any kind, and that * is very difficult for people to accept because we have been bred in authority. The Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible, the Koran, and all the innumerable so-called sacred books have taken the place of our own thinking, of our own suffering; they give us comfort in illusion; they are not real at all. You make them into reality because in them, in the dead words of others, you find comfort; in the authority of another you find light. How absurd it is really if you examine it, and yet you are so-called educated, sane, rational people!
Where religious matters are concerned, we become totally irrational, insane; and all these build the walls of our conditioning. Again this is a fact, a psychological, undeniable fact. You are going to the temple; you are reading the Gita and muttering a lot of words which have lost their meaning. That is not a religious mind at all. Such reading, such repetition, makes the mind dull, insensitive. There is a contradiction between daily living and what you think is real. There is no living a religious life. You have divorced life from religion; you have divorced ethics from religion. And a mind that lives in this duality, in this contradiction, in this cleavage – such a mind is creating the world at the present time; it is bringing into the world more and more chaos. We see all this. Where there is confusion, where there is misery, people turn to authority, to tyranny – not only politically, but also religiously. Gurus, teachers, ideas, beliefs, dogmas multiply and flourish because we have never looked into ourselves deeply to find out for ourselves what is true.
The beginning of the religious mind is self-knowledge – not the knowledge of the supreme self; that is sheer nonsense. How can a petty mind, a narrow mind, a nationalistic mind, a mind that is begotten through fear, through compulsion, through imitation, through authority – how can that petty, shallow mind try to find out what is the supreme self? To seek the supreme self is an escape; it is pure unadulterated romanticism. The fact is: You have to understand yourself first. How can a thought which is the result of fear inquire? How can a thought which is the result of contradiction, of sorrow, of pain, of ambition, of envy – how can that thought search out the unsearchable? Obviously, it cannot, but that is what we are doing all the time.
So, beginning to understand yourself as you are is the beginning of wisdom, and also the beginning of meditation is to see without distortion the fact of what you are, not what you think you should be. When you think, as most of you do, that you are the supreme self, that there is a spiritual entity in you, all that idea is the result of your past conditioning. You have to be aware of that fact and not accept that you are the supreme self. The idea has no meaning. What has meaning and significance is the fact of what you are every day, not what you should be. Again the idea, the ideation, the ideal is a piece of mythology; it has no significance. The fact has significance. The fact that you are envious has significance, but not the idea that you should be in a state of nonenvy. Another peculiarity of the religious mind is that it is rid of ideas, rid of ideals. You are all idealists – that is, you are concerned with what you should be, not with what you are. But the religious mind is concerned with the fact and moves with the fact. The scientist is concerned with the fact. He is investigating matter, investigating life as matter in his laboratory. He is investigating it under the microscope. He has no fear; he moves from fact to fact, and he builds up knowledge; and that knowledge helps him to investigate further, only along a particular, narrow, restricted line which is science. But we are concerned with the totality of life, not with science only; not only with buildings, but with anger, with ambition, with quarrels, with what we are – the totality of life. Science does not include the totality of life, but a religious mind does.
When the economists or the sociologists try to solve human problems, they are dealing only partially and therefore bringing about more chaos, more misery. But the religious mind is not concerned with the partial. It is concerned with the total development of man; it is concerned with the total entity of man – that is, the outward movement of life is the same as the inward movement. The outward movement is like the ebb, the tide that goes out; and the inward movement is like the flow, the same tide that then comes in. If the two – the outer and the inner are divorced, if the two are separated, then you have conflict, you have misery.
The so-called religious people have divided this life into the outer and the inner. They do not regard it as one unitary process. They avoid the outer by retreating to a monastery or by putting on a sannyasi's robe. They deny the outer world, but they do not deny the world of tradition, of their knowledge, of their conditioning. They separate the two, and therefore there is a contradiction. But the religious mind does not separate the two. For the religious mind the outward movement of life and the inward movement of life form one unitary movement, like the movement of the tide that goes out and then comes in.
Do please listen to all this, neither accepting nor denying. I am not attacking you, so you do not have to take refuge or resist. Nor am I doing propaganda. I am just pointing out. If you can, you may accept it. You can see it or reject it, but first, intellectually or verbally even, look at it. You may not want to go the whole way completely, totally, to the very end. But at least you can look at it verbally, intellectually, and find out; and out of that intellectual comprehension, which is not full comprehension at all, you will perhaps see the whole significance.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of meditation. Knowing yourself psychologically as you are is the beginning of the religious mind. But you cannot know yourself if you deny what you see, if you try to interpret what you see. Please follow this. If you deny psychologically what you see in yourself, or if you want to change it into something else, then you are not understanding the fact of what is. If you are vain, and if you try to change it and cultivate humility, then there is a contradiction. If you are vain, and if you try to cultivate the ideal of humility, there is a contradiction between the two; and that contradiction dulls the mind, it brings about a conflict. You have to look at the fact that you are vain; you have to see that fact completely and not introduce a contradictory ideal. But to see that you are vain, you cannot say, « I must not be vain. » Obviously that is fairly simple because to see something, you must give your attention totally to it. When you say that you must not be vain, your mind has gone away from the fact, and the going away from the fact creates a problem – not the fact; the fact never creates the problem. It is only the avoidance of the fact, the running away from the fact, trying to change the fact, trying to make it conform or approximate to the ideal, that creates a problem – never the fact of what is.
So, when you observe yourself very clearly, when you are aware choicelessly of every thought, of every feeling, then you will come upon something – which is that there is a thinker and there is the thought; that there is an experiencer, an observer, and there is the experience, the observed. This is a fact, is it not? – there is a censor, an entity which judges, evaluates, which thinks, which observes; and there is the thing which is observed.
Please search your own minds; you are not to listen to my words. Words have no meaning. Watch your own mind in operation as I am talking. Then you will go away from here with clarity, with a mind that is clear, sharp, and sane.
So there is a thinker, and there is the thought. There is a division between the thinker and the thought – the thinker trying to dominate the thought, trying to change the thought, trying to modify the thought, trying to control it, trying to force it, trying to imitate, and so on. This division between the thinker and the thought creates conflict because the thinker is always the censor, the entity that judges, that evaluates. That entity is a conditioned entity because it has arisen as a reaction to thought, which is itself merely the reaction of conditioning, of memory. You understand, sirs? That is a very simple thing to find out for yourself.
Thought is the reaction of memory. I ask you something, and you respond according to your memory. The interval between the question and the answer is time, and during that time you think it out and then you reply. If you are familiar with the answer, your answer is immediate; and if the question is very complicated, you need a longer time, a lag, a greater distance between the answer and the question. During that lag, your memory is responding, is reacting, and then you answer. So thought is the response of memory, of association with the past. So there is the thinker and there is thought; the thinker is conditioned, and his thought also becomes conditioned. When there is a gap between the thinker and the thought, there is a contradiction; and as long as there is a division between the thinker and the thought, there is endless conflict and misery. Is it possible to remove this contradiction, this conflict – which means there is no thinker as the central entity which is acting, but there is only thinking? This is a very complex question. You have to find out for yourself the whole implication of this problem.
One can see the implication that where there is division between the thinker and the thought, there must be contradiction. And contradiction implies conflict, and conflict dulls the mind, makes the mind stupid, insensitive. Conflict of any kind, whether it is a conflict between your wife and yourself, between you and society, between you and your boss, between you and anybody – every kind of conflict dulls the mind. If one would understand the central conflict, one must inquire into this question – not accept it – whether there is a thinker first and thought afterwards. If you say that it is so, you again resort to your tradition, to your conditioning. You have to find out through your thought how your memory responds. As long as that memory, which is conditioned by every movement of thought, by every influence, responds, there must be conflict and misery.
If you go very deeply into it, you will find out for yourself that action based on an idea, which is thought, breeds discord because you are approximating what action should be according to the idea. So you will find if you have gone deeply into yourself that action is not idea. There is action without motive. And it is only the religious mind that has gone very deeply into itself, that has inquired profoundly within itself, that can act without an idea, without motive, because it has no center, no entity as the thinker who is directing action. Such an action is not a chaotic action.
So self-knowledge, or the learning about yourself every day, brings about psychologically, inwardly, a new mind – because you have denied the old mind. Through self-knowledge you have denied your conditioning totally. The conditioning of the mind can be denied totally only when the mind is aware of its own operations – how it works, what it thinks, what it says, what are the motives.
There is another factor involved in this. We think that it is a gradual process, that it will take time, to free the mind from conditioning. Please, follow this. We think that it will take many days or many years to uncondition our conditioned mind – which means that we will do it gradually, day after day. What does that imply? Surely, it implies acquiring knowledge in order to dissipate this conditioning – which means that you are not learning but acquiring. A mind that is acquiring is never learning. But the mind that uses knowledge in order to arrive, in order to succeed, in order to achieve a sense of liberation – such a mind must have time. Such a mind says, « I must have time to free myself from my conditioning » – which means it is going to acquire knowledge, and as the knowledge expands, it will become freer and freer; this is utterly false.
Through time, through the multiplication of many tomorrows, there is no liberation. There is freedom only in the denial of the thing which is seen immediately. You react immediately when you see a poisonous snake – there is no thought, there is immediate action. That action is the result of fear and of the knowledge that you have acquired about the snake. That demands time. So, there is the quality of seeing through knowledge, which demands time. There is also a quality of seeing something which does not demand time. I am talking of the mind that sees without time, that sees without thought, because the mind is the result of many yesterdays; the mind is the result of time. Again this is a fact. We are dealing not with a supposition, not with a theory. Your mind is the result of many yesterdays; your mind is the result of the past. And without being free of the past totally, it is not possible to have a new mind, a religious mind. Now to see that past totally, completely, to see it immediately, is to break down the past immediately.
But you cannot break down the past immediately if your mind is in the grip of knowledge which says, « I will gradually accumulate knowledge and eventually break the conditioning. » The mind must see the conditioning immediately. For instance, if you see the absurdity of nationalism, the poison of nationalism, if you see it, if you comprehend it completely – which you can do if you give your attention to it completely – then the moment you comprehend it, you are free of nationalism; nationalism will never touch you again. But you do not see the poisonous nature of nationalism because it is very popular, because you feel you are united around a flag – which is absurd. You feel a sense of unity, a sense of being together, about nothing; a flag is merely an idea, a symbol which has no reality, which the politicians and others exploit. But when you see that fact – you can see it if you can give your whole attention and not justify it, saying that you will lose your job, and all the rest of it – when you give your whole attention to that fact of nationalism, it will go away, and it will never touch you again. But that requires attention. Attention is the total denial of the past, the total denial of this division between the thinker and the thought.
So a religious mind is a mind that has no belief, that has no dogma, that has no fear, that has absolutely no authority of any kind. It is a light to itself. Such a mind, being free, can go very far. But that freedom must begin very close, very near; it is the freedom is in yourself, in the understanding of yourself – and then you can go very far. Then you will find out for yourself that extraordinary stillness of the mind – it is not an idea but an actual fact. A mind that is completely still without any distraction, a still mind, but not the romantic mind, a mind that is not begotten through conflict or through contradiction or through misery – it is only such a mind that is completely quiet and therefore completely alive, totally sensitive; it is only such a mind that can receive that which is immeasurable.
Fifth Public Talk in New Delhi
Sunday, February 4, 1962
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