Rome and Florence
27th September to 18th October 1961
Walking* along the pavement overlooking the biggest basilica and down the famous steps to a fountain and many picked flowers of so many colours, crossing the crowded square, we went along a narrow one-way street [via Margutta], quiet, with not too many cars; there in that dimly lit street, with few unfashionable shops, suddenly and most unexpectedly, that otherness came with such intense tenderness and beauty that one's body and brain became motionless. For some days now, it had not made its immense presence felt; it was there vaguely, in the distance, a whisper but there the immense was manifesting itself, sharply and with waiting patience. Thought and speech were gone and there was peculiar joy and clarity. It followed down the long, narrow street till the roar of traffic and the overcrowded pavement swallowed us all. It was a benediction that was beyond all image and thoughts.
* He was now in Rome. He had flown there on the 25th.
28th At odd and unexpected moments, the otherness has come, suddenly and unexpectedly and went its way, without invitation and without need. All need and demand must wholly cease for it to be.
Meditation, in the still hours of early morning, with no car rattling by, was the unfolding of beauty. It was not thought exploring with its limited capacity nor the sensitivity of feeling; it was not any outward or inward substance which was expressing itself; it was not the movement of time, for the brain was still. It was total negation of everything known, not a reaction but a denial that had no cause; it was a movement in complete freedom, a movement that had no direction and dimension; in that movement there was boundless energy whose very essence was stillness. Its action was total inaction and the essence of that inaction is freedom. There was great bliss, a great ecstasy that perished at the touch of thought.
30th The sun was setting in great clouds of colour behind the Roman hills; they were brilliant, splashed across the sky and the whole earth was made splendid, even the telegraph poles and the endless rows of building. It was soon becoming dark and the car was going fast.** The hills faded and the country became flat. To look with thought and to look without thought are two different things. To look at those trees by the roadside and the buildings across the dry fields with thought, keeps the brain tied to its own moorings of time, experience, memory; the machinery of thought is working endlessly, without rest, without freshness; the brain is made dull, insensitive, without the power of recuperation. It is everlastingly responding to challenge and its response is inadequate and not fresh. To look with thought keeps the brain in the groove of habit and recognition; it becomes tired and sluggish; it lives within the narrow limitations of its own making. It is never free. This freedom takes place when thought is not looking; to look without thought does not mean a blank observation, absence in distraction. When thought does not look, then there is only observation, without the mechanical process of recognition and comparison, justification and condemnation; this seeing does not fatigue the brain for all mechanical processes of time have stopped. Through complete rest the brain is made fresh, to respond without reaction, to live without deterioration, to die without the torture of problems. To look without thought is to see without the interference of time, knowledge and conflict. This freedom to see is not a reaction; all reactions have causes; to look without reaction is not indifference, aloofness, a cold-blooded withdrawal. To see without the mechanism of thought is total seeing, without particularization and division, which does not mean that there is not separation and dissimilarity. The tree does not become a house or the house a tree. Seeing without thought does not put the brain to sleep; on the contrary, it is fully awake, attentive, without friction and pain. Attention without the borders of time is the flowering of meditation.
** On the way to Circeo, near the sea, between Rome and Naples.
October 3rd The clouds were magnificent; the horizon was filled with them, except in the west where the sky was clear. Some were black, heavy with thunder and rain; others were pure white, full of light and splendour. They were of every shape and size, delicate, threatening, billowy; they were piled up one against the other, with immense power and beauty. They seemed motionless but there was violent movement within them and nothing could stop their shattering immensity. A gentle wind was blowing from the west, driving these vast, mountainous clouds against the hills; the hills were giving shape to the clouds and they were moving with these clouds of darkness and light. The hills with their scattered villages, were waiting for the rains that were so long in coming; they would soon be green again and the trees would soon lose their leaves with the coming winter. The road was straight with shapely trees on either side and the car was holding the road at great speed, even at the curves; the car was made to go fast and to hold the road and it was performing very well that morning.*** It was shaped for speed, low, hugging the road. We were too soon leaving the country and entering into the town [Rome] but those clouds were there, immense, furious and waiting.
*** On the way back to Rome from Circeo where he had spent three nights in the hotel la Baya d'argento. One of the little cottages belonging to the hotel at Circeo, situated in a wood-garden. It was very quiet there. Each cottage contained two bedrooms, a bathroom and sitting-room.
In the middle of the night (at Circeo], when it was utterly quiet, save for an occasional hoot of an owl which was calling without a reply, in a little house in the woods, meditation was pure delight, without a flutter of thought, with its endless subtleties; it was a movement that had no end and every movement of the brain was still, watching from emptiness. It was an emptiness that had known no knowing; it was emptiness that had known no space; it was empty of time. It was empty, past all seeing, knowing and being. In this emptiness there was fury; the fury of a storm, the fury of exploding universe, the fury of creation which could never have any expression. It was the fury of all life, death and love. But yet it was empty, a vast, boundless emptiness which nothing could ever fill, transform or cover up. Meditation was the ecstasy of this emptiness.
The subtle interrelationship of the mind, the brain and the body is the complicated play of life. There is misery when one predominates over the other and the mind cannot dominate the brain or the physical organism; when there is harmony between the two, then the mind can consent to abide with them; it is not a plaything of either. The whole can contain the particular but the little, the part, can never formulate the whole. It is incredibly subtle for the two to live together in complete harmony, without one or the other forcing, choosing, dominating. The intellect can and does destroy the body and the body with its dullness, insensitivity can pervert, bring about the deterioration of the intellect. The neglect of the body with its indulgent and demanding tastes, with its appetites can make the body heavy and insensitive and so make dull thought. And thought becoming more refined, more cunning can and does neglect the demands of the body which then sets about to pervert thought. A fat, gross body does interfere with the subtleties of thought, and thought, escaping from the conflicts and problems it has bred, does make the body a perverse thing. The body and the brain have to be sensitive and in harmony to be with the incredible subtleness of the mind which is ever explosive and destructive. The mind is not a plaything of the brain, whose function is mechanical.
When the absolute necessity of complete harmony of the brain and body is seen, then the brain will watch over the body, not dominating it and this very watching sharpens the brain and makes the body sensitive. The seeing is the fact and with the fact there is no bargaining; it can be put aside, denied, avoided but it still remains a fact. The understanding of the fact is essential and not the evaluation of the fact. When the fact is seen, then the brain is watchful of the habits, the degenerating factors of the body. Then thought does not impose a discipline on the body nor control it; for discipline, control makes for insensitivity and any form of insensitivity is deterioration, a withering away.
Again on waking, when there were no cars roaring up the hill and the smell of a small wood near by was in the air**** and rain was tapping on the window, there was that otherness again filling the room; it was intense and there was a sense of fury; it was the fury of a storm, of a full, roaring river, the fury of innocency. It was there in the room with such abundance that every form of meditation came to an end and the brain was looking, feeling out of its own emptiness. It lasted for considerable time and in spite of the fury of its intensity or because of it. The brain remained empty, full of that otherness. It shattered everything that one thought of, that one felt or saw; it was an emptiness in which nothing existed. It was complete destruction.
**** He was staying in Rome in the via dei colli della Farnesina, a new road with very little traffic on it; the small wood was across the way.
4th The train [to Florence] was going very fast, over ninety miles an hour; the towns on the hills were familiar and the lake [Trasimenus] seemed a friend. It was a familiar country, the olive and the cypress and the road that followed the railway. It was raining and the earth was glad of it, for months had passed without rain and now there were new shoots of green and the rivers were running brown, fast and full. The train was following the valleys, shouting at the crossroads, and the workmen labouring along the metalled way stopped and waved as the train slowed down. It was a pleasant cool morning and autumn was turning many leaves brown and yellow; they were ploughing deep for the winter sowing and the hills seemed so friendly, never too high, gentle and old. The train was again running very fast and the drivers of this electric train welcomed us and asked us to come into their cab for we had met several times in several years; before the train started they said we must come and see them; they were as friendly as the rivers and the hills. From their window the country was open and the hills with their towns and the river that we were following seemed to be waiting for the familiar roar of their train. The sun was touching a few of the hills and there was a smile upon the face of the land. As we raced north, the sky was becoming clear and the cypress and the olive against the blue sky were delicate in their splendour. The earth, as ever, was beautiful.
It was deep in the night when meditation was filling the spaces of the brain and beyond. Meditation is not a conflict, a war between what is and what should be; there was no control and so no distraction. There was no contradiction between the thinker and the thought for neither existed. There was only seeing without the observer; this seeing came out of emptiness and that emptiness had no cause. All causation breeds inaction, which is called action.
How strange love is and how respectable it has become, the love of God, the love of the neighbour, the love of the family. How neatly it has been divided, the profane and the sacred; duty and responsibility; obedience and the willingness to die and to deal out death. The priests talk of it and so do the generals, planning wars; the politicians and the housewife everlastingly complain about it. Jealousy and envy nourish love, and relationship is held in its prison. They have it on the screen and in the magazine and every radio and television blares it out. When death takes away love there is the photo in the frame or the image which memory keeps on revising or it is tightly held in belief. Generation after generation is bred upon this and sorrow goes on without an end.
Continuity of love is pleasure and with it comes always pain but we try to avoid the one and cling to the other. This continuity is the stability and security in relationship, and in relationship there must be no change for relationship is habit and in habit there is security and sorrow. To this unending machinery of pleasure and pain we cling and this thing is called love. To escape from its weariness, there is religion and romanticism. The word changes and becomes modified with each one but romanticism offers a marvellous escape from the fact of pleasure and sorrow. And, of course, the ultimate refuge and hope is God who has become so very respectable and profitable.
But all this isn't love. Love has no continuity; it cannot be carried over to tomorrow; it has no future. What has is memory, and memories are ashes of everything dead and buried. Love has no tomorrow; it cannot be caught in time and made respectable. It is there when time is not. It has no promise, no hope; hope breeds despair. It belongs to no god and so to no thought and feeling. It is not conjured up by the brain. It lives and dies each minute. Is a terrible thing, for love is destruction. It is destruction without tomorrow. Love is destruction.
5th There is a huge, tall tree in the garden,***** it has an enormous trunk and during the night its dry leaves were noisy in the autumnal wind; every tree in the garden was alive, rustling, and winter was still far away; they were all whispering, shouting and the wind was restless. But the tree dominated the garden; it towered over the four-storey house and the river [the Mugnone] fed it. It was not one of those large rivers, sweeping and dangerous; its life had been made famous and it curves in and out of the valleys and enters the sea, some distance away. There is always water in it and there are fishermen hanging over the bridges and along its banks. In the night the small waterfall complains a great deal and its noise fills the air; the rustle of leaves, the waterfall and the restless wind seem to be talking to each other a great deal. It was a lovely morning with a blue sky and a few clouds scattered about; there are two cypresses beyond all others that stand clear against the sky.
***** An ilex. He was staying in a villa, Il Leccio, north of Florence, above Fiesole.
Again, well after midnight, when the wind was noisy among the trees, meditation became a fierce explosion, destroying all the things of the brain; every thought shapes every response and limits action. Action born of idea is non-action; such non-action breeds conflict and sorrow. It was in the still moment of meditation that there was strength.
Strength is not the many threads of will; will is resistance and the action of will breeds confusion and sorrow within and without. Strength is not the opposite of weakness; all opposites contain their own contradiction.
7th It had begun to rain and the sky was heavy with clouds; before the sky was covered over entirely, immense clouds filled the horizon and it was a marvellous thing to see them. They were so immense and peaceful; it was the peace of enormous power and strength. And the Tuscan hills were so close to them, waiting for their fury. It came during the night, shattering thunder and lightning that showed every leaf aquiver with wind and life. It was a splendid night full of storm, life and immensity. All the afternoon the otherness had been coming, in the car and in the street. It was there most of the night and early this morning, long before dawn, when meditation was making its way into the unknown depths and heights; it was there with insistent fury. Meditation yielded to the otherness. It was there in the room, with the branches of that huge tree in the garden; it was there with such incredible power and life that the very bones felt it; it seemed to press right through one and made the body and brain completely motionless. It had been there all night in a mild and gentle way and sleep became a very light affair, but as dawn was coming near, it became a crushing, penetrating power. The body and the brain were very alert, listening to the rustle of leaves and seeing the dawn coming through the dark branches of a tall, straight pine. It had great tenderness and beauty that was past and beyond all thought and emotion. It was there and with it was benediction.
Strength is not the opposite of weakness; all opposites breed further opposites. Strength is not an event of will and will is action in contradiction. There is a strength that has no cause, that is not put together through multiple decisions. It is that strength that exists in negation and denial; it is that strength that comes into being out of total aloneness. It is that strength which comes when all conflict and effort have completely ceased. It is there when all thought and feeling have come to an end and there is only seeing. It is there when ambition, greed, envy have come to an end without any compulsion; they wither away with understanding. There is that strength when love is death and death life. The essence of strength is humility.
How strong is the newborn leaf in spring, so vulnerable, so easily destroyed. Vulnerability is the essence of virtue. Virtue is never strong; it cannot stand the glare of respectability and the vanity of the intellect. Virtue is not a mechanical continuity of an idea, of thought in habit. The strength of virtue is that it is easily destroyed to be reborn again anew. Strength and virtue go together for neither can exist without the other. They can only survive in emptiness.
8th It had been raining all day; the roads were slushy and there was more brown water in the river and the slight fall of the river was making more noise. It was a still night, an invitation to the rains which never stopped till early this morning. And the sun suddenly came out and towards the west the sky was blue, rain washed and clean, with those enormous clouds full of light and splendour. It was a beautiful morning and looking to the west, with the sky so intensely blue, all thought and emotion disappeared and the seeing was from emptiness.
Before dawn, meditation was the immense opening into the unknown. Nothing can open the door save the complete destruction of the known. Meditation is explosion in understanding. There is no understanding without self-knowing; learning about the self is not accumulating knowledge about it; gathering of knowledge prevents learning; learning is not an additive process; learning is from moment to moment, as is understanding. This total process of learning is explosion in meditation.
9th Early this morning, the sky was without a cloud; the sun was coming up behind the Tuscan hills, grey with olive, with dark cypress. There were no shadows on the river and the aspen leaves were still. A few birds that had not yet migrated were chattering and the river seemed motionless; as the sun came up behind the river it cast long shadows on the quiet water.****** But a gentle breeze was coming over the hills and through the valleys; it was among the leaves, setting them trembling and dancing with the morning sun on them. There were long and short shadows, fat ones and little ones on the brown sparkling waters; a solitary chimney began to smoke, grey fumes carrying across the trees. It was a lovely morning, full of enchantment and beauty, there were so many shadows and so many leaves trembling. There was perfume in the air and though it was an autumnal sun there was the breath of spring. A small car was going up the hill, making an awful noise but a thousand shadows remained motionless. It was a lovely morning.
****** A little pond formed by the stream in a wood. An apartment in Florence where he was paying a visit.
In the afternoon yesterday, it began suddenly, in a room overlooking a noisy street; the strength and the beauty of the otherness was spreading from the room outward over the traffic, past the gardens and beyond the hills. It was there immense and impenetrable; it was there in the afternoon, and just as one was getting into bed it was there with furious intensity, a benediction of great holiness. There is no getting used to it for it is always different, there's something always new, a new quality, a subtle significance, a new light, something that had not been seen before. It was not a thing to be stored up, remembered and examined, at leisure; it was there and no thought could approach for the brain was still and there was no time, to experience, to store up. It was there and all thought became still.
The intense energy of life is always there, night and day.
It is without friction, without direction, without choice and effort. It is there with such intensity that thought and feeing cannot capture it to mould it according to their fancies, beliefs, experiences and demands. It is there with such abundance that nothing can diminish it. But we try to use it, to give it direction, to capture it within the mould of our existence and thereby twist it to conform to our pattern, experience and knowledge. It is ambition, envy, greed that narrow down its energy and so there is conflict and sorrow; the cruelty of ambition, personal or collective, distorts its intensity, causing hatred, antagonism, conflict. Every action of envy perverts this energy, causing discontent, misery, fear; with fear there is guilt and anxiety and the never ending misery of comparison and irritation. It is this perverted energy that makes the priest and the general, the politician and the thief. This boundless energy made incomplete by our desire for permanency and security is the soil in which grow barren ideas, competition, cruelty and war; it is the cause of everlasting conflict between man and man.
When all this is put aside, with ease and without effort, then only is there that intense energy which can only exist and flower in freedom. In freedom alone, it causes no conflict and sorrow; then alone it increases and has no end. It is life that has no beginning and no end; it is creation which is love, destruction.
Energy used in one direction leads to one thing, conflict and sorrow; energy that is the expression of total life is bliss beyond measure.
12th The sky was yellow in the setting sun and the dark cypress and the grey olive were startlingly beautiful, and down below the winding river was golden. It was a splendid evening, full of light and silence. From that height******* you could see the city in the valley, the dome and the beautiful campanile and the river curving through the town. Going down the incline and down the steps, one felt the great beauty of the evening; there were few people and the odd, restless tourists had passed by there earlier, always chattering, taking photos and hardly ever seeing. There was perfume in the air and as the sun went down, the silence became intense, rich and unfathomable. Out of this silence only, there is seeing, listening really, and out of this came meditation, though the little car went down the curving road noisily, with a great many bumps. There were two Roman pines against the yellowing sky and though one had seen them often before it was as if they were never seen; the gentle sloping hill was silver-grey with the olive and the darkly solitary cypress was everywhere. Meditation was explosion, not carefully planned, contrived and joined together with determined pursuit. It was an explosion without leaving any remnant of the past. It exploded time, and time never need again stop. In this explosion everything was without shadow and to see without shadow is to see beyond time. It was a marvellous evening so full of humour and space. The noisy town with its lights and the smooth running train were in this vast silence and its beauty was everywhere.
******* From S. Miniato al Monte on the south side of the Arno.
The train, going south [back to Rome] was crowded with many tourists and businessmen; they were endlessly smoking eating heavily when the meal was served. The country was beautiful, rain washed, fresh and there was not a cloud in the sky. There were old walled towns on the hills and the lake of many memories was blue, without a ripple; the rich land yielded to poor and arid soil and the farms seemed less prosperous, the chickens were thinner, there were no cattle about and there were few sheep. The train was going fast trying to make up the time that it had lost. It was a marvellous day and there in that smoky compartment, with passengers that hardly looked out of the window, there was that otherness. All that night, it was there with such intensity that the brain felt its pressure. It was as though at the very centre of all existence, it was operating in its purity and immensity. The brain watched, as it was watching the scene racing by, and in this very act, it went beyond its own limitations. And during the night at odd moments, meditation was a fire of explosion.
13th The skies are clear, the small wood across the way is full of light and shadows. Early in the morning before the sun showed over the hill, when dawn was still on the land and there were no cars going up the hill, meditation was inexhaustible. Thought is always limited, it cannot go very far, for it is rooted in memory, and when it does go far, it becomes merely speculative, imaginative, without validity. Thought cannot find what is and what is not beyond its own borders of time; thought is time-binding. Thought unravelling itself, untangling itself from the net of its own making is not the total movement of meditation. Thought in conflict with itself is not meditation; the ending of thought and the beginning of the new is meditation. The sun was making patterns on the wall, cars were coming up the hill and presently the workmen were whistling and singing on the new building across the way.
The brain is restless, an astonishingly sensitive instrument. It's always receiving impressions, interpreting them, storing them away; it is never still, waking or sleeping. Its concern is survival and security, the inherited animal responses; on the basis of these, its cunning devices are built, within and without; its gods, its virtues, its moralities are its defences; its ambitions, desires, compulsions and conformities are the urges of survival and security. Being highly sensitive, the brain with its machinery of thought, begins the cultivation of time, the yesterdays, the today and the many tomorrows; this gives it an opportunity of postponement and fulfilment; the postponement, the ideal and the fulfilment are the continuity of itself. But in this there is always sorrow; from this there is the flight into belief, dogma, action and into multiple forms of entertainment, including the religious rituals. But there is always death and its fear; thought then seeks comfort and escape in rational and irrational beliefs, hopes, conclusions. Words and theories become amazingly important, living on these and building its whole structure of existence on these feelings which words and conclusions arouse. The brain and its thought function at a very superficial level, however deeply thought may have hoped it has journeyed. For thought, however experienced, however clever and erudite, is superficial. The brain and its activities are a fragment of the whole totality of life; the fragment has become completely important to itself and its relationship to other fragments. This fragmentation and the contradiction it breeds is its very existence; it cannot understand the whole and when it attempts to formulate the totality of life, it can only think in terms of opposites and reactions which only breed conflict, confusion and misery.
Thought can never understand or formulate the whole of life. Only when the brain and its thought are completely still, not asleep or drugged by discipline, compulsion, or hypnotized, then only is there the awareness of the whole. The brain which is so astonishingly sensitive can be still, still in its sensitivity, widely and deeply attentive but entirely quiet. When time and its measure cease then only is there the whole, the unknowable.
4th In the gardens [of the Vila Borghese], right in the middle of the noisy and smelly town, with its flat pines and many trees, turning yellow and brown and the smell of damp ground, there, walking with certain seriousness, was the awareness of the otherness. It was there with great beauty and tenderness; it was not that one was thinking about it - it avoids all thought - but it was there so abundantly that it caused surprise and great delight. Seriousness of thought is so fragmentary and immature but there must be seriousness which is not the product of desire. There is a seriousness that has the quality of light whose very nature is to penetrate, a light that has no shadow; this seriousness is infinitely pliable and therefore joyous. It was there and every tree and leaf, every blade of grass and flower became intensely alive and splendid; colour intense and the sky immeasurable. The earth, moist and leaf-strewn, was life.
15th The morning sun is on the little wood on the other side of the road; it is a quiet, peaceful morning, soft, the sun not too hot and the air is fresh and cool. Every tree is so fascinatingly alive, with so many colours and there are so many shadows; they are all calling and waiting. Long before the sun was up, when it was quiet with no car going up the hill, meditation was a movement in benediction. This movement flowed into the otherness, for it was there in the room, filling it and overflowing it, outward and beyond, without end. There was in it a depth that was unfathomable, of such immensity and there was peace. This peace never knew contact, was uncontaminated by thought and time. It was not the peace of ultimate finality; it was something that was tremendously and dangerously alive. And it was without defence. Every form of resistance is violence, so also is concession. It was not the peace that conflict engenders; it was beyond all conflict and its opposites. It was not the fruit of satisfaction and discontent, in which are the seeds of deterioration.
16th It was before dawn, when there was no noise and the city was still asleep, that the waking brain became quiet for the otherness was there. It came in so quietly and with hesitant care for there was sleep still in the eyes but there was great delight, the delight of great simplicity and purity.
18th On the plane.******** There was thunder and a great downpour of rain; it woke one up in the middle of the night [in Rome] and the rain was beating on the window and among the trees across the road. The day had been hot and the air was now pleasantly cool; the town was asleep and the storm had taken over. The roads were wet and there was hardly any traffic so early in the morning; the sky was still heavy with clouds and dawn was over the land. The church [S. Giovanni in Laterano] with its golden mosaic was bright with artificial light. + The airport was far away and the powerful car was running beautifully; it was trying to race the clouds. It passed the few cars that were on the road and hugged the road round every corner at high speed. It had been held too long in the city and now it was on the open road. And there was the airport too soon. The smell of the sea and the damp earth was in the air; the freshly ploughed fields were dark and the green of the trees so bright, though autumn had touched a few leaves; the wind was blowing from the west and there would be no sun during all that day on the land. Every leaf was washed clean and there was beauty and peace on the land.
******** Flying to Bombay where he arrived on the 20th.
In the middle of the night, when it was quiet after thunder and lightning, the brain was utterly still and meditation was an opening into immeasurable emptiness. The very sensitivity of the brain made it still; it was still for no cause; the action of stillness with cause is disintegration. It was so still that the limited space of a room had disappeared and time had stopped. There was only an awakened attention, with a centre which was attentive; it was the attention in which the origin of thought had ceased, without any violence, naturally, easily. It could hear the rain and movement in the next room; it was listening without any interpretation and watching without
There is no entry for the 19th.
Ciampino. The airport at Fiuminei had not yet been built. knowledge. The body was also motionless. Meditation yielded to the otherness; it was of shattering purity. Its purity left no residue; it was there, that is all and nothing existed. As there was nothing, it was. It was the purity of all essence. This peace is a vast, boundless space, of immeasurable emptiness.
Bombay and Rishi Valley
20th October to 20th November 1961
The sea, far below, nearly forty thousand feet below, seemed to be without a wave, so calm, so vast, so empty of any movement; the desert, the burning red hills, treeless, beautiful and pitiless; more sea and the distant lights of the town where all the passengers were getting down; the clamour, the mountain of bags, inspection and the long drive through ill-lit streets and the pavement crowded with ever increasing population; the many penetrating odours, the shrill voices, the decorated temples, cars festooned with flowers, for it was a day of festival, the rich houses, the dark slums and down a steep incline, the car stopped and the door was opened.
There is a tree full of green bright leaves, very quiet in its purity and dignity, surrounded by houses that are ill proportioned with people that have never looked at it or one single leaf of it. But they make money, go to offices, drink, beget children and eat enormously. There was a moon over it last night and all the splendid darkness was alive. And waking towards dawn, meditation was the splendour of light for the otherness was there, in an unfamiliar room. Again it was an imminent and urgent peace, not the peace of politicians or of the priests nor of the contented; it was too vast to be contained in space and time, to be formulated by thought or feeling. It was the weight of the earth and the things upon it; it was the heavens and beyond it. Man has to cease for it to be.
Time is always repeating its challenge and its problems; the responses and answers are concerned with the immediate. We are taken up with the immediate challenge and with the immediate reply to it. This immediate answer to the immediate call is worldliness, with all its indissoluble problems and agonies; the intellectual answers with action born of ideas which have their roots in time, in the immediate, and the thoughtless, amazed, follow him; the priest of the well-organized religion of propaganda and belief responds to the challenge according to what he has been taught; the rest follow the pattern of like and dislike, of prejudice and malice. And every argument and gesture is the continuity of despair, sorrow and confusion. There is no end to it. To turn your back on it all, calling this activity by different names, is not to end it. It is there whether you deny it or not; whether you have critically analysed it or whether you say the whole thing is an illusion, maya. It is there and you are always measuring it. It is these immediate answers to a series of immediate calls that has to come to an end. Then you will answer from the emptiness of no time to the immediate demand of time or you may not answer at all which may be the true response. All reply of thought and emotion will only prolong the despair and the agony of problems that have no answers; the final answer is beyond the immediate.
In the immediate is all your hope, vanity and ambition, whether that immediacy is projected into the future of many tomorrows or in the now. This is the way of sorrow. The ending of sorrow is never in the immediate response to the many challenges. The ending lies in seeing this fact.
21st The palms were swaying with great dignity, bending with pleasure in the westerly breeze from the sea; they seemed so far away from the noisy crowded street. Against the evening sky, they were dark, their tall trunks were shapely, made slender with many years of patient work; they dominated the evening of stars and the warm sea. They almost stretched their palms to receive you, to snatch you away from the sordid street but the evening breeze took them away to fill the sky with their movement. The street was crowded; it would never be clean, too many people had spat on it; its walls were made filthy with the announcements of latest films; they were plastered with names to whom you must give your vote, the party symbols; it was a sordid street though it was one of the main thoroughfares; unwashed buses roared by; taxis honked at you and many dogs seemed to have passed by. A little further on was the sea and the setting sun. It was a round red ball of fire, it had been a scorching day; it made the sea and the few clouds red. The sea was without a ripple but it was restless and dreamy. It was too hot to be a pleasant evening and the breeze seemed to have forgotten its delight. Along that sordid street, with people pushing into you, meditation was the very essence of life. The brain so delicate and observant was completely still, watching the stars, aware of the people, the smells, the barking of the dogs. A single yellow leaf was falling on the dirty road and the passing car destroyed it; it was so full of colour and beauty and destroyed so easily.
As one walked along the street of few palms, the otherness came like a wave that purified and strengthened; it was there like a perfume, a breath of immensity. There was no sentiment, the romance of illusion or the brittleness of thought; it was there, sharp and clear, without any vague possibility, unhesitating, definite. It was there, a holy thing and nothing could touch it, nothing could break its finality. The brain was aware of the closeness of the passing buses, the wet street and the squealing brakes; it was aware of all these things and, beyond, the sea, but the brain had no relation to any of these things; it was completely empty, without any roots, watching, observing out of this emptiness. The otherness was pressing in with sharp urgency. It was not a feeling, a sensation but as factual as the man who was calling. It was not an emotion that changes, varies and continues, and thought could not touch it. It was there with the finality of death which no reason could dissuade. As it had no roots and relation, nothing could contaminate it; it was indestructible.
23rd The complete stillness of the brain is an extraordinary thing; it is highly sensitive, vigorous, fully alive, aware of every outward movement but utterly still. It is still as it is completely open, without any hindrance, without any secret wants and pursuits; it is still as there is no conflict which is essentially a state of contradiction. It is utterly still in emptiness; this emptiness is not a state of vacuum, a blankness; it is energy without a centre, without a border. Walking down the crowded street, smelly and sordid, with the buses roaring by, the brain was aware of the things about it and the body was walking along, sensitive, alive to the smells, to the dirt, to the sweating labourers but there was no centre from which watching, directing, censoring took place. During the whole of that mile and back the brain was without a movement, as thought and feeling; the body was getting tired, unaccustomed to the frightful heat and humidity though the sun had set some time ago. It was a strange phenomenon though it had happened several times before. One can never get used to any of these things for it is not a thing of habit and desire. It is always surprising, after it is over.
The crowded plane [to Madras] was hot and even at that height, about eight thousand feet up, it never seemed to get cool. In that morning plane, suddenly and most unexpectedly the otherness came. It is never the same, always new, always unexpected; the odd thing about it is that thought cannot go back over it, reconsider it, examine it leisurely. Memory has no part in it, for every time it happens it is so totally new and unexpected that it does not leave any memory behind it. For it is a total and complete happening, an event that leaves no record, as memory. So it is always new, young, unexpected. It came with extraordinary beauty, not because of the fantastic shape of clouds and the light in them nor of the blue sky, so infinitely blue and tender; there was no reason, no cause for its incredible beauty and that is why it was beautiful. It was the essence not of all the things put together and boiled down to be felt and seen but of all life that has been and that is and that will be, life without time. It was there and it was the fury of beauty.
The little car was going home to its valley,* far from cities and civilizations; it was going over bumpy roads, over potholes, round sharp corners, groaning, creaking but it went; it was not old but it had been assembled carelessly; it smelled of petrol and oil but it was racing home as fast as it could over the paved and unpaved roads. The country was beautiful; it had rained recently, the night before. The trees were alive with bright, green leaves - the tamarind and the banyan and other innumerable trees; they were so vital, fresh and young though some of them must have been quite old. There were hills and the red earth; they were not thundering hills but gentle and old, some of the oldest on earth, and in the evening light they were serene, with that ancient blue which only certain hills have. Some were rocky and barren, others had scrubby bushes and a few had some trees but they were friendly as though they had seen all sorrow. And the earth at their feet was red; the rains had made it more red; it was not the red of blood or of the sun or of any man-made dye; it was the red, the colour of all reds; there was a clarity and purity about it and the green was the more startling against it. It was a lovely evening and it was getting cooler for the valley was at some height.
* Rishi Valley, some 170 miles north of Madras and 2,500 feet above sea level. There is a Krishnamurti school there where he stayed.
In the midst of the evening light and the hills becoming more blue and the red earth richer, the otherness came silently with benediction. It is marvellously new each time but yet it is the same. It was immense with strength, the strength of destruction and vulnerability. It came with such fullness and was gone in a flash; the moment was beyond all time. It was a tiring day but the brain was strangely alert, seeing without the watcher; seeing not with experience but out of emptiness.
24th The moon was just coming over the hills, caught in a long serpentine cloud, giving her a fantastic shape. She was huge, dwarfing the hills, the earth and the green pastures; where she was coming up was more clear, fewer clouds, but she soon disappeared in dark rain-bearing clouds. It began to drizzle and the earth was glad; it doesn't rain much here and every drop counts; the big banyan and the tamarind and the mango would struggle through but the little plants and the rice crop were rejoicing at even a little rain. Unfortunately even the few drops stopped and presently the moon shone in a clear sky. It was raining furiously on the coast but here where the rain was needed, the rain-bearing clouds passed away. It was a beautiful evening, and there were deep dark shadows of many patterns. The moon was very bright and the shadows were very still and the leaves, washed clean, were sparkling. Walking and talking, meditation was going on below the words and the beauty of the night. It was going on at a great depth, flowing outwardly and inwardly; it was exploding and expanding. One was aware of it; it was happening; one wasn't experiencing it, experiencing is limiting; it was taking place. There was no participation in it; thought could not share it for thought is such a futile and mechanical thing anyhow, nor could emotion get entangled with it; it was too disturbingly active for either. It was happening at such an unknown depth for which there was no measurement. But there was great stillness. It was quite surprising and not at all ordinary.
The dark leaves were shining and the moon had climbed quite high; she was on the westerly course and flooding the room. Dawn was many hours away and there was not a sound; even the village dogs, with their shrill yapping, were quiet. Waking, it was there, with clarity and precision; the otherness was there and waking up was necessary, not sleep; it was deliberate, to be aware of what was happening, to be aware with full consciousness of what was taking place. Asleep, it might have been a dream, a hint of the unconscious, a trick of the brain, but fully awake, this strange and unknowable otherness was a palpable reality, a fact and not an illusion, a dream. It had a quality, if such a word can be applied to it, of weightlessness and impenetrable strength. Again these words have certain significance, definite and communicable, but these words lose all their meaning when the otherness has to be conveyed in words; words are symbols but no symbol can ever convey the reality. It was there with such incorruptible strength that nothing could destroy it for it was unapproachable. You can approach something with which you are familiar, you must have the same language to commune, some kind of thought process, verbal or non-verbal; above all there must be mutual recognition. There was none. On your side you may say it is this or that, this or that quality, but at the moment of the happening there was no verbalization for the brain was utterly still, without any movement of thought. But the otherness is without relationship to anything and all thought and being is a cause-effect process and so there was no understanding of it or relationship with it. It was an unapproachable flame and you could only look at it and keep your distance. And on waking suddenly, it was there. And with it came unexpected ecstasy, an unreasonable joy; there was no cause for it for it has never been sought or pursued. There was this ecstasy on waking again at the usual hour; it was there and continued for a lengthy period of time.
25th There is a long-stemmed weed, grass of some kind, which grows wildly in the garden and it has a feathery flowering, burnt gold, flashing in the breeze, swaying till it almost breaks but never breaking, except in a strong wind. There is a clump of these weeds of golden beige and when the breeze blows it sets them dancing; each stem has its own rhythm, its own splendour and they are like a wave when they all move together; the colour then, with the evening light, is indescribable; it is the colour of the sunset, of the earth and of the golden hills and clouds. The flowers beside them were too definite, too crude, demanding that you look at them. These weeds had a strange delicacy; they had a faint smell of wheat and of ancient times; they were sturdy and pure, full of abundant life. An evening cloud was passing by, full of light as the sun went down behind the dark hill. The rain had given to the earth a goodly smell and the air was pleasantly cool. The rains were coming and there was hope in the land.
Of a sudden it happened, coming back to the room; it was there with an embracing welcome, so unexpected. One had come in only to go out again; we had been talking about several things, nothing too serious. It was a shock and a surprise to find this welcoming otherness in the room; it was waiting there with such open invitation that an apology seemed futile. Several times, on the Common,** far away from here under some trees, along a path that was used by so many, it would be waiting just as the path turned; with astonishment one stood there, near those trees, completely open, vulnerable, speechless, without a movement. It was not a fancy, a self-projected delusion; the other, who happened to be there, felt it too; on several occasions it was there, with an all-embracing welcome of love and it was quite incredible; every time, it had a new quality, a new beauty, a new austerity. And it was like that in this room, something totally new and wholly unexpected. It was beauty that made the entire mind still and the body without a movement; it made the mind, the brain and the body intensely alert and sensitive; it made the body tremble and in a few minutes that welcoming otherness was gone, as swiftly as it must have come. No thought or fanciful emotion could ever conjure up such a happening; thought is petty, do what it will, and feeling is so fragile and deceitful; neither of them, in their wildest endeavour could build up these happenings. They are too immeasurably great, too immense in their strength and purity for thought or feeling; these have roots and they have none. They are not to be invited or held; thought-feeling can play every kind of clever and fanciful trick but they cannot invent or contain the otherness. It is by itself and nothing can touch it.
** Wimbledon Common. He was remembering London where he had stayed in May in a house at Wimbledon.
Sensitivity is wholly different from refinement; sensitivity is an integral state, refinement is always partial. There is no partial sensitivity, either it is the state of one's whole being, total consciousness or it is not there at all. It is not to be gathered bit by bit; it cannot be cultivated; it is not the result of experience and thought, it is not a state of emotionalism. It has the quality of precision, no overtones of romanticism and fancy. Only the sensitive can face the actual, without escaping into all kinds of conclusions, opinions and evaluations. Only the sensitive can be alone and this aloneness is destructive. This sensitivity is stripped of all pleasure and so it has the austerity, not of desire and will but of seeing and understanding. There is pleasure in refinement; it has to do with education, culture, environment. The way of refinement is endless; it is the outcome of choice, conflict and pain and there is always the chooser, the one who refines, the censor. And so there is always conflict and contradiction and pain. Refinement leads to isolation, self-enclosing aloofness, the separation which intellect and knowledge breed. Refinement is self-centred activity, however enlightened aesthetically and morally. There is great satisfaction in the refining process but no joy of depth; it is superficial and petty, without great significance. Sensitivity and refinement are two different things; one leads to isolating death and the other to life that has no end.
26th There is a tree, just across the verandah with large leaves and with many large red flowers; they are spectacular and the green, after the recent rains, is vivid and strong. The flowers are orange-red and against the green and the rocky hill, they seem to have taken the earth to themselves and they cover the whole space of the early morning. It was a beautiful morning, cloudy and there was that light which made every colour clear and strong. Not a leaf was stirring and they were all waiting, hoping for more rain; the sun would be hot and the earth needed far more rain. The river beds had been silent for many years; bushes were growing in them and water was needed everywhere; the wells were very low and the villagers would suffer if there was not more water. The clouds were black over the hills, heavy with the promise of rain. There was thunder and distant lightning and presently there was a downpour. It didn't last long but enough for the time being and there was a promise of more.
Where the road goes down and over the bridge of a dry river bed of red sand, the westerly hills were dark, heavy with brooding; and in the evening light, the luscious green fields of rice were incredibly beautiful. Across them were dark green trees and the hills to the north were violet; the valley lay open to the heavens. There was every colour, seen or unseen, in that valley that evening; every colour had its overtones, hidden and open, and every leaf and every blade of rice was exploding in the delight of colour. Colour was good, not mild and gentle. The clouds were gathering black and heavy, especially over the hills and there were flashes of lightning, far away over the hills and silent. There were already a few drops; it was raining among the hills and it would soon be here. A blessing to a starving land.
We were all talking after a light dinner about things pertaining to the school, how this and that was necessary, how difficult it was to find good teachers, how the rains were needed and so on. They went on talking and there, sudden and unexpectedly, the otherness appeared; it was there with such immensity and with such sweeping force that one became utterly quiet; the eyes saw it, the body felt it and the brain was alert without thought. The conversation was not too serious and in the midst of this casual atmosphere, something tremendous was taking place. One went to bed with it and it went on as a whisper during the night. There is no experiencing of it; it is simply there with a fury and benediction. To experience there must be an experiencer but when there is neither, it is an altogether different phenomenon. There is neither accepting it or denying it; it is simply there, as a fact. This fact had no relation to anything, neither in the past nor in the future and thought could not establish any communication with it. It had no value in terms of utility and profit, nothing could be got out of it. But it was there and by its very existence there was love, beauty, immensity. Without it, there is nothing. Without rain the earth would perish.
Time is illusion. There is tomorrow and there have been many yesterdays; this time is not an illusion. Thought which uses time as a means to bring about an inward change, a psychological change is pursuing a non-change, for such a change is only a modified continuity of what has been; such thought is sluggish, postpones, takes shelter in the illusion of gradualness, in ideals, in time. Through time mutation is not possible. The very denial of time is mutation; mutation takes place where the things which time has brought into being, habit, tradition, reform, the ideals, are denied. Deny time and mutation has taken place, a total mutation, not the alteration in patterns nor the substitution of one pattern by another. But acquiring knowledge, learning a technique, require time which cannot and must not be denied; they are essential for existence. Time to go from here to there is not an illusion but every other form of time is illusion. In this mutation, there is attention and from this attention there is a totally different kind of action. Such action does not become a habit, a repetition of a sensation, of an experience, of knowledge which dulls the brain, insensitive to a mutation. Virtue then is not the better habit, the better conduct; it has no pattern, no limitation; it has not the stamp of respectability; it is not then an ideal to be pursued, put together by time. Virtue then is a danger not a tame thing of society. To love then is destruction; a revolution, not economic and social but of total consciousness.
27th Several of us were chanting and singing; learning new chants and songs; the room overlooked the garden that was with great difficulty maintained as there was little water; the flowers and the bushes were watered by small buckets, really kerosene tins. It was quite a nice garden with many flowers but the trees dominated the garden; they were shapely, wide-spreading and at certain seasons, full of flowers; now only one tree was flowering, orange-red flowers with large petals, a profusion of them. There were several trees with fine, small delicate leaves, mimosa-like trees but with greater abundance of foliage. So many birds came and now after two long heavy showers they looked bedraggled, soaked to the skin, their feathers drenched. There was a yellow bird with black wings, larger than a starling, nearly as big as a blackbird; the yellow was so bright against the dark-green foliage and its bright elongated eyes were watching everything, the slightest movement among the leaves and the coming and going of other birds. There were two black birds, smaller than crows, their feathers soaked, sitting close to the yellow one on the same tree; they had spread out their tail feathers and were fluttering their wings to get them dry; several other birds of different sizes came to that tree, all at peace with each other, all alertly watching. The valley needed the rain very badly and every drop was welcome; the wells were very low and the big urban tanks were empty and these rains would help to fill them. They had been empty for many years and there was hope now. The valley had become very beautiful, rain-washed, fresh, filled with varying rich green. The rocks had been washed clean and had lost their heat and the stunted bushes that grew among the rocks in the hills looked pleased and the dry river beds were singing again. The land was smiling again.
The chant and the song went on in that rather bare room, without furniture, and to sit on the floor seemed normal and comfortable. In the midst of a song quite suddenly and unexpected the other appeared; others went on with the song but they too became silent, not being aware of their silence. It was there with a benediction and it filled the space between the earth and the heavens. About ordinary things, up to a certain point, communication is possible through words; words have significance but words lose altogether their limited significance when we are trying to commune about events that cannot be verbalized. Love is not the word and it is something entirely different when all verbalization and the silly division of what is and what is not ceases. This event is not an experience, not a thing of thought, the recognition of a happening of yesterday, not the product of consciousness at whatever depth. It is not contaminated by time. It is something beyond and above all this; it was there and that is enough for heaven and earth.
Every prayer is a supplication and there is no asking when there is clarity and the heart unburdened. Instinctively, in time of trouble, a supplication of some kind comes to the lips, to avert the trouble, the ache or to gain some advantage. There is hope that some earthly god or the gods of the mind will answer satisfactorily, and sometimes by chance or through some strange coincidence of events, a prayer is answered. Then god has answered and faith has been justified. The gods of men, the only true gods, are there to comfort, to shelter, to answer all the petty and noble demands of man. Such gods are plentiful, every church, every temple and mosque has them. The earthly gods are even more powerful and more immediate; every state has them. But man goes on suffering in spite of every form of prayer and supplication. With the fury of understanding only can sorrow end but the other is easier, respectable and less demanding. And sorrow wears away the brain and the body, makes it dull, insensitive and weary. Understanding demands self-knowing, which is not an affair of the moment; learning about oneself is endless and the beauty and the greatness of it is that it is endless. But self-knowing is from moment to moment; this self-knowing is only in the active present; it has no continuity as knowledge. But what has continuity habit, the mechanical process of thought. Understanding has no continuity.
28th There is a red flower among the dark green leaves and from the verandah you only see that. There are the hills, the red sand of the riverbeds, the big high banyan tree and the many tamarinds, but you only see that flower, it is so gay, so full of colour; there is no other colour; the patches of blue sky, the burning clouds of light, the violet hills, the rich green of the rice field, all these fade away and only this wondrous colour of that flower remains. It fills the whole sky and the valley; it will fade and fall away; it will cease and the hills will endure. But this morning it was eternity, beyond all time and thought; it held all love and joy; there was no sentiment and romantic absurdities in it; nor was it a symbol of something else. It was itself, to die in the evening but it contained all life. It was not something you reasoned out nor was it a thing of unreason, some romantic fancy; it was as actual as those hills and those voices calling to each other. It was the complete meditation of life, and illusion exists only when the impact of fact ceases. That cloud so full of light is a reality whose beauty has no furious impact on a mind that is made dull and insensitive by influence, habit and the everlasting search for security. Security in fame, in relationship, in knowledge destroys sensitivity and deterioration sets in. That flower, those hills and the blue restless sea are the challenge, as nuclear bombs, of life, and only the sensitive mind can respond to them totally; only a total response leaves no marks of conflict, and conflict indicates partial response.
The so-called saints and sannyasis have contributed to the dullness of mind and to the destruction of sensitivity. Every habit, repetition, rituals strengthened by belief and dogma, sensory responses, can be and are refined, but the alert awareness, sensitivity, is quite another matter. Sensitivity is absolutely essential to look deeply within; this movement of going within is not a reaction to the outer; the outer and the inner are the same movement, they are not separate. The division of this movement as the outer and as the inner breeds insensitivity. Going within is the natural flow of the outer; the movement of the inner has its own action, expressed outwardly but it is not a reaction of the outer. Awareness of this whole movement is sensitivity.
29th It was really quite an extraordinarily beautiful evening. It had been drizzling off and on all day; one had been cooped up indoors all day; there was a talk-discussion, seeing people and so on. It had stopped raining for some hours and it was good to get out. To the west the clouds were dark, almost black, heavy with rain and thunder; they were hanging over the hills making them dark purple and unusually heavy and threatening. The sun was setting in a tumultuous fury of clouds. To the east, clouds shot up full of evening light; each one was a different shape with a light of its own, towering over the hills, immense, shatteringly alive, soaring up into high heavens. There were patches of blue sky, so intensely blue, green of such a delicacy that it faded into the white light of bursting clouds. The hills were sculptured with the dignity of endless time; there was one that was alight from within, transparent and strangely delicate, so utterly artificial; another one was chiselled out of granite, darkly alone, with a shape of all the temples of the world. Every hill was alive, full of movement and aloof with the depth of time. It was a marvellous evening, full of beauty, silence and light.
We had started all of us walking together but now we had fallen silent, separate, a little distance from each other. The road was rough crossing the valley, over the dry, red sandy riverbeds which had thin trickles of rain water. The road turned and went east. Down the valley there is a white farmhouse surrounded by trees and one huge tree covering them all. It was a peaceful sight and the land seemed enchanted. The house was a mile or so away among the green, luscious rice fields and silent. One had often seen it, as the road went on to the mouth of the valley and beyond it; it was the only road in and out of the valley by car and foot. The white house among few trees had been there for some years and it had always been a pleasant sight, but seeing it, that evening, as the road turned, there was an altogether different beauty and feeling about it. For the otherness was there, and coming up the valley; it was like a curtain of rain but only there was no rain; it was coming as a breeze comes, soft and gently and it was there inside and outside. It was not thought, it was not feeling nor was it a fancy, a thing of the brain. Each time it is so new and amazing, the pure strength and vastness of it that there is astonishment and joy. It is something totally unknown and the known has no contact with it. The known must wholly die for it to be. Experience is still within the field of the known, and so it was not an experience. All experience is a state of immaturity. You can only experience and recognize as experience something which you have already known. But this was not experienceable, knowable; every form of thought must cease and every feeling; for they are all known and knowable; the brain and the totality of consciousness must be free of the known and be empty without any form of effort. It was there, inside and outside; one was walking in it and with it. The hills, the land, the earth were with it.
It was quite early in the morning and it was still dark. The night was thunderous and rainy; windows banged and rain was pouring into the room. Not a star was visible, the sky and the hills were covered with clouds and it was raining with fury and noise. On waking, the rain had stopped and it was still dark. Meditation is not a practice, following a system, a method; these only lead to the darkening of the mind and it is ever a movement within the boundaries of the known; there is despair and illusion within their activity. It was very quiet so early in the morning and not a bird or leaf was stirring. Meditation which began at unknown depths and went on with increasing intensity and sweep, carved the brain into total silence, scooping out the depths of thought, uprooting feeling, emptying the brain of the known and its shadow. It was an operation and there was no operator, no surgeon; it was going on, as a surgeon operates for cancer, cutting out every tissue which has been contaminated, lest the contamination should again spread. It was going on, this meditation for an hour by the watch. And it was meditation without the meditator. The meditator interferes with his stupidities and vanities, ambitions and greed. The meditator is thought, nurtured in these conflicts and injuries, and thought in meditation must totally cease. This is the foundation for meditation.
30th Everywhere there was silence; the hills were motionless, the trees were still and the riverbeds empty; the birds had found shelter for the night and everything was still, even the village dogs. It had rained and the clouds were motionless. Silence grew and became intense, wider and deeper. What was outside was now inside; the brain which had listened to the silence of the hills, fields and groves was itself now silent; it no longer listened to itself; it had gone through that and had become quiet, naturally, without any enforcement. It was still ready to stir itself on the instant. It was still, deep within itself; like a bird that folds its wings, it had folded upon itself; it was not asleep nor lazy, but in folding upon itself, it had entered into depths which were beyond itself. The brain is essentially superficial; its activities are superficial, almost mechanical; its activities and responses are immediate, though this immediacy is translated in terms of the future. Its thoughts and feelings are on the surface, though it may think and feel far into the future and way back into the past. All experience and memory are deep only to the extent of their own limited capacity but the brain being still and turning upon itself, it was no longer experiencing outwardly or inwardly. Consciousness, the fragments of many experiences, compulsions, fears, hopes and despairs of the past and the future, the contradictions of the race and its own self-centred activities, was absent; it was not there. The entire being was utterly still and as it became intense, it was not more or less; it was intense, there was an entering into a depth or a depth which came into being which thought, feeling, consciousness could not enter into. It was a dimension which the brain could not capture or understand. And there was no observer, witnessing this depth. Every part of one`s whole being was alert, sensitive but intensely still. This new, this depth was expanding, exploding, going away, developing in its own explosions but out of time and beyond time and space.
31st It was a beautiful evening; the air was clean, the hills were blue, violet and dark purple; the rice fields had plenty of water and were a varying rich green from light to metallic to dark flashing green; some trees had already withdrawn for the night, dark and silent and others were still open and held the light of day. The clouds were black over the western hills, and to the north and east the clouds were full of the [reflection of the] evening sun which had set behind the heavy purple hills. There was no one on the road, the few that passed were silent and there wasn't a patch of blue sky, clouds were gathering in for the night. Yet everything seemed to be awake, the rocks, the dry riverbed, the bushes in the fading light. Meditation, along that quiet and deserted road came like a soft rain over the hills; it came as easily and naturally as the coming night. There was no effort of any kind and no control with its concentrations and distractions; there was no order and pursuit; no denial or acceptance nor any continuity of memory in meditation. The brain was aware of its environment but quiet without response, uninfluenced but recognizing without responding. It was very quiet and words had faded with thought. There was that strange energy, call it by any other name, it has no importance whatsoever, deeply active, without object and purpose; it was creation, without the canvas and the marble, and destructive; it was not the thing of human brain, of expression and decay. It was not approachable, to be classified and analysed, and thought and feeling are not the instruments of its comprehension. It was completely unrelated to everything and totally alone in its vastness and immensity. And walking along that darkening road, there was the ecstasy of the impossible, not of achievement, arriving, success and all those immature demands and responses, but the aloneness of the impossible. The possible is mechanical and the impossible can be envisaged, tried and perhaps achieved which in turn becomes mechanical. But the ecstasy had no cause, no reason. It was simply there, not as an experience but as a fact, not to be accepted or denied, to be argued over and dissected. It was not a thing to be sought after for there is no path to it. Everything has to die for it to be, death, destruction which is love.
A poor, worn-out labourer, in torn dirty clothes, was returning home with his bone-thin cow.
November 1st The sky was burning with fantastic colour, great splashes of incredible fire; the southern sky was aflame with clouds of exploding colour and each cloud was more intensely furious than the other. The sun had set behind the sphinx-shaped hill but there was no colour there, it was dull, without the serenity of a beautiful evening. But the east and the south held all the grandeur of a fading day. To the east it was blue, the blue of a morning-glory, a flower so delicate that to touch it is to break the delicate, transparent petals; it was the intense blue with incredible light of pale green, violet and the sharpness of white; it was sending out, from east to west, rays of this fantastic blue right across the sky. And the south was now the home of vast fires that could never be put out. Across the rich green of rice fields was a stretch of sugar cane in flower; it was feathery, pale violet, the tender light beige of a mourning dove; it stretched over and across the luscious green rice fields with the evening light through it to the hills, which were almost the same colour as the sugar-cane flower. The hills were in league with the flower, the red earth and the darkening sky, and that evening the hills were shouting with joy for it was an evening of their delight. The stars were coming out and presently there was not a cloud and every star shone with astonishing brilliance in a rain-washed sky. And early this morning, with dawn far away, Orion held the sky and the hills were silent. Only across the valley, the hoot of a deep-throated owl was answered by a light-throated one, at a higher pitch; in the clear still air their voices carried far and they were coming nearer until they seemed quiet among a clump of trees; then they rhythmically kept calling to each other, one at a lower note than the other till a man called and a dog barked.
It was meditation in emptiness, a void that had no border. Thought could not follow; it had been left where time begins, nor was there feeling to distort love. This was emptiness without space. The brain was in no way participating in this meditation; it was completely still and in that stillness going within itself and out of itself but in no way sharing with this vast emptiness. The totality of the mind was receiving or perceiving or being aware of what was taking place and yet it was not outside of itself, something extraneous, something foreign. Thought is an impediment to meditation but only through meditation can this impediment be dissolved. For thought dissipates energy and the essence of energy is freedom from thought and feeling.
2nd It had become very cloudy, all the hills were heavy with them and clouds were piling up in every direction. It was spitting with rain and there wasn't a blue patch anywhere; the sun had set in darkness and the trees were aloof and distant. There is an old palm tree that stood out against the darkening sky and whatever light there was held by it; the riverbeds were silent, their red sand moist but there was no song; the birds had become silent taking shelter among the thick leaves. A breeze was blowing from north-east and with it came more dark clouds and a spattering of rain but it hadn't begun in earnest; that would come later in gathering fury. And the road in front was empty; it was red, rough, and sandy and the dark hills looked down on it; it was a pleasant road with hardly any cars and the villagers with their oxdrawn carts going from one village to another; they were dirty, skeleton-thin, in rags, and their stomachs drawn in but they were wiry and enduring; they had lived like that for centuries and no government is going to change all this overnight. But these people had a smile, though their eyes were weary. They could dance after a heavy day's labour and they had fire in them, they were not hopelessly beaten down. The land had not had good rains for many years and this may be one of those fortunate years which may bring more food for them and fodder for their thin cattle. And the road went on and joined at the mouth of the valley the big road with few buses and cars. And on this road, far away were the cities with their filth, industries, rich houses, temples and dull minds. But here on this open road, there was solitude and the many hills, full of age and indifference.
Meditation is the emptying the mind of all thought, for thought and feeling dissipate energy; they are repetitive, producing mechanical activities which are a necessary part of existence. But they are only part, and thought and feeling cannot possibly enter into the immensity of life. Quite a different approach is necessary, not the path of habit, association and the known; there must be freedom from these. Meditation is the emptying of the mind of the known. It cannot be done by thought or by the hidden prompting of thought, nor by desire in the form of prayer, nor through the self-effacing hypnotism of words, images, hopes and vanities. All these have to come to an end, easily, without effort and choice, in the flame of awareness.
And there walking on that road, there was complete emptiness of the brain, and the mind was free of all experience, the knowing of yesterday, though a thousand yesterdays have been. Time, the thing of thought, had stopped; literally there was no movement before and after; there was no going or arriving or standing still. Space as distance was not; there were the hills and bushes but not as high and low. There was no relationship with anything but there was an awareness of the bridge and the passer-by. The totality of the mind, in which is the brain with its thoughts and feelings, was empty; and because it was empty, there was energy, a deepening and widening energy without measure. All comparison, measurement belong to thought and so to time. The otherness was the mind without time; it was the breath of innocence and immensity. Words are not reality; they are only means of communication but they are not the innocence and the immeasurable. The emptiness was alone.
3rd It had been a dull, heavy day; the clouds were pressing in and it had rained violently. The red riverbeds had some water in them but the land needed lots more rain for the big catchments, tanks, and the wells to get filled up; there would be no rains for several months and the hot sun would burn the land. Water was needed urgently for this part of the country and every drop was welcome. One had been indoors all day and it was good to get out. The roads were running with water, there was a heavy shower and under every tree there was a puddle and the trees were dripping with water. It was getting dark; the hills were visible, they were just dark against the sky, the colour of the clouds; the trees were silent and motionless, lost in their brooding; they had withdrawn and refused to communicate. One was aware, suddenly, of that strange otherness; it was there and it had been there, only there had been talks, seeing people and so on and the body had not had enough rest to be aware of the strangeness but on going out it was there and only then was there a realization that it had been there. Still it was unexpected and sudden, with that intensity which is the essence of beauty. One went with it down the road not as something separate, not as an experience, something to be observed and examined, to be remembered. These were the ways of thought but thought had ceased and so there was no experiencing of it. All experiencing is separative and deteriorating, it is part of the machinery of thought and all mechanical processes deteriorate. It was something, each time, totally new and that which is new has no relation whatsoever with the known, with the past. And there was beauty, beyond all thought and feeling.
There was no call of the owl across the silent valley; it was very early; the sun would not be over the hill for several hours yet. It was cloudy and no stars were visible; if the sky were clear, Orion would be this side of the house, facing west, but everywhere there was darkness and silence. Habit and meditation can never abide together; meditation can never become a habit; meditation can never follow the pattern laid down by thought which forms habit. Meditation is the destruction of thought and not thought caught in its own intricacies, visions and its own vain pursuits. Thought shattering itself against its own nothingness is the explosion of meditation. This meditation has its own movement, directionless and so is causeless. And in that room, in that peculiar silence when the clouds are low, almost touching the treetops, meditation was a movement in which the brain emptied itself and remained still. It was a movement of the totality of the mind in emptiness and there was timelessness. Thought is matter held within the bonds of time; thought is never free, never new; every experience only strengthens the bondage and so there is sorrow. Experience can never free thought; it makes it more cunning, and refinement is not the ending of sorrow. Thought, however astute, however experienced, can never end sorrow; it can escape from it but it can never end it. The ending of sorrow is the ending of thought. There is no one who can put an end to it [to thought], not its own gods, its own ideals, beliefs, dogmas. Every thought, however wise or petty, shapes the response to the challenge of limitless life and this response of time breeds sorrow. Thought is mechanical and so it can never be free; only in freedom there is no sorrow. The ending of thought is the ending of sorrow.
4th It had been threatening to rain but it never rained; the blue hills were heavy with clouds; they were always changing, moving from one hill to another but there was a long white-grey cloud, stretching west over many hills to the horizon, which had its birth in one of the eastern hills; it seemed to begin from there, from the side of the hill, and went on to the western horizon in a rolling movement, alive with the light of the setting sun; it was white and grey but deep within it was violet, a fading purple; it seemed to be carrying on its way the hills it covered. In the western gap the sun was setting in a fury of clouds and the hills were getting darker and more grey and the trees were heavy with silence. There is a huge, unmolested banyan tree, many years old, by the side of the road; it is really magnificent, huge, vital, unconcerned and that evening it was the lord of the hills, the earth and the streams; it had majesty and the stars seemed very small. Along that road, a villager and his wife were walking, one behind the other, the husband led and the wife followed; they seemed a little more prosperous than the others that one met on the road. They passed us, she never looking at us and he looked at the far village. We caught up with her; she was a small woman, never taking her eyes off the ground; she wasn't too clean; she had a green soiled sari and her blouse was salmon coloured and sweat-stained. She had a flower in her oily hair and was walking bare-footed. Her face was dark and there was about her a great sadness. There was a certain firmness and gaiety in her walk which in no way touched her sadness; each was leading its own life, independent, vital and unrelated. But there was great sadness and you felt it immediately; it was an irremediable sadness; there was no way out, no way to soften it, no way to bring about a change. It was there and it would be there. She was across the road, a few feet away and nothing could touch her. We walked side by side for a while and presently she turned off and crossed the red riverbed of sand and went on to her village, the husband leading, never looking back and she following. Before she turned off, a curious thing was taking place. The few feet of road between us disappeared and with it also disappeared the two entities; there was only that woman walking in her impenetrable sadness. It was not an identification with her, nor overwhelming sympathy and affection; these were there but they were not because of the phenomenon. Identification with another, however deep, still maintains separation and division; there are still two entities, one identifying with the other, a conscious or an unconscious process, through affection or through hate; in it there is an endeavour of some kind, subtle or open. But here there was none at all. She was the only human being that existed on that road. She was and the other was not. It was not a fancy or an illusion; it was a simple fact and no amount of clever reasoning and subtle explanation could alter that fact. Even when she turned off the road and was going away, the other was not on that straight road that went on. It was some time before the other found himself walking beside a long heap of broken stones, ready for renewing the road.
Along that road, over the gap in the southern hills, came that otherness with such intensity and power that it was with the greatest difficulty that one could stand up and continue the walk. It was like a furious storm but without the wind and the noise and its intensity was overwhelming. Strangely every time it comes, there is always something new; it is never the same and always unexpected. This otherness is not something extraordinary, some mysterious energy, but is mysterious in the sense that it is something beyond time and thought. A mind that is caught in time and thought can never comprehend it. It is not a thing to be understood, any more than love can be analysed and understood, but without this immensity, strength and energy, life, and all existence, at any level, becomes trivial and sorrowful. There is an absoluteness about it, not a finality; it is absolute energy; it is self-existent without cause; it is not the ultimate, final energy for it is all energy. Every form of energy and action must cease for it to be. But in it all action is. Love and do what you will. There must be death and total destruction for it to be; not the revolution of outward things but the total destruction of the known in which all shelter and existence is cultivated. There must be total emptiness and only then that otherness, the timeless, comes. But this emptiness is not to be cultivated, it is not the result whose cause can be bought and sold; nor is it the outcome of time and evolutionary process; time can only give birth to more time. Destruction of time is not a process; all methods and processes prolong time. Ending of time is the ending of total thought and feeling.
5th Beauty is never personal. The hills were dark blue and carried the light of the evening. It had been raining and now great spaces of blue appeared; the blue was ablaze with white clouds surrounding it; it was the blue that made the eyes sparkle with forgotten tears; it was the blue of infancy and innocence. And that blue became a pale nile-green of early leaves of spring and beyond it was the fire-red of a cloud that was gathering speed to cross the hills. And over the hills were the rain clouds, dark, heavy and immovable; these clouds were piling up against the hills in the west and the sun was caught between the hills and the clouds. The ground was soaked, red and clear, and every tree and bush had deep moisture; there were already new leaves; the mango had long russet tender leaves, the tamarind had bright yellow small leaves, the rain-tree had a few shoots of fresh light green; after a long wait of many months of baking sun, the rains brought comfort to the earth; the valley was smiling. The poverty-ridden village was filthy, smelly and so many children were playing, shouting and laughing; they didn't seem to care for anything except the games they were playing. Their parents seemed so weary, haggard and forgotten; they would never know one day of rest, cleanliness and comfort; hunger, labour and more hunger; they were sad, though they smiled readily enough, their eyes forlorn, beyond recalling. Everywhere there was beauty, the grass, the hills and the crowded sky; the birds were calling and high in the air an eagle was circling. There were lean goats on the hills, devouring everything that grew; they were insatiably hungry and their little ones pranced from rock to rock. They were so soft to touch, their skin sparkling, clean and healthy. The boy who was looking after them was singing away, sitting on a rock and occasionally calling to them.
The personal cultivation of the pleasure of beauty is self-centred activity; it leads to insensitivity.
6th It was a lovely morning, clear, every star was ablaze and the valley was full of silence. The hills were dark, darker than the sky and cool air had a smell of rain, the scent of leaves and some strong-scented flowering jasmine. Everything was asleep and every leaf was still and the beauty of the morning was magic; it was the beauty of the earth, heavens and of man, of the sleeping birds and the fresh stream in a dry riverbed; it was incredible that it was not personal. There as a certain austerity about it, not the cultivated which is merely the activities of fear and denial but the austerity of completeness, so utterly complete that it knew no corruption. There on the verandah, with Orion in the western sky, the fury of beauty wiped away the defences of time. Meditating there, beyond the limits of time, seeing the sky ablaze with stars and the earth silent, beauty is not the personal pursuit of pleasure, of things put together, of things known, or unknown images and visions of the brain with its thoughts and feelings. Beauty has nothing whatsoever to do with thought or sentiment or with the pleasurable feeling aroused by a concert or a picture or seeing a game of football; the pleasures of concert, poems, are perhaps more refined than football but they are all in the same field as the Mass or some puja in a temple. It is the beauty beyond time and beyond the aches and pleasures of thought. Thought and feeling dissipate energy and so beauty is never seen. Energy, with its intensity, is needed to see beauty - beauty that is beyond the eye of the beholder. When there is a seer, an observer, then there is no beauty.
There on the perfumed verandah, when dawn was still far away and the trees were still silent, what is essence is beauty. But this essence is not experienceable; experiencing must cease, for experience only strengthens the known. The known is never the essence. Meditation is never the further experiencing; it is not only the ending of experience, which is the response to challenge, great or small, but it is the opening of the door to essence, opening the door of a furnace whose fire utterly destroys, without leaving any ashes; there are no remains. We are the remains, the yes-sayers of many thousand yesterdays, a continuous series of endless memories of choice and despair. The Big Self and the little self are the pattern of existence and existence is thought and thought is existence, with never ending sorrow. In the flame of meditation thought ends and with it feeling, for neither is love. Without love, there is no essence; without it there are only ashes on which is based our existence. Out of the emptiness love is.
7th The owls started, very early this morning, calling to each other. At first they were in different parts of the valley; one was in the west and the other north; their hoots were very clear in the still air and carried very far. At first they were quite a distance from each other and gradually they came nearer and as they came, their hoots became hoarse, very deep, not so long drawn out, shorter and more insistent. As they came nearer they kept calling to each other more frequently; they must have been large birds, one couldn't see them, it was too dark even when they were in the same tree quite close and the tone and quality of their hoots changed, They were talking to each other at so profound a depth that they could hardly be heard. They were there for considerable time, until dawn came. Then slowly a series of noises began, a dog barked, somebody called, a firecracker went off - for the last two days there was some kind of festival - a door opened and as it became lighter all the noises of the day began.
To deny is essential. To deny today without knowing what tomorrow will bring is to keep awake. To deny the social, economic and religious pattern is to be alone, which is to be sensitive. Not to be able to deny totally is to be mediocre. Not to be able to deny ambition and all its ways is to accept the norm of existence which breeds conflict, confusion and sorrow. To deny the politician and so the politician in us, the response to the immediate, to live with short vision, is to be free from fear. Total denial is the negation of the positive, the imitative urge, conformity. But this denial itself is positive, for it is not a reaction. To deny the accepted standard of beauty, past or present, is to discover beauty which is beyond thought and feeling; but, to discover it, energy is necessary. This energy comes when there is no conflict, contradiction, and action is no longer partial.
8th Humility is the essence of all virtue. Humility is not to be cultivated, nor is virtue. The respectable morality of any society is mere adjustment to the pattern set by social, economic, religious environment, but such morality of changing adjustment is not virtue. Conformity and the imitative self-concern of security, called morality, is the denial of virtue. Order is never permanent; it has to be maintained every day, as a room has to be cleaned every day. Order has to be maintained from moment to moment, every day. This order is not personal, individual adjustment to the pattern of conditioned responses of like and dislike, pleasure and pain,. This order is not a means of escape from sorrow; the understanding of sorrow and the ending of sorrow is virtue, which brings about order. Order is not an end in itself; order, as an end in itself leads to the dead end of respectability, which is deterioration and decay. Learning is the very essence of humility, learning from everything and from everybody. There is no hierarchy in learning. Authority denies learning and a follower will never learn.
There was a single cloud, aflame with the light of the setting sun, behind the eastern hills; no fantasy could build such a cloud. It was the form of all forms; no architect could have designed such structure. It was the result of many winds, of many suns and nights, of pressure and strains. Other clouds were dark without light; they had no depth or height but this one shattered space. The hill, beyond which the cloud was, appeared emptied of life and strength; it had lost its usual dignity and its purity of line. The cloud had absorbed all the quality of hills, their might and silence. Below the towering cloud lay the valley, green and rain-washed; there is something very beautiful in this ancient valley when it has rained; it becomes spectacularly bright and green, green of every shade and the earth becomes more red. The air is clear and the big rocks on the hills are polished red, blue, grey and pale violet.
There were several people in the room, some sitting on the floor and some on chairs; there was the quietness of appreciation and enjoyment. A man was playing on an eight-stringed instrument. He was playing with his eyes closed, delighted as the little audience. It was pure sound and on that sound one rode, far and very deep; each sound carried one deeper. The quality of sound that instrument produced made the journey infinite; from the moment he touched it till the moment he stopped, it was the sound that mattered not the instrument, not the man, not the audience. It had the effect of shutting out all other sound, even the fireworks that the boys were setting off; you heard them crash and crack but it was part of the sound and the sound was everything - the cicadas that were singing, the boys laughing, the call of a small girl and the sound of silence. He must have played for over half an hour and during that entire period the journey, far and deep, continued; it was not a journey that is taken in imagination, on the wings of thought or in the frenzy of emotion. Such journeys are short, with some meaning or pleasure; this had no meaning and no pleasure. There was only sound and nothing else, no thought, no feeling. That sound carried one through and beyond the confines of time, and quietly it went on into great immense emptiness from which there was no return. What is returning always is memory, a thing that has been, but here there was no memory, no experience. Fact has no shadow, memory.
9th There wasn't a cloud in the sky as the sun went down behind the hills; the air was still and not a leaf moved. Everything seemed held tight, in the light of a cloudless sky. The reflection of the evening light on a little stretch of water by the roadside was full of ecstatic energy and a little wildflower, by the wayside, was all life. There is a hill that looks like one of those ancient and ageless temples; it was purple, darker than violet, intense and vastly unconcerned; it was alive with an inward light, without shadow, and every rock and bush was shouting with joy. A bullock cart with two oxen came along the road, carrying some hay; a boy was sitting on the hay and a man was driving the cart which made a lot of noise. They stood out clearly against the sky, especially the outlines of the boy's face; his nose and forehead were clean cut, gentle; it was the face that had no education and probably would never have; it was an unspoiled face, not yet used to hard work nor to any responsibility; it was a smiling face. The clear sky was reflected on it. Walking along that road, meditation seemed a most natural thing; there was a fervour and a clarity and the occasion suited the state. Thought is a waste of energy as also is feeling. Thought and feeling invite distraction and concentration becomes defensive self-absorption, like a child absorbed in his toy. The toy is fascinating and he is lost in it; remove it and he becomes restless. The same with the grown-ups; their toys are the many escapes. There on the road, thought, with its feeling had no power of absorption; it had no self-generating energy and so it came to an end. The brain became quiet, as the waters become quiet when there is no breeze. It was the stillness before creation takes place. And there on that hill, just close by, an owl started gently hooting but suddenly stopped and high up in the sky one of those brown eagles was crossing the valley. It is the quality of stillness that has significance; an induced stillness is stagnation; a stillness that is bought is a merchandise which has hardly any value; a stillness that is the outcome of control, discipline, suppression is clamorous with despair. There was not a sound in the valley nor in the mind, but the mind went beyond the valley and time. And there was no returning for it had not gone. Silence is the depth of emptiness.
At the bend of the road, the road gently goes down across a couple of bridges over dry red riverbeds, to the other side of the valley. The bullock cart had gone down that road; some villagers were coming up it, shy and noiseless; there were children playing in the riverbed and a bird kept on calling. Just as the road turned east, that otherness came. It came pouring down in great waves of benediction, splendid and immense. It seemed as though the heavens opened and out of this immensity came the unnameable; it had been there all day, one realized suddenly and only now, walking alone, with the others a little way off, did one realize the fact, and what made it extraordinary was this thing that was happening; it was the culmination of what had been going on and not an isolated incident. There was light, not of the setting sun nor powerful artificial light; this makes shadows but there was light without shadow and it was light.
10th A deep-throated owl was hooting in the hills; its deep voice penetrated the room and quickened hearing. Except for these hoots everything was still; there was not even the croak of a frog or the rustle of some passing animal. The silence intensified between the hoots which came from the southern hills; they filled the valley and the hills and the air throbbed with the call. It wasn't answered for a very long time and when it came, it was way down the valley to the west; between them, they held the silence and the beauty of the night. Dawn would come presently but now it was dark; you could see the outlines of the hill and that huge banyan tree. The Pleiades and Orion were setting in a clear, cloudless sky; the air was fresh by a short shower of rain; it had a perfume that comes of old trees, rain, flowers and very ancient hills. It was really a marvellous morning. What was outside was taking place inside and meditation is really a movement of both, undivided. The many systems of meditation merely trap the mind in a pattern offering marvellous escapes and sensations; it is only the immature that play with them, getting a great deal of satisfaction from them. Without self-knowing all meditation leads to delusion and to varying forms of self-deception, factual and fancied. It was a movement of intense energy, that energy which conflict will never know. Conflict perverts and dissipates energy, as ideals and conformity do. Thought was gone and with it feeling but the brain was alive and fully sensitive. Every movement, action with a motive is inaction; it is this inaction that corrupts energy. Love with motive ceases to be love; there is love without motive. The body was completely motionless and the brain utterly still and both were actually aware of everything but there was neither thought nor motion. It was not a form of hypnosis, an induced state because there was nothing to be gained by it, no visions, sensations, all that silly business. It was a fact and a fact has no pleasure or pain. And the movement was lost to all recognition, to the known.
Dawn was coming and with it came the otherness which is essentially part of meditation. A dog barked and the day had begun.
11th There are only facts, not greater or lesser facts. The fact, the what is, cannot be understood when approached with opinions or judgments; opinions, judgments, then become the fact and not the fact that you wish to understand. In pursuing the fact, in watching the fact, the what is, the fact teaches and its teaching is never mechanical, and to follow its teachings, the listening, the observation must be acute; this attention is denied if there is motive for listening. Motive dissipates energy, distorts it; action with a motive is inaction, leading to confusion and sorrow. Sorrow has been put together by thought and thought feeding upon itself forms the I and the me. As a machine has life, so does the I and the me, a life which is fed by thought and feeling. Fact destroys this machinery.
Belief is so unnecessary, as are ideals. Both dissipate energy which is needed to follow the unfolding of the fact, the what is. Beliefs like ideals are escapes from the fact and in escape there is no end to sorrow. The ending of sorrow is the understanding of the fact from moment to moment. There is no system or method which will give understanding but only a choiceless awareness of a fact. Meditation according to a system is the avoidance of the fact of what you are; it is far more important to understand yourself, the constant changing of the facts about yourself, than to meditate in order to find god, have visions, sensations and other forms of entertainment.
A crow was cawing its head off; it was sitting on the branch with thick foliage. It wasn't visible; other crows came and went but it went on hardly stopping its sharp, penetrating croak; it was angry with something or complaining about something. The leaves shook around it and even the few drops of rain didn't stop it. It was so completely absorbed in whatever it was that was disturbing it. It came out, shook itself and flew away, only to resume its biting complaint; presently, it got tired and rested. And from the same crow, in the same place came a different caw, subdued, somewhat friendly and inviting. There were other birds on the tree, the Indian cuckoo, a bright yellow bird with black wings, a silvery grey fat bird, one of many who was scratching at the foot of the tree. One of those small striped squirrels came along and went up the tree. They were all there in that tree but the crow's call was the loudest and most persistent. The sun came out of the clouds and the tree cast a heavy shadow and across the small, narrow dip in the land came the sounds of a flute, strangely moving.
12th It had been cloudy all day, heavy dark clouds but they brought no rain and if it didn't rain heavily and for many hours, the people would suffer, the land would be empty and there would be no voices in the riverbed; the sun would bake the land, the green of these few weeks would disappear, the earth would be bare. It would be a disaster and all the villages around here would suffer; they were used to suffering, to deprivation, to go with little food. Rain was a blessing and if it didn't rain now there would be no rain for the next six months and the soil was poor, sandy, rocky. The rice fields would be watered from the wells and there would be the danger that they too might go dry. Existence was hard, brutal, with little pleasure. The hills were indifferent; they had seen sorrow from generation to generation; they had seen all the varieties of misery, the coming and the going for they were some of the most ancient hills in the world, and they knew and they couldn't do much. People cut down their forests, their trees for firewood and the goats destroyed their bushes and the people had to live. And they were indifferent; sorrow would never touch them; they were aloof, and though they were so close, they were far away. They were blue that morning and some were violet and grey in their greenness. They could offer no help though they were strong and beautiful with the sense of peace that comes, so naturally and easily, without deep inward intensity, complete and without roots, But there would be neither peace nor plenty if the rains didn't come. It is a terrible thing to depend for one's happiness on rain, and the rivers and irrigation canals were far away and government was busy with its politics and schemes. Water that is so alive with light and that dances tirelessly was needed, not words and hope.
It was drizzling and low on the hill was a rainbow, so delicate and fanciful; it circled just over the trees and across the northern hills. It didn't stay long for the drizzle was a passing thing but it had left so many drops on the mimosa-like leaves of the spreading tree close by. On these leaves, three crows were taking a bath, fluttering their black-grey wings to get the drops on the underpart of their wings and their bodies; they called to each other and there was pleasure in their caw; when there were no more drops, they moved to another part of the tree. Their bright eyes looked at you and their really black beaks were sharp; there is a little water running in one of the river beds close by and there is a leaky tap which forms a decent pool for birds; they were there often but these three crows must have taken a fancy to having their morning bath among the cool, refreshing leaves. It is a wide-spreading tree, beautiful in shape and many birds come to take shelter at noonday. There is always some bird in it, calling or chattering away or scolding. The trees are beautiful in life and in death; they live and have never thought of death; they are always renewing themselves.
How easy it is to degenerate, in every way, to let the body waste, become sluggish, fat; to allow feelings to wither away; the mind allowing itself to become shallow, petty and dull. A clever mind is a shallow mind and it cannot renew itself and so withers away in its own bitterness; it decays by the exercise of its own brittle sharpness, by its own thought. Every thought shapes the mind in the mould of the known; every feeling, every emotion, however refined becomes wasteful and empty and the body fed on thought and feeling loses its sensibility. It is not physical energy, though it is necessary, that breaks through the wearying dullness; it is not enthusiasm or sentiment which bring about sensitivity of one's whole being; enthusiasm and sentiment corrupt. It is thought which is the disintegrating factor; for thought has its roots in the known. A life based on thought and its activities, becomes mechanical; however smoothly it may run, it is still mechanical action. Action with motive dissipates energy and so disintegration sets in. All motives, conscious or unconscious, generate from the known, life of the known, though projected into the future as the known, is decay; in that life there is no renewal. Thought can never bring about innocency and humility and yet it is innocency and humility that keep the mind young, sensitive, incorruptible. Freedom from the known is the ending of thought; to die to thought, from moment to moment, is to be free from the known. it is this death that puts an end to decay.
13th There is a huge boulder which projects itself from the southern hills; it changes its colour from hour to hour, it is red, highly polished marble of deep rose, a dull brick red, a rain-washed, sunburnt terra cotta, a grey of mossy green, a flower of many hues and sometimes it seems just a block of rock without any life. It is all these things, and this morning, just as dawn was making the clouds grey, this rock was a fire, a flame among the green bushes; it is moody as a spoiled person but its moods are never dark, threatening; it has always colour, flamboyant or quiet, shouting or smiling, welcoming or withdrawn. It might be one of the gods that is worshipped but it is still a rock of colour and dignity. All these hills seem to have something special to each one of them, none of them is too high, they are hard in a hard climate, they seem to be sculptured and exploding. They seem to go with the valley, not too large, far away from towns and traffic, green when it rains and arid; the beauty of the valley is the trees in the green rice fields. Some of the trees are massive, big of trunk and branch and they are splendid in their shape; others are waiting, expectantly, for the rain, stunted but slowly growing; others are full of leaves and shade. There are not too many of them but these that survive are really quite beautiful. The earth is red and the trees are green and the bushes very close to the red earth. They all survive in the rainless, harsh sunny days of many months and when it does rain, their rejoicings shatter the quietness of the valley; every tree and every bush is shouting with life and the green leaf is quite incredible; the hills too join and the whole earth becomes the glory that is.
There was not a sound in the valley; it was dark and there wasn't a leaf moving; dawn would come in an hour or so. meditation is not self-hypnosis, by words or thought, by repetition or image; all imagination of every kind must be put aside for they lead to delusion. The understanding of facts and not theories, not the pursuits of conclusions and adjustments to them and the ambitions of visions. All these must be set aside and meditation is the understanding of these facts and so going beyond them. Self-knowing is the beginning of meditation; otherwise so-called meditation leads to every form of immaturity and silliness. It was early and the valley was asleep. On waking, meditation was the continuation of what had been going on; the body was without a movement; it was not made to be quiet but it was quiet; there was no thought but the brain was watchful, without any sensation; neither feeling nor thought existed. And a timeless movement began. Word is time, indicating space; word is of the past or the future but the active present has no word. The dead can be put into words but the living cannot. Every word used to communicate about the living is the denial of the living. It was a movement that passed through and between the walls of the brain but the brain had no contact with it; it was incapable of pursuit or of recognition. This movement was something that was not born out of the known; the brain could follow the known as it could recognize it but here no recognition, of any kind, was possible. A movement has direction but this had no direction; it was not static. Because it was without direction, it was the essence of action. All direction is of influence or of reaction. But action which is not the outcome of reaction, push, or pull, is total energy. This energy, love, has its own movement. But the word love, the known, is not love. There is only the fact, the freedom from the known. Meditation was the explosion of the fact.
Our problems multiply and continue; the continuation of a problem perverts and corrupts the mind. A problem is a conflict, an issue which has not been understood; such problems become scars and innocency is destroyed. Every conflict has to be understood and so ended. One of the factors of deterioration is the continued life of a problem; every problem breeds another problem, and a mind burnt with problems, personal or collective, social or economic, is in a state of deterioration.
14th Sensitivity and sensation are two different things. Sensations, emotions, feelings always leave a residue, whose accumulation dulls and distorts. Sensations are always contradictory and so conflicting; conflict always dulls the mind, perverts perception. The appreciation of beauty in terms of sensation, of like and dislike, is not to perceive beauty; sensation can only divide as beauty and ugliness but division is not beauty. Because sensations, feeings, breed conflict, to avoid conflict, discipline, control, suppression, have been advocated but this only builds resistance and so increases conflict and brings about greater dullness and insensitivity. The saintly control and suppression is the saintly insensitivity and brutal dullness which is so highly regarded. To make the mind more stupid and dull, ideals and conclusions are invented and spread around. All forms of sensations, however refined or gross, cultivate resistance and a withering away. Sensitivity is the dying to every residue of sensation; to be sensitive, utterly and intensely, to a flower, to a person, to a smile, is to have no scar of memory, for every scar destroys sensitivity. To be aware of every sensation, feeling, thought as it arises, from moment to moment, choicelessly, is to be free from scars, never allowing a scar to be formed. Sensations, feelings, thoughts are always partial, fragmentary and destructive. Sensitivity is a total of body, mind and heart.
Knowledge is mechanical and functional; knowledge, capacity, used to acquire status, breeds conflict, antagonism, envy. The cook and the ruler are functions and when status is stolen by either, then begin the quarrels, snobbery and the worship of position, function and power. Power is always evil and it is this evil that corrupts society. The psychological importance of function breeds the hierarchy of status. To deny hierarchy is to deny status; there is hierarchy of function but not of status. Words are of little importance but fact is of immense significance. Fact never brings sorrow but words covering the fact and escapes from it, do breed untold conflict and misery.
A whole group of cattle were feeding on the green land; they were all brown of different shades and when they moved together it was as though the earth moved. They are quite big, indolent and pestered by flies; these are specially cared for, well fed, unlike the village cattle; those are bone-thin small, yielding very little, rather smelly and seem to be everlastingly hungry. There is always some boy or a little girl with them, shouting at them, talking to them, calling them. Everywhere life is hard, there is disease and death. There is an old woman who goes by every day, carrying a little pot of milk or food of some kind; she seems to be shy, without teeth; her clothes are dirty and there is misery on her face; occasionally she smiles but it is rather forced. She is from the village nearby and always barefooted; they are surprisingly small feet and hard but there is fire in her; she is a wiry old lady. Her gentle walk is not at all gentle. Everywhere there is misery and a forced smile. The gods have gone except in the temples and the powerful of the land never have eyes for that woman. But it rained, a long and heavy shower and the clouds hold the hills. The trees follow the clouds and the hills were pursuing them and man is left behind.
15th It was dawn; the hills were in clouds and every bird was singing, calling, screeching, a cow was bellowing and a dog howled. It was a pleasant morning, the light was soft and the sun was behind the hills and clouds. And a flute was being played under the old, big banyan tree; it was accompanied by a small drum. The flute dominated the drum and filled the air; by its very soft, gentle notes, it seemed to penetrate into your very being; you listened to it though other sounds were coming to you; the varying throbs of the little drum came to you on the waves of the flute and the harsh call of the crow came with the drum. Every sound penetrates, some you resist and others you welcome, the unpleasant and the pleasant and so you lose. The voice of the crow came with the drum and the drum rode on the delicate note of the flute and so the whole sound was able to go deeply beyond all resistance and pleasure. And in that there was great beauty, not the beauty which thought and feeling know. And on that sound rode the exploding meditation; and in that meditation, the flute, the throbbing drum, the harsh caw of the crow and all the things of the earth joined in and thereby gave depth and vastness to the explosion. Explosion is destructive and destruction is the earth and life, as love is. That note of the flute is explosive, if you let it be, but you won't for you want a safe, secure life and so life becomes a dull affair; having made it dull, then you try to give significance, purpose to the ugliness, with its trivial beauty. And so music is something to be enjoyed, arousing a lot of feeling, as football or some religious ritual does. Feeling, emotion, is wasteful and so easily turned to hate. But love is not sensation, a thing captured by feeling. Listening completely, without resistance, without any barrier is the miracle of explosion, shattering the known, and to listen to that explosion, with- out motive, without direction is to enter where thought, time, cannot pursue.
The valley is probably about a mile wide at its narrowest point, where the hills come together and they run east and west, though one or two hills prevent the others from running freely; they are to the west; where the sun comes from is open, hill after hill. These hills fade into the horizon with precision and height; they seem to have that strange quality of blue-violet that comes with vast age and hot sun. In the evening these hills catch the light of the setting sun and then they become utterly unreal, marvellous in their colour; then the eastern sky has all the colour of the setting sun, you might think that the sun went down there. It was an evening of light pink and dark clouds. The moment one stepped out of the house, talking with another of quite different things, that otherness, that unknowable, was there. It was so unexpected, for one was in the midst of a serious conversation and it was there with such urgency. All talk came to an end, very easily and naturally. The other did not notice the change in the quality of the atmosphere and went on saying something which needed no reply. We walked that whole mile almost without a word and we walked with it, under it, in it. It is wholly the unknown, though it comes and goes; all recognition has stopped for recognition is still the way of the known. Each time there is "greater" beauty and intensity and impenetrable strength. This is the nature of love too.
16th It was a very quiet evening, the clouds had gone and were gathering around the setting sun. The trees made restless by the breeze were settling down for the night; they too had become quiet; the birds were coming in, taking shelter for the night among the trees that had thick foliage. There were two small owls, sitting high up on the wires, with their unblinking eyes, staring. And as usual, the hills stood alone and aloof far away from every kind of disturbance; during the day they had to put up with the noises of the valley but now they withdrew from all communication, and darkness was closing in upon them, though there was the feeble light of the moon. The moon had a halo of vaporous clouds round it; everything was preparing to go to sleep save the hills. They never slept; they were always watching, waiting, looking and communing amongst themselves, endlessly. Those two little owls on the wire made rattling noises, stones in a metal box; their rattling was far louder than their little bodies, like large fists; you would hear them in the night, going from tree to tree, their flight as silent as the big ones. They flew off the wire flying low, just above the bushes, rising again to the lower branches of the tree, and from a safe distance they would watch and soon lose interest. On the crooked pole further down was a large owl; it was brown with enormous eyes and with a sharp beak that seemed to come out between those staring eyes. It flew off with a few beats of its wings, with such a quietness and deliberation that it made you wonder at the structure and the strength of those graceful wings; it flew off into the hills and lost itself in darkness. This must be the owl, with its mate that has the deep hoot, calling to the other in the night; last night they must have gone into the other valleys beyond the hills; they would come back, for their home was in one of those northern hills where you could hear their early evening calls if you happened to pass by quietly. Beyond these hills were more fertile lands, with green, luscious rice fields.
Questioning has become merely a revolt, a reaction to what is and all reactions have little meaning. The communists revolt against the capitalists, the son against the father; the refusal to accept the social norm, to break through the economic and class bondage. Perhaps, these revolts are necessary but yet they are not very deep; instead of the old, a new pattern is repeated and in the very breaking of the old a new one is, closing in the mind and so destroying it, The endless revolt within the prison is the questioning reaction of the immediate, and remodelling and redecorating the prison walls seems to give us such intense satisfaction that we never break through the walls. The questioning discontent is within the walls, which doesn't get us very far; it would take you to the moon and to the neutron bombs but all this is still within the call of sorrow. But the questioning of the structure of sorrow and going beyond it is not the escape of reaction. This questioning is far more urgent than going to the moon or to the temple; it is this questioning that tears down the structure and not the building of a new and more expensive prison, with its gods and saviours, with its economists and leaders. This questioning destroys the machinery of thought and not the substitution of one by another thought, conclusion, theory. This questioning shatters authority, the authority of experience, word and the most respected evil power. This questioning, which is not born of reaction, of choice and motive, explodes the moral, respectable self-centred activity; it is this activity that is always being reformed and never smashed. This endless reformation is the endless sorrow. What has cause and motive inevitably breeds agony and despair.
We are afraid of this total destruction of the known, the ground of the self, the me and the mine; the known is better than the unknown, the known with its confusion, conflict and misery; freedom from this known may destroy what we call love, relationship, joy and so on. Freedom from the known, the explosive questioning, not of reaction, ends sorrow, and so love then is something that thought and feeling cannot measure.
Our life is so shallow and empty, petty thoughts and petty activities, woven in conflict and misery and always journeying from the known to the known, psychologically demanding security. There is no security in the known however much one may want it. Security is time and there is no psychological time; it is a myth and an illusion, breeding fear. There is nothing permanent now or in the hereafter, in the future. By right questioning and listening, the pattern moulded by thought and feeling, the pattern of the known, is shattered. Self-knowing, knowing the ways of thought and feeling, listening to every movement of thought and feeling, ends the known. The known breeds sorrow, and love is the freedom from the known.
17th The earth was the colour of the sky; the hills, the green, ripening rice fields, the trees and the dry, sandy riverbed were the colour of the sky; every rock on the hills, the big boulders, were the clouds and they were the rocks. Heaven was the earth and the earth heaven; the setting sun had transformed everything. The sky was blazing fire, bursting in every streak of cloud, in every stone, in every blade of grass, in every grain of sand. The sky was ablaze with green, purple, violet, indigo, with the fury of flame. Over that hill it was a vast sweep of purple and gold; over the southern hills a burning delicate green and fading blues; to the east there was a counter sunset as splendid in cardinal red and burnt ochre, magenta and fading violet. The counter sunset was exploding in splendour as in the west; a few clouds had gathered themselves around the setting sun and they were pure, smokeless fire which would never die. The vastness of this fire and its intensity penetrated everything and entered the earth. The earth was the heavens and the heavens the earth. And everything was alive and bursting with colour and colour was god, not the god of man. The hills became transparent, every rock and boulder was without weight, floating in colour and the distant hills were blue, the blue of all the seas and the sky of every clime. The ripening rice fields were intense pink and green, a stretch of immediate attention. And the road that crossed the valley was purple and white, so alive that it was one of the rays that raced across the sky. You were of that light, burning, furious, exploding, without shadow, without root and word. And as the sun went further down, every colour became more violent, more intense and you were completely lost, past all recalling. It was an evening that had no memory.
Every thought and feeling must flower for them to live and die; flowering of everything in you, the ambition, the greed, the hate, the joy, the passion; in the flowering there is their death and freedom. It is only in freedom that anything can flourish, not in suppression, in control and discipline; these only pervert, corrupt. Flowering and freedom is goodness and all virtue. To allow envy to flower is not easy; it is condemned or cherished but never given freedom. It is only in freedom the fact of envy reveals its colour, its shape, its depth, its peculiarities; if suppressed it will not reveal itself fully and freely. When it has shown itself completely, there is an ending of it only to reveal another fact, emptiness, loneliness, fear, and as each fact is allowed to flower, in freedom, in its entirety, the conflict between the observer and the observed ceases; there is no longer the censor but only observation, only seeing. Freedom can only be in completion not in repetition, suppression, obedience to a pattern of thought. There is completion only in flowering and dying; there is no flowering if there is no ending. What has continuity is thought in time. The flowering of thought is the ending of thought; for only in death is there the new. The new cannot be if there is no freedom from the known. Thought, the old, cannot bring into being the new; it must die for the new to be. What flowers must come to an end.
20th It was very dark; the stars were brilliant in a cloudless sky and the mountain air was cool and fresh. The headlights caught the tall cacti and they were polished silver; the morning dew was upon them and they shone; the little plants were bright with the dew and the headlights made the green sparkle and flash with a green that was not of the day. Every tree was silent, mysterious and dreaming and unapproachable. Orion and the Pleiades were setting among the dark hills; even the owls were far away and silent; except for the noise of the car, the country was asleep; only the nightjars, with red sparkling eyes, caught by the headlights, sitting on the road, stared at us and flutteringly flew away. So early in the morning, the villages were asleep and the few people on the road had wrapped themselves up just showing their face; and were walking wearily from one village to another; they looked as though they had been walking all night; a few were huddled around a blaze, throwing long shadows across the road. A dog was scratching itself in the middle of the road; it wouldn't move and the car had to go around it. Then suddenly, the morning star showed itself; it was easily as large as a saucer, astonishingly bright and seemed to hold the east in sway. As it climbed, Mercury appeared, just below her, pale and overpowering. There was a slight glow and far away was the beginning of dawn. The road curved in and out, hardly ever straight and trees on either side of the road held it from wandering off into the fields. There were large stretches of water, to be used for irrigation purposes in the summer when water would be scarce. The birds were still asleep, except for one or two and as dawn came closer, they began to wake up, crows, vultures, pigeons and the innumerable small birds. We were climbing and went over a long wooded range; no wild animals crossed the road. And there were monkeys on the road now, a huge fellow, sitting under the large trunk of the tamarind; it never moved as we passed by though the others scampered off in every direction. There was a little one, it must have been a few days old, clinging to the belly of her mother who looked rather displeased with things. Dawn was yielding to day and the lorries that crashed by had turned off their lights. And now the villages were awake, people sweeping their front steps and throwing dirt in the middle of the road; many dogs still fast asleep right in the middle of the road; they seemed to prefer the very centre of the road; lorries went around them, cars and people. Women were carrying water from the well, with little children following them. The sun was getting hot and glary and the hills were harsh and there were fewer trees and we were leaving the mountains and going towards the sea in a flat, open country; the air was moist and hot and we were coming nearer the big, crowded, dirty city*** and the hills were far behind.
*** Madras. He went to stay in a house in seven acres of ground on the north bank of the Adyar River. This river flows into the Bay of Bengal, south of Madras.
The car was going fairly fast and it was a good place to meditate. To be free of the word and not to give too much importance to it; to see that the word is not the thing and the thing is never the word; not to get caught in the overtones of the word and yet use words with care and understanding; to be sensitive to words and not to be weighed down by them; to break through the verbal barrier and to consider the fact; to avoid the poison of words and feel the beauty of them; to put away all identification with words and to examine them, for words are a trap and a snare. They are the symbols and not the real. The screen of words acts as a shelter for the lazy, the thoughtless and the deceiving mind. Slavery to words is the beginning of inaction which may appear to be action and a mind caught in symbols cannot go far. Every word, thought, shapes the mind and without understanding every thought, mind becomes a slave to words and sorrow begins. Conclusions and explanations do not end sorrow.
Meditation is not a means to an end; there is no end, no arrival; it is a movement in time and out of time. Every system, method, binds thought to time but choiceless awareness of every thought and feeling, understanding their motives, their mechanism, allowing them to blossom is the beginning of meditation. When thought and feeling flourish and die, meditation is the movement beyond time. In this movement there is ecstasy; in complete emptiness there is love, and with love there is destruction and creation.