20th November to 17th December 1961
All existence is choice; only in aloneness there is no choice. Choice, in every form, is conflict. Contradiction is inevitable in choice; this contradiction, inner and outer breeds confusion and misery. To escape from this misery, gods, beliefs, nationalism, commitment to various patterns of activities become compulsive necessities. Having escaped, they become all important and escape is the way of illusion; then fear and anxiety set in. Despair and sorrow is the way of choice and there is no end to pain. Choice, selection, must always exist as long as there is the chooser, the accumulated memory of pain and pleasure, and every experience of choice only strengthens memory whose response becomes thought and feeling. Memory has only a partial significance, to respond mechanically; this response is choice. There is no freedom in choice. You choose according to the background you have been brought up in, according to your social, economic, religious conditioning. Choice invariably strengthens this conditioning; there is no escape from this conditioning, it only breeds more suffering.
There were a few clouds gathering around the sun; they were far down on the horizon and were afire. The palm trees were dark against the flaming sky; they stood in golden-green rice fields stretching far into the horizon. There was one all by itself, in a yellowing green of rice; it was not alone, though it looked rather forlorn and far away. A gentle breeze from the sea was blowing and a few clouds were chasing each other, faster than the breeze. The flames were dying and the moon strengthened the shadows. Everywhere there were shadows, quietly whispering to each other. The moon was just overhead and across the road the shadows deep and deceptive. A water snake might be crossing the road; quietly slithering across, pursuing a frog; there was water in the rice fields and frogs were croaking, almost rhythmically; in the long stretch of water beside the road, with their heads up, out of the water, they were chasing each other; they would go under and come up to disappear again. The water was bright silver, sparkling and warm to the touch and full of mysterious noises. Bullock carts went by, carrying firewood to the town; a cycle bell rang, a lorry with bright glaring lights screeched for room and the shadows remained motionless. It was a beautiful evening and there on that road so close to town, there was deep silence and not a sound disturbed it, not even the moon and the lorry. It was a silence that no thought, no word could touch, a silence that went with the frogs and the cycles, a silence that followed you; you walked in it, you breathed it, you saw it. It was not shy, it was there insisting and welcoming. It went beyond you into vast immensities and you could follow it if your thought and feeling were utterly quiet, forgetting themselves and losing themselves with the frogs in the water; they had no importance and could so easily lose themselves, to be picked up when they were wanted. It was an enchanting evening, full of clarity and fast-fading smile.
Choice is always breeding misery. Watch it and you will see it, lurking, demanding, insisting and begging, and before you know where you are you are caught in its net of inescapable duties, responsibilities and despairs. Watch it and you will be aware of the fact. Be aware of the fact; you cannot change the fact; you may cover it up, run away from it, but you cannot change it. It is there. If you will let it alone, not interfering with it with your opinions and hopes, fears and despairs, with your calculated and cunning judgements, it will flower and show all its intricacies, its subtle ways and there are many, its seeming importance and ethics, its hidden motives and fancies. If you will leave the fact alone, it will show you all these and more. But you must be choicelessly aware of it, walking softly. Then you will see that choice, having flowered, dies and there is freedom, not that you are free but there is freedom. You are the maker of choice; you have ceased to make choice. There is nothing to choose. Out of this choiceless state there flowers aloneness. Its death is never ending. It is always flowering and it is always new. Dying to the known is to be alone. All choice is in the field of the known; action in this field always breeds sorrow. There is the ending of sorrow in aloneness.
22nd* In the opening of masses of leaves was a pink flower of three petals; it was embedded in green and it too must have been surprised by its own beauty. It grew on a tall bush, struggling to survive among all that greenery; there was a huge tree towering over it and there were several other bushes, all fighting for life. There were many other flowers on this bush but this one among the leaves had no companion, it was all by itself and so more startling. There was a slight breeze among the leaves but it never got to this flower; it was motionless and alone and because it was alone, it had a strange beauty, like a single star when the sky is bare. And beyond the green leaves was a black trunk of the palm; it wasn't really black but it looked like the trunk of an elephant. And as you watched it, the black turned to a flowering pink; the evening sun was upon it and all the treetops were afire, motionless. The breeze had died down and patches of the setting sun were upon the leaves. A small bird was sitting on a branch, preening itself. It stopped to look around and presently flew off into the sun. We were sitting facing the musicians who were facing the setting sun; there were very few of us and the little drum was being played with remarkable skill and pleasure; it was really quite extraordinary what those fingers did. The player never looked at his hands; they seemed to have a life of their own, moving with great rapidity and firmness, striking the taut skin with precision; there was never hesitation. What the right hand did the left hand never knew for it was beating out a different rhythm but always in harmony. The player was quite young, grave with sparkling eyes; he had talent and was delighted to be playing to that small, appreciative audience. Then a stringed instrument joined in and the small drum followed. It was no longer alone.
* That morning he gave the first of eight talks in Madras, continuing until December 17th.
The sun had set and the few wandering clouds were turning pale rose; at this latitude there is no twilight and the moon, nearly full, was clear in a cloudless sky. Walking on that road, with the moonlight on the water and the croaking of many frogs, became a blessing. It is strange how far away the world is and into what great depth one has travelled. The telegraph poles, the buses, the bullock carts and the worn-out villagers were there beside you but you were far away, so deep that no thought could follow; every feeling stayed far away. You were walking, aware of everything that was happening around you, the darkening of the moon by masses of clouds, the warning of the cycle bell, but you were far away, not you but great, vast depth. This depth went on more profoundly within itself, past time and the limits of space. Memory couldn't follow it; memory is tethered, but this wasn't. It was total complete freedom, without root and direction. And deep, far from thought there was bursting energy which was ecstasy, a word that has pleasurable gratifying significance to thought but thought could never capture it or travel the spaceless distance to pursue it. Thought is a barren thing and could never follow or communicate with that which is timeless. The thundering bus, with its blinding lights, nearly pushed one off the road, into the dancing waters.
The essence of control is suppression. The pure seeing puts an end to every form of suppression; seeing is infinitely more subtle than mere control. Control is comparatively easy, it doesn't need much understanding; conformity to a pattern, obedience to established authority, fear of not doing the right thing, of tradition, the drive for success, these are the very things that bring about suppression of what is or the sublimation of what is. The pure act of seeing the fact, whatever the fact be, brings its own understanding and from this, mutation takes place.
25th The sun was behind the clouds and the flat lands stretched far into the horizon which was turning golden brown and red; there was a little canal over which the road went among the rice fields. They were golden yellow and green, spreading on both sides of the road, east and west to the sea and to the setting sun. There is something extraordinarily touching and beautiful to see palm trees, black against the burning sky, among the rice fields; it was not that the scene was romantic or sentimental or picture post-cardish; probably it was all this but there was an intensity and a sweeping dignity and delight in the earth itself and in the common things that one passed by every day. The canal, a long, narrow strip of water of melting fire, went north and south among the rice fields. silent and lonely; there was not much traffic on it; there were barges, crudely made, with square or triangular sails carrying firewood or sand and men sitting huddled together, looking very grave. The palm trees dominated the wide green earth; they were of every shape and size, independent and carefree, swept by the winds and burnt by the sun. The rice fields were ripening golden yellow and there were largish white birds among them; they were flying now into the sunset, their long legs stretched out behind, their wings lazily beating the air. Bullock carts, carrying casuarina firewood to the town, went by, a long line of them, creaking and the men walking and the load was heavy. It was none of these common sights that made the evening enchanting; they were all part of the fading evening, the noisy buses, the silent bicycles, the croaks of the frogs, the smell of the evening. There was a deep widening intensity, an imminent clarity of that otherness, with its impenetrable strength and purity. What was beautiful was now glorified in splendour; everything was clothed in it; there was ecstasy and laughter not only deeply within but among the palms and the rice fields. Love is not a common thing but it was there in the hut with an oil lamp; it was with that old woman, carrying something heavy on her head; with that naked boy, swinging on a piece of string a piece of wood which gave out many sparks for it was his fireworks. It was everywhere, so common that you could pick it up under a dead leaf or in that jasmine by the old crumbling house. But everyone was occupied; busy and lost. It was there filling your heart, your mind and the sky; it remained and would never leave you. Only you would have to die to everything, without roots, without a tear. Then it would come to you, if you were lucky and you forever ceased to run after it, begging, hoping, crying. Indifferent to it, but without sorrow, and thought left far behind. And it would be there, on that dusty, dark road.
The flowering of meditation is goodness. It is not a virtue to be gathered bit by bit, slowly in the space of time; it is not morality made respectable by society nor is it the sanction of authority. It is the beauty of meditation that gives perfume to its flowering. How can there be joy in meditation if it is the coaxing of desire and pain; how can it flower if you are seeking it through control, suppression and sacrifice; how can it blossom in the darkness of fear or in corrupting ambition and in the smell of success; how can it bloom in the shadow of hope and despair? You will have to leave all these far behind, without regret, easily, naturally. You see, meditation has not the strain of building defences, to resist and to wither; it is not fashioned out of a sustained practice of any system. All systems will inevitably shape thought to a pattern and conformity destroys the flowering of meditation. It blossoms only in freedom and the withering of that which is. Without freedom there is no self-knowing and without self-knowing there is no meditation. Thought is always petty and shallow however far it may wander in search of knowledge; acquiring expanding knowledge is not meditation. It flowers only in the freedom from the known and withers away in the known.
26th There is a palm tree, all by itself, in the middle of a rice field; it is no longer young, there are only a few palms. It is very tall and very straight; it has the quality of righteousness with the fuss and noise of respectability. It is there and it is alone. It has never known anything else and it would continue to be that way until it died or is destroyed. You suddenly came upon it at the turn of the road and you are startled to see it among the rich rice fields and flowing water; the water and the green fields were murmuring to each other which they always have been doing from ancient days and these gentle mutterings never reached the palm; it was alone with the high heaven and flashing clouds. It was by itself, complete and aloof and it would be nothing else. The water was sparkling in the evening light and away from the road towards the west was the palm tree and beyond it were more rice fields; before coming upon it you had to go through some noisy, dirty, dusty streets, full of children, goats and cattle; the buses raised clouds of dust which nobody seemed to mind and the mangy dogs crowded the road. The car turned off the main thoroughfare which went on, past many small houses and gardens, past rice fields. The car turned left, went through some pompous gates, and a little further on, there in the open, were deer, grazing. There must have been two or three dozen; some had tall heavy antlers and some of the young ones were already showing, sharply, what they would be; many of them were spotted white; they were nervous, flicking their large ears but they went on grazing. Many crossed the red road into the open and there were several more waiting among the bushes to see what was going to happen; the little car had stopped and presently all of them crossed over and joined the others. The evening was clear and the stars were coming out, bright and clear; the trees were withdrawing for the night and the impatient chattering of the birds had come to an end. The evening light was on the water.
In that evening light, along that narrow road, the intensity of delight increased and there was no cause for it. It had begun while watching a small jumping spider which jumped with astonishing rapidity on flies and held them fiercely; it had begun while watching a single leaf fluttering while the other leaves were still; it had begun while watching the small striped squirrel, scolding something or other, its long tail bobbing up and down. The delight had no cause, and joy that is a result is so trivial anyway and changes with the change. This strange, unexpected delight increased in its intensity and what is intense is never brutal; it has the quality of yielding but still it remains intense. It is not the intensity of all energy, concentrated; it is not brought about by thought pursuing an idea or occupied with itself; it is not a heightened feeling, for all these have motives and purposes. This intensity had no cause, no end, nor was it brought into being through concentration which really bars the awakening of the total energy. It increased without something being done about it; it was, as something outside of you, over which you had no control; you had no say in the matter. In the very increasing of intensity, there was gentleness. This word is spoilt; it indicates weakness, sloppiness, irresolution, uncertainty, a shy withdrawal, a certain fear and so on. But it was none of these things; it was vital and strong, without defences and so, intense. You couldn't cultivate it, if you wished; it didn't belong to the category of the strong and the weak. It was vulnerable as love is. The delight with its gentleness increased in intensity. There was nothing else but that. The coming and the going of people, the drive in the car and the talk, the deer and the palm tree, the stars and the rice fields were there, in their beauty and freshness, but they were all inside and outside this intensity. A flame has a form, a line, but inside the flame there is only intense heat without form and line.
27th The clouds were piling up to the south-west driven by a strong wind; they were magnificent, great billowing clouds, full of fury and space; they were white and dark grey, rain-bearing filling the sky. The old trees were angry with them and the wind. They wanted to be left alone, though they wanted rain; it would wash them again clean, wash away all the dust and their leaves would sparkle again but they didn't like being disturbed, like old people. The garden had so many flowers, so many colours and each flower was doing a dance, a skip and a jump and every leaf was astir; even the little blades of grass on the little lawn were being shaken. And two old, thin women were weeding it; two old women, old before their age, thin and worn out; they were squatting upon the lawn, chatting and weeding, leisurely; they weren't all there, they were somewhere else, carried away by their thoughts, though they were weeding and talking. They looked intelligent, their eyes sparkling, but perhaps too many children and lack of good food had made them old and weary. You became them, they were you and the grass and the clouds; it wasn't a verbal bridge over which you crossed out of pity or out of some vague, unfamiliar sentiment; you were not thinking at all, nor were your emotions stirred. They were you and you were they; distance and time had ceased. A car came with a chauffeur and he entered into that world. His shy smile and salute were those of yours and you were wondering at whom he was smiling and whom he was saluting; he was feeling a little awkward, not quite used to that feeling of being together. The women and the chauffeur were you and you were they; the barrier which they had built was gone and as the clouds overhead went by, it all seemed a part of a widening circle, including so many things, the filthy road and the splendid sky and the passer-by. It had nothing to do with thought, thought is such a sordid thing anyway and feeling was involved in no way. It was like a flame that burned its way through everything leaving no mark, no ashes; it wasn't an experience, with its memories, to be repeated. They were you and you were they and it died with the mind.
It is strange, the desire to show off or to be somebody. Envy is hate and vanity corrupts. It seems so impossibly difficult to be simple, to be what you are and not pretend. To be what you are is in itself very arduous without trying to become something, which is not too difficult. You can always pretend, put on a mask but to be what you are is an extremely complex affair; because you are always changing; you are never the same and each moment reveals a new facet, a new depth, a new surface. You can't be all this at one moment for each moment brings its own change. So if you are at all intelligent, you give up being anything. You think you are very sensitive and an incident, a fleeting thought, shows that you are not; you think you are clever, well-read, artistic, moral but turn round the corner, you find you are none of these things but that you are deeply ambitious, envious, insufficient, brutal and anxious. You are all these things turn by turn and you want something to be continuous, permanent, of course only that which is profitable, pleasurable. So you run after that and all the many other you's are clamouring to have their way, to have their fulfilment. So you became the battlefield and generally ambition, with all its pleasures and pain, gaining, with envy and fear. The word love is thrown in for respectability's sake and to hold the family together but you are caught in your own commitments and activities, isolated, clamouring for recognition and fame, you and your country, you and your party, you and your comforting god.
So to be what you are is an extremely arduous affair; if you are at all awake, you know all these things and the sorrow of it all. So you drown yourself in your work, in your belief, in your fantastic ideals and meditations. By then you have become old and ready for the grave, if you are not already dead inwardly. To put away all these things, with their contradictions and increasing sorrow, and be nothing is the most natural and intelligent thing to do. But before you can be nothing, you must have unearthed all these hidden things, exposing them and so understanding them. To understand these hidden urges and compulsions, you will have to be aware of them, without choice, as with death; then in the pure act of seeing, they will wither away and you will be without sorrow and so be as nothing. To be as nothing is not a negative state; the very denial of everything you have been is the most positive action, not the positive of reaction, which is inaction; it is this inaction which causes sorrow. This denial is freedom. This positive action gives energy, and mere ideas dissipate energy. Idea is time and living in time is disintegration, sorrow.
28th There was a large opening in the thick closely-planted casuarina grove beside a quiet road; towards the evening it was dark, deserted and the opening invited the heavens. Further down the road there was a thin-walled hut with palm leaves, woven together, for its roof; in the hut was a dim light, a wick burning in a saucer of oil, and two people, a man and a woman, were sitting on the floor, eating their evening meal, chatting loudly, with occasional laughter. Two men were coming through the rice fields on a narrow path dividing the fields and to hold water. They were talking volubly, carrying something on their heads. There was a group of villagers, laughing shrilly and explaining something to each other, with a great many gestures. A few days' old calf was being led by a woman, followed by the mother softly assuring the baby. A flock of white birds with long legs were flying north, their wings beating the air slowly and rhythmically. The sun had set in a clear sky and a rose-coloured ray shot across the sky, almost from horizon to horizon. It was a very quiet evening and the lights of the city were far away. It was that little opening in the casuarina grove that held the evening, and as one walked past it, one was aware of its extraordinary stillness; all the lights and glare of the day had been forgotten and the bustle of men coming and going. Now it was quiet, enclosed by dark trees and fast-fading light. It was not only quiet but there was joy in it, the joy of immense solitude and as one went by it, that ever-strange otherness came, like a wave, covering the heart and the mind in its beauty and its clarity. All time ceased, the next moment had no beginning. Out of emptiness only is there love.
Meditation is not a play of imagination. Every form of image, word, symbol must come to an end for the flowering of meditation. The mind must lose its slavery to words and their reaction. Thought is time, and symbol, however ancient and significant, must lose its grip on thought. Thought then has no continuity; it is then only from moment to moment and so loses its mechanical insistency; thought then does not shape the mind and enclose it within the frame of ideas and condition it to culture, to the society, in which it lives. Freedom is not from society but from idea; then relationship, society, does not condition the mind. The whole of consciousness is residual, changing, modifying, conforming, and mutation is only possible when time and idea have come to an end. The ending is not a conclusion, a word to be destroyed, an idea to be denied or accepted. It is to be understood through self-knowing; knowing is not learning; knowing is recognition and accumulation which prevents learning. Learning is from moment to moment, for the self, the me, is everchanging, never constant. Accumulation, knowledge, distorts and puts an end to learning. Gathering knowledge, however expanding its frontier, becomes mechanical and a mechanical mind is not a free mind. Self-knowing liberates the mind from the known; to live the entire life in the activity of the known breeds endless conflict and misery. Meditation is not personal achievement, a personal quest for reality; it becomes one when it is restricted by methods and systems and thereby deceptions and illusions are bred. Meditation frees the mind from the narrow, limited existence to the everexpanding, timeless life.
29th Without sensitivity there can be no affection; personal reaction does not indicate sensitivity; you may be sensitive about your family, about your achievement, about your status and capacity. This kind of sensitivity is a reaction, limited, narrow, and is deteriorating. Sensitivity is not good taste for good taste is personal and the freedom from personal reaction is the awareness of beauty. Without the appreciation of beauty and without the sensitive awareness of it, there is no love. This sensitive awareness of nature, of the river, of the sky, of the people, of the filthy road, is affection. The essence of affection is sensitivity. But most people are afraid of being sensitive; to them to be sensitive is to get hurt and so they harden themselves and so preserve their sorrow. Or they escape into every form of entertainment, the church, the temple, gossip and cinema and social reform. But being sensitive is not personal and when it is, it leads to misery. To break through this personal reaction is to love, and love is for the one and the many; it is not restricted to the one or to the many. To be sensitive, all the senses must be fully alive, active, and fear of being a slave to the senses is merely the avoidance of a natural fact. The awareness of the fact does not lead to slavery; it is the fear of the fact that leads to bondage. Thought is of the senses and thought makes for limitation but yet you are not afraid of thought. On the contrary, it is ennobled with respectability and enshrined with conceit. To be sensitively aware of thought, of feeling, of the world about you, of your office and of nature, is to explode from moment to moment in affection. Without affection, every action becomes burdensome and mechanical and leads to decay.
It was a rainy morning and the sky was heavy with clouds, dark and tumultuous; it began raining very early and you could hear it among the leaves. And there were so many birds on the little lawn, big and little ones, light grey, brown with yellow eyes, large black crows and little ones, smaller than sparrows; they were scratching, pulling, chattering, restless, complaining and pleased. It was drizzling and they didn't seem to mind but when it began to rain harder, they all flew off, complaining loudly. But the bushes and the large, old trees were rejoicing; their leaves were washed clean of the dust of many days. Drops of water were clinging to the ends of leaves; one drop would fall to the ground and another would form to fall; each drop was the rain, the river and the sea. And every drop was bright, sparkling; it was richer than all the diamonds and more lovely; it gathered to a drop, remained in its beauty and disappeared into the ground, leaving no mark. It was an endless procession and disappeared into the ground. It was an endless procession beyond time. It was raining now and the earth was filling itself for the hot days of many months. The sun was behind many clouds and the earth was taking rest from the heat. The road was very bad, full of deep potholes, filled with brown water; sometimes the little car went through them, sometimes dodged them but went on. There were pink flowers which crept up trees, along the barbed wire fences, growing wildly over bushes and the rain was among them, making their colours softer and more gentle; they were everywhere and would not be denied. The road went past a filthy village, with filthy shops and filthy restaurants and as it turned, there was a rice field, enclosed among the palm trees. They surrounded it, almost holding it to themselves, lest men should spoil it. The rice field followed the curving lines of the palms and beyond it were banana groves whose large, shining leaves were visible through the palms. That rice field was enchanted; it was so amazingly green, so rich and wondrous; it was incredible, it took your mind and heart away. You looked and you disappeared, never to be again the same. That colour was god, was music, was the love of the earth; the heavens came to the palms and covered the earth. But that rice field was the bliss of eternity. And the road went on to the sea; that sea was pale green, with enormous rolling waves crashing on a sandy beach; they were murderous waves and angry with the pent-up fury of many storms; the sea looked furiously calm and the waves showed its danger. There were no boats on the sea, those flimsy catamarans, so crudely put together by a piece of rope; all the fishermen were in those dark, palm-thatched huts on the sands, so close to the water. And the clouds came rolling along carried by winds that you couldn't feel. And it would rain again, with the pleasant laughter.
To the so-called religious to be sensitive is to sin, an evil reserved for the worldly; to the religious the beautiful is temptation, to be resisted; it's an evil distraction to be denied. Good works are not a substitute for love, and without love all activity leads to sorrow, noble or ignoble. The essence of affection is sensitivity and without it all worship is an escape from reality. To the monk, to the sannyasi, the senses are the way of pain, save thought which must be dedicated to the god of their conditioning. But thought is of the senses. It is thought that puts together time and it is thought that makes sensitivity sinful. To go beyond thought is virtue and that virtue is heightened sensitivity which is love. Love and there is no sin; love and do what you will and then there is no sorrow.
30th A country without a river is desolate. It is a small river, if it can be called a river, but it has a fairly large bridge of stone and brick; it is not too wide and the buses and cars have to go slowly and there are always people on foot and the inevitable bicycle. It pretends to be a river and during the rains it looks like a deep, full river but now when the rains are nearly over, it looks like a large sheet of water with a large island, with many bushes in the middle of it. It goes to the sea, due east, with a great deal of animation and joy. But now there is a wide sand-bar and so it waits for the next rainy reason. Cattle were fording on to the island and a few fishermen were trying to catch some fish; the fish were always small, about the size of a large finger and they smelt dreadful as they were being sold under the trees. And that evening, in the quiet waters, was a large heron, utterly frozen and still. It was the only bird on the river; in the evening crows and other birds would be flying across the river but there were none that evening, except for this single heron. You couldn't help seeing it; it was so white, motionless, with a sunlit sky. The yellow sun and the pale green sea were some distance and as the land went towards them, three large palm trees faced the river and the sea. The evening sun was upon them and the sea beyond, restless, dangerous and pleasantly blue. From the bridge, the sky seemed so vast, so close and unspoiled; it was far from the airport. But that evening, that single heron and the three palm trees were the whole earth, time past and present and life that had no past. Meditation became a flowering without roots and so a dying. Negation is a marvellous movement of life and the positive is only a reaction to life, a resistance. With resistance there is no death but only fear; fear breeds further fear and degeneration. Death is the flowering of the new; meditation is the dying of the known.
It is strange that one can never say, "I don't know". To really say it and feel it, there must be humility. But one never admits to the fact of never knowing; it is vanity that feeds the mind with knowledge. Vanity is a strange disease, ever hopeful and ever dejected. But to admit to not knowing is to stop the mechanical process of knowing. There are several ways of saying, "I don't know" - pretence and all its subtle and underhand methods, to impress, to gain importance and so on; the "I don't know" which is really marking time to find out and the "I don't know" which is not searching out to know; the former state never learns, it only gathers and so never learns, and the latter is always in a state of learning, without ever accumulating. There must be freedom to learn and so the mind can remain young and innocent; accumulating makes the mind decay, grow old and wither. Innocency is not the lack of experience but to be free of experience; this freedom is to die to every experience and not let it take root in the soil of the enriching brain. Life is not without experience but life is not when the soil is full of roots. But humility is not conscious clearing of the known; that is the vanity of achievement, but humility is that complete not knowing which is dying. Fear of death is only in knowing, not in not knowing. There is no fear of the unknown, only in the changing of the known, in the ending of the known.
But the habit of the word, the emotional content of the word, the hidden implications of the word, prevent the freedom from the word. Without this freedom you are a slave to words, to conclusions, to ideas. If you live on words, as so many do, the inward hunger is insatiable; it is forever ploughing and never sowing. Then you live in the world of unreality, of make-believe, of sorrow that has no meaning. A belief is a word, a conclusion of thought, made up of words and it is this that corrupts, spoiling the beauty of the mind. To destroy the word is to demolish the inward structure of security, which has no reality in any way. To be insecure, which is not the violent wrenching from security, leading to various forms of illness, but that insecurity which comes from the flowering of security, is humility and innocency whose strength the arrogant can never know.
December 1st, 1961 The road was muddy, deep rutted, full of people; it was outside the town and slowly a suburb was being built, but now it was incredibly dirty, full of holes, dogs, goats, wandering cattle, buses, cycles, cars and more people; shops were selling coloured drinks in bottles, shops that had cloth to sell, food, wood for fire, a bank, a cycle-repair shop, more food, goats and more people. There was still country on either side of the road, palm trees, rice fields, and great puddles of water. The sun was among the clouds behind the palm trees bursting with colour and vast shadows; the pools were ablaze and every bush and tree was amazed by the vastness of the sky. The goats were nibbling at their roots, women were washing their clothes at a tap, children went on playing; everywhere there was activity and nobody bothered to look at the sky or at those clouds, bearing colour; it was an evening that would soon disappear never to appear again and nobody seemed to care. The immediate was all important, the immediate that may extend into the future beyond sight. The long vision is the immediate vision. The bus came hurtling along, never giving an inch, sure of itself, everyone giving way, but the heavy buffalo stopped it; it was right in the middle, moving at its own heavy gait, never paying attention to the horn and the horn stopped in exasperation. At heart everyone is a politician, concerned with the immediate and trying to force all life into the immediate. And later on there would be sorrow, round the corner, but it could be avoided; there was the pill, the drink, the temple and the family of immediacies. You could end it all if you believed in something ardently or drowned yourself in work or committed yourself to some pattern of thought. But you have tried them all and your mind was as barren as your heart and you crossed to the other side of the road and got lost in the immediate. The clouds were now heavy in the sky and there was only a patch of colour where the sun had been. The road went on, past the palm trees, the casuarinas, rice fields, huts and on and on and suddenly as ever unexpectedly, that otherness came with that purity and strength which no thought or madness could possibly ever formulate and it was there and your heart seemed to explode into the empty heavens, with ecstasy. The brain was utterly still, motionless, but sensitive, watching. It could not follow into emptiness; it was of time but time had stopped and it could not experience; experience is recognition and what it recognized would be time. So it was motionless, merely quiescent, without asking, seeking. And this totality of love or what you will, word is not the thing, entered into everything and was lost. Everything had its space, its place, but this had none and so it cannot be found; do what you will you will not find it. It is not on the market nor in any temple; everything has to be destroyed, not a stone left unturned, no foundation to stand on, but even then this emptiness must be without a tear, then perhaps the unknowable might pass by. It was there and beauty.
All deliberate pattern of change is non-change; change has motive, purpose, direction and so it is merely a continuity, modified, of what has been. Such change is futile; it is like changing clothes on a doll but it remains, mechanical, lifeless, brittle, to be broken and thrown away. Death is the inevitable end of change; economic, social revolution is death in the pattern of change. It is not a revolution at all, it is a continuity, modified, of what has been. Mutation, total revolution, takes place only when change, the pattern of time, is seen as false and in its total abandonment mutation takes place.
2nd The sea was rough, with thunderous waves that came in from afar; nearby was a village built round a large, deep pond, a tank it is called, and a broken-down temple. The water of the tank was pale green and steps lead down to it, from all sides. The village was neglected, dirty and there were hardly any roads, and round about this tank were houses and on one side was the old temple in ruins and a comparatively new one, with red striped walls; the houses were dilapidated but that village had a familiar, friendly feeling about it. Beside the way that led to the sea a whole group of women were haggling over some fish at the top of their voices; everyone seemed so excited about everything; it was their evening entertainment for they were laughing too. And there were the sweepings of the road in a heap in the corner and the mangy village dogs were poking their noses into it and a shop close to it was selling drinks, things to eat, and a poor woman with a baby and torn rags was begging at the door of the shop. The cruel sea was close by, thundering away and the luscious green rice fields were beyond the village, peaceful, full of promise in the evening light. Clouds were coming across the sea, unhurriedly, with the sun upon them and everywhere there was activity and no one looked up at the sky. The dead fish, the noisy group, the green waters in that deep pond, the striped walls of the temple seemed to hold back the setting sun. If you walk on that road across the canal, beside the rice field and casuarina groves, every passer-by you know, they are friendly, they stop and talk to you, that you should come to live among them, that they would look after you, and the sky is darkening and the green of the rice fields is gone and the stars are very bright.
Walking on that road in the dark with the light of the city in the-clouds, that inviolable strength comes with such abundance and with such clarity that it took literally your breath away. All life was that strength. It wasn't the strength of carefully built-up will, nor the strength of many defences and resistances; it was not the strength of courage nor the strength of jealousy and death. It had no quality, no description could contain it and yet it was there as those dark distant hills and those trees beside the road. It was too immense for thought to bring it about or speculate upon. It was a strength that had no cause and so nothing could be added to or taken away from it. It cannot be known; it has no shape, form, and cannot be approached. Knowing is recognition but it is always new, something that cannot be measured in time. It had been there all day, uncertainly, without insistence like a whisper but now it was there with an urgency and with such abundance that there was nothing but that. Words have been spoilt and made common; the word love is on the market but that word had a totally different meaning, walking on that empty road. It came with that impenetrable strength; the two were inseparable, like the colour of a petal. The brain, the heart and the mind were totally consumed by it and there was nothing left but that. But yet the buses rattled by, the villagers were talking loudly and the Pleiades were just over the horizon. It continued, walking alone or walking with others, and it went on during the night until the morning came among the palm trees. But it is there like a whisper among the leaves.
What an extraordinary thing meditation is. If there is any kind of compulsion, effort to make thought conform, imitate, then it becomes a wearisome burden. The silence which is desired ceases to be illuminating; if it is the pursuit of visions and experiences, then it leads to illusions and self-hypnosis. Only in the flowering of thought and so ending thought does meditation have significance; thought can only flower in freedom not in everwidening patterns of knowledge. Knowledge may give newer experiences of greater sensation but a mind that is seeking experiences of any kind is immature. Maturity is the freedom from all experience; it is no longer under any influence to be and not to be. Maturity in meditation is the freeing of the mind from knowledge for it shapes and controls all experience. A mind which is a light to itself needs no experience. Immaturity is the craving for greater and wider experience. Meditation is the wandering through the world of knowledge and being free of it to enter into the unknown.
3rd They are quarrelling in that little hut, with an oil lamp, on that pleasant road; in a high-pitched, screechy voice she was screaming something about money, there wasn't enough left over with which to buy rice; he in a low, cowed tone was mumbling something. You could hear her voice quite far away and only the crowded bus drowned it. The palm trees were silent and even the feathery tops of the casuarinas had stopped their gentle movement. There was no moon and it was dark, the sun having set among the gathering clouds, some time ago. Buses and cars passed, so many of them, for they all had been to see an ancient temple by the sea and again the road became quiet, isolated and far away. The few villagers that passed talked quietly, worn out after a day's labour. That strange immensity was coming and it was there with incredible gentleness and affection; as a tender, new leaf in spring, so easily destroyed, it was there utterly vulnerable and so everlastingly indestructible. Every thought and feeling disappeared and recognition ceased.
It is strange how important money has become, both to the giver and to the receiver, to the man in power and to the poor. They talk everlastingly of money or avoid talking of money, as it is bad form but are conscious of money. Money to do good work, money for the party, money for the temple, and money to buy rice. If you have money you are miserable and if you haven't you are in misery too. They tell you what he is worth as they tell you his position and the degrees he has taken, his cleverness, his capacity and how much he is making. The envy of the rich and the envy of the poor, the competition to show off, knowledge, clothes and the brilliancy of conversation. Everyone wants to impress somebody, the larger the crowd the better. But money is more important than anything else except power. These two things are a marvellous combination; the saint has power, though he has no money; he is influencing the rich and poor. The politician will use the country, the saint, the gods that be, to come to the top and tell you the absurdity of ambition and the ruthlessness of power. There is no end to money and power; the more you have, the more you want and there is no end to it. But behind all money and power, there is sorrow which cannot be denied; you may put it aside, try to forget it but it is always there; you can't argue it away and it is always there, a deep wound that nothing seems to heal.
Nobody wants to be free of it, it is too complex to understand sorrow; it is all explained in the books, and the books, words, conclusions, become all important but sorrow is there still covered over with ideas. And escape becomes significant; escape is the essence of superficiality, though it may have varying depth. But sorrow is not easily cheated. You have to go into the very heart of it to end it; you have to dig very deep into yourself, never leaving a corner uncovered. You have to see every twist and turn of cunning thought, every feeling about everything, every move of every reaction, without restraint, without choice. It is like following a river to its source; the river will take you to it. You have to follow every threat, every clue to the heart of sorrow. You have only to watch, see, listen; it is all there open and clear. You have to take the journey, not to the moon, not to the gods but into yourself. You can take a swift step into yourself and so swiftly end sorrow or prolong the journey, idling, lazy and dispassionate. You need to have passion to end sorrow, and passion is not bought through escape. It is there when you stop escaping.
4th Under the trees it was very quiet; there were so many birds calling, singing, chattering, endlessly restless. The branches were huge, beautifully shaped, polished, smooth and it was quite startling to see them and they had a sweep and a grace that brought tears to the eyes and made you wonder at the things of the earth. The earth had nothing more beautiful than the tree and when it died it would still be beautiful; every branch naked, open to the sky, bleached by the sun and there would be birds resting upon its nakedness. There would be shelter for owls, there in that deep hollow, and the bright, screeching parrots would nest high up in the hole of that branch; woodpeckers would come, with their red-crested feathers sticking straight out of their heads, to drive in a few holes; of course there would be those striped squirrels, racing about the branches, ever complaining about something and always curious; right on the top-most branch, there would be a white and red eagle surveying the land with dignity and alone. There would be many ants, red and black, scurrying up the tree and others racing down and their bite would be quite painful. But now the tree was alive, marvellous, and there was plenty of shade and the blazing sun never touched you; you could sit there by the hour and see and listen to everything that was alive and dead, outside and inside. You cannot see and listen to the outside without wandering on to the inside. Really the outside is the inside and the inside is the outside and it is difficult, almost impossible to separate them. You look at this magnificent tree and you wonder who is watching whom and presently there is no watcher at all. Everything is so intensely alive and there is only life and the watcher is as dead as that leaf. There is no dividing line between the tree, the birds and that man sitting in the shade and the earth that is so abundant. Virtue is there without thought and so there is order; order is not permanent; it is there only from moment to moment and that immensity comes with the setting sun so casually, so freely welcoming. The birds have become silent for it is getting dark and everything is slowly becoming quiet ready for the night. The brain, that marvellous, sensitive, alive thing, is utterly still, only watching, listening without a moment of reaction, without recording, without experiencing, only seeing and listening. With that immensity, there is love and destruction and that destruction is unapproachable strength. These are all words, like that dead tree, a symbol of that which was and it never is. It has gone, moved away from the word; the word is dead which would never capture that sweeping nothingness. Only out of that immense emptiness is there love, with its innocency. How can the brain be aware of that love, the brain that is so active, crowded, burdened with knowledge, with experience? Everything must be denied for that to be.
Habit, however convenient, is destructive of sensitivity, habit gives the feeling of security and how can there be alertness, sensitivity, when habit is cultivated; not that insecurity brings alert awareness. How quickly everything becomes habit, sorrow as well as pleasure and then boredom sets in and that peculiar thing called leisure. After habit which has been working for forty years, then you have leisure or leisure at the end of the day. Habit had its turn and now it's the turn of leisure which again turns into habit. Without sensitivity there is no affection and that integrity which is not the driven reaction of contradictory existence. The machinery of habit is thought which is always seeking security, some comforting state from which it will never be disturbed. It is this search for the permanent that denies sensitivity. Being sensitive never hurts, only those things in which you have taken shelter cause pain. To be totally sensitive is to be wholly alive and that is love. But thought is very cunning; it will evade the pursuer, which is another thought; thought cannot pursue another thought. Only the flowering of thought can be seen, listened to, and what flowers in freedom comes to an end, dies without leaving a mark.
5th This cuckoo which had been calling from dawn was smaller than a crow, greyer, with long tail and brilliant red eyes; it was sitting on a small palm tree half hidden, calling in clear soft tones; its tail and head were showing and there on a small tree was its mate. It was smaller, more shy, more hidden; then the male flew to the female who came out onto an open branch; they stayed there, the male calling and presently they flew away. There were clouds in the sky and a soft breeze was playing among the leaves; the heavy palms were still, their time would come, later in the day, towards the evening to do their heavy dancing but now they were still, lethargic and indifferent. It must have rained during the night and the ground was wet and the sand was brittle; the garden was peaceful for the day had not yet begun; the heavy trees were somnolent and the little ones were all awake, and two squirrels were chasing each other playfully in and out of the branches. The clouds of early dawn were giving way to the clouds of day and the casuarinas were swaying.
Every act of meditation is never the same, there is a new breath, a new shattering; there is no pattern to be torn down for there is no building of another, a new habit covering the old. All habits, however recently acquired, are old; they are formed out of the old but meditation is not shattering the old for a new pattern. It was new and shattering; it was new, not in the field of the old; it had never entered into that ground; it was new as it had never known the old; it was shattering in itself; it was not breaking down something but it itself was destruction. It destroyed and so it was new and there was creation.
There is no toy in meditation which absorbs you or you absorb it. It is the destruction of all toys, visions, ideas, experience that goes to the making of meditation. You must lay the foundation for true meditation otherwise you will be caught in various forms of illusion. Meditation is purest negation, negation which is not the outcome of reaction. To deny and to remain with the denial in negation is action without motive, which is love.
6th There was a grey speckled bird, nearly as large as a crow; it wasn't a bit shy and it could be watched as long as one liked; it was eating berries, choosing very carefully, which were hanging down in heavy bunches, green and silver. Presently two other birds, nearly as large as the speckled one, came to hang on to other branches; they were the cuckoos of yesterday; there were no soft-throated calls this time, they were all eating busily. They generally are shy birds, these cuckoos, but they didn't seem to mind someone standing so close watching them, only a few feet away. Then the striped squirrel came to join them but all the three flew off and the squirrel set to and was eating away ravenously when a crow came cawing and this was too much for it and it raced away. The crow didn't eat any of the berries but probably didn't like others enjoying themselves. It was a cool morning and the sun was coming up slowly behind the thick trees; there were long shadows and the soft dew was still on the grass, and in the little pond there were two blue lilies with heart of gold; it was light golden in colour and the blue was the blue of spring skies and the pads were round, very green and a small frog was sitting on one of them, motionless, eyes staring. The two lilies were the delight of the whole garden, even the large trees looked down upon them without shadow; they were delicate, soft and quiet in their pond. When you looked at them, all reaction ceased, your thoughts and feelings faded away and only they remained, in their beauty and their quietness; they were intense, like every living thing is, except man who is so everlastingly occupied with himself. As you watched these two, the world was changed, not into some better social order, with less tyranny and more freedom or poverty eliminated, but there was no pain, no sorrow, the coming and going of anxiety and there was no toil of boredom; it was changed because those two were there, blue with golden hearts. It was the miracle of beauty.
That road was familiar with us all now, the villager, the long line of bullock carts with a man walking beside each one of them, fifteen or twenty of them in a long line, with the dogs, goats and the ripening rice fields, and that evening it was smilingly open and the skies were very close. It was dark and the road shone with the light of the sky and night was closing in. Meditation is not the way of effort; every effort contradicts, resists; effort and choice always breed conflict and meditation then only becomes an escape from fact, the what is. But on that road, meditation yielded to that otherness, utterly silencing the already quiet brain; the brain was merely a passage for that immeasurable; as a deep wide river between two steep banks, this strange otherness moved, without direction, without time.
7th Out of the window you could see a young palm tree and a tree full of large, pink-petalled flowers among the green leaves. The palm leaves were waving in every direction, heavily and clumsily and the flowers were motionless. Far away was the sea and you heard it all night, deep and penetrating; it never varied its heavy sound which kept rolling in; in it there was threat, restlessness and brutal force. With the dawn the roar of the sea faded and other noises took over, the birds, cars and the drum. Meditation was the fire that burned away all time and distance, achievement and experience. There was only vast, boundless emptiness but in it there was movement, creation. Thought cannot be creative; it can put things together, on a canvas, in words, in stone or in a marvellous rocket; thought, however polished, however subtle is within the boundaries of time; it can only cover space; it cannot go beyond itself. It cannot purify itself; it cannot pursue itself; it can only flower, if it does not block itself, and die. All feeling is sensation and experience is of it, and feeling with thought builds the boundaries of time.
9th From a long way you could hear the sea, thundering away, wave after wave, endlessly; these were not harmless waves; they were dangerous, furious, ruthless. The sea looked as though it was calm, dreaming, patient but the waves were huge, high and frightening. People were carried away, drowned and there was a strong current. The waves were never gentle, their high curves were magnificent, splendid to watch from a distance but there was brute force and cruelty. The catamarans, so flimsy, dark thin men on them, go through those waves, indifferent, careless, with never a thought of fear; they would go far out to the horizon and probably would come back late in the day, with their heavy catch. The waves that evening were particularly furious, high in their impatience and their crash on the shore was deafening; the shore stretched north and south, clean washed sand, yellowish, burnt by the sun. And the sun was not gentle either; it was always hot, burning and only in the early morning, just as it was coming up out of the sea or setting among the gathering clouds, was it mild, pleasant. The furious sea and the burning sun were torturing the land and the people were poor, thin, ever hungry; misery, was there, ever present and death was so easy, easier than birth, breeding indifference and decay. The well-to-do were indifferent too, dull, except in making money or seeking power or in building a bridge; they were very clever at this kind of thing, getting more and more - more knowledge, more capacity - but always losing and there is always death. It is so final, it cannot be deceived, no argument, however subtle and cunning, can ward it off; it is always there. You cannot build walls against it but you can against life; you can deceive it, run away from it, go to the temple, believe in saviours, go to the moon; you can do anything with life and sorrow is there and death. You can hide from sorrow but not from death. Even at that distance you could hear the waves thundering away and the palm trees were against the red evening sky. The pools and the canal were flashing with the setting sun.
Every kind of motive drives us, every action has a motive and so we have no love. Nor do we love what we are doing. We think we cannot act, be, live without a motive and so make our existence a dull trivial thing. We use function to acquire status; function is only a means to something else. Love for the thing itself doesn't exist and so everything becomes shoddy and relationship a dreaded affair. Attachment is only a means to cover up our own shallowness, loneliness, insufficiency; envy only breeds hate. Love has no motive and because there is no love, every kind of motive creeps in. To live without is not difficult; it requires integrity not conformity to ideas, beliefs. To have integrity is to be self-critically aware, aware of what one is from moment to moment.
10th It was a very young moon that seemed to be hanging between the palm trees; it wasn't there yesterday; it might have been hiding behind the clouds, shyly avoiding, for it was just a slip like a delicate golden curving line, and between the palm trees, dark and solemn, it was a miracle of delight. Clouds were gathering to hide her but she was there open, tender and so close. The palm trees were silent, austere, harsh and the rice fields were turning yellow with age. The evening was full of talk among the leaves and the sea was thundering some miles away. The villagers were unaware of the beauty of the evening; they were used to it; they accepted everything, their poverty, their hunger, the dust, the squalor and the gathering clouds. One gets used to anything, to sorrow and to happiness; if you didn't get used to things you would be more miserable, more disturbed. It is better to be insensitive, dull than to invite more trouble; die slowly, easier that way. You can find economic and psychological reasons for all this but the fact remains, with the well-to-do and with the poor, that it is simpler to get used to things, going to the office, factory, for the next thirty years, the boredom and the futility of it all; but one has to live, one has responsibility and so it is safer to get used to everything. We get used to love, to fear and to death. Habit becomes goodness and virtue and even escapes and gods. A habit-ridden mind is a shallow, dull-witted mind.
11th Dawn was slow in coming; the stars were still brilliant and the trees were still withdrawn; no bird was calling, not even the small owls that rattled through the night from tree to tree. It was strangely quiet except for the roar of the sea. There was that smell of many flowers, rotting leaves and damp ground; the air was very very still and the smell was everywhere. The earth was waiting for the dawn and the coming day; there was expectation, patience and a strange stillness. Meditation went on with that stillness and that stillness was love; it was not the love of something or of someone, the image and the symbol, the word and the pictures. It was simply love, without sentiment, without feeling. It was something complete in itself, naked, intense, without root and direction. The sound of that faraway bird was that love; it was the direction and distance, it was there without time and word. It wasn't an emotion, that fades and is cruel; the symbol, the word can be substituted but not the thing. Being naked, it was utterly vulnerable and so indestructible. It had that unapproachable strength of that otherness, the unknowable, which was coming through the trees and beyond the sea. Meditation was the sound of that bird calling out of that emptiness and the roar of the sea, thundering against the beach. Love can only be in utter emptiness. The greying dawn was there far away on the horizon and the dark trees were more dark and intense. In meditation there is no repetition, a continuity of habit; there is death of everything known and the flowering of the unknown. The stars had faded and the clouds were awake with the coming sun.
Experience destroys clarity and understanding. Experience is sensation, response to various kinds of stimuli, and every experience thickens the walls that enclose, however expanding and wide the experience. Accumulating knowledge is mechanical, all additive processes are, and are necessary for mechanical existence, but knowledge is time-binding. The craving for experience is endless as all sensation is. The cruelty of ambition is the furthering of experience, in sensation of power and the hardening in capacity. Experience cannot bring about humility which is the essence of virtue. In humility alone there is learning and learning is not the acquisition of knowledge.
A crow began the morning and every bird in the garden joined in and suddenly everything was awake and the breeze was among the leaves and there was splendour.
13th There was a long stretch of black clouds heavy with rain, from horizon to horizon, north, south, and white were the breakers; it was pouring in the north and slowly coming south, and from the bridge over the river there was a long white line of waves against the black horizon. Buses, cars, bicycles and naked feet were making their way across the bridge and rain was coming in a fury. The river was empty, as it generally is at that time and the water was as dark as the sky; there wasn't even that lovely heron and it was deserted. Across the bridge was part of the big town, crowded, noisy, dirty, pretentious, prosperous, and a little way further to the left were the mud huts, dilapidated buildings, small, unclean shops, a small factory and a crowded road, a cow lying right in the middle of it, the buses and cars going around it. There were streaks of bright red towards the west but they too were being covered up by the coming rain. Past beyond the police station, over a narrow bridge, is the road among the rice fields, going south, away from the noisy filthy town. Then it began to rain, heavy sharp downpour that made puddles in a second in the road and there was running water where there was dry land; it was a furious rain, an exploding rain that washed, cleansed, purified the earth. The villagers were soaked to the skin but they didn't seem to mind; they went on with their laughter and chatter, their naked feet in the puddles. The little hut with the oil lamp was leaking, the buses roared by, splattering everybody, and the cycles, with their feeble lamps, passed with a tinkle, into the heavy rain.
Everything was being washed clean, the past and the present, there was no time, no future. Every step was timeless, and thought, a thing of time, stopped; it could not go further or go back, it had no existence. And every drop of that furious rain was the river, the sea and the unmelting snow. There was total, complete emptiness and in it were creation, love and death, not separate. You had to watch your step, the buses passed almost touching you.
15th It was a beautiful evening; a few clouds had gathered around the setting sun; there were a few wandering clouds, heavy with burning colour and the young moon was caught among them. The roar of the sea came through the casuanina and the palm, softening the fury. The tall, straight palms were black against the bright, burning rose of the sky and a whole group of white water-birds were going north, group after group, their thin legs stretched out behind them, their wings moving slowly. And a long line of creaking bullock carts were making their way to the town, laden with the firewood, the felled casuarinas. The road was crowded for a while and became almost deserted as you went further on and as it got darker. Just as the sun sets, quietly there comes over the land a strange sense of peace, a gentleness, a cleansing. It is not a reaction; it is there in the town with all its noises, squalor, bustle and milling people; it is there in that little patch of neglected earth; it is there where that tree is with a coloured kite caught in it; it is there in that empty street, across the temple; it is everywhere, only one has to be empty of the day. And that evening, along that road, it was there, softly wooing you away from everything and everybody, and as it got darker, it became more intense and beautiful. The stars were among the palms and Orion was between them, coming out of the sea, and Pleiades was beyond their reach, already three-quarters of the journey done. The villagers were getting to know us, wanted to talk to us, sell us some land, so that we would be among them. And as the evening advanced that otherness descended with exploding bliss and the brain was as motionless as those trees, without a single leaf stirring. Everything became more intense, every colour, every shape and in that pale moonlight all the wayside puddles were the waters of life. Everything must go, be wiped away, not to receive it but the brain must be utterly still, sensitive, to watch, to see. Like a flood that covers the dry parched land it came full of delight and clarity and it stayed.
17th** It was long before dawn when the sharp cry of a bird woke up the night for an instant and the light of that cry faded away. And the trees remained dark, motionless, melting into the air; it was a soft quiet night, endlessly alive; it was awake, there was movement; there was a deep stirring with utter silence. Even the village next door, with its many dogs, always barking, was quiet. It was a strange stillness, terribly potent, destructively alive. It was so alive and still that you were afraid to move; so your body froze into immobility and the brain, which had awakened with that sharp cry of the bird, had become still, with heightened sensitivity. It was a brilliant night with the stars in a cloudless sky; they seemed so close and the Southern Cross was just over the trees, sparkling in the warm air. Everything was very quiet. Meditation is never in time; time cannot bring about mutation; it can bring about change which needs to be changed again, like all reforms; meditation that springs out of time is always binding, there is no freedom in it and without freedom there is always choice and conflict.
** The day of his last talk.
18th December 1961 to 20th January 1962
High up in the mountains, among the barren rocks with not a tree or bush, was a little stream, coming out of massive, unapproachable rock; it was hardly a stream, it was a trickle. As it came down it made a waterfall, just a murmur, and it came down, down to the valley, and it was already shouting of its strength, the long way it would go, through towns, valleys, woods and open spaces. It was going to be an irresistible river, sweeping over its banks, purifying itself as it went along, crashing over rocks, flowing into far places, endlessly flowing to the sea.* It wasn't getting to the sea that mattered, but being a river, so wide, so deep, rich and splendid; it would enter the sea and disappear into the vast, bottomless waters but the sea was far away, many a thousand miles, but from now until then it was life, beauty and ceaseless merriment; none could stop that, not even the factories and dams. It was really a marvellous river, wide, deep, with so many cities on its banks, so carelessly free and never abandoning itself. All life was there upon its banks, green fields, forests, solitary houses, death, love and destruction; there were long, wide bridges over it, graceful and well-used. Other streams and rivers joined it but she was the mother of all rivers, the little ones and the big ones. She was always full, ever purifying herself, and of an evening it was a blessing to watch her, with deepening colour in the clouds and her waters golden. But the little trickle so far away, amongst those gigantic rocks which seemed so concentrated in producing it, was the beginning of life and its ending was beyond its banks and the seas.
* He was now in Benares and was recalling the source of the Ganges which he had once visited. He stayed at Rajghat, just north of Benares, on the banks of the Ganges, where there is a Krishnamurti School. The Indians call Benares: Benaras or Varanasi.
Meditation was like that river, only it had no beginning and no ending; it began and its ending was its beginning. There was no cause and its movement was its renewal. It was always new, it never gathered to become old; it never got sullied for it had no roots in time. It is good to meditate, not forcing it, not making any effort, beginning with a trickle and going beyond time and space, where thought and feeling cannot enter, where experience is not.
19th It was a beautiful morning, fairly cool and dawn was far away still; the few trees and the bushes around the house seemed to have become a forest during the night and were hiding many serpents and wild animals and the moonlight with a thousand shadows deepened the impression; they were large trees, far above the house and they were all silent and waiting for dawn. And suddenly, through the trees and from beyond came a song, a religious song of devotion; the voice was rich and the singer was putting his heart into it and the song rode far into the moonlit night. As you listened to it, you rode on the wave of the sound and you were of it and beyond it, beyond thought and feeling. Then there was another sound of an instrument, very faint but clear.
26th The river is wide and splendid here; it is deep and as smooth as a lake, without a ripple. There are a few boats, mostly fishermen's and a large boat, with a torn sail, carrying sand to the town, beyond the bridge. What is really beautiful is the stretch of the water towards the east and the bank on the other side; the river looks like an enormous lake, full of untold beauty and space to match the sky; it is a flat country and the sky fills the earth and the horizon is beyond the trees, far far away. The trees are on the other bank, beyond the recently sown wheat; there are the green spreading fields and beyond them are the trees, with villages among them. The river rises very high during the rains and brings with it rich silt and the winter wheat is sown as the river goes down; it is a marvellous green, so rich and plentiful, and the long, wide bank is a carpet of enchanting green. From this side of the river the trees look like an impenetrable forest but there are villages tucked among them. But there is one tree, huge, its roots exposed, that is the glory of the bank; there is a little white temple under it but its gods are as the water that goes by and the tree remains; it has thick foliage with long-tailed leaves and birds come across the river for the night; it towers over the trees and you can see it as far as you care to walk on this side down the river. It has the presence of beauty, the dignity of that which is alone. But those villages are crowded small, filthy, and human beings foul the earth around them. From this side, the white walls of the villages among the trees look fresh, gentle and of great beauty. Beauty is not man-made; the things of man arouse feelings, sentiment, but these have nothing to do with beauty. Beauty can never be put together, neither the thing built, nor in the museum. One must go beyond all this, all personal taste and choice, be cleansed of all emotion for love is beauty. The river curves majestically as it flows east,** past villages, towns, and deep woods but here, just below the town and the bridge, the river and its opposite bank is the essence of all rivers and banks; every river has its own song, its own delight and mischief but here out of its very silence, it contains the earth and the heavens. It is a sacred river, as all rivers are, but again here, a part of the long, winding river, there is a gentleness of immense depth and destruction. Looking at it now, you would be enchanted by its mellow age and tranquillity. And you would lose all earth and heaven. In that quiet silence that strange otherness came and meditation lost its meaning. It was like a wave, coming from afar, gathering momentum as it came, crashing on the shore, sweeping everything before it. Only there was no time and distance; it was there with impenetrable strength, with destructive vitality and so the essence of beauty which is love. No imagination could possibly conjure up all this, no deep hidden impulse can ever project this immensity. Every thought and every feeling, every desire and compulsion was totally absent. It was not an experience; experience implies recognition, an accumulating centre, memory and a continuity. It was not an experience; only the immature crave for experience and thereby are caught in illusion; it was simply an event, a happening, a fact, like a sunset, like death and the curving river. Memory could not catch it in its net and keep it and thereby destroy it. Time and memory could not hold it nor thought pursue it. It was a flash in which all time and eternity were consumed, without leaving any ashes, memory. Meditation is the complete and total emptying of the mind, not in order to receive, to gain, to arrive, but a denudation without motive; it is really emptying the mind of the known, conscious and unconscious, of every experience, thought and feeling. Negation is the very essence of freedom; assertion and positive pursuit is bondage.
** Although Rajghat is north of Benares it is downstream, for the river curves north-east at this point before flowing south again.
30th Two crows were fighting, they were viciously angry with each other; there was fury in their voices, both were on the ground but one had the advantage driving its hard, black beak into the other. Shouting at them from the window did no good and one was going to be killed. A passing crow dived in suddenly breaking its flight, calling, cawing more loudly than the two on the ground; it landed beside them, beating its black, shiny wings against them. In a second, half a dozen more crows came, all cawing away furiously and several of them with their wings and beaks separated the two who were intent on killing each other. They might kill other birds, other things, but there was going to be no murder amongst their own kind and that would be the end of them all. The two still wanted to fight it out but the others were telling them off and presently they all flew away and there was quietness in the little open space among the trees by the river. It was late in the afternoon, the sun was behind the trees and the really bitter cold was gone and all the birds, all day were singing, calling and making all those pleasant sounds they do. Parrots were flying in crazily for the night; it was a bit early but they were coming in; the large tamarind tree could hold quite a lot of them; their colour was almost the colour of the leaves but their green was more intense, more alive; if you watched carefully you would see the difference and also you would see their brilliant curving be which they used to bite and to climb; they were rather clumsy among the branches, going from one to the other but they were the light of heavens in movement; their voices were harsh and sharp, and their flight never straight, but their colour was the spring of the earth. Earlier, in the morning, on a branch of that tree, two small owls were sunning themselves, facing the rising sun; they were so still you would not have noticed them, they were the colour of the branch, mottled grey, unless by chance, you saw them coming out of their hole in the tamarind tree. It had been bitterly cold, most unusual, and two golden green flycatchers dropped dead that morning from the cold; one was the male and the other female, they must have been mates; they died on the game instant and they were still soft to the touch. They were really golden green, with long, curving bills; they were so delicate, so extraordinarily alive still. Colour is very strange; colour is god and those two were the glory of light; the colour would remain, though the machinery of life had come to an end. Colour was more enduring than the heart; it was beyond time and sorrow.
But thought can never solve the ache of sorrow. You can reason in and out but it would be there still after the long, complicated journey of thought. Thought can never resolve human problems; thought is mechanical and sorrow is not, Sorrow is as strange as love, but sorrow keeps away love. You can resolve sorrow completely but you cannot invite love. Sorrow is self-pity with all its anxieties, fears, guilt but all this cannot be washed away by thought. Thought breeds the thinker and between them sorrow is begotten. The ending of sorrow is the freedom from the known.
31st There were many fishing boats as the sun was deep in the west and the river suddenly was awake with laughter and loud talk; there were twenty-three of them and each boat held two or three men. The river is wide here and these few boats seemed to have taken charge of the waters; they were racing, shouting, calling to each other in excited voices, like children at play; they were very poor people, in dirty rags but just now they had no cares and loud talk and laughter filled the air. The river was sparkling and the slight breeze made patterns on the water. The crows were beginning now to fly back from across the river to their accustomed trees; the swallows were flying low, almost touching the water.
January 1st, 1962*** A winding stream makes its way to the wide river; it comes through a dirty part of the town made filthy by everything imaginable and comes to the river almost exhausted; near where it meets the big one, there is a rickety bridge over it made up of bamboos, pieces of rope, and straw; when it is almost collapsing, they put a pole in the soft bed of the stream and more straw and mud and tie it up with not too thick a rope and the rope has many knots. The whole thing is a ramshackle affair; it must have been fairly straight once but now it dips almost touching the lazy stream and as you walk across it, you hear the mud and the straw dropping into the water. But somehow it must be fairly strong; it is a narrow bridge; it is rather difficult to avoid touching another coming the other way. Bicycles loaded with milk cans, happily go across it, without the least concern for themselves or for others; it is always busy with villagers going to town with their produce and coming back in the evening to their villages, worn out, carrying something or other, tongs, kites, oil, a piece of wood, a slab of rock, and things they can't pick up in their own village. They are dressed in rags, dirty, ill and endlessly patient, walking, in naked feet, endless miles; they have not the energy to revolt, to chase all the politicians out of the country but then they themselves would soon become politicians, exploiting, cunning, inventing ways and means to hold on to power, the evil that destroys the people. We were crossing that bridge with a huge buffalo, several cycles and the crossing villagers; it was ready to collapse but somehow we all got across it and the cumbersome animal didn't seem to mind at all. Going up the bank following the well-worn sandy path, past a village with an ancient well, you came into the open, flat country. There are mangoes and tamarinds and fields of winter wheat; it is a flat country stretching away mile upon mile till it meets far away, the foothills and the eternal mountains. The path is ancient, many thousand years and countless pilgrims have walked upon it, with ruined temples.**** As the path turns, you catch the sight of the river, between trees in the distance.
*** On this day he gave the first of seven talks at Rajghat.
**** The pilgrims' path runs-through the Rajghat estate, linking Kashi with Sarnath where the Buddha preached his first sermon after Enlightenment.
It was a lovely evening, cool, silent and the sky was immense, no tree, no land could contain it; somehow, there was no horizon, the trees and the endless flat earth melted into the expanding sky. It was pale, delicate blue and the sunset had left a golden haze where the horizon should have been. Birds were calling from their sheltering trees, a goat was bleating and far away a train was whistling; some village folk, all women, were huddled around a fire and strangely they too had fallen silent. The mustard was in flower, a spreading yellow and from a village across the fields a column of smoke went straight up into the air. The silence was trangely penetrating; it went through you and beyond you; it was without a movement, without a wave; you walked in it, you felt it, you breathed it, you were of it. It was not that you brought this silence into being, by the usual tricks of the brain. It was there and you were of it; you were not experiencing it; there was no thought that could experience, that could recollect, gather. You were not separate from it, to observe, to analyse. Only that was there and nothing else. Time, by the watch, was getting late and, by the watch, this miracle of silence lasted nearly half an hour but there was no duration, no time. You were walking back in it, past the ancient well, the village, across the narrow bridge, into the room that was dark. It was there and with it was the otherness, overwhelming and welcoming. Love is not a word nor a feeling; it was there with its impenetrable strength and the tenderness of a new leaf, so easily destroyed. Pleiades was just overhead and Orion was over the treetops and the brightest star was in the waters.
2nd The village***** boys were flying kites on the bank along the river; they were yelling at the top of their voices, laughing, chasing each other and wading into the river to get the fallen kites; their excitement was contagious, for the old people, higher up the bank, were watching them, shouting to them, encouraging them. It seemed to be the evening entertainment of the whole village; even the starved, mangy dogs were barking; everyone was taking part in the excitement. They were all half-starved, there wasn't a fat one among them, even among the old; the older they were the thinner they were; even the children were all so thin but they seemed to have plenty of energy. All of them had torn, dirty rags on, patched with different cloths of many colours. And they were all cheerful, even the old and ailing ones; they seemed to be unaware of their own misery, of their physical weakness, for many of them carried heavy bundles; they had amazing patience and they had to have it for death was there, very close and so also the agony of life; everything was there at the same time, death, birth, sex, poverty, starvation, excitement, tears. They had a place, under some trees higher up the bank, not far from a ruined old temple to bury their dead; there were plenty of little babies who would know hunger, the smell of unwashed bodies and the smell of death. But the river was there all the time, sometimes threatening the village but now quiet, placid with swallows flying so low, almost touching the water, which was the colour of gentle fire. The river was everything, they occasionally bathed in it, they washed their clothes in it and their thin bodies, and they worshipped it and put flowers, when they could get them, in it to show their respect; they fished in it and died beside it. The river was so indifferent to their joy and sorrow; it was so deep, there was such weight and power behind it; it was terribly alive and so dangerous. But now it was quiet, not a ripple on it and every swallow had a shadow on it; they didn't fly very far, they would fly low for about a hundred feet, go up a little, turn and come down again and fly for another hundred feet or so, until darkness came. There were small water birds, their tails bobbing up and down, swift in their flight; there were larger ones, almost the colour of the damp earth, greyish-brown, wading up and down the water's edge. But the marvel of it all was the sky, so vast, boundless, without horizon. The late afternoon light was soft, clear and very gentle; it left no shadow and every bush tree and bird was alone. The flashing river by day was now the light of the sky, enchanted, dreaming and lost in its beauty and love. In this light, all things cease to exist, the heart that was crying and the brain that was cunning; pleasure and pain went away leaving only light, transparent, gentle and caressing, It was light; thought and feeling had no part in it, they could never give light; they were not there, only this light when the sun is well behind the walls of the city and not a cloud in the sky. You cannot see this light unless you know the timeless movement of meditation; the ending of thought is this movement. But love is not the way of thought or feeling.
***** These villagers were Moslems.
It was very quiet, not a leaf was stirring and it was dark; all the stars that could fill the river were there and they spilled over into the sky. The brain was completely still but very alive and watching, watching without a watcher, without a centre from which it was watching; nor was there any sensation. The otherness was there, deep within at a depth that was lost; it was action, wiping away everything without leaving a mark of what has been or what is. There was no space in which to have a border nor time in which thought could shape itself.
3rd There is something curiously pleasant to walk, alone, along a path, deep in the country, which has been used for several thousand years by pilgrims; there are very old trees along it, tamarind and mango, and it passes through several villages. It passes between green fields of wheat; it is soft underfoot, fine, dry powder, and it must become heavy clay in the wet season; the soft, fine earth gets into your feet, into your nose and eyes, not too much. There are ancient wells and temples and withering gods. The land is flat, flat as the palm of the hand, stretching to the horizon, if there is a horizon. The path has so many turns, in a few minutes it faces in all the directions of a compass. The sky seems to follow that path which is open and friendly. There are few paths like that in the world though each has its own charm and beauty. There is one [at Gstaad] that goes through the valley, gently climbing, between rich pasturage, to be gathered for the winter to be given to the cows; that valley is white with snow but then [when he was there] it was the end of summer, full of flowers, with snow mountains all around and there was a noisy stream going through the valley; there was hardly anyone on that path and you walked on it in silence. Then there is another path [at Ojai], climbing steeply by the side of a dry, dusty, crumbling mountain; it was rocky, rough and slippery; there wasn't a tree anywhere near, not even a bush; a quail with her small new brood, over a dozen of them, was there and further up you came upon a deadly rattler, all curled up, ready to strike but giving you a fair warning. But now, this path was not like any other; it was dusty, made foul by human beings here and there, and there were ruined old temples with their images; a large bull was having its fill among the growing grain, unmolested; there were monkeys too and parrots, the light of the skies. It was the path of a thousand humans for many thousand years. As you walked on it, you were lost; you walked without a single thought and there was the incredible sky and the trees with heavy foliage and birds. There is a mango on that path that is superb; it has so many leaves that the branches cannot be seen and it is so old. As you walk on, there is no feeling at all; thought too has gone but there is beauty. It fills the earth and the sky, every leaf and blade of withering grass. It is there covering everything and you are of it. You are not made to feel all this but it is there and because you are not, it is there, without a word, without a movement. You walk back in silence and fading light.
Every experience leaves a mark and every mark distorts experience; so there is no experience which has not been. Everything is old and nothing new. But this is not so. All the marks of all experiences are wiped away; the brain, the storehouse of the past, becomes completely quiet and motionless, without reaction, but alive, sensitive; then it loses the past and is made new again.
It was there, that immensity, having no past, no future; it was there, without ever knowing the present. It filled the room, expanding beyond all measure.
5th The sun comes out of the trees and sets over the town and between the trees and the town is all life, is all time. The river passes between them, deep, alive and tranquil; many small boats go up and down it; some with large, square sails, which carry wood, sand, cut stone and sometimes men and women going back to their villages but mostly there are small fishing boats, with lean dark men. They appear to be very happy, voluble people, calling and shouting to each other though they are all clad in rags, with not much to eat, inevitably with many children. They cannot read and write; they have no outside entertainment, no cinemas etc., but they amuse themselves singing, in chorus, devotional songs or telling religious stories. They are all very poor and life is very hard, disease and death are always there, like the earth and the river. And that evening there were more swallows than ever, flying low, almost touching the water and the water was the colour of dying fire. Everything was so alive, so intense; four or five fat puppies were playing around their thin hungry mother; crows, many groups of them, were flying back to the other bank; parrots were flying back to their trees, in their flashing, screeching manner; a train was crossing the bridge and the noise of it came far down the river and a woman was washing herself in the cold river. Everything was struggling to live, a battle for its very life and there is always death, to struggle every moment of life and then to die. But between the rising of the sun and its setting behind the walls of the city, time consumed all life, time past and present ate man's heart away; he existed in time and so knew sorrow.
But the village men walking behind along the narrow path beside the river, strung out one by one, somehow were part of the man walking in front; there were eight of them and the old man directly behind was coughing and spitting all the time and the others were more or less walking silently. The man that was in front was aware of them, their silence, their coughs, their weariness after a long day; they were not agitated but quiet and if anything cheerful. He was aware of them as he was aware of the glowing river, of the gentle fire of the sky and the birds coming back to their home; there was no centre from which he was seeing, feeling, observing; all these imply the word, thought. There was no thought but only these things. They were all walking fast and time had ceased to be; those villagers were going back home to their hovels and the man was going with them; they were part of him, not that he was aware of them as being a part. They were flowing with the river, flying with the birds and were as open and wide as the sky. It was a fact and not imagination; imagination is a shoddy thing and fact is a burning reality. All those nine were walking endlessly, going nowhere and coming from nowhere; it was an endless procession of life. Time and all identity had ceased, strangely. When the man in front turned to walk back, all the villagers, especially the old man who was so close, just behind him, saluted as though they were age long friends. It was getting dark, the swallows had gone; there were lights on the long bridge and the trees were withdrawing into themselves. Far away a temple bell was ringing.
7th There is a little canal, about a foot wide, that goes between the green fields of wheat. There is a path along it and you can walk along it for quite a while, without meeting a soul. That evening it was particularly quiet; there was a fat jay with startlingly bright blue wings that was having a drink in that canal; it was fawn coloured, with those sparkling blue wings; it wasn't one of those scolding jays; you could approach it fairly close without being called names. It looked at you in wonderment and you looked at it with exploding affection; it was fat and comfortable and very beautiful. It waited to see what you would do and when you did nothing, it grew calmer and presently flew away without a cry. You had met in that bird all the birds ever brought into being; it was that explosion that did it. It was not a well planned, thought-out explosion; it just happened with an intensity and fury whose very shock stopped all time. But you went along that narrow path, past a tree which had become the symbol of a temple, for there were flowers and a crudely painted image and the temple was a symbol of something else and that something else was also a vast symbol. Words, symbols, have become, like the flag, so frighteningly important. Symbols were ashes which fed the mind and the mind was barren and thought was born out of this waste. It was clever, inventive, as all things are which come out of arid nothingness. But the tree was splendid, full of leaves, sheltering many birds; the earth around was swept and kept clean; they had built a mud platform around the tree and on it was the image, leaning against the thick trunk. The leaf was perishable and the stone image was not; it would endure, destroying minds.
8th The early morning sun was on the water, shimmering, almost blinding the eyes; a fisherman's boat was crossing that brilliant path and there was a slight fog among the trees, on the opposite bank. The river is never still, there is always a movement, a dance of countless steps and this morning it was very alive, making the trees, the bushes heavy and dull, except the birds which were calling, singing, and the parrots as they screeched by. These parrots lived in the tamarind tree beside the house and they would be coming and going all day, restless in their flight. Their light green bodies shone in the sun and their red curving beaks were brighter as they flashed by. Their flight was fast and sharp and you could see them among the green leaves if you looked carefully, and once there they became clumsy and not so noisy as on their flight. It was early but all the birds had been out long before the sun was on the water. Even at that hour the river was awake with the light of the heavens and meditation was a sharpening of the immensity of the mind; the mind is never asleep, never completely unaware; patches of it were, here and there sharpened by conflict and pain, made dull by habit and passing satisfaction, and every pleasure left a mark of longing. But all these darkened passages left no space for the totality of the mind. These became enormously important and always breeding more immediate significance and the immensity is put aside for the little, the immediate. The immediate is the time of thought and thought can never resolve any issue except the mechanical. But meditation is not the way of the machine; it can never be put together to get somewhere; it is not the boat to cross to the other side. There is no shore, no arriving and, like love, it has no motive. It is endless movement whose action is in time but not of time. All action of the immediate, of time, is the ground of sorrow; nothing can grow on it except conflict and pain. But meditation is the awareness of this ground and choicelessly never letting a seed take root, however pleasant and however painful. Meditation is the passing away of experience. And then only is there clarity whose freedom is in seeing. Meditation is a strange delight not to be bought on the market; no guru or disciple can ever be of it; all following and leading have to cease as easily and naturally as a leaf drops to the ground.
The immeasurable was there, filling the little space and all space; it came as gently as the breeze comes over the water but thought could not hold it and the past, time, was not capable of measuring it.
9th Across the river, smoke was going up in a straight column; it was a simple movement bursting into the sky. There wasn't a breath of air; there wasn't a ripple on the river and every leaf was still; the parrots were the only noisy movement as they flashed by. Even the little fisherman's boat did not disturb the water; everything seemed to have frozen in stillness, except the smoke. Even though it was going so straight up in the sky there was a certain gaiety in it and freedom of total action. And beyond the village and the smoke was the glowing sky of the evening. It had been a cool day and the sky had been open and there was the light of a thousand winters; it was short, penetrating and expansive; it went with you everywhere, it wouldn't leave you. Like perfume, it was in the most unexpected places; it seemed to have entered into the most secret corners of one's being. It was a light that left no shadow and every shadow lost its depth; because of it, all substance lost its density; it was as though you looked through everything, through the trees on the other side of the wall, through your own self. Your self was as opaque as the sky and as open. It was intense and to be with it was to be passionate, not the passion of feeling or desire, but a passion that would never wither or die. It was a strange light, it exposed everything and made vulnerable, and what had no protection was love. You couldn't be what you were, you were burnt out, without leaving any ashes and unexpectedly there was not a thing but that light.
12th There was a little girl of ten or twelve leaning against a post in the garden; she was dirty, her hair had not been washed for many weeks, it was dusty and uncombed; her clothes were torn and unwashed too, like herself. She had a long rag around her neck and she was looking at some people who were having tea on the verandah; she looked with complete indifference, without any feeling, without any thought of what was going on; her eyes were on the group downstairs and every parrot that screeched by made no impression on her nor those soft earth-coloured doves that were so close to her. She was not hungry, she was probably a daughter of one of the servants for she seemed familiar with the place and fairly well-fed. She held herself as though she was a grown-up young lady, full of assurance and there was about her a strange aloofness. As you watched her against the river and the trees, you suddenly felt you were watching the tea party, without any emotion, without any thought, totally indifferent to everything and to whatever might happen. And when she walked away to that tree overlooking the river, it was you that was walking away, it was you that sat on the ground, dusty and rough; it was you who picked up the piece of stick and threw it over the bank, alone, unsmiling and never cared for. Presently you got up and wandered off around the house. And strangely, you were the doves, the squirrel that raced up the tree and that unwashed, dirty chauffeur and the river that went by, so quietly. Love is not sorrow nor is it made up of jealousy but it is dangerous for it destroys. It destroys everything that man has built around himself except bricks. It cannot build temples nor reform the rotting society; it can do nothing, but without it nothing can be done, do what you will. Every computer and automation can alter the shape of things and give man leisure which will become another problem when there are already so many problems. Love has no problem and that is why it is so destructive and dangerous. Man lives by problems, those unresolved and continuous things; without them, he wouldn't know what to do; he would be lost and in the losing gain nothing. So problems multiply endlessly; in the resolving of the one there is another, but death, of course, is destruction; it is not love. Death is old age, disease and the problems which no computer can solve. It is not the destruction that love brings; it is not the death that love brings. It is the ashes of a fire that has been carefully built up and it is the noise of automatic machines that go on working without interruption. Love, death, creation are inseparable; you cannot have one and deny the others; you cannot buy it on the market or in any church; these are the last places where you would find it. But if you don't look and if you have no problems, not one, then perhaps it might come when you are looking the other way.
It is the unknown, and everything you know must burn itself away, without leaving ashes; the past, rich or sordid, must be left as casually, without any motive as that girl throwing a stick over the bank. The burning of the known is the action of the unknown. Far away a flute is playing not too well and the sun is setting, a great big red ball behind the walls of the town, and the river is the colour of gentle fire and every bird is coming in for the night.
13th Dawn was just coming and already, every bird seemed to be awake, calling, singing, endlessly repeating one or two notes; the crows were the loudest. There were so many of them, cawing to each other and you had to listen with care to catch the notes of other birds. The parrots were already screeching in their flight, flashing by and in that pale light their lovely green was already splendid. Not a leaf was stirring and the river was running silver, wide, expansive, deep with the night; the night had done something to it; it had become richer, deep with the earth and inseparable; it was alive with an intensity that was destructive in its purity. The other bank was still asleep, the trees and the wide green stretches of wheat were still mysterious and quiet and far away a temple bell was ringing, without music. Everything was beginning to wake up now, shouting with the coming sun. Every caw was more loud and every screech and the colour of every leaf and flower, and strong was the smell of the earth. The sun came over the leaves of trees and made a golden path across the river. It was a beautiful morning and its beauty would remain, not in memory; memory is shoddy; it is a dead thing and memory can never hold beauty or love. It destroys them. It is mechanical, having its use, but beauty is not of memory. Beauty is always new but the new has no relationship with the old, which is of time.
14th****** The moon was quite young yet it gave enough light for shadows; there were plenty of shadows and they were very still. Along that narrow path, every shadow seemed to be alive, whispering amongst themselves, every shadowy leaf chattering to its neighbour. The shape of the leaf and the heavy trunk were clear on the ground and the river down below was of silver; it was wide, silent and there was a deep current which left no mark on the surface. Even the afternoon breeze had died and there were no clouds to gather around the setting sun; higher up in the sky, there was a solitary rose-coloured whisper of a cloud that remained motionless till it disappeared into the night. Every tamarind and mango was withdrawing for the night and all the birds were silent, taking shelter, deep among the leaves. A little owl was sitting on the telegraph wire and just when you were below it, it flew off on those extraordinary silent wings. After delivering milk, the cycles were coming back, the empty tins rattling; there were so many of them, single or in groups, but for all their chatter and noise that peculiar silence of the open country and immense sky remained. That evening nothing could disturb it, not even a goods train crossing the steel bridge. There is a little path to the right wandering among the green fields and as you walk on it, far away from everything, from faces, tears, suddenly, you are aware that something is taking place. You know it is not imagination, desire, taking to some fancy or to some forgotten experience or the revival of some pleasure and hope; you know well it is none of these things; you have been through this examination before and you brush all these aside, swiftly with a gesture and you are aware something is taking place. It is as unexpected as that big bull that comes through the darkening evening; it is there with insistency and immensity, that otherness, which no word or symbol can catch; it is there filling the sky and the earth and every little thing in it. You and that little villager who without a word, passes you by, are of it. At that timeless time, only there is that immensity, neither thought nor feeling and the brain utterly quiet. All meditative sensitivity is over, only that incredible purity is there. It is the purity of strength, impenetrable and unapproachable but it was there. Everything stood still, there was no movement, no stir and even the sound of the whistle of the train was in the stillness. It accompanied you as you walked back to your room and it was there, too, for it had never left you.
****** He gave the last of his seven talks that morning.
16th With the heavily-laden camel, we all crossed the new bridge across the little stream, the cyclists, the village women returning from town, a mangy dog and an old man with a long, white beard and haughty. The old, rickety bridge was taken away and there was this new bridge, made of heavy poles, bamboos, straw and mud; it was strongly built and the camel didn't hesitate to cross it; it was haughtier than the old man, its head right up in the air, disdainful and rather smelly. We all went over the bridge and most of the villagers went down along the river and the camel went the other way. It was a dusty path, fine dry clay and the camel left a big wide imprint and couldn't be coaxed to walk along any faster than it wanted to; it was carrying sacks of grain and it seemed so utterly indifferent to everything; it went past the ancient well and ruined temples and its driver his best to make it walk faster, slapping it with his bare hands. There is another path that turns off to the right, past the flowering yellow mustard, flowering peas and rich green wheat fields; this path is not used much and it is pleasant to walk along there. The mustard had a slight smell but the pea was a little stronger, and the wheat, which was beginning to form its ear, had its own smell too and the combination of the three filled the evening air with a fragrance that was not too strong, pleasant but unobtrusive. It was a beautiful evening, with the setting sun behind the trees; on that path you were far away from anywhere, though there were scattered villages all around but you were far away and nothing could come near you. It was not in space, time or distance; you were far away and there was no measure. The depth was not in fathoms; there was a depth that had no height, no circumference. An occasional village passed you by, carrying the few meagre things that he had bought in town and as he went by, almost touching you, had not come near you. You were far away, in some unknown world that had no dimension; even if you wanted to know, you couldn't know it. It was too far away from the known; it had no relationship with the known. It wasn't a thing you experience; there was nothing to be experienced, and besides all experiencing is always in the field of the known, recognized by that which has been. You were far away, immeasurably far, but the trees, the yellow flowers and the ear of the wheat were astonishingly close, closer than your thought and marvellously alive, with intensity and beauty that could never wither. Death, creation and love were there and you didn't know which was which and you were part of it; they were not separate, something to be divided and argued over. They were inseparable, closely interrelated, not the relationship of word and action, expression. Thought could not shape it, nor feeling cover it, these are too mechanical, too slow, having their roots in the known. Imagination is within their ground and could never come near. Love, death, creation was a fact, an actual reality, as the body they were burning on the river-bank under the tree. The tree, the fire and the tears were real, were undeniable facts but they were the actualities of the known and the freedom of the known, and in that freedom those three are - inseparable. But you have to go very far and yet be very near.
The man on the bicycle was singing in a rather hoarse and tired voice, coming back with the rattling empty milk- cans from the city; he was eager to talk to someone and as he passed by he said something, hesitated, recovered and went on. The moon was casting shadows now, dark and almost transparent ones and the smell of the night was deepening. And around the bend of the path was the river; it seemed to be lighted from within, with a thousand candles; the light was soft with silver and pale gold and utterly still, bewitched by the moon. Pleiades was overhead and Orion was well up in the sky and a train was puffing up the grade to cross the bridge. Time had stopped and beauty was there with love and death. And on the new bamboo bridge there was no one, not even a dog. The little stream was full of stars.
20th It was long before dawn, a clear starlit sky; there was a slight mist over the river and the bank on the other side was just visible; the train was chugging up the grade to cross the bridge; it was a goods train and these trains always puff up the incline in a special way, long, slow strokes of heavy puffs, unlike the passengers [trains], who have quick short bursts and are on the bridge almost immediately. This goods train, in that vast silence, made a rattling roar, more noisy than ever before but nothing seemed to disturb that silence in which all movements were lost. It was an impenetrable silence, clear, strong, penetrating; there was an urgency which no time could gather. The pale star was clear and the trees were dark in their sleep. Meditation was the awareness of all these things and the going beyond all these and time. The movement in time is thought and thought cannot go beyond its own bondage to time and is never free. Dawn was coming over the trees and the river, a pale sign as yet but the stars were losing their brilliancy and already there was a call of the morning, a bird in a tree quite close by. But that immense silence still persisted and it would always be there, though the birds and the noise of man would continue.