Way of Intelligence
1st Seminar Madras
13th January 1978
Insights Into Regeneration
Sunanda Patwardhan: The present century is witness to tremendous advances in technology and the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge, and yet this does not seem to have brought about a better society or happiness to man. Serious people all over the world are increasingly questioning the role of technology and knowledge in society. It is in this context of the values in culture and in human consciousness that we have to search for the roots of regeneration and of human progress. Mankind can no longer be looked upon as an entity in mass. Though we are meeting in Madras which is just a part, a corner, of this great ancient earth, I feel that our perspective and approach to the problems should have a global dimension.
A.P.: Modern society developed during the last two hundred years. It has certain clear postulates - that the problems that affect human society arise from a lack of material resources, from poverty, disease, squalor; and that these can be remedied by control over the material environment. This view persists in men's minds, particularly in countries like India where there is so much poverty. Similarly, the institutional patterns of ownership of property and social resources have been treated as one of the principal factors of social disorder. It is becoming increasingly obvious that these postulates are a facile oversimplification. Misuse of resources are a peril to human survival. The criminal misdirection of scientific and technological skill for the production of lethal weapons, atomic and others, and pollution are grave risks to human survival. Science and technology by themselves have no defence against their own misuse. Similarly, the developments in the communist world clearly expose the naive optimism that changes in the ownership pattern will automatically lead to the creation of a society of free and equal men. Marxism and science were the gods of my generation but they have failed to avert the crisis in which human society is caught. Today we question the validity of unrestricted growth of the gross national product as the index of economic well-being. The oil crisis and the energy crisis have lent great weight to this scrutiny.
A wider question arises about whether the growth of knowledge itself is not equally irrelevant to the central predicament of modern man. Man is tethered to a fragmented view of human development which aggravates the crisis. We are, therefore, once again moving away from the periphery to explore whether human consciousness is capable of a radical regeneration which makes possible a new perspective and a sane and humane relationship. We need to go beyond our present resources of knowledge to come upon that wisdom which is also compassion. So long as we treat the ego as a semi-permanent entity, it appears that love is locked out and we live in a field of approximations.
Regeneration of man in society is tied up with the problem of self-knowing. We now find that no solution can arise out of a social perspective.
P.J.: Can we indicate the pressures, the challenges, which man faces today within and without? There is no answer to the problem of self-regeneration unless man comprehends the sense of humanness. Does this understanding come through knowledge, through technological processes? In what direction does man search? I would suggest, therefore, that it is only through discussion, dialogue, that the nature of our thinking can be laid bare. This would bring to light not only the predicament but also the solution.
Ivan Illich: One of our concerns in the last ten years has been that a challenge which previously was regional has become worldwide. For instance, the need to seek joy, peace, enlightenment, satisfaction through the acceptance of limits; and an austerity, a renunciation which previously might have been considered merely a personal task for individuals in certain kinds of cultures, based on their personal convictions, is becoming the absolutely necessary condition for survival. The need for this can be operationally verified, demonstrated scientifically.
We are gathered here from very different cultures and traditions. During the last generation, we have come - one nation after another, one representative group after another, parties, professions like medicine or teaching - to accept as the purpose of public obligation certain concepts which were not really around when I was born only fifty years ago. Progress, development, in the sense in which we use these terms today is a post-World War II concept. Economic growth, GNP are words which some of the older amongst us still have some difficulty in grasping. Progress, growth, development, have come to be understood essentially as the substitution of things which people previously did on their own. Its use-value is being substituted by the commodity. In this process, politics has become mainly a concern of providing for everybody equal outputs of commodities. The equal protection of people's power and ability to make, to do things on their own, to be autonomous, the struggle for productive freedoms as opposed to productive rights, has been almost forgotten, submerged, rendered impossible by the various systems within which we live.
If, as you say, Pupulji, there is one canvas, one analytical tool, one way of looking at the peculiar mutation in front of which we stand, this is what I propose: For a hundred years - and in a very intensive way for thirty years - progress had been conceived of as enrichment, which inevitably destroyed those conditions in the environment which make autonomy possible. This is the real environmental destruction, in my opinion, deeper even than the destruction of the physical environment through poisons, through the aggressive overuse of the earth's resources. It is the destruction in the environment of those conditions - social, physical, mental - which make autonomy possible. When you live in a large city almost anywhere in the world, such simple things as giving birth or dying autonomously become impossible. The apartment, the rhythm of life, is not arranged for it. People have lost even the basic skills which any midwife would have or any human being had who stood next to another when he died.
Most of us - unless we are lucky to live perhaps in the suburbs of Benares or in the countryside of India - are not allowed to die. I am using the transitive term `to die'. We will cease to exist under an action, which I shall call `Medicare'. It is not murder, but man is made into a vegetable for the benefit of a hospital. The rhythm of this development is of a grasping, accumulative society, a society in which men are being led to believe that modern techniques require such a society, where technical progress means the incorporation of new inventions into the commodity production processes. Printed books are tools for teachers; ball bearings are means to accelerate motorized vehicles even to a point where the car pushes the bicycle off the road.
Now, it is an illusion that technical progress could be used in order to render a modern society use-value intensive. In a commodity-intensive society, goods which can be produced in a machine are at the centre of the economy. And what people can do on their own is permitted marginally, is tolerated as long as it does not interfere with the process of enrichment; in a society in which we inverse this use-value intensive and get modern, we welcome technical devices only when we increase the ability of people to generate use-values which are not destined for the markets and we consider commodities very valuable only when we increase people's ability to do or make things on their own. In the kind of society in which we live, legitimate production is overwhelmingly the result of employment. I buy part of your time and energy, paying for it, and make you work under my administration. Now in a use-value oriented society, just the opposite would be true. Besides the work there would be equal access to tools, opportunities for making or doing things without being employed. Any employment would be considered a condition which is necessary.
Now, how do we experience what it means to be human? In summarizing a similar revolution in the darkest of the middle ages in Europe, my teacher, Lerner, points out three concepts of revolution, of turning around: One, which goes back to the Golden Age and then starts again; the second, the turning of this world into a golden age; and the third, the organistic view. Lerner carefully worked out these three ideas and said that in the sixth or seventh century, a fourth view came about through a marriage between the Christian message and the monastic tradition which came from the East into Europe - that each man is responsible for his own revolution. And that the only way for the world to be transformed is by the transformation of each man, principally guided by the idea of basic virtue. The first virtue to cultivate in the process of true revolution is austerity or poverty of spirit. And austerity was defined by a 13th century philosopher as that particular part of the virtue of balance or prudence, which is the basis of friendship, because it does not eliminate all pleasures, but only those pleasures or things which would enter between me and you or that which distracts me or you from each other. Therefore, austerity is the basic condition of virtue for him who wants to balance gracefully and joyfully.
K: May I add something to what Dr. Illich has said? I am only adding, not contradicting. I think most people, thoughtful people, have rejected every form of system, institution; no longer are they trustful of communism, socialism, liberalism, the left, right, politically or religiously. I think man has come to a point where he feels - and I am sure Dr. Illich feels the same - that one must have a new mind, a new quality of mind. I mean by mind the activities of the brain consciousness, sensory perception and intelligence. Is it possible before man destroys himself completely, to bring about a new mind? That is the major question that is confronting most serious and thoughtful people. One has rejected completely the notion that any system, institution, dogma or religious belief is going to save man; and one demands or requires a revolution not only sociologically, but inwardly, with clarity and compassion. Is it possible for human beings to bring about a totally different category or dimension of the mind?
P.K.S.: The crisis in consciousness, so far as I can see, is an ever-recurring phenomenon in history. I think, therefore, that it must be genetically viewed. It is possible to find a general pattern in this crisis. One form is man against nature, man finding himself a stranger in a world which he perhaps considers inimical to him. Therefore, man has to fight against the forces of nature, and this brings about a crisis in his heart. Another form is much deeper and perhaps more significant for human history - man versus man. This arises because man considers another man as an objective phenomenon and, therefore, alien. That is, an individual poses a danger, a threat, a challenge to his own security, completeness. The third aspect of this crisis is man against himself. He does not know what is the inspiration of his own life, mind, thought. Very frequently, he carries on a battle in his own heart; there is a dialogue between the good and the bad, the moral and the immoral, the progressive and the regressive, the civilized and the uncivilized, the mechanical and the inspired. In my view the solution lies in the heart of man, which brings us back to consciousness. The examination now becomes rather internal: From the Indian point of view, certainly, there has been time when inwardness - aavritta chakshu - has been a progressive attitude against outwardness, where objectification yielded place to examination.
Nandishwara Thero: Is it possible to find the solution from theories of knowledge or should knowledge come from within?
K: Are we having a dialogue theoretically or in abstraction?
I.I.: I think what has been said is the kernel of the matter. We have industrialized gurus and, as a consequence, the minds of a very large percentage of people have been industrialized. Knowledge is considered competence, awareness, valuable. In the West, the largest professional body are the self-appointed bureaucrats with the guru function, called pedagogues, and people who are afraid to trust their latent powers. I don't think there has been such a time when people all over the world with the desire to trust their latent powers have been so totally repressed.
K: Yes, sir, I know. But I keep on asking, are we having a dialogue on theories or on actualities, the actual being what is taking place now, not only outwardly but inside ourselves. At what level are we having a dialogue - theoretical, philosophical or concerned with our daily existence, our relationship to each other and to our daily activity?
Talking about consciousness, are we individuals? Human beings are fragmented. Do we have consciousness which is common, every man going through suffering, agonies of loneliness, the whole business of existence? Is that not universal consciousness? It seems to me that our consciousness is the consciousness of all man because every human being goes through fear, anxiety and so on. So our consciousness is the consciousness of the world. Therefore, I am the world and the world is me; I am not an individual. We are not individual in the real sense of the word. To me the idea of individuality is non-existent. Theoretically, we talk about individuals. It sounds marvellous, but actually, are we individuals or repetitive machines? When we look at ourselves, deeply, seriously, are we individuals? If I may point out, either we discuss in abstraction, in theory, or we are concerned with revolution, a psychological revolution. A revolution, mutation, a deep radical change in man lies in his consciousness. Can that consciousness be transformed? That is the real question.
P.J.: If you are speaking of the actual state as it is, each one of us sees within us an individual consciousness separate from the consciousness of another. We have to start with what actually is. And when we talk of a crisis in society and in man, the two being in a sense interchangeable, we realize that we are society. The problem then arises: How does one come to the realization of whether one is an individual or not? How does one proceed? Does one proceed through knowledge or through the negation of knowledge? And if there is negation of knowledge, what are the instruments required for negation?
K: One has to ask what is one's consciousness made up of, what is its content?
P.K.S.: When you say individual consciousness, are you referring to the individual mind?
K: No, sir, I asked what is one's consciousness. Apparently, in that consciousness there is a deep crisis. Or is it asleep, pressurized or totally industrialized, as Dr. Illich says, by the guru industrialization, so that we are just non-existent, we just survive? I would like to ask, is one aware of one's total consciousness, not partial, not fragmentary, but the totality of one's own existence which is the result of society, culture, family name? And what is the origin of all thinking? That may be the beginning of our consciousness.
What is my consciousness? My consciousness is made up of culture, ideas, traditions, propaganda, etc. The content makes up consciousness. Without content, there is no consciousness. If there is, it is a totally different dimension, and one can only apprehend or come upon that consciousness when the content is wiped away. So one has to be clear about what one is discussing: whether one is discussing theoretically or by taking up one's own consciousness and investigating it. That is the challenge.
N. T.: Is consciousness part of our experience?
N. T.: If it is part of our experience, is it not individualistic?
K: Is your experience individual?
N.T.: The experience concerns oneself only.
K: What does that word `experience' mean to you?
N.T.: To experience is to feel; it is feeling.
K: No. The content, the structure, the semantic meaning of that word is `to go through'. But we go through and make what we have gone through into knowledge.
N.T.: This `going through' is individualistic, is it not?
K: Is it individualistic to experience? If I am a Hindu or Buddhist or Christian, I experience what I have been told. That is not individuality. If I am a devout orthodox Catholic, I experience Virgin Mary and I think it is my personal experience. It is not; it is the result of two thousand years of propaganda.
S.P.: You seem to suggest that the word itself means indivisible and also, thereby, that any experience is a denial of individuality.
K: I did not say that.
S.P.: It is implied. Any experience, personal or collective, whether out of collective consciousness or personal consciousness, and the multiplicity of experiences put together create the feeling of the individual in each human being. This cannot be denied.
K: Of course. But if I may ask, what is the function of the brain?
I.I.: But would you consider it disrespectful if I use the noun in English and say I have knowledge of Krishnamurti? I have knowledge of you, but I don't know you.
K: Can I ever say `I know you'? When we use the word `knowledge', we are using it in so many categories, so many complicated ways. I am using it in a very simple way - I know you, I recognise you, because I met you last year. But do I know, however intimately, my wife? I have slept with her, she has borne my children, but do I actually know her? That is, I do not know her because I have an image of her. I create all kinds of sexual sensory pictures and those pictures prevent me from knowing her, though I am very intimate with her physically. So I can never say to myself, I know somebody. I think that it is a sacrilege, an impudence. I know you the moment I have no barriers, no pictures of you as an individual, as a Doctor of Linguistics. So, if I approach you with a sense of compassion, in the deep sense of that word, then there is no knowing, there is only sharing.
I.I.. I have to accept that, as the word `compassion' is used here.
K: Compassion means passion for all.
A.P.: But do we know ourselves? That is the ultimate question.
K: That's it, sir. Do we know ourselves, and how do we know ourselves? What is the manner of knowing oneself?
A.P.: The problem here is our incapacity to know ourselves directly, to deal with it with a compassionate response. When I see a cyclone in Andhra Pradesh, I feel personally involved because it is happening in the state in which I am living. When I read about a cyclone in Bangladesh, it is just an item of news for me. Now, when we say one world, it does not actually become experiential for us. This is really a part of the alienation process - alienation being a name to the fact that we do not know ourselves. Because we do not know ourselves, our relationship with the world also is a more distant relationship.
P.J.: Let me put it this way. Is it a question of learning what the instruments of learning are? The deep-seated instruments of knowing are seeing, listening, feeling and learning. The probing into the significance of these instruments itself may throw some light not only on the nature of the instruments but also on the manner in which these instruments have been perverted to block their real function.
K: Sir, would you agree that instead of using consciousness as a noun, you use it as a movement of time?
I.I.: I would accept it for discussion, but then, if I may comment, I live in a world where I see a beautiful sunset as a picture postcard. I have made a complete study on the use of words. I found that one of the ten words heard by the typical person was a word heard as a member of a crowd, as public. And nine out of ten were words spoken to him or overheard by him while spoken to another. Today, for example, nine out of ten words heard by young people, according to this study, are words which have been programmed and only one is a personal word. I heard recently from a lady who wrote that she has taken credits for nineteen hours of consciousness. I am just saying - everything in this culture in which I live is industrialized. It is an additive way of education.
P.J.: That is really the problem of knowledge - the additive process.
I.I.: The danger of knowledge, not as a flow but as an additive process, makes me standardized.
K: Sir, what is the relationship of consciousness to thought? What is the beginning of thought? How does that come into existence? What is the spring from which thought arises? There is perception, sensation, contact, then thought, desire and imagination involved in that. That is the origin of desire. So, is that the origin of thought, the beginning of thought, the movement of thought?
P.J.: Is not thought the reaction to challenge?
K: Yes. If I see the challenge, if I am aware of the challenge. If I am not aware, there is no challenge.
P.J.: What is the reaction to challenge?
K: Memory reacts.
R.B.: But for thought to be aware of itself as a trap, is it necessary to see the origin of thought?
K: Yes. Then you only register that which is absolutely necessary and not psychological structures. Why should I register your flattery or your insult? But I do. That registration emphasizes the ego.
S.P.: What is that state of mind in which registration does not take place?
K: You see, that is a theoretical question.
S.P.: No. It is an actual problem. Otherwise one is in a trap. There is memory responding, and memory itself is registered even before I am aware.
K: Then you are acting on reward and punishment.
R.B.: Registering by long habit is so instantaneous. How can we learn to slow down the whole process?
K: Have you ever tried writing down objectively every thought, not just those which are pleasant or unpleasant - I don't like that man, I like that woman, the whole business? Then you will find that you can slow down thought tremendously. Sir, my question is, why do we register psychologically at all? Is it possible to register only that which is absolutely, physically, necessary and not build up the psyche through registration?
I.I.: I only know that by becoming older and working at it, one can cut down on registration.
K: But that has nothing to do with age...
I.I.: It has to do with living.
K: That means it is a slow `process'. I object to that.
I.I.: That's all I know. Sometimes one has the experience of a flash, lifting you to another level, being transformed, even like a phoenix from the ashes.
K: Is it possible to accelerate the non-registering process that does not depend upon age, circumstances, environment, poverty, riches, culture? Can one see, have an insight into, the whole question of registration and end it psychologically?
I.I.: I have to be corrected by you. It seems to me that there are several very great and very small schools, each projecting, suggesting, a certain way.
K: And then we are back to systems.
I.I.: I said I stand to be corrected. I would imagine that these offer us a ladder. Some ladders are too short for the level which some people have to reach, while others are so long that we can jump off the ladder earlier than the ladder ends. This is not for all, but for some people they are rather useful in the beginning. I can even imagine that they are useful in many instances - wisdom not to choose, not to search, during their whole life for the best ladder but to take one which does the job which luckily I have at my disposal.
K: But I question whether it is a gradual movement.
I.I.: My school, my institution, my language, say to me the development of the gifts of the spirit are like the riverside of this struggle for virtue. At certain moments we must struggle, practise what you spoke of as virtue. But moments come in when suddenly a bubble comes and I am lifted out of my yesterday as if for ever. That does not mean my life must go on in the same direction to struggle again, but I do go back. I do know that there are some schools of thought, perhaps equally consistent, useful, for others where this will be considered very differently.
K: If I may say so sir, there are no schools. One sees the logical reason of registration, the necessity of physical registration. If one sees clearly, has an insight into the psychological futility of registration, realizes it, it is finished. It is as thought if you see danger, a precipice, it is over. In the same way, if one profoundly sees the danger of psychological registration, then the thing is finished.
I.I.: Is it not possible that for some people enlightenment comes in several ways? The Arabs have seven words for seven states, and for others it comes bang like sunrise, the sun comes out and there it is.
K: I don't think it is a matter for the few or for the many. How do you listen? You tell me there are schools, degrees and I accept that. And another comes along and tells me it is not at all like that and I reject it because of my conditioning. Whereas, if I listened to him and to you, I can see with clarity that in the very act of listening, I have understood the implications of both statements. Do you understand? The listening itself frees me from both of you.
2nd Seminar Madras
14th January 1978
Insights into Regeneration
P.J.: Could we discuss regeneration, its nature, and whether it is essential to man? And if it is essential to man and society then what is the place of self-knowing in this whole field?
A.P.: The importance of our discussions so far has been to establish the limits of knowledge. I feel that the relevance of knowledge to the entire process of self-knowing has already been outlined in limits of growth, limits of knowledge.
P.J.: Is knowledge and its limits dependent on the process of self-knowing? The problem of regeneration is not contained in the limits of knowledge; the latter is only one of the factors of regeneration. Self-knowing is also integral to it. Are these two independent?
A.P.: Our approach has been to negate that which appeared to assume preponderant importance in our own development. It takes the form of pursuit of knowledge, a very subtle process which goes on inhibiting, distracting or distorting the mind from direct confrontation.
P.J.: We are familiar with the additive process. In a sense the additive process is the extension of the field of knowledge. I am talking of knowledge as information. Are we talking of the limits of knowledge, independent of self-knowing or regeneration?
A.P.: Of course not.
P.K.S.: The problem of the regeneration of man is mostly connected with the limits of knowledge. We assume knowledge is information, not that kind of experience which is self-knowing, and we are asking, what can we know? The question also concerns the origins of knowledge.
K: I don't know what you mean by regeneration - to be made anew, made afresh? We are talking about the transformation of man, the ending of his anxiety - his whole way of life; a life which is ugly - and out of that ending, a new thing being born. Is that what we mean by regeneration? If that is so, what is the relationship between knowledge and regeneration? Is knowledge a fixed point? Is it static, additive? Is the process of self-knowledge additive and does it, thereby, bring about regeneration? Is that what we are asking? Can knowledge which is accumulative, probably infinite, bring about regeneration? Then there is the understanding of oneself, the `Know Thyself'. The Hindus have said it, the Buddhists have said it in a different way, all religions have said it. Is that knowing yourself additive? Is the very substance of the self, knowledge, knowing being experience stored up as memory, all the things man has accumulated? What is it we are asking?
Can we begin with the question, `Can I know myself?' Not according to some philosophers, but can I know myself? I would like to examine the word `to know'. Dr. Illich pointed out yesterday, `I have knowledge of you but I don't know you.' I have knowledge in the sense that I have met you, and so on. I have knowledge of you but can I ever know you? In the same way, I have knowledge about myself, limited knowledge, fragmentary knowledge, knowledge brought about by time. But can I know myself fundamentally, irrevocably?
R.B.: What do you mean `irrevocably'?
K: A tree is a tree; it is irrevocable. A pear tree does not become an apple tree.
A.P.: This is where my difficulty arises. Even with regard to knowing oneself, verbalizing has a very important place. If that is taken away, will we have the capacity to know anything?
I.I.: I am asking the same question. Knowledge, insight, which comes in a flash and can be interpreted logically later on, can be referred to in words; is that knowledge in your terminology?
A.P.: The channel of insight may be non-verbal but our normal movement is perceiving and naming, and with naming comes recognition and what we call knowledge. So, actually, naming plays a preponderant part in knowledge. Self-knowledge may be in the field of insight.
K: Are you asking if there is no verbalization, whether the `me' exists at all? I would say if verbalization does not exist, the self, the `me', the ego, ceases, comes to an end. Can there be a knowing that the word is not the thing? The word is not the thing, obviously. The word `tree' is not the actual fact. So if there is no verbalization, then what is the fact, what remains? Is it still the self?
P.J.: How does one answer this?
A.P.: You have jumped.
G.N.: There are forms of knowledge akin to insight and some forms of insight which cannot be converted into knowledge through the additive process. The way one approaches it is very significant. Some types of knowledge have the taste of insight but they get reduced to knowledge.
K.: We said we understood the meaning, the significance, of regeneration. How is man to regenerate, completely renew himself, like a phoenix? Does he depend on environment - social, economical? Or has regeneration as knowing nothing whatever to do with environmental pressures? We must go into that. We will come to a different kind of knowledge presently. Do we agree on the meaning of regeneration as a total, psychological, profound, revolution, in the sense that something new is born out of it?
Now, is knowing oneself the central factor of regeneration? If that is so, then how am I to know myself - knowing that the word is not the thing, the description is not the described? If there is no verbalization, then what next? You have cut away, if you don't verbalize, the whole area of morality, ethics. To us words have become very important. Take the word violence; if I don't use that word and am free from verbalization with all its significance, what remains?
Sir, why do I verbalize? I verbalize my feeling for you because I want to communicate to you.
A.P.: Also with myself. That is the greatest danger.
K: I am coming to that. First I verbalize what I feel to myself and then I verbalize to communicate.
A.P.: In this there is a big trap. I feel the phenomenon of sorrow. I see somebody in pain, I can express that without feeling compassion in my heart. I live on words. Therefore, words are my biggest protection and they also become a barrier to self-knowledge. Unless I am able to deal with words, I cannot move. The human brain stores images, creates images, symbols, etc.
K: Does it mean all our relationships - intellectual, sexual, between two human beings - are based on words, images, pictures?
Is there thinking without verbalization? When I say to somebody I love you, do the words convey what I feel? The words are not the thing, but they need to be expressed and I use the words as a medium of communication. Now we are asking, how is man to regenerate himself without any cause, without any motive, without any influence of the environment - social, political, moral, religious. I think we ought to settle that and then proceed. What do you say, Dr. Illich?
I.I.: I would like to ask you a question. Are words also part of the environment?
I.I.: Therefore, when I use words, I also do something to the environment, besides being influenced by it.
K: The word is also the environment and the word influences my thinking. If I am born in this particular part of the country, my whole cultural, development, progress, is based on this culture. The language itself is affecting me; it may be a barrier between you and me.
I.I.: Like anything it can destroy two people.
K: So, realizing that language can also become a barrier, I cut it. It is finished. I use it only to communicate.
I.I.: Is there anything within me which has not been affected by language in the same way as my body is affected by breathing? Is there a point somewhere in me which the environment has not touched?
K: Do you see what is happening, sir? We are already in communication with each other. Your question, `Is there something in this ``me'' which is not affected, touched, shaped, moulded by the environment' has already put us in communication. The Hindus say there is something. Dr. Illich wants to know if there is in `me' the structure of existence which is the `me', some spot, something which is not shaped, moulded, contaminated, pressurized by the environment. You are a scholar, a pundit - what would be your answer?
P.K.S.: Those parts which are supposed to be affected by language, etc. are only the psychological `me'. That is the empirical development of the ego. But even before the development of the empirical ego, there should be a basis for this development. Otherwise language as environment would be futile. The word as environment affects me. It is not brought about after it has been affected by the environment; rather something is there already which is supposed to be affected. Now, if there is something prior to being affected by the environment, what is its character, can it be increased or decreased by the environment? If you believe that the environment makes the self, at the same time pre-supposing something which is prior to the influence of language, you are contradicting yourself. I think something exists prior to the environment affecting it.
K: I don't quite follow you.
R.B.: Prof. Sundaram says there is a substratum, essential nature, on which thought builds, the psychological, the empirical, `me'. Therefore, logically, there is an area which is unaffected by thought.
K: So you are saying that there is in me, in my existence, in my life, an uncontaminated, unshaped state. Does that satisfy you?
I.I.: I accept your words, I won't use other terms, and yet, since it cannot be affected by language, I can only speak in negative terms. This particular spot, something which is light, which throws sparks, is yet something about which there is no proof, that I can grasp. And when I speak about it, I dare to capture it in a word. Would you accept that?
K: I don't think so, sir.
P.J.: How do we explore this then? How do I find out whether one statement or the other is real?
K: May I put it differently? I don't even ask that question, `Is there something in me which is not shaped by the environment?' All that I know is, unless a human being finds the springs of regeneration, and not the idea, the new is not possible. So my concern, then, is the word `environment', culture, society - all that is `me' and I am the product of all that. I am the entire product of all influences - religious, psychological, social. Regeneration is possible only when the influences from the outside or the influences which I am creating as a reaction come to an end. Then I can answer it. Until then I can only speculate. So I begin. I say it is absolutely necessary as a human being to bring about a revolution in the whole structure. Not at the biological level, because I can't grow a third arm; but is there a possibility of a total regeneration? You tell me `Know yourself,' that is, to have knowledge about yourself. I see the danger of knowledge, knowledge being accumulative, progressive, dependent on the environment and so on. Therefore, I understand the limitations of knowledge. I say to myself, I have understood this. So when I use the words `know myself', I see that knowledge, when verbalized, may be the cause which prevents me from enquiring deeply into myself. So I ask, can my brain, my mind, my whole structure, be free of words?
A.P.: I think this is where the limits of knowledge lead you.
K: Achyutji, you are missing the point. We have said knowledge is accumulative. Knowing myself may not be accumulative at all.
A.P.: Verbalization is the quintessence of knowing.
K: Can I use the word `knowledge' where necessary and in my enquiry be free of the word? Is that possible?
S.P.: Are you saying there is an enquiry without the word?
K: That's it.
A.P.: When we enquire, the word is inevitable and it is an obstacle.
K: Obviously. Dr. Illich's difficulty is, we are using a language which he is not used to. To us knowledge means something and to him it means something else. And he says, I don't follow you. So we must establish a linguistic, semantic communication.
So I come to the point that I don't know the substratum, the foundation on which `I am'. I won't pre-suppose anything; I won't accept any authority including my own hope. So I ask, how am I to enquire into myself, what is the movement, the `I am', to know yourself? Not to have knowledge of yourself?
P.J.: Could you explain a little more the distinction between knowledge of myself and knowing myself?
K: I have knowledge of myself through my reactions, my feelings, through my responses to another in my relationship. I have been jealous, sensuous, angry. These are all reactions, but it is much more than that. All that I know is based on verbalization. I say I have been jealous; the word jealousy, with all its connotations prevents observation of that feeling which I have named as jealousy. So is it possible to observe without the word? Can there be only the feeling without the word, the word being the environment?
There is feeling. In that feeling is the observer. In that there is division. That is, is the observer different from the observed? He divides the two. I am different from the thing observed. But in observing myself so long as the word is associated with the thing I am observing, it distorts the observation. So I ask, can I observe, be aware of the feeling, without naming it?
Can I just observe? Can there be only observation without identification with the word? If so, we remove altogether all division as the opposite. So I eliminate one of the traditional factors that this division brings about - me and jealousy - and, therefore, observation is not verbal; there is only observation.
A.P.: I have not come to that.
K: Then how shall we communicate with each other? You have not wiped out the word. You have said verbalization is the barrier. How am I to tell you of that central factor in which there is no conflict, only observation?
P.J.: Can one wipe out the word? How does one wipe out the word?
K: I realize the word is not the thing. That is a deep understanding. When I say I love you, it is not just a word; it is beyond the word. Therefore, I am not caught in the word. I cannot wipe it out; words are necessary to communicate. But I am saying one eradicates it in oneself or it falls away when one sees the observer is the observed, the thinker is the thought, the experiencer is the experienced. Division comes to an end totally and, therefore, conflict comes to an end.
A.P.: It is like the halting of the traffic light. I say that verbal communication stops like a traffic light and comes back again.
K: Are you saying, I see this for an instant but then I am back again in the old grooves?
R.B.: Can we put it another way? You mentioned jealousy. There may be a movement of jealousy, and if one watches it without the word, at that moment there is an abeyance of that thing. In self-knowing, there is not only the movement of jealousy but of an enormous content which has been built up. How is one to catch the whole thing without the word?
K: Do you realize, actually, not theoretically, that the word is not the thing?
R.B.: I do realize it at certain moments.
K: That is not realization. It is like danger, like a bus hurtling down on you.
R.B.: We are all conditioned to mix the two. It is a longstanding thing. I can say that at this moment the word is not the thing.
K: No, it is the eternal truth. If that is so, and the word `jealousy' is not the state, can we look at jealousy without the word? Without all the association of the word? Look at it as though you were looking at it for the first time and not bring in all the associations connected with it? That requires great alertness, awareness. It has its own extraordinary discipline, it is uninfluenced. We are concerned with regeneration - whether a human being, without outside influence, can bring about this extraordinary quality of regeneration in his brain, his mind, his feeling.
To understand that deeply, you must `know yourself'. So I ask, what is the word `know' apart from knowledge? You are already limiting it by saying, `I know.' Now, can I observe myself without the word, language, knowledge or recognition? Do you understand? I watch myself, and I am watching without analysis. I have this feeling of jealousy; it arises. There is an instant reaction, a verbalization of that feeling, which means I have brought into it the remembrance of that which has happened before and so I recognise it. If there is no recognition, then it is something new and that is the beginning of regeneration.
A.P.: I notice in observing, the arising of recognition through the word, and I say it is the word which is giving stability to what I am observing because I am not different from that which I am observing.
R.B.: But Krishnaji is saying there is no recognition because memory is eliminated and, therefore, the new is there.
K: You say, `know yourself.' But how am I to know myself, observe what I am? Do I bring into that observation past memories, the hurts, the remembrances, and with those memories look at myself? That is my point. If I bring in these memories, then I am not looking, memories are looking, and memories are in action.
Can there be an abeyance, can I put memories aside and observe? That may be the factor of regeneration because in that observation there is a breaking away from the past.
S.P.: Once for all?
K: That is greed. Look at it. I want to know myself because otherwise I have no foundation for anything. I know the limits of words. There is an observation of the word and an observation of the limits of knowledge. I see that when I use the words `know myself', I have already put it in a cup, blanketed it. So I don't use those words. Is there an observation of the movement of the self without the word, without recognition, without the previous experience which in observation distorts what is happening?
I.I.: I can't, truly, humanly, look without being totally myself in looking. And, therefore, I can put the word in abeyance. But at times I need crutches.
K: The moment you use the words `I need crutches', you will need them.
I.I.: I accept your criticism of the word `need'. Now and then I find myself using crutches, and I won't, for this reason, despair.
K: Achyutji, you were speaking of the red traffic light that stops you for the moment. Can all the past stop? But it is so strong that it comes back. Dr. Illich also says the same thing, that he needs crutches at moments.
To know myself is very important. I see the limitations of knowledge, I see very, very clearly that the very word `know' is a dangerous word in the sense that it has tremendous associations with knowledge. So what have I left? I have understood the limitations of knowledge, I also see the Anglo-European word `feeling' and the danger of that word because I can invent a lot of feeling and a whole lot of froth. So I can also see the limitations of that. And at the end of this, where am I?
I started out with regeneration, came to the limitations of knowledge, the limitations of feeling, the dangers associated with that and, at the end of it, I ask, `Do I know myself?' For, `myself' is the limitation of knowledge, limitation of the word `to know', the feeling and the entity who says I have to get rid of this and asks, `Who am I?' All this is the self, with its associations, with all the extravagant, fragmentary things involved in it. At the end of it, where am I?
I can honestly then say with genuine affirmation - in the sense that I am not inventing it - that I am not accepting the authority of somebody else, that there is nothing to know. Which does not mean there is something else. All that I can say is there is nothing, which means there is not a thing, which means not a single movement of thought. So there is an ending, a stopping, to thought. There is not a thing. On that we have built all this - my attachments, my beliefs, my fears. On this nothing, everything is. Therefore that is unreal; this is real.
So I have found a key to regeneration, the key being emptying the mind of all the past which is knowledge, the limitations of knowing, feelings and the content of my feelings. Would you call this meditation?
I.I.: When I do it for myself, yes.
K: Myself is a word.
I.I.: When I do it, yes.
K: Is that doing progressive or immediate?
I.I.: It seems to be immediate and not progressive.
K: That is right, keep it there.
I.I.: But I agree there is a temptation to make it progressive, to transform it again into something you want.
K: What does the word temptation mean? One of our difficulties is that we see all this intellectually and then make an abstraction of it, which is an idea, a conclusion, and then work with the conclusion. Have I really understood deeply the limitations of knowledge, knowledge meaning institutions, systems, everything?
I would like to ask you, is there a regeneration taking place? Forgive me if I put you in a corner. We have all listened and say, this is true. I see regeneration is tremendously important. Have I captured it, tasted it, has it a perfume? Have I got it? Not in the sense of holding it. If we have not, then what are we all talking about? Are we merely ploughing in sand and never sowing? Dr. Illich, are we in communication with each other linguistically?
I.I.: I think so. May I ask a question? I don't want to seem impudent. When you ask the question, is there a regeneration going on, I wanted to answer! I listen very attentively to the crow up there on the tree.
K. Yes sir. I have also been listening to it.
2nd Seminar Madras
14th January 1978
Insights into Regeneration
P.J.: Could we discuss the problem of the sorrow of man, the nature of compassion and meditation? I feel we are in a trap: being in sorrow and not understanding the nature of compassion.
K: May I ask, what are your ideas or concepts about sorrow, meditation and love?
A.P.: Sorrow is an inescapable part of life. We are helpless victims when a part of humanity is forced to live a subhuman life, with no hope of change in their way of life. Unless one sees some affirmative process, one feels completely lost.
P.J.: You can't talk about the sorrow of another.
A.P.: But it is my sorrow. I am not talking about another's.
P.J.: Sorrow is something integral to one.
A.P.: I am talking about sorrow. It is integral. Nothing can be more integral than the fact that there is no compassion in me as an authentic response. When I witness the sorrow of another, I am part of that sorrow.
K: Sir, is there such a thing as my sorrow, your sorrow and his sorrow?
P.J.: Sorrow is not a concept, not an idea. It is deeply in me.
K: I wonder what we mean by the word `sorrow'. Let us go slowly, because it is rather important. What do we mean by sorrow, grief, pain? Every human being goes through this ugly business of sorrow. Some people think that it is a cleansing process, an enlightening process. Some give explanations which appear to satisfy them - you did something in the past, you are paying for it now. Strip away all these words; what remains is the actuality, the feeling of sorrow; not the word; not the connotation of that word, not the evocation of the images that word brings up. Now, what is this deep feeling that we call sorrow? My son dies, and there is a tremendous feeling. Is that sorrow?
P.J.: It is sorrow.
K: In that is involved self-pity, loneliness, a sudden realization that I have lost somebody and I am left alone. I suffer because he has not lived as long as I have lived and so on. But the root of this enormous sorrow is what man has carried through timeless centuries.
P.K.S.: As a preliminary definition of the word `sorrow', not the connotative definition, what is actually felt when you are in sorrow? I think there is some sense of privation, a want, and this produces a state of mind, a pang which is called sorrow. In it is a sense of limitation, finitude, helplessness.
A.P.: If I may suggest, we human beings know pain, physical pain. Physical pain is a condition which we have to accept; we can do nothing about it. Sorrow is the exact equal of that - psychologically; that is, we are totally unable to do anything about it. We have to just take it and be with it.
K: Sir, you meet the poor people next door, you have great sympathy for them. Perhaps you may feel guilty because you get used to their poverty, their endless degradation. Perhaps you may have great affection for them. Would you call the fact, man living in this appalling way, sorrow?
I.I.: I do. I, at least, know that there are different kinds of sorrow in my life. One of them is that sorrow of which we speak: sorrow when I do something violent to somebody else, which takes away from somebody else. I live in society. So many things I cannot undertake without taking away big chunks from others. For instance, tomorrow morning I take the jet plane from Madras to Delhi and on this plane which I take for my benefit, I have calculated that I will grab out of the atmosphere more oxygen than a little herd of elephants from birth to their death can breathe. I will be co-responsible for an exploitation of many thousands of Indians, each one who in a sensible way pays his taxes and lives in a world dominated by the planes so that some of us can have that sense of importance of flying in a jet today. I do something which if I didn't, I would have to radically, totally change the way I live. I have not yet decided to make that change. In fact, I create for myself legitimate reasons by word-constructions for taking that plane, and in this sense I feel a very particular kind of sorrow which is the one about which I would want you to enlighten me most.
K: We will discuss it, sir. As you said, there are different kinds of sorrow. There is your kind, what you described; then there is somebody losing a son, a father and mother; seeing appalling ignorance, and seeing that there is no hope for man in a country like this. And there is the sorrow, the deep agony of realizing you are nothing. There is also the sorrow of how man treats man and so on. Now, what does all this sorrow mean? According to Christian terms or Hindu terms, is there an end to sorrow or is it an everlasting thing? Is there an end to any sorrow at all?
I.I.: Certainly there is no end to this sorrow as long as I am willing to participate in violence.
K: Then I shut myself up. If I narrow down my life, `I won't do this, I don't do that,' then I would not be able to move at all. For myself I have faced this. I can see from what you say, that we exploit people. So what can I do? Before I answer, before we can discuss that question, could we ask what is love? Perhaps it may solve the problem and answer this question.
I am asking what is love. Biologically, life is reproduction and all the rest of it. Is that love? I would like to go into it, if you don't mind; then, perhaps, we shall be able to answer the fundamental question, which is, whatever I do at present causes some kind of sorrow to another. The very clothes I wear is making somebody work for me. So I would like to approach this question from a different angle. The word `love' is loaded; misused, vulgarized, sexualized, anything you like. What then is love, because that may answer this gradual inaction that arises when I say, `I can't do this; if I do this, I am depriving somebody of that, I am exploiting somebody,' and out of that comes sorrow; perhaps we can have a dialogue about this feeling of love.
Do I love my wife? Sir, let us go into it a little bit because this may resolve our problems of sorrow, exploitation, using other people, narrowing down our lives. I am trying to prevent myself from being reduced to narrow activity. So I want to ask this question, is everything biological? Is my love for my wife biological?
R. Krishnaswamy: Yes.
K: Would you say that to your wife?
K.S.: Yes, sir.
K: I am not being rude. I am not being personal. Then you are reducing it to a purely sensory reaction.
K.S.: Yes, it begins like that and then we begin to verbalize it, romanticize it.
K: Yes, it begins there and then you build up the picture, the image. Is that it?
K.S.: I think that is true. The primitive man, the hunter, did not have any of these problems which we are facing now. Is my love for my child also this? Is this an extreme form of selfishness, because we want to perpetuate ourselves?
K: You are saying, sir, that this state is not only biological, it is sensory. Sensory love may begin with desire, desire being seeing, perception, contact, sensation, thought, the image and desire; that is the process. You are saying love is desire, it is biological. I want to find out whether love exists at all apart from the sensory, apart from desire, attachment, jealousy and, therefore, hate. Is that love? If I told my wife it is all sensory, and if she is at all intelligent, she would throw something at me. We have reduced love to such a limited, ugly thing. Therefore, we don't love.
Love implies much more than the word. It implies a great deal of beauty. It does not rest in the woman I love, but in the very feeling of love, which implies a relationship with nature, love of stars, the earth, stones, the stray dog, all that, and also the love of my wife. If you reduce it to desire and sensation, if you call it a biological movement, then it becomes a tawdry affair. Your wife treats you, and you treat her, as a biological necessity. Is that love? So I am asking, is desire, pleasure, love? Is sexual comfort love?
I.I.: Is love communion?
K: How can I commune with another if I have an image of her?
I.I.: An image may be an obstacle to communion?
K: Can I be free of the image I have of you, of my wife, of the professor, doctor and so on? Only then is there a possibility of communion. I don't have to use words.
I.I.: And love, perhaps, is free communion?
K: I would not like to say so, yet. We will come to it presently.
P.K.S.: In a fundamental sense, love is the opposite of desire. What I mean is, desire insists on getting. Love insists on giving.
K: You see, sir, you are categorizing, conceptualizing, you have already put it in a cage.
P.K.S.: I only wanted to suggest that love is not merely biological; it is much more than that. It is giving, a sacrifice.
K: Sir, if I have a wife, what is my relationship to her apart from sexual, apart from attachment, apart from all the rest of the traditional meanings of relationship? Am I really related to the lady?
Relationship means to be in contact at all levels, not just the physical level which is desire, pleasure. Does it not imply, when I say, `I love you,' and I mean it, that you and I meet at the same level, meet with the same intensity, at the same moment?
K: That happens apparently only sexually, at the biological level. I question this whole approach to life, life in which there is this immense thing called love. Now, are we not concerned to find out what it is? Does not your heart, mind, say that you have to find out? Or, is everything reduced to a verbal level?
N. T.: If love is sensual pleasure and based on the pursuit of desire, it is not love; love has to be based on compassion.
K: But what is compassion?
N.T.: Compassion itself is love.
K: Sir, you have freedom with words.
N.T.: Love is universal.
K: I want to find out, I want to have this sense of love. As a human being it is like breathing; I must have it.
N.T.: That sense of love is universal, not moved by desire.
K: All right sir, don't think me impudent, don't think me rude. Have you got that love, or is this just theory?
N.T.: It does not arise in the human mind.
K: That is verbalizing it. I want to know as a human being, do you love anybody?
N. T.: Not through a possessive type of love.
K: Oh, no. You are all theorizing.
N.T.: No, sir.
K: You are a priest, you are a monk; I come to you and say, please, for god's sake, let me have the perfume of that which is called love. And you say love is compassion, compassion is love, you go around it.
N.T.: Love in the absolute sense is present in all human beings.
K: Is it there when you kill somebody, when Stalin kills twenty million people, when India fights Pakistan? Is there love in every human being?
N.T.: Love is there in every human being.
K: If there were love in every human being, do you think India would be like this - held in poverty, degradation, dishonesty, corruption? What are you all talking about?
Prof. Subramaniam: Sir, if love means being related to another person at all levels, when I don't understand myself and when I don't love myself, how is it possible to love another? I am not talking about self-love. I don't find that I am relating myself at all levels to myself. When that is so, I realize that I am not related to another person, whether it is my wife or another, at all levels.
K: So, as a human being, don't you want to come upon this, don't you want to find out? Don't you want to have a sense of this great thing? Unless you have it, I don't see the point of all these discussions, pujas, and all that is going on in this country.
R.B.: I think the point is that when there is no relatedness inside oneself, when there are warring elements within oneself, there can't be love.
K: Sir, I would rather put the question this way: If this thing, love, is merely a biological process and one sees it even intellectually as a shoddy little affair, and a human being has never had this perfume, don't you want to find out this love, this state of passion; don't you want to drink at that extraordinary fountain? Or have we mesmerized ourselves verbally so that we have become incapable of any movement outside the field of our own particular verbalization? The Christians, Dr. Illich will tell you much more easily than I, have said, `Love Jesus, love Christ, love your neighbour as you would love yourself,' and so on. I question that any religious approximation or dictum is love. One may go to the church, one may go to the temple and love god, if god exists. Is that love?
R.B.: Sir, you started with the question of what is sorrow and followed it up with the question of what is love. Could you say what is the relationship between the two questions?
K: Is love this constant battle, words, theories and living at that level? I personally can't imagine any human being not having this love. If he does not have it, he is dead.
A.P.: Is that not the crux of the problem of regeneration?
K: Yes, sir. If you haven't got love, how can you regenerate anything? If you don't look after the plant that you have just put in the earth, if you don't give it water, air, proper nourishment, affection, see that there is plenty of light, the plant won't grow. Let us leave love for the moment. Shall we go into what is meditation?
P.J.: Without comprehending sorrow and love, we cannot know what is meditation.
R.B.: But is that itself not the problem? Millions of people are not even asking what is love.
I.I.: Is it, perhaps, also something so secret, hidden, personal? But it is so different because of its being concrete in each one of us. You spoke about our loving each other, some kind of close existence.
K: Sir, I can belong to a community, a commune, and then feel close to the others because we are there at the same time.
I.I.: Yes, but that has nothing to do with it.
I.I.: But somewhere at the very deepest level, the marvellous, glorious thing which I believe makes for love is that, your life and my life at that moment are both made sacred, the forms of renewal of mutual presence.
K: Forgive me, I wouldn't say that. I would say: When there is love, there is no `you' or `me,.
I.I.: Sir, that could be easily understood. I know you don't mean it that way, but love is a symbiosis.
I.I.: There is no `you' and there is no `me', but on the other hand, there is more of you and more of me.
K: Sir, when there is great beauty like a mountain, the majesty of it, the beauty of it, the shade, the light, `you' don't exist. The beauty of that thing drives away the `you'. Do you follow what I am saying?
I.I.: I follow what you are saying.
K: At that moment, when there is no `me' because of the majesty of the hill, there is only that sense of great wondering glowing beauty. So, I say: Beauty is when I am not, with my problem, with my gods, with my biological love and all the rest of it. When I am not, the other is.
I.I.: And yet - correct me if I am wrong - at that moment the transparent flame is burning higher and the stream of life is clearer, fresher, and the renewal of this world goes on.
K: At that moment there is a new rejuvenation taking place, if you like to put it that way. I am putting it this way, that there is a sense of an otherness than me.
I.I.: Yes. That otherness implies...
K: The otherness is not the opposite.
P.J.: May I then ask, what is it that makes the spring, the stream flow?
K: I have seen the birth of the great river right in the hills.
It starts with a few drops and then collects, and then there is a roaring stream at the end of it. Is that love?
P.J.: What is it that makes the stream flow fully?
K: I come to you and say, `Look, I don't know what love is, please teach me, help me, or let me learn what love is.' I say, attachment is not love, the mere biological pleasure with all its movements, with all its implications, is not love. So can you be free of attachment, negate it completely? Through negation you may come to the positive, but we won't do that. I come to you who are learned, who have studied, who have lived, suffered, who have children, and I say: `Please teach me, help me to understand love.' Don't say, `Love is consciousness without words,' and all that. I want this thing in me. Don't give me ashes.
P.J.: What is the relationship of sorrow to love? Is there any relationship?
K: You must relate sorrow, love and death. If you end attachment, end it. Do not say, `I will end it today but pick it up tomorrow.' End it completely and also jealousy, greed. Do not argue, but end it, which is death. Both biologically and psychologically the ending of something is death. So, will you give up, renounce - to use a traditional term - your status, position, attachments, beliefs, gods? Can you throw them into the river and see what happens? But you won't do this. Will renunciation give love, help you to understand the beauty of it? Please, sir, you are monks, you have studied, please tell me.
P.K.S.: Renunciation, sir, can be of many kinds. Renunciation of selfishness certainly won't be love.
K: Will my becoming a monk, giving up the world, taking a vow of celibacy, give me love?
P.K.S.: No. One can be a monk, take vows and yet not have love.
K: So what am I to do? You are a philosopher, you teach all this. Philosophy means love of truth. Are you giving me life? Are you giving me, helping me, to understand truth?
P.K.S.: From your observations we obtained certain descriptions of love.
K: I don't want descriptions of love. I want food.
P.K.S.: We have got certain characteristics of love. One of these is unselfishness, the other is non-possessiveness. These are all positive aspects. Certain characteristics that you mention are positive, but the very nature of ourselves is that there is jealousy and greed.
K: Right, sir. I am your disciple; I come to learn from you because you are a philosopher. I am not being rude, but I ask, sir, are you living it or are these only words? If you are, then there is a communion between us. I am fighting for a breath of this. I am drowning. What am I to do?
I say to myself, nobody can help me. No guru, no book, nothing, will help me. So I discard the whole thing; I won't even touch it. Then I ask, what is love? Let me find out because if I don't have that flame, that love, life means nothing; I may pass examinations, become a great philosopher, but it is nothing. I must find out. I can only find out something through negation. Through negation I come to the positive; I don't start with the positive. If I start with the positive, I end up with uncertainty. If I start with uncertainty, then something positive occurs. I say, I know love is not merely a biological thing. I put the biological movement, desire, in its right place. So I am free from the biological explanation of love. Now, is love pleasure which means desire, will, pursuit of an incident which happened yesterday, the memory of that and the cultivation of that? Pleasure implies enjoyment, seeing the beauty of the world, seeing the beauty of nature; I put that also in its place. Then what is love? It is not attachment, obviously; it is not jealousy, possessiveness, domination; so I discard all that.
Then I ask, what place has thought in relationship? Has it any place at all? Thought is remembrance, the response of knowledge, experience from which thought is born. So thought is not love. In that there is a denial of the total structure which man has built. My relationship to my wife is no longer based on thought, event, sensory desire, biological demand or attachment; it is totally new. Will you go through all this? Now I ask, what is love? It is the ending of everything that man has created in his relationship with another - country, race, language, clan. Does that ending mean death?
P.K.S.: It is knowing the completion of life.
K: No, no. I said the ending of thought in relationship. Is not that death?
I.I.: Sir, could we not say I have never loved enough until the moment of my death?
K: I want to invite death, not commit suicide. So death means an ending. I am attached to my wife and death comes and says, look, that is all over. Ending means death; ending of attachment is a form of death. The ending of jealousy, biological demands, is also death, and out of that may come the feeling called love. We are educated to believe that death is something at the end of our life. I am saying death is at the beginning of life, because death means ending. This ending is the ending of my selfishness. Therefore, out of this comes that extraordinary bird called love, the phoenix. I think if one has that sense of love, I can take the aeroplane. It doesn't matter if I take a bullock cart or an aeroplane, but I won't deceive myself. I have no illusions.
I.I.: Is it also the end of sorrow?
K: Yes. Sir, do you know the Latin word for sorrow? In it is involved passion. I know most human beings know what lust, biological pleasure and all the rest of it is. Are they actually aware of what sorrow is? Or is it something that you know, recognise, experience after it is over? Do I know sorrow at the moment my brother, my son, my wife, dies? Or is it always in the past?
I.I.: I do not know the sorrow of my own injustice, which I feel is connected like the shadow of my own action. A single bullock cart - that's a very small affair.
K: So I won't reduce it to that. Sir, you are saying, if I take the jet, specially the Jumbo, I am up there; when I take the bullock cart, I am down here. And if I walk, I am still further down.
I.I.: Would it not be wisdom to learn, to act with sorrow and, therefore, keep sorrow also in its place? If I have the courage to act with the sorrow which I understand, then at the very same time, I will progressively eliminate from my life all those things which cast a very long shadow of sorrow.
K: Sir, why should I carry sorrow?
I.I.: Because I do injustice; otherwise how can I justify that which cannot be justified?
K: No, I won't justify. I want to find out what is right action, not justify, not say I won't fly by jet. I want to find out what is right action under all circumstances. Right action may vary in different things, but it is always right. We are using the word `right' - correct, true, non-contradictory, not the action of self-interest; all that is implied in that word ``right action''. What is my right action? If I can find that out I have solved it, whether I go by aeroplane or by bullock cart or whether I walk. But what is right action in my life? Right action will come about when the mind is not concerned with the `me'.
P.K.S.: Can I ask for the definition of meditation? Is it constant awareness?
I.I.: There is no exercise of the mind about it but an awareness.
K: The word `meditation' implies, according to the dictionary, to think over, ponder, to reflect upon, to enquire into something mysterious; not what we have made of it.
P.K.S.: But could it not be applied to cases where something has been known to be true and ascertained to be true without any shadow of doubt?
K: How can I ascertain something to be true?
P.K.S.: For example, practice of love.
K: Love is not something to practise.
I.I.: No, in the sense of being aware of.
K: No sir, I said ending of something. There is no practising the ending of something. I end my jealousy. I want to find out what love is. Obviously love is not jealousy. So end it without argument. Because my whole urge, my whole concern is to find this thing, I will come upon it. In the same way, I want to know what meditation is: Zen meditation, Burmese meditation, Indian meditation, Tibetan meditation, Hinayana meditation. Must I go through all this to find out what meditation is? Must I go to Japan, spend years in monasteries, practise, go to Burma, go to India, to all the gurus?
I want to know what you understand by meditation. Would you agree, sir, that the basic principle, the essence of all this meditation is control? If you ask a Christian what is meditation, he will tell you one thing; if you ask an Indian guru, he will tell you something else. If you ask a man who has practised meditation for twenty-five years, he will tell you something else again. So, what is meditation? Is it control of the mind, or thought, and, therefore, control of action? Control implies choice. Choice implies no freedom at all. If I choose, there is no freedom.
P.K.S.: Control is an important element in meditation.
K: So you are saying control is part of meditation. Then who is the controller, the Higher Self, the atman, the super-consciousness, which are all put together by thought? Now, can I live a life without control?
I.I.: Sir, for the purpose of this conversation, could we not say that meditation is the rehearsal of the act of dying?
K: Forgive me, why should I have a rehearsal?
I.I.: One day I will be called upon for a last time, and before I could really engage in that supreme activity which is to die...
K: So why not die now?
I.I.: Now, if it is the act of dying, I will be happy to put it that way. Only if I say to somebody that meditation means dying, and if I say that tomorrow morning I will have breakfast with you, people won't understand me; that is the reason I suggested the term.
K: No, sir. I don't think we are meeting each other. The word `meditation' has now become the fashion in Europe. It is vulgarized, industrialized, money is made out of it. Wipe away all that. Is not meditation to come upon something sacred, not put together by thought which says, `This is sacred'? I mean sacred in the sense of something that is not contaminated by time, by the environment, something that is original. I am shy of these words, but please accept it. Is meditation an enquiry into that?
I.I.: Into that of which we speak shyly?
K: Yes, into that. My enquiry then must be completely undirected, unbiased. Otherwise, I will go off at a tangent. If I have a motive for meditation because I am unhappy and, therefore, I want to find that, then my motive dictates. Then I go off into illusions.
I.I.: If I said the same thing in different terms: Meditation is the readiness for radical surprise, will you accept it?
K: Yes, I accept it. So my concern in meditation is - have I a motive? Motive means movement. So I have a motive in meditation. Do I want a reward? I must be very clear that there is no search for reward or punishment, which means there is no direction. And also I must be very clear that no element creates an illusion. Illusion comes into being when there is desire, when I want something. I see the fact that the mind in meditation must be tremendously aware that it is not caught in any kind of self-hypnosis, self-created illusion. So part of meditation is to wipe away the illusory machine. And, if there is control, it is already directed. Therefore, it means, can I live a daily life in which there is absolutely no control? That means, no censor, saying `do this, do that'. All our life, from childhood, we are educated to control, to suppress, to follow. So can I live a daily life, not an abstract life, with my wife, with my friends, without any control, without direction, without movement?
That is the beginning of meditation.