January 19, 2020
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Audio | J. Krishnamurti – New Delhi 1967 – Public Talk 1 – Freedom and love

This is J. Krishnamurti’s first public talk
in New Dehli, 1967. Considering there is so much violence, disorder
and confusion in the world, not only in this country but almost everywhere, it becomes
more and more important that one becomes very serious. Not serious according to one’s own fancy
or inclination, or according to any particular plan or system, because systems, organised
belief, organised conduct, has completely failed, it has no meaning any more. What has meaning, apparently, in this world,
at the present time, unfortunately, is lawlessness, and in this country inefficiency, corruption
and each man, specially in the political world, seeking his own fulfilment through ambition. We all know this and we have become totally
indifferent. We have lost our moorings, we are confused,
and it seems to me that it is very important that each one of us become extraordinarily
serious. You know, one of the things that we are serious
about is when our pleasure is taken away, or when our pleasure is threatened, then we
become not only violent, but somewhat serious. But we are talking about seriousness that
demands complete attention; attention to what we are doing, what we are thinking, the way
of our life. Because as one observes, all leadership has
failed, there is no authority to tell us what to do, and if they do, we don’t pay attention
at all, we go on with our own pleasant way. And organised belief, as religion, has no
longer any meaning whatsoever. And systems, whether it is the communist system
or any other system, religious, or a system that one has developed for oneself according
to which one functions, one thinks, again has failed. I think this is fairly obvious. It is obvious to anybody who is at all aware
of what is going on in the world, not only in the world outside, but also in the world
in which we live, in the family circle, the world of our own secret longing, secret desires
and pleasures. So as there is so much confusion and violence,
so much disorder and lawlessness, we, at least those of us who are somewhat earnest, must
commit ourselves, not to any particular belief, not to any particular system, but commit ourselves
to a serious enquiry which will help us to live totally differently. Because that’s what is needed, surely, a
way of life which we, as human beings, not only individually, but as a human being, by
enquiring, by seeking, by questioning, by doubting, by totally discarding, find out
a way of life that will be completely orderly, not according to a formula but according to
a serious attention which begins to enquire into every activity of our life. Such commitment is essential. I do not know if one realises, not only outwardly,
but also inwardly, how shoddy our lives are, how empty, meaningless, though we may well
repeat endlessly some authority, or repeat a religious book over and over again, or follow
some religious leader, if we examine our life we will find that it is very empty, lonely,
miserable, confused and utterly meaningless, the way we live. No temple, no book, no leader, no belief of
any kind or authority is going to solve this problem for us. And realising that, seeing what actually is
taking place both outwardly and inwardly, one has to become extraordinarily serious,
and the commitment is to be serious. I don’t think we realise
sufficiently clearly or see objectively, what is actually going on outwardly and inwardly,
both psychologically and objectively. We are incapable of looking because we are
so frightened. We think others will do something to take
us out of this mire: some political leader or some guru or go back to the past, revive
the past, or form parties hating other people. This is what actually is going on, and as
one observes there is a general decline, not only morally, ethically, but also intellectually. Intellectually we repeat what others have
said, endlessly. We compare various clever, intellectual authorities,
specialists, with others. We read endlessly and we think we are very
intellectual when we can quote, when we can compare dialectically one theory against another,
one opinion against another. So intellectually we are almost dead. Please do observe, listen to what is being
said, neither to agree or disagree, but to see the actual fact, how intellectually, mentally
we are hedged in. There is no space, there is no vitality, there
is no critical awareness. Intellectually we are educated to perform
technical jobs, pass some footling little examination, add a few alphabets after your
name to get a job, and the rest of one’s life is totally neglected. And so intellectually, that is to think clearly,
objectively, forcefully, vitally, is denied. And obviously we have no feelings at all,
we have become very callous, not only in this country, perhaps more so in this country,
because of the population, poverty, the inefficiency, the self-concern prevents strong feelings,
passionate desire to understand, to change one’s life. And without passion you cannot be serious
and without passion one cannot do anything. And physically, you know what is obviously
happening in the world, there’s starvation, there’s physical fear, insecurity, a slow
decline intellectually, emotionally and physically. If you will, listen to what the speaker is
saying, not to find out what he’s saying, whether he’s saying false or true, or he’s
exaggerating, but listen to find out if that’s not your own life. Use the speaker as a mirror in which you see
yourself actually as you are. Otherwise if you merely listen, or hear a
few words or a few ideas then this talk will be utterly meaningless, but if you listen
with care and attention so that as you listen you see yourself actually what you are, your
own life, how empty, how dull, how stupid, how meaningless it is, though you go to the
office every day, how your thoughts function in a formula, how your whole attitude towards
life is conditioned by your circumstances. If in listening you can discover that, discover
it for yourself, not because – not be told about it – discover it for oneself, then
it has an extraordinary significance. But if you are told about it, and then discover
it or agree with it, then it is second-hand, it’s not original. So it seems to me that one has to commit oneself
to be very serious. I mean by that word ‘serious’, to give
attention, and you cannot give total attention if you do not see actually what is taking
place in yourself. Attention surely implies care, that is, to
look with care, to look at one’s own life, one’s own way of thinking, one’s activity
with care, and you cannot care if there’s no affection. If there is no love you cannot possibly care. If you have affection then you do not compare,
you observe. It’s only when there is no love then there
is comparison, then there is the drive of ambition. And specially in this country – and when
I say in this country I am not comparing this country with the West, or with Russia or with
China or with America, I am saying this country, non-comparatively – specially in this country,
there is no love at all, you might think that’s a very strong statement but it’s not. And in this country, though we have talked
endlessly about violence and non-violence, you are very violent people. Though you have talked endlessly about God
and spirituality, going to temples, having your own sectarian beliefs and all the rest
of it, you are really not spiritual people at all. Please listen very carefully, I am not criticising,
I am not taking the almighty attitude, I am merely observing the facts as they are. Because belief in God is a superstition
and you can be superstitious endlessly, and you’ll never know what reality is. And to find out what reality is, there must
be the cessation of all superstition including your gods, your rituals, your temples, your
sacred books, everything must come to an end to find out. And so when you talk about the Gita, the Koran
and the various books and are endlessly talking, explaining, making commentaries, obviously
you are escaping from reality, and therefore you are not spiritual at all. If you were, this country would be entirely
different; then you would know what love is, then you would not be caught in the intellectual
dissection of what love is. And there is a general decline morally; you
may be traditional, because we are, everyone, is conditioned in a particular form of tradition,
and functioning in a pattern is not morality. There can be no morality if there is no love. And as love cannot possibly be cultivated,
any more than you can cultivate the sense of beauty, one is lost, because one has functioned
all one’s life in a formula, in an ideal, in an ideology and you think to have an ideal
is the greatest of all intellectual striving. And all ideology, whether it is of the left
or the right, of the centre, religious, or any ideology is idiotic, because it doesn’t
face the fact. So seeing all this, not intellectually, you
don’t see danger intellectually; when there is danger, physical danger you see it actually,
it is there, right in front of you, you don’t theorise. So there is
this great danger which we refuse to see, the danger that we are this, in this country
more so, because of the climate, the population, the superstition, the traditions, the divisions
of religions, caste, over-population and so on and on and on, a thousand reasons, not
being aware of all this, of all the implications involved in all this, we think we’ll solve
this problem by leaving it to somebody else, either to the political leader or a religious
teacher, or return to the past, which is dead and gone. Those who want to revive the past are dead
people. So seeing all this, actually in our life as
it is, it seems to me that it is very important to become serious, and in that seriousness
commit ourselves; not to join some particular party, not to follow a particular leader or
a particular course of action, because leaders, systems, activity has brought man to this
terrible confusion, to this extraordinary anarchy, disorder, so one has to commit oneself
to become serious so that one lives a totally different kind of life, that one brings about
a total revolution in oneself, a psychological mutation. And that’s the only commitment that has
deep and vital significance. To commit oneself to freedom and to find out,
come upon it, perhaps darkly, without knowing, what love is. Those are the only two things that matter:
freedom and that thing, that word, that is not the actuality, called love. Because without freedom, total freedom, there
can possibly be no love. And a serious man
is committed to these two things only and nothing else. Freedom implies, surely, does it not, for
the mind to free itself totally from all conditioning. That is, to uncondition itself as being a
Hindu, a Sikh, a Muslim or a Christian or a Communist – complete freedom to uncondition
oneself. Because this division between man as the Hindu,
the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Christian or the American, the communist, the socialist,
the capitalist and so on, different religions, this division has brought disaster, confusion,
misery, wars. So what is necessary is whether the mind can
first of all free itself from its conditioning. You may say it’s not possible; if you say
it is not possible, then there’s no way out. It’s like a man living in a prison and saying,
‘I cannot get out’. All that he can do is decorate the prison,
polish it, make it more comfortable, more convenient, limit himself and his activities
within the four walls of his own making. So such a man who says, ‘It is not possible’
– and there are many, the whole communist world says it is not possible, therefore let’s
condition the mind in a different way. Brainwash it first, then condition it according
to the communist system. And the religious people have done this, exactly
the same thing; from childhood they have been brainwashed and conditioned to believe they
are Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics and so on. So religions talk about love and freedom,
they insist on conditioning the mind. So if you say man is not capable of freeing
himself from his conditioning, then you have no problem. Then you accept the prison and live in the
prison, with the wars, with the confusion, with the conflict, with the misery, the agony
and the loneliness of life, with its violence, brutality and hatred, which you do. But if you do not, if you say it must be possible
to uncondition the mind, then we can go into it, then together, not some authority leading
you to it, not the speaker taking your hand and leading you step by step, because when
there is freedom there is no authority. Freedom is at the beginning as well as at
the end, and if you accept an authority at the beginning, you’ll always be a slave
at the end. So one has to enquire together in freedom. Please do understand this. The speaker is not telling you what to do,
not setting himself as an authority, you have had authorities, all the saints you can stomach,
with all their absurdities, with all their immaturities. But if you are enquiring and there is no authority,
when you enquire, then we can take the journey together, not being led, but together, sharing. And to enquire there must be freedom, otherwise
you cannot possibly enquire. A real scientist, the real one, is not committed
to any government. He has no nationality. He’s not seeking an end. He’s a pure scientist, investigating objectively
right to the end, without projecting his personality, his nationality, his ambitions. So if you are enquiring into this question
of freedom, not intellectually, but actually with all your blood and with your mind, with
your heart, because it’s only in freedom that you can live, and it’s only when there
is freedom there is peace. Then in that freedom the mind has immense
space to wander. But a mind that is not free, tethered to a
belief, tethered to an ambition, tethered to a family, or to some petty little god of
its own invention, such a mind can never understand the extraordinary beauty, or the love that
comes out of this freedom. And this freedom can only come about naturally,
easily, only when we begin to understand this conditioning. And you cannot be aware of this conditioning
as a Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, as a socialist or a communist, you know, held
tightly by four walls, of your particular shoddy little religion, or by shoddy ambitions;
and to enquire into this conditioning, and most people are conditioned, one must first
become aware of it. To be aware, that is to observe, to look,
to look at your own thoughts, to look at your beliefs, to look at your feelings. But when we do look, we condemn, or justify,
or say that’s natural, we don’t look with choicelessness, we are not aware of our conditioning. We are aware of our conditioning with choice,
of like and dislike, what is pleasurable and what is not pleasurable. But we are not aware of our conditioning without
any choice at all, actually as it is. Have you ever observed a tree or a cloud,
or a bird sitting on the lawn, or on a branch, have you? I doubt it. If you have observed, what actually takes
place, what actually do you see when you see a tree or a bird or a cloud? Do you see the cloud or do you see the image
you have about that cloud? Do, please, find out. You see a bird, and you give it a name or
you say, ‘I don’t like that bird.’ Or you say, ‘How beautiful that bird is.’ So, when you say all these things you are
actually not seeing the bird at all; your words, your thoughts, whether you like it
or don’t like it, prevents you from looking. But there is a choiceless awareness to look
at something without all the interference of what you already know. After all, to be in communication with another,
to be in communion with another, is only possible when you listen without any acceptance or
denial, just to listen. In the same way, to look at yourself as if
in a mirror, what you actually are, not what you should be, or what you want to be, but
actually. You see, we dare not look; if we do look,
we say, ‘How ugly I am’ or ‘How angry I am’, or this or that. So to look, to see and to listen, is only
possible when there is freedom from the thoughts, the emotions, the condemnations and judgements. You know, probably you have never looked at
your wife or husband without the image you have about him or her. Please observe this in your own life. You have an image, about him, or she has an
image about you, and the relationship is between these two images. And these images have been built up, built
through many years of wrangles, of bitterness, anger, pleasure, criticism, annoyance, irritation,
frustration. And so we look at things through the images
that we have built about them. After all, you are listening to the speaker,
because you have an image about him, therefore you are listening to the image, and therefore
you are not directly in contact with the speaker, nor with anything in life. And when one is in direct contact, you know
what happens? Space disappears and space between two people
disappears and therefore there is immense space, and this is only possible when there
is freedom. Freedom from the making of images, the myths,
the ideologies, so that you are directly in contact. Then when you are directly in contact with
the actual, then there is a transformation. You know what is happening in the world? They are experimenting, and many of them are
taking drugs, the hippies, the beatniks, the Beatles, and so on throughout the world, are
taking drugs, certain forms of drugs, and when they take it, the space between the two
disappears. Have you ever watched a bouquet of flowers
on a table? If you have looked at it attentively, you
will see that there is a space between you and the thing you observe. The space is the time, and the drug chemically
removes that, that space and time, therefore you become extraordinarily sensitive and being
very sensitive, you feel much more, because then you are directly in contact with the
flower. But such contact is temporary, you have to
go on taking drug after drug, every day perhaps. But when one observes oneself, how narrowly,
shoddily one is conditioned, observe it, that is, see it actually as it is, without any
verbal explanation, or justification or condemnation, just to be choicelessly aware of that fact,
that you are angry, ambitious, narrow-minded, believing in so many things, like a savage,
so many superstitions, to be directly in contact with it, and then you will see if you are
directly in contact with it, there is no observer at all. It is the observer that makes the division,
as ‘I want to be famous’. Look: when one is angry, anger apparently
is something different from the entity that says, ‘I am angry’. Or when the entity that says, ‘I am violent’. So violence is different from the observer. But is that so? Is not the observer himself violent? Not the division between the observer and
the observed. And when this division comes totally to an
end, when this ends, then the observer is the observed and therefore anger is no longer
possible. Anger, violence only exists when there is
the division between the observer and the observed. We’ll go into that another time, because
it’s a very complex question, it requires a great deal of enquiry, penetration, insight. It is only then there is freedom from all
conflict. And when there is freedom from conflict, then
there is peace, and out of that peace, there is love. But one cannot possibly know that quality
of what love is, unless the mind is aware of itself and has unconditioned itself and
therefore is free. Perhaps you might like to ask questions
and we can go over it together. But just a minute, sir. But to ask questions is one of the most difficult
things. To ask the right question. To ask the right question implies that you
have already thought about it, that you have already enquired, that your mind is already
sharp, clear, But anybody can ask any old question, but in asking the right question,
one obviously not only need not ask the question, but in the very asking of that question is
the right answer. Please, see the importance of this. Because we must ask questions, we must doubt
everything. Criticise everything, find out and not accept,
because we have accepted for so long, we obey instinctively, not only the policeman, but
what we are told to do, we are slaves of propaganda, and out of this confusion we ask questions
for somebody to clarify. So if you are going to ask questions, let
us be clear what we are asking first, and whom are you asking. Are you asking, are you waiting for an answer
from the speaker, or are you asking the question to find out for yourself, and therefore exposing
yourself? You understand? I can ask, but behind the asking I can hide
myself, behind the words I can shelter myself, and I just ask to pass the time or I’m curious
or I want to sharpen my intellect. But if you ask a question, ask it with deliberation,
with attention, which means you are exposing yourself. And it is good to expose oneself, not always
live behind a wall of fear. Questioner: (Inaudible) K: Are you asking a question, sir? Q: (Inaudible) K: All right, sir, I understand. All right, sir. I am afraid it would be better one by one,
sir, otherwise how can one answer all the questions at once? The questioner asks: is this choiceless awareness
possible in daily life, in the office, at home, when you are by yourself, or when you
are talking, when you are doing all the activities of life? Is this possible? Right? Now, just a minute. Whom are you asking? And who is going to tell you? I have said, the speaker has said, choiceless
awareness is a state of mind which actually sees what actually is taking place, factually,
without any condemnation, justification, which means it’s very attentive. And you say is this possible in life? Isn’t it possible in life? Wait, sir, wait, sir. Either – do please sit down, sir. There are only two states: either you are
attentive or you are not attentive. And most of us are inattentive, and we are
inattentive because we have developed various habits of thought, habits of activity, and
we function in those habits and mechanically carry on, which is inattention. And to be attentive means to be attentive
to inattention, not to cultivate attention. If you cultivate attention, then you are cultivating
duality. That is, sirs, one is inattentive, in the
office, at home, most of the time we are inattentive, daydreaming, or imagining or wishing; wishing
that things were different, complaining against the conditions we live in, being envious of
somebody else, wishing you were in that position – all that is inattention. Now, one becomes aware of this inattention,
then one says, ‘I will become attentive’, ‘I must cultivate attention.’ Right? So you begin to cultivate attention, which
is not attention at all, which is merely the opposite of inattention. I don’t know if I am making myself clear. Wait, I’ll show it to you. Q: Sir… K: Just a minute, sir, I haven’t finished. You see, sir, we are so eager to ask our questions,
that we don’t even listen to what is being said. And we talk about attention. (laughter) That’s just it, sir. Look, sirs, for many, many years, this country
with its sayings, has preached non-violence. Up and down the land, they shipped it abroad
as something extraordinary. And when there was a war between this country
and Pakistan, not one of you stood up against it. Right? Not one of you said this is wrong, to kill,
though you have preached non-violence. Now, what was factual was violence, human
beings are violent, because they have inherited the animal instincts; the animals are violent,
and man has developed from the animal, part of this violence is the animal, and instead
of tackling violence, looking at it, going into it, understanding it, uprooting it completely
in oneself, you escape into non-violence, into an ideology which is non-existent, it’s
just an idea. So if one is cultivating attention, then it
is an escape from inattention, because you will still be inattentive. But if you are aware of the nature of inattention,
then you are attentive, you don’t have to cultivate it. Is this clear at all, or not at all? Q: Clear. K: Look, sir, clear is it? Now, what do you mean by clear? (laughter) No, sir, please, this is not a
clever question, just enquire when you say it’s clear, what do you mean, verbally it’s
clear? Or you have actually understood it? If you have actually understood it, then you
are attentive. Not cultivate attention, you are attentive. And being attentive, then you will know when
you are not attentive, which is inattention. You see, sir, that’s why this whole problem
of cultivation, of becoming something – that is one is dull, stupid and one wants to become
clever, more sharp. This sharpness, this brightness is the opposite
of dullness and therefore the cleverness contains its own opposite. All right, sir, you don’t see it, all right. So it is as one can observe in one’s daily
life, one can be choicelessly aware, not practise choiceless awareness, there is no such thing
as practising something which you don’t know. What you can know is that one is inattentive. The moment you become aware that you are inattentive,
you become attentive, you are attentive. And this is very important to understand,
because if you cultivate attention, or if you cultivate bravery, there is an interval
between the fact and what you want to be, and in that interval is conflict, in that
interval there is hypocrisy. If you say, ‘I am violent, I want to understand
it’, then there is no hypocrisy. But if you say, ‘I am violent, I must become
non-violent’, and during that interval between violence and becoming non-violent you are
sowing the seeds of violence. So what is important is to find out for oneself,
not what others say, but actually observe, see, listen to yourself. In that you discover reality. When one is a liar one says, ‘I am a liar’,
not pretend and say, no, this and that. When one is angry one is angry. But to say, ‘I must not be angry’ is an
avoidance of anger, because again you’ll be angry. But if you went into anger, the whole question
of anger, why you are angry, not why you shouldn’t be angry but why are you angry. Probably you have not had enough sleep, probably
you have not had enough calcium, probably you have pet beliefs which are being shaken,
questioned. You have many reasons probably why you are
angry. But to escape from it and say, ‘I must not
be angry’ has no meaning. So in the same way, if you begin to enquire
into inattention, why you are not attentive in your office, at home, in the street, in
the bus, attentive, to watch, to look, then out of that inattention comes an extraordinary
fact of attention, naturally.

Jean Kelley