Audio | J. Krishnamurti – Brockwood Park 1969 – Public Meetings 3 – Knowing what love is


This is J. Krishnamurti’s third public talk
at Brockwood Park, 1969. Krishnamurti: I think most of us are seeking
some kind of deep significance or meaning to life. We see what is happening around us: the utter
futility of wars, the utter meaninglessness of one’s own life, the divisions, race against
race, people against people, one religion against another, the utter futility and meaninglessness
of all this struggle, and eventually end up in the grave. So we are always seeking some kind of meaning
to life. Not finding any, we either worship the State
with all its ideologies, whether it is communist or the capitalist State, or accept the tradition
that there is, or that there is not, a meaning – the meaning being the experiencing of
reality, God or what you will. Or not believing in anything, live entirely
in the present, good enough for the day – live as is profitable, convenient, satisfactory. And there are these extremes – to live entirely
for today, or to live for the future – the future designed by thought, by intellect,
by the experts. And we accept that pattern, that design, that
ideology, and that satisfies us; we think we have found a meaning to life. If one rejects both the intellectual pattern
invented by the specialists, or for oneself, or merely lives a despairing, meaningless
life in the present, then one is inevitably faced with a much deeper question, which is,
what is it all about? – the striving, the education, the family, the voting, the acquisition
of knowledge, experience – where does all that lead to? And in asking that question of ourselves,
where shall we find the answer – outwardly, in the outward relationships, in the outward
activities, objectives, ideologies, or shall we find the answer to that inwardly? And is the inward answer different from the
outward answer? Does the inward answer depend on the outward,
and the outward by the inner response? And can we go so deeply inwardly and yet live
in the outward world, doing everyday things of life; so deeply so that we understand – not
intellectually, which is really quite a bore, nor emotionally or sentimentally, which is
equally tiresome, but to go so deeply inward so that the outward and the inwardness coalesce. So there is really no outer or inner but only
a movement which has its own meaning, not invented by the mind or by clever, cunning,
deceptive thought. And perhaps that may be the answer to the
question: has life any meaning at all? And to go so deeply inwardly without rejecting
the outer – the outer being the form, the action, the responsibilities, the everyday
living – without rejecting all that, to go so deeply inwardly one needs tremendous
honesty. Not the honesty of conforming to a principle,
to an idea, to some form of pattern which one has set for oneself, and imitating, conforming. Surely that’s not honesty. Because thought can very easily deceive itself,
can create an illusion, a deception, and think that it is terribly honest. Surely honesty is to see exactly ‘what is’
without any distortion, not only outwardly but inwardly also. To see exactly what one is, both at the conscious
level as well as at the deeper level. To see if one tells a lie that it is a lie,
and there is no deception, no excuse, no covering up
or escaping from it. Because when there is such really great – I
was going to use the word ‘ruthless’, but it isn’t ruthless, it is great clarity
of perception – when there is that quality of perception there is innocency. And only then, I feel, one can begin to understand
what love is. May I talk a little bit about it? Because that word is so laden, mischievous,
ugly, and rather destructive. The politician uses it, the housewife uses
it, the priest, and the young girl in love with a boy. So if we could talk about it, which is rather
difficult, naturally, one must… I think one has to be not only verbally very
clear and also understand the state of non-verbal process of it, the structure of it. That is, there must not only be an extraordinary
sense of clarity and honesty within oneself, which inevitably brings about a quality of
innocency. And then perhaps we can freely, and with great
hesitancy, enquire into this word. First of all, surely love isn’t a sentiment,
an emotional state, because sentiment and emotion change, and where there is sentiment
and emotion there is great deal of cruelty. You can get terribly excited about the flag,
about one’s country, and ready to kill others, based on sentiment, ruthlessness, destructive. One can observe this in daily life, both outwardly
and inwardly. Where there is any emotional upheaval or sentimentality
it does bring with it a sense of hardness, brutality and violence. So love isn’t that. Do we accept that? Not ‘accept it’ – are we communicating
with each other? That’s better. Does sentimentality and emotional states,
does it bring about the quality of gentleness, tenderness? Or when there is a tenderness, a quality of
the beauty of being very gentle, is there not in it the seed of ruthlessness, brutality? You can cry over the animal and yet kill the
animal. We can say we are all brotherly, the world,
my neighbour, and yet ready to kill the neighbour in the business world or on the battlefield
– all brought about through this sentimentality and the extravagance of emotionalism. And in that obviously there is no love. Then what is it? Knowing very well that the word, the description,
is not the thing or the described. It’s a non-verbal state and yet it is not
pleasure brought about through desire. Can we go along? When there is pleasure involved in love, there
is also pain in it, there is fear, there is jealousy, this aggressive possessiveness – my
family, my wife, and husband, all the rest of it. Where there is the pursuit of pleasure there
must be this sense of domination, possessiveness, attachment, which all breeds a great deal
of fear and therefore pain. And we have called love… we have said love
goes with sex. For most of us love is sex. May we go into it a little bit or are you
all too grown up, or have finished with it? So it is really quite important thing this
question of what love is. I think one must find out for oneself, as
one must find out what living is, what death is. These are the most fundamental questions:
what is living, what is love, what is death? And if one has not found the answer for oneself,
not through somebody telling you what it is – in that there is no freedom, they are
merely copying, imitating, following, depending on your pleasure and fear. But if one really, deeply asks this question,
as any human being must ask – the more intelligent, the more aware, the more in suffering he is,
these questions must be answered. And we have said love is sex. We have put those two together, those two
words, and the activity of those two words. Which is, sex as the ultimate pleasure. And
where is thought in all this? What is the relationship between thought and
pleasure? If I am not capable of establishing that relationship
clearly between thought and pleasure, there will always be a quarrel between the two,
a wrangle, a contention, a division. So I must find out what is pleasure, or rather,
if there is pleasure without thought. Or is pleasure the process of thought? Because to us pleasure is extraordinarily
important. All our morality is based on that, the social
morality at least, which obviously is no morality at all. But as most human beings are pursuing pleasure
because they are so discontented, so unhappy, so miserable, so tortured by their own…
by the environment, by their own thoughts, by their own feelings, by their problems. And freedom for most people is pleasure and
the expression of that pleasure. And how does this pleasure relate to thought? How does thought shape it, give it vitality? You understand? One has a certain pleasure, whatever it is,
sexual, or the pleasure of seeing a lovely sunset, the beauty of a great tree in the
wind, or the still water – in the seeing of it there is great pleasure, great enjoyment. Then what takes place? There is the seeing of such a beautiful tree,
so full of life and movement, and thought comes in and says, ‘I must have it again
tomorrow,’ ‘I must see it again the next minute,’ ‘I must enjoy it as I enjoyed
at that moment, freely, without any interference of thought.’ Then thought comes and gives it a continuity. This is fairly obvious if one watches it in
oneself. There is the sexual activity, then the imagination,
the picture, the cultivation of excitement by thought, and so thought derives, by thinking
about that sexual pleasure of yesterday, gives it a continuity, gives it a vitality. And this whole process is what we call love. And out of that comes jealousy, possessiveness,
domination. And this is what we generally call love. And therefore that love becomes extraordinarily
brutal, violent – the love of the country, love of God, love of an ideology, for which
one is willing to kill another, destroy ourselves. And
as thought also creates fear and pain, then where… in all this, what is love? Can one put it into words at all? When one says, ‘I love you,’ the words
are merely a means of communication. And one knows very well the word is not the
thing, never is the thing, both linguistically and semantically, and all the rest of it. Then what is it? We said it is not pleasure, obviously. No pleasure is involved in it. It is not pleasure. It is not desire. It is not the product of thought. It cannot be cultivated as you cultivate a
rose or a particular quality. And yet without that, without that beauty
and innocency of love – because, as we said, it requires a great deal of honesty to find
out for oneself what it is. As we said, without it life has really no
meaning at all. Because in that, most of our questions are
answered, both politically, economically, and, if one can use that word, spiritually. So when there is that thing, then perhaps
we can begin to enquire freely again into this whole question of what is meditation. Because without love, meditation becomes so
utterly infantile. You know, there have been lots of people coming
from India and Asia – I don’t know why the West accepts these peculiar – you know,
all the rest of it. So, honesty, innocency, and this thing called
love must be the foundation, or otherwise meditation becomes an escape, a cheap affair. Meditation then becomes a self-hypnosis – like
those people who have learnt through some peculiar initiation, paying so much for that
initiation – money is always involved in all this – and you repeat certain phrases,
certain ideas – you know all that – and the very sound of it, you think will produce
a certain result. Surely that is not meditation. To meditate you need tremendous intelligence
and sensitivity, the intelligence that comes through self-knowledge, knowing oneself completely. And therefore in understanding oneself, to
look at oneself, great clarity and honesty is essential so that there is no possibility
of deception. And when a mind is so clearly honest it is
really innocent. And this knowing of oneself brings that sensitivity
which is great intelligence, which cannot be bought in universities, books. You don’t have to read one book about philosophy
or psychology; it’s all there in yourself. And to know oneself, both at the conscious
level as well as the deep, hidden parts of oneself. When there is this clarity of oneself, or
the understanding of oneself, which is part of this meditation, then the mind, uncluttered,
free, then it can proceed into things that can never be put into words, that can never
be communicated to another. Right. Can we now proceed to ask questions, if that
is of any value? If what has been said has any value also. Questioner: Sir, why is it that one is not
orderly on the instant? Is it because of the lack of response? K: Why is not one orderly, immediately, on
the instant. What does that word mean ‘orderly’? To keep, to have order as one has order in
one’s room. Is order brought about through conformity,
imitation of what one considers, or has an idea of what orderliness is? I want order within myself because I am disorderly,
I am in conflict, I am in contradiction, I am driven one day by this desire, another
day by another desire. I am in a constant state of conflict and contradiction,
discontent, burning. And out of this chaos, out of this confusion,
disorderliness, I want order. Because I see if I don’t have order I can’t
think clearly, I can’t observe, there is no perception without distortion. And order, in the sense we are talking about,
that is, not conforming to a particular ideology, not the order of the Kremlin, of the politician
who doesn’t want any contradiction, or the order of a religious group which says, ‘This
is true – conform.’ We are talking of order which comes in the
understanding of the disorder in oneself – this contradiction, this opposition, this
duality in oneself. Through understanding what is disorder, naturally
there comes order. Through negation of what is disorder, the
positive is the order – right? – not in conforming to the positive or what
one considers is order. Q: Is half people’s trouble that they will
think about themselves all the time and not about other people? K: Ah! Just a minute, madame, let me finish this
question. The lady says the real trouble is thinking
about oneself, not thinking about others. Thinking about you instead of myself. You are myself. You are as disorderly, as mischievous, as
ugly, as brutal as myself. And if I think about you, I am thinking inversely
about myself. Well, let’s go on with this question of
order because it’s really quite extraordinarily important to understand this thing. Because the morality which we have socially,
when you look at it very closely and examine it, it is completely disorderly, it is completely
immoral. Society admits that you must be greedy, envious,
seek power, position, prestige, fight your way, be violent, competitive, and that’s
perfectly respectable, orderly, moral. When you see that, not theoretically but actually,
and when you deny all that, there is order, which is virtue. Now the question is: can that order be on
the instant? That was what the questioner was asking. One sees disorder – the mischief, the cruelty
in oneself, the fears, the pleasures – you know, all that one is – if one has looked
at oneself at all clearly – can this order come about or be born out of disorder, instantly? Or must one have time? Time being gradually bring about order within
oneself, take many years, many days, or the rest of one’s life. Time means eventually. By the time we have explored, examined freely
ourselves and cultivate order out of disorder, by the end of it we shall probably be dead. So one asks: is it possible to bring about
order out of this disorder immediately? Don’t you act immediately, on the instant,
when you see some danger? You don’t take time. You don’t say, ‘I’ll think about it.’ Where there is the perception of danger, both
psychologically as well as bodily danger – specially when there is bodily danger – there is immediate
action. Perception then is action. The seeing is the doing. There is no interval between the seeing and
the doing. The interval is time. So why don’t we see the danger of… the
real danger, not ideological danger, or an intellectual perception of the danger, but
actually see the whole danger with our whole being, the danger of disorder instantly? If you saw it instantly there would be instant
action. No? If I saw a precipice, a snake, the bus coming,
I would act instantly because I see the danger of it – enormous impression it makes on
me and I act instantly. There is no hesitation. Now what prevents me from looking in myself,
in which there is so much disorder, and seeing the danger of it? Because after all, disorder leads to various
forms of neurotic states, and I see how dangerous it is not to have order. That is, sir, order, which is essentially
virtue, is a living thing, and where there is order there is greater security. It is only the disorderly person, disorderly
activity that creates mischief, insecurity. I do not know if you have observed for yourself
how the brain demands order – not habit, not a routine, but order, a living
thing. And if you have noticed, most of the day is
spent in disorder – the quarrels, the aggressiveness, the fears,
the pleasures, the competitiveness, and all the rest of it – that is our day. And as you go off to sleep, the mind, the
brain sets about bringing order within itself, because it cannot live in disorder. If it does, it becomes more and more distorted. There is greater danger of insecurity for
itself. So order is essential, like the animal demands
order. But we have accepted disorder as the way of
life. Now, what prevents one from seeing the danger,
the mischief of disorder? Disorder outwardly – nationalities, the
division of nationalities with their sovereign governments, armies, all that – this everlasting
fragmentation of human beings in their relationship – that is a tremendous danger. Why don’t we see it instantly and drop all
that – all the division, nonsensical, meaningless division, as the Englishman, Frenchman, and
all the rest of it? And why don’t we see equally clearly, inwardly,
the danger, the mischief that disorder brings about? Is it that we have got used to it? Or we don’t know what to do with the disorder? How can a disordered brain do something about
its own disorder? And so, not being able to do it, it goes off
– if you have the money, the leisure and all the rest of it – to an analyst. Poor chap, he is also disorderly. He has to go through analysis himself to analyse
another. So you are at the mercy of another, at another’s
disorder. So is it possible to observe this disorder
within oneself instantly and see the danger of it immediately and end it? I can’t answer it for you, obviously. But to end it instantly, you must see the
whole, the total disorder of inward self – not the fragmentary disorders, and collect them
and then say, ‘I am disorderly’ – but to see the totality of disorder in oneself
instantly. Surely it’s possible. Otherwise we live in a state of confusion,
mischief and misery. Which means to see everything without disorder,
distortion – to see the wife, or the husband, the neighbour, without prejudice, without
opinion, to observe without like or dislike. That requires great awareness of oneself. You see, one hasn’t the time or the energy
or the urge; one plays around. And so one accepts wars, disorders and the
confusion, and the mischief. Q: It appears to me that we have to bring
about the time and the urge and the energy in ourselves in order to go forward in something
like you have said. K: But how will you have that energy, sir? Why don’t you have it? Q: I have got other interests. K: Is that so? Other interests when the house is burning? Do the other interests, do they not also create
disorder? I have energy for that, that fragment of my
life, business, whatever it is, tremendous interest. I give thirty, forty years of my life to that
interest, and the rest of it is chaos, misery, struggle. You know all the ugliness of it. And that concentrated interest on one fragment
is obviously bringing about disorder in other fragments. I am very kindly, gentle, affectionate with
my family but I become a tiger in the business world. And I say to myself I have not the energy
to tame down that tiger who is creating so much mischief in my life. And from that arises the question: why do
we fragment, break up our life, into business world, into the family world, into the world
of golf, in the world of God, and all the rest of it? Why? Why this breaking up of life – the pleasure
on one side, the pain, the sorrow, the competitiveness, the aggression, the violence, and the demand
for peace on the other – why do we float around in this… fragments? Is it habit, custom, tradition, education,
and so blame the society, the environment? And saying, ‘Oh, if I could only be free
of the environment, I would be perfect.’ And the environment is created by us – by
our greed, by our ambitions, by our brutality. The environment is us. Until we become aware of ourselves as we are,
and radically change – which is the real revolution – then there is a possibility
of living together in peace. And to do that one must have tremendous energy,
not for this or that fragment – totally. Q: Sir, are you saying that the brain demands
order, and are you saying that standing in the way of that order is our lack of awareness
of ourselves? K: Yes, sir. I won’t repeat the question; I am sure you
have all heard it. Q: No, I didn’t. K: The brain, the questioner says, the brain
demands order because only in order there can be security for itself, not in disorder. And this order comes about, or rather he is
saying does it come about through awareness of oneself, through knowing oneself? Obviously. Knowing oneself, not according to some expert
or some philosopher, or the speaker sitting on this unfortunate platform, but understanding
oneself as one is, to look at oneself. And to look at oneself is only possible not
in isolation, not withdrawing into a monastery and looking at yourself, but looking at yourself,
understanding yourself only in relationship. Because there you have the reactions – your
angers, your jealousies, your dominance, your greed and your assertions, and all the rest
of it, take place in relationship. And the more – not ‘the more’ [laughs]
– when one is really aware of oneself, through a gesture, through a word, through the way
you assert, and all that – the clarity of perception is the instant action of understanding. Q: How does awareness of unity come so often
to people who know very little and have not studied at all? K: Why do the primitives, the people who are
not too clever, not studied, who are not highly educated or intellectual, why do they have
this feeling of sense of unity, sense of friendship, sense of generosity. Why? Is it very difficult [laughs] to answer that
question? Yet people who are educated, highly sophisticated,
and all the… they are really spoilt; they are the really savage people. They are concerned with their problems, with
their own lives, and never look at another, never look at the beauty of the sky, the leaf
or the waters. They may see it in the museum or in the picture
they own, but not around them. They are insensitive. They are full of knowledge of what other people
have said and written. Is it enough? Q: Sir, what is simplicity, and where does
this big estate come in? Is it necessary to have this big estate at
the back of this tent to have simplicity? K: Is it necessary to have this big estate
to be simple? [Laughter] As we said the other day, this estate has
forty acres only, all the rest of it is a farm land belonging to somebody else. Now this place is a school, which will eventually
have about forty to fifty students living here. And unfortunately for that you must have a
large house and the necessary grounds to play, and all that. And you say, ‘Is that very simple?’ And you know, simplicity is considered one
loincloth, one pair of trousers and a coat, or one meal a day. They have tried this in India, you know, all
the people who have talked about a simple life – monks have tried it but their lives
are not simple at all. They may outwardly have one coat or one pair
of trousers, or eat one meal a day. And the outward exhibition of simplicity is
not necessarily inward simplicity. That is quite a different thing. Simplicity there is to have no conflict, no
burning desires and ambitions. You see, we always want simplicity outwardly,
and inwardly we are boiling, burning, destroying. And you say, ‘Well, why do you have that
big house, or so many coats, or so many…’ or whatever it is. As we said, simplicity implies honesty, so
that there is no contradiction in oneself. And when there is such a state of mind there
is real simplicity. Right, sir.

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