On Meditation

August6, 2020
by Editors@spiritofenquiry

Date: May 19, 2010
Location: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore
Description: Talk
Download PDF: Kabir Jaithirtha on Meditation

On Meditation

Kabir Jaithirtha: What I’d like to do is to explore the whole movement of meditation.

KJ: I’d like to explore the whole question of meditation for about forty five minutes or so. And then perhaps we can spend a little time raising questions for each other, so that it also takes on the quality of a dialogue.

I think there were two points in this gentleman’s introduction to

Krishnamurti which struck me. One is, he said, he repeated what

Krishnamurti had said – that truth is a pathless land. That is one of his most famous statements. And if truth is a pathless land, it implies that there is no path which one can structure to come upon truth, and that is linked to his approach to meditation as well. Secondly, he said ‘Krishnamurti, when he spoke, he spoke as an individual, one on one. He spoke to large audiences.’ But it was never in the form of being an authority and instructing the audience about his particular area of expertise. He was first and foremost an explorer of the structure of the human mind and every one of his conversations, whether it was a talk or a dialogue with one person or two people or a question and answer session, it was always in the form of an exploration. So in a very deep sense he was a profound teacher, precisely because he did not seek to instruct you but because he was concerned with an act of exploration.

Any good teacher, I feel, would be concerned in awakening, in the student, the capacity to explore. And you get the capacity to explore by exploring, you don’t have to do something else and then get the capacity to explore and then begin to explore. The very act of exploring is also creating the capacity to explore. So what I would like to do today is, for forty five minutes, explore in front of you and hopefully together with you, the whole movement of meditation, the word, the various meanings that have been given to it, the various connotations, the weight that has been given to it, and share what Krishnamurti had to say about meditation as far as I have understood. On the one hand, I want my exploration to be authentic and original. But at the same time, I’d like to communicate, in this exploration, a flavor of what Krishnamurti had to say about meditation.

It seems that the word ‘meditation’ has a great attraction. Throughout the ages, human beings have tried in various ways to capture the immeasurable, to come in contact with the immeasurable. Right through human history, together with religious beliefs, religious practices, there have also been different approaches to meditation. Meditation becomes, then, an attempt to somehow prepare the brain to come upon that which is beyond thought. And even now the word meditation attracts a great deal of interest.

All over, different people claim that they can teach you meditation, that they can instruct you in the art of meditation, that it is something that can be captured through a system and a practice. Meditation then becomes an attempt to experience what could be called the sacred.

Krishnamurti’s concern has been to discover whether any method, any practice can ever bring about a mind that is capable of coming upon the sacred. He questions whether truth is an experience like other experiences to be held in memory, to be sought for and to be captured. Therefore, he questions whether meditation can ever be taught through a method and a system. I’d like to explore these issues with you first, in front of you, because every method and system implies a goal. It implies that ‘I am here, and I want to be there’, whatever that ‘there’ is, and ‘through a system and through a method I hope to be able to reach there’. We can see that at certain levels that is entirely possible. At a very physical level, for example, I can say ‘I am here, I want to be somewhere else’. So I take a taxi or I take a bus, and move from one place to the other. Or, in the learning of skills, I might begin by not knowing very much about a subject. I practice, I get instructions, like driving a car. And after a while, I can drive a car. So I didn’t know how to drive a car, and after about a month or so of learning, I learnt how to drive a car. So it looks as if this approach is something very real and very practical in our daily life. And perhaps, we use the same logic to say ‘I don’t know, I want to come in contact with the sacred and therefore I will do this, this, and this, in order to come in contact with the sacred’. So there is an assumption that something which works in a particular area is capable of being transferred into a totally different area without questioning whether it is appropriate or not. But if I say ‘I am here, psychologically, and I want to be there, psychologically’, I think there is a problem in seeing it merely as a path to be travelled. As something to be traversed, as a skill to be learnt. It is important at the very beginning to question, to examine, what is this ‘I’ that is ‘here’ or says ‘I am here, psychologically’ and ‘I want to be there, psychologically’.

In most of us there is a centering of our lives around a feeling of an ‘I’, a feeling of a ‘self’. So we talk about our experiences and we say “I’ve had this experience, I’ve had that experience, I hope to have some other experience”, right? And therefore, we assume that meditation is a method by which I can capture an experience which is considered to be very profound or very meaningful. But in this process, we don’t actually examine the nature of an experiencer. What is it when I say ‘I am an experiencer,’ I take it for granted that there is an ‘experiencer’ who has had experiences. But we very rarely stop for a moment to ask what is the relationship between the experiencer and the experiences that he is supposed to have had? Is there an experiencer independent of the experiences that one has had? Or is there a sense of an experiencer being created by the very holding onto experiences? So in our daily lives- I’m going into something perhaps which is complex, I hope I will speak with as much clarity as is possible for people. But at the end of it I am also hoping that we will raise questions for each other and in that, things will be clarified.

So, there is an assumption that there is an experiencer and that this experiencer is independent of the experiences, but he would like to capture certain kinds of experiences and that becomes significant for him. For instance, at a very simple level, I might say ‘I’d like to experience an ice cream’ or ‘I’d like to experience going abroad and going to the hills’ or whatever. But it seems to me, it is very important to understand the nature and structure of what we call ‘myself’. All of us seem to function with this idea or with this strong feeling of the existence of myself. I’m not denying the existence of the body, I’m not denying the fact that this human being has lived for so many years, has done so many things, gathered so many skills. I’m not denying any of those. But what I am questioning is whether apart from these facts that things have been done, skills have been gathered and so on, is there an experiencer at all? Or it has just become a habit of thought or it has just become a habit of the human brain to structure the world around in terms of an experiencer and an experience. At a very simple level, I think it is very easy to see that though the world is structured around nations, for example, we easily talk of “India is very wary of Chinese designs on its borders.” Or “Pakistan is very hostile to India”. So we take it for granted that there is an entity called Pakistan or an entity called India or whatever. But I think it is very easy to see that this thing called Pakistan or this thing called India or this thing called China is a thought held in the human brain. And we identify with those thoughts. The world itself in reality doesn’t have to be divided into these structures of nations, of countries and so on. And yet it is very easy to fall into the habit of thinking of myself as an Indian or thinking of myself as something else.

And this thought is sustained, not only in my brain but in thousands and millions of other brains. So this thought of India as something existent independent of us, is created because even if it is not held in this brain, it gets held in some other brain, so there seems to be some kind of an objective reality to it. I’ll try and make myself a little clearer. The tree exists whether I think about it or not. It is there as a living organism. But does the sense of ‘I’ exist independent of thought in the same way? That’s a question that can be asked. Does the feeling of ‘I’ exist independent of thought? For example, whenever I am asked to describe myself, can I talk about myself independent of the experiences, independent of the skills, independent of the beliefs, opinions, ideas and then say ‘I have these opinions’, ‘I feel the following way’, ‘I think this is right’, ‘I assume that it should be done that way’ or ‘I will feel great sorrow if this happens to me’, right? So, I would like to suggest that this is an exploration that can be carried on by you and by me as I am talking. Is there at all a thinker independent of thought? Or does the very movement of thinking create the thinker?

I’d like to suggest that  the very process of thinking, the very mechanism of thinking, creates the feeling of being a thinker, of being a person, of being an independent entity, independent of those thoughts and then the thinker says ‘I want to have this experience’, ‘I want to have that experience’ and so on, right? Now there is a great problem in this. The minute the feeling of a thinker, of  being a separate psychological entity is sustained, there is already a movement of isolation, a movement of separation from the whole of reality. The minute I think of myself as a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, there is already a process of division that has happened, right? And in that process of division, I might then say ‘But I will be tolerant, I will be enlightened, I will try and create a multicultural society’ and so on. But the fact is, the whole attempt at being tolerant, the whole attempt at being multicultural and so on, is rooted in division. Because there has already been a division as ‘I’, the Hindu or the Muslim or the Christian, and the other person who is not that, right? So, in this identification as an Indian or identification as a Muslim or Christian or Hindu, that very act of identification creates a division between myself and the others. And holding onto the division, I try to relate, I try to make a bridge across the gap that has been created, right? So, I’m suggesting that one has to carefully examine and understand this process in order to understand what meditation is all about. Without understanding this process, merely coming to meditation as some kind of practice, some kind of skill, something that you can buy by going to a course and paying some money to be there for a few years or a few months or a few weeks, and then come back and say ‘I have learnt the art of meditation’ has very little significance. I may have captured a certain kind of skill, I may through that process feel comforted, I may feel that I have something that I can hold onto, but it may have very little significance in understanding truth.

And Krishnamurti’s concern has been that the human mind should come upon truth, not merely come upon a set of beliefs and ideas which will comfort one. I was talking of a division that is inherent in any kind of identification. It is quite easy to see that this division occurs when one identifies oneself as an Indian or a Muslim or a Hindu. But there is a deeper identification which is more subtle, and which is more difficult to perceive as creating a movement of isolation, and that division is the feeling of ‘I’. I am suggesting, though I keep using the word ‘I’, I use the word ‘I’ in a very functional way, not as a person who is separate from you. But I am suggesting that the feeling of ‘I’ creates division as well. Because ‘I’, ‘not I’, ‘I’ and ‘you’. So, it has to be examined whether there is really an ‘I’ that is completely separate or the feeling of ‘I’ has been created by thought and sustained by thought. So, as long as thought sustains this feeling of ‘I’, the feeling of separation also is rooted in it, sustained by it. And through this separation, one tries to relate to the other human beings, to nature and to reality. But in fact, because the feeling of ‘I’ is constantly isolating, there is a paradoxical movement going on, a contradictory movement going on. On the one hand, the isolation is being sustained and on the other hand there is an attempt to bridge that isolation, bridge that gap through all kinds of practices and methods, right? Because after all, when we talk of meditation to come upon truth, we feel that there is a gap between me and truth and therefore I need to bridge that gap by purifying myself, by refining myself, by somehow making my brain capable of bridging that gap. But

Krishnamurti’s approach would be – find out how the gap is sustained, don’t bother to bridge the gap. First understand how the gap is created, how it sustains itself, perhaps that very understanding lets go of that movement of isolation. And when the movement of isolation is not there, truth is not something to be achieved, it is not something to be sought after, but it is there because the mind is not isolating itself. So it is not a question of coming upon truth as something out there, a fixed point to which I have to work towards, but in understanding whether what I am holding onto is true or false, and in the ending of the false, truth comes into being, right?

So, I feel, that Krishnamurti’s approach takes away every possibility of illusion because if I call myself a Hindu or call myself a Muslim, and in that process say ‘I will meditate in order to achieve God’, but because I am calling myself a Hindu or a Muslim, which means I am conditioned by those ideas, by those opinions, by those beliefs, and those ideas and beliefs have their own way of projecting what truth is, right? After all if I call myself an Indian, it means a whole lot of emotional states, it means a whole lot of ideas and opinions about the nature of Indian culture, the nature of what it is to be an Indian and so on. Then it projects and says this is what truth is. But that is really a projection of that particular conditioning. Somebody else, conditioned in a different way, brought up in a different environment, projects truth in a different way. And then because we are talking about truth, and there is a tremendous vested interest in coming upon truth in feeling that ‘I have access to truth’, the divisions that are inherent in this state of identification get intensified, right?  So, it seems to me that the starting point of understanding meditation is to explore very carefully the nature of the experiencer and the experienced, and the relationship between the experiencer and his experiences.

As I said, there is an assumption that there is an experiencer, an ‘I’ that is separate and independent of the experiences. One is questioning whether that is so, or whether in the very process of thinking, in the very act of thinking, thought itself divides itself into an experiencer and that which is experienced. Then the experiencer says ‘I have had this experience, I want to have some other experience’. So, when thought divides itself in this way, a duality, a contradiction is created at the very root of one’s existence. And we sustain this contradiction right through our lives, we live with this contradiction, we live with the burden, fear and sorrow of this contradiction and  we try to relate to each other held by this contradiction, and that is not possible. We may try to achieve truth or some kind of state of being undisturbed, but this contradiction which is at the very heart of our existence creates its own instability, creates its own sense of anxiety because when I have isolated myself from the rest of the world, in that very isolation there is anxiety. Will I continue to exist? Will my existence be threatened? What are all the things that threaten my existence?

So every experiencing also becomes a kind of ambivalent thing, because every new experience can become a disturbance to what I hold and identify with. I think we go through our lives with this sense of anxiety about experiencing. We would like our experiences to be within a comfortable boundary, so that we are not too distant. I think it creates all kinds of problems for us. So, what we end up doing is we have experiences but we do not do the act of experiencing. I will try and explain the difference between experiencing and having an experience.

Having an experience is to come to something new and translate it in terms of all that I have experienced and held onto. For example, I may look at a flower or I might look at a person. If I look at a person and I come to the act of looking at the person through the background of all my opinions, ideas, et cetera, then I am not experiencing that moment, but merely having an experience, right? I am suggesting we go through life in this kind of rather dull state, this semi- blind state, of having experiences. So we never look at something fresh, with eyes that are completely open and attentive. We look at things through what we have already experienced, what we have already got as residues. And through that, we hope to make sense of the new. So we are constantly translating the new in terms of the old. There is a paradox, on the one hand we do not want to give up this movement of translating the new in terms of the old because the old is where the sense of ‘I’ resides, it is where familiarity is, and therefore the old is where security is. So on the one hand  holding onto the old and translating the new in terms of the old. And on the other hand, there is this constant sense of wanting something new, right? Wanting stimulation of one kind or the other, of moving from one stimulation to the other, of becoming bored, of becoming weary of repetition. So both these things happen to us. On the one hand we want to hold onto the old and we do not want to let go of it, and on the other hand we want the stimulation of something new, right? So we live in this contradictory way of life and unless we understand all this, unless we become aware of it in our own daily lives, meditation has very little meaning. I am quite aware that many of us feel the urge to latch on to a practice, to hold onto a practice, to hold on to a structure because in holding on to a practice, in holding onto a structure, there is a feeling of treading a familiar path. And there are arguments – ‘I have not trodden this path but wiser people than we have trodden this path and therefore I will just follow them’. But every time I follow, I have become mechanical, I have become, what Krishnamurti would call, a second hand human being, right? And meditation is really to come upon the new, it has nothing to do with merely repeating what other people have done. Merely having experiences which other people have had. And then holding onto those experiences, feeling a sense of achievement through those experiences, feeling that I have arrived because I have had these experiences, all these are so trivial, are rather childish. But we play this game because constantly we feel that life is about becoming something. I am this, I want to become that, right?

Just to bring together all that we have been talking about. I have been talking about identification, how we tend to identify with our experiences. I have also been talking about how in this very process of identification, there is, paradoxically, a division between the experiencer and the experienced. I think this is very interesting to observe within oneself. For example, something happens. And there is a reaction to that which has happened. The reaction can only be from the past. All reaction, psychologically, is from the past. So something has happened, there is a reaction to that, and in the very reaction, there is a feeling ‘I am experiencing this’. For example, the scooter behind the taxi that I am coming in, hits the taxi because the taxi stops suddenly. There is immediately a reaction ‘How can the scooter driver ever do this to my taxi?’ Well, it was not me, the driver did it, it was his problem. But immediately there is a reaction, right? And a minute later or a second later, there is a reaction to the reaction which says I am angry, I am very upset about this having happened to me, right? So, there is an event, there is a reaction and there is an identification with that reaction. This is the process of division. It happens to all of us. This is what is called the dualistic thinking. There is nothing more profound than this. There is an event, there is reaction, and then there is this reaction to the reaction which says ‘I am experiencing this’, right? So in that very moment of saying I am experiencing this, the dualism has been created. And then the ‘I’ has to control what is happening. Or the ‘I’ has to sustain what is happening, and this is what is being called the process of becoming.

Right through our lives, psychologically, the process of becoming is set in motion through the division that thought creates between the experiencer and the experienced. I hope I am making myself clear. I am taking a very simple example. Somebody close to me dies. When somebody close to me dies it means a pattern that has been set, a pattern that the brain has become used to, a pattern which the brain has found familiarity with, accepted, suddenly that pattern is disturbed. And the disturbance of the pattern is experienced as sorrow, right? I translate it as sorrow. Sorrow implies I am used to this, I want it to continue, I don’t want it to change, but now it has irrevocably changed. It is no longer what it was. And the reaction to the fact that it is no longer what it was is the feeling of sorrow. Then the feeling of ‘I’ comes into being. I am in sorrow, I don’t want to be in sorrow, let me search for something, let me search for a belief, let me search for comfort, let me find some way of freeing myself from this sorrow. This is the dualistic process. I am suggesting that there is nothing more mysterious about the dualistic process other than the fact that there is a reaction, a reaction to the reaction, in that reaction to the reaction there is a feeling of ‘I’ who is experiencing this. And in that process the whole sense of being a permanent ‘I’, who needs to protect myself, who needs to have experiences, who needs to deepen my experiences.

So when I seek meditation as a way of seeking more profound experiences, that primary illusion of an ‘I’ is not being questioned. So whatever experiences are gathered, whatever skills are achieved, it is still within the structure and framework of the dualism of ‘I’ and my experiences, and therefore it has very little significance. And it may create so- called comforting experiences, but it may have nothing to do with coming upon truth. So unless all this is examined, explored in one’s daily life, to talk about meditation or to try and somehow achieve meditation, has very little meaning. The starting point of meditation, it would seem, comes, it begins, in one’s daily life, in one’s daily activities.

As I said, there is an assumption that there is an experiencer, an ‘I’ that is separate and independent of the experiences. One is questioning whether that is so, or whether in the very process of thinking, in the very act of thinking, thought itself divides itself into an experiencer and that which is experienced. Then the experiencer says ‘I have had this experience, I want to have some other experience’. So, when thought divides itself in this way, a duality, a contradiction is created at the very root of one’s existence. And we sustain this contradiction right through our lives, we live with this contradiction, we live with the burden, fear and sorrow of this contradiction and  we try to relate to each other held by this contradiction, and that is not possible. We may try to achieve truth or some kind of state of being undisturbed, but this contradiction which is at the very heart of our existence creates its own instability, creates its own sense of anxiety because when I have isolated myself from the rest of the world, in that very isolation there is anxiety. Will I continue to exist? Will my existence be threatened? What are all the things that threaten my existence?

So every experiencing also becomes a kind of ambivalent thing, because every new experience can become a disturbance to what I hold and identify with. I think we go through our lives with this sense of anxiety about experiencing. We would like our experiences to be within a comfortable boundary, so that we are not too distant. I think it creates all kinds of problems for us. So, what we end up doing is we have experiences but we do not do the act of experiencing. I will try and explain the difference between experiencing and having an experience.

Having an experience is to come to something new and translate it in terms of all that I have experienced and held onto. For example, I may look at a flower or I might look at a person. If I look at a person and I come to the act of looking at the person through the background of all my opinions, ideas, et cetera, then I am not experiencing that moment, but merely having an experience, right? I am suggesting we go through life in this kind of rather dull state, this semi-blind state, of having experiences. So we never look at something fresh, with eyes that are completely open and attentive. We look at things through what we have already experienced, what we have already got as residues. And through that, we hope to make sense of the new. So we are constantly translating the new in terms of the old. There is a paradox, on the one hand we do not want to give up this movement of translating the new in terms of the old because the old is where the sense of ‘I’ resides, it is where familiarity is, and therefore the old is where security is. So on the one hand  holding onto the old and translating the new in terms of the old. And on the other hand, there is this constant sense of wanting something new, right? Wanting stimulation of one kind or the other, of moving from one stimulation to the other, of becoming bored, of becoming weary of repetition. So both these things happen to us. On the one hand we want to hold onto the old and we do not want to let go of it, and on the other hand we want the stimulation of something new, right? So we live in this contradictory way of life and unless we understand all this, unless we become aware of it in our own daily lives, meditation has very little meaning. I am quite aware that many of us feel the urge to latch on to a practice, to hold onto a practice, to hold on to a structure because in holding on to a practice, in holding onto a structure, there is a feeling of treading a familiar path. And there are arguments – ‘I have not trodden this path but wiser people than we have trodden this path and therefore I will just follow them’. But every time I follow, I have become mechanical, I have become, what Krishnamurti would call, a second hand human being, right? And meditation is really to come upon the new, it has nothing to do with merely repeating what other people have done. Merely having experiences which other people have had. And then holding onto those experiences, feeling a sense of achievement through those experiences, feeling that I have arrived because I have had these experiences, all these are so trivial, are rather childish. But we play this game because constantly we feel that life is about becoming something. I am this, I want to become that, right?

Just to bring together all that we have been talking about. I have been talking about identification, how we tend to identify with our experiences. I have also been talking about how in this very process of identification, there is, paradoxically, a division between the experiencer and the experienced. I think this is very interesting to observe within oneself. For example, something happens. And there is a reaction to that which has happened. The reaction can only be from the past. All reaction, psychologically, is from the past. So something has happened, there is a reaction to that, and in the very reaction, there is a feeling ‘I am experiencing this’. For example, the scooter behind the taxi that I am coming in, hits the taxi because the taxi stops suddenly. There is immediately a reaction ‘How can the scooter driver ever do this to my taxi?’ Well, it was not me, the driver did it, it was his problem. But immediately there is a reaction, right? And a minute later or a second later, there is a reaction to the reaction which says I am angry, I am very upset about this having happened to me, right? So, there is an event, there is a reaction and there is an identification with that reaction. This is the process of division. It happens to all of us. This is what is called the dualistic thinking. There is nothing more profound than this. There is an event, there is reaction, and then there is this reaction to the reaction which says ‘I am experiencing this’, right? So in that very moment of saying I am experiencing this, the dualism has been created. And then the ‘I’ has to control what is happening. Or the ‘I’ has to sustain what is happening, and this is what is being called the process of becoming.

Right through our lives, psychologically, the process of becoming is set in motion through the division that thought creates between the experiencer and the experienced. I hope I am making myself clear. I am taking a very simple example. Somebody close to me dies. When somebody close to me dies it means a pattern that has been set, a pattern that the brain has become used to, a pattern which the brain has found familiarity with, accepted, suddenly that pattern is disturbed. And the disturbance of the pattern is experienced as sorrow, right? I translate it as sorrow. Sorrow implies I am used to this, I want it to continue, I don’t want it to change, but now it has irrevocably changed. It is no longer what it was. And the reaction to the fact that it is no longer what it was is the feeling of sorrow. Then the feeling of ‘I’ comes into being. I am in sorrow, I don’t want to be in sorrow, let me search for something, let me search for a belief, let me search for comfort, let me find some way of freeing myself from this sorrow. This is the dualistic process. I am suggesting that there is nothing more mysterious about the dualistic process other than the fact that there is a reaction, a reaction to the reaction, in that reaction to the reaction there is a feeling of ‘I’ who is experiencing this. And in that process the whole sense of being a permanent ‘I’, who needs to protect myself, who needs to have experiences, who needs to deepen my experiences.

So when I seek meditation as a way of seeking more profound experiences, that primary illusion of an ‘I’ is not being questioned. So whatever experiences are gathered, whatever skills are achieved, it is still within the structure and framework of the dualism of ‘I’ and my experiences, and therefore it has very little significance. And it may create so-called comforting experiences, but it may have nothing to do with coming upon truth. So unless all this is examined, explored in one’s daily life, to talk about meditation or to try and somehow achieve meditation, has very little meaning. The starting point of meditation, it would seem, comes, it begins, in one’s daily life, in one’s daily activities.

There is another factor, which I would like to bring in now. In this dualism of ‘I’, the experiencer, and my experiences, the feeling of control also comes into being. I need to control this. I got angry, I should not have gotten angry. I will try and learn how to control my anger. Or I’m deeply sorrowful or I’m full of fear, I’ll try to control my fear. So in that whole process of control, the division of the experiencer and the experienced is sustained in the form of a controller and that which has to be controlled. So if you can see in all the forms of meditation there is this whole act of controlling, you must control your passions, you must control the way you sit, you must control your thoughts, right? So a whole form of meditation may be concerned with the act of controlling. It is thought that takes you all over the place, so control your thoughts, right? And if you control your thoughts, then, they will become steady and you will be able to perceive truth. But who is the controller? That is one of the questions that Krishnamurti has asked over and over again. Is there a controller that is different and separate from the thing that is being controlled? Is there an ‘I’ that is separate from the anger who can then control the anger? Or – the very sense of ‘I’, the sense of controller, is merely the movement of thought dividing itself and therefore whatever happens in that controlling is still within the dualistic movement and therefore it has no great significance, right? So, it would seem to me that the beginning of meditation is being aware of yourself in your daily life. And to be profoundly aware of yourself without any attempt to control – means the mind is extraordinarily alert, watching, observing. And that may have much more to do with meditation than going off for a system, or a practice, or a method. Because it is comparatively easy to follow a method. Somebody teaches me a method and I can always follow it, and I can always become skilled in it, and I can always feel a sense of achievement through it. But to actually observe my daily life, watch my reactions, watch my habits, watch the movement of fear, watch the movement of jealousy, watch the movement of despair, and just to watch it, without control at all, demands a mind that is highly alert, right? And it is that alertness of mind that can, perhaps, come upon the movement of meditation.

I would like to communicate to you the beauty of an alertness which is not directed -which is not subjected to a sense of achievement, but an alertness which pervades the whole of one’s daily life. An alertness in which there is no structure. An alertness in which there is no method, of saying, I will learn to walk slowly today, I will become aware of my walking today, I will become aware of my eating tomorrow, I will become aware of my breath day after tomorrow, but just the act of being aware. And not to convert that act of being aware into a burden, into something to be achieved, but something that you are interested in. Because you are interested in understanding how this whole structure of thought works. How this whole movement of reaction comes into being. How the sense of becoming comes into being, right? All this, this investigation, is part, it would seem to me of what Krishnamurti would call meditation. So in a sense, every conversation of his, every talk of his was a meditation. It was not an attempt to communicate something, as somebody who informs somebody else about certain truths that he is privy to. But it was an act, it was an invitation to explore together. And when you’re exploring by yourself or when you’re exploring together, that itself is part of the movement of meditation. I can talk about meditation thus far with a certain authenticity. I can say I have understood what it means to live in daily life without control, what it means to be alert and aware of reactions, what it means to be observant, what it means to look at a bird, to look at a flower with eyes that are not conditioned by habit and thought. But I suspect there is something much deeper to meditation. Krishnamurti also talks about meditation as the movement of the emptying of the consciousness. Krishnamurti  also talks about meditation as coming upon the whole movement of reality and truth. Now, I would not like to presume and I would not like to communicate to you the feeling that that understanding which needs understanding what it means for the mind to be completely silent, to be completely quiet; my mind is not silent, my mind is not quiet. But I’m not going to go to some method or some system to make my mind quiet or silent because a mind that is forced to be silent, a mind that is forced to be quiet, is not a mind that is silent. It is merely a mind that has been made silent. Much like children in a classroom will be silent if the teacher is there, and instilling fear into them. But that’s not silence, it is merely a certain controlled noise. So if one is not interested in controlled noise, but in silence, one can’t begin with control, one can’t begin with method, one can’t begin with system. One begins by just being aware of one’s daily life.

I wanted to speak for forty five minutes, I have spoken for nearly an hour. I’d like to read something from Krishnamurti to you, I’d like to share with you things that he has talked about meditation. Perhaps we will go deeper into this whole understanding of meditation when I read out from

Krishnamurti. I am reading this out not as an authority, not as propaganda, but merely to listen to somebody who has explored these issues very deeply. To listen. Not in order to imitate, not in order to achieve, not in order to compare myself with the other person and say he has gone that far and I haven’t. But just to listen.

By the way, I don’t know how many of you are aware of this book. I asked my colleague, Mr. Neetu Singh to bring some copies of this book, so that if people are interested they can take copies of this book home.

KJ reading

“A meditative mind is silent. It is not the silence which thought can conceive of. It is not the silence of a still evening. It is the silence when thought, when all it images, its words and perceptions has entirely ceased. This meditative mind is the religious mind. A religion that is not touched by the church, the temples or the chants.

The religious mind is the explosion of love. It is this love that knows no separation. To it, far is near. It is not the one or the many, but rather that state of love in which all division ceases. Like beauty, it is not of the measure of words. From this silence alone the meditative mind acts.“  – J. Krishnamurti.

I’m interested in how he connects meditation, silence, the religious mind and love. Right? So, the religious mind is not merely a mind that is following certain principles or following a particular tradition or has certain strong beliefs. But a religious mind is essentially a mind that has the quality of love. And love means no division, no separation. To have no separation is to love. To have separation and then say I love, is probably to deceive oneself.

It may be dependence, it may be attachment, but it may not be love at all.

So, the meditative mind, silence, the religious mind, love, the quality of having no separation, they’re all connected together. And again, to come upon it, you cannot come upon it through a method, through a system, but in the act of observing your daily lives, in the act of observing the many ways in which separation occurs, the mind begins to understand. And in understanding, there is a possibility of going beyond it. There is no going beyond, there is no bypassing thought. Thought cannot be bypassed, and a shortcut taken to truth. It is only through the total understanding of the structure of thought, the psychological structure of thought, and in that understanding, the putting aside of it, without effort, without a sense of achievement, that the mind comes upon truth.

I’ll read one more.

KJ reads:

“Meditation is one of the greatest arts in life – perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it from anybody. That is the beauty of it. It has no technique, and therefore no authority. When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy – If you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation. 

So meditation can take place when you’re sitting in a bus, or walking in the woods, full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing of birds or looking at the face of your wife or child. “

– J. Krishnamurti

Only when there is a technique, there is an authority, somebody who says I know the technique, I will teach you the technique. But when there is no technique at all, when it is the act of being aware in daily life, without control, then you don’t need an authority, you don’t need somebody to say that you’re going right or wrong.

But there is a kind of a greed in us. We’re not interested in observing our daily life with attention. We would like something which we consider bigger, something more significant, something vaster. But you have to begin very near, you’ve to begin with what you are. And to understand what you are, you can only understand it when you observe the way you act, the way you behave, the way you think in your daily life. So, for me, it brings it very close. So meditation, religion, doesn’t become something far away to be achieved. It is right here in my daily life. In the way I speak to you, in the thoughts that are going on in me. Is there a sense of achievement in my talking with you? Is there a feeling of knowing something or is just there an act of observation, an act of exploration together. All that is part of meditation.

I’ll read one or two more with your permission.

KJ reading:

“Meditation is to find out whether the brain, with all its activities, all its experiences, can be absolutely quiet. Not forced, because the moment you force, there again is duality, the entity that says, ‘I would like to have marvellous experiences, therefore I must force my brain to be quiet’ – you will never do it. But if you begin to enquire, watch, observe, listen to all the movements of thought, its conditioning, its pursuits, its fears, its pleasures, watch how the brain operates, then you will see that the brain becomes extraordinarily quiet; that quietness is not sleep but is tremendously active and therefore quiet. A big dynamo that is working perfectly, hardly makes a sound; it is only when there is friction that there is noise.”

J. Krishnamurti

That quietness is not sleep but is tremendously active and therefore quiet. Active, not in the process of thought, not active in the sense of becoming something or the other, or trying to achieve something. But a mind that is completely alert, awake, is profoundly active. But because it is completely awake, thought finds its right place. It is no longer creating a virtual world of becoming this or that. And therefore, it finds its right place. Thought, in most of us, is trying to create security for itself. It is trying to create security for the entity called ‘I’. And therefore, it is forever restless, forever trying to achieve something, hold onto something. But when it realizes that its seeking of security is the very creation of insecurity, it becomes quiet. It no longer goes in that direction. When thought realizes that identifying with the nation is divisive, it divides human beings from other human beings, it no longer goes in that direction. When thought realizes that all becoming is illusory, it no longer goes in that direction. It is very simple.

One last bit.

KJ reading:

“Meditation is hard work. It demands the highest form of discipline. Not conformity, not imitation, not obedience. But a discipline which comes through constant awareness. Not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly. So meditation is not an activity of isolation. But is action in daily life which demands cooperation, sensitivity and intelligence. Without laying the foundation of a righteous life, meditation becomes an escape and therefore has no value whatsoever. A righteous life is not the following of social morality, but the freedom from envy, greed and the search of power, all of which breed enmity. The freedom from all of this does not come through the activity of will, but by being aware of them through selfknowing. Without knowing the activities of the self, meditation becomes sensuous excitement, and therefore has very little significance.” 

– J. Krishnamurti

Obviously one’s daily life demands cooperation, sensitivity and intelligence. So it is action in daily life.

I think these words are very important because deep within us is the craving for excitement. The craving for experience is a very deep rooted demand.  And without understanding it and letting go of it, one can easily fall into the trap of following some guru, following some authority, somebody who can quote something in Sanskrit or some other language and say I’m meditating. But it may have no value whatsoever.

One last bit, please. Meditation is not only personal, but it has to do with mankind.

KJ reading:

” We have to alter the structure of our society, its injustice, it’s appalling morality, the divisions it has created between man and woman, the wars, the utter lack of affection and love that is destroying the world. If your meditation is only a personal matter, a thing which you personally enjoy, then it is not meditation. Meditation implies a complete radical change of the mind and the heart. This is only possible when there is this extraordinary sense of inward silence, and that alone brings about a religious mind. That mind knows what is sacred.” 

– J. Krishnamurti

So I’ve shared with you some things which I cannot talk about authentically, but I felt it is still worthwhile listening to. Thank you very much.

Moderator: Any questions?

Participant: [question inaudible]

KJ: Being aware of the movement of thought is different from just thinking. So we are all the time thinking, but there is no awareness of that whole movement of thought. So that whole movement of thinking, however complex it is, however complicated and clever it is, is still a mechanical movement. The man who is craving power, for example, he is thinking very cunningly. He is perhaps thinking of all the ways that he can hold onto his power, right? But that thinking is still a mechanical movement, there is no awareness. So it is awareness of daily life that is meditation, not just the act of thinking. The act of thinking just happens. And it has become something profoundly mechanical.

Participant: No, but you know, we tend to equate meditation with doing some work and maybe thinking of something, maybe god, maybe something else. Would you say then, a scientist, who wants to be left undisturbed, who locks himself up in a room, and thinks about whatever the scientific problem which he is trying to solve, would we say that’s also meditation?

KJ: Any movement of enquiry, I would say, has this meditative quality to it. For example, it was said of Newton that he could hold a problem until he could completely see through it. It was in a sense a certain quality of a mind that was meditative, that was able to hold a question, that was able to stay with something without immediately escaping from it. So part of the character and quality of a meditative mind is a mind that is not seeking to escape from anything. But I might do it in my laboratory, I may not do it in my daily life. So I create division between what I do in my work and what I do in my daily life. And therefore, it is still not a deeply meditative mind. A meditative mind doesn’t make any kind of division in all the aspects and all the various features of its daily life. And therefore, not to escape at all, not to seek at all, but to stay with what is, is part of the meditative mind. That is attention. It doesn’t come just through the process of thinking. Whereas if I move away and go into a corner and project some god or some experience which I want to have, that is normally called meditation. But that is merely projection of one’s own ideas and opinions. It may not have any value. I may think it has value. The man seeking power has given tremendous value to power. He will hold on to it. He will wait till the last day and he will try to see whether he should resign or not resign. So there is a holding onto power and letting go of it only reluctantly. Or here, there is a seeking of an experience. There is not much difference between the two. That is considered rather trivial, and this is considered very noble, but it is still the mind seeking. So, a mind that is seeking is not capable of understanding truth. But a mind that stays with what is, a mind that is capable of being attentive to what is happening to itself, that is the movement of meditation. So, I don’t think it has anything to do with going to a quiet corner and trying to project some idea, some image, some emotion and trying to concretize that through concentration.

Participant: We agree that we want to have intense awareness with every aspect of our life. There itself is the problem. That intense awareness, it doesn’t happen unless some structure is provided by a higher mind or a guru or a system or whatever it is, wherein a very disrupted mind is able to see things very clearly, become more and more aware of itself, and the surrounding. So a structure and a higher mind is needed to guide the lower mind. I mean I don’t know, higher or lower.

KJ: May I respond to you?

Participant: Please sir.

KJ: Already in this process I have divided awareness from intense awareness, right?

Participant: Yes.

KJ: But that’s just a projection of my thought. Why am I not just aware? And move in that awareness. Why do I project an intense awareness and say therefore I need an authority to help me to get this intense awareness?

Also, instead of being aware of what is happening to me, why do I say these are distractions? I’ve to learn about myself, where I am, right? I can’t say I am a distraction to myself. This is what is happening, right? If I am jealous, jealousy is what I am. I can’t say jealousy is a distraction, therefore I will try and concentrate on god, and god will help me get rid of jealousy. And I need this guru to help me understand how to concentrate on god. And the guru is always willing because he gets his own profit out of it. It may not be money, but it may be psychological. And I am trapped, he is trapped. So, I’m not being clever about it.

Explore it as I am doing it now. I would like to examine why do I feel dependent. Do I feel dependent because I am weak? Or do I feel weak because I have this habit of dependence? Right? Very often I say I am weak, therefore I need a crutch. But supposing I say I don’t care what happens to me, I won’t have a crutch. Then I might discover within myself a capacity that would never come into being as long as I am dependent . Dependence itself has all kinds of things hidden in it. Wanting to achieve, wanting security, wanting to project something and hold onto it, all that is involved. This is the way I would respond to your question.

Participant: All said and done, during mornings I am more aware, during evenings I am little less aware. It is an experience, it is my experience.

KJ: No, but I can ask myself ‘is it because I’ve eaten too much lunch?’

Participant: Agreed.

KJ: Therefore I can ask myself ‘why do I eat too much lunch’? That’s the act of learning. Right? Is it that I am so tensely caught up in my activities that by the evening I am tired? Why do I get so tensely caught up in my activities? I am learning, right? And a learning mind doesn’t say I want intense awareness, this is only ordinary awareness. It is aware.

It is already seven fifteen. I think we should stop now, thank you. I’ll be here available to talk to in an informal way.

Moderator: For nearly seventy to eighty minutes, Shri Kabir Jaithirtha spoke about meditation in the light of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s teachings.

KJ: But you know, I’m just sharing my delight in the teachings of Krishnamurti.

Moderator: Thank you for all your active participation in this annual lecture program. Thank you all. Good night.

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