The Brain is Always Recording
J. Krishnamurti Second Talk with Students at Rishi Valley 18 December 1984
K: What shall we talk about? What would you like to talk about?
You want to talk about death? Aren't you too young to talk about death?
S: Let's continue with what we were talking about last time.
K: What were we talking about last time?
S: Prejudice and insecurity.
K: Oh yes. Have you got a lot of prejudices? You have, haven't you? Lots of them. Are they fun? Do you like them? You know what prejudice does? Suppose I am prejudiced against whom - for whom would you like me to have prejudices, against whom? Won't you suggest some? Suppose I have prejudices against Rajesh - there he is, I caught his eye! Do you know what happens if I have prejudices against him? I won't understand him, will I? My prejudices come in the way in understanding Rajesh.
S: Prejudices for him?
K: You come over here. Come on!
S: Prejudices for him?
K: Against him. Either I like him and therefore I have prejudices in his favour; or I don't like him I have prejudices against him. Right? Now what happens if I have prejudices?
S: You don't understand him.
K: I don't understand him, I don't see what he says clearly. I don't want to understand him. So it is like a dark glass - you understand? If I have a dark glass in the window I can't see the sun clearly, can I?
K: So prejudices act that way. I have prejudices against him, they become a block. Right? So I don't understand him. Now will you drop your prejudices if I drop mine? Take time over it. Will all of you drop your prejudices and try to understand somebody? If you have prejudices in my favour you won't understand me. Right? If you have them against me you won't understand me either. Right? So will you drop your prejudices, will you? Have you opinions against me, for me? Have you?
S: Sir, if we expect something out of you do we have an opinion about you?
K: No, no. If you expect me to give you good marks because I like you then that is a prejudice.
S: Suppose I expect you to not make one hour boring. Is it a prejudice?
K: I don't understand the last word. Slowly.
S: Suppose I expect you not to make one hour boring. I have one hour with you in class, let's say. And I don't want it to be boring.
K: You don't want it to be boring - so what?
S: So is it a prejudice, like I am expecting it not to be boring?
K: That's not a prejudice, old boy.
S: Like when you prejudge.
K: Prejudge is not prejudice. It is almost a prejudice. If I prejudge you, I can't see you directly, can I?
S: Sir, isn't it a prejudice if I expect the class to be interesting?
K: Come over here, that's your punishment!
S: Isn't it a prejudice if I expect the class to be interesting and I find it isn't?
K: I saw you the other day, didn't I, here?
K: Yes, all right. What were you saying?
S: Isn't a prejudice if I expect the class to be interesting and I find that it is boring.
K: That is not prejudice. I want to teach you something about the flowers. Look at all those flowers. Marvellous, isn't it. I want to talk to you about it, and you might find it boring. That's not prejudice.
S: But then it is prejudging the class.
K: No, I want to tell you: look at those beautiful flowers, how nice they look, and the green lawn, green hedge, I want to show you them.
S: But I am not expecting anything out of them.
K: I am asking you to look and you don't even look. That's not prejudice. I am asking you: look at all those flowers, the green, the different kinds of green, and the yellow flowers. And then I say, look at all the people all round you, all these boys and girls, look at them carefully. All of them: those boys who are sitting out there who won't talk, and all those people who are sitting here, watch them all. Is that a prejudice? Or you don't want to watch them, therefore you consider it is a terrible bore.
S: No, I don't know anything, so I...
K: Just watch them. You don't know anything about those flowers, do you?
K: You see the beauty of it. You see the beauty of it all? The green, the varieties of flowers, colours. Does colour mean anything to you?
S: Well it looks beautiful on trees and flowers.
K: No, I said colour, not the flower which is specially beautiful, just colour. Now who has got the brightest colour here? That girl with the red jersey. Does colour mean anything to you?
S: It can mean so many things.
K: No, I am asking you about one thing, old girl. I am asking you, sirs, out there, do all those colours in this valley and the rock on that hill, I don't know what you call that hill up there, and that rock early in the morning with the sunlight on it, does it mean anything to you? When you look at all this beauty around you, does it mean anything? Do you appreciate all this extraordinary valley?
K: Come over here, there is plenty of room! Sit up here, come on, old girl, don't be shy, there. That's good.
S: Like when you see them every morning you feel happy, it means you have seen something nice. So it really means something to you, your heart can rejoice.
K: But do you get used to it?
S: Yes, you get used to seeing it.
K: Why do you get used to it?
S: Because you see it everyday.
K: I know. Just listen: if you get used to me and I get used to you, what happens? I don't listen to what you are talking about, and you don't listen to what I am talking about. Will you?
S: I don't get that. Like, you can always listen to someone. I may be going with one person every day, but still I may know that person, it means not know that person.
K: Of course. Don't get used to anything. That way you keep alive. If you look at those flowers - look at them, turn round and look at them, carefully look at them. Look at Kabir, sitting out there, and Mrs Jayakar and Radhikaji, there, against the background. Isn't that beautiful? And do you get used to it?
K: Yes, why?
S: Because I see it everyday.
K: No, beauty is not seeing something every day, that later in the day will be totally different, won't it?
K: In the mid afternoon it will be much more bright, and towards the evening it will have totally different colours, won't it. Can you get used to it? You can't, can you? So don't get used to anything: don't get used to your father, your mother, or to your teachers.
S: But then we have a routine in school, then we get used to it, what is different in a routine every day?
K: Your mind then becomes routine, your mind then goes round and round like a gramophone.
S: Well that doesn't mean that I think along the same lines every day, but the routine, the things we do every day, we get up at 5.30, we go for breakfast, we go for classes, that's a routine.
K: No, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Why do you call it routine?
S: Because that's what happens every day.
K: Listen to what I am talking about, don't be so quick to answer. Why do you call it routine?
S: Because we do it every day.
K: Do you do everything every day and call it routine, or are you aware what you are doing every day? Know what you are doing? Get up in the morning at 5.30, cleaning and all the rest of it, are you aware that you are doing it? Do you pay attention to what you are doing? Or do you do it casually and get on?
S: Yes, I do it casually.
S: Not always.
K: I am asking you do you do this every day, conscious, aware, know what you are doing, when you are cleaning your teeth do you know you are cleaning your teeth? Do you watch very carefully?
S: I don't.
K: No. Why? If you watch carefully it never becomes routine. You understand what I am saying? Are you still here? Good! Do you watch carefully everything that you are doing every day? Why? If you watch everything you do every day it gives you much more, aware, you watch everything then. You watch all those tamarind trees with their fruit, and that rock over there. It is an extraordinary thing to watch.
S: It is.
K: Will you do it?
S: I do it.
K: Every day, every minute, not just casually one day. All the time watch, all the time watch people, watch what they say, how they dress, and all the rocks here, and the trees. You learn much more by watching. Will you do it? If you say to me you will do it, if you promise you must keep your promise. Otherwise don't promise. Right? Don't promise if you can't do it. Will you promise? Careful!
K: Quite right! So when you don't watch carefully everything you are doing, what you say, how you dress, how you clean your teeth and so on, your mind becomes routine, mechanical. You understand? If your mind becomes watchful then everything you are doing becomes much more fun.
S: Isn't it something mechanical even if you watch it.
K: No, it depends how you watch. Nothing becomes mechanical if you know how to watch.
S: How do you watch?
K: I am going to tell you. Will you do it first?
S: I'll try.
K: Don't try, do it.
S: That's easy to say.
K: I know it is easy. You all want to be very comfortable, easy. But I will tell you how to watch - not 'how', what it means watching. I will tell you what it means to watch. Will you follow it carefully?
S: Sir, then won't it become a routine to watch?
K: Of course not. But I haven't told you what it means to watch. Then you can call it routine or not. Right? Will you learn from what I am saying? Learn, find out, will you? I have asked you, look at those flowers, see the beauty of it, see the colour of it, enjoy it, have fun with it. Don't hurt them. You know. I'll tell you. Scientists, biologists, have discovered that trees communicate with each other. If one tree gets diseased - you understand - it tells the others, be careful, guard yourself against me. Do you understand? They are much more intelligent than human beings in some ways, because when you are ill you don't tell the others, keep away from me!
S: Of course you do, sir.
K: You do.
S: If you have conjunctivitis...
K: Wait a minute. Now I am going to show you how to watch, will you learn?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Good. First you watch with your eyes, don't you, look. Look at those almond, tamarind trees, look at them, look at them. Do you see them?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Now wait, watch it. And you see the rocks behind there?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Now how do you watch it? Are you thinking while you are watching?
S: No, sir.
K: You have learnt something, haven't you? That you are not thinking when you are watching.
K: Right? Then do you watch with your eyes only? Or do you watch altogether? Not only with your eyes, but the feel of it, the colour of it, the depth of the trees, the shadows, the little shadows, do you see them? Do you see those dragonflies flying?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So you see everything when you are watching. Right? Agree? So when you watch very carefully, that way I am showing you, then you watch me, or watch somebody else very carefully, what happens? You have a friend here, haven't you?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Watch him.
S: Yes, sir.
K: Now who is your friend, that boy?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Right. I thought so, I thought it was your friend, you two sat together and smiled together. Now watch him, or watch somebody else. Carefully watch them, how they sit, how they look.
S: I can't watch them, sir, they are smiling.
K: They are smiling, then see them smiling. So that when you watch very carefully you begin to see things you have never seen before. Right? If you watch that carefully, you saw all those dragonflies, you saw the shades deep down, there is a man going by on a bicycle, do you see it?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So when you watch you begin to learn much more.
Now the next step is you not only watch with your eyes, but also listen to all the noise going on. Listen carefully. People coughing, people moving, never sitting still. Right? Watch and listen. Right? So watch, listen and learn.
S: Is there learning while you are watching and listening?
K: I haven't finished, old boy. Find out what learning is. Now listen carefully, listen carefully. When you watch and when you listen you are learning, not merely memorising, you are learning to see all the things that are happening around you. Right? Are you doing it? Who is there? Look, you learn from books, don't you, or you learn mathematics?
S: Yes, sir.
K: What else are you learning?
S: History, we are learning biology, learning chemistry, learning geography.
K: So much already! English, mathematics, geography, history, chemistry.
K: You must be a great man! Now - I am joking, right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: When you are learning what is happening? You have got a book, your educator points out, the teacher informs you. You are memorising, aren't you?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Memorising, which is what? You are recording as it is recorded on a gramophone plate. Right? You understand what I am saying?
S: Yes, sir.
K: You have a gramophone, haven't you in your school?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So you put on a plate and it repeats, repeats, repeats. Right?
K: Are you doing that?
S: While studying, yes.
K: You are memorising, not learning. You are memorising. Right? Because at the end of the school, at the end of the term you are going to be examined. And you must answer quickly so you memorise. Now memorising is like a gramophone record repeating, repeating, repeating. Right?
K: Is that learning?
S: I mean when you are beginning to memorise then you are learning.
K: No. At the beginning. Afterwards you repeat.
S: Yes, afterwards it is not learning.
K: At last. Have you got it? Have you learnt it? Do you see something? That is, I don't know, what language, German. I don't know German, I speak Italian, French, a little bit of English, a little bit of French, a little bit of Italian. If I want to learn German I have to study it, haven't I? I have to look at the words, how they are pronounced, the meaning of the word, and the irregular verbs and so on and so on, all that I study, memorise. Right? My brain records everything - all the German words, the syntax, the irregular verbs, it memorises, that is, it records. The brain records, and then at the end of four months, three months, or whatever it is, you begin to speak German. Right? When you record like that all the time it is like a gramophone that is recording.
S: So it is just like memorising, it is not learning.
K: That's it, that's all I am saying. Memorising is not learning.
S: Then by watching you learn.
K: Wait, first see it. First see memorising is not learning.
S: Until you finish...
K: Wait! You are too quick. But do you see this fact, that memorising is not learning? Memorising is repetition because you have to pass an exam, you have got to get a job. Right? So learning is not memorising. So what is learning then?
S: Each time you watch you are learning something.
K: That's right. Right, you have said something true. Each time you watch you are learning, because things change. You understand? If you are watching those trees early in the morning they have quite a different light, haven't they? And later on in the day it has a different light, there is a different movement, different shades, different colour, you are learning.
S: Each time you...
K: Come over here! I am going to have all the class round here. Give her some room, old boy.
S: Sir, when you see people, when you see them every day...
K: Don't get used to seeing people every day. Watch them.
S: But there isn't anything new in them always.
K: How do you know?
S: Sir, I don't think so. Every time the same ones...
K: Do you know your body cells are changing, so people are changing. I am not the same as you saw me yesterday, I may have moved, I may have changed, I might do all kinds of things. I am a living being, it is only dead things that don't change.
S: And if we watch them then we can find out.
K: That's right. If you watch them you learn because then as you watch those trees the first thing in the morning they are different. Right? Different colour, different movement, different depth of light. Right? Different shadows. It is just like that human being.
S: Sir, I see the change in the trees and that, but I don't know why I don't see it in people.
K: Because you are lazy, because you don't want to look carefully at people. Right?
K: So watching, listening, and therefore learning, not memorising. Is that clear?
K: But do it. Now in India specially they have a lot of theories, about god, about heaven, about - a lot of it, nothing to do with their daily life. Right? The daily life counts much more than your gods and theories. Right? So watch your life. When you promise something always keep it. So don't promise without realising that you must keep it.
S: So you watch what you say, you watch what you are doing. Like when I watch a tamarind tree I must have that realisation in myself that I am also watching.
K: Yes, you are watching yourself. I am watching those trees and I am also watching myself. I am watching what I am saying, whether I tell the truth or lie, I am watching my various annoyance, anger, jealousy, fear, I am aware of all that. You understand? As I am aware of those flowers, I am aware also of myself. Right? It is much more fun watching yourself because you are changing, you are different. One morning you are depressed, the next morning you are happy, the third morning you are irritated. Right? Will you do all this, or just say, yes, yes, and carry on?
S: I have watched myself.
K: Will you do it?
S: Yes, I will do it.
S: No. I will try.
K: You promise? Careful!
S: I think I will do it, sir.
K: Not, 'you think you will do it'. But do you promise to do it every day? That means you must keep it. Don't promise now.
S: I'll try to do it.
K: Not, try. Either do it, or don't do it.
S: But I want to do it.
K: Then do it. You see, just listen, if you do that you become extraordinarily alive, your brain becomes extraordinary, so sensitive. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: You are not sensitive. You are very young, you are not sensitive.
S: Sometimes when I am thinking of something I don't realise I am thinking, I am so caught up in that thinking. Whereas sometimes, suppose I am watching a tree, I know that I am watching a tree. I am aware that I am watching a tree, and I am watching it at the same time. Whereas sometimes I am thinking, I don't realise that I am thinking. So I am not watching myself at that time.
K: Wait, wait. Realise that you are thinking. Watch your thinking. Why you think, what makes you think that way, watch it, watch everything that you are doing.
S: Sir, but sometimes I am so caught up in that thinking.
K: Just listen carefully. Now listen. We are talking to each other, aren't we, so we are thinking too. Right? And we may think silently and put it into words. Right? That is what we are doing now. You think and you put it into words. And you want to tell me something, so I am very careful to convey what I want to say to you.
S: Sir, but sometimes you don't think and then put it into words, the words come.
K: Yes. Why is that?
S: Sir, doesn't it become mechanical again?
K: That's just what I am telling you: don't become mechanical. Don't become mechanical. You have got glasses, right? Find out if you can do without glasses.
S: I can't.
K: Don't say, you can't.
S: I can't see anything without my glasses.
K: Find out, old girl! I am supposed to be ninety, I don't have glasses. Do you know why?
S: Because you can do without them.
K: You are nuts!
S: Sir, but she knows she can't do without them, she has tried it all before.
S: Yes, that's why I got glasses.
K: Find out if you can see clearly without glasses. If you can't then find out if you can do eye exercises.
S: I am doing that.
K: That may improve it. But if you keep on saying, 'I must have glasses, I must have glasses'.
S: No, I don't do that.
K: But you are doing it, you say, 'I can't see without glasses'.
S: That's because it is a fact, but I am doing exercises to see without glasses.
K: So remove your glasses and make an effort.
S: One question sir: you asked us to start learning and stop memorising.
K: Memorising, as I explained to you, old boy - listen carefully - memorising becomes mechanical. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: The brain that is inside the skull is always recording.
S: Yes, sir.
K: I say, that is yellow, that's green. Right? Those are trousers. It is recording. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: That recording becomes mechanical.
S: Yes, sir.
K: And then being mechanical your whole life becomes mechanical.
S: Sir, but isn't it a fact that...
K: Wait, darling, I haven't finished with this chap. You jump on me before I have finished. Right. Ask your question afterwards. Remember your question. You understand? If I all the time am recording - green, white, purple, yellow, he is my friend, he is not my friend - right - it is like a gramophone.
S: Yes, sir.
K: Right? So memorising is not learning. Learning is all the time something new.
S: Like when you are studying something.
K: You have to learn that. You have to study it.
S: We have to memorise then.
K: Wait a minute. I am your teacher. And I want to teach you history. Right?
K: I want to teach you history. You must know all the kings, and all the rest of all that silly rot. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: It is silly rot. You must know who was the king of India in the 15th century and so on and so on. Right?
S: Why do you call it silly rot?
K: It is silly. At the end of it it doesn't affect your life at all, does it?
S: But if you want to become something, or do a course.
K: That's it, you memorise in order to become a professor.
S: Yes, sir.
K: Yes, sir. You memorise in order to get more money.
S: Get what?
K: Money, better job.
S: Not necessarily, sir.
K: Ah, yes. If you don't have good memory you won't have a good job. Have you watched the carpenters? Those people who build beautiful furniture? I have. They must know the quality of the wood. Right? The quality of grain and so on, and the instrument they use. They are very careful so they memorise, they become an apprentice first from another carpenter, they learn by that, memorise, and then they become good carpenters. Right? Now I want to teach you history - just listen quietly, will you? Will you listen, or you are off somewhere else?
S: I am listening, yes.
K: Good. I want to teach you history. History means story. Right? It is a story of all the past kings, past queens, all the wars, etc., etc.
S: Right, sir.
K: And also story means story about yourself.
S: Yes, sir.
K: Story about what is happening in the world, and story also about yourself. You are a much more interesting story than the story of all the kings.
S: I agree, sir.
K: Agree? Right, sir. So I am going to talk about not only the history according to the books, but also I am going to talk to you about the story of yourself.
S: But that is not what we do in class.
K: I know they don't. I said, if I was your teacher I would do that. You understand?
S: Yes, sir.
K: I would combine both - the book and also about yourself.
S: That is a very far possibility of your ever being a teacher.
K: What? Slowly, slowly.
S: Sir you couldn't ever be a teacher.
K: Why not?
S: Not on a subject as such.
K: Ah, I said I would combine both. I would combine the book. Right? And also I would combine the history about oneself. The history about oneself is the history of all mankind. Right?
S: So the history of all mankind is the history of oneself.
K: Which is yourself.
S: So if you study the whole of mankind we are studying ourselves.
K: That's right.
S: So then we are studying the whole of mankind.
K: You are not listening to what I am saying, old boy. I am saying, telling you, if I was a teacher of history, the meaning of history from Latin is 'storia' - storia means history. In Italian it is called storia, it comes from Latin and so on. Now I am going to talk about what - who is your king in the 15th century.
S: There are so many kings, sir.
K: So many of them, quite right. Give me one of their names. Come on somebody.
S: No, B-a-b-u.
K: I thought you said a barber! I know, that's a joke. So I would teach you, I would say, Babu was the father of Humula, right? And Humula's son was Agba - right? So I would go into all that. Right. And also I would say, what about you, you are also story, you are a great story, much greater than Agba. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So I would talk to you about yourself. I would say, what are you? You have a book about yourself inside you. Learn to read that book, you understand?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Are you sure you understand what I am saying? Don't say, yes, sir. I am saying, the book about Agba, there are many volumes that have been written about Agba. And there is a volume also in yourself, what you are.
S: So you said that...
K: Are you listening to what I am saying?
K: There is a book inside you which you must learn to read. But you neglect to read that book. So I am going to see that you learn to read that book - not only the book of Agba but the book about yourself. So I am going to go into that. I would teach you that way. That is a most marvellous way to learn: not only what is happening in the world outside you but the extraordinary book that you have inside you, the book that is the rest of mankind - not just Indian history.
S: Then why doesn't it happen?
K: Because your teachers don't do this.
S: Sir, well you are President of the Foundation, why don't you do something?
K: I am the President of the Foundation, he says, why don't you do something about it. You are quite right, sir. But they won't listen. Wait, they won't listen.
S: But they are like us.
K: Quite right.
S: Probably they...
K: Just listen carefully. The teachers are like you, only much more grown up. Right? I am not insulting them. You understand? I am very polite, respectful, I respect people, I don't insult them. They are like you, so learn from each other. You understand? I am learning now from you, why you say things and don't mean it. Do you understand? Why you say, yes, sir, yes, sir, and don't mean it at all.
S: Yes, I do mean it.
K: That means you live it.
S: My 'yes' meant that I understand it.
K: First understand but live it. Right?
S: So I don't...
K: Listen, old boy, don't say anything in your life if you don't live it. If you don't live it you become a hypocrite. Right? Say one thing and do something else, that is hypocrisy. Right?
S: Sir, I am not saying anything, I am saying I understand what you are saying.
K: I said to you, understand what I am saying, I said, don't say anything that you don't mean. If you mean it, say something, and if it is right, be honest. If you say, 'I lie', say, 'I lied, sir'. That's honesty. Right? If you are angry, 'Yes, I am angry', don't pretend. Grown-ups do. That is the only difference.
S: Everyone is different, no one can be the same.
K: Yes, sir.
S: I mean I tell everyone honestly like I am angry, I am this, everyone isn't going to say that they are angry also.
S: Suppose I am having a fight with someone...
K: Why do you have a fight with someone?
S: Because he...
K: Hey! Why do you have a fight with someone?
S: Because we have come to a disagreement about something.
K: Why do you have disagreement? Learn, don't say, I have disagreement and fight him, learn. If you fight now, when you grow up also you will fight, that becomes violence. You know all over the world violence is spreading, you know that, don't you? They are killing each other, wars, terrorists, you know. You understand? They are killing each other, that is tremendous violence in the world. So don't be violent, don't get angry. When you get angry say, 'I am angry, I apologise', don't fight.
S: If you don't fight someone else may take advantage of you and bash you up.
K: Perhaps not. If I don't get angry with the man who wants to get angry, he might quieten down.
K: Might, I said, might.
S: But then...
K: Wait, wait.
S: But suppose the other person is going to hit me, just because I am not angry with her?
K: If I don't react, you understand? You are angry with me - right? Suppose you are angry with me, I won't react to you, I won't get angry, I won't hit you back: see what happens.
S: Sir, sometimes it might aggravate the person.
K: Not 'sometimes'. See what happens if you get angry with me and I don't get angry with you in return, something happens between us. Right? If you call me a fool, I don't react by calling you another fool, I don't react, I keep quiet. So my keeping quiet affects you - not always because people are not gentle enough. So you learn. My god! I wanted to talk about something totally different from all this.
S: Sir, I don't understand where all this is leading us.
K: You don't understand - she has asked a question. She says, I don't know where you are leading us. I am not leading you anywhere.
S: What are we talking about?
K: What I am talking about is: learn to watch, which is one of the most difficult things to do. Learn to listen, and learn to find out the way of living, not just repeat, repeat. Right? That's what I am saying this morning: don't become mechanical.
S: Sir, you said you wanted to talk about something different. So why don't you start the topic. Why don't you start talking about something?
K: Because, sir, I wanted to find out what you were wanting first. Right? I wanted to find out - it's more polite, isn't it, to find out what you wanted to talked about.
S: Well we want to find out what you want to talk about.
K: Quite right. Now I can talk to you about it. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: First I ask you. Right? I serve you tea first, not myself.
S: Yes, sir.
K: In the same way I ask you first what you would like to talk about, and you jump, and say all kinds of things. After you have finished if there is time I will talk about what I want to talk about.
S: What do you want to talk about?
K: What I wanted to talk about this morning, if I remember rightly, was: are you sensitive?
S: To what?
K: Sensitive. You see, your immediate answer is, to what? We are not talking about 'what'. But in yourself are you sensitive? You know what it means to be sensitive?
S: To feel.
K: To feel.
K: You are sensitive to those flowers, aren't you? Are you sensitive to people?
K: All around, these boys and girls, grown-up people, are you, sensitive to see what they are feeling, or how they look, what they do, sensitive?
S: Sir, only to people who are around me most of the time.
K: Yes. Not even that.
S: Not all the time.
K: No. So are you sensitive? You say, occasionally I am sensitive. That's not good enough. It's like having a bad potato. So I was going to talk about sensitivity. Then I was going to talk about what is your relationship - you understand the word - what is your relationship to what is happening in the world? You understand what I am asking? Your relationship. You are related to your father and mother. Right? Are you related in some way to the rest of the world, to what is happening in the world?
K: Wait, wait, listen to me. Two thousand five hundred people were killed in Bhopal, and hundreds of thousands of people hurt, what do you feel about that?
S: I feel sad.
K: You feel sad, then what?
S: You feel that carelessness takes place everywhere. Just due to a small leak, sheer carelessness.
K: So are you - listen carefully what I am asking - are you sensitive to other people's suffering?
S: No, sir.
K: Wait, I have asked you a question. Are you sensitive to other people's suffering?
S: Sir, quite often I am the one who inflicts the suffering.
K: You are being very clever, old boy. I am asking you a question, you are also asking something else. I am asking you - I am as clever as you are - I am asking you, are you sensitive to other people's suffering, strangers?
S: Not as much as others.
K: You are not. That's it. You are not. Why? You know yesterday, the day before yesterday I was walking down there, there were two girls, blue with white stripes, students. They walk six miles that way, six miles that way, twelve miles a day. Are you sensitive to how they feel about walking all day?
S: No sir, because it doesn't affect me. It doesn't affect my life.
K: Quite right. So you are not sensitive to others.
S: Only myself.
K: You are selfish.
S: Sir, quite often you are sensitive. You feel sorry for a person, like when people died in Bhopal.
K: I said to you, look, don't be clever with me, are you aware of those boys and girls walking twelve miles a day, not having enough food, they are suffering, how do you feel about all that? You don't care?
S: I do care.
K: Then what do you do?
S: What can I do, sir?
K: You can't do very much, but you can tell Mrs Thomas and Mrs Radhikaji, and say, look, let's find out how we can help them, let's find out a bus for them, so that they can go there and come back. You work for it, you do something, you don't say, yes. Right? Right? Will you do it?
K: Wait a minute, I am asking. Will you go to Mrs Thomas and Radhikaji, and say, please sirs, or ladies, we must do something about it. Will you? Hey, will you? Or you don't care?
S: I do care, sir.
K: Then go to them, as I am going to them. I want to have a bus for those children. I would pick them up and drive them there, or have a school for them all here, out there - not just out there! I am working, I am going to talk, I am going to raise trouble if they don't do it.
S: You can, sir.
K: You do it, you help me to do it, will you?
S: If you tell me, I will.
K: I won't tell you, you go and do it. That's where your independence is.
So I want to talk to you about sensitivity; I want to talk to you about your relationship to the world. You are growing up, you are going to leave this lovely place, Rishi Valley, and go to college, university, get married, children, and jobs, and quarrels, and misery, all that, which your life is going to be, and what is your relationship to the rest of the world, to violence, to politics, to the tremendous corruption in this country? Right?
S: Then you would become so selfish if you have all that...
K: You don't get selfish, you are concerned. You are concerned with this tremendous corruption.
S: Sir, what can we do about it?
K: Don't be corrupt.
S: Yes, but how...
K: Wait, you haven't listened, you are too quick. Don't you be corrupt, fight for it, stand for something that you think is wrong.
S: And if someone disagrees fight him?
K: I meant fight in the sense, you don't get corrupted.
S: So I don't get corrupted but...
K: It doesn't matter, leave the others, don't you get corrupted.
S: I do.
K: When you grow up, now you can say, yes, I won't get corrupt, but when you grow up and go into business.
S: It won't be any use if only one person is not corrupt.
K: Begin with yourself first.
S: OK, so you are not corrupt - I am just giving an example - and you go for a job and there is the managing director interviewing you, and he directly asks you for a bribe or you don't get the job.
K: Don't get a job. Why don't you stand for something?
S: Without a job I cannot live.
K: Don't live.
S: Then what is the purpose of coming into the world?
K: Find out. You see you are all so weak, you give in. Suppose you say, no, sorry, I won't be corrupt, and you collect people around you, you work for it.
S: Sir, but if there are only five people around me...
K: That's good enough. Begin.
S: Sir, suppose there is a person who is incorrupt, but he is insensitive, and everybody around him is insensitive, how will they know what he is trying to do?
K: I will tell them. I am doing this. Listen to me. I am going round the world saying, religions as they are, are rubbish. Right? They don't like it, I don't mind. If they say to me, you can't come into this country, I don't mind. I can always come back to Rishi Valley - if they will allow me. I don't mind. But you people mind, you are all so frightened.
S: Sir, but we don't have anything else to do, if we go for a job and don't get it then we don't have anything else to do.
K: If you don't get a job...
S: You don't want to be corrupt and you don't want to accept the bribe, you don't get the job, then what can you do after that?
K: Become a gardener. What is wrong with becoming a gardener, what is wrong with being poor? Educatedly poor - what's wrong?
S: How do you live?
S: What is the use of this education?
K: What is the use of this education? Probably none at all.
S: Being literate you can't go for gardening.
K: Then you do something literate. You people never - you are all so - I won't use certain words - you are all so mediocre. That's what I am objecting to.
S: What does that mean?
K: Mediocre means - in the English language, mediocre means going up the hill half way, never going to the top of it. You understand that? Don't become mediocre.
S: Why have we given such positions to people, like a gardener, we say that he is something different from us, and none of us want to become gardeners because it will be something...
K: Because, I don't mind being a gardener, I don't care what people think, whether I am a minister or somebody, I don't care. I do what I think is right.
S: So if we all do what we think is right.
K: No, that is very difficult to find out what is right, not what you think is right - what is right. That's very difficult. Right? I think this is right - it may be wrong.
S: Everyone around us tells us, you must do this because this is right.
K: That is just tradition, that is the authority. I want to find out what is right - don't you? How will you find out?
S: Sir, won't that be an opinion. Right for one person can be wrong for another.
K: I said to you, old boy, you didn't listen, you didn't listen. Everybody thinks he is right in his own way. Right? You think this is right, another thinks that is right, or wrong, but I want to find out what is right - listen carefully - under all circumstances, under all pressures, under all what the public says - I want to find out what is right. Don't you? And it is difficult to find out what is right. To find out what is right you cannot have opinions, judgements, convictions. Right? So if you perceive what is right when there is freedom...
S: Only when you have complete freedom.
K: Complete freedom, that's right. When you have complete freedom then you see what is right.
S: Sir, but how do you gain freedom?
K: How do you gain freedom? You don't gain freedom. Freedom exists, comes, if you are not attached, if you are not self-interested - you understand? If you are not selfish.
S: Then you are free.
K: Then there is freedom, then what you see then is right.
S: But I can't live alone in the world.
K: I don't mind living alone in the world.
S: No, sir.
K: You mind it, you are frightened.
S: So how do you get rid of selfishness?
K: How do you get rid of selfishness? Shall I tell you a very simple way? Don't be selfish!
S: It is not the same though.
K: Just listen girl. Don't be selfish. You know what selfishness is. Don't be. Don't say, I am going to get rid of it, don't be selfish. Therefore learn what it means to be selfish, watch.
S: Everything leads to watching.
K: Yes, sir. Watching. You learn an infinite lot watching. I learn a great deal by watching you walking down the road, how you walk, how you talk, what you say, whether you say exactly what you mean, or trying to double cross - you follow? - double talk. I learn, I watch. That's one of the things. First I wanted to find out if you are sensitive; then what is your relationship with the world; then are you different from the world? The world is violent, are you violent? The world is corrupt, are you corrupt? The world is violent, are you violent? Right? The world is saying, I am British, I am French, I am an Indian, I am a Russian, I am a Muslim. Right? Therefore there is conflict among them. So I won't be any of them.
S: Sir, the world is also saying I am Chi, I am Gotham.
K: Of course you are Gotham, you are a different name, that is natural. But don't be nationalistic.
S: Isn't it the same thing, sir, when I say my name is this, and I say that this is my country, isn't it the same thing?
K: Quite right. That is selfish. You identify yourself with something greater but selfishness still remains. Now wait a minute, it is now quarter to, nearly. Right, we have talked an hour and a quarter. They are all getting restless, so let's stop. Will you sit quietly now for five minutes, absolutely quiet? Don't move, take a comfortable position, then sit very quietly, really quietly, don't cough, close your eyes and see what you are thinking. (Long pause) All right, sirs. Thank you for listening to me.