On Living and Dying
Ninth Talk in Bombay
Existence is action - action at different levels of consciousness. Without action, life is not possible. Action is relationship. In isolation, action is not possible; and nothing can exist in isolation, so relationship is action at different levels of consciousness.
Consciousness, as I have been explaining, is experiencing, naming, and recording. Experiencing is the response to challenge. The challenge is met by conditioning responses. This conditioning is called experience. This experience is termed and thereby put into the frame of reference which is memory. This total process is action. Consciousness is action; without experiencing, terming, recording, there is no action. This process is going on whether one is aware or unaware of it.
Action creates the actor. The actor comes into being when the action has a result and an end in view. If there is no result in action, the actor is not. So, the actor, the action, and the end are a unitary process, a single movement. Action towards a result is will. The desire to achieve an end brings about will, and so the actor comes into being. The actor with his will and the action towards a result are a single process. Though we can break it up and observe them separately, they are one. With these three states we are familiar: the actor, the action, and the result. This is our daily existence. These three make up action which is a process of becoming. Otherwise, there is no becoming. If there is no actor and no action towards an end, there is no becoming.
Our life is a process of becoming, to become at different levels of consciousness. This becoming is strife and pain. Is there an action without this becoming, with its conflict and misery? There is, if there is no actor and no result. Action with an end in view creates the actor. Can there be an action without an end, without a result, and so not giving birth to an actor? For where there is an action with a desire of a result, there the actor is. So, the actor is the source of strife and misery.
Can there be an action without the actor and without seeking a result? Then only, action is not a process of becoming, in which there is confusion, conflict, and antagonism. Action then is not a strife. This state of action is the state of experiencing without the experiencer and the experience. This is simple to understand. Our life is conflict and can one live without conflict? Conflict is disintegrating, bringing wave upon wave of confusion and destruction. Only in creative happiness can there be a revolutionary, regenerating state.
Our problem is, can we live without strife? So, we must understand action. As long as action has an end in view, there must be the experiencer who gives continuity to becoming, and so, to strife. This becoming creates contradiction. So, can there be action without contradiction? There can be freedom from contradiction only when there is no action with the desire for a result. Action then is a state of constant experiencing without the object of experience, and so without the experiencer. Can you live in a state of experiencing all the time without creating the actor?
Take any experience that you have had. In that moment of experiencing, there is no awareness of the experiencer and the experience; there is only a state of experiencing. As the state of experiencing fades away, the experiencer and the experience come into being - the actor and the action towards an end. We are living in a state of experiencing; only as the experiencing fades away do we give it a name, recording it, and thereby giving continuity to becoming. The very desire for the repetition of an experience gives birth to becoming, which prevents experiencing. Becoming prevents experiencing. This becoming is strife and pain.
So, our problem is how to be free from the conflict and misery of action. Without action there is no life. Action is relationship; without action there is only isolation and nothing can exist in isolation. There is freedom from contradiction in action when there is only a state of experiencing without the experiencer and the experience. This state of experiencing excludes the actor and his search for result. You can live completely, wholly, in action without conflict only when there is no terming or naming the experiencing, and thereby reviving it, which is to build up memory - memory is a record of the result, which is the outcome of action with an end in view. This experiencing is joy, is creation. To live in a state of constant experiencing, which is to live in constant regeneration or transformation, there must be awareness of the process of action with its search for result, which gives birth to the actor. We must be aware of that and nothing else. When we are aware of it and see the truth of it, being alert yet passively aware, then in that state there is experiencing without the experiencer and the experience.
Questioner: What is the relation between the thinker and his thought?
Krishnamurti: Is there any relationship between the thinker and his thought, or is there only thought and not a thinker? If there are no thoughts, there is no thinker. When you have thoughts, is there a thinker? Perceiving the impermanency of thoughts, thought itself creates the thinker who gives himself permanency; so, thought creates the thinker; then the thinker establishes himself as a permanent entity apart from thoughts which are always in a state of flux. So, thought creates the thinker and not the other way about. The thinker does not create thought, for if there are no thoughts, there is no thinker. The thinker separates himself from his parent and tries to establish a relationship - relationship between the so-called permanent, which is the thinker created by thought, and the impermanent or transient, which is thought. So, both are really transient.
Pursue a thought completely to its very end. Think it out fully, feel it out and discover for yourself what happens. You will find that there is no thinker at all, for when thought ceases, the thinker is not. We think there are two states, as the thinker and the thought. These two states are fictitious, unreal. There is only thought, and the bundle of thought creates the 'me', the thinker. The thinker, having himself permanency, tries to change thought, to modify thought, thereby to maintain himself. But if every thought is thought out and felt out without resistance, without choice, without condemnation, then there is no entity as the thinker. When thought ceases to create the thinker, that state is experiencing. It is action in which there is neither the experiencer nor the experience.
Only when the thought process is completely understood, in that passive awareness where every thought is allowed to unroll itself deeply and widely, is there freedom from all thought. Only in that state is there experiencing.
Questioner: I would like to help you by doing propaganda for your teachings. Can you advise the best way?
Krishnamurti: To be a propagandist is to be a liar. Propaganda is mere repetition and a repetition of a truth is a lie. When you repeat what you consider to be the truth of another, it ceases to be truth. Repetition has no value, it only dulls the mind and wearies the heart. You cannot repeat truth, for truth is never constant, is never fixed. Truth is the state of experiencing, and what you can repeat is a static state, and so it ceases to be the truth.
Propaganda, which is repetition, does infinite harm. A lecturer who goes out doing propaganda for an idea is really a destroyer of intelligence. He repeats an experience which he or another has had. Truth cannot be repeated; truth must be experienced by each one.
Now, with this understanding, what can you do to help further my teaching? All that you can do is to live it, to live that which you understand completely and vitally, enthusiastically, with vigor. Then, like a flower in a garden, the perfume is spread abroad. So, likewise, the perfume of your life will be carried by the winds. You do not need to do propaganda for the jasmine; its perfume, its loveliness bring life. Only when you have not the loveliness, the beauty, you talk about it and thereby cover your own emptiness and ugliness by words which have little meaning.
But, when you yourself have an understanding, then you inevitably talk about it and shout about it from housetops. A dead thought can never be systematized and spread abroad through propaganda. A living thought cannot be the instrument of exploitation; a living thought cannot be accepted from another, you must discover it. As the bees come to a flower, and as the flower does not do any propaganda for itself that it has honey, so a living thought creates the nectar. But without this nectar, to do propaganda is to deceive people, to exploit people, to create division among them, and to breed envy and antagonism. But if there is that nectar of understanding, however little, then it will nourish people.
If there is understanding in your heart, that itself will bring about the miracle of regeneration, not tomorrow, but from moment to moment. There is understanding only in the now. Love is not in the net of time - you either love now or never.
Questioner: The fact of death stares everybody in the face. Yet, its mystery is never solved. Must it always be so?
Krishnamurti: Why is there a fear of death? When we cling to continuity, there is the fear of death. Incomplete action brings the fear of death. There is fear of death as long as there is the desire for continuity in character, continuity in action, in capacity, in the name, and so on. As long as there is action seeking a result, there must be the thinker who is seeking continuity. Fear comes into being when this continuity is threatened through death. So, there is fear of death as long as there is the desire for continuity.
That which continues disintegrates. Any form of continuity, however noble, is a process of disintegration. In continuity there is never renewal, and in renewal only there is freedom from the fear of death. If we see the truth of this, then we will see truth in the false. Then there would be the liberation from the false. Then there would be no fear of death. Thus, living, experiencing, is in the present and not a means of continuity.
Is it possible to live from moment to moment with renewal? There is renewal only in ending and not in continuity. In the interval between the ending and the beginning of another problem, there is renewal.
Death, the state of noncontinuity, the state of rebirth, is the unknown. Death is the unknown. The mind which is the result of continuity cannot know the unknown. It can only know the known. It can only act and have its being in the known, which is continuous. So, the known is in fear of the unknown. The known can never know the unknown, and so death remains the mystery. If there is an ending from moment to moment, from day to day, in this ending the unknown comes into being.
Immortality is not the continuation of 'me'. The 'me' and the 'mine' is of time, the result of action towards an end. So, there is no relationship between the 'me' and the 'mine' and that which is immortal, timeless. We would like to think there is a relationship, but this is an illusion. That which is immortal cannot be encased in that which is mortal. That which is immeasurable cannot be caught in the net of time.
There is fear of death where there is search for fulfillment. Fulfillment has no ending. Desire is constantly seeking and changing the object of fulfillment, and so it is caught in the net of time. So, the search for self-fulfillment is another form of continuity, and frustration seeks truth as a means of continuity. Truth is not continuous. Truth is a state of being and being is action without time. This being can be experienced only when desire, which gives birth to continuity, is wholly and completely understood. Thought is founded on the past, so thought cannot know the unknown, the immeasurable. Thought process must come to an end, then only, the unknowable comes into being.
Questioner: I have plenty of money. Can you tell me what would be the right use of money? Only do not make me squander it by distributing coppers to the poor. Money is a tool to work with and not just a nuisance to be got rid of.
Krishnamurti: How do you acquire money, how do you accumulate it? Through acquisitiveness, through exploitation, through ruthlessness. To accumulate money one must be clever and cunning, dishonest and ruthless. After accumulating, you want to know how to use it. Either you become a philanthropist or you distribute it. Having accumulated wrongly, you want to use it rightly. Don't laugh at the rich. You, too, desire to be rich. Through wrong means you cannot come to a right end. Should one give away to the poor and become oneself poor? Your action will depend upon your heart and not upon your calculating mind. That which has accumulated cannot be generous. A hard mind, the calculating mind, can only act on its own level and therefore its problems will remain, though modified. Love alone can resolve this problem, not the mind and its inventions, which are systems and organized philanthropies.
If you have love, then you will know what to do with your money; and according to the dictates of your hearts you will act. To be in communion with the promptings of a loving heart is difficult, especially for those who are rich. So, what to do with the money which you have inherited or accumulated is not so important as the cultivation of the heart. When you have money and no love, then woe unto you. It is an empty heart that gathers money, and having gathered, the problem of what to do with the accumulation arises. But the problem is not with the accumulation, but to awaken the beauty of the heart. When it is awakened, then it will know how to act.
Without love, trying to become a philanthropist is another form of exploitation. Love will show the way to the rich man and to the poor man. Love alone will solve the contradiction of existence. Love alone will show the way of true action when the mind is caught in the net of ugly actions.
Questioner: I am a writer and I am faced with periods of sterility when nothing seems to come. These periods begin and end without any apparent reason. What is their cause and cure?
Krishnamurti: The problem is not how to be creative all the time. Why is there insensitivity? Why are there moments of dullness in which creativity ceases? Creativeness comes into being; it cannot be invited, it cannot be artificially sustained. Why do these moments of dullness come? Obviously, insensitivity must come into being through dull thoughts, dull feelings, and dull actions. How can there be sensitivity when there is greed, ruthlessness, and envy? Envy, though it gives a certain activity to the mind as the search and the achievement of power, will inevitably make the mind and the heart dull. Without understanding the causes that bring about insensitivity, we cling to those states in which creativeness has been. We long for creativeness, which is another escape from what is. In the understanding of what is without creating an opposite, creativeness comes into being.
So, the problem is first to be aware of the causes of insensitivity, to be passively aware without choice and denial, without justification or identification of those periods that are dull. Then, in that alert, passive awareness, the cause of insensitivity is revealed. In just being aware of this cause without trying to overcome it, dullness begins to fade away. It is this period of silence in which there is no condemnation or justification - in this period of silent observation, the truth of that which is false is perceived. This perception of truth frees the mind from insensitivity.
But, the painter, the writer, the sculptor has to live. He is not merely content with the expression of his joy, he wants a result, he wants a recognition; and also he wants food, clothing, and shelter. If he is merely content with food, clothing, and shelter, then his life will be comparatively easy; but, like the rest of us, he uses these as a means of psychological expansion. So, his heart becomes a process of self-expansion and thereby brings about strife and misery and that insensitivity which prevents creative being.
There is constant renewal of creative being only when the 'me' and the 'mine' are absent. It is the 'me' that gives continuity, which brings about insensitivity. Only in the constant ending of the 'me', there is renewal. Then only is there that state in which no dullness, no insensitivity can exist.
Questioner: Is not the direct effect of your person helpful in understanding your teachings? Do we not grasp better the teaching when we have the teacher?
Krishnamurti: No, sir. When you love your neighbor, when you love your immediate relations, there is greater understanding. When you love your wife, your child, your neighbor - white or brown - when there is a song in your heart, then love brings understanding.
When you are listening to me, perhaps there is direct help, for you are giving your mind and heart to discover the truth of what is being said. If you do not want to discover it, you would not be here. In talking to a person who understands more clearly, your own mind and heart become clarified. But if you make of that person your guru, your teacher, and only love him and respect him, then you have contempt for others. Have you not noticed, sirs, how very respectful you are to me and how very thoughtless and callous to your neighbors, to your wife, and to your servants, if you have any? This state of contradiction indicates your own disrespect to everyone concerned. It is of no great significance how you treat the teacher, but it matters enormously how you treat your neighbor, your wife, and your servant. Respect to me and denial of it to others is hypocrisy, which destroys love.
What brings understanding is love. When your heart is full, then you will listen to the teacher, to the beggar, to the laughter of children, to the rainbow, and to the sorrow of man. Under every stone and leaf, that which is eternal exists, but we do not know how to look for it. Our minds and hearts are filled with other things than the understanding of what is. Love and mercy, kindliness and generosity do not cause enmity. When you love, you are very near truth, for love makes for sensitivity, for vulnerability. That which is sensitive is capable of renewal. Then truth will come into being. It cannot come if your mind and heart are burdened, heavy with ignorance and animosity.
These talks will have significance only as they affect directly the breaking down of thought process, the breaking down of the isolating process in relationship, and putting an end to greed and envy in your daily action. Intelligent and arduous inquiry is devotion. The very open receptivity for truth, the unknown, is devotion. Where there is love there is understanding.
March 14, 1948