MADRAS 4TH PUBLIC TALK 15TH DECEMBER 1974 'MEDITATION WHICH TRANSFORMS THE MIND'
All our religions whether in the West or in the East are based on thought. The whole religious structure with their saviours, with their gurus, with their systems, with their beliefs and dogma, rituals, and all the petty little ceremonies that one indulges in daily, is essentially the product of thought. All our religions are based on the movement of thought, fear, hope, and a sense of a belief into something that we hope exists. All that, if one observes very carefully and diligently, is the product of this movement of thought, which is material. So there is absolutely nothing spiritual in these religions. Right?
We are sharing, investigating into all this. Not accepting or denying, but exploring together, and therefore being in communication with each other. We cannot be in communication or commune with each other if we have our own private thoughts, opinions, judgements. And that makes it impossible to investigate, to explore, to examine. And when we are communicating together, as we are, not only verbally but also beyond the word, it is necessary that we understand not only the words, the meaning of the word but also try to find out what lies between the words, to be able to read between the words, and listen to the peculiar deep meaning that lies behind the word. All that is implied in communication, which is thinking over together as two friends who are concerned, serious with the problems of life.
So observing what is going on in the world, not only political, economic, in the world of division between the Arab and the Jew, between the Hindu and the Muslim and so on and so on and so on, but also looking at the various religions, which have never brought peace to mankind. On the contrary. And their divisions, and they must be divided because they are essentially based on thought. So what is religion? What do we mean by that word? We know what it is not - all the circus that goes on in the name of religion. Please don't be insulted, we are just stating facts. All the churches and temples and the mosques, all the structure that has been put together by thought, however beautiful - some cathedrals, some mosques, some temples are extraordinarily beautiful, but that is nothing whatsoever to do with reality. And when one really, not verbally, discards all that, not because someone says you must discard it, or someone you feel knows better than you do says, "This is not religion", then you do not discard, it is merely accepting authority. And when you accept authority in spiritual matters that is the very essence of decay, degeneracy. All right? You are still with me? Verbally, or in reality?
When you discard all that nonsense, which means no sense, then we can begin to find out, if you are serious, what religion means. Do you understand? The ceremonies, the rituals, the temples and the vows you take as a compensation to your daily ugly life, you take vows to go to the temple and do all kinds of things as a compensation, and all that - the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals, the private worship have nothing to do with the reality of what religion is.
And if one is serious because religion is the core of a new culture, without religion there is no culture. And because there is no religion in the world there is no culture. You may have beautiful paintings, write marvellous literature, paint most extraordinarily, compose lovely music, but that is not culture. That doesn't bring about a new quality of mind. And we need a new quality of mind when the whole world around us in collapsing, degenerating. And merely to revive the old religions, as some are trying to do, is meaningless. But a man who is deeply concerned, as he must be, if you are concerned with the world, with the starvation, with the wars, with the corruption, with the hypocrisy, with the total dishonesty that is going on, one must in all seriousness find out what is the true significance of the religious mind because it is only such a mind that can bring about a new culture; not a religious mind, not one religious mind but the religious mind of man, which is you, that means together. In the old days, if you have observed in history, watched the things about you, there were religious leaders. That very word is the denial of religion - a leader in the religious world. You understand? Because when there is a movement in religious matters, that very movement is the factor of degeneration because then you are following, you are merely accepting authority of another. When you understand the nature and the structure of authority, have an insight into it, in spiritual matters there is no authority, including that of the speaker.
Religion implies the understanding, the discovery for one's own mind, what is sacred. And also if there is such a thing as the eternal. Religion means the beauty, goodness, which means also excellence, and the finding, or coming upon something sacred; and the enquiry into something that is not touched by thought, because thought is time, thought is measure. And to find out if there is, or if there is not, something that is nameless, timeless, that has no beginning and no end, all that is religion. And as we said, without that quality of mind, which is explosive, not acquiescent, without that quality of mind you cannot have a culture which is absolutely necessary, a culture not brought about by a few but by a religious mind, which means a light to yourself, not the light of another but light which you have found for yourself. All that is implied in religion.
So: meditation is the enquiry into that which is sacred. And also to find out - these are words, you can't find out if there is eternity - to feel that, to have that quality of a mind that is really timeless. So that is what we are going to do together. We are not going to meditate together, that is another phoney, imaginative, romantic nonsense, but we are going together to find out what it means to meditate, and what it means to have the capacity of freedom that can come upon that thing that is sacred, and from there move to something that may be timeless.
This is a very complex question. And what is complex can be understood only when the mind is really very simple, not childish, not immature, but simple. But most of you have probably read, or gone to some guru, or you have invented your own form of meditation, and so you are already burdened with something which you call meditation. And to find out what is meditation you have to enquire, you have to put aside your particular form of meditation, otherwise you can't find out if what you are doing is true or false. Now to enquire into something that one may call sacred you cannot possibly accept the authority of any book, any leader, any guru, any system, because your mind must be free to enquire, free to find out. And can you do this? As you are sitting there listening, can you put aside all that you know about meditation? And that will be very difficult because your mind operates in routine, in habit, mechanically, and to put away something that you are so accustomed to becomes extraordinarily difficult, because the mind has been conditioned to act mechanically and to put away this mechanical habit is extremely ardous. You have to see the danger of it. Then when you see the danger of it then it has no power. When you see a dangerous animal you leave it alone, it has no power. It is only when you don't know then the danger exists.
I want to find out what is meditation, because I know nothing about what other people have said about it. And I don't want to know what other people have said about it. Not that I am vain, not that I am conceited, not that I want to have original experience but I don't know if what those people say has any validity; they might be as neurotic as myself, as stupid, as cunning, as deceptive, as illusory, caught in an illusion. I am talking as a human being who is enquiring into it, I am not talking about myself personally. So I am a human being, an ordinary human being, who sees the reality that religions as they exist have no validity, no meaning, no significance whatsoever, with all their rituals, dogmas and superstitions, authority, and all that. Such a mind says, "I want to find out, I want to find out what it means to meditate", because perhaps that may be the ambience, the environment, the atmosphere which will reveal that which is sacred. So I must put all that aside; and I hope you are doing it, otherwise we cannot communicate with each other, unless you see for yourself the falseness of all the things that we have put together by thought, which you call religion, has no meaning at all. If you see that then you will discard all authority in these matters - not the authority of a doctor, not the authority of a policeman, which is obeying law, but you don't obey law anyhow, you are too clever, you make all kinds of devious ways to avoid law. That is your misery.
So what is meditation? And why should one meditate at all? Now the word meditation means to think over, to ponder over; and also meditation means the capacity to measure, and measure means movement between this and that. Which means comparison, which means imitation, all that is implied in that word meditation.
So I want to find out can a mind be without measure? You understand? Can a mind be without the movement of thought, which is time? Time is measure. Time is direction. Time, there is the time by the watch, there is the time as movement from here to there, time is necessary to cover from here to that - necessary time. Time is movement. And is meditation a movement in time? Can time, as a movement, find out something that is sacred? You understand my question? We said thought is a material process. And to investigate into what is meditation, what place has thought - thought being time, thought being measure, thought being direction, which is from here to there? What place has thought? Please. Has it any place at all? If it has no place at all, then what is the mind to do with thought? Has it any place at all? If it has no place at all, then what is the mind to do with thought. If it has no place in meditation, then what do you do with this extraordinary movement of thought in which the mind is caught up? The mind which is everlastingly chattering, the mind which says, "I will achieve, I will gain, I am comparing", it is moving all the time, incessantly. What will you do with that thought? You cannot deny it, it is there. And so you begin to say, 'I will control it. I will learn concentration on an object, on an image, on what I think to be sacred, and dwell upon that and exclude every other thought'. hat is what you are doing. And so the battle begins, the struggle to concentrate on something and the thought wandering off. This constant struggle going on. Concentration implies centring your thought on something that thought has chosen to be noble, to be excellent, to be real. Right? So thought has projected an idea, a picture, an image, and thought says, "I am going to concentrate on that". And in the process of concentration it must exclude everything else. And thought being fragmentary, its exclusion is the movement of fragmentation.
So concentration on an idea, on a picture, on something that thought thinks is necessary, is a movement in time, a movement of measurement, a movement in a particular direction, therefore it must be fragmentary. So seeing that I say, "I won't concentrate" - out, it is finished.
So a mind that is enquiring into the meaning of meditation comes upon this fact; that thought is measure, thought is the movement of time, thought sets a direction as will, and as thought in itself is a fragment, because thought is the response of memory, memory is the accumulation of knowledge as experience, which is the past and therefore it is a fragment, thought is a fragment. In investigating what is meditation, one discovers this.
What is one to do with this movement of thought? Should it be controlled? And if you are controlling it, who is the controller? Is not the controller himself the thought? So the controller is the controlled. Then what to do with the thought, with this movement of thought? The mind has to find out the art of putting thought in its right place. Which is, knowledge is necessary, knowledge is the movement of thought as experience, so thought is necessary in the field, or in the area of knowledge. To drive a car, to speak, to do your daily job, technology, and so on, knowledge there is necessary and thought must function most efficiently, clearly, non-personally in that area. So in the understanding of what meditation is the mind has discovered thought has its right place. And when it discovers that it has a right place then you will see that thought is no longer a matter of importance.
Then the next question is: the systems, the methods, the various practices that you do, has it any validity? Or is it the cultivation of a mechanical habit, which is part of thought? You understand? After all you have systems of meditation haven't you? Different kinds of systems of meditation from the Zen to the modern or the ancient methods or systems or practices of meditation. When you practise, what does that imply? It implies a direction. Right? You have set a direction and you are practising daily in order to achieve that end - the end, the guru, the book the other people have set, have laid down that is the end. So you practise in order to achieve a definite end, a fixed end. If it is a living thing you can't practise to arrive at it, it is moving all the time. So when you are practising a method, which means you have set a direction towards which you are moving, that direction and the end is put together by thought. So you are not out of thought. You are still in the movement of thought. Right?
So you then see, have an insight into that, and so no direction, which means no will. Will is after all the accentuation, the exaggeration of desire. Right? You desire to have enlightenment. You desire moksha, liberation, or heaven or whatever you call it, you desire it, and you work for it, if you are serious and you are not playing with it, which you probably are. But if you are serious you then set a direction, and say, "I'll do these things regularly in order to achieve that moksha, that heaven, that liberation" - whatever the aim is, the goal you have set for yourself, is still within the area of thought, within the area of matter, within the area of time, within the area of measure. So you have not left thought at all, you are still caught in it. And a mind that is enquiring into meditation sees he is aware of this fact, therefore no system, no method, no goal, no direction, and therefore no guru.
Then, as we said, the things that thought has put together as sacred are not sacred. They are just words to give a significance to life, because life as you live is not sacred, is not holy. And the word holy, H-O-L-Y comes from being whole, which means healthy, sane and therefore holy. All that is implied in that word. So a mind - please follow all this - a mind that is functioning through thought, however desirous it be to find that which is sacred is still acting within the field of time, within the field of fragmentation. So then can the mind be whole, not fragmented? This is all part of the understanding of what is meditation. Can the mind, which is the product of evolution, product of time, product of so much influence, so many hurts, so many travails, such great sorrow, great anxiety, it is caught in all that. And all that is the result of thought. And thought, as we said, is fragmentary by its very nature. And mind is the result of thought, as it is now. So can the mind be free of the movement of thought? Can the mind be completely non-fragmented? Can you look at life as a whole? Can the mind be whole, which means without a single fragment? Therefore diligence comes into this. A mind is whole when it is diligent, which means to have care means to have great affection, great love, which is totally different from the love of a man and a woman.
So the mind that is whole is attentive and therefore cares, and has this quality of deep abiding sense of love. Such a mind is the whole. That you come upon when you begin to enquire what is meditation. Then we can proceed to find out what is sacred. Please listen, it is your life, give your heart and mind to find out a way of living differently. Which means when the mind has abandoned all control. It does not mean that you lead a life of doing what you like, yielding to every desire, to every lustful glance or reaction, to every pleasure, to every demand of the pursuit of pleasure, but to find out, to find out whether you can live a daily life without a single control. That is part of meditation. That means one has to have this quality of attention. That attention, which has brought about the insight into the right place of thought, and thought is fragmentary, and where there is control there is the controller and the controlled, which is fragmentary. So to find out a way of living without a single control, that requires tremendous attention, great discipline, not the discipline that you are accustomed to, which is merely suppression, control, conformity, but we are talking of a discipline which means to learn. The word discipline comes from the word disciple. The disciple is there to learn. Now here there is no teacher, no disciple: you are the teacher and you are the disciple if you are learning. And that very act of learning brings about its own order.
Now: thought has found its own place, its right place. So the mind is no longer burdened with the movement as a material process, which is thought. Which means the mind is absolutely quiet. It is naturally quiet, not made quiet. That which is made quiet is sterile. That which happens to be quiet, in that quietness, in that emptiness a new thing can take place.
So can the mind, your mind, be absolutely quiet, without control, without the movement of thought? It will be quiet naturally if you really have the insight - the insight which brings about the right place for thought. From there thought has its right place therefore the mind is quiet. You understand what the word silence and quiet means? You know you can make the mind quiet by taking a drug, by repeating a mantram or a word, constantly repeating, repeating, repeating, naturally your mind will become quiet. And then such a mind is a dull, stupid mind. And there is a silence between two noises. There is silence between two notes. There is silence between two movements of thought. There is silence of an evening when the birds have made their noise, chattering and have gone to bed and there isn't a flutter among the leaves, there is no breeze, there is absolute quietness, not in a city but when you are out with nature, when you are with the trees, or sitting on the banks of the river, there silence descends on the earth and you are part of that silence. So there are different kinds of silence. But the silence we are talking about, the quietness of a mind, that silence is not to be bought, is not to be practised, is not something you gain, a reward, a compensation to an ugly life. It is only when the ugly life has been transformed into the good life; by good I mean not having plenty, but the life of goodness, the flowering of that goodness, the beauty, then the silence comes.
And also you have to enquire what is beauty? What is beauty? Have you ever gone into this question? Or will you find it in a book and tell me, or tell each other that book says what beauty is. What is beauty? Did you look at the sunset this evening as you are sitting there. The sunset was behind the speaker. Did you look at it? Did you feel the light and the glory of that light on a leaf? Or do you think beauty is sensory, sensuous, and a mind that is seeking sacred things cannot be attracted to beauty, cannot have anything with beauty, therefore only concentrate on your little image which you have projected from your own thought as the good. So you have to find out, if you want to find out what meditation is, you have to find out what beauty is. Beauty in the face, beauty in character - not character, character is a cheap thing, that depends on your environmental reaction, and the cultivation of that reaction is called character. The beauty of action, the beauty of behaviour, conduct, the inward beauty, the beauty of the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you gesture, all that is beauty. And without having that, meditation becomes merely an escape, a compensation, a meaningless action. And there is beauty in frugality, there is beauty in great austerity - not the austerity of sannaysi. The austerity of a mind that has order. Order comes when you understand the whole disorder in which you live, and out of that disorder comes naturally order, which is virtue. Therefore virtue, order is supreme austerity, not the denial of three meals a day or fasting, or shaving your head, and all the rest of that business.
So there is order, which is beauty, there is beauty of love, beauty of compassion. And also there is the beauty of a clean street, of a good architectural form of a building, there is beauty of a tree, a lovely leaf, the great big branches, to see all that is beauty; not merely go to museums and talk everlastingly about beauty. So silence of a quiet mind is the essence of that beauty. And because it is silent and because it is not the plaything of thought, then in that silence there comes that which is indestructible, which is sacred. And in the coming of that which is sacred then life becomes sacred, your life becomes sacred, our relationship becomes sacred, everything becomes sacred because you have touched that thing which is sacred.
And then we have also to find out in meditation if there is something, or if there is nothing, which is eternal, timeless; which means can the mind, which has been cultivated in the area of time, can that mind find out, come upon or see that thing that is from everlasting to everlasting? So it means can the mind be without time - though time is necessary to go from here to there and all the rest of it, can that mind, that very same mind which operates in time, going from here to there, not psychologically but physically, can that mind be without time? Which means can that mind be without the past, without the present, without the future? Can that mind be in absolute nothingness? Don't be frightened of that word. Because it is empty it has got vast space. Have you ever observed in your own mind if you have any space at all there? Just space, you know, a little space? Or is everything crowded? Crowded by your worries, by your sex, or no sex, by your achievements, by your knowledge, by your ambitions, fears, by your anxieties, your pettiness, crowded. And how can such a mind understand, or be in that state of being or having that enormous space? Space is always enormous.
And a mind that has no space in daily life cannot possibly come upon that which is eternal, which is timeless. And that is why meditation becomes extraordinarily important. Not the meditation that you all practise, that is not meditation at all. But the meditation of which we are talking about transforms the mind. And it is only such a mind that is the religious mind. And it is only such a religious mind can bring about a different culture, a different way of life, different relationship, a sense of sacredness and therefore great beauty and honesty. All this comes naturally, without effort, without battle,