"The search for enlightenment ends with
the realization that there is no such thing as enlightenment. By
searching, you want to be free from the self, but whatever you are
doing to free yourself from the self is the self."
Courage to Stand
between Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and
[Published in paperback by Plover Press and distributed by Autonomedia
55 South Eleventh Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211-0568]
Cannot Create the Hunger In You
I don't know if what happened to me one day was what I think it
is or not, I don't care. But I was really afraid of dying, and
also of not being able to breathe any more. As soon as I feel
something coming up like that, I am scared to death.
Yes. That prevented the possibility of the physical body going
through the process of actual physical dying. The body has to
go through it, because every thought that everybody felt before
you, every experience that everybody experienced before you, every
feeling that everybody felt before you -- all that is part of
So, you can't come into your own unless the whole thing is completely
and totally flushed out, if I may use that word, out of your system.
That is something which you cannot do, or make happen with any
effort or volition of your own. So, when the time comes, you may
not have asked for it. You will never ask for the end of you as
you know yourself, as you experience yourself. Sometimes it does
happen, you see. So the fear of something coming to an end, the
fear of what you know as yourself and as you experience yourself,
prevented the possibility of the whole thing snapping out there.
If you were lucky enough that would have happened and the whole
thing would have fallen into its natural rhythm which is discontinuous
You see that is the way thought functions. There is no continuity
of thought. The only way it can maintain its continuity is through
the constant demand for experiencing the same thing over and over
and over again. So, what is there is the knowledge you have about
yourself and about the world around you. The world around you
is not quite different from the world you have created for yourself
inside of you. What you are frightened of (not you, but that movement
of thought), is the continuity coming to an end.
When I was two years old I dreamt that I couldn't get air. So,
I think that's an excuse.
True, but it is not an easy thing you know to go through that.
The whole of your energy, everything that is there is being drawn
into something like a vacuum cleaner. There is a tremendous effort
on your part to prevent the whole thing from being sucked into
a vacuum. That's a very frightening situation. So the fear is
the protective mechanism.
Physical fear is altogether different. It is very simple. It is
there only for the survival of the living organism. [It operates]
... through your thinking and through the experiences you have
built on the foundation of that physical fear (which is essential
for survival) -- what you call a psychological fear, the fear
of what you know coming to an end.
The body knows that it is immortal. I very deliberately use the
word immortal because nothing there comes to an end. When what
you call clinical death takes place, the body breaks itself into
its constituent elements. That's all that happens. It may not
reconstitute again and create the same body, which you think is
yours, but when it breaks itself into its constituent elements,
it provides the basis for the continuity of life. It may not be
of any consolation to the individual who is dying, but this body
becomes food for the millions and millions of bacteria. So, even
assuming for a moment that you resort to cremation, as they do
in some countries, wherever you dump the ashes, the carbon which
is the end result of the burned body, provides the basis for some
tiny little flower coming out of the earth. So, nothing here is
When there is an actual physical danger, the danger of the extinction
of your physical body (which you think is yours), then everything
that it has as its resource gets thrown into that situation and
the body tries to survive in that particular moment. Have you
ever noticed that when there is a real physical danger your thinking
mechanism is never there to help you? Never there. So you can
plan ahead for every possible situation and be prepared to meet
every kind of situation in your life, but actually when there
is a physical danger, all your planning and all that you have
thought about to be prepared to meet every kind of danger and
every kind of situation is just not there. The body has to fall
back on its own resources. If for some reason it cannot renew
itself and survive in that particular situation, it goes merrily
and gracefully. It knows that nothing is lost.
This living organism is not interested in its continuity in terms
of years. This is functioning from moment to moment. The sensory
perceptions function from moment to moment. There is no continuity
in your physical seeing, there is no continuity in your physical
hearing, there is no continuity in your smelling, there is no
continuity when you eat something, there is no continuity in the
sense of touch -- they are all disconnected and disjointed.
But thought in its interest to maintain itself and to continue
without any interruption, demands these experiences all the time.
That is the only way it can maintain its continuity. The body
functions in a completely different way; and it is not interested
in the activity of thought. The only thought that is necessary
for this body is the thought that it has to use for the survival
of the living organism.
Even if you do not feed this body, it is not concerned about that.
It has certain resources which you have built up through years
of eating. It falls back and lives on them, and when they are
finished, it goes. So, for a day or two you will feel the hunger
tantrums, at the same time that you usually eat, but the body
is not really concerned whether you feed it or not.
At the same time, it is foolish and perverse not to feed the body,
hoping that you will attain some spiritual goals. That's what
they do in India, they put the body through all kinds of stresses
and strains -- torture it -- because they feel that through this
endurance they will be able to achieve whatever their spiritual
goals may be.
There is nothing that you can do to make that happen through any
will of yours, through any effort of yours, through any volition
of yours. That is the reason why I always maintain that if this
kind of a thing happens, it is not something mysterious. Thought
falls into its natural rhythm of discontinuous and disconnected
functioning. That's all, that's all that is there.
Thought will be in harmony with the sensory perceptions and the
activity of the senses. There is no conflict there; there is no
struggle there; there is no pain there. There is a harmonious
relationship between the two [thought and the body]. Whenever
there is a need for thought, it is always there to act. The action
that this body is interested in is only the action that is essential
for the survival of the living organism.
The body is not interested in any ideas you have about your religious
or material goals. It is not at all interested. There is always
a constant battle between these two things [thought and the body].
Thought is not something mysterious, it is what the culture has
put in there, which is, of course, society. They are not different
-- culture and society. Society is interested in its continuity
and permanence. It is interested in the status quo. It is always
maintaining that status quo. That is where thought is helpful
for the society. Society says, "If you don't act that way, if
you don't think that way, you will become anti-social, because
all your actions will become thoughtless, impulsive actions."
It is interested in channelling every thought of yours in that
particular direction which maintains its status quo. That's why
there is basically, essentially and fundamentally a conflict between
these two [society and the individual]. Culture has been adopted
and accepted as a means of survival, that's all.
It [culture] has a momentum of its own, totally unrelated to it
[the survival of the body]. As long as you use that [culture],
so long you are not an individual at all. You can become an individual
only when you break away from the totality of that wisdom.
There's no such thing as your mind or my mind. Maybe there is
such a thing as the "world mind" where all the cumulative knowledge
and the experiences thereof are accumulated and passed on from
generation to generation. We have to use that mind to function
in this world sanely and intelligently. If we don't use it, as
I was saying the other day, we will end up on the funny farm singing
loony tunes and merry melodies. The society is interested only
in fitting every individual into its framework and maintaining
sighs and says quietly, "I don't want to give a talk."]
don't know if I have made myself clear. The reason why I am emphasizing
the physical aspect is not with the idea of selling something,
but to emphasize and express what you call enlightenment, liberation,
moksha, mutation, transformation, in pure and simple physical
and physiological terms. There is absolutely no religious content
to it and no mystical overtones or undertones to the functioning
of the body. But unfortunately for centuries they have interpreted
the whole thing in religious terms and that has created misery
for us all. The more you try to revive or push it through the
backdoor, when there is no interest in the religious life, you
are only adding more and more to the misery.
I am not interested in propagating this. This is not something
which you can make happen, nor is it possible for me to create
that hunger which is essential to understand anything. I am repeating
this over and over again, but repetition has its own charm.
You are assuming that you are hungering for spiritual attainments
and you are reaching out for your goals. Naturally, there are
so many people in the market place -- all these saints, selling
all kinds of shoddy goods. For whatever reason they are doing
it, it's not our concern, but they are doing it. They say it is
for the welfare of mankind and that they do it out of compassion
for mankind and all that kind of thing. All that is bullshit anyway.
What I am trying to say is that you are satisfied with the crumbs
they throw at you. And they promise that one day they are going
to deliver to you a full loaf of bread. That is just a promise.
They cannot deliver the goods at all. They just don't have it.
They can only cut it into pieces and distribute it to the people.
Jesus did not materialize loaves and loaves of bread, but he just
got whatever bread was there and divided it into small bits and
distributed it to everybody there. Naturally, you want to attribute
it to some miracle.
What I am saying is that the hunger has got to burn itself up.
Every day I am saying the same thing but using different words,
you see, putting these things in different ways. That's all that
I can do. My vocabulary is very, very limited; so I have to use
the [same] words again and again and emphasize the same thing
all over again to point out that the hunger has to burn itself
There is no use feeding yourself with all kinds of junk food.
There is no use waiting for something to happen to satisfy your
hunger. There is no point in satisfying that hunger. The hunger
has to burn itself up -- literally it has to burn itself out.
Even physical hunger has to burn itself out so that a physical
death can take place. Actual dehydration of the body takes place.
Thank God the physical body has certain things to protect itself
when the physical dehydration takes place. I don't know if you
have meditated for hours and hours: the whole body reaches a point
where dehydration takes place. Then you have these life- savers
there in your body -- the saliva -- there is a profuse saliva
coming out to quench your thirst and save you in that particular
situation when you push this body to do certain things, meditation,
yoga, all kinds of things people do -- overdo these things.
There is one thing that I am emphasizing all the time: it is not
because of what you do or what you do not do that this kind of
a thing happens. And why it happens to one individual and not
another -- there is no answer to that question. I assure you that
it is not the man who has prepared himself, or purified himself
for whatever reason to be ready to receive that kind of a thing.
It is the other way around. It hits. But it hits at random. That
is the way nature operates. Lightning hits you somewhere. It is
not interested in whether it is hitting a tree that is blooming
or if it has fruits and is helping the people by providing shade,
etc. It just strikes at random. In exactly the same way it happens
to a particular individual, and that happening is acausal. It
has no cause.
There are so many things happening in nature which cannot be attributed
to any particular cause. So, your interest in studying the lives
or the biography of some of those people whom you think were enlightened,
or godmen or some such thing, is to find a clue as to how it happened
to them, so that you can use whatever technique they used and
make the same thing happen to you. That is your interest. Those
people are giving you some techniques, some system, some methods
which don't work at all. They create the hope that somehow, through
some miracle, one day it is going to happen to you. But it will
have said my piece. And I have to repeat this again and come to
it from ten different angles, depending upon the nature of the
questions which you throw at me.
But, as I said yesterday, all questions are exactly the same.
Because the questions spring from the answers you already have,
the answers given by others are not really the answers. I am not
giving any answers to you. If I am foolish enough to give you
the answers you have to understand that this is the very answer
which is destroying the possibility of that question disappearing.
You have to take my word -- I don't care if you take my word or
not -- that such questions never, never, never occur to me.
I have no questions of any kind except the questions I need to
ask somebody, [like] "Where can I rent a car?" "What is the quickest
way to go to Brussels?" "Which way to Rotterdam -- this road or
that road?" That's all. For such questions, there are always people
who can help you. But these other kinds of questions have no answers.
When it dawns on
you that such questions have no answers, and that those questions
spring from the answers you already have, that situation is the
complete and total blasting of the answers that you have. That
is something which you cannot make happen. It is not in your hands.
So, you think the situation is hopeless, but it is not hopeless.
The hope is here. The hope is not there. You are waiting for something
to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow NOTHING will happen.
Whatever has to happen, that has got to happen now. The possibility
of that happening now is practically and well nigh impossible,
because the instrument which you are using is the past. Unless
the past comes to an end, there can't be any present. And that
present moment is something which cannot be captured by you, cannot
be experienced by you. Even assuming for a moment that the past
has come to an end, you have no way of knowing that it has come
to an end. Then there is no future for you at all. Maybe tomorrow
you will be the boss of your company, or the school teacher will
become the head of the institution, and the professor will become
the dean -- that possibility is there, but you have to put in
a lot of struggle and that takes time. You are applying the same
technique to realize whatever you are interested in [spiritual
goals], and so it [your mind] puts it out there as a goal in the
future. It has produced tremendous results in this world. So,
[you ask] how can that instrument not be the instrument to achieve
your spiritual goals? You have tried, you have done everything
possible -- even those [of you] who are burning with hunger to
find it -- [but] it's impossible.
In India everybody has tried this -- you wouldn't believe it --
not one was lucky enough. Whenever such a thing has happened,
it happened to those people who had given up completely and totally
all their search. That is an absolute requisite for that kind
of a thing. The whole movement has to slow down and come to a
stop. But anything you do to make it stop is only adding momentum
to it. That's really the crux of the problem.
What you are interested in doesn't exist. It's your own imagination,
based upon the knowledge you have about those things. And so,
there is nothing that you can do about it. You are chasing something
that does not exist at all. I can say that until the cows return
home -- I don't know when they return home here -- or till the
kingdom come -- but that kingdom will never come. So, you keep
on going, hoping that somehow you will find some way of achieving
your goals. Your interest in attaining that for the purpose of
solving your day to day problems is a far-fetched idea because
that cannot be of any help to you to solve your problems. "If
I had that enlightenment I would be able to solve all my problems."
You cannot have
all that AND enlightenment. When that comes, it wipes out everything.
You want all this and heaven too. Not a chance! That is something
which cannot be made to happen through your effort or through
the grace of anybody, through the help of even a god walking on
the face of this earth claiming that he has specially descended
from wherever (from whatever heavens) for your sake and for the
sake of mankind -- that is just absolute gibberish. Nobody can
help you. Help you to achieve what? That is the question, you
As long as your goal is there, these persons, their promises and
their techniques will look very, very attractive to you. They
go together. There is not anything you must do. Anyway, you are
already doing [many things]. Can you be without doing anything?
You can't be without doing anything. Unfortunately you are doing
something, and that doing has got to come to an end. In order
to bring that doing to an end, you are doing something else. That
is really the crux of the problem. That's the situation in which
you find yourself. That's all that I can say. I point out the
absurdity of what you are doing.
As I said yesterday, what brings you here will certainly take
you somewhere else. You have nothing to get here, you will not
get anything here. Not that I want to keep anything for myself;
you can take anything you want. I have nothing to give you. I
am not anything that you are not. You think that I am something
different. The thought that I am different from others never enters
my head. Never. Whenever they ask questions I feel, "Why are these
people asking these questions? How can I make them see?" I still
have some trace of illusion. Maybe I can try. [But] even that
"try" has no meaning to me. There's nothing that I can do about
There is nothing to get. Nothing to give and nothing to get. That
is the situation. In the material world, yes. We have a lot of
things. There is always somebody who can help you with the knowledge,
with the money, with so many things in the world. But here in
this field there is nothing to give and nothing to get. As long
as you want, you can be certain you ain't got a chance. You see,
wanting implies that you are going to set your thinking in motion
to achieve your goal. It is not a question of achieving your goal,
but it is a question of this movement coming to an end here. The
only thing that you can do is to set in motion this movement of
thought in the direction of achieving that. How are you going
to achieve this impossible task?
Wanting and thinking -- they always go together. I am not for
a moment suggesting that you should suppress all your wants, or
free yourself from all your wants, and control all your wants.
Not at all. That's the religious game. If you want anything, the
one thing that you will do is to set in motion the movement of
thought to achieve your goal.
Material goals, yes, but even there it's not so easy. It is such
a competitive world. Not much is left for us to share. Not enough
to go around. The talk of sharing with somebody is poppycock to
me. There is nothing to be shared here. This is not an experience.
Even assuming for a moment that this is an experience, even then
it is so difficult to share with somebody else unless the other
individual has some reference point within the framework of his
experiencing structure. So, then you see the whole business becomes
a sort of meaningless ritual -- sitting and discussing these matters.
That's all. It's not so easy for you to give up. Not at all.
This thing happened to me when I didn't know anything about anything.
Nothing, you see, it just happened.
But I just was sitting down on the floor and it happened. I was
scared to death about it.
That's all right. Now you want that to happen again. No? Thank
god. Your spiritual search ends that way. There is no other way.
It is not that I am trying to frighten you, but how do you expect
that to happen? That is how all those people who have taken drugs
experience all kinds of things. Those who have not heard of anything
of this kind certainly experience so many things and that puts
them on this merry-go-round. India has any number of techniques,
systems, and methods to give you every kind of experience you
want. That is why they are doing a tremendously roaring business.
Q: But it didn't
even come in my head as it did with meditation, or with this or
with that, because it was something different.
It happened -- such things happen. Some extraordinary experiences.
People experience without knowing, without asking for that, without
doing any such things. This was a frightening experience for you
-- but you want to make other spiritual experiences happen again
and again and again. Anything you make happen has no meaning at
all. Then you will want more and more of those things. And then
when you succeed in having more and more of those things, you
will demand for some kind of a permanent situation, permanent
permanent bliss. Yet there is no such thing as permanence at all.
No. Probably it would have resulted in bliss, who knows.
Are you saying then that we are what we are already?
You don't want to accept that fact, but you want to know what
you are. That's the problem. You have no way of knowing it at
all. Knowing what is there is impossible. That is always related
to what you want to be. What you see here is the opposite of what
you would like to be, what you want to be, what you ought to be,
what you should be. What do you see here? You want to be happy,
so you are unhappy. Wanting to be happy creates the unhappiness.
What you see here is the opposite of your goal of becoming happy,
of wanting to be happy. Wanting to have pleasure all the time
creates the pain here. So, wanting and thinking, they always go
together. They are not separate. Anything you want creates pain,
because you begin to think. Wanting and thinking. If you don't
want a thing in this world, there is no thinking. That does not
mean thoughts are not there.
Whether you want to achieve material goals or spiritual goals,
it really doesn't matter. I am not saying anything against wanting.
Want means the fulfillment of the want or non-fulfillment of the
want is possible only through thinking.
So, the thinking has really created the problem for you. What
I am suggesting is that all the problems we have cannot be solved
on psychological and ethical levels. Man has tried for centuries
to solve them, but he has failed. What keeps him going is the
hope that one day, by doing more and more of the same, he will
But the body, as I was saying, has a way of resolving these problems,
because, you see, it cannot take them. The sensitivity of the
sensory perceptions is destroyed by whatever you are doing to
free yourself from whatever you want to be free from. It is destroying
the sensitivity of the nervous system here.
The nervous system has to be very alert for the survival of this
living organism. It has to be very sensitive. Your sensory perceptions
have to be very sensitive. Instead of allowing them to be sensitive,
you have invented what is called the "sensitivity" of your feelings,
the sensitivity of your mind, the sensitivity towards every living
thing around you, sensitivity to the feelings of everybody that
is there. And this has created a neurological problem.
So all the problems are neurological. Not psychological and not
ethical. That's the problem of the society.
Society is interested in the status quo, it doesn't want to change.
The only way it can maintain the status quo or the continuity
is through this demand, the demand that everybody should fit into
this structure. Whereas every individual is unique, physically
Nature is creating something unique all the time. It is not interested
in a perfect man; it is not interested in a religious man.
We have placed before man the goal or the ideal of a perfect man,
a truly religious man. So anything you do to reach that goal of
perfection is destroying the sensitivity of this body. It is creating
violence here. It [the body] is not interested in that.
Whatever the dead man experiences -- self-awareness, self- consciousness
-- he has sown the seeds of the total destruction of man. All
those religions have come out of that divisive consciousness in
man. All the teachings of those teachers will inevitably destroy
mankind. There is no point in reviving all those things and starting
revivalistic movements. That is dead, finished.
Anything that is born out of this division in your consciousness
is destructive, is violence. It is so because it is trying to
protect not this living organism, not life, but the continuity
of thought. And through that it can maintain the status quo of
your culture, or whatever you want to call it, the society. The
problems are neurological. If you give a chance to the body it
will handle all those problems. But if you try to solve them on
a psychological level or on an ethical level, you are not going
What do you mean by "giving a chance to the body?"
Where is anger? In your stomach you feel it, you see. In the base
here. If you beat your husband or wife or neighbor, or beat the
pillows, you are not going to solve the problem. It is already
absorbed. You are only enriching these therapists who are making
money out of that. You hit your wife, husband, anybody you want,
and that's all that you can do, nothing else. But still it is
the function of the body to handle that and absorb it. It is in
here. It is something real there for the body. It doesn't want
this anger, because it is destroying the sensitivity of the nervous
system. So, it is absorbing the whole thing, and you don't have
to do a thing.
Any energy that you create through this thinking is destructive
for this body. That energy cannot be separated from life here.
It is one continuous movement. So, all the energies you experience
as a result of playing with all those things are not of any interest
to the smooth functioning of this living organism. They are disturbing
the harmonious functioning of this body -- a very, very peaceful
The peace there is not this inane dead silence you experience.
It's like a volcano erupting all the time. That is the silence,
that is peace. The blood is flowing through your veins like a
river. If you tried to magnify the sound of the flow of your blood
you will be surprised -- it's like the roar of the ocean. If you
put yourself in a sound proof room you will not survive even for
five minutes. You will go crazy, because you can't bear the noises
that are there in you. The sound of the beat of your heart is
something which you cannot take. You love to surround yourself
with all these sounds and then you create some funny experience
called the "experience of the silent mind," which is ridiculous.
Absurd. That is the silence that is there -- the roar -- the roar
of an ocean. Like the roaring of the flow of blood.
That is all that it [the body] is interested in, not your state
of mind nor the experience of the silent mind. It's not interested
in your practice of virtues nor in the practice of your silences.
The body has no interest in your moral dilemma or whatever you
want to call it.
It's not interested in your virtues or vices. As long as you practice
virtues, so long you will remain a man of vice. They go together.
If you are lucky enough to be free from this pursuit of virtue,
as a goal, along with it the vice also goes out of your system.
You will not remain a man of vice. You will remain a man of violence
as long as you follow some idea of becoming a non-violent, kind,
soft, gentle person. A kind man, a man who is practicing kindness,
a man who is practicing virtues is really a menace. Not the [so-called]
Somewhere along the line culture has put the whole thing on the
wrong track by placing before man the ideal of a perfect man,
the ideal of a truly religious man. The religious experience is
born out of this division in his consciousness, which is not its
Luckily animals don't have this division in their consciousness,
except the division that is essential for their survival. Man
is worse than an animal. He has no doubt succeeded in putting
man on the moon. Probably he will put men on every planet, but
that achievement is of no interest to this body. That achievement
is moving in the direction of progressively destroying everything,
because anything that is born out of thought is destructive. Not
only destructive to the body, but destructive, progressively destructive,
moving in the direction of destroying everything that man has
built for himself.
Anything is destructive if you are hungry.
Your body is not interested in your hunger after one day. You
will be surprised if you don't feed the body. Feeding your body
is your own problem. Maybe for one or two days you will feel the
Q: Well if you
stop eating you'll eventually die.
So what. The body doesn't die. It changes its form, shape, breaks
itself into its constituent elements. It is not interested in
that. For the body there is no death. For your thinking there
is a death, because it does not want to come to an end. For thought
there is a death. So, because it does not want to face that situation,
it has created the life after, the lives to come. But this body
is immortal in its nature, because it is part of life.
Even when the body is under the ground and disintegrating?
what? There are so many other forms of life surviving on that
body. It is of no consolation to you, but all those germs will
have a heyday on your body. A feast day. A big feast. If you leave
the body there in the streets, you will be surprised. They [the
germs] will all have a field day, a feast. You will be doing great
a service. Not for mankind, but for organisms of different kinds.
It is also not advisable to be a vegetarian?
Ah, well. (He sighs wearily.)
Here we go again.
Vegetarianism for what? For some spiritual goals? One form of
life lives off another. That's a fact, whether you like it or
not. If tigers practiced vegetarianism -- he [the questioner]
says his cat is a vegetarian cat, it doesn't kill a fly. Because
of its association with vegetarians it has become vegetarian.
For health reasons maybe one should. I don't know, I don't see
any adequate reason why one should be a vegetarian. Your body
is not going to be any more pure than the meat eating body. You
go to India, [you observe that] those that have been vegetarians,
they are not kind, they are not peaceful. So it has nothing to
do [with spirituality] -- what you put in there is not really
Q: What about aggression which is caused by eating meat?
U.G.: Vegetarians are more aggressive than the meat eaters.
You will be surprised. Read the history of India -- [it is full
of] bloodshed, massacres, and assassinations -- [all] in the name
Buddhism has not been as violent in some areas, but it was the
most violent religion when it spread to Japan. Those temples maintained
armies and provided armies to fight battles in Japan. That's history,
not my personal opinion.
That's why I am emphasizing that the teachers and the teachings
are responsible for this mess in this world. All those messiahs
have created nothing but a mess in this world. And the politicians
are the inheritors of that culture. There is no use blaming them
and calling them corrupt. They [the spiritual teachers] were corrupted.
The man who taught love was corrupt because he created a division
in his consciousness. The man who spoke of "Love thy neighbor
as thyself" was responsible for this horror in the world today.
Don't exonerate those teachers. Their teachings have created nothing
but a mess in this world, progressively moving in the direction
of destroying not only man, but every species [of living beings]
on this planet today.
It came out of that [ideal of love]. It's not the scientists and
politicians that are responsible. They have this power in their
hands, and they are going to use it -- there are enough lunatics
in this world who will press the button. But it [violence] originated
Religion is not going to save man, neither atheism, nor communism,
nor any of those systems. You can't put them on a pedestal and
say that they should be exonerated. Not only the teachings but
the teachers themselves have sown the seeds of this violence that
we have in this world. The man who talked of love is responsible,
because love and hate go together. So how can you exonerate them.
Don't blame the followers, the followers have come out of that
teaching. That's history, not my personal opinion. You know the
history of Europe. The inquisitions. "In the name of Jesus." Why
do you want to revive that religion? What for? "Back to Christianity,"
is the slogan now everywhere. I am not condemning any particular
thing. All are responsible for that.
Talk of love is one of the most absurd things. There must be two
[for there to be love]. [But] wherever there is a division there
is this destruction. Kindness needs two -- you are kind to somebody,
or you are kind to yourself. There is a division there in your
consciousness. Anything that is born out of that division is a
protective mechanism, and in the long run it is destructive.
Thought is trying to protect itself. That is why it is interested
in continuity. The body is not interested in protecting itself.
Whatever intelligence is necessary for the survival of the body
is already there. The jungle we have created through our organization
needs that intellect, the intellect that we have acquired through
our studies, through our culture, through the whole lot. It has
a parallel existence of its own and it is interested in a different
kind of survival, because there is no end to the life here. This
is only an expression of life. If you and I go, life [still] goes
on. Those lights go off, but the electricity continues. Something
else will come. It is not interested in man. Man, unfortunately,
has such destructive powers, which have originated from the experience
of man (his self-awareness).
So the talk of wanting to look at himself, to understand himself,
is a divisive movement in man, born out of that self-awareness.
That's the foundation upon which the whole psychological structure
But how can we get rid of that divisive thinking?
You can't. It's not in your hands. Anything you do adds momentum
to that. So do you want that to come to an end? No.
I once felt an enormous unity . . . .
There is a disturbance in the metabolism of the body brought about
through drugs or through meditation or through any of those systems
and techniques man has invented. You can experience the oneness
of life, and unity of life.
Look at India, which preaches the unity of life and the oneness
of life, there you have an example. They are all great metaphysicians,
philosophers, everlastingly discussing these things. But it doesn't
operate in the lives of the people.
The understanding that there is that dualism, the coming of that
understanding. . . .
Understanding is dualism. If that division is not there, there
is nothing to understand. So the instrument which you are using
to understand something is the only instrument you have. There
is no other instrument. You can talk of intuition, you can talk
of a thousand other things. They are all sensitized thoughts.
Intuition is nothing but a sensitized thought -- but still it
is a thought.
So, anything you understand through the help of that instrument
has not helped you to understand anything. That is not the instrument,
and there is no other instrument. If that is the case, is there
anything to understand? Your understanding of anything is only
for the purpose of changing what is there. Whatever is there,
you want to change. You want to bring about a change in the structure
of your thinking. So, you begin to think differently, and you
begin to experience differently. But basically there is no change
So, your wanting to understand anything is only for the purpose
of bringing about a change there, and at the same time you do
not want the change. That has created the neurotic situation in
man, wanting two things, change and no change. That is the conflict
that is there all the time.
Possibly we have to see that conflict.
The seeing itself is a divisive movement. There are two things.
You know, the Indians are past masters in this game -- the seer
and the seen, the observer and the observed. They are great experts
in this kind of a game. But what is there to see? Who is it that
is seeing? Are there two things? What do you do when you see?
You are back again to the same thought.
It is absurd to ask yourself the question "Who am I?" That has
become the basic teaching of Ramana Maharshi. "Who am I?" Why
do you ask that question? That means there is some other I there
you want to know. That question to me has no meaning at all. The
very fact that you ask that question implies that there are two
things. The "I" you know, and there is another "I" the nature
of which you do not know. The question "Who am I" implies that
there is some other I, the nature of which you really do not know
and you want to know. I don't know if I make myself clear. Do
you know anything about yourself, first of all? What do you know?
Tell me. Hm?
Q: What he knows.
What he has been told: where he lives, what his name is; how much
money he is drawing every month, his telephone number, people
he has met, how many experiences he has gathered during the course
of his 30 years, and all the books he has read. That's all that
he can tell you. He can repeat mechanically, all the information
he has gathered and all the experiences he has collected. And
so that is all that is there. Why are you dissatisfied with it,
and why are you searching for something other than that? Can you
tell me something about yourself other than the information that
you gathered, what you know?
What I found there is not the answer. Otherwise the questions
would not persist.
What did you find there?
that question, that idiotic question, is born out of the knowledge
you already have. It is the knowledge that is there that has thrown
out [asked] this question, "Who am I?" So you want to know, and
through that knowing the knowledge you have gathers momentum.
You are adding more and more and more [to the knowledge]. If there
is anything to be known there, all you know should comes to an
end. So, by this pursuit or the demand to get an answer for that
question you are adding more and more to the knowledge.
So, don't you see the absurdity of the question, "Who am I?" It
doesn't matter who suggested that, who threw that question at
you, who recommended that question. There is nothing there to
know. What is there is all of what you know. When that is not
there, there is no need for you to know anything, and there is
no way of knowing anything about what is there.
But "Who am I" is not really a question. "Who am I" is a pointer.
Yes. Where does the point lead you? All right, if it is a pointer,
what do you do? You stay put there and instead of following that,
you suck your finger. What do you do with that pointer?
The pointer points to where there is nothing to be pointed. It
takes you to where these are all nonsensical words.
That's all right, the question itself is a nonsensical question.
Yes. But it is only so if you use it as a question.
All right. Even if you use it as a pointer, the very direction
It's not even a pointer.
All right, what is it then?
It shows you that you are. It shows you that I am. "I am" is the
What I am is the knowledge I have about myself.
"I am" is what I am.
what does it mean, what I am?
It doesn't mean anything . . . .
"I am" is not knowledge.
There is nothing there, no existence there independent of the
Q: So it is the
end of knowledge.
So the question should end. Because the question itself -- listen
-- the question itself is born out of the answer. Otherwise, there
is no place for any question of any kind. All questions are born
out of the answers you already have. So, it is idiotic even to
ask a question for which you already have an answer. Because there
can't be any question without an answer, the question implies
that there is something about that "I" you do not know, but want
to know -- something other than the "I" that is already there;
it implies that there is another "I" there.
On a certain level, yes. You can also say if you ask a question
it means that you know the answer.
That's right. There's no question at all. There can't be any question
without knowledge. All questions are born out of the answers you
already have. So, that is the reason why a question of that kind,
whether it is posed by yourself or somebody else, does not want
an answer. The answer for any question is the end of the question.
The end of the question means the end of the answer that you already
have. Not only your answer, but the answers that have been accumulating
for centuries must not be there. The demand for an answer to that
question, on any level (there is only one level, there are no
other levels), implies that the questioner does not want the knowledge
to come to an end.
That's true. But of course in the process of this. . . .
It has to happen now, not in the end, because there is no time.
The instrument which you are using, which is this process of knowledge,
does not want to come to an end. That is why it is posing the
question to itself, knowing very well that the question is bound
to carry on until it gets an answer.
So, this knowledge, the instrument which you are using, does not
know, and cannot conceive of, the possibility of anything happening
except in time, because it's born in time and it functions in
time. Although it projects a state of timelessness, it is not
interested in accepting the fact that nothing can happen except
in the field of time. The question implies that there is a demand
for an answer and that the answer can come only in time. And during
that time this knowledge has a chance of surviving.
Q: It's true
what you say. However, the answer to the question "Who am I" does
not fall in time.
Yes. But anything that is born . . . .
It is only a device. I agree with you.
That is true. Anything that is born in the field of time is time.
The question is time.
The question is not born in time.
Where does it come from?
It comes from "I am."
That assumption itself is time -- that "I am". Of course, it is
an assumption -- that there is something there other than this
knowledge. What is there is only the knowledge.
If, as you say, you ask questions born out of the answers you
already have, do you mean that the "answers that you already have"
is the same as perhaps what psychology means by the "mind"?
I don't know . . . To me there is no mind at all. The mind is
the totality (it's not that I am giving a peculiar definition
of mind), the totality of your experiences and the totality of
your thoughts. As I was saying yesterday, there are no thoughts
which you can call your own. There is no experience which you
can call your own. Without knowledge you cannot have any experience.
I don't know if I make myself clear. Every time you experience,
through the help of this experience the knowledge is strengthened
and fortified. This is a vicious circle. It goes on and on and
on. The knowledge gives you experiences and the experiences fortify
the knowledge you have.
The questions which you are asking are very frivolous questions,
because the questions are born out of the knowledge. If there
is any answer to that question, it is not necessarily your answer.
All answers are the answers that have been accumulating through
centuries. There is a totality of the knowledge that has been
accumulating. Accumulated knowledge, accumulated experiences are
there. You are using them to communicate to yourself and to communicate
to others. So, there is no such thing as your mind and my mind.
But there is a mind which is the totality of all the thoughts
and experiences of all that has existed up to this point.
So, any answer
that anybody gives for that question should put an end to that
question. The fact is that the answers given by others, the answers
that you have manufactured for yourself, and the answers given
by these wise men we have in the market place today and those
who existed in the past, are not really the answers. Any answer
I give to your question cannot be the answer for that question,
because the answer should put an end to the question. If the question
is shattered there, along with it all the knowledge that is responsible
for that question has also got to go. The questioner is not interested
in any answer, because the answer has to blow up the whole thing,
not only what little you have known in these 30 or 40 years, but
all that has accumulated up to that point, everything that every
man thought and felt and experienced before, up to the point where
the question is thrown out. I don't think I make myself clear.
But anyway, you see, the answer, if there is any answer, should
wipe out the whole thing.
I was thinking of the despair that occurs when the vacuum is on
the brink of becoming a reality, or seemingly near.
Yes, but, assuming for a moment that there is despair there (you
say you are in great despair), have you given up trying to free
yourself from despair? You call it despair in the same way you
are using the word vacuum or emptiness. But there is no despair
The existentialist philosophers have built up a tremendous philosophical
structure on what they call despair, religious people call it
the divine despair -- these are all meaningless phrases.
You have never really come to grips with what you call despair,
because there is only a movement in the direction of wanting somehow
to free yourself from the situation which you call despair. So
you don't let that despair act. That is the action that I am talking
about. You are still thinking about that, you know. Where is that
despair? It is not in the area of your thinking. It should be
here in the framework of your body. Where is that despair you
are talking about. As long as you are trying to run away, move
away from the despair, there is no despair there.
So, wanting to be free from despair is all that you are interested
in. Because you think, it is not choking you, it is not killing
you. The despair should destroy this movement for freeing yourself
from this. You are not giving the despair a chance to act. You
are interested in finding out a solution, a way out of this impasse.
That's all that is there. And you give it a name and call it "despair."
You are not in despair. You don't act like a person in despair.
You just talk about despair, you talk about vacuum, you talk about
emptiness. It's not really emptiness. If there is emptiness, that's
the action of life.
Next you will ask me "What is life?" If I define life, we are
lost. It's one definition against life. What I mean by life is
that which makes it possible for the whole of your being to respond.
Not react, [but] respond. Respond to the stimuli around you. If
there is no life there you become a corpse. A dead corpse is still
responding, but in a different way. That is why you call this
life. Life, in other words, is nothing but the pulse and the beat
and the breath of life. That's also a definition. There is a pulse,
there is breathing, there is a throb of life. It is throbbing
all over, everywhere, every cell in your body is throbbing. That's
all that is life. But we are not really talking about that life,
because nobody can say anything about that life, except to give
definitions. You can call it life-force, this, that and the other,
but living implies all the other problems that the so-called life
So, there is a demand for "how." How to live. That is really the
problem. The problem of all problems is how to live. And for centuries
we have been brainwashed to believe that "This is how you should
live." If that is not satisfactory, you find another way and call
that, "How to live." And it goes on and on and on and on. All
that is nonsense, because it has not given you peace. There is
a constant battle going on inside of you, a war going on inside
of you. As long as there is a war inside of you, there isn't going
to be a peaceful world at all. Even assuming for a moment that
war has come to an end, and you are at peace with yourself, that
will not change anything, because, you see, a man who is at peace
with himself will be a threat to his neighbor. So, there is a
danger that he will liquidate you.
The important problem is, can you bring this war to an end within
yourself. Is there any way? All the solutions that you have, are
the ones that are responsible for this battle -- that is, "How
to live." The "how" has to go. Then you ask me, "How can that
`how' go?" "Can you help me?"
First of all, you are not sure of that. You have not even come
to that point of despair. Only then can you deal with the despair.
As long as you are running in the direction of wanting to be free
from despair, it is just not possible for you to handle that despair.
There may be a hundred and fifty solutions, but you can't try
all of them. Obviously all that you have tried has failed, and
so you say you are in despair. That despair will act.
What is the action? That action can never be within the framework
of your thinking. Any action that is within the framework or the
product of your thinking will inevitably create despair. It may
give you a reason or a certain experience for a while, but you
always demand more and more and more of the same. This keeps the
whole thing going, and that gives you hope.
The hope is here, and you say the situation is hopeless. The situation
is not hopeless. The hope is here now because, as you say, the
despair is there. And so you hope to resolve that, to solve that,
to handle that, to come to grips with it, and find out if there
is any way of freeing yourself from the despair. Instead of letting
that despair act, you are running away from it and still trying
to find out if there is any way that you can be free from the
That applies to all the situations in life. Either you are stuck
with your frustration, which is despair, or something else. What
do you want to do in such a situation? You have to find the solution
for yourself. If I give you another solution it will be like the
hundreds of solutions that you already have. You will add this
to your list of solutions. This is not going to help you solve
your problem. It makes it more difficult. Now you have one more
solution. If there is any solution, that solution has to come
from that which you are trying to be free from, and not from any
outside agency. That action is something extraordinary.
If once that problem of despair is solved, all the others are
solved, because every other problem is a variation of the same.
So you never want to solve the problem. You are more interested
in solutions. That's why I am repeating the same thing over and
over in ten different ways. (My vocabulary is limited so I have
to use the same words. You can increase your vocabulary and find
new phrases, but it doesn't serve any purpose.)
which you are using, which is thinking, can never accept the fact
that these problems can be solved here and now, because it has
taken so much time for you to be what you are. You are living
in a world of your experiences and it has taken so many years
for you to be what you are. That is the only instrument you have.
You have no other way of handling these problems. That cannot
conceive of the possibility of finding out the solution here and
now. It is always interested in pushing it further and further
and further away. There is always tomorrow.
There is always this time. Because this [your thinking] functions
in the field of time, it cannot conceive of the possibility of
anything else happening, of any action other than the action in
the field of time. This is not metaphysics that I am discussing.
The solution, if there is any, has to be here and now. If you
are hungry, hunger must be satisfied. If the hunger cannot be
satisfied, it will burn you up. This is a frightening situation
for you, so you are satisfied with the crumbs which are the solutions
that people throw at you. You are waiting for somebody to give
you a full loaf of bread or some miracle man to multiply the loaves
But that's not going to happen. There is no real hunger there.
You don't want to solve this problem, because then you will find
yourself without a problem. So, that which gives you strength
and energy is trying to solve your problem. When once you achieve
your goal, what you have there is frustration.
Even in the sex act, which is so powerful in the life of an individual,
it is the preparation, it is the build-up, it is the tension that
is the attractive part of it. When once the tension is built up
there, this body is demanding release from the tension which you
call pleasure -- release. It wants to be released from the tension
which you have built up. It wants a release, which you call the
orgasm, or whatever you want to call it. So there is a tremendous
So, what is there now? A vacuum. So in exactly the same way, all
actions are functioning in the same field. You build up, build
up, build up tension, and then you see it [the tension] demands
The other day I was reading an article in Playboy. "How to Keep
The Orgasm Going for Half an Hour." My God! They are doing experiments.
You know they have succeeded. There was one doctor in California
who has succeeded in it through artificial means, with the help
of gadgets. They have established that a woman can have an orgasm
for half an hour. All the other specialists say it's only for
a few seconds. It is the demand for the extension of that agony
which you call pleasure -- it is not pleasure, it's release of
You work hard to achieve your goal, and once you achieve the goal
you are exhausted, you are finished, the charm is lost for you.
Working for it, building up all these tensions -- that is all
that you are interested in. When once you are there, it's finished
for you. You have lost it. So you start all over again.
You don't want to be without any problems. You are yourself the
problem. If you don't have any problems, you create problems.
The end of the problem is the end of you. So these problems will
remain until the end. You go, then the problems go. Seventy, eighty,
ninety, a hundred years -- it depends upon how long you are going
to live -- [so long] the hope remains. It's not a pessimistic
situation, it is a realistic situation. I am not giving you any
solutions. Please, for goodness sake, look at your problem, if
you can. You can't separate yourself from the problem. The problem
is created by the opposite of it.
Why do you feel unhappy, first of all? Why do feel this feeling
of unkindness in you? Because of the goal. It is that which creates
the opposite. You can see for yourself, I don't have to tell you.
You are always thinking, "I should be like that, I ought to be
that, I must be like that, and I am not that." It is that thought
that has created the opposite of it. If that is gone, this also
is gone. This man cannot be a career man. This man cannot be a
sensitive man, not sensitive within the framework of your cultural
But this is a different kind of sensitivity. As long as
are pursuing those ideals that the society or the culture has
placed before you, you will remain the opposite of it. And you
hope that one day, through some miracle or through the help of
somebody, some god, some guru, you will be able to resolve the
problem -- NOT A CHANCE! [U.G. shouts dramatically.]
cannot create the hunger in you. How can I create the hunger in
you? If you have the hunger, you will look around and you will
find that whatever is offered to you is not satisfying. If you
are satisfied with the crumbs, all right. That's what the gurus
are doing, throwing some crumbs at you, like [they do to] the
dog on a leash. Humans are like animals, no different. If we accept
the fact that we are not different, then there is a better chance
that we will act as humans.
When will they act as humans?
When man ceases to pursue the goal of a perfect man.