"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 Alone
in Amsterdam between Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and
[Published in paperback by Plover Press and distributed by
55 South Eleventh Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211-0568]
is Left is the Courage
Q: May I ask
Q: This constant
change that we want to come about with our inner self, not necessarily
changing the world but trying to find our inner self when we
do meditation or yoga or whatever, why do we want this change?
do you do them all?
Q: Well I try them out, I do
them, and I see . . . .
What for? Do you want to change something?
Q: That's the
point, yes. Why do we want to change? What is it in us that
wants this constant change? Why can't we be satisfied?
You are dissatisfied with yourself, first of all. Yes?
Q: Not consciously ... it's a
funny thing. I feel very good, I have relatively little to complain
about, and yet. . . .
yet you do. Do you see the paradox? You are not as contented
as you say you are, as satisfied as you say you are.
Q: That's right.
there determines that all is not right. That's why, you want
to bring about a change. And who is responsible for that demand
to change? That is what I am asking. Culture, society has placed
the demand before you, namely, that you should be like that,
you aught to be like that. You understand? So you have accepted
that as a model for yourself.
Q: But I don't
feel that I have an image of a person or a thing that I am striving
for. What I am trying to find out is, is there something more
The demand for more . . . .
Q: The inner
thing . . . .
is no inner and outer. What I am trying to say is that there
is a feeling, there is a demand, that there is something more
interesting that you can do with yourself, more meaningful,
more purposeful than your existence is today. That is the demand,
you see. That is why there is this restlessness. You become
restless because of this drive in you, which is put in there
by the society or culture, that makes you feel that there is
something more interesting, more meaningful, more purposeful
that your life can be than what it is today.
Q: And the
more natural state of your self which you try to find doesn't
Q: It's just
words that the society has put together.
Exactly. Your naturalness is destroyed by that demand which
is put in there by the culture. So, then, your life looks meaningless
to you if that is all that you can do. You have tried to fill
in that boredom with everything possible. ... Now you have all
these new gimmicks -- yoga, meditation, and all the psychology.
books, religious books -- this is something new added on to
the already existing [list of] things there, but you have not
succeeded in freeing yourself from the boredom. That is the
demand. You are bored with your life, with your existence, because
it's very repetitive. First of all, your physical needs are
very well taken care of, you see, here in this part of the world,
at least. So, there is no need for you to spend any more energy
to survive. That part is taken care of.
When that is
taken care of, the natural question that arises is a very simple
question: is that all that is there? Going to the office every
morning, or just being a housewife doing all the chores of the
house, or sleeping, having sex -- everything, you see -- is
that all? It is that demand on your part that is being exploited
by these holy men. Is that all? So, those are some of the gimmicks
that you are trying to fill the boredom with there.
[But] it's an
empty, bottomless cup. It's not even a bottomless cup, it is
a bottomless pit. You can fill that all the time with every
conceivable thing that you can imagine or that others can come
up with, but yet the boredom is a reality; it's a fact. Sure.
Otherwise, you wouldn't do anything. You are just bored. Simply
bored with doing the same thing again and again and again. And
you don't see any meaning in this.
not quite conscious of that boredom....
quite conscious of that boredom, because you are looking for
something to free you from what is not there. That's all that
I have been emphasizing all the time. The problem is not really
the boredom. You are not conscious of the existence of boredom
either on the conscious level of your thinking or on the conscious
level of your existence.
of those things [which you use] to free yourself from the non-existing
boredom has really created the boredom. And those things really
cannot fill this boredom (created by that). So it goes on and
on and on and on -- the newer and still newer techniques and
methods. Every year we have a new guru coming from India with
a new gimmick, with a new technique or some new therapy, you
know. All kinds of things.
Q: When we
talk about consciousness. . . .
yes, I know. You seem to know something about consciousness.
Will you please tell me what exactly do you mean by consciousness.
Q: I don't
know. I asked you that question.
are you asking me the question about consciousness? I am not
throwing a counter-question at you. You are picking up that
word "consciousness" somewhere, you see. You have picked that
up somewhere, and so they are talking of expanding consciousness.
Q: ...in the
form of trying to get to know oneself better, trying to find
Your naturalness is something that you don't have to know. You
just have to let that function in its own way. Your wanting
to know that demands some know-how, which you want from somebody.
The functioning of the heart is a natural thing; the functioning
of all the organs in your body is very natural. They are not
for one moment asking themselves the question "How am I functioning?"
The whole living organism has this tremendous intelligence which
makes it function in a very natural way. You have separated
what you call life from [that]. What you call life is living,
which is in no way related to the functioning of this living
you are asking the question, "How to live?" You see, it is the
"How to live" that has really destroyed the natural way the
whole thing is going on. That is where the culture steps in
and tells you, "This is the way you should act and live. This
is the one and the only thing that is good for you and good
for the society." You want to change that [state of affairs],
you see. What is it that you want to change? That is all that
I am asking.
Q: I wish I
will never know. So, what is it that you are trying now then?
Don't you see the absurdity of what you are doing? All this
search is like trying to chase something that does not exist
I always give
my pet simile. We all take it for granted that there is such
a thing as a horizon there. So, if you look at that and you
say that it is a horizon, it sounds very simple to you. But
you forget that the physical limitation, the limitation of your
physical eye fixes that point there and it calls it "horizon".
If you move in the direction of the horizon, the faster you
move in the direction, even in a supersonic plane, the farther
it moves away. What you are stuck with is only the limitation.
I also give the
example of trying to overtake your shadow. As children we played
this game of trying to overtake our shadows - - all the other
boys running with you, everybody trying to overtake his own
shadow. It never occurred to us then that it is this body that
is casting this shadow there, and that your wanting to overtake
that shadow is an absurd game that you are playing. You can
run for miles and miles and miles.
You know the
story of Alice In Wonderland. The red queen has to run faster
and faster and faster in order to keep still where she is. You
see that's exactly what you are all doing. Running faster and
faster and faster. But you are not moving anywhere.
All that you
are doing to find exactly where you are is not moving at all.
That gives you the feeling that you are working on something,
you are doing something to achieve your goal, not knowing that
what you are doing is totally unrelated to the natural functioning
of this body. You are not acting in a natural way, because the
ideal has been placed before you by the culture has falsified
the natural actions here. You are frightened of acting in a
natural way because you have been told the way you should act.
is another one of the means. I am not saying anything against
yoga. Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying anything against
meditation -- do meditation, do yoga -- they are palliatives.
If you want to keep your body supple, do it [yoga]. A supple
body is better than a stiff body. If, instead of creating tensions
all the time, meditation gives you relief from your tensions,
do it. But I am suggesting, that it is the meditation that is
creating all the tensions. You first create the problem, and
then you try to solve the problem. It's all right, but thank
god you are not doing it very seriously.
That's the only
hope you have. If you seriously meditate, you are in trouble.
You will go crazy. Or, if you try to practice this awareness
all the time -- in your conscious as well as unconscious levels
-- you will be really in trouble. You will end up in the loony
bin, singing loony tunes and merry melodies. You can learn the
new songs from India, Hare Krishna songs, and sing and enjoy.
That's all right, but don't do [practice awareness] because
it's something like trying to walk and watch every step you
take. You will be in trouble, you will not be able to walk at
all. So don't do that, it's a mechanical thing. The things that
are there are running very smoothly and mechanically. You don't
have to do a thing about them. The more you try to do it [practice
awareness], the more resistance you create.
Boredom is really
the problem for you. The non-existent boredom has been created
by the demand to free yourself from boredom. Since that [the
demand] is not in any way helping you to be free from your boredom,
but making it more and more and more difficult to be free from
this, you have to shop around. You have to search for all and
every kind of gimmick to free yourself from that non-existent
boredom. It is that which is keeping this going on forever and
I am not giving
you another gimmick or suggesting anything. I just want you
to look at this, what you are doing to yourself. [I am] not
[trying] to free you from something, and take you away from
that because I have some new product to sell. Not at all. I
have no new products to sell, nor am I interested in selling
anything. We just happen to be here, all of us, for some reason
or the other -- I don't know why we are here -- so we might
as well not even be exchanging ideas. That is meaningless. There
is nothing to discuss here.
has no meaning, because the object or the purpose of a discussion
or a conversation is to understand something. So, that [discussion]
is not the means to understand anything. Ultimately, what I
am emphasizing all the time is, "Look here, there is nothing
to understand." When that is understood, that there is nothing
to understand, all these conversations become meaningless. So
you get up and walk away once and for all. So I say, "Nice meeting
you, and goodbye." That's all that I am saying all the time.
"Nice meeting you, and goodbye."
Q: We just
don't understand it.
that's exactly what I am saying all the time, "Nice meeting
you, and goodbye. God be with you and stay with god." That's
the Spanish -- stay with God. Your God, your gurus -- stay with
them, you see. Don't disturb yourself unnecessarily. Live in
hope and die in hope. And hope that you will be born again,
if you accept the theory of reincarnation. One birth is bad
enough. Why would we want to be born again? We might as well
handle this problem once and for all, now, and begin to live
-- what little is left for us. Don't bother about the world
and the peace of the world.
If the question
of how to be happy is dropped, then you begin to live, you see,
not bothering about happiness at all. That doesn't exist, happiness
doesn't exist at all. The more you want it, the more you search
for it, the more unhappy you remain. They [the search and unhappiness]
go together, you see.
Q: Don't you
think that it goes against everything in religion, society and
Culture, and all systems of thought. . . .
systems, all systems. . . .
structures of thought, philosophical, religious, materialistic
structures . . . .
Q: Don't you
think that's negative? Not just because I think it's negative,
but people would say ....
Why are you saying it is negative? Listen ....
people say that.
can say that because it's an easy way out for them. You forget
one thing. All the positive approaches that man has invented
and used for centuries -- they have not resulted in anything
useful. They have not produced the results you have been promised.
And yet you go on and on and on, hoping that somehow, through
some miracle, you will be able to achieve your positive goals,
or the goals which are placed before us through the positive
approach. You keep doing it only because you have hope, and
it is that hope that keeps you going.
Don't be caught
up in this structure of thought which always suggests the positive
and negative. Your goals are always positive. Since your goals
have failed to give the desired results, you have begun to look
at these things and approach them in a negative way. The positive
and negative approaches function only in the field of thought.
What I am suggesting
is, look, your positive approach so far has not given you the
desired results. And I am telling you why it has not given you
the desired results. I am telling you why you are stuck where
you are stuck. But immediately you turn around and say, "Your
approach is negative." It is not at all negative. I am presenting
the other side of the coin, or the other side of the picture,
to neutralize your argument, not to win you over to my point
of view, or to stress the negative approach to problems. Your
goal being a positive goal, no matter what approach you adopt,
it is a positive approach. You may call it a negative approach,
but it is still a positive approach.
So, you must
be very, very clear about the goal. What I am trying to emphasize
is that the goal must go.
Q: You leave
has no meaning at all. The goal has no meaning. The goal which
you have placed before yourself has no meaning at all, because
it has resulted only in struggle, pain and sorrow.
You are using
will, as I said a while ago, and the will has a certain limitation,
You can't use it beyond a certain limit. The use of your will
and the use of your effort gives you a sort of additional energy
to tackle these problems and to face these problems, but actually
it is limited in its scope. The energy that you produce is only
a frictional energy. The will creates friction, and that friction
gives you some sort of energy. But that energy cannot last long,
and so you are back again in square one.
Q: I think
you also realize that the whole Western, Christian civilization
is built upon the goal.
[just] Western civilization? All civilizations, all cultures
place before you a goal, whether it is a material goal or a
spiritual goal. There are ways and means of achieving your material
goals, but even in this respect there is a lot of pain, there
is a lot of suffering. And you have superimposed on that what
is called a spiritual goal.
for example, is built on the foundation of suffering as a means
to reach your goal. What you are left with is only the suffering,
and you make a great big thing out of suffering, and yet you
are not anywhere near the goal, whatever is the nature of your
Whereas in the
material world the goal is something tangible. The instrument
which you are using to achieve your material goal does produce
certain results. By using that more and more you can achieve
the desired results. But there is no guarantee. The instrument
which you are using is limited in its scope. It is applicable
only in this [material] area.
So, the instrument
which you are using to achieve your so-called spiritual goals
is the same instrument. You do not realize that all the spiritual
goals that are superimposed on your so-called material goals
are born out of your fantasy, because you have divided life
into material and spiritual. It doesn't matter what instrument
you use to achieve your goal, whether it is material or spiritual,
it is exactly the same.
Q: Is it not
so that we as human beings are active, even plants are active,
living beings? We are not passive. We must have some sort of
a goal. Are you saying that it is bad to have....
want you to be very clear about the goal. What do you want?
What do you want? It is not the want that is wrong. But the
only way you can achieve your material or spiritual goals is
through an instrument. What I am suggesting is, that the only
instrument you have is thinking.
See, I want to
be a millionaire. A millionaire wants to be a billionaire, and
a billionaire wants to be a trillionaire. So, that is the goal.
A happy man would never want to be happy. He wants to be more
and more happy. Or, he wants to be permanently happy. Sure.
You are happy sometimes and you are unhappy some other times.
So, you want pleasures and you want those pleasures to be permanent.
And at the same time, you also know that the so-called demand
for pleasure, temporary or otherwise, is giving you pain as
well. The goal of every person in this world, whether he is
here in the West or in the East or even in communist countries
-- is exactly the same. So, what he wants is to have pleasure
without pain at all. And to be happy always without a moment
of unhappiness. What he is actually struggling and striving
hard for, is to achieve this impossible goal of having one [happiness]
without the other [unhappiness].
Q: But that
isn't true of old people.
Q: But older
people know that there is no pleasure without pain. There is
no luck without bad luck, because you cannot speak of luck if
you don't know what bad luck is. Older people know that everybody
gets his portion of bad luck and suffering. And those people
are not thinking of getting pleasure without pain. They know
they [sometimes] get pain.
yet, you see, they want to make it possible to be without pain.
Sure. That's all that I am saying. Whether they are consciously
doing it or not, that is what everybody is after. You know what
will give you happiness.
you achieve all the goals you have placed before yourself, success,
money, name and fame, position or power, you are happy. In this
process you are struggling hard. You are putting a lot of will
and effort into that. As long as you succeed you have no problems
at all. [But] you cannot always succeed -- you know all that.
But there is
somehow the hope that it will be possible for you to always
succeed. You are frustrated because you find that you cannot
always succeed. Yet there is still hope. Whether it is for material
goals or spiritual goals, the demand is to succeed in your efforts
to reach, attain or accomplish whatever goals you have placed
You have to help
me. I am not here to give any talk. So, I ask people repeatedly,
when they come to see me, to be very clear as to what they want.
"I want this" or "I don't want that." It's all right. When once
you know exactly what you want, you will be able to find out
the ways and means of fulfilling your wants. Unfortunately,
people want too many things at the same time.
So, you crystalize
all of your wants into one basic want, because all the other
wants are variations of the same want. You reject my suggestion
that man always wants to be happy without even rare moments
of unhappiness or permanent pleasure without pain, which, as
I said a while ago, is a physical impossibility.
The body cannot
take any sensation, be it pleasurable or painful, for long.
[If it does,] it will destroy the sensitivity of the sensory
perceptions, and the sensitivity of the nervous system. The
moment you recognize a particular sensation as a pleasurable
sensation, naturally there is a demand to make that pleasurable
sensation last longer. So, every sensation, depending upon the
intensity of that sensation, which is plagued by you to invest
it with more intensity or less intensity (depending upon what
you are after), has a limited life of its own.
The demand comes
only when you separate yourself from that pleasurable sensation
and begin to think of how you can extend the limits of the pleasurable
sensation or the moments of happiness. Your thinking has turned
that particular demand to make this pleasurable sensation last
longer than its natural duration into a problem. It has turned
that into a problem for the functioning of this body, and by
so doing, it has created a neurological problem. It [the body]
is doing everything possible to absorb that, whereas your thinking
makes it impossible for this body to handle that in its own
way, for the simple reason that you are trying to solve those
problems within the field of your religious or psychological
problems are neurological problems, and if the body is left
alone to handle them in its own way, it will do a better job
than your trying to solve them on psychological or religious
levels. All the solutions that we have been offered, and the
solutions which we have been adopting for centuries, have not
done any good except to give us a little bit of comfort, a palliative
to help you bear the pain. Yet we are not free from that pain
at all because of the hope that somehow the instrument which
is turning all these things into problems can be solved through
the same instrument. The only thing that this mechanism of thinking
can do is to create a problem. But it can never, never, solve
If thought is
not the instrument to solve the problems, is there any other
instrument? I say no. It can only create the problems. It cannot
solve the problems. When this understanding dawns on you, then
you will realize that the energy that is there in the body,
which is the manifestation of life or expression of life, handles
everything in a tremendously easier way than the frictional
thinking which you are generating through your ideas of how
to handle these problems.
Q: So, when
you feel that you have a problem you just leave it alone?
see when you put it that way, then there is a demand from the
person who is suggesting that to ask how you can leave that
alone. You know that you cannot leave it alone. You just say
[that you should] leave it alone. Naturally the next question
will be, how to leave that alone without the interference of
this thought. There is no how.
So, if anybody
suggests how, you are caught up in the same vicious circle.
That is why all these therapies we have in our midst today and
all those gurus we have in the market place, who are suggesting
umpteen numbers of techniques, are creating this tremendous
burden which does not in any way lighten the load, but on the
other hand, is adding more and more burden to this situation
in which you find yourself today.
So, all those
systems and techniques cannot be of any help except that they
will act as a palliative for a while so you can bear the pain
for a little longer. On the other hand, they are disturbing
the whole chemistry of the body, instead of being of any help
for you to solve the problems for yourself.
Q: They are
disturbing the chemistry?
They are disturbing the chemistry and in this process it [the
body] is throwing up all kinds of aberrations which you consider
to be spiritual experiences. So, your breathing exercises, your
yoga exercises, your meditations, are disturbing the chemistry
of the body, and the natural rhythm of the body in exactly the
same way that all these drugs which people take disturb the
chemistry of the body. So, you say that they are damaging, but
actually these are far more damaging than those things [drugs].
I am not suggesting
that you should take drugs, but they serve the same purpose
as all these therapies, spiritual or psychological therapies,
that are being dished out day after day after day. The fact
is that they give you some relief, like a paracetamol -- you
have a headache and you don't even give the opportunity for
the body to handle it for a little while you rush to the market
and buy anacin or aspirin or something and drug yourself. In
exactly the same way it makes it difficult for the body to manufacture
the natural things that are there in your body to help relieve
you of the pain.
The body has
all the hallucinogens you are talking about as part of its system.
It wants to control the pain and relieve itself of the pain.
It knows only the physical pain, and it is not interested in
your psychological pain at all. The solutions they are offering
are only in the area of the psychological field, but not in
the physical field.
So, if you take
aspirin, for example, it destroys the capacity of this body
to handle that pain in a natural way. I am not suggesting that
you should take the natural way and switch over to macrobiotics
or any other funny health food stuff. That is as vicious and
mischievous as any other medicine.
Q: What then
is your clear advice if you have problems?
You cannot but create the problems. You are creating the problems,
number one. But actually you are not looking at the problems
at all. You are not dealing with the problems. You are more
interested in solutions than the problems. That makes it difficult
for you to look at the problem.
I am suggesting
that "Look here, you don't have any problems." You assert with
all the emphasis at your command, with tremendous animation,
"Look, I have a problem here."
All right, you
have a problem. That problem you are talking about is something
which you can pinpoint and say, "This is the problem." Physical
pain is a reality. So, you go to a doctor, whether it [the medicine]
is good for the body or not, whether it is a poison or not,
it produces the required relief, however short it may be. But
the therapies that those people are dishing out are intensifying
the problem which is non-existing. ... You are only searching
for the solutions. If there is anything to those solutions that
they are offering, the problems should go, should disappear.
Actually the problem is still there, but you never question
the solutions that those people are offering you as a relief
or as something that can free you from the problems.
If you question
the solutions that have been offered to us by all those people
who are marketing these goodies in the name of holiness, enlightenment,
transformation, you will find they are really not the solutions.
If they were the solutions, they should produce the results
and free you from the problem. They do not.
You don't question
the solutions because the sentiment creeps in there. "That fellow
who is selling this in the marketplace cannot be a fraud, cannot
be a fake." You take him to be an enlightened man or a god walking
on the face the earth. That god may be fooling and killing himself,
maybe indulging in self-deception all the time and then selling
that stuff, that shoddy piece of goods, to you. You don't question
the solutions because then you will be questioning the man who
is selling this. He cannot be dishonest, a holy man cannot be
Yet you have
to question the solutions because those solutions are not solving
your problems. Why don't you question those solutions and put
them to test -- test the validity of those solutions? When you
realize that they don't work, you have to throw them out, down
the drain, out of the window. But you don't do it because of
the hope that somehow those solutions will give you the relief
that you are after. The instrument [thought] which you are using
is the one that has created this problem. So that instrument
will never, never accept the possibility that those solutions
are fake solutions. They are not the solutions at all.
The hope keeps
you going. That makes it difficult for you to look at the problems.
If one solution fails, you go somewhere else and pick up another
solution. If that solution fails you go find another. You are
shopping around for all these solutions but never once will
you ask yourself, "What is the problem?"
I don't see any
problem. I see only that you are interested in solutions and
that you come here and ask the same question. "I want another
solution." I say, "Those solutions have not helped you at all,
so why do you want another solution?" You will add one more
to your list of solutions, but you will end up in exactly the
same situation. If you find the uselessness of one, if you see
one of them, you have seen them all. You don't have to try one
after the other.
What I am suggesting
is if that is the solution you should be free from the problem.
If that is not the solution, then there is nothing that you
can do about it; and then the problem is not even there. So,
you are not interested in solving the problem, because that
will put an end to you. You want the problems to remain. You
want the hunger to remain because if you are not hungry you
will not seek this food from all these holy men. What they are
giving you are some scraps, bits of food, and you are satisfied.
Even assuming for a moment that he [the spiritual leader or
therapist] can give you the whole loaf of bread, which he cannot
do, he will only promise to keep it here, hidden somewhere --
promises. Bit by bit, bit by bit -- he gives you. And thereby
you are not dealing with the problem of hunger, but you are
more interested in getting a bit more from that fellow who is
promising you a solution rather than dealing with your problem
You are not dealing
with the problem of hunger, but you are more interested in getting
more crumbs from that fellow, than dealing with your problem
Q: It's like
going to a movie, running away from reality.
You never look at the problem. What is the problem? Anger, for
example. I don't want to discuss all those silly things which
these people have been discussing for centuries. Anger. Where
is that anger? Can you separate the anger from the functioning
of this body? It's like a wave in the ocean. Can you separate
the waves from the ocean? You can sit there and wait until the
waves subside... That will never happen. You can sit there and
learn all about how these waves, the high tide and the low tide
(the scientists have given us all kinds of explanations), but
the knowledge about that is not going to be of any help to you.
You are not really dealing with anger at all.
Where do you
feel the anger, first of all? Where do you feel all these so-called
problems you want to be free from? ... the desires? The burning
desires. The desire burns you. Hunger burns you. So, the solutions
you have or the means of fulfilling them [desire and hunger]
is very simple and makes it impossible for that to burn itself
out in your system.
Where do you
feel the fear? You feel it here in the pit of your stomach.
It is part of the body. The body cannot take those high and
low tides of energy that is there in your body. So you are wanting
to suppress it for some spiritual or social reasons. You are
not going to succeed.
Anger is energy,
a tremendous outburst of energy. And by destroying that energy
through any means, you are destroying the very expression of
life itself. It becomes a problem only when you try to do something
with that energy. When it is absorbed by the system, you will
not do the things that you think you will do if the anger is
left alone. You are actually not dealing with the anger, but
the frustration. Or to avoid such a situation which has resulted
in clumsiness in your relationships or in your understanding
of yourself. You want to be prepared to meet such situations
as and when they arise in the future.
which you are using has been used by you every time there is
an outburst of anger. Yet you have not succeeded in freeing
yourself from the anger. You won't come into the position of
anything extraordinary, other than this instrument which you
have been using all these years, and at the same time you hope
that somehow this very thing will help you to be free from the
anger tomorrow. It is the same hope.
Q: But if somebody
is very angry, he or she may become violent.
violence is absorbed by the body.
Q: And threatening.
Q: To other
So? So what?
around with a knife . . . .
Why are you killing people, thousands of people, for no fault
of theirs. Why are you limiting something which is natural,
but are not condemning the nations that are dropping bombs on
helpless people? Do you call them sane? Both of them have sprung
from the same source. As long as you do anything to control
your anger here, you will indulge in such atrocious things and
justify them, because that is the only way to protect your way
of life and your way of thinking. These two things go together.
Why do you justify that? That is insane.
He is not hurting
you, but he is threatening your way of life. There is a danger
of that man taking away what you consider to be your precious
things. This idea of stopping this man from acting when there
is an outburst of anger is exactly the same. The religious man
has found that an angry man will be an anti-social man.
As long as he
practices virtues, so long he will remain an anti- social man,
and he will act out of anger. When that goal that the society
has placed before you, when that same goal which you adopted
for yourself as an ideal goal to be practiced, is finished for
you, you will not harm anybody, either individually or collectively
as a nation.
You have to deal
with the anger. [But] you are dealing with something totally
unrelated to the anger, not even once do you let that anger
burn itself out within the framework where it originates and
functions. Having some therapy of hitting your pillows, hitting
this, that, and the other, is just a joke. That does not free
the man from the anger once and for all.
on a pillow?
what they do, one of the therapies they have....
Q: It doesn't
It [the anger] will appear again. So what do you do? You are
not dealing with anger. You will never deal with this anger
at all as long as you are interested in finding out a way of
not hitting the person who is coming with a knife. You have
to protect yourself, that is essential. I am not saying for
a moment that your anger makes it impossible for you to deal
with that situation. Don't say that it's non-violence or you
should not hurt somebody else. He is hurting you. Even in the
Bible, it is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. You never
practice that. Of course, they practice it on a larger scale,
but in daily life they say it is something terrible to do. I
don't see any problem with that at all. What is the problem?
There is no point
in discussing those hypothetical situations for the simple reason
that the person who is hopping mad with anger, burning with
anger, will not seek and discuss the question of anger. That
is amazing. That's the time to deal with those things, when
you are really burning with anger, burning with desire, burning
with all those things that you want to be free from. Otherwise,
it becomes a classroom discussion. Somebody talking on the anatomy
of anger, the anatomy of how the anger arises, or the anatomy
of love. It's too ridiculous. Or, they offer solutions which
don't work when there is a real situation. That's the reason
why I don't discuss all these things. No problem. There's no
problem for the individual. When he's mad with anger -- that's
the time for him to deal with it. It stops the thinking.
Q: U.G., is
there a possibility of looking at the problem?
No. Because you are yourself the problem.
Q: So, there
is no answer?
is no way of separating yourself from the problem. That's what
you are trying to do. That is what I mean by saying that you
are putting anger out there and trying to look and deal with
it as if it is an object outside of you. When you separate yourself,
the only result is that exactly what you fear would happen.
That is inevitable. So you have no way of controlling that at
all. Is there anything that you can do to prevent this separation
from what you are? It is a horrible thing to realize that you
are yourself anger and whatever you do to stop that, prevent
it, or do something about it, is false. That [preventing etc.]
will be tomorrow or in your next life -- not now. So that is
what you are.
You are not a
spiritual man or a religious man. You can imagine that you are
a religious man, because you are trying to control your anger,
or trying to be free from anger, or trying to be less and less
angry as the years go by. All that makes you feel that you are
not that vicious man whom you avoid. You are no different. You
are not any more spiritual than the people whom you condemn.
are going to be a marvelous person, you will be free from anger.
What do you want me to do in the meantime? Admire you? Because
you have put on the label that you are a spiritual man or that
you have put on fancy robes? What do you want me to do? For
that you want me to admire you? There is nothing there to be
admired because you are as vicious as anybody else in this world.
If you condemn that...? Condemning that has no meaning. Adopting
a posture which is totally unrelated to what is happening there
has no meaning either.
So, how can you
put on this posture or adopt some kind of an attitude and feel
superior to the animals. The animals are better than the humans.
If there is an anger, it [the animal] acts and that [killing]
is only for the purpose of survival. If you kill your fellow
man for feeding yourself that is a moral act -- only for that
purpose, because you look around, one form of life lives on
another form of life. And if you talk of vegetarianism and kill
millions of people, that is the most immoral, unpardonable act
that a civilized culture of human beings can ever do. Do you
see the absurdity of the two? You condemn this [killing]. [And]
you love the animals. What for?
What about the
human beings there? You are murdering, massacring, simply because
they are a threat to you. They are one day going to take away
everything you have. So, in anticipation of those people coming
and robbing everything, you think you have a right to massacre
them in the name of your beliefs, in the name of God knows what.
That is what religions have done right from the beginning.
So, what is the
point in reviving all those religions? What is the point in
all those hosts of gurus coming into these countries preaching
something that does not operate in their own lives or in the
countries they come from. They can talk of oneness of life and
unity of life all the time. But it doesn't operate in their
own lives. What does it mean? You condemn this simple thing
that is a necessity for your survival. That's a very moral action.
Not to survive, not to feed yourself is an act of perversion.
the foundation on which the whole Christian religion is based.
Don't forget that. So you suffer in the hope of getting a permanent
seat there in heaven -- non-existent heaven. You are going through
hell now in the hope of reaching heaven after your death. What
for? So suffer. All religions emphasize that. Bear the pain,
the endurance of pain is the means. You go through hell in the
hope of having paradise at the end of your life, or the end
of a series of lives if you want to believe that. I am just
pointing out the absurdity of talking about these things. The
religious [teaching] has no meaning when you are pushed into
a corner. Then you will behave exactly like anybody else. So
this culture, your values, religious or otherwise, haven't touched
a bit there.
If man is freed
from this moral dilemma, which has been the basis of the whole
thinking of man, then he will live like a human being. Not a
spiritual man, not a religious man. A religious man is no good
for the society. A kind man is a menace to the society, one
who is practicing kindness as a fine art.
Q: ...is a
is a menace to the society because all the destruction has come
out of them [religious teachers] -- one who talks of love, one
who talks of "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and one who talks
about non-violence. All the destructive forces originated in
the thinking of that man. So, we are all the inheritors of that
culture. We cannot do anything but that. [If you reject these
teachers] you are freed from the burden of this, the falseness
of the whole culture. That's all that I am saying. Individually
you are freed from the totality of all the absurdities that
have been imposed upon us. That's all that I am saying.
Q: I can't
accept that there are persons, for instance, Jesus, not Christianity,
not the church, who are real people.
can't accept it. I know. Why did they put him on the cross and
nail him to death? He was a menace to their society.
Q: They made
a god out of man. I don't agree with that.
Not even an ordinary man, because he made statements out of
which the whole dogmatic teaching of Christianity originated.
Certainly. That applies to every teacher. I am not condemning
only Jesus. All teachers -- Buddha, Mohammed -- all the teachers
whom we consider to be the great religious teachers of mankind,
let alone those people who are doing holy business in the market
place today. We are not concerned about this. There is no use
blaming them anyway.
So, we are here.
We are the inheritors of all that violent culture. So, your
culture is nothing but to teach man how to kill and how to be
killed, whether it is in the name of religion or in the name
of political ideology, or in the name of patriotism, or anything
you want. It can't be anything different. That is why I said
that the whole thing is moving in the direction of the total
annihilation of man. Such things have set in motion forces of
destruction which no power can stop.
Q: Yes. No
power, no god can stop it because those gods themselves have
set in motion these forces of destruction. You see that now
happening. When the cave man used the jawbone of an ass to kill
his neighbor, there were chances of survival for others. The
same cave man today who lives there in the Kremlin and in the
Whitehouse, and in the Parliament House there in India -- they
are the ones who will set in motion, who will let loose forces
of destruction that will completely wipe out every form of life
on this planet.
And man will
take with him every species that exists today on this planet.
It has all come out of that thinking of the man who taught religion
to men, who wanted to establish love on the face of this earth.
And see what he has made out of it!
Q: So, if you
say we can't stop it....
you? Can you stop it? You can't stop it. So the one thing that
you can do is to....
Q: I think
that as humanity we can stop it if we want to.
Well you don't want to obviously. Do you want to?
how do you go about it? How do you go about it, tell me. Do
you see the urgency of the whole situation? Some lunatic there
may press the button. So, we sit here comfortably and talk about
these things. . . .
Q: I think
there is a possibility that we can stop it.
is the possibility?
Q: To act.
When are you going to act. When the tide is too late. When the
whole thing, the holocaust, is released, it will be too late.
Or, you can join the anti-bomb movement -- which is ridiculous.
Q: It's ridiculous?
Q: It's too
you want the police to protect your tiny little property? The
hydrogen bomb is an extension of the same. You can't say this
[the police] I want, and that [the bomb] I don't want. It is
an extension of the same.
Q: So, we
makes you think that it is possible for you to stop this? You
can stop it in you. Free yourself from that social structure
that is operating in you without becoming anti-social, without
becoming a reformer, without becoming anti-this, anti-that.
You can throw the whole thing out of your system and free yourself
from the burden of this culture, for yourself and by yourself.
Whether it has any usefulness for society or not is not your
concern. If there is one individual who walks free, you don't
have any more the choking feeling of what this horrible culture
has done to you. It's neither East nor West, it's all the same.
Human nature is exactly the same -- there's no difference.
You are only interested
in what to do, what to do.
Q: We all
can we stop? Individually there isn't a damn thing that you
can do. Collectively you can create a salvation army like that.
That's all. So what? Another church, another Bible, another
Q1: What do
you think about such an answer?
Q2: What do
I think about such an answer? I do agree, but it's very theoretical.
Just free yourself of the burden of culture. I understand it.
But practically it's very difficult, of course. There's nothing
I can do about it.
There's nothing, not a thing .... You have no freedom of action
that is understood, what is there expresses itself. The intelligence
that is there can function much more effectively than all the
solutions that man has come out with through his thinking, which
is the result of millions and millions and millions of years
of [evolution]. The ideal that we have placed before us, the
perfect man, is just a myth. Such a man doesn't exist at all.
The ideal man doesn't exist. It is just a word, an idea. All
your life you are trying to become that ideal man and what you
are left with is the misery, the suffering, and the hope to
be that. "One day, you will see." That's the hope. We will die
with that hope.
Q: So, one
solution is to accept your being here, as you are.
you are, exactly the way you are. Then you are not in conflict
with society. Culture has put the demand in you that is pushing
you in the direction of wanting to change yourself into something.
That is what the culture has done, put it in you. If you want
to do something, [they say,] "Boy, look here, watch your step."
That is what they are doing.
The second movement
that comes, that is the society. "Watch your step" it says.
So, that has put fear in you. Then at the same time it talks
of freeing yourself from fear, and courage and the whole thing
-- be a peerless man -- that is only for the purpose of using
you as a pawn in maintaining the status quo of society.
That is why it
is teaching courage, it is teaching fearlessness, so that it
can use you to maintain the continuity of the society. You are
a part of that. That is why every time you want to act, what
is there is fear and the impossibility of acting. The society
is not out there, the culture is not out there, and unless you
are free from that you cannot act.
you are free from it?
you will not come here and ask me the question, "What will be
that action?" There is an action already. There is an action
as far as you are concerned.
Q: So, you
mean that the man is only entitled to act when he is free from
society. Are you free?
is not able to act, because he is all the time thinking in terms
of the freedom to act. "How can I be free to act?" That's all
that you are concerned about, the freedom. But you are not acting
that freedom. The demand for the freedom to act is preventing
the action, which is neither social nor anti-social.
Q: So, you
are free if you accept yourself and your situation?
That's all. You are not in conflict with the society any more.
You will not be any use to the society. On the other hand, if
you become a threat to the society, the society will liquidate
You are a neurotic
because you want two things at the same time. It is that which
has created this problem for you. Wanting two things at the
same time. You want to bring about a change in yourself. The
change is the demand of the society, so that you can become
a part of that and maintain the continuity of the social structure
without any change. The second thing is, you want change. This
is the conflict.
When the demand
for bringing up any change in you ceases, then the concern to
change the world around you also comes to an end, ipso facto.
Both of them are finished. Otherwise, your actions will be a
danger to the society. They will liquidate you, that's for sure.
So, you are ready to be liquidated by that social structure,
that is the courage.
Not to die in
the battlefields, to fight for your flag. What does a flag symbolize?
You wave your flag here, they wave their flag, and then both
of them talk of peace. How absurd the whole situation is. And
yet you talk about peace. You owe allegiance to your flag and
they owe allegiance to their flag, and you are at the same time
talking of peace in this world? How can there be any peace in
this world when you are waving your flag here, and they are
waving their flag? Whoever has better weapons will have the
day for himself. With my flag here, your flag there -- these
peace marchers -- or you create another flag with the anti-bomb
Q: It's useless.
don't have to tell you. Are you ready to do away with the policeman?
Individually you want to protect yourself, your life number
one -- I am not saying whether you should or should not -- or
your little property you have. So, you need the help of the
policeman to protect it. And, you draw a line and say "this
is my nation." You want to protect your nation. And, when you
cannot do it, you will have to expand your means of destruction
also to protect yourself, and you will say it is for defensive
purposes. Certainly it is defensive. That [the bomb] is only
an extension of this [the policeman]. You can't talk against
that as long as you want this policeman to protect your things.
You can sit around there, go on peace marches, sit around those
nuclear reactors, sing peace songs and play guitars, and "make
love not war" -- don't listen to all that crap. Making love
and making war spring from the same source. That [such singing]
becomes a sham mockery.
I think. That's enough.]
Q: So what
is this relation between ourselves and the world we live in?
nothing except that the world you experience is the one that
is created by you. You are living in a world of your own. You
have created a world of your own experiences and you are trying
to project it onto the world. You have no way of experiencing
the reality of the world at all. You and I use the same word
to describe a video camera. What you are holding is a pen, or
a pencil, as the case may be. So, we have to accept all these
things as valid because they are workable. They help us to function
in this world, to communicate only on that level intelligently.
Q: So nobody
can be an example for anybody else?
[i.e., following] is only for the animals, not for humans. A
human being cannot follow anybody. Physically you have to depend
on others; but that is all there is to it.
Q: Would you
say that there is no such thing as growth in spirituality? Or
could you say that . . . .
I am suggesting is that there is no such thing as spirituality
at all. If you superimpose what you call spirituality on what
is called material life, then you create problems for yourself,
because you see a growth, growth and development in the material
world around you. So, you are applying that to this so-called
spiritual life also.
Q: Do you
suggest that the problem starts when you start separating things?
things, dividing things into material life, and spiritual life.
There is only one life. This is a material life, and that other
has no relevance. Wanting to change your material life into
that so-called religious pattern given to you, placed before
you by these religious people, is destroying the possibility
of your living in harmony and accepting the reality of this
material world exactly the way it is. That is responsible for
your pain, for your suffering, for your sorrow.
It is a constant
struggle on your part to be like that and to chase something
that does not exist. And that has no meaning at all. That gives
you the feeling that doing is all that is important for you.
Not the actual achievement of that. You are moving farther and
farther away [from such a false goal]. The more effort you put
into it, the more you feel good. Like the problems you have.
Trying to solve the problems is all that is important to you,
but the solutions are more interesting to you than the problems.
You are more interested in solutions than looking at the problem.
What is the problem, I say. You have no problems, only solutions.
What is the problem? Nobody tells me what the problem is.
You are telling
me that these are all the solutions. Which one should I use
to solve my problem? What exactly is the problem? The material
problems are understandable. If you don't have health, you have
to do something about your health. If you don't have money,
you have to do something about money. These are understandable.
If you have some psychological problems, then the real problem
begins. All these psychologists and the religious people with
their therapies and their solutions are trying to help you,
but they don't lead you anywhere, do they? The individual remains
as shallow and as empty as before. What do they want to prove
Q: You believe
that problems solve themselves by going along with your own
is the problem? You never look at the problem. It is not possible
for you to look at the problem as long as you are interested
in the solutions.
Q: Don't you
are only interested in solutions, not in solving the problem.
Q: Isn't that
the same thing then?
that process, you find out that those solutions are really worthless.
Those solutions don't solve your problem, whatever is the problem.
Those solutions keep the problems going. They don't solve them.
If there is something wrong with your tape recorder, or television,
that can be remedied. There is a technician who can help you.
But this is an endless process going on and on and on and on,
all your life. More and more of something and less and less
of the other.
So, you never
question the solutions. If you really question the solutions,
you will have to question the ones who have offered you those
solutions. But sentimentality stands in the way of your rejecting
not only the solutions, but those who have offered you the solutions.
Questioning that requires a tremendous courage on your part.
You can have the courage to climb the mountain, swim the lakes,
go on a raft to the other side of the Atlantic or Pacific. That
any fool can do, but the courage to be on your own, to stand
on your two solid feet, is something which cannot be given by
somebody. You cannot free yourself of that burden by trying
to develop that courage.
If you are freed
from the burden of the entire past of mankind, then what is
left is the courage.