Thought can only create problems, but it cannot help us to solve the problems.
A guru is one who tells you to throw away all crutches. He would ask you to walk, and he would say that if you fall, you will rise and walk.
If humanity is to be saved from the chaos of its own making, it has to be freed from the saviors of mankind.
The moment you repeat that which is not yours, you have become the follower of somebody.
What these gurus in the market place do is to sell you some ice packs and provide you with some comforters.
Thought in its birth, in its origin, in its expression, and in its action is very fascist. When I use the word 'fascist', I do not use it in the political sense, but I use it to mean that thought controls and shapes our thinking and our actions.
There is reincarnation for those who believe in it. There is no reincarnation for those who do not believe in it. But you have to ask this fundamental question: "What is there now that will reincarnate? Is there any such thing as a soul, 'I', or psyche?" Whatever you see or experience is created by the knowledge we have of that entity.
Q: First of all let us analyze this wonderful notion of happiness in quest of which every human is on the run. Can you tell us what this happiness is all about?
A: You may not agree with me, but when we talk about 'the quest for happiness', it is no different from any other sensual activity. As a matter of fact, all experiences, however extraordinary they may be, are in the area of sensuality. That is one major problem that we are facing today.
Somewhere along the line, the human species experienced this self-consciousness for the first time. And it separated the human species from the rest of the species on this planet. I don't even know if there is any such thing as evolution, but we are made to believe that there is such a thing. And it was at that time perhaps that thought took its birth. But thought in its birth, in its origin, in its content, in its expression, and in its action is very fascist. When I use the word 'fascist' I use it not in the political sense but to mean that thought controls and shapes our thinking and our actions. So it is a very protective mechanism. It has no doubt helped us to be what we are today. It has helped us to create our high-tech and technology. It has made our life very comfortable. It has also made it possible for us to discover the laws of nature. But thought is a very protective mechanism and is interested in its own survival. At the same time, thought is opposed fundamentally to the functioning of this living organism.
We are made to believe that there is such a thing as mind. But there is no such thing as your mind or my mind. Society or culture, or whatever you want to call it, has created us solely and wholly for the purpose of maintaining its own continuity and status quo. At the same time, it has also created the idea that there is such a thing as the individual. But actually, there is a conflict between the two -- the idea of the individual and the impossibility of functioning as an individual separate and distinct from the totality of man's thoughts and experiences.
Q: Who makes us think in a particular way?
A: Here at this point I would like to emphasize that thoughts are not self-generated and spontaneous. I would go one step further and ask, "Is there any such a thing as thought?" The very question arises because we assume that there is such a thing as thought, and that we can separate ourselves from thought and look at it. But when we look at what we call thought, what we see is about thought and not thought itself. "What is thought?" -- the questions arises only because of the assumption that there is such a thing as thought.
We use what we call thought to achieve our spiritual or material goals. We may consider the spiritual goals as 'higher'. The culture in which we are functioning places spiritual goals on a higher level than the materialistic goals. But the instrument which we are using is matter, which is thought. Thought to me is matter. Therefore, all our spiritual goals are materialistic in their value. And this is the conflict that is going on there. In this process, the totality of man's experiences created what we call a separate identity and a separate mind. But actually if you want to experience anything, be it your own body, or your own experiences, you have no way of experiencing them without the use of the knowledge that is passed on to us. In other words, I would say that thought is memory. But we have been made to believe that human beings are created for a nobler and grander purpose than the other species on this planet, and it is that belief that is responsible for our thinking that the whole creation is created for the benefit of man.
Everything that is born out of thought is destructive. Anything that we discover, the laws of nature or whatever you call it, are used by us only for destructive purposes. And it is true that we have discovered quite a few of nature's laws, and the theories are constantly changing....
Q: Can we not at least attempt to refine this thought process to make it constructive and positive?
A: Thought is not the instrument for achieving anything other than the goals set before us by our culture or society, or whatever you want to call it. The basic problem we have to face today is this: the cultural input, or what society has placed before us as the goal for all of us to reach and attain, is the enemy of this living organism. Thought can only create problems; it cannot help us to solve any.
Q: Then is it desirable to be thoughtless?
A: What I am talking about is not a thoughtless state. Even the invention of what is called a thoughtless state, placed before us by many spiritual teachers as a goal to be reached, is created by thought so that it can, by pursuing what it calls a thoughtless state, maintain its own continuity. So whatever we experience in this process of achieving the goal of a thoughtless state strengthens and fortifies the very thing that we are trying to be free from.
Q: You see, we have this cause and effect theory which says, "As you sow, so shall you also reap." Don't you think that for every action of ours, whether it is thought or any other action, there is a reaction, if not immediately, at least after some time?
A: It is thought that has invented the ideas of cause and effect. There may not be any such thing as a cause at all. Every event is an individual and independent event. We link up all these events and try to create a story of our lives. But actually every event is an independent event. If we accept the fact that every event is an independent event in our lives, it creates a tremendous problem of maintaining what we call identity. And identity is the most important factor in our lives. We are able to maintain this identity through the constant use of memory, which is also thought. This constant use of memory or identity, or whatever you call it, is consuming a tremendous amount of energy, and it leaves us with no energy to deal with the problems of our living. Is there any way that we can free ourselves from the identity? As I said, thought can only create problems; it cannot help us to solve them. Through dialectical thinking about thinking itself we are only sharpening that instrument. All philosophies help us only to sharpen this instrument.
Thought is very essential for us to survive in this world. But it cannot help us in achieving the goals that we have placed before ourselves. The goals are unachievable through the help of thought. The quest for happiness, as you mentioned, is impossible because there is no such thing as permanent happiness. There are moments of happiness, and there are moments of unhappiness. But the demand to be in a permanent state of happiness is the enemy of this body. This body is interested in maintaining its sensitivity of the sensory perceptions and also the sensitivity of the nervous system. That is very essential for the survival of this body. If we use that instrument of thought for trying to achieve the impossible goal of permanent happiness, the sensitivity of this body is destroyed. Therefore, the body is rejecting all that we are interested in -- permanent happiness and permanent pleasure. So, we are not going to succeed in that attempt to be in a permanent state of happiness.
Q: You referred to the intellect and to the sharpening of the intellect....
A: To survive in this world.
Q: Yes. How do we sharpen it? With whose help?
B>A: Through a repetitive process we are sharpening that instrument. But we are using tremendous amounts of energy in this process. If the use of thought is limited to achieve only what we consider to be materialistic values and not our spiritual goals, what is it that is not possible for us in order to function sanely and intelligently. It does not mean that I am teaching a materialistic philosophy or any such thing. Thought is not intended for achieving spiritual goals or even to find out the significance, meaning, or purpose of life, or to be used for the quest for permanence or permanent pleasure.
Q: We have been familiar with this theory of birth and death -- karma, action, reaction or something that we bring along with us like a bank balance, add something to it, then spend something, and then carry it forward to the next birth or whatever it is. How far do you subscribe to this theory, or are you opposed to it?
A: I am not opposed to the theory of karma or reincarnation. But I am questioning the very foundation of that belief. There is reincarnation for those who believe in it, and there is no reincarnation for those who do not believe in it. But is there any such thing as reincarnation as a law of nature, like gravity and other laws of nature? My answer is, no.
It doesn't matter whether you believe or not in reincarnation. If one is interested in finding out for himself and by himself, to resolve this problem of reincarnation, and get an answer for this oft-repeated question, "Is there such a thing as reincarnation?" you have to ask this fundamental question, "What is there now that you think will reincarnate?" "Is there anything there? Is there any such thing as soul? Is there any such thing as the 'I'? Is there any such thing as the psyche? Whatever you see there, whatever you experience there, is created only by the knowledge you have of that self. If you are lucky enough to be freed from the totality of knowledge, the knowledge of the self, reincarnation, and all kinds of things, then is it possible for you to experience any center, any 'I', any self, any soul? So, to me the 'I' is nothing but a first person singular pronoun, and I do not see any center or self there. So the whole idea of reincarnation is built only on the foundation of our beliefs.
Q: What is it that makes one a great person in due course of time and another stationary, stagnant in his mental processes? Do you attribute this to some kind of inherent gift?
A: We have always been curious and interested in finding out why a child is born with deformities. And reincarnation was a very interesting theory evolved by the human mind at one time to explain away such situations and give us comfort in facing the situation that we have such people in our midst. But now it is possible for us, in the light of what they are doing in terms of genetic research and microbiology, to correct the deformities created by nature. Why should we want to attribute this misfortune to something terrible that we did in our previous life? That kind of belief comes in very handy to us. We have in our midst today a tremendous suffering, a tremendous amount of poverty, starvation, and degradation. It is very comforting for us to believe that that suffering is there because the people who suffer did something terrible in their past life. That is no answer to give. That makes us take shelter in the belief and not do anything to solve the problem there. The belief is neither spiritual nor human. In the name of doing something human to our fellow beings, we have perpetrated inhuman deeds. The belief in reincarnation will only help us to look the other side and not to deal with the problem which is demanding answers from every thinking man in the world today.
Q: J. Krishnamurti always emphasized one fact, that is, nobody requires a guru. In fact, you too, I understand, would not like to be a guru for anybody. According to you, what is the role of a guru who shows the way for the Sishya?
A: I think that it is the wrong word to use in these days for all those spiritual gurus we have in the market, selling shoddy pieces of goods, and exploiting the gullibility and credulity of people. A guru is one who tells you to throw away all the crutches that we have been made to believe are essential for our survival. The true guru tells you, "Throw them away, and don't replace them with the fancy crutches or even computerized crutches. You can walk; and if you fall, you will rise and walk again." Such is the man whom we consider, or even tradition considers, to be the real guru, and not those who are selling those shoddy pieces of goods in the market place today. It is a business; it has become a holy business to people. I am not condemning anything. But as long as you depend upon somebody for solving your problems, so long you remain helpless. And this helplessness is exploited by the people who actually do not have the answers to your problems, but they give you some sort of a comforter. People are satisfied with these comforters and fall for this kind of thing, instead of dealing with the problems by themselves and for themselves.
Q: The spiritualism of the East and the Spiritualism of the West are gradually exchanging places today, and you have seen the results of both now. What is the panacea for the human misery, the deprivation, the kind of suffering everyone in this planet is facing? Everyone has got something they want, something always to seek, to run after.
A: As we started this discussion we said that the quest for happiness is all that anybody, whether he is a Russian, an American, an African, or an Indian, is interested in. I said that it is impossible to achieve such a goal because of the physical problem (of conflict with the body) that is involved in achieving that goal. It is assumed that the West is materialistic, and that it is looking towards the East for spiritual guidance. That is not really true. If you live for a longer period in the West, you will realize that those who are interested in these spiritual matters are not really the people who are guiding the destinies of this world. What is responsible for this sudden interest in spiritual matters and their looking to the East for succor is drugs. They gave them a new sort of experience. But they were not satisfied with repeating those experiences. They were looking around for varieties of religious experiences, whether they are from India, or from Japan or from China. They are attracted to these things because of the new language and new techniques.
The fact of the matter is that when once you have everything that you can reasonably ask for in this world, when all the material needs are taken care of, naturally the question arises, "Is that all?" When once you pose that question "Is that all?" to yourself, you have created a tremendous market for this kind of business, the holy business. These people are exploiting the gullibility and credulity of the people, rather than helping them to resolve the basic problems, the human problems. It is not that simple. So we have to ask such questions over and over again. But all the questions we are asking are born out of the answers that we already have. It never occurs to us to ask why we keep asking the questions when we already have the answers given by the sages, saints, and saviors of mankind. We fail to realize that the answers that they have given us are the ones that are responsible for the tragedy of mankind. We don't question them. If we question the answers, we would be questioning the teachers. If humanity is to be saved from the chaos of its own making, it has to be freed from the saviors of mankind. That does not mean that you would destroy everything. You will have to ask questions not born out of the answers we already have. But is there any answer? That is all. There it stops. And the solution is there for mankind.
Society or culture or whatever you might want to call it, has created us all solely and wholly for the
purpose of maintaining its continuity and status quo.
Go to Chapter 3