The human organism is not interested in your wonderful religious ideas -- peace, bliss, beatitude, or any such thing. It's only interest is its own survival.
What society or culture has placed before us as the goal for all of us to reach and attain is the enemy of this living organism.
The demand to be prepared for all future actions and all situations is the cause of our problems. Every situation is so different; and our attempt to be prepared for all those situations is the one that is responsible for our not being able to deal with situations as they arise.
It is just not possible for us to produce enlightened people on an assembly line.
The whole of our culture or civilization is built on the foundation of killing and being killed.
We are lost in the jungle. We have tried every possible means of escape. But still we have not succeeded. There is, however, a faint hope that one day, somehow, we can get out of this jungle. But we have only to stand still and let things happen.
The brain is only a reactor responding to stimuli. The mechanism that we have implanted in it, as it were, through our education and culture, has made us believe that it is a creator. _______
The question "How to live?" is totally unrelated to the functioning of this living organism. It is already living all the time.
Q: You say that the humankind is no more important than the garden slug. Will you please comment on that?
A: It is useless to speculate about it, but for some reason we are made to believe, or we have accepted the belief that has been passed on to us from generation to generation, that we are here for some grander purpose, for a nobler purpose than the other species on this planet. I maintain that we are here for no grander purpose than that of the garden slug out there or the mosquito that is sucking your blood.
I don't know whether there is any such thing as evolution. Those who talk about evolution have made us believe that there is such a thing. We are told that if we look at the animal species that we have on this planet, there is only one and a half percent of what existed before. If you take the plants into consideration, what we have on this planet is only half a percent of what existed before. What, therefore, makes you think that the human species is more important than the other species that have become extinct? What has made it possible for us to survive, to go on, and to maintain the human species on this planet longer than others, is thought. It is thought that has made it possible for us to live longer than the other species.
Q: Thought has made it possible?
A: But that is our enemy. Thought is our enemy. In the long run, our belief, hope, or faith that thought will help us by freeing us from the problems that it has created is just wishful thinking.
Q: How has it helped us to live longer than the other species? How can it be an impediment?
A: Thought is a protective mechanism. It is interested in protecting something. We use thought for the purpose of maintaining the continuity of thought. Anything that has come out of thought is protective in its nature. It is not interested in protecting the life around us. On the contrary, it has separated us from the singleness of life, the unity of life around us. It has isolated us from the rest of the species on this planet. It has given us the idea that we are something different, that the whole thing is created for our purpose, and that we have a right to take advantage of this superiority over others, to do whatever we want to do on this planet.
Q: Would it be possible to have thought without these ideas and still take advantage of nature?
A: I maintain and very often say that thought in its birth, in its content, in its expression, and in its action, is fascist. It is very aggressive. Our very demand to understand nature's laws is to use them for the purpose of maintaining the continuity of thought. All the talk that thought is altruistic and that we are curious to know the laws of nature just for the sake of knowing them is bluff. The very motivation, the drive behind our demand to understand the laws of nature is to use them for the purpose of continuing the human species at the expense of every other form of life on this planet.
Q: What would this human species have been if we did not have this kind of thought?
A: Probably we would have become extinct and nature would have created a better form of human species on this planet. It is anybody's guess. I am not particularly fond of the human species on this planet. We would do anything that the animals would not do. The survival of one form of life at the expense of another form of life is a fact of nature. But we kill other species for an idea.
Q: We also kill ourselves for an idea.
A: Certainly, and we kill others too. But that kind of thing you don't see happening in other forms of life, other species on this planet. We kill for an idea. The whole foundation of our culture and civilization is built on the idea of killing and being killed, first in the name of God, as symbolized by the Church and all the other religious institutions, and in the name of political ideologies, as symbolized by the state. The whole foundation of culture is built on the idea of killing and being killed.
Q: We don't really admit that. We say that our cultures are based on our ideas of harmony.
A: I do not think so. We are moving progressively in the direction of destroying everything. We somehow have tremendous faith that the thought which has helped us to create everything that you see and are very proud of will help us to change the course of events. This faith, I maintain, is misplaced. Somehow we have a faith that this instrument, thought, which has helped us to be what we are today, will help us to create a better, happier life on this planet.
Q: But how do we get out of this if it is heading down a path of destruction?
A: Everything you discover is adding to the momentum of destruction. Everything, because, the drive behind that discovery is to use it for purposes of maintaining the continuity, the status quo.
Q: Is there any possibility that the human species will figure that out in time and change course, and if it does change course, what kind of change would it be?
A: I say the chances are slim to none. We are doomed, you see. (Laughter) As I said at the beginning, we are lost in the jungle; we have tried every possible means of escape. But still, somehow, there is a faint hope that maybe there is some way we can get out of this jungle. But we just have to stand still and let things happen.
Q: But how can we stand still? What is it that will help us to stand still?
A: You cannot stand still. You cannot stand still because of the fear that we will be lost forever. But we don't seem to have the feeling that there is not a damn thing that we can do to get out of this jungle.
Q: Do you stand still in this way?
A: Yes, certainly. Then what is there takes over and probably enables you to live in the midst of all these brutalities. That life has a charm of its own. It will not bring you in conflict with society at all. You don't even want to change anything. The demand to change is born out of your isolation. When once you think that you can bring about a change in yourself, the demand to change the world is also there. But this human body is not interested in learning or knowing anything. All that is necessary for the survival of this living organism is already there. There is a tremendous intelligence there, and all that we have gathered and acquired through our intellect is no match for that.
Q: ....to the intelligence of the body?
A: Yes, the intelligence of the body. It knows. One of the things that I always emphasize and try to put across to those who are interested is that the human brain is not interested in anything that we are interested in, what the culture has imposed on us, in any of its ideations and mentations. The brain is so dull, you will be surprised. It is not interested in any experience of any kind. What it is interested in is to help the body function intelligently and sanely.
Q: You mean the brain?
A: Yes, the brain. But unfortunately, we have put that brain to a use for which nature has not intended it. The brain is not a creator. It is only a reactor; it reacts to stimuli. The mechanism that we have implanted in it, as it were, through our education and culture, has made us believe that it is a creator. None of the thoughts that we are thinking are self-generated. None of them are spontaneous. They always come from outside, and the brain is there only to translate this sensation -- the translation that is necessary for the survival of this living organism. It is not interested in any of the spiritual experiences or anything that the mind is interested in (mind, quote and unquote). In fact, I don't see any mind there at all. The mind is interested only in sensuality. So all religious experiences of any kind are sensual in their nature. It is only the mind that is interested in spiritual experiences -- bliss, compassion, truth, reality, and all those kinds of things. But the body, the living organism, is not interested in any of those things, but only to respond to stimuli.
Q: If the brain is created with the intelligence of the body, what is the creativity that is associated with thought?
A: The creativity that you are talking about is totally unrelated to the creativity of life.
Q: What is the source of creativity, and is there any creativity in nature?
A: There is no creativity in the sense in which we are using the word 'creativity' -- language, the creativity of thought, the creativity of this, that, or the other. Life is creative in the sense that it does not use any model. Anything we call creative is an imitation, copy of something that is already there. It is second hand. You cannot say that something which nature has created is not up to the point [mark]. I don't even see any blue print there. Whatever blue print is there is already there in the cell. Everything that is there now was there in that single cell. Everything is genetically controlled.
Q: There is nothing you can change -- a little shade here and there?
A: The idea that there is something that we can do to bring about a change within us and change in the world has placed us in a situation where we are left with a hope that somehow this may happen. You live in that hope and die in that hope.
Q: Is change possible?
A: What kind of change are you interested in? Change is possible in the physical world. For example, if you are not interested in the shape of a stubbed nose, you can go to a plastic surgeon and change it into an aquiline nose. If you feel that it is fashionable to have that, then there is a possibility of availing the help of a plastic surgeon. Or, through genetic engineering it will be possible for us to bring about a change in behavior patterns. I do not claim to have a special insight into the nature of things or an understanding of the workings of nature more than anybody else, but this is what I have discovered for myself. I don't care whether you accept what I am saying or not. It stands or falls by itself. I don't care for even the biologists, the psychologists, or scientists in general. If they brush this aside and say this is all absolute rubbish, it is fine with me. One of these days they are going to discover these things anyway.
Q: Well, how does one discover that?
A: You see, the discovery is not within the framework of thinking. In other words, there is no such thing as discovery. Discovery is the wrong word.
Q: Wrong word?
A: You experience what you already know. Otherwise, there is no experience at all. There is no such thing as a new experience. The so-called epoch-making discoveries in the field of science are not really epoch-making discoveries. Take, for example, Newtonian physics. It worked very well for some centuries. But that very Newtonian physics proved to be a stumbling block for making a quantum jump, if I may use that word, quote and unquote. Somehow, somebody like Einstein was lucky to take the lead and discover something different.
Q: Did he really discover something different?
A: Actually, it is not different. Unless you link up thee two things -- what was there before, and what you think you have discovered -- there is no point in talking about that at all. The scientist is interested in linking up these things and producing some results. Otherwise the discovery has no value at all. Newtonian physics is not so true, not so valid, compared to what we have (or rather Einstein has) since discovered, namely, the 'Theory of Relativity'. Of course, Newtonian physics is still valid within the framework of the scientific thinking of man. After all, we admire all these people and regard them with prestigious honor -- the Nobel Prize, this, that, and the other. Do you know the reason why? It is because of the technology that has become possible through the discoveries of these people. Otherwise, there is no such thing as true discovery. There is no such thing as pure science at all. I may be making a lot of dogmatic statements, but my statements stand or fall by themselves.
Q: But there must be....
A: Why do you say there must be? There may not be. Then where do we go from "There may not be...?"
Q: You have apparently had some experiences that helped you see things more clearly. How does that help? Can you talk about your experience?
A: I very often use the phrase 'stumbled into'. Somehow, somewhere along my journey of discovery, it occurred to me that this instrument which we have been using, what we call intellect, is not really the instrument to understand anything. But I was very clear that the only instrument we have to understand anything is the intellect, and that there is no other instrument. So, the whole of our discovery is nothing but improving....
Q: Improving the intellect....
A: Sharpening that intellect. That is all that is there. So, this (the intellect) has not helped me to understand the living problems of my life, nor understand myself and the world around me. The understanding that this is not the instrument and that there is no other instrument somehow dawned on me.
Q: ....that the human being does not possess an instrument to understand.
A: There is no instrument to understand anything other than this instrument. That knocks off the whole foundation of intuition or any other way of understanding the reality surrounding us. There is nothing to understand. That is why I maintain that there is no such thing as reality at all, let alone the ultimate reality. You have no way of experiencing the reality of anything -- the reality that we have so much taken for granted. We don't experience anything other than what we know.
Q: So we are just experiencing the past. It is repetitive.
A: It is a repetitive process experiencing the same thing over and over again. That is why we are born hoping that one day we will find something extraordinary, some new experience. The moment you say that it is something which you have not experienced before, that it is a new experience, it means that it has already become part of the past experiencing mechanism.
Q: Are you bored?
A: Boredom is there only when you think that there is something more interesting, more purposeful, more meaningful that you could do than what you are doing.
Q: Well, you don't feel that you can....
A: That is all there is for me.
Q: How did you get out of this boredom?
A: I wish I knew. That's why I used the phrase 'stumbled into'. There is no way I can communicate this to anybody. Anybody who comes and listens to me and tries to understand what I am trying to put across is wasting his time, because there is no way you can listen to anything without interpretation. The interpreter is the reference point, which is you. You are the product of the totality of all the thoughts, experiences, and feelings of every form of life that existed before you. Thought is only interested in maintaining its continuity and status quo. It does not want any change. It says that it wants to change but the change that it is interested in is only to maintain its continuity, its status quo. Although things are changing constantly, it does not want to accept anything that will disturb its status quo. Also the reference point is strengthened and fortified by interpreting what I am saying to you.
Q: But it is completely stuck.
A: You don't want to accept that any attempt on your part to get out of that trap in which you find yourself is strengthening the shackles. And there is no way out.
Q: So we have to accept that we are stuck?
A: Accepting means that you are sick and tired of doing anything. But saying that does not really mean anything.
Q: So we have to have a purpose in life?
A: Why do we look for a purpose or meaning. Why?
Q: Why do we? You see, that is the question. Why do we?
A: You tell me, why do we? Why should there be any meaning? The question "How to live?" is totally unrelated to the functioning of this living organism. It is living all the time. It doesn't have to ask the question "How to live?" "How to live?" is superimposed on the living organism.
Q: And the search for meaning is absurd?
A: Obviously you do not see any meaning. You do not see any purpose in life. Obviously you don't see. (Laughs) I don't mean only you. I mean people. To me to ask that question is so silly, so meaningless, so absurd -- "What is the meaning of life?" It is not life that we are really interested in but living. The problem of living has become a very tiring business -- to live with somebody else, to live with our feelings, to live with our ideas. In other words, it is the value system that we have been thrown into. You see, the value system is false.
Q: ....like glue all over.
A: We are trying to fit ourselves into that value system which is totally false. It is falsifying you. But you are not ready to accept that it is falsifying you. You throw a lot of energy into this business of fitting yourself into that framework or value system.
Q: How does one get to that point wherein he or she is willing to accept that this is false?
A: 'How' implies that you want to know from somebody....
Q: You mean asking the question....
A: That is adding momentum to that -- to know, to know, and to know. That is why we always ask that question, 'How?' 'How?' means you want to know. What is this 'you', as you experience yourself? The 'you' as you know yourself is a product of the momentum of that knowledge that is passed on to us. It has this question which you think is a very intelligent question. Through your demand for an answer to that question it wants to know how to add momentum to that knowledge.
Q: So it is a trick. It is falsifying us.
A: It knows that by asking the question it can add momentum to itself. It is not 'you', because 'you' don't exist. There is no individual there at all. Culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, has created 'you' and 'me' for the sole purpose of maintaining its own continuity. But, at the same time, we are made to believe that you have to become an individual. These two things have created this neurotic situation for us. There is no such thing as an individual, and there is no such thing as freedom of action. I am not talking of a fatalistic philosophy or any such thing. It is this fact that is frustrating us. The demand to fit ourselves into that value system is using a tremendous amount of energy, and there is nothing we can do to deal with the living problems here. All the energy is being consumed by the demands of the culture or society, or whatever you want to call it, to fit you into the framework of that value system. In the process, we are not left with any energy to deal with the other problems. But these problems, that is, the living problems, are very simple.
Q: In what way?
A: To survive in this world is not a difficult problem, you see. But what is demanding is the value system. Our effort to fit ourselves into that value system is consuming a tremendous amount of energy.
Q: But what happens if you just don't fit yourself into the value system?
A: I am not in conflict with this society. You seem to be in conflict with this society, but I am not, because it cannot be any different, since I have found out that there is no way I can bring about a change in it. You want to bring about a change in the world. You see, the problem is a problem of relationship. It is just not possible to establish any relationship with anything around you, including your near and dear ones, except on the level of what you can get out of the relationship. You see, the whole thing springs from this separation or isolation that human beings live in today. We are isolated from the rest of creation, the rest of life around us. We all live in individual frames. We try to establish a relationship at the level of "What do I get out of that relationship?" We use others to try and fill this void that is created as a result of our isolation.
We always want to fill this emptiness, this void, with all kinds of relationships with people around us. That is really the problem. We have to use everything -- an idea, a person, anything we can get hold of, to establish relationships with others. Without relationships we are lost, and we don't see any meaning; we don't see any purpose. This is because your only interest is to create a purposeful and meaningful relationship with the individuals and the world around you. Therefore, you want to understand the reality of the world.
But there is nothing to understand. There is no such thing as reality at all. I have to accept the
reality of the world as it is imposed on me by the society. Say, I call you a 'woman', I call this a 'bench', and
I call this a 'tray'. Otherwise, we will not be able to function in this world sanely and intelligently. This kind of
knowledge can be used only for the purposes of functioning in this world sanely and intelligently. Anything
you do to understand the reality of the world is not going to be useful, helpful, or meaningful.
Go to Chapter 9