There is no such thing as your own observation. Your own observation is born out of the knowledge that you have. There is no experience at all without the help of knowledge. That is all that I am saying. There is no way you can experience the reality of anything except through the help of this knowledge. So what I am saying is that you cannot experience what you do not know. Therefore, you project that there is something beyond the mechanism of the experiencing structure. There is no 'beyond'. But that 'beyond' is again affirmed or rejected by this experiencing structure to maintain its continuity. It is a game.

The only way you can even experience the sense of touch is through this contact; that is what you call the sense of touch. So you are bringing your fingers here and touching it here. The eye is looking at it. But it does not translate the movement of that as somebody putting his finger here to know what exactly happens when you touch this. The eye cannot say that, and the sense of touch does not translate that for any reason. It is born out of your imagination and translation of this particular tactile sensing within the framework of your past experience. At this moment if that is not translated as a soft touch or a hard touch, or even as a touch of your hand, you have no way of separating the two and experiencing that. Supposing you ask me a question for whatever reason that you want to know, the sole knowledge you have is here in the computer, and it comes out and tells me and tells you that you are touching this, and that the sense of touch is translating that as the soft touch of the friend who is sitting next to me. The feeling is also a thought.

The moment you separate yourself from the breeze, that sensory activity is translated within the framework of the knowledge you already have. I am not for a moment saying that you are the breeze. What I am saying is that all that you are saying is part of the knowledge you have. Otherwise, there is no way you can separate the breeze and the body. There is no new experience at all. But the demand to experience the same thing over and over again is the one that is wearing off the whole mechanism of memory for purposes for which it is not intended.

Recognition and naming are one and the same. Whether I name it or not, the very recognition of you as a man or that as a pillow, itself means that the naming is already there, whether I use the word or not. That is the reason why I point out to the people who say that the word is not the thing, the word is the thing. If the word is not the thing, what the hell is it? It is all right for the philosophers to sit and discuss everlastingly that the word is not the thing. That implies that there is something there other than the word. So you cannot accept the fact that the word is the object. That is, even if you say that there is an object without using the word, it means that there is a separation there. What I am trying to tell you is how this division, separation is occurring.

I never tell myself and tell you that I am the table. That is too absurd. So what I am saying is that there is no way you can separate yourself on your own free will and volition except when there is a demand from outside. You ask the question, "What is that?" You and I have the same information in our memories. Whether you use a French word, an English word, a German word, or a Latin word, it doesn't matter. The reference point is the table you are asking me about. So, I say it is a table, and that it is a white table. You and I have the same information. When that question is not there, I would at no time look at it and tell myself that it is a table. It does not mean that I am 'choicelessly aware' of that.

That is why the phrase, 'freedom from the known' is very attractive up to a point. Once you are free from the known, there is no way you can say anything about it. So, if I am listening to somebody like you who is talking about the need to have the freedom from the known, your emphasis that there is a need to free yourself from the known has already become part of the known. Thought has survived for millions and millions of years, and it knows every trick in the world. It will do anything to maintain its continuity. There is no thinking at all. If there is no thinker, there are no thoughts at all. You cannot say there is only thought and there is no thinker. The thoughts do not come from here, they are coming from outside. The translation of a sensory perception within the framework of your experiencing structure is thought. And you are using those thoughts to achieve a goal.

I am not your teacher. What is happening here is a mechanical thing like in a computer. It is mechanically operating, trying to find out if there is any information stored in the computer related to what we are talking about. "Let me see," "Let me think;" these are statements you are just making, but there is no further activity and no thinking taking place there. You have an illusion that there is somebody who is thinking and bringing out the information. Look, this is no different from the extraordinary instrument we have, the word-finder. You press a button and "Ready," it says. Then you ask for a word; "Searching," it says. That searching is thinking. But it is a mechanical process. In that word-finder or computer there is no thinker. There is no thinker thinking there at all. If there is any information or anything that is referred to, the computer puts it together and throws it out. That is all that is happening. It is a very mechanical thing that is happening. We are not ready to accept that thought is mechanical because that knocks off the whole image that we are not just machines. It is an extraordinary machine. It is not different from the computers we use. But this is something living, it has got a living quality to it. It has a vitality. It is not just mechanically repeating; it carries with it the life energy like that current energy.

The idea that you experience the totality of your body is born out of your imagination. Actually, there is no way you can experience the totality of it. Your experience of the heaviness of your body is due to the gravitational force. Sometimes you experience the heaviness of your body when thoughts are not in operation. Sometimes thoughts slow down in everybody. That is the time when you feel heavier than the heaviest object. You feel as if you weigh 640 kilos, or suddenly you feel as if you are walking on air. These are the actual functionings of the body which they have described in some spiritual terms and given so much importance to. You know, we have a mathematical problem. We are thinking about it. You come out with an answer and say that this is the product of your thinking. But sometimes you exhaust all the possibilities, the variations and combinations of finding out the solution of a particular mathematical problem or a scientific problem. You are so tired that you go to sleep. But when you wake up the answer is there. This is possible only in the area of mechanical problems.

I must admit that we are probably far more evolved than the other animals. That is an advantage to us in functioning in a much better way. I don't like to use the word 'better', but rather in a more 'natural' way. We are free from some dangers. All these problems can be handled with the highly evolved structure which we have been endowed with. That is why what we call psychic powers—clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.—are already there in the animals. We also have them in us. In the case of some, through techniques of meditation and such gimmicks, thought slows down. Then they experience these so-called powers, temporarily, and they think that they are all spiritual experiences. Probably in our case the mechanism is more sensitive than in the case of animals. I don't know; I cannot make any definitive statement. There is no way you can really understand how animals are functioning.

So, that is not the poetic, romantic death—of "dying to your yesterdays." Physical death is the only way through which you flush out what your whole culture has put in there. There is no way you can separate yourself and the seeing. Seeing is the illusion; the seer is the illusion. The seer tells himself that "seeing is ending," but it does not end. So the seer does not want to come to an end. The seer is the illusion. I don't know; it is better not to discuss these things. The seer is the illusion. Through the invention of what is called "the seeing of the illusion is the ending," the seer is gathering momentum and continuing. The moment you want to 'see' something you have separated yourself from that and the seer has come into being, and through that seeing he is maintaining his continuity. That is why seeing has not helped us; it has ended nothing there. I don't really want to repeat it again and again. This is just a puppet sitting here. And, two puppets, two computers, two tape recorders playing, that is all. You are not even listening. There is no such thing as the art of listening. You are not listening at all. Listening is not in your interest. You are interpreting.

If you put into practice what they call 'awareness', you will go the way of Alzheimer's disease which is hitting everybody. I read it in some magazine that it is hitting everybody. It has hit already the famous musician, what is his name, Frank Sinatra. It is there in one of your papers. He is very young. They mention him as an example of how a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease functions. You have the 'key' there in your hand. But you don't know how to use the key and open the door. Our interest to teach that body something which it is not interested in is causing, creating problems for it. If there is pain you take some pain killer. I am not saying you should do nothing, and let the body suffer and go through the pain. You are actually adding more to the pain. See, as long as the pain is there, I might as well take a pill and free myself from the pain temporarily, because there is no special charm, spiritual or otherwise, to prove to ourselves and to others that we can endure pain. That is not what we are talking about. But what we can do is to leave that pain alone without interfering all the time. We think we know a lot more than this body. We think that we know what is good for that body, and that is why we are creating problems for it. It knows what it wants to know. It doesn't want to learn anything from us.

If we understand this simple relationship that thought and the body have, then probably, we will allow the body to function and use thought only for functional purposes. Thought is functional in value, and it cannot help us to achieve any of the goals we have placed before us, or what the culture has placed before us. Pain is a healer. Pain is a healing process. But we are paranoid. We are overanxious to see that we don't suffer. I am not saying that you should not get any help that is available to you. There is no point in suffering, like the Christian saints who suffer and don't go to a doctor. That is not what I am saying. In fact, anything we say now is of no use. What we would do in any given situation is anybody's guess. Let us stop and leave it at that. If you make some sense out of that, then you make it. If you don't, then you simply don't. I wish that nobody remembers anything of what we have discussed so far. If you remember anything, it is lost. Nor am I trying to say that what I say is in a mysterious way affecting the whole of human consciousness.

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. 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.

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.

What I am trying to put across to those who are interested in listening to what I have to say is that there is no such thing as the totality of experiences. Memory is in frames. In order to explain what I mean when I say that it is all in frames and that the whole human body is functioning from moment to moment, I must point to one basic thing, that is, how the senses are operating. What is there is only a response to a stimulus. The response is not translated by anything that is there, except that it registers the stimuli in the same way as information is registered when transferring images from one floppy disc to another. There is no linking up of all these responses. Each one is an independent frame. A lot of imagination is involved in our trying to understand what is actually happening there.

I give you the example of what a friend wanted me to do when I was in a hill resort in India. He said that when he reached the top of a particular mountain then he would have a 360 degree view of the whole place. So he dragged me up to the top. Unwillingly, hesitantly, I pushed myself to the top of that hill and tried to experience what he called a 360 degree view of the whole place. I said to myself, "That fellow is kidding himself and imagining things. How is it possible to experience the 360 degree view of this place? I can see only 180 degrees. So what he thinks he is experiencing is born out of his own imagination." This is singularly incapable of creating images. Translating the sensory perceptions into images is the cultural input there. When my eyes are not looking at you, there is no way that this organism (pointing to himself) can create the image of what you look like. The problem is the creation of images which is born out of our imagination and mostly out of what is put in there by our culture.

So what I am trying to say is that what the brain does is to translate these sensory perceptions into the framework of memory. Memory is not a constant factor. What happens is that when the light falls on the object and activates your optic nerve, it throws an image on the retina. This is what we have learnt from the study of our biology, and that is what the physiologists have taught us in our schools. But actually if you want to experience the fact, that is, the image of what you are looking at, it is something which cannot be experienced by you. Why I give this example is to free us from many of the ideas we have of what memory is. When once the optic nerves are activated, they in their turn activate the neurons in the brain, bring the memory into operation, and tell us that the object is this or that. So the next frame is quite different from the previous frame. Let me give the example of a movie camera. The movie camera captures whatever is happening in frames. You take, for example, the movement of my hand from here to there—it has ten different frames to show that the hand has moved from here to there. And in order to see the movement on the screen you have to use an artificial thing called the projector. And only then do you see the movement of hand artificially created through the help of the projector. The sound is something like what they do in the movie industry. The sound is nineteen and a half frames behind the corresponding picture frame, There is a gap between the picture you take and the sound—nineteen and a half frames. In exactly the same way, thought is very slow. By the time it comes and captures this "whatever is there" within its framework, your eyes have moved somewhere else, and that other thing is completely wiped out. The brain is operating in exactly the same way. The whole thing is registered as dots and the pictures are taken in frames. There is an illusion that there is somebody who is looking at the things. Actually there is nobody who is looking at the things.

It may sound very strange to you when I say that there is nobody who is talking. You are the one that is making me talk; there is nobody here (pointing to himself) who is talking. There is nobody. It may sound very strange to you but that is the way it is. It is so mechanical, yet we are not ready to accept the mechanical functioning of this living organism. The only 'I' that I can find there is the first person singular pronoun. I have to use that first person singular pronoun to differentiate it from the second person singular pronoun. That is all. But there is nothing there which you can say is 'me'. That is the reason why I cannot tell myself that I am a free man, that I am an enlightened man. Also I have no way of knowing that you are not an enlightened man, that you are not a free man. There is no need for me to free you or enlighten you because to do that I must have an image of myself and in relationship to that I can have an image of you. So the images we have there are related to what we would like to be, what we ought to be, what we should be, and what we must be.

I will relate to you some conversation that took place recently in Bangalore. They are all my friends. I don't have any devotees or disciples or followers. I tell them that they are my followers because they are repeating whatever I am saying. They are memorizing my statements and repeating them. And there is no use kidding themselves that they are not following me. The moment they repeat something which is not theirs, they have become the followers of somebody. On one occasion, when I asserted with great vehemence that whatever happened to me had happened despite everything, despite my visit to Ramana Maharshi, despite my contacts with J. Krishnamurti and my personal conversations with him, and despite all the things that were expected of somebody who wanted to be an enlightened man, one friend in the audience said, "We cannot accept your statement of 'despite'...." He said that my statements were irrelevant.

"The problem is very simple," he said. "If we accept what you are saying, namely, that whatever has happened to you has happened regardless of what you did, and that everything you did was irrelevant, we lose the only hope that we have in you. We still feel that although we have lost faith in them all, we cannot lose faith in you." I told him that that is the one thing that is standing there in him which makes it impossible for him to free himself from whatever he is trying to free himself from, because he has replaced one thing with another. That is all that we can do. One illusion is replaced by another illusion and one teacher is replaced by another teacher. There is no way you can function without replacing one thing with another.

So, whatever you see here is your own creation and the projection of the knowledge you have of me. I don't know if you get what I am trying to say. I am not involved in what is going on there in you. What is involved here is only a reflection of whatever is there in front of me on the retina. But the translation of it is absent because it is part of that movement that is going on there. We place ourselves in a situation where we think that it is possible for us to live from moment to moment. But it is the body that is functioning from moment to moment. The one that is interested in living from moment to moment, which is the mind (quote and unquote), cannot live that way because its survival depends upon repeated experiences.

The continuity of the knowledge that it is 'me' is not something else. You have to maintain that center all the time, and the only way you can maintain that center is through the repetitive process, repeating the same old experiences over and over again, and yet imagining that one day you are going to function from moment to moment. It is this hope that gives you the feeling and also some sort of experience that you are living from moment to moment. But the possibility of actually living from moment to moment is never there because the mind's interest is only to continue. Therefore, it has invented the ideal of living from moment to moment, no-mind, and all that kind of stuff. Through these gimmicks it knows it can maintain its own continuity.

Thought is very much there. But you have made that into an extraordinary experience, and your wanting to be like that always is one thing that is not possible. A musician thinks that he is absorbed in what he is doing. It is demanding your total attention to express whatever you are doing, and when two things are not there it is a lot easier for you to express it effectively than when you are thinking about it. I know a lot of people who tell me that they were in a thoughtless state, that there were moments when the 'I' was not there. But when once such a thing really happens, it is finished once and for all, and there is no way you can link those moments up together and create a continuity there. So, the statements that when you are experiencing a thing you are not aware of the experience and that you become aware or conscious of it only after the experience is gone are highly questionable. If that were so, it would have shattered the whole experiencing structure once and for all. It would be something of an earthquake hitting this place, and what happens then nobody knows. A shifting of things would have taken place, and thereafter the organism functions in a very normal and natural way. It would have found a new sort of equilibrium.

What is it that tells you that you are here? Are you there now? It is the knowledge that tells you that you are here, that I am here. Feeling is also thought. We want to feel that feelings are more important than thoughts, but there is no way you can experience a feeling without translating that within the framework of the knowledge that you have. Take for example that you tell yourself that you are happy. You don't even know that the sensation that is there is happiness. But you capture that sensation within the framework of the knowledge you have of what you call a state of happiness, and the other state, that of unhappiness. What I am trying to say is that it is the knowledge that you have about yourself which has created the self there and helps you to experience yourself as an entity there.

I am not particularly fond of the word 'awareness'. It is misused. It is a rubbed coin, and everybody uses it to justify some of his actions, instead of admitting that he did something wrong. Sometimes you say, "I was not aware of what was going on there." But awareness is an integral part of the activity of this human organism. This activity is not only specifically in the human organism but in all forms of life—the pig and the dog. The cat just looks at you, and is in a state of choiceless awareness. To turn that awareness into an instrument which you can use to bring about a change is to falsify that. Awareness is an integral part of the activity of the living organism. And so, 'awareness' is not just the right kind of word to use.

It is impossible for us to separate ourselves from the rest of the things that are out there. You are not different from the chair that you are sitting on. But what separates you from the chair is the knowledge you have of that—"This is a chair," "You are sitting on the chair." But the fact is that the sensation that is involved in this relationship between you and the chair is the sense of touch. The sense of touch does not, however, tell you that you are separate from this chair in which you are sitting. I am not trying to say that you are the chair. That is too absurd. Actually what makes you feel that the body is there is the gravitational pull of the body, the heaviness of the body. You feel the existence of the body because of the gravitational pull. I said somewhere in the beginning that you are affecting everything there and everything that is there is affecting you. The fact of this statement is something which cannot be experienced by you because it is one unitary movement. The moment you separate the two and say that this is the response to that, you have already brought the knowledge you have of the things into operation and told yourself that this is the response to that stimulus.

A scientist came to see me and made this statement that there is no such thing as space, there is no such thing as time, and there is no such thing as matter. I said, "You are repeating a memorized statement. Probably you will give me an equation to prove that there is no such thing as space. But supposing it is a fact in your life that there is no space, (I always give crude examples,) what happens to your relationship with your wife?" When people throw these kinds of phrases at me—that there is no observer, or that the observer is the observed—I give them a hard time and try to make them realize the implications of what they are saying. It is very interesting for the theologians, the metaphysicians, and the scientists to discuss these things. But when it percolates to the level of our day-to-day existence, and of our relationship with the people around us, it is very different.

If you tell yourself that the observer is the observed, and apply that to a situation where you are about to make love to your wife, what will happen? That is the end of all relationship. It's finished. To say the observer is the observed is a meaningless statement, repeated ad nauseam. They actually do not know what will happen when that is the case. All relationships will be finished. They have no relevance to the way we are functioning. I am an automaton. There is not one thought which I can call my own. If this computer has no information on a particular subject, it is silent. So you are operating the computer. It is your interest to find out what there is in this computer. And whatever comes out of me is yours. What you call the printout is yours and you are reading something in it. Sentiments come into picture there, and you lose the guts to throw away the answers, and the ones who have given the answers, out the window.

Actually your memory becomes very extraordinary after this happening. But the problem which we have to face today is different. We have been using our memory a lot. I always maintain (you may question this, and the experts in the field of brain physiology may question it; but one of these days they will have to accept what I am trying to say) that the brain plays a very minor role in the functioning of the body. It is not a creator at all. It is just a reactor. What this memory is we really don't know yet. One of these days the experts who are dealing with this problem of memory will have to come out with answers to questions like what the neurons are. I maintain that memory is not located in any particular area of the body. Every cell in our body is involved. And my feeling is that we have come to a point in the history of mankind where we have to confront the problem of people who have lost their memories.

We have put memory and our brain to such use for which they are not intended. This is one of the reasons why we find that Alzheimer's disease, or whatever you want to call it, is on the increase. The other day I heard that one in two of those in the eighty-year-old bracket are affected by it. We have to use memory in order to survive in the world created by our society, culture, or whatever you want to call it. There is no other way. I know that it is an extension of the same survival mechanism. No doubt it is. There you don't have to use your memory. That is the way this human body is functioning. But to survive in this world which we have created, our world of culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, the constant use of memory is essential. The whole of our education is built on the foundation of how to develop our memory. I am afraid that I am going off on a tangent. I usually hop, jump and skip. Let me try to stick to this point which I am trying to make. Unfortunately, humanity has placed before itself the model of a perfect man. The idea of the perfect man is born out of the value system that we have created. That value system is born out of the behavior patterns of the great teachers of mankind. Jesus, Buddha and all the great teachers. Every human body, however, is unique. Nature is not interested in creating a perfect being. Its interest is to create only a perfect species.

It is just not possible for us to produce enlightened people on an assembly line. You know, if you look at history, even a country like India, which prides itself as a land of spirituality, has produced only a very few enlightened people. You can count them on your fingers. But unfortunately, in the market place, we have many claimants who say that they are enlightened, and they are in turn out to enlighten everybody. There is a market for that kind of thing. The demand and supply principle is responsible for that. But actually an enlightened man or a free man, if there is one, is not interested in freeing or enlightening anybody. This is because he has no way of knowing that he is a free man, that he is an enlightened man. It is not something that can be shared with somebody, because it is not in the area of experience at all.

There is no such thing as a new experience. Suppose you go to a new place. What goes on in your mind, if I may use that word, is that you are always trying to fit whatever you are seeing into the framework of the past. The moment you say that something is new, it is the old that is telling you that it is new. So, it is very difficult for us to experience anything new because, if there is something really new, it is not in particular frames that the old is destroyed, but the totality of the past is destroyed in one great big blow. You may not agree with me, and brush this aside as absurd and nonsense, but there is no such thing as a new experience. There is nothing new at all. It is the old that tells us that it is new, and through this gimmick thought is making what it calls new part of the old, and is thus maintaining its continuity. So, whatever you cannot experience does not exist. It may sound as a very dogmatic assertion on my part, but when you try to experience something that you have not experienced before, the whole movement of the experiencing structure comes to an end.

You know there was a time when anybody could go to the United States without a passport. But in 1911 they introduced the necessity to have a passport to enter the United States. In 1923 they introduced the immigration laws. Once you are there in a particular place and establish yourself and your rights, it is finished. (I am giving this as an example, but this applies to every country.) If anybody lands and colonizes any place on any planet, they will establish their rights there and prevent all other nations from landing there. The Americans established these same rights. It was God's plenty that helped the nations to develop and hold on to what they have. But they continue to exploit the resources of the rest of the world as well as their own resources. Even today they are doing that. They don't want to give up.

Basically, human nature is exactly the same whether in India or in Russia or in America or in Africa. Human problems are exactly the same. All the problems are artificially created by the various structures created by human thinking. As I said, there is some sort of (I can't make a definitive statement) neurological problem in the human body. Human thinking is born out of this neurological defect in the human species. Anything that is born out of human thinking is destructive. Thought is destructive. Thought is a protective mechanism. It draws frontiers around itself, and it wants to protect itself. It is for the same reason that we also draw lines on this planet and extend them as far as we can.

Total anarchy is a state of being rather than a state of doing. There is no action in total anarchy; it is a state of being. So why are we frightened of anarchy? Why are you all paying taxes to the government if they don't do what they are supposed to do? It is the responsibility of each individual that he should do what he has promised to do. The problem is that once you put these individuals in the seat of power, then there is less chance of their sharing their power with others. And you provide them with tremendous weapons of destruction. A man like me who expresses this view will become the enemy of the state. They will not hesitate to destroy me. I don't care if I am destroyed. If they say, "Don't talk," I will stop talking. I don't believe in freedom of speech at all. If they say "Don't talk, what you are saying is a threat to mankind and to its institutions," goodbye, I don't want to talk.

I am not interested in changing the world. But they have promised to do certain things. You have elected them to the office; you have put them there in the seat of power and have unfortunately provided them with the most destructive of weapons. They will not hesitate to use them against you and me. But in these days there is no way you can use your nuclear weapons. I often say that if Bhutan invades India, India has no way of protecting itself. Bhutan is not going to invade India, unless it has the backing of some powerful nations. So, we are the puppets of these people. We are spending so much money on defense. Defense against what? We talk of freedom of speech. If they say "Don't talk," I am not interested in talking. I am not interested in saving individuals, and I am not interested in saving mankind.

I do not see any reason why anybody should starve on this planet. What are you doing to solve these problems? You may very well throw that same question at me. But I have not set myself up in the business of running this world. They have set themselves up in the business of ruling this or that country. It is inhuman to let your fellow beings starve. Religion has invented that wonderful thing called charity. Not only that, you don't stop there, but you give a Nobel prize to somebody because of the charitable work that particular individual is doing. That is the most vicious and vulgar thing that the religious man has come up with today.

Everyone has a right to be fed. Nature has provided us with bounty. But we are individually responsible for the inequities of this world. Don't ask me, "What are you doing about that?" I am not here running a crusade against these people. You have set yourself up to solve these problems. If you don't solve them, something is wrong not with the leaders but with the people who have put them there in the seats of power. If they don't do what they are expected to do, change those rogues. I have no business to tell someone how to run these governments. I am not running these governments at all. What business do I have to tell them that this is the way you should run the government? It is the responsibility of everybody to contribute his might, his share. But the world remains exactly the way it has been forever.

There is this whole talk of "Back to Jesus," "Back to the heritage of India," "Back to Islam," back to this, that and the other. The two things that we have to bear in mind are high-tech and technology. They will help us to solve the problems of this planet. Genetic engineering and the understanding of microbiology will take care of what kind of a human being you want. They now say that we are genetically deficient and that the brain is neurologically deficient in many areas. Therefore, anything that is born out of the thinking of man is very destructive. Thought is a protective mechanism. Its interest is only to protect itself, maintain its status quo, and preserve the continuity of the knowledge that is passed on to us from generation to generation. We want to educate people so that they can read our newspapers, and through the media you are going to brainwash these people.

In India there are still peasants who are not touched by the modern man. They are something unique. I don't know. I have never visited any village recently. But I really don't think educating people in the sense in which we are talking about, the literacy that we are talking about, is the way to really educate people. Let me give you the example of my grandmother. My grandmother was not a literate person, although she knew how to read and sign papers. I learned more from her about Advaita than I did from the professors at the University of Madras. She was not an educated woman, nor was she an enlightened person. But she was a very practical woman. She knew all about the great culture of India. So, educating the masses to be literate is really not the answer. We have the tremendous power of the media at our disposal. If this power is in the hands of the government, there is nothing that you can do to avoid its influence. Also, if you take the example of the United States, their so-called free media are in no way better than the media that are under the grip of the government. Both are the same.

Whatever achievements we have had so far through the help of high-tech and technology have benefited only a limited number of people on this planet. If what they say is true, it is possible to feed twelve billion people with the resources at our command, the resources that nature has provided us, without the aid of high-tech and technology. The rich nations are not going to give up their riches unless they are forced to give them up. You see, the nine rich nations, the nine industrial nations, sit here and dictate their terms. Are they going to give up the whole of the natural resources of the world? I don't think so, unless they are forced to. If they are forced to give them up, what they would do is anybody's guess. Even if they have everything to lose, I don't think they are going to give up anything.

Even this man sitting here who is a pacifist will fight to the end to protect his way of life and his way of thinking. I don't believe him at all. He will fight. He may be a pacifist today, but tomorrow, if everything he has were to be taken away from him, I wouldn't be surprised if he were to kill me also, his best friend. What does it mean—the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? It is just a very clever way of putting things—that an optimist does not give up and he still, somehow, has faith that he can maintain his own way of life and his own way of thinking. That is all. He would resort to any kind of force to maintain that way of life and that way of thinking.

I cannot make any definitive statement, but somewhere along the line self-consciousness occurred in man which separated us from the totality of life around us. (We do not know for sure if there is any such thing as evolution; it is an assumption on our part. We accept what those who are in the know of things say. Those people have observed certain things and have established what they call a theory of evolution.) We are all like the animals. We are no different, nor are we created for any grander purpose than the mosquito that is sucking your blood. It is thinking that has separated us from the other species on this planet. It is thinking that we want to maintain. So it is that that is responsible for all the problems that the human mind (quote and unquote) has created. As I said a while ago, it is thought which has separated us from the rest of the species. Through the help of thinking, it has become possible for us to create better conditions and survive longer than the other species.

The illusion persists because if the illusion comes to an end, what can be called clinical death will take place. So, if we give up one illusion, we will always replace it with another. That is the thing that gives us the feeling of conquering the inevitable end called death. That is the only death that is there. Otherwise, there is no such thing as death at all. And death is the end of the illusion, end of the fear, end of the knowledge that we have of ourselves and of the world around us.

You see, the body does not want to know anything. The body does not want to learn anything. The intelligence that is necessary for its survival is already there. We have, fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, acquired what is called the intellect. Through the constant use and reshaping of thought we have acquired this intellect. Through the help of that intellect it has become possible for us to live longer than the other species. This, in its own way, is the cause of the destruction of the whole structure that we have created for our survival.

There is no way of escaping from this fact that the acquired intellect, which is the product of our thinking, has helped us to survive longer than the other species. Probably in us the functioning of the body and of the brain is more evolved than in the case of animals. It does not mean that we are any better than the other species. If what they say is true, the human body, when broken into its constituent elements, is no different from the tree out there or the mosquito that is sucking your blood. Basically, it is exactly the same. The proportions of the elements may be higher in one case and lesser in the case of the others. You have eighty percent of water in the body, and there is eighty percent of water in the trees and eighty percent on this planet. So that is the reason why I maintain that we are nothing but a fortuitous concourse of atoms. If and when death takes place, the body is reshuffled, and then these atoms are used to maintain the energy levels in the universe. Other than that, there is no such thing as death to this body.

If what they say is true, then probably the dog is far more intelligent than most of the human beings in our midst today, including me. The animals don't try to change anything. That is the most important thing that we have to understand. The demand to bring about a change in us is the cultural input. What is there to be changed? That is my basic question. Is there anything to be changed, radically or otherwise? I don't know. So we have to find out, for ourselves and by ourselves "What is there? Is there an entity there? Is there a self there? Is there an 'I' there?" My answer is "No." What is seen or felt there is created by the knowledge we have of that, the knowledge of the self, the knowledge of the 'I', the knowledge of the entity there that is passed on to us from generation to generation. All that is the cultural input. As long as you and I use the instrument which we are using to communicate with each other, no understanding is possible. You are always translating every statement of mine within the framework of the knowledge that you have—that is what I call your reference point.

So, what separates you from me and me from you is the knowledge we have. But now we are trying to establish a sort of relationship on a different level. But knowledge is not the instrument for doing it, and there is no other instrument. If that is not the instrument and there is no other instrument, no understanding is necessary. That is the understanding which somehow dawned on me—that there is nothing to understand. How it occurred I really don't know, and I have no way of knowing it. I have no way of helping somebody to understand that that is not the instrument and there is no other instrument. No instrument is necessary for us to create the realization that there is nothing to understand. That is why even a saint like Ramana Maharshi, when people pestered him with all kinds of questions like "What would you suggest for us to do?" threw back the question "Who am I?" Even this question is not an intelligent question, because we assume both that there is some 'I' there, the nature of which we do not know, and that we have to inquire into its nature.

The consciousness of the body does not exist. There is no such thing as consciousness at all. The one thing that helps us to become conscious of the non-existing body, for all practical purposes, is the knowledge that is given to us. Without that knowledge you have no way of creating your own body and experiencing it. I am questioning the very idea of consciousness, let alone the subconscious, the unconscious, the different levels of consciousness, and higher states of consciousness. I don't see that there is any such thing as consciousness. I become conscious of this only through the knowledge that I have of it. The touch does not tell me anything except when I translate it within the framework of knowledge. Otherwise I have no way of experiencing that touch at all.

The way these senses are operating here is quite different from the way we are made to believe. The eye is looking at the movement of your hand, and is not saying anything about that activity, except observing what is going on there. Feeling is also a translation. This touch does not say anything about the touch per se except through the help of the knowledge that we have. You have no way of experiencing the fact that this is 'soft' or 'hard' except through the knowledge that you have of it. I don't know if this makes any sense to you. If touch is left purely on the physiological level, there is no reaction on your part. That is the physical response. It is not translated.

When people ask me "Why do you smile?" I say that it is just a response like any other response to a stimulus. "Why do you move your hand?" "Why do you make so many gestures?" People call me a materialist. People even go to the extent of calling me an atheist just because I say that God is irrelevant. But that does not mean that I am an atheist. So I am not interested in what kind of labels they stick on me. Believe it or not: it does not make one bit of difference to me. I am not trying to convince you or win you over to anything.

When once the demand to bring about a change and to be different from what actually is there is absent, what you are left with is something which you can never experience. That is the reason why I said that I am just an ordinary man. But people for their own reasons want to fit me into a framework of this, that, and a hundred different things. I say that I am just an ordinary man. Everybody thinks that I am not an ordinary man.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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. We are doomed, you see.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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.

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. I don't even see any blueprint 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.

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. 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. 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. 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.

Unless you link up these 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 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.

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.... Sharpening that intellect, that is all that is there. So, this 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. 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. 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. 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.

That is all there is for me. 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. 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. Accepting means that you are sick and tired of doing anything. But saying that does not really mean anything. Why do we look for a purpose or meaning? Why? 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. 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. 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. 'How' implies that you want to know from somebody.... 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. It knows that by asking the question it can add momentum to itself. It is not 'you', because 'you' don't exist. 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 thinking that separates you and tells you that I am different from you, that I am functioning differently from you, but you and I are functioning in exactly the same way. The living organism is like a computer with an extraordinary intelligence, similar to the way that tape recorder is functioning. The recorder never asks the question, "How am I functioning?" All it needs is the energy there. The electricity is necessary for its functioning. But here the energy is a sort of expression of life. Energy is already there. But you are all the time asking questions.

If you ask me the question, "Are you not different from me?" all the knowledge that I have, that separates you and me, is already there in the computer. It tells me that you are a woman and I am a man, and you are more intelligent than I am. The whole series of ideas that are put into the computer comes into operation. Your question brings out the knowledge that is there, stored in the computer here. These are two computers talking, but you want to introduce an element which is not part of the functioning of this living organism. That is why you begin to think that there must be something different here. You are making the separation. Perfect individuals are created by the religious thinking of man. We have put before ourselves the model of Jesus and Buddha and all these religious teachers. It would be a horrible world if this planet were to be only full of Jesuses and Buddhas and all the other teachers.

In nature there is no such thing as death but only a reshuffling of atoms. The balance of energy in nature has to be maintained for some reason. I don't know why. So death occurs only when there is a need for the atoms to maintain the balance of energy in the universe. It is nothing but a reshuffling of atoms. This organism has no way of finding out that it was born at a particular point of time and is going to die at another point of time, and also that it is living at this moment and not dead. The knowledge we have of this living organism—the birth, the death, and all that—is absent here.

If you ask me the question, "Are you alive?" I would say that I am alive, because the question is born out of the idea of how a living human being functions, acts, and thinks. That is an idea. So, naturally, if you ask me a question, "Are you alive or dead?" I would say I am very much alive, because that question brings all the knowledge that we have about the behavior patterns of living human beings. But we have no way of experiencing the fact that this is a living thing. You see, thought is dead. It is trying to capture something that is living, pulsating. If you touch a live wire, you are finished. So, thought doesn't want to touch it; it wants to play with it, and put on gloves and talk about it. The heart does not for a moment know that it is pumping blood. It is not asking the question, "Am I doing it right?" It is just functioning. It does not ask the question, "Is there any purpose?" To me, that question has no meaning.

There must be two, you know: I love somebody and somebody else loves me. What is the difference—whether I love my wife, love my country, or I love my dog? This may sound very cynical to you. The fact of the matter is that there is no difference. You love your country, I love my country, and there is war. The does not love itself. There is no separateness here. When once love fails to establish the perfectly ideal relationship between two individuals what we are left with is hate. If not hate, it is antipathy, apathy....

I am not saying anything against the pleasure movement. It has become possible for us to have sex at any time we want through the help of thought. Then it is a bore again. We have to write books—The Joy of Loving, the Kama Sutras, and all kinds of books—and make it interesting. It is not possible for animals to have sex at any time they want. Animals use it only for reproduction. Not that they 'use' it, but it is for the purposes of reproducing their own species. It is not a pleasure movement in their case. I am not saying anything against the pleasure movement. I am not interested in saying that you should condemn that or become promiscuous or use sex as a means of spiritual attainment. No.

The religious man has turned that into something big, and concentrated on the control of sex. After that the psychologists have turned that into something extraordinary. All commercialism is related to sex. How do you think it will fall into its proper place? Please don't get me wrong. I am just pointing out the use to which we are putting that simple biological function. I am not condemning it. It is there, you see. Your talk of that as an expression of love has no meaning to me. If sex is used only for the biological purpose, as I said, it is not really a devastating situation. If you leave it as it is, it wouldn't be so horrible, the way you would like to put it. It would fall into its proper place. That is why we have invented all these other things—God, truth, and reality—which are nothing but ultimate pleasures.

Whether you are here, in Russia, or anywhere else, the one thing that anybody and everybody want in this world is to have happiness without one moment of unhappiness, pleasure without pain. That is just not possible, because this living organism does not know what pleasure is, what happiness is. The moment there is a pleasurable sensation, the demand to extend it longer and longer is there. That is why there is this tremendous frustration there. You want to make it possible for everybody that he should always be happy and that he should have only pleasant or pleasurable sensations and not any painful ones. It may be possible through some drugs like 'ecstasy', but for how long?

Whatever I did or did not do, and whatever events people believed that led me into this are totally irrelevant. It is very difficult for me to fix a point now and tell myself that this is me, and look back and try to find out the cause of whatever has happened to me, because this is not in the field of cause and effect relationship. That is why I am emphasizing and overemphasizing all the time that it is acausal. That is very difficult for people to understand. Let me tell you, whatever has happened to me has happened despite everything I did. Some of the biographers who are keen on writing the story of my life are very anxious to know what I did, what I did not do, what helped me to stumble into this kind of thing, assuming for a moment that some event, occurrence, or happening in my life put me where I am today. But that is not something valid and true. You have to accept my word. If you don't accept what I say, it doesn't matter. Whatever had happened before whatever happened to me, all the events in my life before that, have no relevance to the way I am functioning now. And from that moment on, there is no story to tell.

Whatever has happened to me happened despite everything I did. But you are interested in finding out how and why that particular thing I am talking about has happened to me and not to everybody. You want to establish a cause and effect relationship and make it possible for everybody to stumble into this kind of thing. That is something which cannot be produced or reproduced on an assembly line. It is a freak of nature. Even wanting to understand that has no meaning to you. You just leave it there. There are so many freakish things there in nature. If you try to copy them, you are lost. You are in the same situation as before.

Even nature has no use for this body. It has discarded it because it cannot reproduce something like this either physically or otherwise. How can you turn this into a model? That is what we have done to all those discarded people whom we should have discarded for good. I can say one thing: that is, all that is false as far as I am concerned and it has falsified me. I don't want to be falsified because that is not the way I function. I wanted to relate whatever was their state of being with the way I was functioning, and then struggled and struggled so hard. It got me nowhere.

So, there is no way you can reject it, because it is that which has created what you call 'you'. The value system has created 'you', and there is no way you can free yourself from that. Anything you do to free yourself from that value system is adding momentum to it. This is the one thing that never occurred to me at that time. What I was saying a while ago was that thought cannot be used as an instrument. You can use it to control, shape, and mold the value system. But you have no way of freeing yourself from it through thought. Even the idea that you should control your thought in order to be in a thoughtless or peaceful state is created by thought, so that it can maintain its continuity through some petty little experience, through some thoughtless state you are interested in.

Why should nature or something, some cosmic power, if there is one in this world, need the help of somebody to express itself and help others? I don't see any need. If there is anything like that, you are as much an expression of it as any of these claimants. Every dog, every cat, every pig, every cow that you see, the garden slug there, you, me, and everybody, even Genghis Khan and Hitler are an expression of that same thing. They might have acted in a different way. You and I may act in a different way. But we are all expressions of the same thing, and there is no need for that to use any channel other than you. You are an expression of that.

But I even question consciousness itself. There is no such thing as consciousness at all, let alone higher consciousness, super-consciousness or cosmic consciousness. All these notions are created by thought. You become conscious of things only through the help of knowledge. I become conscious of you only through the knowledge I have about you, which has been passed on to me. The fact that I say that you are a woman, that you are an intelligent woman, and that you are a pretty woman—all this is part of that knowledge. Otherwise, I am not separate from you.

There is no matter at all. Matter is thought. You see, if you touch something hard, the sense of touch does not say that this is hard. But once you have the knowledge, the past knowledge, you say it is hard, because thought creates a space here and the enormous knowledge that I have about it.... What is matter? You want a definition? Thought creates matter. That is what I am saying. Definitions are of no interest to me, because what is there is energy. Thought is matter. Probably dogs have some kind of thought. I don't know. But ours has become very complex and complicated. There is no thought. There are only thoughts. Is there a thought there in you? At the very beginning I said the brain is not a creator. Thoughts are not spontaneous. They come from outside.

You translate that particular noise (noise of thunder) with the help of the memory, which is neurons. They tell you that the noise is thunder. You recognize that. That is all there is to it—the information. What is thought? We ask that question because of the assumption that there is a thought which you want to know about. But what there is is only about thoughts—all the definitions. "Thought is matter," is a statement which by itself has no meaning at all. We don't care about the physicists, but they also say that there is no such thing as thought, there is no such thing as matter, there is no such thing as space, and there is no such thing as time. But what is all this time-and-space continuum? Such a continuum is necessary for them; otherwise their whole research collapses.

Is there space? No. There is no space. There is no way you can experience space. It is thought that creates it. Anything you say about space has no meaning. There is no way you can experience space at all. You can say there is no thought, there is no space, there is no matter, and there is no time. First, you create thought, then thought creates space, and then time is necessary to cover the distance, to experience the space, to capture it, and do something with it. So, then time comes in. But there is no time. The only time that is there is arbitrary. It is 11 p.m. here and 11 a.m. the next morning somewhere else. We are 12 hours behind. If you travel to or from India, you miss one day or you gain one day. All ideas of time, even those of chronological time, are arbitrary. All measurements are arbitrary. We accept them as workable, that is all. When somebody quotes the price of a particular thing, we always think in terms of the currency we are familiar with. Even for the valuation of a thing, there is a reference point—the reference point is the dollar or the rupee or the pound, as the case may be.

So is there matter? Is there space? This is not metaphysics that I am talking about, much less what the physicists are talking about, i.e., the impossibility of experiencing space. Without thought there is no way what you call 'you' can be separated. What you call 'you' is thought. There is no 'you' there other than this demand to experience space or matter or time, as the case may be. Thought has also created the idea of the timeless. All achievements are in time. There is a thought sphere in which we are all functioning. But one question (I don't ask myself that question because there is no point in posing that question to myself, nor am I interested in finding an answer for it) for which the answer is not very clear is: do these thoughts come from outside passed on from generation to generation, or are they also transmitted through the genes? I have every reason to believe that the totality of knowledge is not only transmitted through our education in all forms, shapes, sizes, and degrees, but also, to a greater extent, through the genes. Darwin has put us all on the wrong track. He said that acquired characteristics are not transmitted from generation to generation and for a hundred years we believed him. We also believed in the theories of Freud who was a stupendous fraud.

I am not chosen as the guardian spirit or.... I like it exactly the way it is. You don't have to do a thing about it. I am not in conflict with this, you see. It cannot be any better. Anything you want to do with this is what creates confusion. So there is violence. As long as you use thought to bring about a change without, there is bound to be violence. It is bound to be so. Your attempt to create a peaceful state is creating war there. Who has given anyone the mandate to change the world? I am not a prophet. But the future is already here. In the present. How can it be any different? As I said, through war you cannot create peace in this world. So, probably we will come to a point where we will be forced by circumstances to live with our adversaries. The way the living organism is functioning—the survival of every cell depends upon the survival of the cell next to it. There is the terror that if I try to destroy something, then, I will also go with it. I mean that physically you are going to be destroyed. It will affect you.

This terror that if you try to destroy people around you, you are also going to be destroyed with them, may keep us together for a little while now. Certainly it is not love, bliss, worship, or religious thinking. But tell me, why should we be permanent? Why, what for? We are not concerned. We are not doing anything to keep it permanent. Are we? We are destroying everything there in nature ecologically. Ecological problems have been aggravated by us. How do you think what we are doing will help? Nobody is interested in it. I am the last person to be interested, because I don't want this to be any different. That is the only thing. So real it is. Not at all bleak. Nature is changing—some volcanic eruptions somewhere and some earthquakes somewhere. Why these things occur we don't know. Why are we all concerned about all these things?—"Who created this world?" "Why do we live?" We leave all these things to the metaphysicians and scientists.

U.G. Krishnamurti, Thought Is Your Enemy

Photos: Thayer