J Krishnamurti talks to students of Rishi Valley School about Fear, Insecurity, Cause of Corruption and Discovering your own talent
K: A little bit. Now I would like to talk about something else. May I?
S: Yes, sir.
K: I have asked you what you would like to talk about, and then after asking you all these questions I would like to talk to you about something else. May I?
S: Yes, sir.
K: All of you?
A: Yes, sir.
K: Yes, sir!
Human beings, like you, have capacity, have some kind of hidden talent. Talent, you understand, that is to paint, to play the violin, to play the flute, or to be a very good human being. You, human beings have hidden talents. Right? And your society, your parents, everybody says, become a business man – or become a doctor, or become an engineer, or become Indian Administrative person, the Service. So your brain, you understand, what is inside the skull, is conditioned by your parents, or by the society in which you live. You understand?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So your own talent is destroyed by this pressure. You might be a great painter. Right? Or a great singer, or a marvellous botanist, horticulturist. Right? But your parents, your society, say, no, that is not good enough, you must become a really good businessman, or a good doctor, or I.A.S. So you destroy your own talent. And what is important is to have your own talent, then you are happy with it. You understand what I am saying?
K: Listen to what I am saying. I am talking now. And you are listening to me. That is one thing: human beings have essentially, hidden, a certain talent. Right? Not always to become a businessman, or a captain in the army, or a flyer. So you have to discover your own talent, and stick to that talent, whether you become poor, rich, successful.
S: Sir, but it you want to be a businessman and by the side of it you can also sing, or paint, or whatever.
K: Clever boys – you have trained these boys beautifully! They say you can become a businessman, or a General, or an army captain, and also paint. Do you follow how his brain is working. You are quite right. Then you will do neither thing properly, fully, happily.
S: Why, sir?
K: Because you are torn between the two.
K: I know this, I know this. You understand? Wait a minute, I am talking for a while. So it is very difficult also to discover your own talent. And it might not lead you to success. It doesn’t matter then. You understand? Then you don’t mind not having much money because you have got something in yourself. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So find out, all of you, find out your own talent, something of your own, not imposed by education, by your parents, by society, but find out something that you have for yourself.
S: But if our parents force us to do something.
K: I know your parents force you to become an engineer, force you to become something or other. But while you are young play the game and say, yes, I accept that, and find out for yourself.
S: But supposing something happens to you.
K: I know, just listen to what I am saying. Because I have got something more to say. Right?
K: You don’t mind?
S: No, sir.
K: And also you are going to enter into a world when you leave this marvellous valley, with all the rocks, and the shadows, and the trees, and the flowers, and the really peaceful campus, you are going to face a world that is terrible. Right? There is violence, kidnapping, shooting, bribing. The world is becoming more and more dangerous. Right? And the world is becoming corrupt, all over the world, not only in India, where it is quite blatant. You know what the word blatant means? Quite open. They say, give me something before I will do something else. There is corruption. Right? All over the world, not only here in this country, but in America, in France, in England – political corruption, social corruption, black market and so on. There is tremendous corruption all over the world. We say that corruption is bribing, passing money under the table, paying cash without giving a account. All that is called corruption. Right? But that is only a symptom. Do you know what symptom means?
S: Yes, sir, signs.
K: Do you know what symptom is? Symptom is I have eaten something, very heavy food, and I have got tummy ache. The tummy ache is the symptom. But the cause is my eating the wrong food. Got it?
S: Yes, sir.
K: So I want to go into the cause of corruption. We say corruption – I hope you are all listening because you are all going to face the world when you leave Rishi Valley.
S: Sir, supposing if you don’t take the money he is giving, sir, he might do something worse. If you take the money…
K: If I give you money under the table you become corrupt.
S: Yes, sir.
K: And then you also become corrupt because you are accepting money. Right?
S: Yes, sir. But if I don’t take the money he might do something.
K: I know, I know. If you don’t take it he will hurt you. Just listen, understand, what is the cause of corruption. You understand? Corruption isn’t merely passing money under the table, bribing, black market, but the cause is something entirely different. Right? I am going to go into that if you are interested.
Corruption begins with self interest. Do you understand this?
S: Yes, sir.
K: If I am interested in myself, in what I want, what I must be, if I am greedy, envious, harsh, brutal, cruel, there is corruption. You understand? Corruption begins in your heart, in your mind, not just giving money – that also is corruption but the real cause of corruption is inside you. Unless you find that out and change that you will be a corrupt human being. Do you understand what I am saying? Corruption is when you are angry, when you are jealous, when you hate people, when you are lazy, when you say, this is right, and I feel this is right, and stick to it. You understand what I am saying?
S: Sir, it looks like everything comes under selfishness.
K: Everything comes under selfishness. You are quite right. Corruption begins there. You understand, old boy?
K: So don’t be corrupt. It doesn’t matter if you die for it.
K: Wait, listen to me. You understand? We are all so frightened. You say, how will I live, what will I do if I am not corrupt when all the people around me are corrupt? You understand what I mean by corruption, not just the outward sign but the deep inward sense of corruption that human beings live with – selfish, thinking about themselves, wanting their success, envious – you understand? So corruption is inside, in your heart, in your brain. So if you understand that very carefully, and you are really serious, not cynical, most of those grown up boys who are going to leave have become cynical, they see what the world is, they say, well I have got to accept it. That is a form of cynicism. But if you understand very carefully from now that corruption is not merely passing money under the table, bribing – bribing whether it is two rupees or ten million dollars, it is still bribing. And being violent is part of what is called corruption, terror, all that. That is what is happening in the world. You are a human being growing up, don’t be like them. Don’t become angry, don’t be envious, don’t always seek success.
S: Sir, how can we stop all that? How can we stop being envious?
K: If you want to be envious be envious and see what happens. You understand? But if you don’t want to be envious, don’t be envious. Don’t say, how do I stop it? If you see something dangerous, like a cobra, nobody tells you, you run. Right? So corruption inside is most dangerous. Right? So don’t be corrupt. Begin there first, not out there. You understand? Will you do it? Don’t promise. Don’t ever promise unless you are absolutely going to carry it out. Right? But if you see how important it is in life because you are all growing up, growing into this terrible world, this insane world. You understand? There is no sanity in the political world, in the religious world – right – in the economic world, there is no sanity.
So please, I am just pointing out to you, whether you are grown up, or leaving this marvellous valley, or staying here for another two, four years, don’t be corrupt, inside, don’t seek vanity, pride, don’t say, I am superior to somebody else. You know you learn a great deal when there humility. You know the word ‘humility’? You learn a great deal if you are really humble. But if you are merely seeking success, money, money, money, power, position, status, you understand, then you are beginning with corruption. You might be poor, be poor, who cares. That’s why it is important for you, for all of you, to find your own talent and stick to it even though it doesn’t bring you success, fame, and all that, which is all nonsense anyhow because we are all going to die. You understand, old boy? While you live, live, not with all the rubbish that is going on.
S: Sir, why don’t people realise this?
K: Because they don’t think, they don’t feel, they are thinking about themselves all the time, their job, their administration, their work. You understand? They are not interested in this. But if you are…
S: How do you stop being selfish?
K: How do you stop being selfish. Don’t be selfish. Just listen. Don’t ever ask anybody, ‘how’. You understand? Then they will tell you how, then you are lost. That is the biggest corruption.
S: You mean we must find out for ourselves.
K: Find out, enquire, use your brain, doubt, question. Don’t merely accept. I am your teacher, suppose I am your teacher, I want to see that you have a very good brain. Right? To have a good brain means not to have conflict in yourself or with somebody else. I think all this is too much.
S: I wanted to ask you, sir: supposing you are not selfish and somebody does something to you?
K: If someone does harm to you, what will you do? Hit him back?
S: It depends on the depth of what he has done.
K: Yes, you have said it. By Jove, you are quite… If he hurts you deeply what will you do? Have you asked what it means to be hurt? Go on think with me, think with me.
S: Sir, is it corruption again to be hurt?
K: Just listen. Suppose I hurt you very deeply – suppose, I don’t want to hurt you – suppose I want to hurt you very deeply. Now you say, I am hurt. Now what do you mean by that? Use your brain.
K: Don’t repeat.
K: Yes, not only physically but inside, he hurts you. He calls you a fool.
S: Sir, I think…
K: Just listen carefully. All of you listen carefully. He calls you a fool, and you get hurt. Right? Have you found out what gets hurt? Careful, careful!
S: If you think you aren’t a fool and then someone comes along and tells you that you are a fool…
K: Look, somebody calls you a fool and somebody calls you a great man – they are both the same, aren’t they. Do you understand what I am saying? Somebody calls me a fool, an idiot, and I get hurt – suppose. What gets hurt? Careful, think it out, don’t reply quickly, think it out. Think it out.
K: No, I won’t listen. I said think it out, carefully think it out. I am asking you – I call you an idiot – I hope I am not saying that. And you get hurt. What do you mean, you getting hurt? What is you?
S: Your ego.
K: Think it out, old girl, think it out.
S: It is me, my ego.
K: What is you?
S: I am one…
K: Come over here, old boy. Sit here. Come on, don’t waste time. I know you, so go on.
S: Sir, what is hurt is me, what I have build of myself.
K: What you have built of yourself, which means what?
S: Sir, what has been achieved, what I have achieved, what I have done.
K: What you have done, what you have achieved. Why are you all so accustomed to achievement? You all talk about achievement. Like your father, your mother, your grandmothers, they have achieved. Right? They have become successful you mean.
S: No, sir, what they have done to themselves.
K: Yes. Say for instance, I have been all over some of the world. Right? I have talked to various thousands of people, I have been to the United Nations, all kinds of things I have done. Right? Which means what? I have built an image, a picture about myself. Right? Picture about myself. You come along and say, you are an idiot – and I get hurt – suppose. What gets hurt?
S: Your feelings.
K: My feelings, my image.
S: The image of yourself.
K: Yes, that’s right. The image of myself because I have travelled, I am a great man, I have written books, I have seen Mrs Gandhi. You follow? I have built an image about myself; that image gets hurt.
Now the next step, listen carefully. Can I live without image, any image?
S: Can you, sir?
K: Can I? Yes. I wouldn’t otherwise talk about it. That is dishonesty to talk about something that you yourself are not living.
S: Sir, but…
K: Wait, wait, listen to what I am saying, old boy. So have you an image at this age? Of course, all of you have images. And those images get hurt. And all through life you will get hurt as long as you have those images.
S: Should you forget them, sir?
K: Leave them, don’t have them. Somebody – many people have flattered me and many people have insulted me. I have no image, I can’t get hurt, it doesn’t matter. You understand?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Be like that. Be – that is where corruption begins.
S: Sir, but how do you get rid of your images?
K: How do you get rid of images. If you see they are dangerous you will get rid of them immediately.
S: Sir, if you get rid of images, what is left of you?
S: Then what are you?
K: Wait. Listen to what I said. Be nothing and then you live.
S: Sir, those might have images of you but we shouldn’t have images.
K: Let the others have images, don’t you have them.
S: Sir, sometimes we don’t have images…
K: Not ‘sometimes’. Are you talking seriously, or theoretically?
S: No, suppose a person can…
K; Why do you suppose?
S: If a person doesn’t have an image isn’t he likely to feel insecure?
K: Be insecure. Know you are insecure. Then find out what is security. But if you are always seeking security you don’t know whether you are insecure. But first find out for yourself if you are insecure, what it means, physically, inwardly, and so on.
S: Whether you have an image or not you are insecure.
K: Whether you have an image or not, you are insecure. I am asking you, have you found out if you are insecure, or are you just talking?
S: Sir, I feel insecure about some things.
K: Wait. Find out what it means – what it means to be insecure. Either you are insecure physically – right – or economically, or insecure in public opinion – right – or insecure in money matters, or insecure in your relationships. Find out.
S: And then what?
K: When you learn where there is insecurity then you are secure. Get that, old boy.
S: Sir, do you have an image?
K: Listen to what I said.
S: Yes, sir.
K: You get it? When you find out for yourself, what is insecure, where you are insecure – with your family, with your father, with your mother, with your wife or husband, with god? You understand? Find out, learn about it. The moment you know and have learnt a great deal about insecurity, then you are out of it, then you are secure.
S: Sir, if you learn a great deal about insecurity, you don’t know the full insecurity.
K: Oh yes you will. Sir, if you begin rightly – you understand – then what is right is at the beginning. This is too difficult.
S: Sir, are you saying, live with insecurity to find out what it is.
K: You are insecure, not live with insecurity. You just now said, I am insecure. Live with it, find out. Use your brain to find out. Don’t become mechanical.
S: Sir, to get rid of insecurity we have to get rid of fear first, no?
K: Fear. Right? Now I am going to show you, you have to learn, not from me, learn. What is fear?
S: Fear is the thing which we think about.
S: Something you don’t know about.
K: Wait, sir. You don’t listen to somebody else first, you are always ready with your own questions. He said – do you know what he said? You don’t because you didn’t listen, because your own question was more important; that is selfishness. Right? He said, fear, how is one to be free of fear. You meant that, didn’t you. Right? So first listen to that question. He said, what is fear, how is one to be free of it? Now do you know you are afraid?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Yes, sir! Why?
S: I think it is because I think of something which makes me feel afraid.
K: Now just a minute you have said something tremendous. I don’t know if you are aware of it. You have said something very true.
S: Then if we don’t think of something…
K: That’s it. You have learnt the first thing, that thinking brings fear. Right?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Right? So you have to find out what is thinking, not how to stop fear. You understand? You just now said very carefully, that thinking brings fear, which is true. I might die tomorrow and I am frightened. I might lose my job, I am frightened. Right? So thinking brings fear. Then what is thinking? Now go step by step to find out. What is thinking?
S: Sir, is it that to get rid of fear we have to get rid of thinking?
K: No. I said never get rid of anything because it will come back.
S: Sir, OK, you said if anything is dangerous you wipe it out by yourself.
S: So you see that fear is dangerous…
K: No, first listen carefully. I said to you, fear, he said, fear exists, comes, when you think about something. Right? Fear I might die, fear I might lose my job, fear of my father, fear of my teachers. So as long as you are thinking about the future – right – there is fear. Right? Now you have to find out what is thinking.
S: It might be selfishness.
K: Yes, wait, wait. I am asking you something, first listen, old boy. I am not trying to stop you. What is thinking? Carefully. Use your brain.
S: What the brain does.
K: No, use your brain to find out what is thinking.
S: Imagination, sir.
K: Imagination, go on.
S: Sir, what you have seen you record and you think about it.
K: That is good, you are beginning. You are recording, aren’t you. That is – oh lord! I’ll show you. Our brain, what is inside the skull is recording. You are recording mathematics. You are recording geography, history, you are recording. A tape is recording. This is recording, down there. You understand? I am talking, electrically it is connected to that machine, and that is recording on the tape. Our brain acts exactly like that. It is recording. Right? Mathematics, history, geography, your father – it has recorded your father. Right? Now, wait a minute. What do you mean by recording? Think it out, use your brain.
S: If you recall something back.
K: What do you mean recording? Isn’t it necessary to record?
S: Sir, to…
K: No, isn’t it necessary to record? I hope the older boys are paying attention to all this because it is their life. So recording is necessary when you write a letter, when you drive a car. Right? When you have to pass an exam – unfortunately – when you record that you have a father in some place, and a mother. All that is recording, that is necessary. Now there is also another recording. I get hurt – you get it?
S: Yes, sir.
K: There are two kinds of recording: the recording of driving a car, writing a letter, becoming I.A.S., becoming an engineer. Listen carefully, old boy, you are following? And there is also another recording, me first, I am selfish, I want this, I want success. Right? So these two are recording all the time. Which is recording is memory, isn’t it? Memory of your father, memory of your mathematics. Right? So recording means memory, which is repeating. Do you see this? When you learn mathematics you are recording, you are repeating, memorising – like that tape. So you become mechanical. Like that tape is mechanical, it repeats, repeats, repeats – I am a Brahmin, I am a Brahmin, I am a Brahmin. I am a Hindu, I am a Hindu, I am against Communist, Communist, Communist. And so on. Our brains then become conditioned, limited, small. Right?
So thinking is part of memory. You can’t have memory if you haven’t met your father, if you haven’t seen your father, your mother. So you have seen the father and your mother, and that is stored in the brain as memory, and also that is knowledge, and knowledge is based on experience – of course.
S: I am memorising.
K: You are memory. You understand? You are memory, the whole of your being is memory – memory that you are atman, memory you have got a soul, memory there is light inside you, memory that there is god. It is all still memory. You listen carefully, find out if it is true what the speaker is saying, or it is a lie. You understand, find out. You are memory, without memory you are nothing – memory of your name, memory of your family, memory of mathematics, memory of going up that hill, memory of your friend. Right? So you are memory. Memory is something dead, gone.
S: Then how are we alive?
K: Because the organ, you have food, you have air, water.
S: Then how can we…
K: Find out sir, that is the great point. You understand? Find out what is truth. Memory is not truth.
S: Sir, what do you mean by truth?
K: You can’t describe it. What is the flower, what is that flower. Look at it. You never ask when you are looking at that flower, what is it, how did it come, the beauty of it. Please learn something. Beauty is truth. You understand? Beauty is truth – the beauty of a good life – good life, not successful life.
Now sirs, it is ten to eleven, will you sit quietly for minute? Sit quietly. (Long pause) All right, sirs, thank you.
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