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Desintegration and Progress

Desintegration and Progress

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Published by cabralyc
Talk delivered by Prof. Padmanabhan Krishna, at the Krishnamurti Foundation India Gathering in Chennai on 22 January 2005
Talk delivered by Prof. Padmanabhan Krishna, at the Krishnamurti Foundation India Gathering in Chennai on 22 January 2005

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Published by: cabralyc on May 10, 2009
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Disintegration and Progress
Professor P. Krishna
(Talk delivered at the KFI Gathering in Chennai on 22 January 2005)Friends,This is meant to be a dialogue between us, positing the truth as the unknown andinvestigating together to discover it. I mean that seriously, because the opinions of anyindividual, however great he might be, are not important. Agreeing or disagreeing withopinions is not learning. We learnt that from Krishnaji. He told us that even what he saidwas not important, but the questions were important. It was important to investigate themthrough our own observation of life and of our consciousness. He also pointed out that thespirit in which we investigate those questions is more important than the questionsthemselves, because one is not doing this inquiry in order to come upon an answer.Answers, ideas and solutions are trivial things. They do not contribute to wisdom; theycontribute to knowledge. For a particular question we can know what the answer is and thatbecomes an idea, a piece of knowledge in our head. But that knowledge does not bringwisdom—wisdom being something different, which is a by-product of what he called self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not knowledge about the self, but that understanding whichone has come upon through one’s own perception of the truth, so that it is something realfor oneself and not merely an idea. It is only such knowledge, if you might call itknowledge at all, that contributes to wisdom, to an actual transformation within us. It is nota decision to be different but an organic change in the way one relates with people, withthings, with the whole world, and also with oneself.The dilemma facing our modern society.(if I might summarise it in a few words), is that wehave progressed tremendously in knowledge, in science and technology and in the arts, inphilosophy, in history, geography, the environment and everything else, but we have noevolved psychologically. Through our knowledge we have come upon a lot of power in ourhands and that has enabled us to outwardly change the way we live in our society. If welook at the way we were living in 1905 all over the world, and the way we are living todayin 2005, there has been a tremendous change outwardly. They say that society has changedmore in these last one hundred years than it did in thousands of years before that. But noteverything has changed. Krishnaji raised the question: Has there been psychologicalevolution at all? That means, have we become wiser in the last 1,000 or 2,000 years? Wehave read the Mahabharata and are familiar with the characters desribed there. Are wewiser today than those characters described in that epic, or are we still like Duryodhana,Bhima, Shakuni, Arjuna and all the others? Some of us may be a little wiser than others,but basically don’t we all still live with the same divisions, the same hatred, the samepropensity for war, the same cunning and greed which existed 5000 years ago? We are stilloperating in the same manner, which means there has been no psychological evolution atall. When you couple this fact with the fact that we have arrived at tremendous powerwithout growing in wisdom, you can see why society has become so much more dangerous;why there is degeneration all around us.
If during the Mahabharata instead of having bows and arrows they had had nuclear bombs,I do not know if we would be here today. So, that is the state of modern society: in ourunderstanding and our wisdom we are still primitive, but we now have all this power thathas come from so-called progress. That is what has made things more dangerous. Inwardly,perhaps, we may not have become worse than we were before. I am not sure if the measureof hatred or inner violence in our consciousness is any different from what it was in ourforefathers; but certainly its manifestation outside, which depends on how much power wehave, has changed a million times—and that is what has made the situation very dangerous.So the fundamental question that one has to ask, even if it seems an impossible question, is:Why have we not grown in wisdom? This dilemma was expressed very beautifully in apoem by T.S. Eliot called ‘The Rock’. The last stanza of it summarizes this dilemma andruns like this:
Where is the life we have lost in living?Where is the wisdom we have lost in our knowledge?Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? In two thousand years the cycles of heavenTake us away from God and unto dust.
So is progress an illusion? Is our considering ourselves as extremely intelligent beings inthe 21st century false? Are we really intelligent? If we are then why are we facing all thisdegeneration? Krishnaji pointed out that there is no intelligence without love andcompassion. So have we defined intelligence unintelligently? I am just raising a lot of questions for us to deliberate on, and not answering them, because, as I said before, theanswers are not important but the questions are important. We learned from Krishnamurtithe importance of staying with questions, and exploring those questions in our daily lifethrough our own observation of our own consciousness and how it responds in variousrelationships, without coming to any conclusions or forming strong opinions. In thatexploration there is the possibility for a learning mind approaching the issue with humility,to come upon a deeper perception which is not merely a conclusion of thought. It is thatdeep insight, which brings about transformation in consciousness. The rest of it is only achange in ideas, and change in ideas does not contribute to the transformation of consciousness. It does not contribute to self-knowledge or wisdom.So, this morning I would like to explore this question in that spirit, without the desire tofind answers, merely to explore in order to understand all its implications and to understandwhat is. What is is not only what is visible at the surface, but when one probes deeply onediscovers that there is a lot more that one does not see in the superficial viewing, analysisand argument. So with that awareness that we really do not know the truth and a state of learning which is not attached to any opinions let us explore for the love of understandingwhat is. That is the essence of the religious mind — religion being the quest for truth, andtruth being the unknown. So this morning I would like to do that in the form of a dialoguewith oneself and ask fundamental questions.One such question is, why does anything that man touches, that he discovers, that heinvents become so complicated and complex? We invented money—it seems a simpleenough invention. Before that, people used to take their goods to the marketplace and had
to exchange goods which others had brought there, and it must have occurred that it ismuch more sensible to give a slip of paper and say: I have given this much to you and youcan take whenever you want an equivalent amount from me. That paper became the rupeenote when the government stamped it and so on. So a very simple, intelligent deviceinvented for the convenience of barter, so essential. But that invention of ours today hasbecome this vast economic system with interest rates, foreign exchange rates, stock marketspeculation, investment, and nobody can predict what is going to happen. And what isworse, that damned thing which we invented now dictates our life. Seriously, sir, seriously.It dictates what your children will see, what they will read, what education they will receivein the university. They are no longer free to do what they are interested in doing becausethe money is being dangled in front of them and they are being directed [led] in thatdirection. So we have become slaves to our own invention.Take sexuality, we did not invent it, we got it as a gift from Nature. Animals have it too,plants have it. It has come to us in evolution. But no animal has made it such a complexthing as we have. That has become this whole world of pornography, the pursuit of pleasure. And now even if you want to buy a car or a toaster, they use sex to promote it.Einstein found the equation e = mc². A tremendous truth about Nature that mass is simplyanother form of energy. But immediately man said, can I use this to make a bomb? Thatcomes from the hatred in our consciousness. You want to make war, then you want to usethat new discovery for war. And something like 60% of the entire scientific budget comesfrom the budget of the Defence Department, which means that the entire scientific effort isnot merely being directed to discover the truth about Nature, though they might say so, butbecause their intention is to use that to kill. They call it ‘defence’. A humorist once said:‘Never believe something, until the Government denies it.’ So when they call it ‘defence’we know what they mean.So why does anything that we do become corrupt, become complicated? This is related tothe question we were asking the other as to what is the relationship between evil and good.If you look at that, you will see that the source of all this disorder outside is the same as thesource of all this disorder within us, in our consciousness. And the root of it is the egoprocess in each human being. You can contain its manifestation, and that is what we aretrying to do through organizations like the United Nation, the police force, and so forth. Weare trying to contain the manifestation of the ego process which creates all this divisionbetween me and you, my country and your country, my religion and your religion, and soon. It brings in this whole business of ‘mine’ and ‘the other’, ‘not mine’. And from therearises all the disorder. And if we do not tackle it there, which is what Krishnamurti pointedout, the rest of it follows as a logical consequence. You would only be treating thesymptoms outwardly and containing the symptoms. It is like if one is getting boils all overthe body, and one is busy treating each boil and healing it without ever asking the question:why am I getting all these boils all over the body? There is a cause. Unless you eliminatethat cause, the illness will continue and you are dealing only with the symptoms outside.And the state of the world is like that. We are continuously having wars, and there aredeep-rooted reasons for those wars. Those reasons are not eliminated by the United Nationsor by all the diplomacy and so on. They are maintained. So it is only an outer treatment of the symptoms, and life becomes busy doing this, but it will never solve the problems. Just

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