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.