The uniqueness of the individual cannot express itself because of the stranglehold of the experiences of others.
To be an individual and to be yourself you do not have to do a thing. Culture demands that you should be something other than what you are. What a tremendous amount of energy we waste trying to become that! But if that energy is released, living becomes very simple. Then what is it that you cannot do?
Trying to keep the sensation of happiness, or any other sensation that is pleasurable, going longer than its natural duration, is destroying the sensitivity of the living organism.
The mind is interested only in sensuality. In fact, it is born out of sensuality. It maintains its continuity in the field of sensuality. But the body is not interested in any of these except to respond to stimuli.
There are actually no problems; rather, what we are saddled with are only solutions.
The only 'I' that I can find there is the first person singular pronoun. I have to use that to differentiate from the second person singular pronoun.
The perfect man is born out of the value system that we have created. The value system is patterned after the behavior of the great teachers of mankind who have done more harm than good. But every human being is unique.
Q: You mentioned that you could not bring back the experience of what happened when you were with Ramana Maharshi. But the brain science tells us that the brain records every experience in our life. Is it all there somewhere in the basement of the brain? How would you explain that?
A: 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 (pointing to himself) 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.
Q: I am listening....
A: 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.
Q: I am thinking of television. It might be a good example too. There the picture is never really there. It is just a collection of dots. It required the brain to put the picture together.
A: 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.
Q: So, you have no sense of identity, personal identity, of yourself?
A: No way, because there is no center there; there is no psyche there; there is no 'I' there. 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.
Q: As you travel around the world there are people that gather around you. Why do people gather around you, why do they come to see you?
A: They still think that I can help them. 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.
Q: J. Krishnamurti maintained that there is no authority, no teacher, and that there is no path. Everyone has a life-path that has taken him to wherever he ought to be. You also have a life-path that has gotten you to where you are.
A: But I cannot suggest anything that did not play a part in my life. That would be something false, falsifying the thing you see.
Q: Why should you not say that each of us has an individual and unique life-path and out of that comes whatever that is?
A: The uniqueness of every individual cannot express itself because of the stranglehold of the experiences of others. After all, you don't exist, and I don't exist. You and I have been created by the totality of those experiences, and we have to use them in order to function sanely and intelligently in this world.
Q: So you are creating me now?
A: You are creating me.
Q: You are creating me now?
A: No. I am not creating you because I don't have an image of myself here. So, whatever you see here (pointing to himself) 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.
Q: So, what I get from what you say is that it is a matter of living each moment as it comes.
A: Such statements are very misleading. 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.
Q: O.K., the body is functioning from moment to moment.
A: 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.
Q: Sometimes we are so involved with our activity that we lose ourselves in it, and in that sense we are living in the moment.
A: It is not correct to say that, because your involvement in whatever you are doing is a sort of 'high'. It is an experience which you want to place on a higher level and then think that you are absorbed in it.
Q: But you are not thinking about it, for there is no interval.
Q: No. 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.
Q: I really think about experiences after they happen. Then I reflect on them. When I look up in the sky and see a hawk flying across the sky, I see the hawk and afterwards I reflect on it, "Oh, I saw a hawk!" But at the moment when I see it I am not thinking about it.
A: You see, that is not correct, because we have been made to believe, and you probably accept that statement, that while you are experiencing a thing you are not aware of it. The fact that you recall, whether you name that as a hawk or not, implies that you were very much there. 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.
Q: Why are we here as human beings living right now?
A: Why do we ask that question "Why are we here?" 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.
Q: I have some awareness of being here, a feeling of being here.
A: 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.
Q: The quantum physicists tell us that it is all connected and we are all part of the universe.
A: But they have arrived at that as a concept. So did the metaphysicians in India. They arrived at that fact and said that there is no such thing as space. Space is a very essential thing for you to survive in this world. But the fact that there is such a thing as space can never be experienced by you. 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?
Q: Is there a situation where the observer is really the observed?
A: 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.
Q: So we are just automata....
A: Automatically repeating words and phrases which are memorized. They have no relevance to the way we are functioning.
Q: Are you just an automaton?
A: Oh, I am an automaton. There is not one thought which I can call my own. If this computer (pointing to his head) has no information on a particular subject, it is silent. So you are operating the computer (pointing to himself). 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.
Q: So I am the dreamer and you are the dream.
A: You have created me. You have all the answers and you are asking the questions.
Q: I think I already have answers.
A: Otherwise how can there be questions? You are not sure that they are the answers.
Q: Well, I am like everyone here, asking questions that any person might ask.
A: ....for which they already have the answers. But they are not sure that they are the answers. And they don't have the guts to brush aside the persons that have given those answers. 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.
Q: What I get from this is that you have to be an individual.
A: To be an individual and to be yourself you don't have to do a thing. Culture demands that you should be something other than what you are. What a tremendous amount of energy -- the will, the effort -- we waste trying to become that! If that energy is released, what is it that we can't do? How simple it would be for every one of us to live in this world! It is so simple.
Go to Chapter 4