DO NOT THINK THAT meditation is a continuance and an expansion of experience. In experience there is always the witness and he is ever tied to the past. Meditation, on the contrary, is that complete inaction which is the ending of all experience. The action of experience has its roots in the past and so it is time-binding; it leads to action which is inaction, and brings disorder. Meditation is the total inaction which comes out of a mind that sees what is, without the entanglement of the past. This action is not a response to any challenge but is the action of the challenge itself, in which there is no duality. Meditation is the emptying of experience and is going on all the tine, consciously or unconsciously, so it is not an action limited to a certain period during the day. It is a continuous action from morning till night - the watching without the watcher. Therefore there is no division between the daily life and meditation, the religious life and the secular life. The division comes only when the watcher is tied to time. In this division there is disarray, misery and confusion, which is the state of society.
So meditation is not individualistic, nor is it social, it transcends both and so includes both. This is love: the flowering of love is meditation.
It was cool in the morning but as the day wore on it began to be quite hot and as you went through the town along the narrow street, overcrowded, dusty, dirty, noisy, you realized that every street was like that. You almost saw the exploding of the population. The car had to go very slowly, for the people were walking right in the middle of the street. It was getting hotter now. Gradually, with a great many hootings, you got out of the town and were glad of it. You drove past the factories, and at last you were in the country.
The country was dry. It had rained some time ago and the trees were now waiting for the next rains — and they would wait for a long time. You went past villagers, cattle, bullock carts and buffaloes which refused to move out of the middle of the road; and you went past an old temple which had an air of neglect but had the quality of an ancient sanctuary. A peacock came out of the wood; its brilliant blue neck sparkled in the sun. It didn’t seem to mind the car, for it walked across the road with great dignity and disappeared in the fields.
Then you began to climb steep hills, sometimes with deep ravines on both sides. Now it was getting cooler, the trees were fresher. After winding for some time through the hills, you came to the house. By then it was quite dark. The stars became very clear. You felt you could almost reach out and touch them. The silence of the night was spreading over the land. Here man could be alone, undisturbed, and look at the stars and at himself endlessly.
The man said a tiger had killed a buffalo the day before and would surely come back to it, and would we all, later in the evening, like to see the tiger? We said we would be delighted. He replied. “Then I will go and prepare a shelter in a tree near the carcass and tie a live goat to the tree. The tiger will first come to the live goat before going back to the old kill.” We replied that we would rather not see the tiger at the expense of the goat. Presently, after some talk, he left. That evening our friend said, “Let us get into the car and go into the forest, and perhaps we may come upon that tiger”. So towards sunset we drove through the forest for five or six miles and of course there was no tiger. Then we returned, with the headlights lighting the road. We had given up all hope of seeing the tiger and drove on without thinking about it. Just as we turned a corner — there it was, in the middle of the road, huge, its eyes bright and fixed. The car stopped, and the animal, large and threatening, came towards us, growling. It was quite close to us now, just in front of the radiator. Then it turned and came alongside the car. We put out our hand to touch it as it went by, but the friend grabbed the arm and pulled it back sharply, for he knew something of tigers. It was of great length, and as the windows were open you could smell it and its smell was not repulsive. There was a dynamic savagery about it, and great power and beauty. Still growling it went off into the woods and we went on our way, back to the house.
He had come with his family — his wife and several children — and seemed not too prosperous, though they were fairly well clothed and well fed. The children sat silently for some time until it was suggested that they should go out and play, then they jumped up eagerly and ran out of the door. The father was some kind of official; it was a job that he had to do, and that was all. He asked: “What is happiness, and why is it that it can’t continue throughout one’s life? I have had moments of great happiness and also, of course great sorrow. I have struggled to live with happiness, but there is always the sorrow. Is it possible to remain with happiness?”
What is happiness? Do you know when you are happy, or only a moment later when it is over? Is happiness pleasure, and can pleasure be constant?
“I should think, sir, at least for me, that pleasure is part of the happiness I have known. I cannot imagine happiness without pleasure. Pleasure is a primary instinct in man, and if you take it away how can there be happiness?”
We are, are we not, enquiring into this question of happiness? And if you assume anything, or have opinion or judgment in this enquiry, you will not be able to go very far. To enquire into complex human problems there must be freedom from the very beginning. If you haven’t got it you are like an animal tethered to a post and can move only as far as the rope will allow. That’s what always happens. We have concepts, formulas, beliefs or experiences which tether us, and from those we try to examine, look around, and this naturally prevents a very deep inquiry. So, if we may suggest, don’t assume or believe, but have eyes that can see very clearly. If happiness is pleasure, then it is also pain. You cannot separate pleasure from pain. Don’t they always go together?
So what is pleasure and what is happiness? You know, sir, if, in examining a flower, you tear its petals away one by one, there is no flower left at all. You will have in your hands bits of the flower and the bits don’t make the beauty of the flower. So in looking at this question we are not analysing intellectually, thereby making the whole thing arid, meaningless and empty. We are looking at it with eyes that care very much, with eyes that understand, with eyes that touch but do not tear. So please don’t tear at it and go away empty handed. Leave the analytical mind alone.
Pleasure is encouraged by thought, isn’t it? Thought can give it a continuity, the appearance of duration which we call happiness; as thought can also give a duration to sorrow. Thought says: “This I like and that I don’t like. I would like to keep this and throw away that.” But thought has made up both, and happiness now has become the way of thought. When you say: “I want to remain in that state of happiness” — you are the thought, you are the memory of the previous experience which you call pleasure and happiness.
So the past, or yesterday, or many yesterdays ago, which is thought, is saying: “I would like to live in that state of happiness which I have had.” You are making the dead past into an actuality in the present and you are afraid of losing it tomorrow. Thus you have built a chain of continuity. This continuity has its roots in the ashes of yesterday, and therefore it is not a living thing at all. Nothing can blossom in ashes — and thought is ashes. So you have made happiness a thing of thought, and it is for you a thing of thought.
But is there something other than pleasure, pain, happiness and sorrow? Is there a bliss, an ecstasy, that is not touched by thought? For thought is very trivial, and there is nothing original about it. In asking this question, thought must abandon itself. When thought abandons itself there is the discipline of the abandonment, which becomes the grace of austerity. Then austerity is not harsh and brutal. Harsh austerity is the product of thought as a revulsion against pleasure and indulgence.
From this deep self-abandonment — which is thought abandoning itself, for it sees clearly its own danger — the whole structure of the mind becomes quiet. It is really a state of pure attention and out of this comes a bliss, an ecstasy, that cannot be put into words. When it is put into words it is not the real.
Text copyright © 1970 J. Krishnamurti. Reprinted from The Only Revolution, ‘India Part 9.’
Photo of tiger in Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, India courtesy Jim Corbett Visit.
J. Krishnamurti was a lecturer and author.
By Jiddu Krishnamurti
Some quotes from this book:
“Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.”
“Meditation is the ending of thought, not by the meditator, for the meditator is the meditation. If there is no meditation, then you are like a blind man in a world of great beauty, light and colour.”
“Meditation… is not a silence which the observer can experience. If he does experience it and recognise it, it is no longer silence. The silence of the meditative mind is not within the borders of recognition, for this silence has no frontier. There is only silence — in which the space of division ceases.”
“It is one of the illusions most people have — that there is such a thing as inward comfort; that somebody else can give it to you or that you can find it for yourself. I am afraid there is no such thing. If you are seeking comfort you are bound to live in illusion, and when that illusion is broken you become sad because the comfort is taken away from you. So, to understand sorrow or to go beyond it, one must see actually what is inwardly taking place, and not cover it up. To point out all this is not cruelty, is it? It’s not something ugly from which to shy away. When you see all this, very clearly, then you come out of it immediately, without a scratch, unblemished, fresh, untouched by the events of life.”
By Jim Corbett
Jim Corbett started as a hunter, protecting people from man-eating tigers, and ended as a conservationist, creating parks to protect tigers and other animals.
To this day, he is held in such high esteem by Indians that a large national park in India is named after him even though he was a colonel in the reviled colonialist British army.
JoyceBoudreau, an Amazon reviewer, writes:
“I knew this book was old and didn't quite know what to expect. From the first sentence to the last it captivated and held me on the edge of my chair. Super book about an incredible man who has super-human courage. I was amazed at the ferocious habits of these tigers and how terrifying life is for the people of India living with these animals in their midst. The writing is superb and so vivid, it seems like you are right there as the events unfold. I am sharing this book with many of my friends and they are equally impressed. I would have liked to have met Col. Corbett and have the very great opportunity to hear his stories. Incredible life and book.”
This page was published on June 7, 2017 and last revised on June 8, 2017.