Quote of the Day

Feb 13, 2024
There is contradiction in each one of us, is there not? I hate, and I want to love; I am stupid, and I want to be clever. We are all so familiar with contradiction in ourselves, we live with it day and night. And how is it to be understood - understood, not transcended, suppressed, or sublimated? You know, to understand something, you must have love in your heart. To understand the beauty of a tree-trunk, or of a curving branch, or of the sunlight through the leaves, you must look, you must feel, you must love. In the same way, there must be the state of affection, of sympathy, of love, if one is to understand this inner contradiction. And to go deeply into the problem of what creates contradiction, there must be infinite patience. Do you understand, sirs?

I want to know myself, the entirety of myself; I want to know the shallowness, the pettiness of every thought, every feeling; I want to delve deeply into my own consciousness so that I begin to understand its whole process. But to do that, there must be love, there must be patience, there must be a sense of insistency which is not a product of the will, but a spontaneous movement in everyday living. So, with love and patience, and with this sense of insistency, let us try to find out what consciousness is.

Consciousness, surely, is based on contradiction; it is a process of relationship and association. If there is no relationship, there is no consciousness. The relationship of ideas, the association of experiences that one has gathered, of memories that one has consciously or unconsciously stored up, the racial instincts, the traditions that one has inherited, the innumerable influences to which one is subject - all this makes up what we call consciousness. After all, in considering yourself a Hindu, a Parsi, a Buddhist, or a Christian, you are merely the result of certain influences. We are not talking about good or bad influences. All influence limits the mind. And a mind that is limited, narrowed down by influence, is a very effective tool - which is what the organized religions want.

So consciousness, surely, is that state of contradiction, with its ceaseless effort, which lays down the boundaries of the mind; it is the way of thought which creates a centre and a circumference.

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 27th December 1959 Read full text