Quote of the Day

Jun 5, 2022
Question: What is the source of thought? How does one go to the very source of thought so that there is a possibility of silencing the thinking process itself?

It's a wrong question. Sir, what is thinking? I am asking you. What is thinking? You do that all day long. Right? When you go to the office, when you go to the temple, when you talk, when you are destructive. What is thinking? Go on, sirs. Have you ever even thought about what is thinking? What is the movement of thought? Let's begin slowly. This is the last question. It's quarter to nine. Yes. Good lord! We have been an hour and a quarter here, I'm sorry.

Now, what is thinking? Not what to think, not what you think about, not what thought should do or not do, but we are asking, what is thinking itself. You think if you are a businessman in one way, you think as a lawyer in another way, an engineer, a computer expert - right? - you think in these ways; but we are asking, what is thinking itself. If one is asked your name, you reply instantly. There is no hesitation - hesitation being time interval. Please just follow this for a little bit. When you are familiar with something there is no activity of thought, there is instant response. You know the house you live in, the street you go by, that is, familiarity, constant repetition as your name - there is instant response. That response has been immediate because there has been past repetition: my name is so-and-so, I have been called that name since I was a small boy, and I repeat it, repeat it, repeat it, when you ask what my name is, out it comes.

Then if one asks a more complicated question, a very complicated question, which is, suppose, what is the distance between here and London, you hesitate, you have read about it somewhere, or you begin to enquire what is the distance, so a time interval between the question and the answer, during that interval there is the operation of thinking. Right? That is, asking somebody, reading about it, looking to see whether it is exact and so on, that is the operation of thinking is going on, searching. Then there is the reply. That is, between the question and the answer there is a time-interval, in that time interval there is the movement of thought. Right?

Now if one is asked a question for which you have no answer - no answer, which means you are not looking, you are not waiting to be told, you are not searching, asking, you say, 'I don't know'. When you say, I don't know, actually I don't know, what has happened to the quality of thinking? You are following this? Please, sir, do it, follow. Do it with me. When you actually say, I don't know, and you mean it, not say, 'Well, I'll find out. I am waiting for an answer. I am doing it', but when you are absolutely clear that you don't know, what happens to the movement of thought? Go on, sir, tell me what happens. Oh, for god's sake - go on sir! The activity of thought comes to an end for the moment. Which means - follow it, sir, slowly, follow it carefully - which means the brain is no longer seeking, asking, searching, tentatively feeling out, it is absolutely quiet because it doesn't know. Right? Do you see this?

So is your brain ever in a state of not knowing about anything? Or your brain is always full of knowledge. You follow, sir? You are following all this? Which is, your brain is occupied - occupied with what you are doing, how you will tell this, quarrels with your wife, husband, business - churning. That churning process, the chattering, whether it is business chattering, whether it is social gossip, whether it is physicists' gossip - you follow? - the whole of that is the movement of thought, acquiring more and more knowledge and responding from that knowledge - thought, action. And so our brain is full of occupation. Which is so, you can see it. It's only when you say, 'I really don't know', that's a very frightening state for most people because we are all so vain, conceited, arrogant. We are so full of other people's knowledge, we are second-hand people. It's only the mind, the brain that says, 'I don't know'. You understand the beauty of it, sirs?

Such a brain is a quiet brain because it is totally unoccupied. It is occupied when necessary, but otherwise absolutely in a state of not-knowing. You understand this?

Now thought - the source of thought is memory. Memory is knowledge, knowledge is experience. That's a fact. And so the source of thought is experience, whether your experience, or thousands of years of experience, which is stored up in the brain as knowledge. Therefore thought is a material process - matter. Anything that thought creates is matter. Your gods are matter. I know you don't like that. There is nothing sacred in what thought has created. It is the mind that is beyond thought, beyond time, that knows what it is to be sacred. Right, sirs.

Public Question & Answer 1 Madras (Chennai), India - 06 January 1981 Read full text