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Our problem, then, is action, understanding and happiness. There is no foundation for true thinking unless we know ourselves. Without knowing myself, I have no foundation for thought - I can only live in a state of contradiction, as most of us do. To bring about a transformation in the world, which is the world of my relationship, I must begin with myself. You may say, `To bring about transformation in the world that way will take an infinitely long time'. If we are seeking immediate results, naturally we will think it takes too long. The immediate results are promised by the politicians; but I am afraid for the man seeking truth there is no immediate result. It is truth that transforms, not the immediate action; it is only the discovery of truth by each one that will bring about happiness and peace in the world. To live in the world and yet not be of the world is our problem, and it is a problem of earnest pursuit; because, we cannot withdraw, we cannot renounce, but we have to understand ourselves. The understanding of oneself is the beginning of wisdom. To understand oneself is to understand one's relationship with things, people and ideas. Until we understand the full significance and meaning of our relationship with things, people and ideas, action, which is relationship, will inevitably bring about conflict and strife. So, a man who is really earnest must begin with himself, he must be passively aware of all his thoughts, feelings and actions. Again, this is not a matter of time. There is no end to self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is only from moment to moment, and therefore there is a creative happiness from moment to moment.
New Delhi, India | 1st Public Talk 14th November, 1948 Read full text