Quote of the Day

May 3, 2021
Question: You often switch over from mind to brain. Is there any difference between them? If so, what is the mind?

Krishnamurti: I am afraid it is a slip of the tongue. That is, I have often said the mind, and the brain. So the gentleman, the questioner says, what is the mind. Why do you switch over from one word to the other, and I apologise for that because it is a slip of the tongue, I am only talking about the brain.

The questioner wants to know what is the mind. Is the mind different from the brain? Is the mind something untouched by the brain, is the mind not the result of time, because the brain is? You are following all this? Does this interest you all? All right. Let's go into it.

First of all to understand what the mind is, we must be very clear how our brain operates, as much as possible. Not according to the brain specialists, according to the neurologists, according to those who have studied a great deal about the brains of rats and pigeons and all that, but we are studying, each one of us if we are willing, the nature of our own brain: how we think, what we think, how we act, what's our behaviour, what are the immediate, spontaneous, instant responses, are we aware of that. Are we aware that our thinking is extraordinarily along a narrow groove? Are we aware that our thinking is mechanical, along a certain particular trained activity, how our education has conditioned our thinking, how our careers, whether it is bureaucratic, engineering, or surgical and so on, so on, are they not, all of them, a directional, conditioned knowledge. Are we aware of all this? How the brain, with its thought - and the scientists now are saying thought is the expression of memory, of the mind, of the brain, which is experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action - they are gradually coming to that, about which we have been talking endlessly, from the beginning, that thought is a material process, there is nothing sacred about thought, and whatever thought creates whether mechanically or idealistically or projecting a future in the hope of reaching some kind of happiness, peace, are all the movement of thought. Are we aware of all this? That when you go to a temple it is nothing but a material process. You mightn't like to hear that, but that is the fact: thought has created the architecture and the thing that is put inside the building, the temple, the mosque, the church, they are all the result of thought. Are we really aware of it? - and therefore move totally in a different direction. That tradition, when we accept tradition it makes the mind extraordinarily dull - just repeat it, very convenient, so gradually the brain becomes dull, stupid, routine, you can read endlessly the Gita, or talk about the book. This is what is happening when in the world there is so much uncertainty, so much pain, so much disorder, chaos, you turn to tradition. That's what is happening both in the West and in the East. They are becoming more and more fanatical, worshipping local deities and so on. Are we aware of this? And can we stop all that - in yourself? Or we are so dull, so used to this confusion, misery, we put up with it.

So we have to understand very clearly what the activity of the brain is, which is the activity of our consciousness, which is the activity of our psychology, the psychological world in which we live. The whole of that - the brain, consciousness, psychological world, all that is one. Right? Would you question that? Probably you haven't thought even about all this. You see one reads a great deal about all these matters. If you are a psychologist, if you are a psychoanalyst, if you are therapeutically inclined and so on, you read a lot, but you never look at yourself, never observe your own actions, your own behaviour. So that's why it is very important if you would understand what the mind is, to understand what the activities of thoughts are, which has created the content of our consciousness and the psychological world in which we live, which is part of thought, the structure which thought has built in man: the 'me' and the 'not me', the 'we' and 'they', the quarrels, the battles between ourselves, between each human being.

So. And the brain has evolved through time. Right? That's obvious. Evolved through millennia, millions of years, accumulating knowledge, experience, memory, danger and so on. It is the result of time. Right? There is no question of argument about it. And is love, compassion, with its intelligence, is that the product of thought? You are understanding what I am... Is compassion, is love, the product, the result, the movement of thought? You understand my question? Can you cultivate love? Please, sir. I am afraid that feeling perhaps doesn't exist in this country. You may read about it, you may talk about it, the books talk sometimes about it, but the word is not the thing.

So that which is not of time, which is not the product of thought, which is not the material process, is the mind. Thought, as we pointed out the other day, is in itself disorder, and mind is entirely, absolutely order, like the cosmos, like the universe. But to enquire, to go into that, not to understand the nature of the mind unless you have understood deeply the nature of thought, all its activities, comprehend it not verbally, in yourself. Which means thought realises its own place. Thought realises its place in the technological world, when you drive a car, when you speak a language, when you go to the office, or to the factory, or anything, skill needs the operation of thought. But when thought realises its own limitation, and its place, then perhaps we can begin to see the nature of the mind.

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