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The Process of Learning

J. Krishnamurti


K: Is it my turn to sing also? What would you like me to talk about? Tell me.

Q: The process of learning.

K: All right. You want to talk about learning?

A: Yes.

K: Yes? Does it mean yes, or no?

A: Yes.

K: Have you learnt how many birds there are in this campus? Have you learnt about that? Have you watched all those birds? As it gets colder they come down from the Himalayas, and beyond the Himalayas from Russia, quantities of birds come here. Have you learnt, watched them? Some of you have watched them? Do you know the names of the birds? See how many species of birds there are in this campus? Do you hurt them?

A: No.

K: You don't kill them?

A: No.

K: Thank goodness! Have you learnt the various kinds of trees, and plants and flowers that grow in this compound? Have you? No. Have you seen the poor people around here?

A: Yes.

K: What have you learnt from them? By watching them, carrying that heavy burden, and the people on a bicycle carrying heavy loads of milk and other things—have you watched them? Yes?

A: Yes.

K: What have you learnt from it? Tell me, go on. What have you learnt? You asked, let's talk about learning. Right? Have you learnt by watching those poor people day after day going into town with heavy loads and coming back with very little money, have you watched all that? And what do you feel about it? What's your reaction to it? Tell me, please.

Q: Everybody behaves roughly with them.

K: You behave roughly with them? You are rude to them? You don't care for them? One day, many years ago, a woman was carrying a heavy burden, very heavy. She put it on that pillar there to rest. As I was passing by, I helped to lift the thing on to her head. It really weighed an enormous amount, it was difficult to lift it. Have you helped anybody like that?

A: Yes.

K: Good! So you are learning by watching the birds, what kind of species there are, and how many kinds there are. You have watched the trees, the plants, the flowers, the grass, the creepers, have you learnt from them? Not to hurt them, not to tear off their leaves—have you done it? So will you learn about it? And also you have watched all those poor people going by every day, taking a very long walk to Benares, four or five miles, with heavy burdens, coming back after they have sold their few things with a few coins, and going back to the village. Have you watched that? Have you learnt from it? That if you have a little, to share that little with them. You understand what I am saying? That is, if you have ten coins, to give them one coin, not keep it all to yourself.

I think about five years ago I was walking along there, one of the villagers—he didn't know me, I didn't know him—gathered a few leaves and sticks and all that, set it on fire and put a pot with a little rice, an onion in it, two or three drops of oil and was cooking it. I watched him. I watched what he did, gathering leaves, gathering sticks, putting fire to them, and putting the pot with a little rice in it, oil, a large onion, and he cooked it. When it was properly cooked he looked at me and he said, "Will you share this with me? Take a little." I couldn't because he said, "This is my whole meal for the day." You understand what I am saying?

A: Yes.

K: The whole meal for the day and he was willing to share that little bit of rice with me. You understand how generous that is, what an extraordinary feeling that he would like to give you something. He didn't know me. Have you got that feeling? Feeling of sharing something with another. Or do you want to keep it all to yourself?

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Rajghat, Benares, 1st Talk with Students, 17th November 1981

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