The cold* had been too severe, it had been below freezing; the hedge had been burned brown, the brown leaves had fallen off; the lawn was grey-brown, the colour of the earth; except for a few yellow pansies and roses, the garden was bare. It had been too cold and the poor, as usual, were suffering and dying; population was exploding and people were dying. You saw them shivering, with hardly a thing on, in dirty rags; an old woman was shaking from head to foot, hugging herself, the few teeth chattering; a young woman was washing herself and a torn cloth by the cold river [the Jumna] and an old man was coughing deeply and heavily and children were playing, laughing and shouting. It was an exceptionally cold winter they said and many were dying. The red rose and the yellow pansy were intensely alive, burning with colour; you couldn't take your eyes off them and those two colours seemed to expand and fill the empty garden; even though the children were shouting, that shivering old woman was everywhere; the incredible yellow and red and the inevitable death. Colour was god and death was beyond the gods. It was everywhere and so was colour. You could not separate the two and if you did then there was no living. Neither could you separate love from death and if you did it was no longer beauty. Every colour is separated, made much of but there is only colour and when you see every different colour as only colour, then only is there splendour in colour. The red rose and the yellow pansy were not different colours but colour that filled the bare garden with glory. The sky was pale blue, blue of a cold, rainless winter but it was the blue of all colour. You saw it and you were of it; the noises of the city faded but colour, imperishable, endured.
Sorrow has been made respectable; a thousand explanations have been given to it; it has been made a way to virtue, to enlightenment, it has been enshrined in churches and in every house it is made much of and given sanctity. Everywhere there is sympathy for it, with tears and blessing so sorrow continues; every heart knows it, abiding with it or escaping from it, which only gives to it greater strength, to flourish and darken the heart. But sorrow is the way of self-pity, with its immeasurable memories. Sorrow has its root in memory, in the dead things of yesterday. But yesterday is always very important; it is the machinery that gives significance to life; it is the richness of the known, the things possessed. The source of thought is in the yesterday, the yesterdays that give meaning to a life of sorrow. It is yesterday that is sorrow and without cleansing the mind of yesterday there will always be sorrow. You cannot clean it by thought for thought is the continuation of yesterday and so also are the many ideas and ideals. The loss of yesterday is the beginning of self-pity and the dullness of sorrow. Sorrow sharpens thought but thought breeds sorrow. Thought is memory. The self-critical awareness of this whole process, choicelessly frees the mind from sorrow. Seeing this complex fact, without opinion, without judgment, is the ending of sorrow. The known must come to an end, without effort, for the unknown to be.
22nd The surface was highly polished; every line, every curl of the hair was studied and had its place, every gesture and smile was contained and all movement was examined before the glass. She had several children and the hair was turning grey; she must have money and there was a certain elegance and aloofness. The car was highly polished too; the chromium was bright and sparkling in the morning sun; the white-walled tyres were clean, without any mark and the seats spotless. It was a good car and could go fast, taking the corners very well. This intense and expanding progress was bringing security and superficiality, and sorrow and love could so easily be explained and contained and there are always different tranquillizers and different gods and new myths replacing the old. It was a bright, cold morning; the slight fog was gone with the rising sun and the air was still. The fat birds, with yellowish legs and beak, were out on the little lawn, very pleased, inclined to be talkative; they had black and white wings with dark fawn-coloured bodies. They were extraordinarily cheerful, hopping about chasing each other. Then the grey-throated crows came and the fat ones flew off scolding noisily. Their long, heavy beaks shone and their black bodies sparkled; they were watching every movement you were making and nothing was going to escape them and they knew that big dog was coming through the hedge before he was aware of them but they were off cawing and the little lawn was empty.
The mind is always occupied with something or other, however silly or supposedly important. It is like that monkey always restless, always chattering, moving from one thing to another and desperately trying to be quiet. To be empty, completely empty, is not a fearsome thing; it is absolutely essential for the mind to be unoccupied, to be empty, unenforced, for then only it can move into unknown depths. Every occupation is really quite superficial, with that lady or with the so-called saint. An occupied mind can never penetrate into its own depth, into its own untrodden spaces. It is this emptiness that gives space to the mind and into this space time cannot enter. Out of this emptiness there is creation whose love is death.
23rd The trees were bare, every leaf had fallen off, even the thin, delicate stems were breaking off; the cold had been too much for them; there were other trees which kept their leaves but they were not too green, some of them were turning brown. It was an exceptionally cold winter; there was heavy snow all along the lower ranges of the Himalayas, several feet thick and in the plains a few hundred miles away it was quite cold; there was heavy frost on the ground and flowers were not blooming; the lawns were burnt. There were a few roses whose colour filled the little garden and the yellow pansies. But on the roads and public places you saw the poor, wrapped up in torn, filthy rags, bare-legged, their heads covered up, their dark faces hardly showing; the women had every kind of coloured cloth on them, dirty, with silver bangles or some ornament around their ankles and around their wrists; they walked freely, easily and with a certain grace; they held themselves very well. Most of them were labourers but in the evening as they went back to their homes, huts really, they would be laughing, teasing each other and the young would be shouting and laughing, far ahead of the older people. It was the end of the day and they had been labouring heavily all day; they would wear themselves out very quickly and they had built houses and offices where they would never live or ever work. All the important people went by there in their cars and these poor people never even bothered to look who went by. The sun was setting behind some ornate building, in a mist that had been hanging about all day; it had no colour, no warmth and there wasn't a flutter among the flags of different countries; these flags too were weary; they were just coloured rags but what importance they had assumed. A few crows were drinking out of a puddle and other crows were coming in to have their share. The sky was pale and ready for the night.
Every thought, every feeling was gone and the brain was utterly still; it was past midnight and there was no noise; it was cold and the moonlight was coming in through one of the windows; it made a pattern on the wall. The brain was very awake, watching, without reacting, without experiencing; there was not a movement within itself but it was not insensitive or drugged by memory. And of a sudden that unknowable immensity was there, not only in the room and beyond but also deep, in the innermost recesses, which was once the mind. Thought has a border, produced by every kind of reaction, and every motive shapes it as with every feeling; every experiencing is from the past and every recognition is from the known. But that immensity left no mark, it was there, clear, strong, impenetrable and unapproachable whose intensity was fire that left no ash. With it was bliss and that too left no memory for there was no experiencing it. It simply was there, to come and go, without pursuit and recall.
The past and the unknown do not meet at any point; they cannot be brought together by any act whatsoever; there is no bridge to cross over nor a path that leads to it. The two have never met and will never meet. The past has to cease for the unknowable, for that immensity to be.
* He was now in New Delhi where he gave eight talks, from January 21st to February 14th. He must have flown from Benares to Delhi on January 20th.