Now, the questioner asks: Can an ignorant man, with many responsibilities, understand and carry out your teachings without the aid of a teacher? Obviously, if you accept authority there cannot be understanding, for authority is ever blinding whether it be outward authority or inward authority; and to have many responsibilities implies relationship, does it not? And relationship is a process of self-revelation. Only in relationship can you find out. There is no such thing as living in isolation. Even the man who seeks to avoid the world and run away from the world, is in relationship with others, because to exist is to be related and in the relationship between you and me, between yourself and another, the activities of the self are revealed.
Surely in order to know yourself, to know what you think, what you feel, you don't have to go to a guru. Though it is arduous no one can help you to follow out every thought, every feeling and to realize their implications and their significance. You and I can discuss it, go into it significantly, with complete concentration, with interest, but because you are not really interested, you will go to someone else to find out how to think, how to discover and that is the misfortune. The moment you are interested, the moment you recognize your responsibility in relationship then that very process begins to unwrap the ways of your own thoughts and actions. So, the problem is not whether you should read books or go to teachers but whether, very simply, you are aware of what you are doing, of what you are thinking, when you put on your sacred threads, your namams, when you talk to your servants; aware of the way you treat your wives, your children and your neighbours. Be aware every moment and see what happens. You will see that when you are aware, there will be conflict, greater conflict than before; because you then begin to see the significance of your actions, of your thoughts and feelings, and this will bring you further misery, and as we want to avoid suffering we turn to gurus, books, which are merely escapes and therefore create further misery in us and therefore in society.
Public Talk 28th December, 1947