Now, is life, existence, inevitably a process of struggle, pain, sorrow, a continuous battle? Surely, there is something wrong in this action of becoming, There must be a different approach, a different way of existence. I think there is; but it can be understood only when we understand the full significance of becoming. In becoming there is always repetition, and therefore the cultivation of memory, which is emphasis on the self, and the self in its very nature is travail, strife, battle. Now, virtue can never be a becoming. Virtue is being, in which there is no struggle. You cannot become virtuous; either you are, or you are not virtuous. You can always become righteous, but you can never become virtuous; because, virtue brings freedom, and you will notice that a righteous man is never free. This does not mean that a virtuous man is self-indulgent; but virtue, by its very nature, brings freedom, If you attempt to be virtuous, what happens? You merely become, righteous. Whereas, virtue necessarily brings freedom; because the moment you understand the process, the struggle of becoming, there is being, and therefor there is virtue.
Take, for example, mercy. You can never become merciful, can you? If you do, what happens? If you struggle to become merciful, if you try to become generous, kindly, what happens? In trying to become merciful, emphasis is laid on becoming, which means that emphasis is laid on the self - the `me' becoming something, and the `me' can never be merciful, can it? It can be clothed in righteousness, but it can never be virtuous. So, virtue is not righteousness; the righteous man can never be a virtuous man. Righteousness is always a process of self-enclosure; whereas virtue, in which there is no becoming, but being, is always free, open and orderly. Experiment with yourself and you will see that the moment you strive to become virtuous, merciful, generous, you are merely building a resistance; whereas, if you really understand the process of becoming, which is giving emphasis to the self, then you will find that there comes a confidence, a freedom, a being in which there is virtue.
Public Talk, 7th March, 1948