Jokes and Anecdotes by Krishnamurti

Two men were walking along on a street, talking about various things in life. One of them sees something on the pavement and picks it up. The moment he looks at it, his whole face changes; something tremendous has taken place in him. He puts it in his pocket very carefully, his inner pocket. And the friend says to him, ‘What is it you have picked up? Why have you become so extraordinarily… your face has changed.’ He said, ‘I have picked up truth.’ His friend says, ‘By Jove, is that really so? I can see it is by how you look. So what shall we do about it?’ He says, ‘Let’s go and organise it.’ This is an old story the speaker invented forty or fifty years ago.

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1984, Question and Answer Meeting 1


Krishnamurti: I must tell a very good joke. May I?

Questioner: Please.

K: This happens to be hell, and the devil is there in the distance. (I am not pointing at anybody!) The devil is far in the corner – you know, the Christian devil with two horns and a tail – and there are two people talking together. One says to the other, ‘It is very hot here, isn’t it?’ It’s hell – very hot. The other fellow says, ‘Yes, it’s very hot. But a dry heat.’

I have got lots of jokes – I can’t begin…

Krishnamurti at Rajghat in 1985, Talk 3


When we say we are aware, we are aware of things very, very superficially – I am aware that you have long hair or short hair, I am aware of the colours that you are wearing. And I react to the short hair or the long hair, calling you a hippie or non-hippie, square –you know, all the rest of it. I react to it, and my reaction is the response of my conditioning.

The other day, I saw a rather good cartoon in The New Yorker, I think it was. There was a boy and a girl standing at the window looking out on the street, and two or three hippies were walking down the street. The boy says to the girl, ‘There goes the Establishment.’

Got it?

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1972, Discussion 1


Krishnamurti: I mean, if you had no conflict, no ‘I’, there is something else operating.

David Bohm: Yes, it is important to say that because the Christian idea of heaven as perfection may seem rather boring because there is nothing to do!

K: That reminds me of a good joke. A man dies and goes to St Peter, and St Peter says, ‘You have lived a fairly good life, you have not cheated too much, but before you enter into this heaven, I must tell you one thing: here we are all bored. We are all awfully serious; God never laughs. And every angel is moody and depressed. Before you come in, perhaps you would like to go down below and see what it is like, and then come and tell me. It’s up to you. Ring that bell and the lift will come. Get into it and go down.’ So the chap rings the bell, goes down, and the gates open. He is met by the most beautiful girls, etc., etc., etc. He says, ‘By Jove, this is the life! May I go up and tell St Peter?’ So he rings the bell, gets into the lift and goes up. He says to St Peter, ‘Sir, it was very good of you to offer me the choice. I prefer down below.’ Peter says, ‘I thought so!’ So he rings the bell, goes back down and opens the gate. Two people meet him and beat him up, push him around and so on. He says, ‘Just a minute, a minute ago when I came here, you treated me like a king!’ They say, ‘Ah, but you were a tourist then!’

Sorry! From the sublime to the ridiculous – which is good too!

Krishnamurti in Ojai 1980, Conversation with David Bohm 2


Krishnamurti: Talking of monkeys, I was in Benares at the place I usually go to. I was doing yoga exercises, half naked, and a big monkey with a black face and long tail came and sat on the veranda. I had closed my eyes, opened them and there was this big monkey. She looked at me, and I looked at her. A big monkey; they are powerful. It stretched out its hand, so I walked up and held her hand – like that I held it. It was rough but very, very supple – extraordinarily supple but rough. We looked at each other. It gestured it wanted to come into the room. I said, ‘Look, I am doing exercises. I have little time – would you come another day? I kind of talked to it. ‘Come another day.’ So it looked at me and I withdrew, went back. She stayed there for two or three minutes and gradually went away.

Allan Anderson: Marvellous, just marvellous – a complete act of attention between you.

K: There was no sense of fear. It wasn’t afraid; I wasn’t afraid. A sense of, you know…

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation with Allan Anderson 8


Krishnamurti: I was once staying in Kashmir, right among the hills and mountains. A group of sannyasis or monks came, freshly bathed and everything, having done their ceremony, and all that. They had come to see me and they said they had just come from a group of unworldly people, who are super-monks, who are very high up in the mountains. They said they were totally unworldly. I said, ‘What do you mean by that word?’ They said, ‘They have just left the world. They are no longer tempted by the world. And they have great knowledge of the world.’ I said, ‘When they have left the world, have they left the memory of the world?’ – the memory, the knowledge the world has made, which the gurus and teachers have put together. They said, ‘That is wisdom. How can you leave wisdom?’ I said, ‘You mean wisdom is bought through a book, through a teacher, from another, through sacrifice, torture, renunciation?’ You follow, sir, their idea, that wisdom is something you can buy from somebody else.

Allan Anderson: They went up the mountain with all this baggage.

K: Baggage, that’s right. That is exactly what I said – all the baggage. The world you have probably, but you have carried their baggage. You follow, sir?

A: Oh goodness me.

K: So that is really an important thing, if a mind is really very serious, to find out what religion means. Not all this rubbish. I keep on repeating because that seems to be mounting, you know, growing. But to free the mind from all the growth and accretions, which means to see the accretions, see all the absurdities.

A: This throws a very, very different cast on the word ‘worldly’.

K: Yes, that’s just it.

A: They are going up the mountain in order to leave the world. But they are taking immense pains to take it with them.

K: That’s right, sir. That is what they are doing when they go into the monastery.

A: Of course, of course. Goodness. Accretions, encrustations.

K: So now we come back. Can the mind be completely alone? Not isolated, not withdrawn, not having built a wall around itself and saying, ‘And now I’m alone,’ but alone in the sense of that aloneness that comes when you put away all this, all the things of thought.

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation with Allan Anderson 16


Yesterday evening, I saw a boat going up the river at full sail, driven by the west wind. It was a large boat, heavily laden with firewood for the town. The sun was setting, and this boat against the sky was astonishingly beautiful. The boatman was just guiding it; there was no effort, for the wind was doing all the work. Similarly, if each one of us would understand the problem of struggle and conflict, I think we would be able to live effortlessly and happily, with a smile on our face.

Krishnamurti – The Problems of Living


There is always death. There is a very good Italian proverb, which says, ‘Everybody will die, I know. Perhaps I will too!’

So, first, what is it we have to grasp, understand, go into, resolve – life, the daily living, or the dying? And besides, why are we so terribly concerned about death?

The speaker was walking once on a shaded road in India and he heard a chant behind him, as he was walking towards the sea. There was a dead body being carried by two men. The eldest son was carrying the fire in front, in front of the body. That is all – not all the fuss and hearses and flowers and… you know. It was a simple thing, and it was really rather beautiful. The son crying, chanting in Sanskrit, walking towards the sea where the body was going to be cremated. And the fuss the Western world makes about death – Rolls Royces, enormous amount of flowers, and so on.

So what are we concerned with, living or dying?

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1985, Talk 4


We cannot work together – that is a fact. We cannot think together. We don’t seem to be able to do anything together unless we are forced, unless there is a tremendous crisis, like war – then we all come together. If there is an earthquake, we are all involved in it, but remove the earthquakes, the great crises of war, and we are back into our separate little selves, fighting each other. This is so obvious.

I saw a woman some years ago, who was English – aristocratic and all the rest of it. During the war, they all lived in the Underground, you know, the tube, and she said it was marvellous: ‘We were all together, we supported each other.’ When the war was over, she went back to her castle and – finished!

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1979, Discussion 4


Krishnamurti: Also, one observes, man has lost touch with nature.

Allan Anderson: Oh yes.

K: Completely – especially in big towns. But even in small villages and hamlets, man is always outwardly going, outward, pursued by his own thoughts, and so he has more or less lost touch with nature. Nature means nothing to him although it is very nice, very beautiful.

Once, many years ago, I was standing with a few friends and my brother at the Grand Canyon, looking at the marvellous thing, incredible – the colours, the depth and the shadows. A group of people came and one lady said, ‘Yes, isn’t it marvellous,’ and the next says, ‘Let’s go and have tea’ – and off they trotted. You follow? That is what is happening in the world – we have completely lost touch with nature. We don’t know what it means. And also we kill – we kill for food, we kill for amusement, we kill for sport. So there is this lack of intimate relationship with nature.

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation with Allan Anderson 9


You are sitting there, and the speaker is sitting up here, only for convenience, not for authority. The platform doesn’t give him authority.

I must tell you a rather amusing story. We were in India, in Bombay. Some disciples of a guru came to see us and said, ‘You must meet him, he is an extraordinary man. He has achieved. He wants you to come to him. We urge you to come to him.’ I said, ‘I am so sorry, I don’t go out chasing gurus’ – I was more polite than that. After three or four days, they instead persuaded the guru to come. We happened to be sitting on a mattress about two inches thick, or less than that, and when he came in we naturally got up and offered him the mattress. He sat down there, took a cross legged position and became the authority because of that little height! You understand? That’s life.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1984, Talk 3


I come to you because you have a certain authority, dress a certain way, with certain paraphernalia around you. I come and I am impressed by the clothes, the people, you know, the whole set-up. And you assure me that if I surrender yourself to you, you will save me: ‘Give yourself over to me because I know and you don’t, so I will help you.’ And I am only too willing and gullible because I want comfort, I want some security, I want some hope, someone on whom I can depend, in whom I have trust, whom I know, or think I know you will guide me, help me. And you are only too willing to help me.

It begins very gently: there is the inner circle, the outer circle, and the outer and outer circles, and gradually that help becomes dependence. I depend on my guru, on my priest, on my leader – and also the political leaders. I don’t know why we are slaves to politicians all over the world. I don’t know if you have even inquired into it. We have elected them, or they have assumed power in the totalitarian states, and they put their thumb on you, and for the rest of your life you are stuck. Or in the democratic world, it is every five or seven years they change. But it is the same – you elect them out of your confusion, and there they are. They too are confused! This is the game we play – every seven years or five years, this goes on. And the same thing with the gurus: ‘I don’t like that guru but I like the other one. He is more indulgent; he allows me to do what I like.’

You know, many gurus have come to see the speaker, many times. The funniest one of them, he had been in that particular country for many years and he came to see me with all the robes and beads, and all the rest of it. He said to me – most respectfully because he assumed I was the guru of gurus! – and he said, ‘Sir, I have been in this country for many years. I have talked all over the country and have a large number of followers. But I have run out of ideas. So I have come to you – please give me some ideas.’ I am not joking; this was an actual fact.

Understand why we follow, why a guru assumes authority, why he demands so many things, or allows followers to throw off his inhibitions, doing what they like – sex, you know, the whole performance, the ugliness of all that. I feel there is somebody who will help me, but why do I ask help of another? That is the real point. Apart from joking about all this, this is a very serious problem because they are multiplying, these gurus, with enormous wealth.

Think of a religious man having enormous wealth and property, millions and millions of dollars, thousands of acres, hundreds and thousands of followers – what is wrong to allow such a thing to happen in a world that is already so utterly destructive, so degenerating, to allow the so-called religious people, who are really not religious, to acquire such wealth, such power. And because they have enormous amounts of money, they bribe; they slip through all the regulations and rules. So why do we allow all this?

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1981, Question and Answer Meeting 1


You have come to realise that whatever you do it is still like a monkey, and therefore always limited.

I will tell you something. I met a man – I used to know him – he was a judge. One day he said, ‘I am passing judgement left and right about crime and murder – all kinds of things – but I don’t know what truth is.’ So he said to his family, ‘I am going away, I am going to find it.’ He spent twenty-five years – these are facts – meditating to find out what truth is. Somebody brought him to one of the talks I was giving, and he came to see me afterwards. He said, ‘For twenty-five years I have been mesmerising myself, deceiving myself, and I haven’t found truth.’ You understand? There it is. For an old man to realise that he has for twenty-five years deluded himself – to admit that.

You see, when one actually faces the fact that you cannot do anything, the monkey, the brain, the inside – apart from its rhythm – comes to be quiet; says, ‘Right, no tricks anymore.’

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1984, Seminar 3


All religions have suppressed the senses: ‘Control your senses, don’t yield to them.’

The speaker was walking behind a group of sannyasis in Kashmir at one time. There was a marvellous blue sky, clean air, lots of wildflowers – the air was scented with them and the smell of the hills and groves and valleys – the smell of the earth and the dew upon the earth. The sannyasis in front, about a dozen of them, never looked at the trees. They had their heads bent, chanting something or other, muttering, and never took notice of the beauty of the earth. You have seen them, haven’t you? Which you are doing too – it is not reserved to the sannyasis; it is not their special privilege. For mile upon mile, they never looked at the trees. There was a stream flowing by, chattering, making music. The flow of that stream was the clear, unpolluted water, and the sannyasis never looked at that water, nor the trees, nor the blue sky, nor the mountains covered with snow, because sensory responses might lead to sex, might lead to all kinds of desires. Therefore, don’t look. This happens also in the West: the monks.

You are following all this? Am I telling a strange story?

So, religions throughout the world have said: if you want to serve God, you must suppress your senses, you must control, shape them according to a precept or to a pattern laid down by the abbots and priests and sannyasis and books, so that your senses are completely numbed, completely destroyed. Look what has happened to you – you never look at the skies, do you? The beauty of a tree, the light on a cloud, the new moon, just a slip of light – you never look at all that, do you?

Krishnamurti in Madras 1982, Question and Answer Meeting 2


Krishnamurti: A person came to see me. His wife was dead, and he really thought he loved her. So he said, ‘I must see my wife again. Can you help me?’ I said, ‘Which wife do you want to see? The one that cooked? The one that bore children? The one that gave you sex? The one that quarrelled with you? The one that dominated you, frightened you?’ He said, ‘I don’t want to meet any of those. I want to meet the good of her.’ You follow, sir?

Allan Anderson: Yes, yes.

K: The image of the good he has built out of her – none of the ugly things, or what he considered ugly things, but the idea of the good which he had culled. And that is the image he wants to meet. I said, ‘Don’t be infantile. You are so utterly immature. When you have slept with her, and got angry with her, all that you don’t want. You want just the image you have about her goodness.’ And you know, sir, he began to cry, really cry for the first time. He said afterwards, ‘I cried when she died, but the tears were of self-pity, my loneliness, my sense of lack of things. Now I am crying because I see what I have done.’

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation with Allan Anderson 14


Once, the speaker was standing waiting for a bus, in a long queue, in London. A man with a bowler hat, chapeau de melon, walked passed the long queue to the front. The man behind him took his hat off his head and passed it down the line. And the man had to go back!

If the man was aware, he wouldn’t have done it. But most of us are so concerned with our own problems, with our own… you know, all the muck we have collected for generations. With that we are concerned. And intelligence is something entirely different.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1981, Question and Answer Meeting 2

Krishnamurti: I talked to a monk once; he came to see me. He had a great many followers and he was very well known. He is still very well known. He said, ‘I have taught my disciples’ – he was very proud of having thousands of disciples, and it seemed rather absurd for a guru, to be proud.

Allan Anderson: He was a success.

K: A success. And success means Cadillacs or Rolls Royces, European and American followers – you follow? – all the circus that goes on.

A: His gimmick works.

K: And he was saying, ‘I have arrived because I have learned to control my senses, my body, my thoughts, my desires. I have held them as the Gita says: hold something, you are reigning, you are riding horse’ – you know, holding. He went on about it for some length. I said, ‘Sir, what at the end of it? You have controlled and where are you at the end of it?’ He said, ‘What are you asking? I have arrived.’ ‘Arrived at what?’ ‘I have achieved enlightenment.’ Just listen to it; follow the sequence of a human being who has a direction, which he calls truth. And to achieve that, there are the traditional steps, the traditional path, the traditional approach. And he has done it, and therefore he says, ‘I have got it. I have got it in my hand. I know what it is.’ I said, ‘All right, sir.’ He began to be very excited about it because he wanted to convince me about being a big man, and all that. So I sat very quietly and listened to him, and he quietened down. Then I said to him – we were sitting by the sea – ‘You see that sea, sir?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ Can you hold that water in your hand? When you hold that water in your hand, it is no longer the sea.

A: Right.

K: He couldn’t make it out. I said, ‘All right.’ And the wind was blowing from the north, a slight breeze, cool. I said, ‘There is a breeze. Can you hold all that? No. Can you hold the earth? No. So what are you holding? Words?’ You know, sir, he was so angry. He said, ‘I won’t listen to you anymore, you are an evil man,’ and walked out.

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation 8


Krishnamurti: A monk came to see me some years ago, quite a young man. He had left his home at the age of 15 to find God, and he had renounced everything and put on the robe. As he grew older – 18, 19, 20 – his sexual appetite was something burning. He explained to me how it became intense. He had taken a vow of celibacy, as sannyasis or monks do, and he said, ‘Day after day in my dreams, in my walking, in my going to houses and begging, this thing was becoming so much like a fire.’ You know what he did to control it?

Allan Anderson: No, what did he do?

K: He had it operated.

A: Oh, for heaven’s sake. Is that a fact?

K: Sir, his urge for God was so… – you follow, sir? The idea. The idea not the reality.

So he came to see me. He had heard several talks which I had given in that place. He came to see me in tears. He said, ‘What have I done?’ You follow, sir?

A: Oh, I’m sure. Yes.

K: ‘What have I done to myself? I cannot repair it. I cannot grow a new organ. It is finished.’ That is the extreme, but all control is in that direction.

A: Yes, his is terribly dramatic. The one who is sometimes called the first Christian theologian, Origen, castrated himself out of, as I understand it, a misunderstanding of the words of Jesus, ‘If your hand offends you, cut it off.’

K: Sir, authority to me is criminal in this direction. It doesn’t matter who says it.

A: Like the monk that you just described, Origen came later to repent of this in terms of seeing that it had nothing to do anything. A terrible thing.

Was this monk, if I may ask, also saying to you in his tears, that he was absolutely no better off in any way shape or form?

K: He said, ‘I’ve committed a sin. I’ve committed an evil act.’

A: Yes, of course.

K: He realised what he had done – that through that way there is nothing.

A: Nothing.

K: I’ve met so many. Not such extreme forms of control and denial, but others. They have tortured themselves for an idea, for a symbol, for a concept. And we have sat with them and discussed with them, and they begin to see what they have done to themselves.

Krishnamurti in San Diego 1974, Conversation with Allan Anderson 7


The mind must be totally and completely free. And until that comes about, don’t meditate. You understand what I am saying? Because it is meaningless.

I remember – I am sorry, I mustn’t go into anecdotes, must I? Just this one. We were watching from a window in Benares a beggar dressed in saffron robes. That is the sannyasa robes in India. He was dressed like that and he was a poor ordinary man, not very learned from his looks and speech. He sat under a tree and began to chant, sing and shout. The passers-by looked at him and went away. Within a week – I assure you I am not exaggerating – within a week, he had garlands around his head. People stood round him, saluting him, giving him food, almost bending their knees, saying, ‘What a great man you are.’ Within a week, this took place. We are so gullible.

So we are saying: a mind that is free from all this, then comes meditation.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1980, Talk 7


The speaker recently talked – if I may most humbly point out, it’s not out of vanity I’m informing you – he talked to the United Nations. I don’t know why he was invited, but he went there. After the talk, one of the high authorities there said, ‘I have come to the conclusion, conviction rather, that after forty years working in this organisation I have come to the conclusion that I must not kill.’ Forty years it took him. Just see the significance of it – that it can take forty years for the human brain to come to some truth, that is, not to kill another human being. And the whole organisation is based on preventing wars – which they haven’t done, but that’s not relevant. The whole point is how the human brain refuses to face facts and act. We think that over time, we will resolve everything.

Krishnamurti in Ojai 1985, Talk 2


Krishnamurti: You rely on, or you seek God when you are depressed, when you are unhappy, when you want something, when you pray. Now, how do you find out if there is God, or not?

Student: When you actually see him, the person. When you actually see him.

K: Do you actually see him?

S: No, you find out more about him when you see him. You know he exists.

K: Do you know the story of two Americans going to heaven? And they wander about in heaven, all over the place, for weeks and months, and there is a sign says: ‘God’. And they go up that path, and one of them says, ‘That is too much of a climb, you go up there and tell me all about it.’ So he goes up and comes rushing back: ‘My God, it’s a woman!’

Right? Now how do you know there is God? Because a hundred people say so?

S: Just because a hundred people say that there is God, doesn’t mean a thing. For all you know, they might have heard from somebody else.

K: Quite right. So how do you know there is God?

S: When you see him.

K: Where do you see him?

S: Then who created the world?

K: He asks, if God didn’t create the world – what do you mean by the world? You, the trees, the fishes, the water, the frogs, the elephants, the lion…

S: All matter.

K: All matter. That is, all the rocks, the trees, the human beings, the valleys, the rivers, everything is created, you think, by God.

S: If it’s not God, who else could it be?

K: If it’s not God, he asks, who else could it be.

S: It could be some form of energy.

K: How do you know?

S: I’m just guessing.

K: Guessing – that’s what they are all doing! And somebody guesses much more seriously, and says, ‘There is,’ and you accept it. Suppose you don’t accept your tradition, that there is God. Then what will you do, how will you find out?

Krishnamurti in Rishi Valley 1985, Discussion with Students 2


There is a whole group, a community, or monks who are perpetually praying. One group finishes praying, another group takes it up. We also pray when we are in difficulty. When there is a great crisis in our life, we want to pray, or say, ‘Somebody help, please.’

You know that joke of a man hanging onto a cliff? He says, ‘Please God, save me!’ and God says, ‘Have faith and jump!’ And the man who is hanging on to the cliff says, ‘Isn’t there somebody above that still?’ Sorry!

Why do we pray at all? Praying has been going on in the Christian world, the Islamic world, and in a different way in the Buddhist and Hindu world. Praying. To whom are you praying? To an outside agency? The outside agency being God, or the Lord. The Lord according to different countries, cultures and traditions. The Almighty of different concepts? To whom are we praying? And why do we pray?

Does prayer answer our difficulties? In some cases, when you are praying, not merely using certain words, chanting and so on, but praying silently without word – you understand what I am saying? – perhaps you might have an answer because your whole brain has become quiet. And in that quietness, in that stillness of the brain without the movement of thought, you find an answer.

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1984, Question and Answer Meeting 2

There is a marvellous story in the Upanishads of India. I won’t go into it. It is a very good story but we have got very little time. You want to go into it, that story? Of course, of course – anything to divert us, move away from ourselves!

A Brahman – you know what a Brahman is, of course – in India, in the ancient days, was giving away everything he had. It used to be an old tradition that when you have gathered some things for five years, through work and all that, after five years you must give everything away. You understand? Do it! Which means never gather anything, so that you have nothing to give away.

He was giving away his cattle, his house, various things, and he had a son. The son comes to him and says, ‘Father you are giving away everything, and to whom are you going to give me?’ And the father says, ‘Please, go away, you’re too childish – don’t ask this question.’ But the boy comes back several times and ultimately he says, ‘Father, tell me, to whom are you going give me?’ The father by now is very angry and says, ‘I am going to send you to Death.’ And being a Brahman, he must keep his word. So he sends the boy away.

So the boy goes from one teacher to another on the way to Death. One guru or teacher says, ‘You live after death. Through many lives, you ultimately come to the highest principle.’ Then he goes to another teacher and says, ‘I am going to the house of Death, what is thereafter?’ ‘There is nothing after this annihilation.’ He goes on and ultimately arrives at the house of Death. When he arrives, death is absent. You understand this? See the beauty of it.

Death is absent, so he waits for three days. On the third day, death comes and says, ‘As you are a Brahman, I apologise for keeping you waiting. And since you have come this long distance, I will offer anything you like – women, palaces, wealth – anything you want.’ The boy says, ‘I may have all those, but at the end of it I will meet you. You will always be there. Whatever gifts you give me, you will always be there.’ And death says, ‘You are a marvellous person, to avoid all this and seek truth.’ So he goes into the question – I have not read the story myself; people have told it to me – he goes into the question of time, self, and the ending of the self. You understand? That is the story. Sorry it peters out! But that is the story.

So we are asking: can we give away anything that we hold dear?

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1980, Talk 7


It was like that gentleman asked: ‘I have listened to you for a number of years and there is nothing.’ I must tell you a lovely story about this.

A pupil goes to a teacher and says, ‘Teach me what is truth.’ He says, ‘All right, stay with me and we will have a conversation about the universe, about the beauty of the land, and so on – we’ll talk, and perhaps you will see truth.’ So the teacher talks to him every day and goes into various things. At the end of fifteen years, the pupil says, ‘Master, I have lived with you for fifteen years, watched you, listened to you, seen how you act, doing this and that, but I haven’t got truth. So I am leaving you. There is a man a few miles away and I am going to learn from him the truth.’ The teacher says, ‘Certainly.’ So he is away for five years and comes back to the original teacher and says, ‘I have found it!’ And the teacher says, ‘Really? Have you found it?’ The pupil says, ‘Yes, there is that river’ – they were standing on the banks of a river – ‘there is that river and I can walk across it. I have found it.’ The teacher then says, ‘You have taken five years to learn this?’ ‘Yes.’ And the teacher says, ‘There is a boat – if you pay a cent, you’ll cross it.’

Got it? Most of us are like that! We pay enormous efforts to do things where it is so simple.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1978, Discussion 2


One saw a bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear. And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth, and all the life had gone out of it. A dog fetched it, and a man collected other dead birds. He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent. All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds, and it was over as far as he was concerned.

They are killing all over the world. Those marvellous, great animals of the sea, the whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only animal that is to be dreaded.

Some time ago, staying with a friend high in the hills, a man came and told the host that a tiger had killed a cow last night and would we like to see the tiger that evening? He could arrange it by building a platform in a tree and tying up a goat, and the bleat of the goat would attract the tiger, and we could see it. We both refused to satisfy our curiosity so cruelly. But later that day the host suggested that we get the car and go into the forest to see the tiger if we could. So towards evening, we got into an open car with a chauffeur driving us and went deep into the forest for several miles. Of course we saw nothing. It was getting quite dark and the headlights were on, and as we turned round, there it was sitting right in the middle of the road waiting to receive us. It was a very large animal, beautifully marked, and its eyes, caught by the headlights, were bright, scintillating. It came growling towards the car, and as it passed just a few inches from the hand that was stretched out, the host said, ‘Don’t touch it, it is too dangerous, be quick for it is faster than your hand.’ But you could feel the energy of that animal, its vitality; it was a great dynamo of energy. And as it passed by, one felt an enormous attraction towards it. And it disappeared into the woods.

Apparently the friend had seen many tigers and had helped long ago in his youth to kill one, and ever since, he had been regretting the terrible act.

Cruelty in every form is now spreading in the world. Man has probably never been so cruel as he is now, so violent. The churches and the priests of the world have talked about peace on earth; from the highest Christian hierarchy to the poor village priest there has been talk about living a good life, not hurting, not killing a thing. Especially the Buddhists and Hindus of former years said, ‘Don’t kill the fly, don’t kill anything, for next life you will pay for it.’ That was rather crudely put, but some of them maintained this spirit, this intention not to kill and not to hurt another human being. But killing with wars is going on and on. The dog so quickly kills the rabbit. Or the man shoots another with his marvellous machines, and he himself is perhaps shot by another. And this killing has been going on for millennia upon millennia. Some treat it as a sport, others kill out of hatred, anger, jealousy. And organised murder by the various nations with their armaments goes on. One wonders if man will ever live on this beautiful earth peacefully, never killing a little thing, or being killed, or killing another, but live peacefully with some divinity and love in his heart.

Krishnamurti in Ojai 1983, Direct Recording


Now we have talked for an hour, and what good has it done? Not that one is seeking a result – I am not. I don’t care if you do, or don’t – it is up to you. So after listening for an hour perhaps to this harangue or to this sermon…

You know that story of a preacher talking to his disciples every morning, that was his habit. He would get up on the rostrum, talk to his disciples for about ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour or an hour, and begin the day that way. So one morning he was preaching, talking about the goodness of life, how to behave. A bird comes and sits on the windowsill, and the preacher stops talking. And they all listen to that bird. And the bird flies away. The preacher says. ‘The sermon is over for this morning.’ Right? Got it?

May I get up now?

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1980, Talk 1