Doubt Is Cleansing

From Krishnamurti’s Book QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question: Christian mystics describe certain forms of mental prayer in which they speak to God, or what they call God. They say that in such prayer something tremendous happens which they call union with God. They are convinced that this is not an illusion. Are they deceiving themselves? Then what is faith? It appears to give people the power to do extraordinary things. Krishnamurti: When you are a nationalist it gives you extraordinary power to kill others. Look what they are doing! So can an illusion give you enormous vitality and strength to do extraordinary things? Apparently it does. Look what the Christian missionaries have done in the world because they believe in something. That belief may be totally unreal, an image that the mind has created, but they believe in it and are attached to it and they want to convert all the others in the world to the same belief. They put up with extraordinary discomforts, with disease and every kind of hardship. And those mystics who talk to God through prayer – I don’t know what God is, nobody knows – they have an image that there is a supreme entity and that through prayer, through faith, through dedication, through devotion, you can move mountains. Look at what America, Russia, India and all the other countries are doing. They have tremendous faith in their country, in their nationalism, and they are building a vast technological world to destroy the others, who are doing exactly the same thing. To go to the moon, what enormous energy it needed, what technological capacity, faith; the Americans first on the moon with their flag! In the Christian world faith has taken the place of doubt. Doubt is very cleansing, it purifies the mind. If you doubt your experiences, your opinions, you are free to observe clearly. In the Eastern world, in Buddhism and Hinduism, doubt is one of the major factors, it is demanded that you doubt, question, you must not accept: be a light unto yourself, a light that cannot be given to you by anyone. (Of course, now, in India and Asia it has all gone to pieces, they are just like anybody else, they are becoming merchants.) Great strength does not come through prayer, it does not come through illusion, faith; it comes through clarity, through the mind that can see clearly; and that clarity does not come and go. When you see something clearly – for instance that nationalism is the most destructive thing in the world – then you are finished with it. And the ending of that burden gives you vitality, energy, strength. Similarly if you are totally free of all attachments it gives you the strength of love, and that can do much more than all the other experiences and prayers. To escape through an illusion, through a symbol, through an ideal is an easy way out. But to see exactly what we are and go beyond demands a great deal of energy, perception and action; it is much more arduous. It means that we have to become astonishingly aware in all our activities and feelings. But we are unwilling to do all that. We think that through some easy prayer we can talk to God. God is, after all, put together by thought: the Christian God, the Hindu gods; the Buddhists have no gods but they have their own images.