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Quotes by Krishnamurti

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Understand the whole of life

You must understand the whole of life, not just one part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, why you must sing, dance and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.
—KRISHNAMURTI

From the book Think on These Things

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Questioner: Why must we read?

Krishnamurti: Why must you read? Just listen quietly. You never ask why you must play, why you must eat, why you must look at the river, why you are cruel – do you? You rebel and ask why you must do something only when you don’t like to do it. But reading, playing, laughing, being cruel, being good, seeing the river, the clouds – all this is part of life; and if you don’t know how to read, if you don’t know how to walk, if you are unable to appreciate the beauty of a leaf, you are not living. You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand; for all that is life.

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Emptiness comes as a sunset comes

Emptiness comes as a sunset comes of an evening, full of beauty, enchantment, and richness; it comes as naturally as the blossoming of a flower.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in Madras 1964, Talk 7

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That emptiness of the mind cannot be produced: the mind cannot be made empty, cannot be put together to be empty. That emptiness comes as a sunset comes of an evening, full of beauty, enchantment, and richness; that comes as naturally as the blossoming of a flower when there is no fear, when there are no escapes, when there is no boredom, and when there is no seeking. That is the most important of all – there must be no seeking. You cannot find; you cannot find the everlasting. That which is beyond time you cannot search out. It may come to you but you cannot go to it because your minds are too shallow, petty, empty, full of ambition, fears, ugliness, and distortion. Therefore, the mind must empty itself – not because it wants that, because when you want that, you have a motive, and the moment you have a motive, you have lost your energy. Therefore, it is only the mind that is completely empty that is in a state of inaction. That inaction is action. And it is only such a mind that is passionate; it is only such a mind that can live with beauty and not get used to beauty – the beauty of a tree, the beauty of a face, the beauty of an eye, of a smile, of the ugly, dirty road, the squalor, the poverty, it is only the passionate mind that can live with it and not get distorted. And it is only such a mind that is so completely empty that is in a state of meditation.
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You are the world

You are the world and the world is you.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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You realise that you are the world and the world is you – not verbally but profoundly, the truth of it. You realise that and you realise, see the immense and imminent responsibility to change radically, because you have listened, not argued, not opinionated – you see the truth of it. Then what is your relationship with the rest of the world? When there is that fundamental transformation then what is your relationship with the world? What do you do? Or do you wait for something to happen? If you wait for something to happen, nothing will happen.

So, if you actually see the truth that you are the world and the world is you – not as a theory, a verbal assertion but an actuality and you see the extraordinary importance that when you basically transform yourself, you’ll affect the whole of consciousness of the world – bound to.

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We waste and dissipate energy

It is a waste of energy when we try to conform to a pattern. To conserve energy we must be aware of how we dissipate energy.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in London 1966, Talk 5

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To bring about a good society, human beings have to change. You and I must find the energy, the impetus, the vitality to bring about this radical transformation of the mind, and that is not possible if we do not have enough energy. We need a great deal of energy to bring about a change within ourselves, but we waste our energy through conflict, through resistance, through conformity, through acceptance, through obedience. It is a waste of energy when we are trying to conform to a pattern. To conserve energy we must be aware of ourselves, how we dissipate energy. This is an age-long problem because most human beings are indolent; they would rather accept, obey, and follow. If we become aware of this indolence, this deep-rooted laziness, and try to quicken the mind and the heart, the intensity of it again becomes a conflict, which is also a waste of energy.

Our problem, one of the many that we have, is how to conserve this energy, the energy that is necessary for an explosion to take place in consciousness: an explosion that is not contrived, that is not put together by thought, but an explosion that occurs naturally when this energy is not wasted. Conflict in any form, at any level, at any depth of our being, is a waste of energy.

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If I kill, I am killing myself

When I kill an Arab, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a communist, whatever it is, I am killing myself. I wonder if you realise this, basically.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park 1976, School Discussion 13

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You are me; I am you. That’s a fact. The world is me and I am the world. I don’t like to accept that, but it is a fact. When I kill an Arab or a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu or a communist, whatever it is, I am killing myself. I wonder if you realise this, basically. It’s a tremendous thing to realise this. Not intellectually, but deep down in your blood. Then you will not kill a thing. You follow? Then you will be no nationality. You are a human being.
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Awareness of emptiness without naming it

Can the mind be aware of emptiness without naming it, running away from it or judging it, but just be with it?
—KRISHNAMURTI

From the book The Book of Life

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Most of us are aware, perhaps only rarely since most of us are so terribly occupied and active, but I think we are aware, sometimes, that the mind is empty. And, being aware, we are afraid of that emptiness. We have never inquired into that state of emptiness, we have never gone into it deeply, profoundly; we are afraid, and so we wander away from it. We have given it a name, we say it is ’empty,’ it is ‘terrible,’ it is ‘painful’; and that very giving it a name has already created a reaction in the mind, a fear, an avoidance, a running away.

Now, can the mind stop running away, and not give it a name, not give it the significance of a word such as empty about which we have memories of pleasure and pain? Can we look at it, can the mind be aware of that emptiness without naming it, without running away from it, without judging it, but just be with it? Because, then, that is the mind. Then there is not an observer looking at it; there is no censor who condemns it; there is only that state of emptiness with which we are all really quite familiar but which we are all avoiding, trying to fill it with activity, with worship, with prayer, with knowledge, with every form of illusion and excitement. But when all the excitement, illusion, fear, running away stops, and you are no longer giving it a name and thereby condemning it, is the observer different then from the thing which is observed? Surely, by giving it a name, by condemning it, the mind has created a censor, an observer, outside of itself. But when the mind does not give it a term, a name, condemn it, judge it, then there is no observer, only a state of that thing we have called emptiness.

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Society is an abstraction

Society is an abstraction. Abstraction is not a reality. What is reality is relationship. The relationship between human beings has created what we call society.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in Bombay 1981, Talk 1

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Society is an abstraction. Abstraction is not a reality. What is reality is relationship between man and man. The relationship between man and man has created that which we call society. Man is violent, self-centred, seeking pleasure, frightened, insecure; in himself he is corrupt and in his relationship, whether intimate or not, has created this so-called society. We always try to change society, not change man who creates the society in which we live.
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When death comes

When death comes, it does not ask your permission; it comes and takes you, it destroys you on the spot.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in Madras 1959, Talk 6

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When death comes, it does not ask your permission; it comes and takes you, it destroys you on the spot. In the same way, can you totally drop hate, envy, pride of possession, attachment to beliefs, to opinions, to ideas, to a particular way of thinking? Can you drop all that in an instant? There is no `how to drop it’, because that is only another form of continuity. To drop opinion, belief, attachment, greed, envy, is to die – to die every day, every moment. If there is the coming to an end of all ambition from moment to moment, then you will know the extraordinary state of being nothing, of coming to the abyss of an eternal movement, as it were, and dropping over the edge – which is death.

I want to know all about death, because death may be reality, it may be what we call God, that most extraordinary something that lives and moves, yet has no beginning and no end. So I want to know all about death – and for that I must die to everything I already know. The mind can be aware of the unknown only when it dies to the known dies without any motive, without the hope of reward or the fear of punishment. Then I can find out what death is while I am living – and in that very discovery there is freedom from fear.

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Understanding ourselves

I have to study myself in actuality – as I am, not as I wish to be.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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I must become aware of the total field of my own self, which is the consciousness of the individual and of society. It is only then, when the mind goes beyond this individual and social consciousness, that I can become a light to myself that never goes out.

Now where do we begin to understand ourselves? Here am I, and how am I to study myself, observe myself, see what is actually taking place inside myself? I can observe myself only in relationship because all life is relationship. It is no use sitting in a corner meditating about myself. I cannot exist by myself. I exist only in relationship to people, things and ideas, and in studying my relationship to outward things and people, as well as to inward things, I begin to understand myself. Every other form of understanding is merely an abstraction and I cannot study myself in abstraction; I am not an abstract entity; therefore I have to study myself in actuality – as I am, not as I wish to be.

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Your transformation affects the world

If you as a human being transform yourself, you affect the consciousness of the rest of the world.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in Madras 1974, Talk 1

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When one observes what is going on in the world – the political divisions, the wars, the Arabs and the Jews, the Russians, the Chinese and the Americans, the constant strain, struggle and brutality, the threat of war, starvation, then you have to take the whole thing, not just one fragment. When you look at all this non-personally, objectively, the chaos, the immense suffering, not only the personal but the collective suffering of man, what is your answer to this? What do you say? Do you retreat into philosophical jargon and slogans? If you are at all serious, you have to find this out: whether human beings, you and I, can bring about a total revolution in ourselves psychologically, because when you change fundamentally, you are affecting the consciousness of the world. Lenin, whether you agree with him or not, has affected the consciousness of the world. Stalin has, Hitler has, and the priests have affected the consciousness of the world by their belief, by their saviours and all the rest of it. Every human being, when there is a fundamental change in himself, affects the consciousness of the world – because you are the world and the world is you. You are India, geographically as well as psychologically, and when you change, not at the superficial level, but fundamentally, radically, because you are the world, because the world is you, you affect human consciousness. That is a fact, isn’t it? Haven’t the inventors of Rama and Krishna affected your consciousness? Of course all that has affected your consciousness, and if you as a human being transform yourself, you affect the consciousness of the rest of the world.
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A free mind never concludes

A mind that is full of conclusions is a dead mind, it is not a living mind. A living mind is a free mind, learning, never concluding.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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Are you waiting for me to tell you what to do, how to go beyond? And if you hear what is being said and draw a conclusion from it, and that very conclusion is bringing about a death of a different kind: a mind that is full of conclusions is already a dead mind, it is not a living mind. A living mind is a free mind, learning, never concluding. In the same way we are investigating, therefore learning, never coming to any conclusion, and that is the beauty of this whole movement of life.
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Each of us has built this civilization

Each one of us has built up this competitive, ruthless civilization, in which man is against man.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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You are responsible for war; you have brought it about by your everyday action of greed, ill will, passion. Each one of us has built up this competitive, ruthless civilization, in which man is against man. You want to root out the causes of war, of barbarity in others, while you yourself indulge in them. This leads to hypocrisy and to further wars. You have to root out the causes of war, of violence, in yourself, which demands patience and gentleness, not bloody condemnation of others.
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Timeless renewal

To live in the eternal present there must be death to the past, to memory. In this death there is timeless renewal.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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Thought is the result of the past acting in the present; the past is constantly sweeping over the present. The present, the new, is ever being absorbed by the past, by the known. To live in the eternal present there must be death to the past, to memory; in this death there is timeless renewal.

The present extends into the past and into the future; without the understanding of the present the door to the past is closed. The perception of the new is so fleeting; no sooner is it felt than the swift current of the past sweeps over it and the new ceases to be. To die to the many yesterdays, to renew each day is only possible if we are capable of being passively aware. In this passive awareness there is no gathering to oneself; in it there is intense stillness in which the new is ever unfolding, in which silence is ever extending with measure.

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Start as if you know nothing

Forget all you know about yourself; forget all you have ever thought about yourself; start as if you know nothing.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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We are going to investigate ourselves together – not one person explaining while you read, agreeing or disagreeing with him as you follow the words on the page, but taking a journey together, a journey of discovery into the most secret corners of our minds. And to take such a journey we must travel light; we cannot be burdened with opinions, prejudices and conclusions – all that old furniture we have collected for the last two thousand years and more. Forget all you know about yourself; forget all you have ever thought about yourself; we are going to start as if we knew nothing.
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Revolution begins with you and me

It must begin with you and me. All great things start on a small scale, all great movements begin with individuals; and if we wait for collective action, such action, if it takes place at all, is destructive and conducive to further misery. So revolution must begin with you and me.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in Madras 1950, Talk 3

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In all our relationships – with people, with nature, with ideas, with things – we seem to create more and more problems. In trying to solve one problem, whether economic, political, social, collective or individual, we introduce many other problems. We seem somehow to breed more and more conflict, and need more and more reform. Obviously, all reform needs further reform, and therefore it is really retrogression. As long as revolution, whether of the left or the right, is merely the continuity of what has been in terms of what shall be, it also is retrogression. There can be fundamental revolution, a constant inward transformation, only when we, as individuals, understand our relationship to the collective. The revolution must begin with each one of us and not with external, environmental influences. After all, we are the collective; both the conscious and the unconscious in us is the residue of all the political, social, cultural influences of man. Therefore, to bring about a fundamental outward revolution, there must be a radical transformation within each one of us, a transformation which does not depend on environmental change. It must begin with you and me. All great things start on a small scale, all great movements begin with you and me as individuals; and if we wait for collective action, such collective action, if it takes place at all, is destructive and conducive to further misery.

So, revolution must begin with you and me. That revolution, that individual transformation, can take place only when we understand relationship, which is the process of self-knowledge.

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Has religion resolved suffering?

Organised religions throughout the world have laid down rules, disciplines, attitudes and beliefs. But have they resolved human suffering and the deep-rooted anxieties, guilts?
—KRISHNAMURTI

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Organised religions throughout the world have laid down certain rules, disciplines, attitudes and beliefs. But have they resolved human suffering and the deep-rooted anxieties, guilts and all the rest of it? So we can put aside all religious beliefs, hopes and fears. One is aware of what is taking place in the world, of the nature of religious organizations with their heads, gurus and saviours and all their mythology. If one has set aside all that, because one has understood it and seen the futility, the falseness of it and is free of it, then certain facts remain: sorrow, violence, fear and great anxiety.
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The more you know yourself the more clarity there is

The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t achieve, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.
—KRISHNAMURTI

From the book The First and Last Freedom – Purchase / Read online
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The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. And as one studies it, as one goes into it more and more, one finds peace. Only when the mind is tranquil – through self-knowledge and not through imposed self-discipline – only then, in that tranquillity, in that silence, can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss, that there can be creative action. And it seems to me that without this understanding, without this experience, merely to read books, to attend talks, to do propaganda, is so infantile – just an activity without much meaning. Whereas, if one is able to understand oneself, and thereby bring about that creative happiness, that experiencing of something that is not of the mind, then perhaps there can be a transformation in the immediate relationship about us, and so in the world in which we live.
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Belief is an indication of fear

The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.
—KRISHNAMURTI

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You can experience a theory and say that it is so, but that is like a man who has been brought up and conditioned in the Catholic world having visions of Christ. Obviously such visions are the projection of his own conditioning; and those who have been brought up in the tradition of Krishna have experiences and visions born of their culture. So experience does not prove a thing. To recognise the vision as Krishna or Christ is the outcome of conditioned knowledge; therefore it is not real at all but a fancy, a myth, strengthened through experience and utterly invalid. Why do you want a theory at all, and why do you postulate any belief? This constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear – fear of everyday life, fear of sorrow, fear of death and of the utter meaninglessness of life. Seeing all this you invent a theory and the more cunning and erudite the theory the more weight it has. And after two thousand or ten thousand years of propaganda, that theory invariably and foolishly becomes “the truth”.
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What we are, the world is

What we are, the world is.
—KRISHNAMURTI

From the book Think on These Things – Purchase / Read online
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Do you know what is happening in the world? What is happening in the world is a projection of what is happening inside each one of us; what we are, the world is. Most of us are in turmoil, we are acquisitive, possessive, we are jealous and condemn people; and that is exactly what is happening in the world, only more dramatically, ruthlessly. But neither you nor your teachers spend any time thinking about all this; and it is only when you spend some time every day earnestly thinking about these matters that there is a possibility of bringing about a total revolution and creating a new world. And I assure you, a new world has to be created, a world which will not be a continuation of the same rotten society in a different form. But you cannot create a new world if your mind is not alert, watchful, expansively aware; and that is why it is so important, while you are young, to spend some time reflecting over these very serious matters and not just pass your days in the study of a few subjects, which leads nowhere except to a job and death. So do consider seriously all these things, for out of that consideration there comes an extraordinary feeling of joy, of happiness.
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Analysis is paralysis

Analysis is paralysis.
—KRISHNAMURTI

Krishnamurti in New York 1974, Talk 1

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We are not analysing because analysis is paralysis. (Clapping) No, no, please, don’t, would you mind not clapping, it is not worth it. What is important is that you understand and live this, not waste your energy clapping. As I said, we are not analysing. I won’t go into the question of analysis because it is rather complex. But we are merely observing. When you observe you see so much. It is only when you analyse you don’t see because then there is the analyser and the analysed, there is a division. Where there is a division there is conflict and therefore you don’t see completely.
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When one loses relationship with nature

When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important.
—KRISHNAMURTI

From the book Beginnings of Learning – Purchase / Read online
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Walking along the fields and climbing over a stile you came to a grove of many trees and several redwoods. As you entered it you were suddenly aware of its absolute silence. There wasn’t a leaf moving, it was as though a spell had been cast upon it. The grass was greener, brighter with the slanting sun upon it and you felt all of a sudden a great feeling of sacredness. You walked through it almost holding your breath, hesitating to step. There were great blooms of hydrangeas and rhododendrons which would flower in several months, but none of these things mattered, or rather they gave a benediction to this spot. You realized when you came out of the grove that your mind was completely empty without a single thought. There was only that and nothing else. When one loses the deep intimate relationship with nature, then temples, mosques and churches become important.
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