Here you will find a wide selection of Krishnamurti quotes, carefully chosen by the staff at Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. They begin with general quotes and are then organised alphabetically by theme. The MORE button shows the short quote in a longer passage, and there is also the option to read the source transcript or book chapter.
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.
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.
Emptiness comes as a sunset comes
Emptiness comes as sunset comes of an evening, full of beauty, enchantment and richness; it comes as naturally as the blossoming of a flower.
Krishnamurti in Madras 1964, Talk 7
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.
You are the world
You are the world and the world is you.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1975, Talk 4
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.
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 in London 1966, Talk 5
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.
If I kill, I am killing myself
When I kill an Arab, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a communist, whoever it is, I am killing myself. I wonder if you realise this, basically.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park 1976, School Discussion 13
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.
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, The Book of Life
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.
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 in Bombay 1981, Talk 1
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.
When death comes
When death comes, it does not ask your permission; it comes and takes you, it destroys you on the spot.
Krishnamurti in Madras 1959, Talk 6
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.
I have to study myself in actuality – as I am, not as I wish to be.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
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.
Your transformation affects the world
If you as a human being transform yourself, you affect the consciousness of the rest of the world.
Krishnamurti in Madras 1974, Talk 1
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.
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 in Ojai 1973, Talk 3
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.
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 in Ojai 1945, Talk 1
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.
To live in the eternal present there must be death to the past, to memory. In this death there is timeless renewal.
Krishnamurti in Ojai 1945, Talk 10
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.
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, Freedom From the Known
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.
Revolution begins 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 in Madras 1950, Talk 3
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.
Has religion resolved suffering?
Organised religions throughout the world have laid down rules, disciplines, attitudes and beliefs. But have they resolved human suffering or the deep-rooted anxieties and guilt?
Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
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.
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.
Belief is an indication of fear
The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.
Krishnamurti, The Second Krishnamurti Reader
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’.
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.
Analysis is paralysis
Analysis is paralysis.
Krishnamurti in New York 1974, Talk 1
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.
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.
Ambition darkens the mind
Ambition produces certain industrial benefits, but in its wake there is the darkening of the mind.
Krishnamurti in Bombay 1953, Talk 10
Can we find a way of life which is not based on ambition, which is not of choice, which is a flowering in which the result is not sought? All that we know of life is a series of struggles ending in result; and those results are being discarded for greater results. That is all we know. In the case of the man who sits alone in a cave, in the very process of making himself perfect, there is choice, and that choice is ambition. The man who is violent tries to become non-violent; that very becoming is ambition. We are not trying to find out whether ambition is right or wrong whether it is essential to life, but whether it is conducive to a life of simplicity. I do not mean the simplicity of a few clothes, that is not a simple life. The putting on of a loin cloth does not indicate a man that is simple; on the contrary, it may be that, by the renunciation of the outer things, the mind becomes more ambitious; for it tries to hold on to its own ideal which it has projected and which it has created. So if we observe our own ways of thinking, should we not enquire into this question of ambition? What do we mean by it, and is it possible to live without ambition? We see that ambition breeds competition, whether in children, in school, or among the big politicians, all the way up, the trying to beat a record. This ambition produces certain industrial benefits: but in its wake, obviously there is the darkening of the mind, the technological conditioning, so that the mind loses its pliability, its simplicity and therefore is incapable of directly experiencing. Should we not enquire, not as a group but as individuals – you and I – should we not find out what this ambition means, whether we are at all aware of this ambition in our life?
Ambition is a form of power
Ambition is a form of power, the desire for power over oneself and others, the power to do something better than anybody else. In ambition is a sense of comparison, and so the ambitious man is not a creative man, is never a happy man; in himself he is discontented.
Krishnamurti at Rajghat 1954, Talk 8
All our so-called progress is based on ambition. If you draw, you must draw much better than anybody else; there is this constant struggle. What happens in this process is that you become very cruel. Because you want to achieve an end, you become ruthless, thoughtless, in your group, in your class, in your nation. Ambition is really a form of power, the desire for power over myself and over others, the power to do something better than anybody else. In ambition, there is a sense of comparison; and therefore, the ambitious man is never really a creative man, is never a happy man; in himself he is discontented. And yet we think that without ambition we should be nothing, we should have no progress.
What has ambition done in the world? So few of us have ever thought about it. When you see a man struggling to gain, to achieve, to get ahead of somebody else, have you ever asked yourself what is in his heart? If you will look into your own heart when you are ambitious, when you are struggling to become somebody, spiritually or in the wordily sense, you will find there the worm of fear. The ambitious man is the most frightened of men, because he is afraid to be what he is. He says, ‘If I remain what I am, I shall be nobody, therefore I must be somebody, I must become a magistrate, a judge, a minister.’ If you examine this process very closely, if you go behind the screen of words and ideas, beyond the wall of status and success, you will find there is fear; because the ambitious man is afraid to be what he is. He thinks that what he is in himself is insignificant, poor, ugly; he feels lonely, utterly empty, therefore he says, ‘I must go and achieve something.’ So either he goes after what he calls God, which is just another form of ambition, or he tries to become somebody in the world. In this way his loneliness, his sense of inward emptiness – of which he is really frightened – is covered up. He runs away from it, and ambition becomes the means through which he can escape.
A mind free of ambition flowers in goodness
A mind that is not concerned with itself, that is free of ambition, a mind that not caught up in its own desires or driven by its own pursuit of success – such a mind is not shallow and it flowers in goodness.
Can a shallow mind appreciate beauty? It may talk about beauty; but can it experience this welling up of immense joy upon looking at something that is really lovely? When the mind is merely concerned with itself and its own activities, it is not beautiful; whatever it does, it remains ugly, limited, therefore it is incapable of knowing what beauty is. Whereas, a mind that is not concerned with itself, that is free of ambition, a mind that not caught up in its own desires or driven by its own pursuit of success – such a mind is not shallow, and it flowers in goodness. Do you understand? It is this inward goodness that gives beauty even to a so-called ugly face. When there is inward goodness the ugly face is transformed, for inward goodness is really a deeply religious feeling.
Society as at present constituted is based on ambition and conflict, and almost everyone accepts this fact as inevitable. The individual is conditioned to its inevitability; through education, through various forms of outward and inward compulsion, he is made to be competitive. If he is to fit into this society at all, he must accept the conditions it lays down, otherwise he has a pretty bad time. We seem to think that we have to fit into this society; but why should one?
I wonder if that would happen if we saw the whole significance of the problem? We might not live according to the usual pattern, but we would live creatively and happily, with a wholly different out look. Such a state cannot be brought about if we accept the present social pattern as inevitable. But do ambition, competition and conflict constitute a predestined and inevitable way of life? You evidently assume that they do. Now let us begin from there. Why do you take this competitive way of life to be the only process of existence?
It is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.
Is it not possible to live in this world without ambition, just being what you are? If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. I think one can live in this world anonymously, completely unknown, without being famous, ambitious, cruel. One can live very happily when no importance is given to the self; and this also is part of right education.
Love is anonymous
Love is anonymous. I may love my wife and my children, but the quality of that love is anonymous. Like the sunset, love is neither yours nor mine.
Krishnamurti in New Delhi 1960, Talk 8
Truth cannot be found unless the mind is totally anonymous. I wonder if you have noticed that love is anonymous. I may love my wife, my children, but the quality of that love is anonymous. Like the sunset, love is neither yours nor mine. There is evil, corruption when the mind is immersed in power; and the desire for power is one of the most difficult things to wipe out. It is not easy to be nobody, to be inwardly anonymous. You may say, ‘In sitting on the platform and talking, are you not expressing yourself?’ Outwardly one may be talking, but inwardly one can be totally anonymous. And when there is this sense of complete anonymity, then you will find that there comes a comprehensive action which has nothing to do with the past, or with the thirst for power that creates such animosity and evil in the world. All power is evil, whether it be the power of nations, the power of leaders, the power of a wife over her husband, or of the husband over his wife and children. If you observe yourself when you are not posing, you will see, in the secret recesses of your own mind, that you too want power to dominate, to be known, to have your name appear in the newspapers; and when a mind is seeking power, it is a destructive mind, it can never bring about peace in the world.
The greater the outward show, the greater the inward poverty; but freedom from this poverty is not the loincloth. The cause of this inward emptiness is the desire to become; and, do what you will, this emptiness can never be filled. You may escape from it in a crude way, or with refinement; but it is as near to you as your shadow. You may not want to look into this emptiness, but nevertheless it is there. The adornments and the renunciations that the self assumes can never cover this inward poverty. By its activities, inner and outer, the self tries to find enrichment, calling it experience or giving it a different name according to its convenience and gratification. The self can never be anonymous; it may take on a new robe, assume a different name, but identity is its very substance. This identifying process prevents the awareness of its own nature. The cumulative process of identification builds up the self, positively or negatively; and its activity is always self-enclosing, however wide the enclosure. Every effort of the self to be or not to be is a movement away from what it is. Apart from its name, attributes, idiosyncrasies, possessions, what is the self? Is there the “I,” the self, when its qualities are taken away? It is this fear of being nothing that drives the self into activity; but it is nothing, it is an emptiness.
Anonymity is humility
Anonymity is humility.
Anonymity is humility; it does not lie in the change of name, cloth or with the identification with that which may be anonymous, an ideal, a heroic act, country and so on. Anonymity is an act of the brain, the conscious anonymity; there’s an anonymity which comes with the awareness of the complete. The complete is never within the field of the brain or idea.
The moment I am aware that I am aware, I’m not aware. The moment I am aware that I am humble, humility is not. The moment I am aware that I am happy, happiness is not. So if I am aware that I am aware, then that is not awareness, in that there is division between the observer and the observed. Now you’re asking a question, which is, is there an awareness in which division as the observer and the observed comes to an end? Obviously – awareness means that. Awareness means the observer is not.
Nobody need tell you how to look. You just look.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
It is important to understand from the very beginning that I am not formulating any philosophy or any theological structure of ideas or theological concepts. It seems to me that all ideologies are utterly idiotic. What is important is not a philosophy of life but to observe what is actually taking place in our daily life, inwardly and outwardly. If you observe very closely what is taking place and examine it, you will see that it is based on an intellectual conception, and the intellect is not the whole field of existence; it is a fragment, and a fragment, however cleverly put together, however ancient and traditional, is still a small part of existence whereas we have to deal with the totality of life. And when we look at what is taking place in the world we begin to understand that there is no outer and inner process; there is only one unitary process, it is a whole, total movement, the inner movement expressing itself as the outer and the outer reacting again on the inner. To be able to look at this seems to me all that is needed, because if we know how to look, then the whole thing becomes very clear, and to look needs no philosophy, no teacher. Nobody need tell you how to look. You just look.
Can you then, seeing this whole picture, seeing it not verbally but actually, can you easily, spontaneously, transform yourself? That is the real issue. Is it possible to bring about a complete revolution in the psyche?
The idea of awareness
We are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.
Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle
I remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people. I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness; they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.
To be aware
To be aware means to be sensitive, alive to the things about one, to nature, to people, to colour, to trees, to the environment, to the social structure, the whole thing; to be aware outwardly of all that’s happening and to be aware of what is happening inside.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park 1977, Discussion 2
‘Aware’ means to be sensitive, to be alive, to the things about one, to nature, to people, to colour, to the trees, to the environment, to the social structure, the whole thing, to be aware outwardly of all that is happening and to be aware of what is happening inside. To be aware is to be sensitive, to know, to observe, what is happening inside psychologically and also what is happening outside, environmentally, economically, socially and so on. If one is not aware of what is happening outwardly and one begins to be aware inwardly then one becomes rather neurotic. But if one begins to be aware of what is exactly happening in the world, as much as possible, and then from there moves inwardly, then one has a balance. Then there is a possibility of not deceiving oneself. One begins by being aware of what is happening outwardly and then one moves inwardly – like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is constant movement – so that there is no deception. If one knows what is happening outside and from there moves inward one then has criteria.
Be aware of inattention
If one is attentive, aware of inattention, out of that flowers attention.
Krishnamurti in Puerto Rico 1968, Talk 5
Practice means repetition, doing something over and over again. Is that attention? That is mechanical, isn’t it? So, there are two things involved, if you are serious; there is inattention and attention. Now, most of us are inattentive. And we say it is important not to be inattentive, but to be attentive. Then you want to begin to practice it. But if you say, ‘I am going to be aware, attentive to my inattention,’ do you know what that means, to be inattentive? We accept things as they are, our life, the way we live, the ugly emotions, all that is, actually. And to become attentive is to be aware of the inattention, not to try to become attentive, because that involves conflict, struggle and therefore when you practice attention it becomes mechanical. And that ceases to be attention. Whereas if one is attentive, aware of inattention, then out of that flowers attention.
Seeing the beauty of a tree
Have you ever looked at a tree without a single word of like or dislike, without a single image? What then takes place? For the first time, you see the tree as it is and you see the beauty of it, the colour, depth and vitality of it.
Have you ever looked at a tree without a single word of like or dislike, without a single image? What then takes place? Then, for the first time, you see the tree as it is and you see the beauty of it, the colour, the depth, the vitality of it. A tree, or even another person, is fairly easy to observe; but to observe oneself that way – that is to observe without the observer – is much more difficult. So one must find out who is the observer.
Beauty is never time-binding; it is wholly free of time and so of culture. It is there when the self is not. The self is put together by time, by the movement of thought, by the known, by the word. In the abandonment of the self, in that total attention, that essence of beauty is there. The letting go of the self is not the calculated action of desire-will. Will is directive and so resistant, divisive, and so breeds conflict. The dissolution of the self is not the evolution of the knowledge of the self; time as a factor does not enter into it at all. There is no way or means to end it. The total inward non-action is the positive attention of beauty.
Love, freedom, goodness and beauty are one
Love, freedom, goodness and beauty are one, not separate.
Krishnamurti in Bombay 1984, Talk 4
What is beauty? The great architecture, the cathedrals of Europe, the great temples and the mosques of the world, constructed by great architects, the great painters, the great sculptors – Michelangelo – ah! When you see all that, that’s beautiful. So is beauty manmade? Please exercise your brains to find out. A tiger is not manmade, thank the lord! A tree in a field alone, solitary, with all the dignity of a marvellous old tree – that is not manmade. But the moment you paint that tree it’s manmade, and you admire, go to a museum to see that tree painted by a great artist. So in our life, part of the art of living is to understand the depth and beauty of freedom, and the goodness of it. And what is beauty? Not the picture, the poem, the marvellous writer – but what is beauty? A beautiful man, a beautiful woman, a face that has depth. And without that aesthetic quality in life, which is born of sensitivity, which is born out of all the senses in action, not one or two or three senses, but the whole movement of the senses. Surely beauty is when the self is not. When I am not, beauty is. When the self is not, love is. And so love, freedom, goodness, beauty, are one, not separate, not something pursued. One pursues beauty and spends the rest of one’s life on that. But they are all interrelated. Goodness, that word, though it is very old fashioned, has an extraordinary depth. To feel the depth of goodness. And that can only be when there is freedom, when there is love and beauty.
There must be order. And that is part of meditation. Order means beauty and there is so little beauty in our life. Beauty is not man made; it is not in the picture, however modern, however ancient it is; it is not in the building, in the statue, nor in the cloud, the leaf or on the water. Beauty is where there is order – a mind that is utterly unconfused, that is absolutely orderly. And there can be order only when there is total self-denial, when the ‘me’ has no importance whatsoever. The ending of the ‘me’ is part of meditation. That is the major, the only meditation.
Beauty beyond thought and feeling
Beauty: not only sensitivity to outward reality, but being sensitive to that beauty which is beyond and above thought and feeling.
It is absolutely necessary for maturity that there should be:
1. Complete simplicity which goes with humility, not in things or possessions but in the quality of being.
2. Passion with that intensity which is not merely physical.
3. Beauty; not only the sensitivity to outward reality but being sensitive to that beauty which is beyond and above thought and feeling.
4. Love; the totality of it, not the thing that knows jealousy, attachment, dependence; not that as divided into carnal and divine. The whole immensity of it.
5. And the mind that can pursue, that can penetrate without motive, without purpose, into its own immeasurable depths; that has no barrier, that is free to wander without time-space.
We are second-hand human beings
It begins at school and you go through life repeating what others have said. You are therefore second-hand human beings.
Krishnamurti, Flight of the Eagle
So that is the factor of conditioning, through propaganda, newspapers, magazines, from the pulpit, and one becomes tremendously aware how necessary it is not to rely on outside influences at all. You then find out what it means not to be influenced. When you read a newspaper you are influenced, consciously or unconsciously. When you read a novel or a book you are influenced; there is pressure, strain, to put what you read into some category. That is the whole purpose of propaganda. It begins at school and you go through life repeating what others have said. You are therefore second-hand human beings. How can such a second-hand human being find out something that is original, that is true? It is very important to understand what conditioning is and to go into this very deeply; as you look at it you have the energy to break down all those conditionings that hold the mind.
Freedom to observe conditioning
When you have no motive you are free to observe your conditioning.
Krishnamurti at Madras 1977, Discussion 1
The word ‘motive’ means to move. I realise I am conditioned, actually realise, not just verbally say yes, I am conditioned. I am conditioned because I was born in India, as a Hindu, as a Brahmin and all the rest of it, I am conditioned by the Western culture, I am conditioned by etc., etc. Now that is a fact. That is the actual daily fact that I am conditioned. Now I explained I am conditioned and the result of that conditioning is, I am separate from humanity. I know all the reasons why that conditioning is dangerous, but it is still descriptive. So can I look at my conditioning without any kind of motive, which is to be free of it, which is to rationalise it, just to observe it without any motive? Unless I do that I will only move from one conditioning to another conditioning. So the importance is to find out: is it possible to observe without motive. If you say, that is impossible, then you give up, throw in the sponge and walk away. If you are serious, if you are really earnest, want to find out the truth of it, you have to find out if you can live without a motive. When you have no motive then you are free to observe.
Knowing you are conditioned
When you struggle against disturbance, or defend yourself against outer or inner threat, you know you are conditioned.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
You will be able to see for yourself how you are conditioned only when there is a conflict in the continuity of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. If everything is perfectly happy around you, your wife loves you, you love her, you have a nice house, nice children and plenty of money, then you are not aware of your conditioning at all. But when there is a disturbance – when your wife looks at someone else or you lose your money or are threatened by war or any other pain or anxiety – then you know you are conditioned. When you struggle against any kind of disturbance or defend yourself against any outer or inner threat, then you know you are conditioned. And as most of us are disturbed most of the time, either superficially or deeply, that very disturbance indicates that we are conditioned. So long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely, but the moment he is antagonized the whole violence of his nature comes out.
What is important is to inquire into why the mind still remains heavily conditioned after so many millions of years. This is the prison in which it lives. The mind is conditioned by society with its cultures, laws, religious sanctions, economic pressures, and so on. The mind is, after all, the result of the past, and this past is tradition. It lives in this tradition with all its strife, wars and agonies. One must ask if it can be free from its own conditioning. Some have said that it must always remain conditioned, and can never be free, and others have said this freedom from conditioning can never be found here but only in some future heaven, or at the end of some long sacrifice, discipline, programme of further conformity to a pattern of so-called religious practice. Without freedom from conditioning, humanity will always remain a prisoner and life will remain a battlefield.
If during this discourse, anything is said which is opposed to your way of thinking and belief just listen; do not resist. You may be right, and I may be wrong; but by listening and considering together we are going to find out what is the truth. Truth cannot be given to you by somebody. You have to discover it; and to discover, there must be a state of mind in which there is direct perception. There is no direct perception when there is a resistance, a safeguard, a protection. Understanding comes through being aware of what is. To know exactly what is, the real, the actual, without interpreting it, without condemning or justifying it, is, surely, the beginning of wisdom. It is only when we begin to interpret, to translate according to our conditioning, according to our prejudice, that we miss the truth. After all, it is like research. To know what something is, what it is exactly, requires research – you cannot translate it according to your moods. Similarly, if we can look, observe, listen, be aware of what is, exactly, then the problem is solved. And that is what we are going to do in all these discourses. I am going to point out to you what is, and not translate it according to my fancy; nor should you translate it or interpret it according to your background or training. Is it not possible, then, to be aware of everything as it is?
The emptying of consciousness
The emptying of consciousness of all its content is to have total movement in perception and action.
Krishnamurti, Meeting Life
As the content of consciousness makes up consciousness, the very content prevents the freedom, the quickness, the marvellous sense of movement. The content of consciousness becomes self-interest. The content may be that you give importance to a piece of furniture, or to some technique, or to some belief or experience: that experience, that knowledge, that incident becomes the centre of self-interest. The emptying of consciousness of all its content is to have total movement in perception and action.
Your consciousness is the consciousness of man
Your consciousness is not actually yours; it is the consciousness of man.
Our consciousness is not actually yours or mine; it is the consciousness of man, evolved, grown, accumulated through many, many centuries. In that consciousness is the faith, the gods, all the rituals man has invented. It is really an activity of thought; it is thought that has made the content – behaviour, action, culture, aspiration; the whole activity of man is the activity of thought. And this consciousness is the self, is the ‘me’, the I, the ego, the personality and so on. I think it is necessary to understand this very deeply, not merely argumentatively, logically but deeply, as blood is in all of us, is part of us, is the essence, the natural process of all human beings. When one realizes this, our responsibility becomes extraordinarily important. We are responsible for everything that is happening in the world as long as the content of our consciousness continues. As long as fear, nationalities, the urge for success, you know the whole business of it – as long as that exists we are part of humanity, part of the human movement.
Consciousness is its content: the content makes up consciousness. The two are indivisible. There is no you and another, only the content which makes up consciousness as the ‘me’ and the ‘not me’. The contents vary according to the culture, the racial accumulations, the techniques and capacities acquired. These are broken up as the artist, the scientist and so on. Idiosyncrasies are the response of the conditioning and the conditioning is the common factor of man. This conditioning is the content, consciousness. This again is broken up as the conscious and the hidden. The hidden becomes important because we have never looked at it as a whole. This fragmentation takes place when the observer is not the observed, when the experiencer is seen as different from the experience. The hidden is as the open; the observation – the hearing of the open – is the seeing of the hidden. Seeing is not analysing. In analysing there is the analyser and the analysed, a fragmentation which leads to inaction, a paralysis.
Has consciousness any depth or only a surface fluttering? Thought can imagine its depth, can assert that it has depth or only consider the surface ripples. Has thought itself any depth at all? Consciousness is made up of its content; its content is its entire frontier. Thought is the activity of the outer an in certain languages thought means the outside. The importance that is given to the hidden layers of consciousness is still on the surface, without any depth. Thought can give to itself a centre, as the ego, the ‘me’, and that centre has no depth at all; words, however cunningly and subtly put together, are not profound. The ‘me’ is a fabrication of thought in word and in identification; the ‘me’, seeking depth in action, in existence, has no meaning at all; all its attempts to establish depth in relationship end in the multiplications of its own images whose shadows it considers are deep. All the activities of thought have no depth; its pleasures, its fears, its sorrows are on the surface.
The beginning of meditation is self-knowledge, which means being aware of every movement of thought and feeling, knowing all the layers of my consciousness, not only the superficial layers but the hidden, the deeply concealed activities. To know the deeply concealed activities, the hidden motives, responses, thoughts and feelings, there must be tranquillity in the conscious mind; that is the conscious mind must be still in order to receive the projection of the unconscious. The superficial, conscious mind is occupied with its daily activities, with earning a livelihood, deceiving others, exploiting others, running away from problems – all the daily activities of our existence. That superficial mind must understand the right significance of its own activities and thereby bring tranquillity to itself. It cannot bring about tranquillity, stillness, by mere regimentation, by compulsion, by discipline. It can bring about tranquillity, peace, stillness, only by understanding its own activities, by observing them, by being aware of them, by seeing its own ruthlessness, how it talks to the servant, to the wife, to the daughter, to the mother and so on. When the superficial, conscious mind is thus fully aware of all its activities, through that understanding it becomes spontaneously quiet, not drugged by compulsion or regimented by desire; then it is in a position to receive the intimations, the hints of the unconscious, of the many, many hidden layers of the mind – the racial instincts, the buried memories, the concealed pursuits, the deep wounds that are still unhealed. It is only when all these have projected themselves and are understood, when the whole consciousness is unburdened, unfettered by any wound, by any memory whatsoever, that it is in a position to receive the eternal.
You believe in God and another does not believe in God, so your beliefs separate you from each other. Belief throughout the world is organized as Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity, and so it divides man from man. We are confused, and we think that through belief we shall clear the confusion; that is, belief is superimposed on the confusion, and we hope that confusion will thereby be cleared away. But belief is merely an escape from the fact of confusion; it does not help us to face and to understand the fact but to run away from the confusion in which we are. To understand the confusion, belief is not necessary, and belief only acts as a screen between ourselves and our problems. So, religion, which is organized belief, becomes a means of escape from what is, from the fact of confusion. The man who believes in God, the man who believes in the hereafter, or who has any other form of belief, is escaping from the fact of what he is. Do you not know those who believe in God, who do puja, who repeat certain chants and words, and who in their daily life are dominating, cruel, ambitious, cheating, dishonest? Shall they find God? Are they really seeking God? Is God to be found through repetition of words, through belief? But such people believe in God, they worship God, they go to the temple every day, they do everything to avoid the fact of what they are – and such people you consider respectable because they are yourself.
We want someone to get us out of confusion
Being in a state of confusion, we want someone to get us out of that confusion. So we become concerned with how to escape or avoid the state in which we are.
Krishnamurti in London 1955, Talk 5
We accept the necessity for dependence; we say it is inevitable. We have never questioned the whole issue at all, why each one of us seeks some kind of dependence. Is it not that we really, deep down, demand security, permanency? Being in a state of confusion, we want someone to get us out of that confusion. So, we are always concerned with how to escape or avoid the state in which we are. In the process of avoiding that state, we are bound to create some kind of dependence, which becomes our authority. If we depend on another for our security, for our inward wellbeing, there arise out of that dependence innumerable problems, and then we try to solve those problems – the problems of attachment. But we never question, we never go into the problem of dependence itself. Perhaps if we can really intelligently, with full awareness, go into this problem, then we may find that dependence is not the issue at all – that it is only a way of escaping from a deeper fact.
Action without consideration creates greater confusion
He who plunges into action without considering the problem, thinking that he is reforming the world – it is he who is creating greater confusion and misery.
Krishnamurti in Poona 1948, Talk 4
We are afraid to be inactive; and to withdraw for a period to consider the whole problem requires extraordinary intelligence. If you were to withdraw for a time to reconsider, to revaluate the problem, your friends, your associates, would consider you an escapist. You would become a nonentity, socially you would be nowhere. If when there is flag-waving you do not wave a flag, if when everyone puts on a particular cap you do not have that cap, you feel left out; and as most of us do not like to remain in the background, we plunge into action. So, the problem of action and inaction is quite important to understand. Is it not necessary to be inactive to consider the whole issue? Obviously, we must carry on with our daily responsibility of earning bread; all the necessities must be carried on. But the political, religious, social organisations, the groups, committees, and so on – need we belong to them? If we are very serious about it, must we not reconsider, revalue the whole problem of existence? And to do that, must we not for the time being withdraw in order to consider, ponder, meditate? Is that withdrawal, inaction? Is not that withdrawal really action? In that so-called inaction there is the extraordinary action of reconsidering the whole question, revaluing, thinking over the confusion in which one live? Why are we so afraid to be inactive? Is it inaction to reconsider? Obviously not. Surely, the man who is avoiding action is he who is active without reconsidering the issue. He is the real escapist. He is confused, and in order to escape from his confusion, from his insufficiency, he plunges into action, he joins a society, a party, an organization. He is really escaping from the fundamental issue, which is confusion. So, we are misapplying words. The man who plunges into action without reconsidering the problem, thinking that he is reforming the world by joining a society or a party – it is he who is creating greater confusion and greater misery; whereas, the so-called inactive man who withdraws and is seriously considering the whole question – surely, such a man is much more active. In these times especially, when the whole world is on the edge of a precipice and catastrophic events are taking place, is it not necessary for a few at least to be inactive, deliberately not to allow themselves to be caught in this machine, this atomic machine of action, which does not produce anything except further confusion, further chaos?
One is aware, without too much discussion, too much verbal expression, that there is individual as well as collective chaos, confusion and misery. It is right throughout the world; in India, China, America, England, Germany, all over the world, there is confusion, mounting sorrow. It is not only national, it is all over the world. There is extraordinarily acute suffering, and it is not individual only but collective. So it is a world catastrophe, and to limit it merely to a geographical area, a coloured section of the map, is absurd; because then we shall not understand the full significance of this worldwide as well as individual suffering. Being aware of this confusion, what is our response today? How do we react? There is suffering, political, social, religious; our whole psychological being is confused, and all the leaders, political and religious, have failed us; all the books have lost their significance. You may go to the Bhagavad Gita or the Bible or the latest treatise on politics or psychology, and you will find that they have lost that ring, that quality of truth; they have become mere words.
One is confused and one tries to bring about a state of mind which is not confused. One tries this, that, ten different things – drugs, drink, sex, worship, escapes, throws bombs, anything. The first thing is to stop action, to stop doing something. Also, one must stop all movement away from confusion so that there is no action springing to, or away from, confusion. So all action then stops; there is only confusion. There is no escape from it, neither is there trying to find a way out of it, nor trying to replace that confusion by clarity; there is no movement of thought away from this, causing further confusion; thought is not concerned with action for the moment. Then the question arises: are you aware of this confusion as being something outside of you as the observer, or are you part of this confusion? Is the observer’ different from the thing observed – the confusion? If the observer is differentiated from the thing observed then there is a contradiction – that very contradiction is the cause of confusion. So, how the mind looks at this confusion is important. Does it observe it as something apart, separated from itself, or is the observer the observed? Please do understand this most important thing. Once you have understood this you will see what a tremendous difference it makes in life; all conflict is removed. The observer no longer says, ‘I must change it,’ I must bring about clarity,’ ‘I must overcome it,’ ‘I must try to understand it,’ ‘I must escape from it.’ All such activity is that of the observer who has separated himself from the confusion and has generated conflict between himself and the confusion.
How can I, or you, become aware, knowing one’s mind is solidly conditioned not only superficially but deep down? How is this conditioning to be broken down? If this is not possible we shall live everlastingly in conformity – even if there is a new pattern, a new structure of society or a new set of beliefs, new dogmas and new propagandas, it is still conformity. And if there is to be any kind of social change, there must be a different kind of education – so that children are not brought up to conform.
So there is this question: how is the mind to free itself from conditioning? I do not know if you have ever tried it, gone into it very deeply, not only at the conscious level but at the deeper layers of consciousness. Actually, is there a division between the two? Or is it one movement, in which we are only conscious of the superficial movement which has been educated to conform to the demands of a particular society or culture?
When the competitive spirit has ceased
Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.
Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased. The competitive spirit is merely an additive process which is not learning at all. We want the child to learn and not merely add knowledge to himself like a machine. To help the child to learn basically and fundamentally he must cease to compete, with all its implications. Now, one of the ways to do this is to I see the truth of not comparing. Now, how will you help the child not to be competitive?
Why governments seek to control education
Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organised religions as well. That is why governments and religious organisations seek to control education.
Where there is love there is instantaneous communion with the other, on the same level and at the same time. It is because we ourselves are so dry, empty and without love that we have allowed governments and systems to take over the education of our children and the direction of our lives; but governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.
Life cannot be made to conform to a system, it cannot be forced into a framework, however nobly conceived; and a mind that has merely been trained in factual knowledge is incapable of meeting life with its variety, its subtlety, its depths and great heights. When we train our children according to a system of thought or a particular discipline, when we teach them to think within departmental divisions, we prevent them from growing into integrated men and women, and therefore they are incapable of thinking intelligently, which is to meet life as a whole.
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination.
The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education.
What are emotions? Emotions are sensations, aren’t they? You see a lovely car, or a beautiful house, a beautiful woman or man, and the sensory perception awakens the senses. Then what takes place? Contact, then desire, Now thought comes in. Can you end there and not let thought come in and take over? I see a beautiful house, the right proportions, with a lovely lawn, a nice garden: all the senses are responding because there is great beauty – it is well kept, orderly, tidy. Why can’t you stop there and not let thought come in? Then you will see emotions, or sensations, are natural, healthy, normal. But when thought takes over, then all the mischief begins.
So to find out for oneself whether it is possible to look at something with all the senses and end there and not proceed further – do it! That requires an extraordinary sense of awareness in which there is no control; no control, therefore no conflict. Just to observe totally that which is, and all the senses respond and end there. There is great beauty in that.
Emotions are related to the brain
All feelings and emotions are related to the brain, and love is not.
One was awakened this morning with a living feeling of joy; it was taking place as one woke up; it wasn’t a thing in the past. It was actually taking place. It was coming, this ecstasy, from “”outside””, not self-induced; it was being pushed through the system, flowing through the organism, with great energy and volume. The brain was not taking part in it but only registering it, not as a remembrance but as an actual fact which was taking place. There was, it seemed, immense strength and vitality behind this ecstasy; it wasn’t sentimental nor a feeling, an emotion but as solid and real as that stream crashing down the mountain-side or that solitary pine on the green mountain slope. All feeling and emotion are related to the brain and as love is not, so was this ecstasy. It is with the greatest difficulty, the brain can recall it.
Early this morning there was a benediction that seemed to cover the earth and fill the room. With it comes an all consuming quietness, a stillness that seems to have within it all movement.
We are possessive, full of sentiment and emotion which can be turned either way: to kill, to butcher or to unify over some foolish, ignorant intention. So how can there be love? You can know love only when all these things have stopped, come to an end, only when you don’t possess, when you are not merely emotional with devotion to an object. Such devotion is a supplication, seeking something in a different form. A man who prays does not know love. Since you are possessive, since you seek an end, a result, through devotion, through prayer, which make you sentimental, emotional, naturally there is no love; obviously there is no love when there is no respect. You may say that you have respect but your respect is for the superior, it is merely the respect that comes from wanting something, the respect of fear. If you really felt respect, you would be respectful to the lowest as well as to the so-called highest; since you haven’t that, there is no love.
Love is not sentiment. To be sentimental, to be emotional, is not love, because sentimentality and emotion are mere sensations. A religious person who weeps about Jesus or Krishna, about his guru or somebody else, is merely sentimental, emotional. He is indulging in sensation, which is a process of thought, and thought is not love. Thought is the result of sensation, so the person who is sentimental, who is emotional, cannot possibly know love. Again, aren’t we emotional and sentimental? Sentimentality, emotionalism, is merely a form of self-expansion. To be full of emotion is obviously not love, because a sentimental person can be cruel when his sentiments are not responded to, when his feelings have no outlet. An emotional person can be stirred to hatred, to war, to butchery. A man who is sentimental, full of tears for his religion, surely has no love.
Beauty has nothing to do with emotion
The feeling that is aroused when you see something extraordinarily beautiful has nothing to do with sentimentality or emotion.
Krishnamurti in Bombay 1964, Talk 4
The beauty that was there was so palpable, so extraordinarily real, as the tree across the river as the boatman, as the fish that jumped out of that river. You felt it with a deep passion, with an intensity; nothing existed, there was neither form nor that peculiar emotion that comes when you see something very beautiful. Your mind, your body, your being was utterly still; and that beauty continued, you felt it throbbing in a deep silence. It was a beauty that had no emotional quality, there was no sentiment. It was naked, strong, vital, passionate; there was no sense of any sentimentality. It was like meeting something face to face, that is real, naked, complete in itself. It did not want any imagination, any expression, any translation. It was there like a fullness, with a richness, with an extraordinary sense of magnitude and depth; one felt it. And the feeling, not the emotion, that is aroused when you see something extraordinarily beautiful, has nothing to do with sentimentality, with emotion, with any memory – all that is banished, and you are there watching an extraordinary thing, a part of your whole being, alive, vibrant, clear, rich.
Thought creates fear
There is fear of the present, of the future, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of not fulfilling, fear of not being loved—there are so many fears, all created by the machinery of thought.
Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
You can also observe that where there is pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure, there is also the nourishing of fear. Haven’t you noticed it? Fear of the thing I have done yesterday, fear of the physical pain which I had a week ago; thinking about it sustains the fear. There is no ending of that pain when it’s over. It is finished, but I carry it over by thinking about it.
So thought sustains and gives nourishment to pleasure as well as to fear. Thought is responsible for this. There is fear of the present, of the future, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of not fulfilling, fear of not being loved, wanting to be loved—there are so many fears, all created by the machinery of thought. So there is the rationality of thought and the irrationality of thought.
There is a deeper meaning to death than merely the physical organism coming to an end; that is, psychologically coming to an end – the ‘me’, the ‘you’, coming abruptly to an end. The ‘me’, the ‘you’, that has accumulated knowledge, suffered, lived with memories pleasurable and aching, with all the travail of the known, with the psychological conflicts, the things that one has not understood, the things that one wanted to do and has not done. The psychological struggle, the memories, the pleasure, the pains – all that comes to an end. That is actually what one is afraid of, not what lies beyond death. One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end. The known being your house, your family, your wife, your children, your ideas, your furniture, your books, the things with which you have identified yourself. When that is gone you feel completely isolated, lonely, that is what you are afraid of. That is a form of death and that is the only death.
Fear can exist only in relationship; fear cannot exist by itself, in isolation. There is no such thing as abstract fear; there is fear of the known or the unknown, fear of what one has done or what one may do; fear of the past or of the future. The relationship between what one is and what one desires to be causes fear. Fear arises when one interprets the fact of what one is in terms of reward and punishment. Fear comes with responsibility and the desire to be free from it. There is fear in the contrast between pain and pleasure. Fear exists in the conflict of the opposites. The worship of success brings the fear of failure. In becoming good, there is the fear of evil; in becoming complete, there is the fear of loneliness; in becoming great, there is the fear of being small. Comparison is not understanding; it is prompted by fear of the unknown in relation to the known. Fear is uncertainty in search of security.
The effort to become is the beginning of fear, the fear of being or not being. The mind, the residue of experience, is always in fear of the unnamed, the challenge. The mind, which is name, word, memory, can function only within the field of the known; and the unknown, which is challenge from moment to moment, is resisted or translated by the mind in terms of the known. This resistance or translation of the challenge is fear; for the mind can have no communion with the unknown. The known cannot commune with the unknown; the known must cease for the unknown to be.
Fear does extraordinary things to most of us. It creates all kinds of illusions and problems. Until we go into it very deeply and really understand it, fear will always distort our actions. Fear twists our ideas and makes crooked the ways of our life; it creates barriers between people, and it certainly destroys love. So the more we go into fear, the more we understand and are really free of it, the greater will be our contact with all that is around us. At present our vital contacts with life are very few, are they not? But if we can free ourselves of fear we shall have wide contacts, deep understanding, real sympathy, loving consideration, and great will be the extension of our horizon.
Fear is an extraordinary jewel
Fear is an extraordinary jewel which has dominated human beings. If you can hold it and look at it, one begins to see the ending of it.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park 1984, Talk 2
Watch pain carefully, not rushing to the dentist immediately, when you watch it, stay with it, not morbidly but see all that is happening. How you react to it and so on, so on. If you do that the pain lessens, naturally. In the same way if you hold this jewel. Fear is an extraordinary jewel, extraordinary something which has dominated human beings for forty thousand years and more. And if you can hold it and look at it, then one begins to see the ending of it. Not the gradually, the ending of it completely. Which means fear is part of our self-centred, egotistic activity. Fear is, when the ego, the ‘me’, is isolated, when the ‘me’, the self, this self-centred movement, because it is separative, because it is the very essence of conflict and all the rest of it, that is the root of fear.
Freedom is to look without thought
Freedom is to look at a fact without any idea, to look without thought.
Krishnamurti in New Delhi 1962, Talk 8
Freedom is the capacity to look at a psychological fact without distortion, and that freedom is at the beginning, not at the end. You must understand that time is a process of evasion and not a fact – except chronological time, which is a fact. But the psychological time that we have introduced – that of gradually bringing about a change in ourselves – has no validity. Because when you are angry, when you are ambitious, when you are envious, you take pleasure in it, you want it; and the idea that you will gradually change has no depth behind it at all. So one removes psychological resistances by observing the fact and not allowing the mind to be caught in unreal, ideational, theoretical issues. When you are confronted with a fact, there is no possibility of resistance; the fact is there.
So freedom is to look at a fact without any idea, to look at a fact without thought. Either you look at a fact with words, which is thought, or with conclusions, which again is thought and words, or with knowledge which you have acquired previously, which again is words based on experience – that is, the result of memory conditioning every form of experience. So you have to look at something without thought – which does not mean looking at something blankly, emptily, but looking at it through the understanding of the whole significance of thought.
There is freedom when the entire being, the superficial as well as the hidden, is purged of the past. Will is desire; and if there is any action of the will, any effort to be free, to denude oneself, then there can never be freedom, the total purgation of the whole being. When all the many layers of consciousness are quiet, utterly still, only then is there the immeasurable, the bliss that is not of time, the renewal of creation.
The intellect can only know freedom within the field, like a man knowing freedom within a prison. It then asks, what is freedom? If this is not it, then what is freedom? Is there such a thing at all? The intellect rejects that there can be no freedom because it is inconceivable that there is no way out of this prison. The clever brains invent maya, atman, brahman. Now, if there is no freedom, is the mind everlastingly condemned to live within this field? What is the point of it all?
I see that this concern about freedom, freedom which is not a formula, which is not a conclusion, is not freedom. Then the mind says, if this is not, then what is freedom? Then it says, I do not know. It sees that in that non-knowing, there is an expectation to know. When I say I do not know what freedom is, there is a waiting and an expectation to find out. That means the mind does not say it does not know, but is waiting for something to happen.
I see that and I discard that. So I really do not know. I am not waiting, expecting. I am not hoping something will happen, some answer will come from an outside agency. I am not expecting a thing. There it is. There is the clue. I know this is not it; there is no freedom here. There is reformation, but not freedom. Reformation can never bring freedom. Man revolts against the whole idea that he can never be free, that he is condemned to live in this world. It is not intellect that revolts, but the whole organism, the whole perception. Therefore it says that as this is not it, I do not know what freedom is. I do not expect a thing, I do not hope or try to find what freedom is. I really do not know.
That not-knowing is freedom. Knowing is prison. This is logically right. I do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. Therefore I am free of the past, free of this field.
So, the mind that lives in a state of not-knowing is a free mind.
Democratically we have freedom of choice, we choose between the liberal, Conservatives, Labour or something else. And we think that having the capacity to choose gives us freedom. Choice is the very denial of freedom. You choose when you are not clear, when there is no direct perception, and so you choose out of confusion, and so there is no freedom in choice – psychologically, that is. I can choose between this cloth and that cloth, and so on; but psychologically we think we are free when we have the capacity to choose. And we are saying that choice is born out of confusion, out of the structure of thought, and therefore it is not free.
We must understand very clearly that our thinking is the response of memory, and memory is mechanistic. Knowledge is ever incomplete, and all thinking born of knowledge is limited, partial, never free. So there is no freedom of thought. But we can begin to discover a freedom which is not a process of thought, and in which the mind is simply aware of all its conflicts and of all the influences impinging upon it.
One who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. After all, belief is a form of self-protection, and only a petty mind can believe in God. Look at the belief of the aviators during the war who said God was their companion as they were dropping bombs! So you believe in God when you kill, when you are exploiting people. You worship God and go on ruthlessly extorting money, supporting the army; yet you say you believe in mercy, compassion, kindliness. As long as belief exists, there can never be the unknown; you cannot think about the unknown, thought cannot measure it. The mind is the product of the past, it is the result of yesterday, and can such a mind be open to the unknown? It can only project an image, but that projection is not real; so your god is not God, it is an image of your own making, an image of your own gratification. There can be reality only when the mind understands the total process of itself and comes to an end. When the mind is completely empty-only then is it capable of receiving the unknown. The mind is not purged until it understands the content of relationship -its relationship with property, with people until it has established the right relationship with everything. Until it understands the whole process of conflict in relationship, the mind cannot be free. Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still -only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.
The mind, without being free from fear and the search for the deepening and the widening of pleasure – which brings pain and anxiety and all the burden and travail of pleasure – such a mind is not free. And a mind which believes that there is a God, or that there is no God, is equally a conditioned, prejudiced mind.
I hope you can do all that! The speaker is emphatic but don’t be persuaded by him, for he has no authority at all. In this matter of finding out, there is no authority, there is no guru, there is no teacher. You are the teacher and the disciple yourself.
There is fear, which you are beginning to discover for yourself. This disturbs you. Belief comes from fear and is the most destructive thing. One must be free of fear and of belief. Belief divides people, makes them hard, makes them hate each other and cultivate war. In a roundabout way, unwillingly, you are admitting that fear begets belief. Freedom from belief is necessary to face the fact of fear. Belief like any other ideal is an escape from ‘what is’. When there is no fear then the mind is in quite a different dimension. Only then can you ask the question whether there is a God or not. A mind clouded by fear or belief is incapable of any kind of understanding, any realization of what truth is. Such a mind lives in illusion and can obviously not come upon that which is supreme. The supreme has nothing to do with your or anybody else’s belief, opinion or conclusion.
Only when the mind is completely silent, not only on the upper level but fundamentally, right through, on both the superficial and the deeper levels of consciousness – only then can the unknown come into being. The unknown is not something to be experienced by the mind; silence alone can be experienced, nothing but silence. If the mind experiences anything but silence, it is merely projecting its own desires and such a mind is not silent; so long as the mind is not silent, so long as thought in any form, conscious or unconscious, is in movement, there can be no silence. Silence is freedom from the past, from knowledge, from both conscious and unconscious memory; when the mind is completely silent, not in use, when there is the silence which is not a product of effort, then only does the timeless, the eternal come into being. That state is not a state of remembering – there is no entity that remembers, that experiences.
Therefore God or truth or what you will is a thing that comes into being from moment to moment, and it happens only in a state of freedom and spontaneity, not when the mind is disciplined according to a pattern. God is not a thing of the mind, it does not come through self-projection, it comes only when there is virtue, which is freedom. Virtue is facing the fact of what is and the facing of the fact is a state of bliss. Only when the mind is blissful, quiet, without any movement of its own, without the projection of thought, conscious or unconscious – only then does the eternal come into being.
When you say, ‘I love god as the highest principle,’ is that love? That god, that principle, the highest principle ‘Brahman’, is the result of thought. God is invented by man. I am sure you won’t like this. But you are attached to the concept that god exists. Then you ask who is the creator of all this misery. God hasn’t created all this, has he? If he has, he must be an odd god, he must be a sadist god. All the gods in the world are invented by thought, and to find out what love is, there must be an end to sorrow, end to attachment, end to everything we are committed to inwardly. Where the self, the ego, the me is, love is not.
Habit is the repetition of a pleasurable act brought about by the stimulating memories and images which the mind evokes. The glandular secretions and their results, as in the case of hunger, are not a habit, they are the normal process of the physical organism; but when the mind indulges in sensation, stimulated by thoughts and pictures, then surely the formation of habit is set going. Food is necessary, but the demand for a particular taste in food is based on habit. Finding pleasure in certain thoughts and acts, subtle or crude, the mind insists on their continuance, thereby breeding habit. A repetitive act, like brushing one’s teeth in the morning, becomes a habit when attention is not given to it. Attention frees the mind from habit.
Without freedom from the past there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. It is only the fresh, innocent mind that is free. Freedom has nothing to do with age, it has nothing to do with experience; and it seems to me that the very essence of freedom lies in understanding the whole mechanism of habit, both conscious and unconscious. It is not a question of ending habit, but of seeing totally the structure of habit. You have to observe how habits are formed and how, by denying or resisting one habit, another habit is created. What matters is to be totally conscious of habit; for then, as you will see for yourself there is no longer the formation of habit. To resist habit, to fight it, to deny it, only gives continuity to habit. When you fight a particular habit you give life to that habit, and then the very fighting of it becomes a further habit. But if you are simply aware of the whole structure of habit without resistance, then you will find there is freedom from habit, and in that freedom a new thing takes place.
It is only the dull, sleepy mind that creates and clings to habit. A mind that is attentive from moment to moment – attentive to what it is saying, attentive to the movement of its hands, of its thoughts, of its feelings – will discover that the formation of further habits has come to an end.
Fighting habit becomes a habit
When you fight a habit you give life to that habit; and the fighting becomes another habit.
Krishnamurti in London 1962, Talk 6
In understanding and breaking one habit, however superficial, you can go into the whole enormous problem of habit: habit of thought, habit of feeling, the habit of imitation – and the habit of hungering to be something, for this too is a habit. When you fight a habit, you give life to that habit; and then the fighting becomes another habit, in which most of us are caught. We only know resistance, which has become a habit. All our thinking is habitual; but to understand one habit is to open the door to understanding the whole machinery of habit. You find out where habit is necessary, as in speech, and where habit is completely corruptive.
Most of us function in a series of habits. In the turmoil, the anxiety, the tremendous agony of our existence, we seek comfort by turning to what we call God, and we function in that habit. We have habits of food, habits of thought, habits of feeling, and we say, ‘If I don’t function in habit, what will I do? How am I to live?’ – which is really the fear of being uncertain. Most of us don’t know what it is to live in a state of uncertainty without going off the deep end. When we feel intensely uncertain, we become neurotic, which is merely a reaction born of wanting to he certain. Thought has always functioned in habit, therefore it is afraid of being uncertain, insecure. To live in uncertainty is a healthy not a neurotic state, but we don’t know what it means.
Whatever you do is in the pattern of habits
Whatever you do is in the pattern of habits. So to do nothing, to have the feeling that you don’t have to fight it, is the greatest action of intelligence.
Krishnamurti, Eight Conversations
Any form of resistance feeds the habit, which does not mean that you go on with the habit. You become aware of the habit and of the cultivation of its opposite, which is also a habit, and this awareness shows you that whatever you do with regard to the habit is the formation of another habit. So now, after having observed this whole process, your intelligence says, don’t do anything about the habit. Don’t give any attention to it. Don’t be concerned with it because the more you are concerned with it the more active it becomes. Now intelligence is in operation and is watching. This watching is entirely different from the vigilance of resisting the habit, reacting to it. If you get the feeling of this intelligence watching, then this feeling will operate and deal with the habit, and not the vigilance of resolution and will. So what is important is not habit but the understanding of habit which brings about intelligence. This intelligence keeps awake without the fuel of desire, which is will. In the first instance the habit is confronted with resistance, in the second it is not confronted at all, and that is intelligence. The action of intelligence has withered the resistance to the habit on which the habit feeds.
Habit is an escape
Smoking, drinking, or any other habit, is an escape from your own nervousness or disturbed state.
Krishnamurti in Colombo 1950, Talk 2
The questioner wants to know how to stop smoking. It is a problem to him. Perhaps you also smoke, or have some other habit. Let us find out how to understand this whole process of habit-forming and habit-breaking. We can take the example of smoking, and you can substitute your own habit, your own particular problem, and experiment with your own problem directly as I am experimenting with the problem of smoking. It is a problem, it becomes a problem, when I want to give it up; as long as I am satisfied with it, it is not a problem. The problem arises when I have to do something about a particular habit, when the habit becomes a disturbance. Smoking has created a disturbance, so I want to be free of it. I want to stop smoking, I want to be rid of it, to put it aside; so my approach to smoking is one of resistance or condemnation. That is, I don’t want to smoke; so my approach is either to suppress it, condemn it, or to find a substitute for it: instead of smoking, to chew. Now, can I look at the problem free of condemnation, justification, or suppression? Can I look at my smoking without any sense of rejection? Try to experiment with it now, as I am talking, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is not to reject or accept. Because, our whole tradition, our whole background, is urging us to reject or to justify, rather than to be curious about it. Instead of being passively watchful, the mind always operates on the problem. So, the problem is not smoking, but our approach to smoking which creates the problem. Because, if you find smoking rather stupid, a waste of money, and so on – if you really see that, you will drop it, there will be no problem. Smoking, drinking, or any other habit, is an escape from something else; it makes you feel socially at ease. It is an escape from your own nervousness, or from a disturbed state; and the habit becomes a means of your conditioning. So, smoking is not the problem. When you approach smoking with your memory, your recollection of previous trials and failures, you approach it with a conclusion already made. Therefore, the problem is not in the fact, but in your approach to the fact. You have tried by discipline, control, denial, and you have not succeeded. So you say, ‘I shall go on smoking, I cannot stop’ – which is after all an attempt to justify yourself; which means your approach is not very intelligent. So, smoking or any other habit is not a problem. The problem is thought, which is your approach to the fact. You are the problem, not the habit which you have created; and thus you will see, if you really try, how difficult it is for the mind to be free from the sense of condemnation and justification. When your mind is free, the problem of smoking or any other problem is non-existent.
Happiness does not come when you are striving for it – and that is the greatest secret, though it is very easily said. I can put it in a few simple words; but by merely listening to me and repeating what you have heard, you are not going to be happy. Happiness is strange; it comes when you are not seeking it. When you are not making an effort to be happy, then unexpectedly, mysteriously happiness is there, born of purity, of a loveliness of being. But that requires a great deal of understanding – not joining an organization or trying to become somebody. Truth is not something to be achieved. Truth comes into being when your mind and heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become somebody; it is there when the mind is very quiet, listening timelessly to everything that is happening. You may listen to these words but, for happiness to be, you have to find out how to free the mind of all fear.
You feel happy if you get what you want
As long as you can get what you want, you feel happy. But if you cannot get what you want, unhappiness begins.
Krishnamurti at Rajghat 1952, Talk 10
What do you mean by happiness? Some say happiness consists in getting what you want. You want a car, and you get it, and you are happy. I want a sari or clothes; I want to go to Europe and if I can, I am happy. I want to be the greatest politician, and if I get it, I am happy; if I cannot get it, I am unhappy. So, what you call happiness is getting what you want, achievement or success, becoming noble, getting anything that you want. As long as you want something and you can get it, you feel perfectly happy; you are not frustrated, but if you cannot get what you want, then unhappiness begins.
What is happiness and is happiness is something of which you are conscious? The moment you are conscious that you are happy, that you have much, is that happiness? The moment you are conscious that you are happy, it is not happiness, is it? So you cannot go after happiness. The moment you are conscious that you are humble, you are not humble. So happiness is not a thing to be pursued; it comes. But if you seek it, it will evade you.
Can you seek happiness? If you do then probably you will find an imitation of it in all sorts of distractions and indulgences. This is pleasure. What is the relationship between pleasure and happiness?
Pleasure which we pursue is mistakenly called happiness, but can you pursue happiness as you pursue pleasure? We must be very clear as to whether pleasure is happiness. Pleasure is gratification, satisfaction, indulgence, entertainment, stimulation. Most of us think pleasure is happiness, and the greatest pleasure we consider to be the greatest happiness.
Have you ever been aware of being happy? Surely, what you were aware of was the sensation of an experience which you call happiness; but that is not happiness. What you know is the past, not the present; and the past is sensation, reaction, memory. You remember that you were happy; and can the past tell what happiness is? It can recall but it cannot be. Recognition is not happiness; to know what it is to be happy, is not happiness. Recognition is the response of memory; and can the mind, the complex of memories, experiences, ever be happy? The very recognition prevents the experiencing.
When you are aware that you are happy, is there happiness? When there is happiness, are you aware of it? Consciousness comes only with conflict, the conflict of remembrance of the more. Happiness is not the remembrance of the more. Where there is conflict, happiness is not. Conflict is where the mind is. Thought at all levels is the response of memory, and so thought invariably breeds conflict. Thought is sensation, and sensation is not happiness. Sensations are ever seeking gratifications. The end is sensation, but happiness is not an end; it cannot be sought out.
Is creative happiness realisable? That is, can the mind keep in touch with that which is the source of all happiness? Can this openness be sustained in spite of knowledge and technique, in spite of education and the crowding in of life? It can be, but only when the educator is educated to this reality, only when he who teaches is himself in touch with the source of creative happiness. So our problem is not the child, but the teacher and the parent. Education is a vicious circle only when we do not see the importance, the essential necessity above all else, of this supreme happiness. After all, to be open to the source of all happiness is the highest religion; but to realise this happiness, you must give right attention to it. The teacher’s profession is not a mere routine job, but the expression of beauty and joy, which cannot be measured in terms of achievement and success.
Training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony, both intellectually and emotionally. There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence, because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence both capacities are equally present, intensely and harmoniously.
If you bring your emotions into business, you say, business cannot be well managed or be honest. So you divide your mind into compartments: in one compartment you keep your religious interest, in another your emotions, in a third your business interest which has nothing to do with your intellectual and emotional life. Your business mind treats life merely as a means of getting money in order to live. So this chaotic existence, this division of your life continues. If you really used your intelligence in business, that is, if your emotions and your thought were acting harmoniously, your business might fail. It probably would. And you will probably let it fail when you really feel the absurdity, the cruelty, and the exploitation that is involved in this way of living.
Until you really approach all of life with your intelligence, instead of merely with your intellect, no system in the world will save us from the ceaseless toil for bread.
The body has its own intelligence
The body has its own intelligence; it requires a great deal of intelligence to observe the intelligence of the body.
Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle
Do not let us confuse laziness with leisure. Most of us, unfortunately, are lazy and inclined to be indolent, so we whip ourselves to be active therefore we become more lazy. The more I resist laziness the more I become lazy. But look at laziness, in the morning when I get up feeling terribly lazy, not wanting to do so many things. Why has the body become lazy? – probably one has overeaten, overindulged sexually, one has done everything the previous day and night to make the body heavy, dull; and the body says for God’s sake leave me alone for a little while; and one wants to whip it, make it active; but one does not correct the way of one’s life, so one takes a pill to be active. But if one observes, one will see that the body has its own intelligence; it requires a great deal of intelligence to observe the intelligence of the body. One forces it, one drives it; one is used to meat, one drinks, smokes, you know all the rest of it and therefore the body itself loses its own intrinsic organic intelligence. To allow the body to act intelligently, the mind has to become intelligent and not allow itself to interfere with the body. You try it and you will see that laziness undergoes a tremendous change.
The skill of intelligence is to put knowledge in its right place. Without knowledge it is not possible to live in this technological and almost mechanical civilization. But it will not transform the human being and his society. Knowledge is not the excellence of intelligence; intelligence can and does use knowledge and thus transforms man and his society. Intelligence is not the mere cultivation of the intellect and its integrity. It comes out of the understanding of the whole consciousness of man, yourself and not a part, a separate segment, of yourself. The study and the understanding of the movement of your own mind and heart give birth to this intelligence. You are the content of your consciousness; in knowing yourself you will know the universe. This knowing is beyond the word for the word is not the thing. The freedom from the known, every minute, is the essence of intelligence. It is this intelligence that is in operation in the universe if you leave it alone. You are destroying this sacredness of order through the ignorance of yourself. This ignorance is not banished by the studies others have made about you or themselves. You yourself have to study the content of your own consciousness. The studies others have made of themselves, and so of yourself, are the descriptions but not the described. The word is not the thing. Only in relationship can you know yourself, not in abstraction and certainly not in isolation. Even in a monastery you are related to the society which has made the monastery as an escape, or closed the doors to freedom. The movement of behaviour is the sure guide to yourself; it’s the mirror of your consciousness; this mirror will reveal its content, the images, the attachments, the fears, the loneliness, the joy and the sorrow. Poverty lies in running away from this, either in its sublimations or in its identities. Negating without resistance this content of consciousness is the beauty and compassion of intelligence.
Intelligence is the capacity to discern, to understand, to distinguish; it is also the capacity to observe, to put together all that we have gathered and to act from that. That gathering, that discernment, that observation, can be prejudiced; and intelligence is denied when there is prejudice. If you follow another, however noble, denies own perception, denies your own observation – you are merely following somebody who will tell you what to do, what to think. If you do that, then intelligence does not exist; because in that there is no observation and therefore no intelligence. Intelligence demands doubting, questioning, not being impressed by others, by their enthusiasm, by their energy. Intelligence demands that there be impersonal observation. Intelligence is not only the capacity to understand that which is rationally, verbally explained but also implies that we gather as much information as possible, yet knowing that that information can never be complete, about anybody or anything. Where there is intelligence there is hesitation, observation and the clarity of rational impersonal thinking. The comprehension of the whole of man, of all his complexities, all his physical responses, his emotional reactions, his intellectual capacities, his affection and his travail, the perceiving of all that at one glance, in one act, is supreme intelligence.
David Bohm: It seems to me that thought is like the information in a book and intelligence has to read the meaning of it. I think this gives a rather good notion of intelligence.
Krishnamurti: To read between the lines.
DB: Yes, to see what it means. There is also another relevant meaning given in the dictionary which is: mental alertness.
K: Yes, mental alertness.
DB: This is very different from what people have in mind when they measure intelligence. Now, considering many of the things you have said, you would say intelligence is not thought. You say thought takes place in the old brain, it is a physical process, electrochemical; it has been amply proved by science that all thought is essentially a physical, chemical process. Then we could say perhaps that intelligence is not of the same order, it is not of the order of time at all.
DB: Yes, intelligence reads “between the lines” of thought, sees the meaning of it. There is one more point before we start on this question: if you say thought is physical, then the mind or intelligence or whatever you want to call it, seems different, it is of a different order. Would you say there is a real difference between the physical and intelligence?
K: Yes. Are we saying that thought is matter?
DB: I would rather call it a material process.
K: All right; thought is a material process, and what is the relationship between that and intelligence? Is intelligence the product of thought?
DB: I think that we can take for granted that it is not.
K: Why do we take it for granted?
DB: Simply because thought is mechanical.
K: Thought is mechanical, that is right.
DB: Intelligence is not.
K: So thought is measurable; intelligence is not. And how does it happen that this intelligence comes into existence? If thought has no relationship with intelligence, then is the cessation of thought the awakening of intelligence? Or is it that intelligence, being independent of thought, not of time, therefore exists always?
What a strange thing is loneliness, and how frightening it is! We never allow ourselves to get too close to it; and if by chance we do, we quickly run away from it. We will do anything to escape from loneliness, to cover it up. Our conscious and unconscious preoccupation seems to be to avoid it or to overcome it. Avoiding and overcoming loneliness are equally futile; though suppressed or neglected, the pain, the problem, is still there. You may lose yourself in a crowd, and yet be utterly lonely; you may be intensely active, but loneliness silently creeps upon you; put the book down, and it is there. Amusements and drinks cannot drown loneliness; you may temporarily evade it, but when the laughter and the effects of alcohol are over, the fear of loneliness returns. You may be ambitious and successful, you may have vast power over others, you may be rich in knowledge, you may worship and forget yourself in the rigmarole of rituals; but do what you will, the ache of loneliness continues. You may exist only for your son, for the Master, for the expression of your talent; but like the darkness, loneliness covers you. You may love or hate, escape from it according to your temperament and psychological demands; but loneliness is there, waiting and watching, withdrawing only to approach again.
Why do you want a friend? Is it because you are lonely? Is it because you depend or rely on them? Is it to have companionship? Is it out of your insufficiency, depending on another to fulfil or to fill that emptiness, and therefore you are using another, exploiting another to cover your insufficiency and utter emptiness, and so call that person a friend? Most of us are lonely, and the older we get, the more lonely. We discover our emptiness, what it means to be lonely, to have no friend at all because you have led a superficial life and depended on others, exploited others, invested your thought, your feelings in another. And when they go away or die you feel so lonely and empty. Out of that emptiness, there is self-pity, and then you again begin the game of seeking somebody to fill that loneliness. Can you see all this and learn from it? Learn what it means to be lonely and not escape from it; look at it, live with it, see what is implied, so that psychologically you depend on nobody. Then only will you know what it means to love.
Why are you frightened of being alone?
If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone?
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious – a petty, shoddy, second-hand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins.
It is good to be alone. To be far away from the world and yet walk its streets is to be alone. To be alone walking up the path beside the rushing, noisy mountain stream full of spring water and melting snows is to be aware of that solitary tree, alone in its beauty. The loneliness of man in the street is the pain of life; he’s never alone, far away, untouched and vulnerable. To be full of knowledge is never to be alone and the activity of that knowledge breeds endless misery. The demand for expression, with its frustrations and pains, is that man who walks the streets; he is never alone. Sorrow is the movement of that loneliness.
We are never alone; we are surrounded by people and by our own thoughts. Even when the people are distant, we see things through the screen of our thoughts. There is no moment, nor it is very rare, when thought is not. We do not know what it is to be alone, to be free of all association, of all continuity, of all word and image. We are lonely, but we do not know what it is to be alone. The ache of loneliness fills our hearts, and the mind covers it with fear. Loneliness, that deep isolation, is the dark shadow of our life. We do everything we can to run away from it, we plunge down every avenue of escape we know, but it pursues us and we are never without it. Isolation is the way of our life; we rarely fuse with another, for in ourselves we are broken, torn and unhealed. In ourselves we are not whole, complete, and the fusion with another is possible only when there is integration within, We are afraid of solitude, for it opens the door to our insufficiency, the poverty of our own being; but it is solitude that heals the deepening wound of loneliness. To walk alone, unimpeded by thought, by the trail of our desires, is to go beyond the reaches of the mind. It is the mind that isolates, separates and cuts off communion. The mind cannot be made whole; it cannot make itself complete, for that very effort is a process of isolation, it is part of the loneliness that nothing can cover. The mind is the product of the many, and what is put together can never be alone. Aloneness is not the result of thought. Only when thought is utterly still is there the flight of the alone to the alone.
Most people are unhappy; and they are unhappy because there is no love in their hearts. Love will arise in your heart when you have no barrier between yourself and another, when you meet and observe people without judging them, when you just see the sailboat on the river and enjoy the beauty of it. Don’t let your prejudices cloud your observation of things as they are; just observe, and you will discover that out of this simple observation, out of this awareness of trees, of birds, of people walking, working, smiling, something happens to you inside. Without this extraordinary thing happening to you, without the arising of love in your heart, life has very little meaning.
Love can do nothing
Love can do nothing, but without it nothing can be done.
Love is not sorrow nor is it made up of jealousy but it is dangerous for it destroys. It destroys everything that man has built around himself except bricks. It cannot build temples nor reform the rotting society; it can do nothing, but without it nothing can be done, do what you will. Love has no problem and that is why it is so destructive and dangerous. Man lives by problems, those unresolved and continuous things; without them, he wouldn’t know what to do; he would be lost and in the losing gain nothing. So problems multiply endlessly; in the resolving of the one there is another. But death, of course, is destruction; it is not love. Death is old age, disease. It is not the destruction that love brings; it is not the death that love brings. It is the ashes of a fire that has been carefully built up. Love, death, creation are inseparable; you cannot have one and deny the others; you cannot buy it on the market or in any church; these are the last places where you would find it.
Freedom and love go together
Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something – and it is only such love that can know freedom.
Krishnamurti, Think On These Things
Do you know what it means to love somebody? Do you know what it means to love a tree, or a bird, or a pet animal, so that you take care of it, feed it, cherish it, though it may give you nothing in return though it may not offer you shade, or follow you, or depend on you? Most of us don’t love in that way, we don’t know what that means at all because our love is always hedged about with anxiety, jealousy, fear – which implies that we depend inwardly on another, we want to be loved. We don’t just love and leave it there, but we ask something in return; and in that very asking we become dependent.
So freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something – and it is only such love that can know freedom.
It is very important to understand this whole question of discipline. To me, discipline is something altogether ugly; it is not creative, it is destructive. But merely to stop there, with a statement of that kind, may seem to imply that you can do whatever you like. On the contrary, a man who loves does not do whatever he likes. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.
Love is as real as death
Love is as real, as strong, as death.
Probably love has totally disappeared from this world. Love implies generosity, care, not to hurt another, not to make another feel guilty, to be generous, courteous, and behave in such a manner that your words and thoughts are born out of compassion. Of course you cannot be compassionate if you belong to organized religious institutions – large, powerful, traditional, dogmatic, that insist on faith. There must be freedom to love. That love is not pleasure, desire, a remembrance of things that have gone. Love is not the opposite of jealousy, hate and anger.
All this may sound rather utopian, idealistic; something that man can only aspire to. But if you believe that then you will go on killing. Love is as real, as strong, as death. It has nothing to do with imagination, or sentiment, or romanticism; and naturally it has nothing to do with power, position, prestige. It is as still as the waters of the sea and as powerful as the sea; it is like the running waters of a rich river flowing endlessly, without a beginning or an end.
The explosion of meditation
Thought shattering itself against its own nothingness is the explosion of meditation.
Habit and meditation can never abide together; meditation can never become a habit; meditation can never follow the pattern laid down by thought which forms habit. Meditation is the destruction of thought and not thought caught in its own intricacies, visions and its own vain pursuits. Thought shattering itself against its own nothingness is the explosion of meditation. This meditation has its own movement, directionless and so is causeless. And in that room, in that peculiar silence when the clouds are low, almost touching the treetops, meditation was a movement in which the brain emptied itself and remained still. It was a movement of the totality of the mind in emptiness and there was timelessness. Thought is matter held within the bonds of time; thought is never free, never new; every experience only strengthens the bondage and so there is sorrow. Experience can never free thought; it makes it more cunning, and refinement is not the ending of sorrow. Thought, however astute, however experienced, can never end sorrow; it can escape from it but it can never end it. The ending of sorrow is the ending of thought. There is no one who can put an end to it [to thought], not its own gods, its own ideals, beliefs, dogmas. Every thought, however wise or petty, shapes the response to the challenge of limitless life and this response of time breeds sorrow. Thought is mechanical and so it can never be free; only in freedom there is no sorrow. The ending of thought is the ending of sorrow.
Meditate alone. Get lost. And don’t try to remember where you have been. If you try to remember it then it will be something that is dead. And if you hold on to the memory of it then you will never be alone again. So meditate in that endless solitude, in the beauty of that love, in that innocency, in the new then there is the bliss that is imperishable.
Meditation is not a practice
Meditation is not a practice; it is not the cultivation of habit; meditation is heightened awareness.
Krishnamurti in Ojai 1945, Talk 9
Meditation is not a practice; it is not the cultivation of habit; meditation is heightened awareness. Mere practice dulls the mind. heart for habit denotes thoughtlessness and causes insensitivity. Right meditation is a liberative process, a creative self-discover which frees thought-feeling from bondage. In freedom alone is there the real.
Follow the wandering
Follow the wandering, the distraction, find out why the mind has wandered; pursue it, go into it fully. When the distraction is completely understood, that particular distraction is gone. When another comes, pursue it also.
Krishnamurti in Rajahmundry 1949, Talk 1
My mind wanders. Why? I want to think about a picture, a phrase, an idea, an image, and in thinking about it I see that my mind has gone off to the railway or to something that happened yesterday. The first thought has gone, and another has taken its place. Therefore I examine every thought that arises. That is intelligent, isn’t it? But you make an effort to fix your thought on something. Why should you fix it? If you are interested in the thought that comes, then it gives you its significance. The wandering is not distraction – do not give it a name. Follow the wandering, the distraction, find out why the mind has wandered; pursue it, go into it fully. When the distraction is completely understood, then that particular distraction is gone. When another comes, pursue it also. Mind is made up of innumerable demands and longings; and when it understands them, it is capable of an awareness which is not exclusive. Concentration is exclusiveness, it is resistance against something. Such concentration is like putting on blinkers – it is obviously useless, it does not lead to reality. When a child is interested in a toy, there is no distraction.
Meditation is freedom from thought
Meditation is freedom from thought and a movement in the ecstasy of truth. Meditation is explosion of intelligence.
Krishnamurti, The Second Krishnamurti Reader
Meditation is movement in attention. Attention is not an achievement, for it is not personal. The personal element comes in only when there is the observer as the centre, from which he concentrates or dominates; thus all achievement is fragmentary and limited. Attention has no border, no frontier to cross; attention is clarity, clear of all thought. Thought can never make for clarity for thought has its roots in the dead past; so thinking is an action in the dark. Awareness of this is to be attentive. Awareness is not a method that leads to attention; such attention is within the field of thought and so can be controlled or modified; being aware of this inattention is attention. Meditation is not an intellectual process – which is still within the area of thought. Meditation is the freedom from thought, and a movement in the ecstasy of truth.
Without passion you cannot do anything vital
Without passion you cannot do anything vital.
Krishnamurti in Madras 1958, Talk 8
For centuries people have said: destroy, control, shape, subjugate desire; and society – which after all is only the interaction between individuals – has helped to maintain and sustain the suppression of all feelings. You dare not have strong feelings because if you have a very strong feeling you may do something vital, you may be a dangerous entity, a dangerous citizen. So you begin to suppress, control, shape your feelings to the edicts of society or else you try to sublimate, that is, try to find some way of escaping from the violent tortures of strong feeling. This is what we do, is it not? So, gradually we destroy all feeling except the very, very superficial feelings of a little sex, earning a livelihood for the family, for the very narrow circle, and so on. So our minds, which are petty, reduce all feelings to the same level, and yet without passion – I use that word because, though you may not like it, I think it is the right word – without passion you cannot do anything vital.
Out of sorrow comes passion
Remain with sorrow completely, without any movement of thought, and you will find out of that sorrow comes passion.
Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
The root meaning of the word ‘passion’ is sorrow. We have all had sorrow of some kind or another, losing somebody, the sorrow of self-pity, the sorrow of the human race, both collective and personal. We know what sorrow is. When we remain with that sorrow totally, without trying to rationalise it, without trying to escape from it in any form through words or through action, when you remain with it completely, without any movement of thought, then you will find out of that sorrow comes passion. That passion has the quality of love, and love has no sorrow.
Without passion there is no creation. Total abandonment brings this unending passion. Abandonment with a motive is one thing, and without a purpose, without calculation, it is another. That which has an end, a direction, is short lived, becomes mischievous and commercial, vulgar. The other, not driven by any cause, intention or gain, has no beginning and no ending. This abandonment is the emptying of the mind of the ‘me’, the self. This ‘me’ can lose itself I some activity, in some comforting belief or fanciful dream but such loss is the continuing of the self in another form, identifying with another ideology and action. The abandonment of the self is not an act of will, for the will is the self. Any movement of the self, horizontally or vertically, in any direction, is still within the field of time and sorrow. Thought may give itself over to something, sane or insane, reasonable or idiotic, but being in its very structure and nature fragmentary, its very enthusiasm, excitement, soon turns into pleasure and fear. In this area the abandonment of self is illusory, with little meaning. The awareness of all this is the awakening to the activities of the self; in this attention there is no centre, the self. The urge to express oneself for identification is the outcome of confusion and the meaninglessness of existence. To seek a meaning is the beginning of fragmentation; thought can and does give a thousand meanings to life, each one inventing its own meanings which are merely opinions and convictions and there’s no end to them. The very living is the whole meaning but when life is a conflict, a struggle, a battlefield of ambition, competition and the worship of success, the search for power and position, then life has no meaning.
Is it a religious life to punish oneself? Is mortification of the body or of the mind a sign of understanding? Is self-torture a way to reality? Is chastity denial? Do you think you can go far through renunciation? Do
you really think there can be peace through conflict? Does not the means matter infinitely more than the end? The end may be, but the means is. The actual, the what is, must be understood and not smothered by determinations, ideals and clever rationalizations. Sorrow is not the way of happiness. The thing called passion has to be understood and not suppressed or sublimated, and it is no good finding a substitute for it. Whatever you may do, any device that you invent, will only strengthen that which has not been loved and understood. To love what we call passion is to understand it. To love is to be in direct communion; and you cannot love something if you resent it, if you have ideas, conclusions about it. How can you love and understand passion if you have taken a vow against it? A vow is a form of resistance, and what you resist ultimately conquers you. Truth is not to be conquered; you cannot storm it; it will slip through your hands if you try to grasp it. Truth comes silently, without your knowing. What you know is not truth, it is only an idea, a symbol. The shadow is not the real.
We don’t know where passion will take us
Passion is rather a frightening thing because if we have such a complete passion, we do not know where it will take us.
Krishnamurti, The Awakening of Intelligence
Most minds, 99.9% recurring of minds have this terrible burden, this tortured existence. And so they have no energy, energy being passion. And you cannot find any truth without passion. That word ‘passion’ is derived from the Latin word for suffering, which again derives from Greek and so on; from this suffering, the whole of Christendom worships sorrow not passion. And they have given passion a special significance. I don’t know what significance you give to it, the feeling of complete passion, with a fury behind it, with total energy, that passion in which there is no hidden want. And if we were to ask, not just with curiosity but with all the passion we have, then what would be the answer? But probably you are afraid of passion, because for most people passion is lust, passion that is derived from sex and all that. Or it may come from the passion that is felt through identification with the country to which we belong, or passion for some mean little god, made by the hand or by the mind; and so to us, passion is rather a frightening thing because if we have such a passion, we do not know where it will take us.
I don’t know you actually now
When one says ‘I know you,’ one means, ‘I know you as you were yesterday; I don’t know you actually now.’
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1967, Talk 6
When one says ‘I know you’, one means, ‘I know you as you were yesterday; I don’t know you actually now.’ Oneself is the past, living in the present touched by the past, overshadowed by the past, and tomorrow is waiting, which also is part of the observer. All that is within the field of time in the sense of yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is all one knows and with this state of mind, as the observer, one looks at fear, at jealousy, at war, at the family – that enclosing entity called the family – and with that one lives. The observer is always trying to solve the problem of the thing which is observed, which is the challenge, which is the new, and one is always translating the new in terms of the old, one is everlastingly, until one comes to an end, in conflict. One cannot understand intellectually, verbally, argumentatively, or through explanations, a state of mind in which the observer has no longer the space between himself and the thing observed, in which the past is no longer interfering, at any time, yet it is only then that the observer is the observed and only then that fear comes totally to an end.
I exist only in 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.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
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.
In the inquiry into what is meditation, I see that any wastage of energy is caused by friction in my relationship with another. Is it possible to have a relationship with another in which there is no friction whatsoever? That is possible only when I understand what love is, and the understanding of what love is, is the denial of what love is not. Love is not – as we went into the other day – anger, jealousy, ambition, greed, self-centred activity, you know, all that. Obviously that’s not love. So, when in the understanding of myself there is the total setting aside of all that which is not love, then it is.
Images have relationship, not ourselves
In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other, and these two images have relationship, not the human beings themselves.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
Relationship between human beings is based on the image-forming, defensive mechanism. In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other and these two images have relationship, not the human beings themselves. The wife has an image about the husband – perhaps not consciously but nevertheless it is there – and the husband has an image about the wife. One has an image about one’s country and about oneself, and we are always strengthening these images by adding more and more to them. And it is these images which have relationship. The actual relationship between two human beings or between many human beings completely end when there is the formation of images. Relationship based on these images can obviously never bring about peace in the relationship because the images are fictitious and one cannot live in an abstraction. And yet that is what we are all doing: living in ideas, in theories, in symbols, in images which we have created about ourselves and others and which are not realities at all. All our relationships, whether they be with property, ideas or people, are based essentially on this image-forming, and hence there is always conflict. How is it possible then to be completely at peace within ourselves and in all our relationships with others?
What we call relationship
Jealousy, distrust, feeling lonely deeply inside but trying to escape from it, that is my life, and that is what we call relationship, and that is what we call love.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park 1983, Q&A 1
I am jealous, which is, someone is depriving me of my stability, my security when they go away and talk to somebody else, or look at somebody else, or does something or other with somebody else – I am at a loss. They have deprived me of my identity, driven me to my loneliness. And I hate all that. So I am jealous of them. Jealousy implies hate, anger, violence, beating. And I can’t let them go and they can’t let me go, and we live like that. Jealousy, distrust, feeling lonely deeply inside but trying to escape from it, that’s my life, and that is what we call relationship, and that is what we call love.
So one asks a much deeper question: is love desire? Is love pleasure? You have to answer, not I. It is your life not my life. And can each of us see this fact, what possession, domination, power, does to each of us? Will he or she listen to each other, the basis of it, being afraid to lose? Afraid of losing one’s security in relationship. And when that security is shaken I am jealous. Will my wife listen to me? And I say to her, ‘I love you but I don’t possess you’ – could you say that? ‘I am free of you and you are free of me.’ Which doesn’t mean free love and going off, you know, changing every year a new man or a new woman, but seeing the whole problem, not just jealousy, how to get rid of jealousy, or distrust, but seeing the whole problem of relationship, which is very complex, which demands subtlety, sensitivity.
Tradition becomes our security
Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.
To carry the past over to the present, to translate the movement of the present in terms of the past, destroys the living beauty of the present. This land, and almost every land, is burdened with tradition, entrenched in high places and in the village hut. There is nothing sacred about tradition, however ancient or modern. The brain carries the memory of yesterday, which is tradition, and is frightened to let go, because it cannot face something new. Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay. One must take the journey unburdened, sweetly, without any effort, never stopping at any shrine, at any monument, or for any hero, social or religious – alone with beauty and love.
Does thought give security?
Does thought fundamentally, basically, give psychological security?
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1977, Talk 1
Does thought fundamentally, basically, give security, psychologically? Thought has its place; but when thought assumes that it can bring about psychological security then it is living in illusion. Thought wanting ultimate security has created a thing called God; and humanity clings to that idea. Thought can create every kind of romantic illusion. And when the mind, psychologically, seeks security in the dogma of the Church, or some other dogmatic assertion, or whatever it is, it is seeking security in the structure of thought. Thought is the response of experience and knowledge, stored up in the brain as memory; that response is therefore always moving from the past. Now, is there security in the past?
To be lost with the many is a form of psychological security; to be identified with a group or with an idea, secular or spiritual, is to feel safe. That is why most of us cling to nationalism, even thought it brings increasing destruction and misery; that is why organized religion has such a strong hold on people, even though it divides and breeds antagonism. The craving for individual or group security brings on destruction, and to be safe psychologically engenders illusion. Our life is illusion and misery, with rare moments of clarity and joy, so anything that promises a haven we eagerly accept. Some see the futility of political Utopias and so turn religious, which is to find security and hope in masters, in dogmas, in ideas. As belief shapes experience, the masters become an inescapable reality. Once it has experienced the pleasure which identification brings, the mind is firmly entrenched and nothing can shake it; for its criterion is experience. But experience is not reality. Reality cannot be experienced. It is. If the experiencer thinks he experiences reality, then he knows only illusion. All knowledge of reality is illusion. Knowledge or experience must cease for the being of reality. Experience cannot meet reality. Experience shapes knowledge, and knowledge bends experience; they must both cease for reality to be.
There is true security when you destroy those things that are keeping people apart, fighting each other in wars which are the result of nationalities and governments. You will not have peace or happiness so long as these things exist.
Krishnamurti in Auckland 1934, Talk 2
When every individual takes an interest in the welfare of the community, then there can be true cooperation. Now there is no cooperation because you are being merely driven like so many sheep, in one direction or another, by circumstances, and your leaders suppress you because you are but the means of exploitation, and you are exploited because your whole thought, your whole structure, is self-preservation at the expense of everybody else. I say there is true self-preservation, true security when you, as individuals, destroy those things that are keeping people apart, fighting each other in continual wars which are the result of nationalities and sovereign governments. And I assure you, you will not have peace, you will not have happiness, so long as these things exist. They but bring about more and more strife, more and more wars, more and more calamities, pains and sufferings. They have been created by individuals, and as individuals you have to begin to break them down and free yourselves from them, and then only will you realise that ecstasy of life.
Peace brings its own security
If the mind is alert, watchful, without choice, there is freedom from the limitation of the self, and therefore there is peace, which brings its own security.
Krishnamurti in New York 1954, Talk 3
For most of us peace is a withdrawal, it means entering into a cave of darkness, or holding on to some belief, some dogma, in which we find security; but that is not peace. Peace comes only with the total understanding of oneself, which is self-knowledge, and that self-knowledge cannot be bought. You need no book, no church, no priest, no analyst. You can observe the process of yourself in the mirror of your relationship with your boss, with your family, with your society. If the mind is alert, watchful, without choice, then there is freedom from the limitation of the self, and therefore there is peace, which brings its own security.
Thought distorts everything
Thought is so cunning, so clever, that it distorts everything for its own convenience.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
Thought is so cunning, so clever, that it distorts everything for its own convenience. Thought in its demand for pleasure brings its own bondage. Thought is the breeder of duality in all our relationships: there is violence in us which gives us pleasure but there is also the desire for peace, the desire to be kind and gentle. This is what is going on all the time in all our lives. Thought not only breeds this duality in us, this contradiction, but it also accumulates the innumerable memories we have had of pleasure and pain, and from these memories it is reborn. So thought is the past, thought is always old.
There are the whole separate worlds, the ideological divisions of the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian and the Communist, which have brought about such incalculable harm, such hatred and antagonism. All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man. These ideologies have brought about wars; although there may be religious tolerance, it is up to a certain point only; after that, destruction, intolerance, brutality, violence – the religious wars. Similarly there are the national and tribal divisions caused by ideologies, the black nationalism and the various tribal expressions.
Thought has made the thinker
There is no thinker apart from thought; thought has made the thinker.
There is no thinker apart from thought; thought has made the thinker, the experiencer, the analyser. The thinker, the one who is watching, the one who acts, is the past, with all the inheritance of man, genetically, biologically – the traditions, the habits and all accumulated knowledge. After all, the past is knowledge, and the thinker is not separate from the past. Thought has created the past, thought is the past; then thought divides the thinker and the thought, which the thinker must shape, control. But that is a fallacy; there is only thought. The self is the ‘me’, the past. Imagination may project the future but it is still the activity of thought. So thought, which is the outcome of knowledge, has not changed man and will never change him because knowledge is always limited and will always be limited.
What is thinking? It is a response, a reaction, of memory. If you had no memory, you would not be able to think. Memory is stored in the brain as knowledge, the result of experience. This is how our brain operates. First, experience; that experience may have been from the beginning of man, which we have inherited. That experience gives knowledge, which is stored up in the brain. From knowledge there is memory and from the memory thought. From thought you act. From that action you learn more. So you repeat the cycle. Experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action; from that action learn more and repeat. This is how we are programmed. We are always doing this: having remembered pain, in the future avoid pain by not doing the thing that will cause pain, which becomes knowledge, and repeat that. Sexual pleasure – repeat that. This is the movement of thought. See the beauty of it, how mechanically thought operates. Thought says to itself, ‘I am free to operate.’ Yet thought is never free because it is based on knowledge, and knowledge is obviously always limited. Knowledge must also be always limited because it is part of time. I will learn more, and to learn more I must have time. I do not know Russian, but I will learn it. It may take me six months or a year or a lifetime. Knowledge is the movement of time. Time, knowledge, thought, and action – in this cycle we live. Thought is limited, so whatever action thought generates must be limited, and such limitation must create conflict, must be divisive.
That which is sacred has no division, not one a Christian, another a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and all the rest of the divisions. That which thought has put together is of time, is fragmentary, is not whole, therefore it is not holy. Though you worship the image on a cross that is not holy, that is invested with sacredness by thought; the same with the images that the Hindus have put together, or the Buddhists and so on. What then is sacred? One can only find out when thought has discovered itself, its right place, without effort, without will and there is this immense sense of silence; the silence of the mind without any movement of thought. It is only when the mind is absolutely free and silent that one discovers that which is beyond all words, which is timeless. Then out of that comes the vastness of true meditation.
It is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.
Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom
Regeneration is only possible in the present, not in the future, not tomorrow. A man who relies on time as a means through which he can gain happiness or realize truth or God is merely deceiving himself; he is living in ignorance and therefore in conflict. A man who sees that time is not the way out of our difficulty and who is therefore free from the false, such a man naturally has the intention to understand; therefore his mind is quiet spontaneously, without compulsion, without practice. When the mind is still, tranquil, not seeking any answer or any solution, neither resisting nor avoiding – it is only then that there can be a regeneration, because then the mind is capable of perceiving what is true; and it is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.
Truth is a pathless land
I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.
Krishnamurti’s Dissolution Speech
I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.
If you see the truth, it will act. If you see the truth that a snake is dangerous, the truth, you act. If you see the danger of a precipice, the fact, the truth of it, you act. If you see the truth of arsenic, the poison, you act. Do you see this, or do you still live in the world of ideas? If you live in the world of ideas, conclusions, then that’s not truth, that’s just a projection of thought.
Give your mind and heart to discover truth
You can discover truth only if you are willing to give your whole mind and heart to it, not a few moments of your easily spared time.
Krishnamurti in Ojai 1946, Talk 1
Effort made to be free without the liberating action of truth is still within the enclosing walls of the self. You can discover truth only if you are willing to give your whole mind and heart to it, not a few moments of your easily spared time. If we are earnest we will find truth; but this earnestness cannot depend on stimulation of any kind. We must give our full and deep attention to the discovery of the truth of our problem, not for a few grudging moments but constantly. It is truth alone that liberates thought from its own enclosing process.
Truth cannot be given to you by somebody. You have to discover it; and to discover, there must be a state of mind in which there is direct perception. There is no direct perception when there is a resistance, a safeguard, a protection. Understanding comes through being aware of ‘what is’. To know exactly ‘what is’, the real, the actual, without interpreting it, without condemning or justifying it, is, surely, the beginning of wisdom. It is only when we begin to interpret, to translate according to our conditioning, according to our prejudice, that we miss the truth. After all, it is like research. To know what something is, what it is exactly, requires research – you cannot translate it according to your moods. Similarly, if we can look, observe, listen, be aware of ‘what is’, exactly, then the problem is solved. And that is what we are trying to do in all these discourses. I am going to point out to you ‘what is’, and not translate it according to my fancy; nor should you translate it or interpret it according to your background or training.
That thing which you fight, you become. If I am angry and you meet me with anger what is the result? More anger. You have become that which I am. If I am evil and you fight me with evil means then you also become evil, however righteous you may feel. If I am brutal and you use brutal methods to overcome me, then you become brutal like me. And this we have done for thousands of years. Surely there is a different approach than to meet hate by hate. If I use violent methods to quell anger in myself then I am using wrong means for a right end, and thereby the right end ceases to be. In this there is no understanding; there is no transcending anger. Anger is to be studied tolerantly and understood; it is not to be overcome through violent means. Anger may be the result of many causes and without comprehending them there is no escape from anger.
We have created the enemy, the bandit, and becoming ourselves the enemy in no way brings about an end to enmity. We have to understand the cause of enmity and cease to feed it by our thought, feeling, and action. This is an arduous task demanding constant self-awareness and intelligent pliability, for what we are the society, the state is. The enemy and the friend are the outcome of our thought and action. We are responsible for creating enmity and so it is more important to be aware of our own thought and action than to be concerned with the foe and the friend, for right thinking puts an end to division. Love transcends the friend and the enemy.
A different response to anger
In the presence of a person who is angry, see what takes place if one is aware of it and does not respond. The moment one is aware of the other person’s anger and one does not react, there is quite a different response.
Krishnamurti in Ojai 1980, Q&A Meeting 2
The brain when faced with violence undergoes a rapid chemical change; it reacts much quicker than the blow. One’s whole body reacts and there is immediate response; one may not hit back, but the very presence of anger or hatred causes this response and there is action.
In the presence of a person who is angry, see what takes place if one is aware of it and does not respond. The moment one is aware of the other person’s anger and one does not react oneself, there is quite a different response. One’s instinct is to respond to hate by hate, to anger by anger; there is the welling up chemically which creates in the system the nervous reactions. But quieten all this in the presence of anger, and a different action takes place.
We have all, I am sure, tried to subdue anger but somehow that does not seem to dissolve it. Is there a different approach to dissipate anger? Anger may spring from physical or psychological causes. One is angry, perhaps, because one is thwarted, one’s defensive reactions are being broken down, or one’s security which has been carefully built up is being threatened, and so on. We are all familiar with anger. How is one to understand and dissolve anger? If you consider that your beliefs, concepts, opinions, are of the greatest importance, then you are bound to react violently when questioned. Instead of clinging to beliefs, opinions, if you begin to question whether they are essential to one’s comprehension of life, then through the understanding of its causes there is the cessation of anger. Thus one begins to dissolve one’s own resistances which cause conflict and pain. This again requires earnestness. We are used to controlling ourselves for sociological or religious reasons or for convenience, but to uproot anger requires deep awareness.
You say you are angry when you hear of injustice. Is it because you love humanity, because you are compassionate? Do compassion and anger dwell together? Can there be justice when there is anger, hatred? You are perhaps angry at the thought of general injustice, cruelty, but your anger does not alter injustice or cruelty; it can only do harm. To bring about order, you yourself have to be thoughtful, compassionate. Action born of hatred can only create further hatred. There can be no righteousness where there is anger. Righteousness and anger cannot dwell together.
When you separate yourself, it breeds violence
When you separate yourself by belief, nationality or tradition, it breeds violence. So one who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, religion or political party, but is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
Now there are two primary schools of thought with regard to violence, one which says, ‘Violence is innate in man’ and the other which says, ‘Violence is the result of the social and cultural heritage in which man lives.’ We are not concerned with which school we belong to – it is of no importance. What is important is the fact that we are violent, not the reason for it.
Can we go beyond violence?
If we know how to look at violence, not only outwardly in society – the wars, riots, national antagonisms and class conflicts – but also in ourselves, perhaps we shall be able to go beyond it.
Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known
If we know how to look at violence, not only outwardly in society – the wars, the riots, the national antagonisms and class conflicts – but also in ourselves, then perhaps we shall be able to go beyond it. Here is a very complex problem. For centuries upon centuries man has been violent; religions have tried to tame him throughout the world and none of them have succeeded. So if we are going into the question we must, it seems to me, be at least very serious about it because it will lead us into quite a different domain, but if we want merely to play with the problem for intellectual entertainment we shall not get very far. You may feel that you yourself are very serious about the problem but that as long as so many other people in the world are not serious and are not prepared to do anything about it, what is the good of your doing anything? I don’t care whether they take it seriously or not. I take it seriously, that is enough. I am not my brother’s keeper. I myself, as a human being, feel very strongly about this question of violence and I will see to it that in myself I am not violent – but I cannot tell you or anybody else, ‘Don’t be violent.’ It has no meaning – unless you yourself want it.