Krishnamurti with with Pupul Jayakar 4
This conversation from 1981 between Krishnamurti and Pupul Jayakar looks at ending and death. What is ending? The mind cannot enter into a totally new dimension if there is a shadow of memory. If the movement of thought ends, consciousness as we know it is not. Thought is the enemy of compassion. What significance has death? Have we seen the meaning of death, the extraordinary beauty of ending something?
Pupul Jayakar, was a trustee of Krishnamurti Foundation India, and for decades was a friend of Krishnamurti’s. She helped publish many of his books in India, along with writing a biography which was published soon after his death. Her other books include The Earth Mother, The Buddha and God is Not a Full-Stop.
Pupul Jayakar: Krishnaji, one of the questions which I feel lie at the very depth of the human mind is the coming to be and the ceasing to be – life and death. It is around these, the wonder of birth and the fear of death, that the whole of man’s life really… all his urges, his demands, his desires, his fears, his anxieties, rest between these two poles.
Pupul Jayakar: Birth and death.
PJ: Birth and death. At one level, we understand birth and death, but I think only the superficial mind understands, and unless we understand at depth the whole problem of existence, which is held between these two, the whole problem that lies in the ending of anything – the fear, the anxiety, the darknesses and shadows which surround that one word.
K: Why do you use the word problem? Why do you make that interval between birth and death a problem? Why do you call it a problem?
PJ: In itself, birth and death are facts, but the mind can never leave them alone. The mind clings to one and rejects the other.
K: No, but I am just asking…
PJ: And therefore the problem.
K: Why do you use the word problem, that’s what I’m asking.
PJ: Problem is because of the shadows which surround one word, which is, the joy and splendour of what we see as life and the demand to hold to it at any cost and to evade that which means an ending.
K: I understand that.
PJ: This is a problem. Out of it arises sorrow, out of it arises fear, out of it…
K: …all the misery.
PJ: …all the demands.
K: So what is the question?
PJ: So, how do we explore, how can we be free of these darknesses that surround the word? How can our mind look at death with a simplicity and observe it for what it is? But we can never observe it.
K: So, are you merely considering what is death, or that great period between life and death? Are you including, if I may ask, the whole process of living, with all its complexity, misery, confusion, uncertainty, all that, and the ending? Are you concerned – I am just using the word concerned – to find out what death means and what this long process of struggle, conflict, misery, etc., to which we cling, and avoid the other, or are you asking, the whole movement of it?
PJ: You see, there is a whole movement of existence, in which life and death are. But if you take it and make the scope so wide, I don’t think you can get to the anguish and the sorrow of ending.
K: I see.
PJ: And I want to investigate into the sorrow of ending, because…
K: Is that all, or are you inquiring – just a minute, if one may ask – sorrow of ending, ending sorrow, or are you inquiring into the whole process of living, dying, in which is included sorrow, fear and all the rest of it?
PJ: In that one sentence I feel what you say is correct – it is the whole movement of living and dying, which is existence. You talk of the ending of sorrow.
PJ: The ending of sorrow. I talk of that fear and anguish, which is the sorrow of ending.
K: Ah, quite, quite, quite, quite.
PJ: You see, the two are slightly different.
K: Yes, I understand. The sorrow of ending.
PJ: There is a sorrow, such anguish of something which is, and something ceasing to be – something which is so marvellous, beautiful, fills one’s life, and the knowledge which lurks behind, that that must end.
K: Now, what is ending? What do you mean, ending? What is ending?
PJ: Ending is that. ‘That which is’ ceases to be available to our senses. That which exists, sustains, ceases to be, eternally. That word eternally…
K: What is this? I don’t quite understand it.
PJ: Sir, there is, something is, and in the very nature of its is-ness, the ending of that, the disappearance of that, for eternity. The word eternity…
K: Why do you use that word eternity?
PJ: Because there is an absoluteness in it.
K: The ending.
PJ: In ending. There is no tomorrow in ending.
K: Now, just a minute – ending what?
PJ: Ending that which sustains. The sorrow is the ending of that.
K: The ending of sorrow and the ending – what? – is not eternity.
PJ: No, the sorrow of something which is so marvellous ending.
K: Wait a minute – is it so marvellous?
PJ: Let me come down to something which is more direct.
PJ: You are. You are, and that you should not be is great anguish.
K: Yes. You are…
PJ: Not ‘you are’… you are.
K: Just a minute, what do you mean you are?
PJ: You, Krishnamurti, is.
K: All right.
PJ: And in that word, in that statement itself, is the tremendous anguish of Krishnamurti ceasing to be.
K: I understand. Now, are you… the anguish of K ending, or K in himself ending? You follow what I’m saying?
PJ: How do you distinguish the two?
K: Death is inevitable to this person. Right?
K: He is going to end some day.
K: To him it doesn’t matter.
K: There is no fear, no anguish, no… So… but you look at that person and say, ‘Oh my God, he’s going to die.’
K: So the – if I may use that word anguish, as you used the word – is your anguish.
PJ: Is my anguish.
K: Yes. Now, why?
PJ: Isn’t it?
K: Why should it be?
PJ: It is.
K: No, don’t…
PJ: Why do you ask why?
K: No, I am interested, I want to know why. Someone dies, whatever he is – beautiful, ugly, all that, a human existence contained in that person – and he dies, which is inevitable. And I look at that person – I have lived with that person, I love that person, and that person dies. I am in anguish. Right?
K: Why? Why am I in a terrible state – anguish, tears, desperate loneliness – why am I in sorrow? We are not discussing this intellectually.
K: No. I am talking about it much more seriously. Why should I? I have lost that person. He has been dear to me, companion, all the rest of it, and he comes to an end. I think it is really important to understand the ending. The ending. Because there is something totally new when there is an ending, to everything.
PJ: That is why I asked. You cannot ask the why of it.
K: No, why is merely put as an inquiry.
P: No, but isn’t it inevitable? He that was the perfume of my existence, ceases.
K: Yes, I loved him. I loved him. He was my companion – sexually if I’m… all the rest of it – in whom I felt full, rich.
K: And that person comes to an end. Right?
PJ: Isn’t it sorrow?
K: It is. My son dies, or my brother dies, it is a tremendous sorrow.
K: I shed tears, and anxiety, and the mind then says I must find comfort, and invents the idea that I will meet him next life, and all that stuff begins.
Now, I am asking myself why man carries this sorrow with him. I know it is sorrowful, I know it is devastating. It is as though the whole existence has been uprooted. It’s like a marvellous tree torn down in an instant, cut down in an instant. That has happened. I think I am in sorrow because I have never really understood deeply: what is ending. I have lived forty, fifty, eighty years. During that period I have never realised the meaning of ending.
PJ: I understand.
K: The ending, putting an end to something which I hold dear. I mean, totally ending belief, totally ending attachment. The ending of it, not the ending of it in order to continue in another direction.
PJ: What makes the mind capable…
K: …of ending.
PJ: Of ending. It is a question which…
K: It’s fear, of course. For example – I am just taking a very ordinary example which is common to all of us – to end completely without any motive and direction, attachment, with all its complexity, with all its implications, to have no attachment to anything – to your experience, to your memory, to your knowledge. That’s what’s going to happen when death comes.
After all, ending to knowledge. And that is what one is clinging to – the knowledge that that person dies. I have lived with him, I have cherished him, I have looked after him, we have been tremendously – all that – the beauty and the conflict and all that’s involved. And to end totally, absolutely, to the memory of all that. That is death. Right? That is what is going to happen when my son, brother, wife, husband, dies – mother.
PJ: Is there – you have often said: living, enter the house of death.
PJ: You have used that phrase. What is exactly meant by it?
K: Yes, I have done it.
PJ: What is meant by it?
K: Meant by that: to invite death while living. Not commit suicide, I am not talking of that, or take a pill and exit. (Laughs) I am talking of ending. I think it is very important that – the word itself contains, you know, a depth of meaning: the ending of something. The ending of memory. I am taking that as a simple example. The memory of an experience which I have cherished, held on, hold on to something that has given me a great delight, a sense of depth and wellbeing. And to that memory I cling. And I am living in that memory, though I do ordinary work and go to office or whatever it is, but that memory is so endearing, so extraordinarily vital, I hold onto that. And therefore I never find out what it means to end. I think there is a great deal in that, at least I feel there is a great deal in the sense of ending every day, everything that you have psychologically gathered.
PJ: Attachment you can end.
K: That is the ending, that is death.
PJ: That is not death.
K: What would you call death? The organism coming to an end?
K: Or the image that I have built about you?
PJ: You see, when you reduce it to that I would say the image which I have built about you. But it is much more than that.
K: What is much more? There is of course much more than that, but I am just inquiring into it.
PJ: Much more than that.
K: That is, I have lived with you, cherished you, and all the rest of it, and the image of you is deeply rooted in me.
K: And – I am not talking about… – you die, and that image gathers greater strength – naturally.
K: I put flowers to it, give poetic words to it, and all that. But it is the image that is living. And I am talking about the ending of that image.
PJ: Sir, if one…
K: Because I cannot… the mind cannot enter into a totally new dimension if there is a shadow of memory of anything. Because that is timeless, that is eternal. And if the mind is to enter into that, it must not have any element of time in it. I think this is logical, rational. And what is it we object to?
PJ: But life is not… is not lived…
K: Of course not.
PJ: …on the logical and rational…
K: Of course not. It is not.
PJ: I mean, logic and rational…
K: Of course, of course, it is not, but the ending of everything that you have gathered psychologically, which is time. And to understand that which is everlasting, without time, the mind must be free of all that. That’s all I am saying. And therefore there must be ending.
P: Therefore then there is no exploration into ending?
K: Oh yes.
PJ: What is the exploration into ending?
K: No – what is ending? Ending to continuity.
PJ: That is really the…
K: The continuity of a particular thought, a particular direction, a particular desire. It is these give life a continuity. The birth and the dying, in that great interval there is a deep continuity, like a river. The volume of water makes the river marvellous – I mean like the Ganga, like the Rhine, and so on, the great rivers of the world, the Amazon, and so on. But we live on the surface of this vast river of our life. And to see the beauty of that. And we cannot see it if we are always on the surface of it. And the ending of… is the continuity of the surface. I don’t know if you follow.
PJ: Ending of it is the continuity of the surface?
PJ: The ending of it is the ending of the surface.
K: Ending of the surface.
PJ: What dies?
K: All that I have accumulated, both outwardly and inwardly. I have built a good business which brings me a lot of money, I have good taste, a nice house, a nice wife and children, beautiful garden, and all my life I have given a continuity to that. To end that.
PJ: Sir, may I… you don’t mind if I explore a little bit? You mean to tell me that the death of the body of Krishnamurti, the consciousness of Krishnamurti will end? Please, I am putting a great deal of weight in this.
K: There are two things you have said – the consciousness of K, and the ending of the body.
PJ: The ending of the body.
K: The body will end, that is obvious.
K: Using it, untimely, accident, disease, and so on – that will end. So, what is the consciousness of that person?
PJ: This enormous, unending, abounding compassion – suppose I take that, put it in those words.
K: Let’s put it… Yes. I wouldn’t call that consciousness.
P: I am using the word consciousness because it is associated with the body of Krishnamurti.
K: Yes, but it is not…
PJ: Because it is associated with the body of Krishnamurti, I can’t think of another word. I can say the mind of Krishnamurti, I can say the consciousness.
K: Keep to the word consciousness, if you don’t mind, and let’s look at it. The consciousness of a human being is its content.
K: The content is the whole movement of thought.
K: The learning the language, the career, specialisation, beliefs, dogmas, rituals, suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, desperate sense of fear – all that is the movement of thought.
K: If the movement of thought ends, consciousness as we know it is not.
PJ: But thought as a movement in consciousness as we know it does not exist in the mind of Krishnamurti. Yet there is a state of being which manifests itself when I am in contact with him, or when I… It manifests itself. Therefore, whether you use… don’t reduce it to thought.
K: No, one is very careful in pointing out something. Consciousness as we know it is the movement of thought – ugly, noble, all that.
PJ: Yes, yes, yes.
K: It is movement of thought, it is movement of time.
PJ: Yes. Yes, I see that.
K: See that very clearly.
K: That is, the human consciousness, as we know it, is that.
K: When thought, after investigating, etc., etc., comes to an end – not in the material world – psychological world, thought comes to an end, consciousness as we know it, is not.
PJ: Sir, you can use any other word.
K: I am sticking to that word.
PJ: But there is the state of being which manifests itself as Krishnamurti.
K: Yes, yes…
PJ: Now, what word shall I use?
K: No, you can’t… You are perfectly right – I am not asking you to change words. But you, say for example, through meditation – the real meditation, not the phoney stuff that’s going on in the world; the real meditation – you come to a point that is absolute.
K: And I see this, I feel it. To me that is an extraordinary state. The contact, through you, I feel this immensely. And my whole urge, striving, says that I must capture, have, or whatever word you use. Right? But you have it. Not ‘you have it’ – it is there. It is not you, Pupulji, having it – it is there. It is not yours or mine – it is there.
PJ: But it is there because of you.
PJ: You see, sir?
K: Ah, it is there not because of me – it is there.
K: All right. It has no place.
PJ: I can only accept it up to a point. No, sir, I won’t accept it.
K: First of all, it is not yours or mine. Right?
PJ: I only know that it is manifest in the person of Krishnamurti.
PJ: Therefore, when you say it has no place, I cannot accept it.
PJ: It has a place…
K: Because you have identified K with that.
P: But K is that.
K: Yes, maybe, but K says it has nothing to do whatsoever with K or with anybody – it is there. Beauty is not yours or mine, it is there, in the tree, in the flower – you follow? – it is there.
PJ: But, sir, the healing and the compassion which is in K is not out there.
K: Ah, no, of course not.
PJ: So the healing and the compassion of K, that’s what I am talking about.
K: But that is not K, this.
PJ: But it manifests and it will cease to be manifest – that’s what I am asking, saying.
K: Ah, I understand. I get it, I get it.
PJ: Please see this, sir.
K: Of course, of course, of course – I understand what you are trying to say. I question that.
PJ: What do you mean you question that?
K: It may manifest through X. That which is manifested or which is manifesting, doesn’t belong to X.
P: May not belong to.
K: It has nothing to do with K, X.
PJ: I’m prepared to accept that also, that it does not belong to K. But K and that are inseparable.
K: Yes, all right, but you see, when you identify that with the person…
PJ: I can’t…
K: You see, we are entering into a very delicate thing.
PJ: Yes, I want to go slowly into it.
PJ: You see, take the Buddha, whatever the Buddha consciousness was, or was manifesting through him, it has ceased to be. It has ceased to be, in terms of manifesting.
K: I question it. I doubt if it… Not… Let’s be very careful. You say – let’s talk about the Buddha rather than me – you say the consciousness of that person, Buddha, ceased when he passed away. Right? It manifested through him.
PJ: It manifested through him, yes.
K: And he was that.
PJ: He was that, yes.
K: And when he died, you say that disappeared.
PJ: No, I have no knowledge of saying that it disappeared. I only say it could no longer be contacted. See this, Krishnaji.
K: Naturally not.
PJ: Why do you say naturally not?
K: Because he – meditation, all that – he was illumined and therefore it came to him.
PJ: Yes, yes.
K: Therefore he and that were… there was no division.
K: I, his disciple, said, ‘My God, he is dead. And with his death that whole thing is over.’
PJ: Is over.
K: I say it is not. That which is good can never be over. As evil – if I can use that word without too much darkness involved in that word – evil continues in the world. Right? That evil is totally different from that which is good. So, the good manifests… the good will always exist, has always existed – as, not the opposite of it, the evil in itself has continued.
PJ: But we are moving away, sir.
K: I know, I know.
PJ: Slightly we are moving away.
K: I am not quite sure – it doesn’t matter. Go ahead.
PJ: You say that it does not disappear with the…
K: Good can never disappear.
PJ: I am talking of that great illumined compassion of the being. But now I can contact it.
K: Yes. But you can contact it even if that person is not. That is the whole point. It has nothing to do with the person.
PJ: What you say about being a light to yourself, is it involved with the contacting of that without the person? What is involved in that, when you say it can be contacted without a person?
K: Not contacted – it’s an ugly word. It can be perceived, lived, it can be… it is there for you to reach out and hold. And to reach out and to receive it you must know all the… Thought as consciousness which we know has to come to an end. Because thought is really the enemy of that. Thought is the enemy of compassion, obviously. Right? And to have this flame, I mean, it demands not a great sacrifice, this and that, but awakened intelligence which sees the movement of thought. And the very awareness of it ends thought. That is what real meditation is. Right?
PJ: What significance then has death?
K: None. No, no. It has no meaning because you are living with death all the time. Because you are ending everything all the time. I don’t think we see the importance or the beauty of ending. We see continuity with its waves of beauty and with its… all the superficiality.
PJ: You see, sir, I drive away tomorrow. Do I cut myself completely from you?
K: No, not from me. You cut yourself away from that, from that eternity with all its compassion and so on, if it is no longer a memory. You understand? That’s simple, isn’t it? I meet the Buddha. I have listened to him very greatly. He has made a tremendous impression. In me, the whole truth of what he said is abiding. And he goes away. He has told me very carefully: be a light to yourself. So that truth is with me, it is the seed that is flowering in me. So if he goes away, the seed is flowering. I may miss him. I say, ‘I am sorry’ – he was a friend, I have lost a friend, or somebody whom I really loved. But what is important is that seed of truth which has been planted by my alertness, awareness, intense listening. That seed will flower. Otherwise what is the point of somebody having it? If X has this extraordinary illumination, if we can use that word, the sense of immensity, compassion, love, and all that, if it is only he, that person has it, and he dies, what is the – what?
PJ: Sir, may I ask one question? What is the reason for his being? What is the reason then for his being?
K: What is the reason for his being, for his existence?
K: To manifest that. To be embodiment of that, to be… you know, all that. Why should there be any reason? A flower has no reason. Beauty has no reason; it exists. But if I try to find a reason, the flower is not. I don’t know if you… I am not mystifying all this, putting it all in a fog, which becomes mysterious – it’s not that. As I have said, it is there for anyone to reach and to hold it.
And so death, Pupulji, is something… like birth which must be an extraordinary event to the mother, and perhaps to the father, but the birth and death are so far apart – you follow? – and all the travail of that continuity is the misery of man. And if that continuity can end each day, you are living with death. Which then is a total renewal of something which has no continuity. That is why I think it is important to understand the meaning of that word ending. Totally ending to experience, or that which has been experienced and remains in the mind as memory.
Could we go – we’ve got some more time – could we go into the question whether a human being can live – apart from physical knowledge, driving a car, writing a letter, and all that knowledge – can he live without time and knowledge? You follow?
PJ: Isn’t what we said so far, that is, living with ending, in the very nature of this question?
K: Yes. That’s why I brought it in.
PJ: That is, when the mind is capable of living with ending, it is capable of living with the ending of time and the ending of knowledge.
K: Yes, that’s it, that’s it. I mean, this may be just a lot of words.
PJ: No, but, sir, doesn’t it involve… You see, one of the things is you can do nothing about it, but you can observe it and listen. And in – now I am getting to a little more… if I may take it.
K: Go ahead, please.
PJ: There is the stream of knowledge.
K: There is the stream of knowledge, yes.
PJ: Stream of knowledge. When I say: can I be free or not free, or hold it or give it up, it is one element of that stream of knowledge making that statement.
K: Of course, of course.
K: …it has no meaning.
P: It has no meaning. Now, the stream of knowledge throws up – because of challenge or whatever, it throws up. The only thing possible is an awakeness where that throwing up subsides.
K: And perceiving it, it subsides. Quite. The flowering of that and dying of it.
PJ: Subsiding. Is there anything else really for man to do but to be awake to this rising and subsiding?
K: Are you saying, to really understand… to have that goodness – let’s call it for the moment – you can’t do anything? Is that what you are saying?
PJ: You can’t do anything.
K: I am not entirely sure of that.
PJ: That is what I want to know. Tell me.
K: Isn’t that rather an ultimate statement: I cannot do anything?
PJ: No, sir. Either I can do…
K: Let’s find out.
PJ: You see, either I can do – then the next question has to be…
K: …what can I do?
PJ: What can I do.
K: I understand.
PJ: If I say I cannot do…
K: What makes you say: I cannot?
K: No, investigate it together, help me, let’s investigate. What makes you say: I can do nothing about it? About what?
PJ: About this rising out of stream of knowledge.
K: No, no.
PJ: Yes, that is what we are talking about.
PJ: There is a stream of knowledge.
K: Yes, there is a stream – that’s all. Either it expresses itself…
PJ: Either I am a separate entity to that stream of knowledge…
K: Which you are not.
PJ: In investigating, I see…
K: You are not.
PJ: …that one is not.
K: That’s simple enough – let’s move.
PJ: Now, if I am the stream of knowledge then the throwing up of that stream…
K: I understand. I understand that. If you make a statement, that I am that stream of knowledge, and I cannot do anything about it because it’s playing with words.
PJ: I understand, that once you verbalise it, it can become a…
PJ: But what is possible? What is, sir, what is the state of mind?
K: That’s better.
PJ: What is the state of mind…
PJ: …that is so sensitive that it is sensitive to the arising as well as the ending? You see, there has to…
K: Ah, why do you use… If it is sensitive it is never arising nor ending. That’s why I must be very careful about it.
PJ: Sir, you see, that is why I say we don’t know that state. I really don’t know that state where it is so sensitive that there is no arising. The fact is there is arising.
K: Arising. Just a minute. Can’t you do something about the arising? Not try to change it, try to modify it or rationalise, escape, all that – can you not see the arising of anger and be aware of that, let it flower and end? I am using the word flower in the sense not get violent about it, hit somebody – see anger arising, see it needs a violent expression of that anger, and watch the whole movement of that anger, let it flower. As it flowers it dies – like a flower, in the morning it’s born and dies in the evening.
PJ: This I have never understood. The mind which is capable of observing, how does anger arise at all?
K: No, it may be…
PJ: You see, how can it observe an arising?
K: Wait, wait, wait. It may be that the mind has not understood the whole movement of violence.
PJ: No but I want to ask you – this is something which has always puzzled me.
PJ: How does one observe – observe – without the observer?
K: Ah, now you are introducing something else.
PJ: Because otherwise you are caught.
K: Of course, of course, of course.
PJ: To observe with the observer, but…
K: Of course. I am talking generally of a human mind which has separated itself as the observer and the observed.
PJ: Yes, then you can observe the anger arising.
K: Wait, wait. So, what happens? The mind can do something.
PJ: Yes, you can observe anger arising, you can watch its manifestations and not interfere with the manifestations.
K: Yes. Let it wither away.
PJ: And then let it subside.
K: Yes, subside. That you can do.
K: That is all I am talking about.
PJ: That is right. That can be done. And that is what the mind… I mean a mind which we call awake, that is what the mind does.
K: Yes. That’s all I am saying. It can do something – you follow? – not say, ‘I can’t do anything.’ The mind that says, ‘I cannot do anything,’ is motionless. Right? It is only the mind that says, ‘I can do something,’ is acting. It’s only the mind that says, ‘I cannot do anything,’ therefore it’s absolutely quiet. But that is – you follow? – it is like asking a schoolboy, say, ‘Be quiet.’ Poor chap, he doesn’t even know what it means – he is full of vitality, jumping, talking, yelling, crying. To him that is life.
So have we, in this dialogue, seen the meaning of death, the extraordinary beauty of ending something? Even learning, ending to learning, ending the demand for experience, ending everything that you have been struggling, wanting, holding. I think that is… in that there is tremendous beauty in that. That is why I think death has an extraordinary beauty and vitality.
Is that enough?
PJ: Do you think there can be a learning of the mind, in the mind, to face an ultimate death? To face the ultimate death.
K: What is there to learn, Pupul? It is very interesting. There is nothing to learn, except ordinary things. What is there to learn?
PJ: No, but the mind… This statement of yours, the mind must receive it without agitation.
K: Yes, yes. Without…
PJ: Without agitation. To receive a statement like that without agitation is the only way that when death comes there will perhaps be no agitation.
K: That’s it. Yes, that’s right. That’s right. Not…
PJ: I am using the word agitation…
K: Yes, I understand.
Shall we stop? Right, it’s over.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park, 7 June 1981