Krishnamurti on Jealousy and Envy
This week’s episode on Jealousy and Envy has five sections.
The first extract (2:16) is from Krishnamurti’s first question and answer meeting at Brockwood Park in 1983, titled ‘Why am I jealous?’
The second extract (12:30) is from the second talk at Brockwood Park in 1978, titled ‘Is jealousy part of love?’
The third extract (24:54) is from the second talk at Brockwood Park in 1975, titled ‘Can you live without comparison?’
The fourth extract (32:00) is from the second talk in Saanen 1977, titled ‘Ending envy’.
The final extract this week (42:18) is from the first talk at Brockwood Park in 1969, titled ‘Giving all your attention to jealousy’.
Why Am I Jealous?
I want to find out why I am jealous. Why I am jealous of my wife, or she jealous of me? Is it that we want to possess each other? What does that mean? What am I possessing? The body? Please inquire with me. The body, the organism? And what is implied in possession? To dominate. I want to possess her. Why do I want to possess? Because I am lonely and she gives me comfort; she is mine, legally, morally – the Church has blessed it, or the registrar, and I hold her – why? Is it because I am lonely? If I am lonely, I want to escape from that tremendous void of the word. I use the word ‘lonely’ to escape from it, and to which I escape becomes all-important. I escape from life by inventing God, and I hold to that God because that is the only thing I have.
So, I possess her. And what does that mean, to possess somebody? Dominating, identifying myself with her, and it gives me a sense of power. At the end of all this, I say she is mine. People like to be possessed – don’t you? No? Can you say to your wife, ‘I don’t possess you’? And I am jealous. Which is, she is depriving me of my stability, my security when she goes away or talks to somebody else, or looks at somebody else, or does something or other with somebody else. I am at a loss. She has deprived me of my identity, driven me to my loneliness, and I hate all that. So I am jealous of her. Which means that jealousy implies hate, anger, violence, beating. And I can’t let her go, and she can’t let me go, and we live like that. 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.
So one asks a much deeper question: is love desire? Is love pleasure? You have to answer that question, not I. It is your life, not my life. And can each of us see this fact, what possession, domination and power does to each of us? The man may see it first, or the woman may, then will she help him to see all this? And is he willing to listen to all this? Are you are following all this, or is this all strange to you? Will he or she listen to the other, the basis of it, being afraid to lose one’s security in relationship. And when that security is shaken, I am jealous. Will my wife listen to me? 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 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 and sensitivity.
Q: I can see it.
K: But will you do something about it? One can intellectually understand all this, verbally, which you call intellectually. What value has it when I carry on with jealousy for the rest of my life and that jealousy creates wounds in me psychologically? I am hurt inwardly and I carry on with that hurt, with that jealousy, with that distrust – is this the way to live? So merely to see it all intellectually has very little meaning. But if you say, ‘I am jealous. Let’s go into it. Let’s find out whether it can end’ – which means, do I possess anything at all? Am I attached to anything? Attached to my wife or husband, attached to ideals, to my future success – you know, attachment. When you are attached then there is jealousy, there is anxiety, there is pain. If you see that very clearly, the thing becomes very simple. But we don’t want to see it clearly because we want to live the way we have lived for a million years.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1983, Question and Answer Meeting 1
Is Jealousy Part of Love?
What is love? Is it pleasure? For most of us it is – sexual pleasure which is called love, sensory pleasure. That sensory pleasure, sexual pleasure has been called love, and that apparently dominates the world. It dominates the world because probably in our own lives it dominates us. So we have identified love with that thing called pleasure. And is love pleasure? Which doesn’t mean love is not pleasure. You must inquire into it; it may be something entirely different, but first we must inquire into it.
Is love desire? Is love remembrance? Which means, is love the remembered experience as pleasure and the demand of thought as desire, with its image? And the pursuit of that image is called love. Is that love?
And is being attached to a person, a country or an idea, love? Attachment and dependence – please look into yourself, not listen to me; I am not worth listening to. But what is significant, worthwhile, is that you listen to yourself when these questions are being put. You have to answer it for yourself because it is your daily life. And if attachment is not love, and if attachment is love, what are the implications involved in it? If we say love is pleasure, we must see the whole consequences and implications of that statement. Then we depend entirely on sensory, sexual excitement, which is called love, and with it goes all the suffering, anxiety and the desire to possess. From that possessive desire: attachment. And when you are attached there is fear, fear of loss. From that arises jealousy, anxiety, anger and gradual hatred.
Also we must see what the consequences are if love is not pleasure. Then what is love, which is not jealousy, attachment, remembrance, the pursuit of pleasure through imagination, and desire and so on? Is love then the opposite of all this? Is love the opposite of pleasure, attachment or jealousy? If love is that, that love contains jealousy, attachment and all the rest of it. Seeing all the implications of attachment, the pursuit of desire, the continuous reel of remembrances – I loved and I am not loved, I remember that particular sexual pleasure or that particular incident which gave me delight – so the pursuit of that and the opposite of what is called love, is love the opposite of hate? Or love has no opposite.
So we are finding out – please go with it; you will see something extraordinary come out of this. I don’t know what is coming out of it myself but I can feel something extraordinary coming out of it, if you all listen to yourselves, actually.
The religions have made love of God, love of Jesus, love of Krishna, love of Buddha – you follow? – totally unrelated to daily life. And we are concerned with the understanding and finding the truth of our daily life, the totality of it, not just sex or power or position or jealousy, or some idiotic complex one has, but the whole structure and nature of the extraordinary life in which we live.
So as we said, the opposite is not love. Through negation of what love is not, which means not negating or denying in the sense of pushing it away, resisting it, controlling it, but understanding the whole nature and structure and implications of desire, of pleasure, of remembrance – out of that comes the sense of intelligence which is the very essence of love.
You say this is impossible. I am young, I am full of beans and I am full of sex, and I want to indulge in it. You may call it whatever you like, but I like it. Until I catch some disease, or some man or woman runs away with another – then begins the whole circus of jealousy, anxiety, fear, hatred and so on. So what is one to do when one is young, full of life, all the glands highly active? What is one to do? Don’t look at me! (Laughter) Look at yourself. Which means you cannot possibly depend on another to find out the answer. You have to be a light to yourself. You have to be a light to yourself in understanding desire, remembrance, the whole of attachment – understand it, live it, find out. Find out how thought pursues pleasure endlessly. If you understand the depth and the fullness and the clarity of all that, then you will not be in a state of perpetual control, then guilt and regret. All that one goes through when one is young, if one is sensitive. If you are merely out for pleasure, that is a different matter.
So love is not the opposite of hate, desire or pleasure. Love is something entirely different from all that because love has no opposite.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1978, Talk 3
Can You Live Without Comparison?
This is a very complex problem, like everything. Like fear, pleasure and suffering, it is all interrelated, and to go into it and see whether the mind, which includes the brain can ever be free completely of all psychological, inward suffering. If we don’t understand that and are not free, we will bring suffering to others, as we have done. Though you believe in God, in Christ, in Buddha, all kinds of beliefs, you have killed others, generation after generation. It is what we do, what our politicians do in India, and here.
So what is suffering? Why is it that human beings, who think of themselves as extraordinarily alive and intelligent, have allowed themselves to suffer? There is suffering when there is jealousy. Jealousy is a form of suffering, a form of hate, not only jealousy of those who have achieved something in this world, but supposedly achieved in another world. Envy is part of our structure, part of our nature, which is to compare ourselves with somebody else.
Can you live without comparison? We think without comparison we shall not evolve, we shall not grow, we shall not be somebody. But have you ever tried to live actually without comparing yourself with anybody? You have read the lives of saints, etc., etc., and if you are inclined that way, as you get older, you want to become like that. Not when you are young – you spit on all that – but as you are approaching the grave you wake up.
So there are different forms of suffering, and can you look at it, observe it, without trying to escape from it, just remain solidly with that thing? When my wife – I am not married – when my wife runs away from me or looks at another man. The wedding has by law said she belongs to me, and I hold her – stupid stuff, all this! – and when she moves away from me, I am jealous because I possess. In possession I feel satisfied, I feel safe. And also it feels good to be possessed; that also gives satisfaction. And that jealousy, that envy, that hatred, can you look at it without any movement of thought and remain with it?
Jealousy is a reaction, a reaction which has been named through memory as jealousy, and I have been educated to run away from it, to rationalise it or to indulge in it – and hate, anger and all the rest of it. But without doing any of that, can my mind solidly remain with it without any movement? Do it and you will see what happens.
In the same way, when you suffer psychologically, to remain with it completely without a single movement of thought. Then you will see out of that suffering comes that strange thing called passion. And if you have no passion of that kind, you cannot be creative. Out of that suffering comes compassion. And that energy is totally different from the mechanistic energy of thought.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1975, Talk 2
To live with ‘what is’, that is, if you are envious or greedy or jealous, or you have problems, whatever it is – sex, fear, whatever it is – to live with that without any movement of thought that wants to move away from it.
That is, I am envious of you because you are intelligent. You are bright, you look nice, you speak so intelligently – I am envious of you – you have got a big car, a big house, whatever it is – I want it and I am envious. My education has been to deny it, which means I must control it, I must suppress it, I must try to go beyond it. That has been my background, my education. You come along and tell me there is a different way of living, which is, don’t condemn it, don’t evaluate it, don’t throttle it, don’t run away from it, just look at it. Like the new-born child that is terribly ugly – the baby, the actual baby, you have seen them, terribly ugly, but the mother says, ‘It is my baby, I am living with it, it is not ugly, it is the most beautiful child I have’ – in the same way, live with it. Which means what? You are not wasting your energy. You are not wasting your energy in control, in suppression, in conflict, in resistance, in escape – all that energy has been wasted. Now you have gathered that because you see the absurdity of it, the falseness of it, the unreality of it – you have now got the energy to live with ‘what is’.
Do you understand what I am saying? Am I making myself clear? Very clear? Good. Then do it!
Then you have that energy to observe without any movement of thought. It is the thought that has created jealousy, and thought says, ‘I must run away from it, I must escape from it, I must suppress it.’ That is my education, my background, my conditioning. But somebody says to me, ‘Don’t do all that, that is too childish, you can’t solve this problem of envy that way. Live with it.’ That means don’t move away from the thing which thought has created. Don’t let another kind of thought say, ‘Run away from it, resist it.’ After all, envy is created by thought. Thought awakening a reaction which is emotional, sentimental, and romantic and all the rest of it, that thought has created this reaction which is called envy. Thought has created it and thought says now, also, I must run away from it, I don’t know what to do with it, I must escape, resist, swallow – everything. So we are saying if you see that – the falseness of escape, resistance, suppression – then that energy which has gone into suppression, resistance and escape is gathered to observe. Do you see it? Then what takes place? You do it, please do it with me as we go along together, otherwise there is no point in my talking.
So now you are not escaping, not resisting, and you are envious, which is the result or movement of thought. Envy is comparison and measurement: I have not, you have. So thought has brought about this feeling of envy, and thought itself says, ‘I must run away from this enormous thing I don’t know.’ I have been educated to run away. Now, because you see the falseness of it, you stop, and you have the energy to observe this envy.
The very word ‘envy’ is its own condemnation – isn’t it? When I say, ‘I am envious,’ there is already a sense of pushing it away. So one must be free of the word to observe. All this demands tremendous alertness, tremendous watchfulness, you know, awareness, not to escape. And to see the word has created the feeling. Or without the word, is there a feeling? Now if there is no word and therefore no movement of thought, is there envy?
I am envious. Envy implies comparison, measurement, desire to be something other than ‘what is’, or to have something which I have not got, and so on. My education has been to run away from it, suppressing it, and so on. Now, by listening to what you are saying very, very, very carefully, I see the absurdity of it. Therefore the very perception of it puts it all away from me. Therefore there is a gathering of energy.
I am investigating envy. Has the word created the feeling? The word is associated with the feeling. Communism is associated with a certain pattern of life, and so on, so on – so the word is dictating my feeling. Can I observe without the word? Do it. Do it! Can you observe your envy without the word? The word is the movement of thought used to communicate, communicate with itself or with another. So when there is no word, there is no communication between the fact and the observer. I wonder if you see all this. Therefore the movement of thought as envy has come to an end. Come to an end completely, not temporarily. You can look at a beautiful car and observe the beauty, the lines, and there is the end of it.
So to live with ‘what is’ completely implies no conflict whatsoever, therefore there is no future transforming it into something else. The very ending of it is the gathering of supreme energy, which is a form of intelligence.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1977, Talk 2
Giving All Your Attention to Jealousy
So the question is, living in this rather mad, sad and despairing world, with an occasional burst of joy and the beauty of a cloud or a flower, can there be total, complete change?
Q: Sir, asking us to be silently aware of ‘what is’ seems to be asking too much. The pain of ‘what is’ seems to be much more then we can bear for any length of time without trying to escape from it. It just seems to be too much to handle.
K: To see ‘what is’ is a bit too much, without trying to escape from it. We can’t tolerate it. We see, perhaps, the implications of ‘what is’, and that is too much, so we need not a complete attention all the time but sometimes to be inattentive, isn’t it? If I can’t stand something, I must leave it for a while. Let’s leave it for a while, take rest from it, but during the rest period, be attentive of your inattention.
Look, I am jealous. Let’s take that very common thing. I give all my attention to it, see what is involved in it: hate, fear, possessiveness, domination, isolation, loneliness, the lack of companion, all that – jealousy – and I observe it non-dualistically. If I give my total attention to it, I’ve understood it completely, therefore there needs to be no rest from it. I’ve understood the danger of it completely, therefore I’ve gone away from it. It is only when I don’t give my whole attention but only partial attention, then I get tired of it. Then I say, ‘My Lord, I must have a little rest from this beastly business,’ and so I escape from it.
So, we know that we escape from it. We are suggesting that knowing that you are escaping, knowing in that escape there is inattention, be aware of that inattention. Leave your jealousy but be aware of that inattention while you are escaping. So that very inattention becomes attention. It sharpens the mind.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1969, Talk 1