Krishnamurti on Love
‘Where there is love, then do what you will, it will be right action’.
This week’s episode on Love has five sections.
The first extract (2:16) is from Krishnamurti’s fourth talk in Ojai 1984, titled ‘What is love?’
The second extract (10:28) is from the sixth talk in Saanen 1973, titled ‘Love in relationships’.
The third extract (24:26) is from Krishnamurti’s third talk in Saanen 1975, titled ‘Is love a movement in time?’
The fourth extract (36:22) is from the third talk at Brockwood Park in 1985, titled ‘With the ending of sorrow is love’.
The final extract this week (55:30) is from Krishnamurti’s second talk in Bombay 1983, titled ‘Is there love in your heart?’
What Is Love?
We should go into the question of what love is. Don’t let us become sentimental or romantic about it, but when we say, ‘I love you,’ what do we mean by that? When a woman says to the man, or the man says to the woman, or friends say to each other, ‘I love you,’ what does that mean? There is the love of a book, love of a poem, love of sports, love of sex, love to be famous. We use this word so easily, but we have never, apparently, gone into the full meaning of it, what is it to love.
Love, apparently, has become another means of conflict. One loves one’s wife, and there is conflict, quarrels, jealousy, antagonism, divorce, and all the pain of that relationship – and the pleasure of it too. So we should go into this question very carefully because that may the solution to all our problems; it may be the one thing when we understand whether it is in the brain or outside the brain, whether love is contained in the brain as thought, anxiety, pain, depression, fear, loneliness – the whole content of our consciousness. Is love part of that consciousness? Or it is outside, totally outside consciousness, outside the brain. Probably we have never even asked these questions. One hopes you will not mind asking these questions.
So what is love as we know it? Love brings a great deal of conflict into our lives, a great deal of pleasure, a great deal of anxiety, fear, jealousy and envy. So is desire love? Is pleasure love? Is love in the realm, the field of thought? Apparently, for most of us, it is in that field – conflict, pain, anxiety and thought. And to understand what love is – not ‘understand’, you know, have the depth of it, the greatness of it, the flame of it, the beauty of it – how can there be jealousy, how can there be ambition, aggression or violence? Can one be free completely of all these things? Please do ask this question. Where there is love, then do what you will, it will be right action but never bring conflict into one’s life.
So it is important to see that jealousy, antagonism, conflict and all the pain of relationship have no place in love, where there is love. And can one be free of all that, not tomorrow, now? As we pointed out, time, which is the past, the present and the future, all time is contained in the now. We went into it carefully: if we say, ‘I will cultivate love,’ or ‘I will try to get rid of my jealousy,’ and so on, then when you are trying to be free – trying – then you will never be free. You say, ‘I will do my best,’ which is so silly; it means that one has really not fully perceived the truth that all time, the past, the present and the future are in the now – now, in the present, actually. If you don’t do something now, it will be continued tomorrow. The future is in the now. So can one put aside completely all the causes of conflict, which is the self, the ‘me’, so that there is this sense of flame, the greatness of beauty, of love?
Krishnamurti in Ojai 1984, Talk 4
Love in Relationships
Let’s consider what love is. I really don’t know what it is. One can describe it, one can put it into words, into the most poetic language, using very beautiful words, but words are not love. Sentiment is not love. It has nothing to do with emotion, patriotism or ideas – that we know very well if we go into it. So we can brush aside completely the verbal description, the images that we have built around that word – patriotism, God, work for the country, the Queen, you know, all that tommyrot. And also you know, if you observe very carefully, that pleasure is not love. Can you swallow that pill? For most of us, love is pleasure, sexual. For most of us, this pleasure has become extraordinarily important – the magazines, the absurd naked people, everything is revolving in the Western world, and now it is pushing towards the Eastern civilisation, this sense of sexual, physical pleasure. And when that is denied, there is torture, violence, brutality, extraordinary emotional scenes – you know what is going on. So is all that love?
The pleasure of the sexual act and the remembrance of it, chewing the cud over it and wanting it again. The repetition, the pursuit of pleasure, that is what is called love. And we have made that word so vulgar, meaningless: ‘Go and kill for the love of your country! Join this group because we love God!’ So we have made that word into a terrible thing, an ugly, vulgar, brutal thing. So what is love? What place has it in human relationship between man and woman?
Are you interested in all this? I am afraid you are! Probably that is the only interest you have. That is only a part of it – life is much bigger, vaster, deeper than mere pleasure. This civilisation, this culture has put pleasure as the most dominant, powerful thing in life.
So let us consider what love is in human relationship. When you look at the map of human beings – man, woman, man and woman in relationship with their neighbour, with the State and all the rest of it – what place has this thing called love in relationship? Has it any place at all in actuality? Life is relationship. Life is action in relationship, and what place has love in that action?
Are we sharing all this together? Please do. It is your life. Don’t waste your life. You have short years, don’t waste it. And you are wasting it, and it is a sad thing to see this happen.
So what place has love in relationship? And life is action in relationship. What is relationship? There is so much to talk about. What place has love in relationship? What is relationship, to be related? It means to respond adequately, completely to each other. The meaning of the word ‘relationship’ is to be related. Related means direct contact with another human being, both psychologically as well as physiologically. Direct contact. Are we related at all to each other? I may be married, have children, sex and all the rest of the business, and am I related at all? What am I related to? I am related to the image I have built about you or her. Please watch this. Do watch it. And she is related to me according to the image that she has about me. So these two images have relationship, and that imaginary relationship is called love! See how absurd we have made the whole thing. That is a fact. That is not a cynical description. I have built the image about her through the years, or ten days or a week – or one day is enough – and she has done the same thing. The cruelty of it – you understand? – the ugliness, the brutality, the viciousness of these images that we have about each other. And the contact of these two images is called relationship. Therefore there is always a battle between the man and the woman. The one trying to dominate the other. Having dominated, a culture is built around that domination – the matriarchal system or the man’s system – you know what is going on very well. And is that love? If it is, then love is merely a word that has no meaning.
Love is not pleasure, jealousy, envy, division between man and woman, one dominating the other, one driving the other, possessing the other, attached to the other. That certainly is not love; it is just a matter of convenience and exploitation. And this we have accepted as the norm of life. When you observe it, really observe it, totally aware of it, then you will see that you will never build an image, whatever she or you do. There is no image forming. And therefore perhaps out of that comes an extraordinary flower – the flowering of this thing called love. And it does happen. That love has nothing to do with ‘my’ or ‘your’ – it is love. When you have that, you will never send your children to be killed, to train in the army. Then you will produce quite a different kind of civilisation, a different culture, different human beings, man and woman.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1973, Talk 6
Is Love a Movement in Time?
Then what is love? Is love in the field of reality? In that field of reality there is confusion when there is attachment, conflict, pain, suffering. Then what is the relationship between two human beings in that field of reality in which there is no attachment?
What is your answer? Answer it to yourself – what is your answer? If there is no attachment – not detachment, callousness, indifference, that is the opposite; the opposite is always part of its own opposite. The opposite is part of its own opposite. Therefore opposites have no meaning.
So what is relationship between human beings when there is no attachment? Attachment brings pain, conflict, contradiction, isolation, and that brings about disorder in the world of reality. And one must have complete order in the world of reality because we are going to something. When you have established order here, in the world of reality, then you can move, but if you have no order here, you can’t possibly go further. So we must establish order in the field of reality, and that order comes when we go into this question of attachment between human beings – attachment not only between human beings but between conclusions, ideas, suppositions, theories, beliefs and so on.
Now, what is the relationship between two human beings when there is total freedom from attachment? We said attachment is one of the causes of great suffering and pain. What is it?
Do you want my answer, or are you facing, looking at the actuality? The actuality means what is actually taking place and therefore you are observing with care, with respect, not casually and then come back to it, which is disrespect – you are watching it completely, with complete attention, with care. That is, what is the human relationship between each other when there is no attachment at all? Is it love? Then it has no continuity in time.
I am related to you – wife, husband or God knows what else. I am really completely free from attachment. I have no attachment – belief, conclusion, ideas, knowledge – and yet we live together. What takes place there? I am asking, is that love? Love being not a series of conclusions and remembrances, therefore a process of time, which is thought. That is, is that love a timeless movement – no ‘movement’ means time – a timeless… A timeless… Yes, I’ve got it. Love is timeless therefore now. I wonder if you understand that. You see, when we use the word ‘timeless’, we mean…
Time means movement, from here to there, physically as well as psychologically. From here to there to cover the distance, that is a movement. And my whole conditioning is from here to there, psychologically as well as physically. I must become more clever, I must become the Chief Executive, I must become the foreman or the shop steward or the manager, or something or other, the Archbishop or the Pope – they are all the same category. So my mind is conditioned in the movement of time, and I have lived in that movement as the ‘me’ and the ‘you’.
I am attached to you, and out of that attachment there is great disorder and suffering. And that suffering, that pain, that jealousy, all that I have called ‘love’. And I see also that when there is this emptiness, and I am totally aware of it, then I am asking what is my relationship with another? Is it of the same order as before, or is it something totally new which thought cannot think out? If it is thought out, then it is limited. Then we are back again to the same old mess.
So is love a movement in time or is it totally out of time? Which means, there is no future and no past, only now. And the now has tremendous responsibility. The responsibility we know is the responsibility of… First, let’s explain what the word ‘response’ means: to respond adequately. That’s the meaning, to respond. In our relationship in the world of reality, there is no total response. If there were total response, there would be total relationship. And as there is no total response, our relationship is fragmentary, contradictory, isolated, bringing pain and all the rest. Where there is no attachment in relationship, there is total response. That means total responsibility. Total responsibility for the whole of mankind, not just for you and me. And that may be called love.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1975, Talk 3
With the Ending of Sorrow Is Love
As long as we are separate, as a family, as a community or a clique, as a nation, religious and so on, this division is going to create always, perpetually, conflict. You and me, we and they – this is the game we have been playing. First tribal, limited, now global. So we are asking ourselves: is there an end to sorrow? Put this question seriously to yourself because where there is sorrow there cannot be love. There can be sympathy, pity, tolerance, empathy, but generosity, pity or sympathy are not love. Love may contain all that, or have all that, but the parts don’t make the whole. You can collect all the sympathy, empathy, kindness, generosity, friendship, but that is not love.
So is there an end to sorrow? This requires immense, a great deal of energy to go into it, not just saying, ‘Well, I will think about it.’ Thinking may be the factor of sorrow.
My son is dead, and I have got his photograph on the mantelpiece or on the piano in a silver frame. I remember. Remembrance is a process of thought. Of course – thinking how we enjoyed the sunset together, how we walked in the forest, laughing, skipping, and he is gone. But the remembrance of him goes on, and that remembrance may be the factor of sorrow. I don’t want to admit my son is dead, gone. To admit such a fact is to admit utter loneliness. And I don’t want to face this fact of being utterly by oneself. And so I look for another. I rely for my happiness and satisfaction, sexually or otherwise, I look to another. And I play the same game over and over again. But I have not ended sorrow. Not I, the speaker, but we have not ended sorrow.
Sorrow is not only self-pity, self-interest, but also the loss of that which I have had – the loss, the failure to fulfil, to achieve, to gain something which I have worked for, not only physically but psychologically, inwardly. All this is implied in sorrow, and much more. And we are asking of ourselves – nobody is putting this question or demanding this challenge to you, but you are asking this of yourself, whether sorrow can end. Not only the sorrow of oneself, where it is there in oneself but also the sorrow of mankind, of which you are. That means no killing of another, no psychologically wounding another. As we said, where there is sorrow, there cannot be love. This is a fact.
So we ought to inquire or look – not inquire but look – at what love is. That word has been so used, so spat upon, dirtied and made ugly: ‘I love my country. I love my God. I am devoted. I pray for love. I am not loved, but I want to be loved’ – the love poems. Is love sensation? Please ask yourself all these questions. Is love a continuation and remembrance of pleasure? Is love desire?
You know what desire is? May I go into it briefly? What is desire, by which you are driven and riven, torn apart? What is that thing called desire? Not to suppress it, not to transmute it or do something with it, but what is the movement of desire? How does it come about? Are you putting these questions to yourself or do you want the speaker to explain? Let’s go into it.
We live by sensation, whether physical sensation or psychological sensation. Sensation is part of response, part of comparison and so on. Sensation: I sense, I feel. I sense the atmosphere, good or bad. Sensation. That sensation comes about through seeing, touching, hearing. And then what happens after sensation? Thought comes in and uses that sensation as an image. I see a nice house or a garden, or a nice picture, or furniture, or a nice woman, and there is sensation – the seeing, the observing. The observing, contact, then sensation comes. Unless there is sensation we are paralysed – as most of us are! We are paralysed if we don’t have sensation, in our legs, in our hands, all the rest of it. So sensation. Then what happens? Thought takes sensation and makes that into an image.
I see you, beautifully dressed, clean, healthy, bright, a good brain and all the rest of it. I see that – the way you talk, the way you do this and that and so on. Then thought says, ‘I wish I were like him,’ or her. At that moment desire is born. Sensation, then desire, then thought giving shape to that sensation. And if there is an interval between sensation and thought, then you can go into it much more, but not now.
You see, our difficulty is that we are so complex in our thinking, wanting to find out, always looking, looking, looking, finding an answer to problems, solutions: ‘How am I to do this?’ We are never simple. Not physically; don’t reduce it to having few clothes or eating one meal and all that.
What is that kind of food that is called… I have forgotten the name of it, from Japan? What is the name of it?
K: Macrobiotic, that’s it. Go crazy on that! As one goes crazy about yoga and all the rest of it, Tai Chi, you know – we play. We are not playing. This isn’t a fantasy; this is something you are hooked in. This is our life, our everyday lonely, ugly little life.
So what is love? Can love exist where there is hate and fear, where there is competition and comparison, where there is conformity, agreeing or disagreeing? Go into all this. Or is love nothing to do with all this? Is love something in the brain, inside the skull, or is it something entirely beyond thought and time? Where there is self-interest, there cannot be love. Obviously; you can see all this for yourself.
Then what relationship has love to sorrow? And can love be compassion, not only ‘I love you, you love me’? Love is not yours or mine, it is love. I may be married, have children, sex and all the rest of it. In all that, there may be tenderness, generosity, politeness, kindliness, yielding, tolerating, but all that is not love. So compassion and love are not separate, they are one. And can one live like that? Can one have this in one’s life, not in abstract moments or in moments when you are sitting by yourself on the sofa or walking in the woods: a flash, a scent, a perfume, that seems for a second to transform your whole existence? Can we live our daily life with that perfume? For that compassion has its own intelligence, not the compassion of going to India or Africa and doing some missionary work, or helping the desperate poor – that is not love. Where there is love, there is absolute freedom, not to do what you like, not to assert yourself or convert others, all that kind of silly stuff!
So that intelligence is not the intelligence of thought. One needs a great deal of intelligence, a tremendous lot of intelligence to go to the moon, or to put a submarine together, to build a computer. That is partial intelligence. The scientist, the painter, the poet, the ordinary person who bakes bread, that is part of intelligence; it is not complete intelligence. And that holistic intelligence, the whole quality of that intelligence can only come about with the ending of sorrow, and with love. And that acts, not the action which is partial, brought about by thought and time.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1985, Talk 3
Is There Love in Your Heart?
What does it mean to love another? Relationship means to love another. What does that word mean? We use that word in advertisements: I love Coca Cola, I love this, I love that. I love God. I love my guru. What does that love mean? Is it based on reward and punishment? Look at it: we are always caught between the two – reward and punishment. I follow the guru because he is going to promise me heaven, gives me comfort. I don’t do something because he is going to punish me. So we are caught in this. Is relationship a reward and punishment process? Is love a movement of that?
We never meet. The wife and husband, except physically, never psychologically meet. And because we never meet, there is conflict. That is, to meet your wife or husband, your children, your neighbour at the same time, at the same level, with the same intensity, that is love. Not physically, I don’t mean that. To meet somebody, you must meet him, if he is also willing, at the same time, at the same level, with the same intensity. Then that is relationship. But if you are ambitious, you follow that path, becoming noble or ignoble, you know, all the rest of it, and she also follows another path, naturally. You may be married, you may have children and all the rest of it, but you never meet. And that breeds a sense of desperate loneliness. Don’t you know all this?
I have no relationship with anyone – with my wife, with my boss, with my foreman –I have no relationship at all with anybody because I am self-centred, my actions are self-centred, and my wife is also self-centred. So that self-centredness, the lack of relationship, brings about great loneliness. And discovering that loneliness, you make of that loneliness a problem: what am I to do when I am lonely? And your brain is ready to solve the problem. But you never rest with that loneliness, you never inquire the cause of it.
So where there is love, there is no loneliness. Unless you love your wife or husband or whatever it is, which is the most extraordinary… where there is love in your heart, then there is no problem. Because you haven’t got it, you have a thousand problems. Having stated that, don’t make it into a problem. Look at the fact. The fact is that we are not sensitive, that we don’t have the depth of beauty – not pictures, painting, I don’t mean that, but the depth of beauty. And the fact is that we don’t love. To look at it, to remain with it, to see that is so, not evade it, not try to rationalise it. It is so. I don’t love my wife. You know what that means to say that to yourself. You should cry. I want to cry for you.
So it is like two parallel lines never meeting and therefore increasing conflict day after day, till you die. See the fact that there is no love in your heart. Have the mind in your heart. Mind in your heart, not the heart in your mind. You see the difference? Because we are so clever, we think love can be achieved, cultivated. Love is not something to cultivate: either there is or there isn’t. If there isn’t, look at it, hold it, realise what you are without love in your heart. One then just becomes a machine: insensitive, vulgar, coarse, only concerned with sex and pleasure.
Please, I am not harassing you, I am not scolding you, I am just pointing out what has happened to you. Your knowledge and books have destroyed you because love is not bought in the books; it does not lie with knowledge. Knowledge and love don’t go together. When you say, ‘I know my wife,’ that is your knowledge, which is your image about her. That knowledge is put together by thought, and thought is not love.
So having stated all this, do you have love in your heart, or is it something romantic, nonsensical, impractical, valueless? It does not give you any money – that is so. Having heard all this, is there a comprehension of the depth of that word, so that your mind is in the heart? Then you have right relationship. When you have right relationship, which means love, you can never go wrong. You can do what you like and everything is right.
Krishnamurti in Bombay 1983, Talk 2