Our dialogue is typically based on a passage from a book or a talk by Krishnamurti and is held at the Main House patio Rocking Chairs. Open to all high school students, parents, and staff.

The schedule for dialogue is:

Thursday — 8:30-9:30 am at the Main House patio
Friday — 7:15-8:00 am at the Main House patio

Reminder: Bring your favorite tea or coffee, or fill up at the coffee/tea bar inside Main House.

“River of Life”

Have you not noticed that if you sit quietly on the banks of the river you hear its song – the lapping of the water, the sound of the current going by? There is always a sense of movement, an extraordinary movement towards the wider and the deeper. But in the little pool there is no movement at all, its water is stagnant. And if you observe you will see that this is what most of us want: little stagnant pools of existence away from life. We say that our pool-existence is right, and we have invented a philosophy to justify it; we have developed social, political, economic and religious theories in support of it, and we don’t want to be disturbed because, you see, what we are after is a sense of permanency.

Do you know what it means to seek permanency? It means wanting the pleasurable to continue indefinitely and wanting that which is not pleasurable to end as quickly as possible. We want the name that we bear to be known and to continue through family through property. We want a sense of permanency in our relationships, in our activities, which means that we are seeking a lasting, continuous life in the stagnant pool; we don’t want any real changes there, so we have built a society which guarantees us the permanency of property, of name, of fame.

But you see, life is not like that at all; life is not permanent. Like the leaves that fall from a tree, all things are impermanent, nothing endures; there is always change and death. Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is? All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness there is a poem, there is a song. Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring. When the springcomes it again fills the tree with the music of many leaves, which in due season fall and are blown away; and that is the way of life.

But we don’t want anything of that kind. We cling to our children, to our traditions, to our society, to our names and our little virtues, because we want permanency; and that is why we are afraid to die. We are afraid to lose the things we know. But life is not what we would like it to be; life is not permanent at all. Birds die, snow melts away, trees are cut down or destroyed by storms, and so on. But we want everything that gives us satisfaction to be permanent; we want our position, the authority we have over people, to endure. We refuse to accept life as it is in fact.

The fact is that life is like the river: endlessly moving on, ever seeking, exploring, pushing, overflowing its banks, penetrating every crevice with its water. But, you see, the mind won’t allow that to happen to itself. The mind sees that it is dangerous, risky to live in a state of impermanency, insecurity, so it builds a wall around itself: the wall of tradition, of organized religion, of political and social theories. Family, name, property, the little virtues that we have cultivated – these are all within the walls, away from life. Life is moving, impermanent, and it ceaselessly tries to penetrate, to break down these walls, behind which there is confusion and misery. The gods within the walls are all false gods, and their writings and philosophies have no meaning because life is beyond them.

Now, a mind that has no walls, that is not burdened with its own acquisitions, accumulations, with its own knowledge, a mind that lives timelessly, insecurely – to such a mind, life is an extraordinary thing. Such a mind is life itself, because life has no resting place. But most of us want a resting place; we want a little house, a name, a position, and we say these things are very important. We demand permanency and create a culture based on this demand, inventing gods which are not gods at all but merely a projection of our own desires.

A mind which is seeking permanency soon stagnates; like that pool along the river, it is soon full of corruption, decay. Only the mind which has no walls, no foothold, no barrier, no resting place, which is moving completely with life, timelessly pushing on, exploring, exploding – only such a mind can be happy, eternally new, because it is creative in itself.

Think on These Things, Chapter 17

Previous Dialogue Topics

Clear Intelligence

I think it is a very rare thing, after leaving school, to find happiness in the latter part of one’s life. When you leave here, you will be facing; extraordinary problems, the problem of war, the problems of personal relationship, the problems as citizens, the problem of religion, and the constant conflict within society; and it seems to me that it would be a false education which did not prepare you to face these problems and bring about a true and happier world. Surely it is the function of education, especially in a school where you have the opportunity of creative expression, to help the students not to be caught in those social and environmental influences which will narrow their minds and therefore limit their outlook and their happiness; and it seems to me that those who are about to enter college should know for themselves the many problems that confront us all. it is very important, especially in the world that you are going to face, to have an extraordinarily clear intelligence, and that intelligence is not brought about by any outside influence, or through books. It comes, I think, when one is aware of these problems and is able to meet them, not in any personal or limited sense, not as an American, or a Hindu, or a Communist, but as a human being capable of bearing the responsibility of seeing the worth of things as they are and not interpreting them according to any particular ideology or pattern of thought.

Is it not important that education should prepare each one of us to understand and face our human problems, and not merely give us knowledge or technological training? Because, you see, life is not so very easy. You may have had a happy time, a creative time, a time in which you have ripened; but when you leave the school, things will begin to happen and enclose you; you will be limited, not only by personal relationships, but by social influences, by your own fears, and by the inevitable ambition to succeed. 3 I think it is a curse to be ambitious. Ambition is a form of self-interest, self-enclosure, and therefore it breeds mediocrity of mind. To live in a world that is full of ambition without being ambitious means, really, to love something for itself without seeking a reward, a result; and that is very difficult, because the whole world, all your friends, your relations, everyone is struggling to succeed, to fulfil, to become somebody. But to understand and be free of all this, and to do something which you really love – no matter what it is, or however lowly and unrecognized – , that I think, awakens the spirit of greatness which never seeks approbation, recompense, which does things for their own sake and therefore has the strength and the capacity not to be caught in the influence of mediocrity.

I think it is very important to see this while you are young. because magazines, newspapers, television and radio constantly emphasize the worship of success, thereby encouraging ambition and competitiveness which breed mediocrity of mind. When you are ambitious you are merely adjusting to a particular pattern of society, whether in America, Russia, or India, and therefore you are living on a very superficial level.

When you leave school and enter college, and later face the world, it seems to me that what is important is not to succumb, not to bow your heads to various influences, but to meet and understand these as they are and see their true significance and their worth, in a gentle spirit with great inward strength which will not create further discord in the world.

So, I think that a real school through its students should bring a blessing to the world. For the world needs a blessing it is in a terrible state; and the blessing can come only when we as individuals are not seeking power, when we are not trying to fulfil our personal ambitions, but have a clear understanding of the vast problems with which we are confronted. This demands great intelligence, which means, really, a mind that does not think according to any particular pattern, but is free in itself and is therefore capable of seeing what is true and putting aside that which is false.

Life Ahead – Chapter 4

Fulfilment

SHE WAS MARRIED, but had no children. In the worldly way, she said, she was happy; money was no problem, and there were cars, good hotels and wide travel. Her husband was a successful business man whose chief interest was to adorn his wife, to see that she was comfortable and had everything she desired. They were both quite young and friendly. She was interested in science and art, and had dabbled in religion; but now, she said, the things of the spirit were pushing everything else aside. She was familiar with the teachings of the various religions; but being dissatisfied with their organized efficiency, their rituals and dogmas, she wanted seriously to go in search of real things. She was intensely discontented, and had been to teachers in different parts of the world; but nothing had given her lasting satisfaction. Her discontent, she said, did not arise from her having had no children; she had gone into all that pretty thoroughly. Nor was the discontent caused by any social frustrations. She had spent some time with one of the prominent analysts, but there was still this inward ache and emptiness.

To seek fulfilment is to invite frustration. There is no fulfilment of the self, but only the strengthening of the self through possessing what it craves for. Possession, at whatever level, makes the self feel potent, rich, active, and this sensation is called fulfilment; but as with all sensations, it soon fades, to be replaced by yet another gratification. We are all familiar with this process of replacement or substitution, and it is a game with which most of us are content. There are some, however, who desire a more enduring gratification, one that will last for the whole of one’s life; and having found it, they hope never to be disturbed again. But there is a constant, unconscious fear of disturbance, and subtle forms of resistance are cultivated behind which the mind takes shelter; and so the fear of death is inevitable. Fulfilment and the fear of death are the two sides of one process: the strengthening of the self. After all, fulfilment is complete identification with something – with children, with property, with ideas. Children and property are rather risky, but ideas offer greater safety and security. Words, which are ideas and memories, with their sensations, become important; and fulfilment or completeness then becomes the word.

There is no self-fulfilment, but only self-perpetuation, with its ever-increasing conflicts, antagonisms and miseries. To seek lasting gratification at any level of our being is to bring about confusion and sorrow; for gratification can never be permanent. You may remember an experience which was satisfying, but the experience is dead, and only the memory of it remains. This memory has no life in itself; but life is given to it through your inadequate response to the present. You are living on the dead, as most of us do. Ignorance of the ways of the self leads to illusion; and once caught in the net of illusion, it is extremely hard to break through it. It is difficult to recognize an illusion, for, having created it, the mind cannot be aware of it. It must be approached negatively, indirectly. Unless the ways of desire are understood, illusion is inevitable. Understanding comes, not through the exertion of will, but only when the mind is still. The mind cannot be made still, for the maker himself is a product of the mind, of desire. There must be an awareness of this total process, a choiceless awareness; then only is there a possibility of not breeding illusion. Illusion is very gratifying, and hence our attachment to it. Illusion may bring pain, but this very pain exposes our incompleteness and drives us to be wholly identified with the illusion. Thus illusion has great significance in our lives; it helps to cover up what is, not externally but inwardly. This disregard of the inward what is leads to wrong interpretation of what is outwardly, which brings about destruction and misery. The covering up of what is is prompted by fear. Fear can never be overcome by an act of will, for will is the outcome of resistance. Only through passive yet alert awareness is there freedom from fear.

Commentaries on Living – Series I – Chapter 35

Are We Afraid to be Unoccupied?

The second extract from Krishnamurti’s sixth talk in Saanen, 1972

So I see the mind is its content. The mind is not without its content. And it is afraid to let go its content, otherwise it says no existence. And so it has got to occupy itself with its content – furniture, the people, the person, or the idea, idea being god, you know, all the rest of it. You see how extraordinarily interesting it is, because meditation.

What they call meditation, is the cultivation of an occupation with an idea, and the practising of that idea, which is not at all meditation when we will discuss it, perhaps on Sunday, but see how the whole thing hangs together like a marvellous structure. Now, one has explained all this – the attachment to property, attachment to people, to conclusions, which are images, symbols, ideas.

To have an insight into that, into the whole of it, is the liberation from attachment, not at some future date, instantly.

This is really important to understand. When you listen to this, do you say, I will think about this a little later?

Which prevents you from having an insight now. Now.

And if you are sharing this thing together, there is no time for you to think about it later.

We are sharing the food together, because you are hungry and the speaker is also hungry. We are sharing the food together, eating together. You don’t say, when you are eating together or when you are hungry, I will eat later.

You are sharing it, actively eating and if you have no insight into what has been said, why?

Are you frightened of not being attached, not being occupied, not finding out what happens to a mind that has no attachment, therefore fear? Because the mind is incessantly occupied – whether with the house, with sex, with god, with drink or with your politics, with your guru, what the guru – occupied. And that gives it a vitality, a certain quality of energy.

And one is afraid, if there is no occupation at all, what is going to take place?

Therefore when there is that fear, you will not share. That fear will prevent you. Therefore you have to have an insight into that fear, which is far more important to have an insight into attachment.

So there is constant insight. And when you have such an insight, attachment altogether is gone and a different quality comes into being.

The quality which the mind itself has, if it has understood, is aware, has an insight into the whole process of attachment.

That is love. You understand? How can I love you, or you love me, if I am attached to you?

My attachment is based on my pursuit of pleasure, which you give me, your images and so on. I am attached to that image of you, and you are attached to the image of me and the image is the past, is the response of experience, knowl-edge. So is love the past? Is love experience? Is love memory? Is love the reaction to that memory as pleasure?

So, one discovers, or one comes upon, the mind comes upon, that where there is attachment of any kind, there is no love. It is not a statement, an idea, but an actual fact which the mind has discovered, which the mind, having an insight into attachment, sees the truth of it. And seeing the truth of it is not occupied with the person, or with the furniture, or with the idea, and therefore it has its own energy.

It is that quality of energy which is love.

And therefore love can never be hurt – oh, you don’t see all this, do you? It can never be jealous, never lonely, never asked to be loved. What a horror that is.

That occupation may identify itself with a nation, with a group, a group with a particular ideal or belief. It is the same process. I hope this is clear. When I identify myself with a group, with an idea, with a belief, with a conclusion, with a conclusion, that identification is the very essence of being occupied with oneself. Right?

When one is occupied with, say, internationalism, you have moved from occupying yourself with yourself to something with which you identify yourself. Therefore, that identification is still the occupation of oneself.

When I identify myself with Christ or Jesus or Krishna or whatever it is, I am still in the process of identifying myself with that, but it’s still occupation with myself. I wonder if this is clear. Bene?

So, the central issue is whether one can exist healthily, sanely, harmoniously, without identifying with anything.

Not only outwardly but inwardly, identifying myself with my experience, identifying oneself with the family, with family, with

beliefs, with institutions and so on.

That means can one live in this world with no identification?

Which means, can one live harmoniously, both with the outer and the inner, without any sense of occupation and identification? Let’s be clear of the problem first, before we operate on it.

When one is occupied with oneself, with one’s body, with one’s beauty, with one’s eyes, you know, this constant occupation with oneself, you deny actually all relationship, though you may sleep with another, though you may hold hands with another, say, how darling you are, all the rest of it, but the identification process separates human beings. And from that violence, wars, division of races, everything takes place.

Right? Now, the next question is whether it’s possible to live in this world daily without any sense of identification? Without any sense of identification? Not only with the senses, the body, but with the name, with all the past, the heredity – you understand? the Englishman, the German, all the history of all the past, to be completely free from all that, and yet live in harmony, activity in daily life. Is this problem clear now? First of all, there is no speaker, as we pointed out the other day.

You are speaking to yourself, you are looking at yourself. The speaker may be the mirror, but the mirror has no value.

You use the telephone to speak, but the telephone itself has very little importance. What you say in the telephone is important. So similarly, there is no speaker here.

You are talking to yourself, you’re observing yourself, you’re observing your occupation with yourself, and the result of that occupation in your daily activity, which is creating such chaos in the world.

When people identify themselves with Russia, with a certain ideology, you become terribly brutal.

You are willing to torture people, and so on. We won’t go into all that. Everybody knows about it.

Every magazine, every newspaper goes into all this.

So, the next question is, can the mind totally disassociate, not only with knowledge which it has acquired and stored up, to which it becomes attached, to which it becomes attached?

But also, can the mind remain not in isolation because when one thinks, if one is not occupied oneself, you have no relationship to others, you are so totally isolated. Those are all concepts, conclusions, theories. So, what we are saying is, can the mind, including the brain, the senses, when we use the word mind, I mean including all that, including all that, the brain, the movement of thought, the experiences accumulated as knowledge, memory, the whole momentum of thinking, and the senses, all that is the mind, which is essentially consciousness.

Can that mind, which has been so conditioned through millennia, because our minds, brains are very, very, very old, it’s not something new that we have acquired when you are born, it is a tremendously old mind, heavily conditioned to occupy itself with itself.

Can that mind free itself completely from the past, which includes knowledge, tradition, heredity, all that, and actively, sanely live in daily life harmoniously? Is this possible?

You understand the problem?

The identification between the Jew and the Arab, in the Middle East, what is happening, when the Russians are occupied with an ideology and forcing man to shape himself according to that ideology, the authoritarian totalitarianism, which is destroying, and so on, so on, so on. Does one see the centralised occupation is enormous danger that’s going to destroy man. Then the problem is how to disentangle, how to unravel all this and put it all away. Right?

Now, what is your answer? I’m not answering you, you’re answering. You are looking in the mirror, there is no speaker.

You are looking and asking these questions.

Space

Even so early in the morning the sun was hot and burning. There wasn’t a breeze and not a leaf was stirring. In the ancient temple it was cool and pleasant; the bare feet were aware of the solid slabs of rocks, their shapes and their unevenness. Many thousands of people must have walked on them for a thousand years. It was dark there after the glare of the morning sun and in the corridors there seemed to be few people that morning and in the narrow passage it was still darker. This passage led to a wide corridor which led to the inner shrine. There was a strong smell of flowers and the incense of many centuries. And a hundred Brahmanas, freshly bathed, in newly washed white loin cloths, were chanting. Sanskrit is a powerful language, resonant with depth. The ancient walls were vibrating, almost shaking to the sound of a hundred voices. The dignity of the sound was incredible and the sacredness of the moment was beyond the words. It was not the words that awakened this immensity but the depth of the sound of many thousand years held within these walls and in the immeasurable space beyond them. It was not the meaning of those words, nor the clarity of their pronunciation, nor the dark beauty of the temple but the quality of sound that broke walls and the limitations of the human mind. The song of a bird, the distant flute, the breeze among the leaves, all these break down the walls that human beings have created for themselves.

In the great cathedrals and lovely mosques, the chants and the intoning of their sacred books it is the sound that opens the heart, to tears and beauty. Without space there’s no beauty; without space you have only walls and measurements; without space there’s no depth; without space there’s only poverty, inner and outer. You have so little space in your mind; it’s so crammed full of words, remembrances, knowledge, experiences and problems. There’s hardly any space left, only the everlasting chatter of thought. And so your museums are filled and every shelf with books. Then you fill the places of entertainment, religious or otherwise. Or you build a wall around yourself, a narrow space of mischief and pain. Without space, inner or outer, you become violent and ugly.

Everything needs space to live, to play and to chant. That which is sacred cannot love without space. You have no space when you hold, when there is sorrow, when you become the centre of the universe. The space that you occupy is the space that thought has built around you and that is misery and confusion. The space that thought measures is the division between you and me, we and they. This division is endless pain. There’s that solitary tree in a wide, green, open field.

Order is Essential

A very large serpent was crossing a wide cart road just ahead of you, fat, heavy, moving lazily; it was coming from a largish pond a little way off. It was almost black and the light of the evening seen falling on it gave to its skin a high polish. It moved in a leisurely way with lordly dignity of power. It was unaware of you as you stood quietly watching; you were quite close to it; it must have measured well over five feet and it was bulging with what it had eaten. It went over a mound and you walked towards it, looking down upon it a few inches away, its forked black tongue darting in and out; it was moving towards a large hole. You could have touched it for it had a strange attractive beauty. A villager was passing by and called out to leave it alone because it was a cobra. The next day the villagers had put there on the mound a saucer of milk and some hibiscus flowers. On that same road further along there was a bush, high and almost leafless, that had thorns almost two inches long, sharp, greyish, and no animal would dare to touch its succulent leaves. It was protecting itself and woe to anyone that touched it. There were deer there in those woods, shy but very curious; they would allow themselves to be approached but not too close and if you did they would dart away and disappear among the undergrowth. There was one that would let you come quite close, if you were alone, bright-eyed with its large ears forward. They all had white spots on a russet-brown skin; they were shy, gentle and ever-watchful and it was pleasant to be among them. There was a completely white one, which must have been a freak.

The good is not the opposite of the evil. It has never been touched by that which is evil, though it is surrounded by it. Evil cannot hurt the good but the good may appear to do harm and so evil gets more cunning, more mischievous. It can be cultivated, sharpened, expansively violent; it is born within the movement of time, nurtured and skilfully used. But goodness is not of time; it can in no way be cultivated or nurtured by thought; its action is not visible; it has no cause and so no effect. Evil cannot become good for that which is good is not the product of thought; it lies beyond thought, like beauty. The thing that thought produces, thought can undo but it is not the good; as it is not of time, the good has no abiding place. Where the good is, there is order, not the order of authority, punishment and reward; this order is essential, for otherwise society destroys itself and man becomes evil, murderous, corrupt and degenerate. For man is society; they are inseparable. The law of the good is everlasting, unchanging and timeless. Stability is its nature and so it is utterly secure. There is no other security.

Krishnamurti’s Journal – Ojai – 43rd Entry – 14th April 1975

The Green Valley

In this part of the world it doesn’t rain much, about fifteen to twenty inches a year, and these rains are most welcome for it doesn’t rain for the rest of the year. There is snow then on the mountains and during summer and autumn they are bare, sunburnt, rocky and forbidding; only in the spring are they mellow and welcoming. There used to be bear, deer, bob cat, quail and any number of rattlers. But now they are disappearing; the dreaded man is encroaching. It had rained for some time now and the valley was green, the orange trees bore fruit and flower. It is a beautiful valley, quiet away from the village, and you heard the mourning dove. The air was slowly being filled with the scent of orange blossoms and in a few days it would be overpowering, with the warm sun and windless days. It was a valley wholly surrounded by hills and mountains; beyond the hills was the sea and beyond the mountains desert. In the summer it would be unbearably hot but there was always beauty here, far from the maddening crowd and their cities. And at night there would be extraordinary silence, rich and penetrating. The cultivated meditation is a sacrilege to beauty, and every leaf and branch spoke of the joy of beauty and the tall dark cypress was silent with it; the gnarled old pepper tree flowed with it.

You cannot, may not, invite joy; if you do it becomes pleasure. Pleasure is the movement of thought and thought may not, can in no way, cultivate joy, and if it pursues that which has been joyous, then it’s only a remembrance, a dead thing. 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.

You have cultivated a vast network of interrelated activities in which you are caught, and your mind, being conditioned by it, operates inwardly in the same manner. Achievement then becomes the most important thing and the fury of that drive is still the skeleton of the self. That is why you follow your guru, your saviour, your beliefs and ideals; faith takes the place of insight, of awareness. There’s no need for prayer, for rituals, when the self is not. You fill the empty spaces of the skeleton with knowledge, with images, with meaningless activities and so keep it seemingly alive.

In the quiet stillness of the mind that which is everlasting beauty comes, uninvited, unsought, without the noise of recognition.

Krishnamurti’s Journal – Ojai, 8th of April 1975

Only in leisure can the mind learn

Relationship with another human being is one of the most important things in life. Most of us are not very serious in our relationships, for we are concerned with ourselves first and the other person when it is convenient, satisfying, or sensually gratifying. We treat relationship from a distance, as it were, and not as something in which we are totally involved. We hardly ever show ourselves to another, for we are not fully aware of ourselves, and what we show to another in relationship is either possessive, dominating or subservient. There is the other and me, two separate entities sustaining a lasting division, each one concerned with himself or herself, and so this division is maintained throughout life until death comes. Of course one shows sympathy, affection, general encouragement, but the divisive process goes on. From this arises incompatibility, the assertion of temperaments and desires, and so there is fear and placation. Sexually there may be coming together, but the peculiar, almost static, relationship of the “you” and the “me” is sustained, with quarrels, hurts, jealousies and all the usual travail. All this is generally considered good relationship.

Now, can goodness flower in all this?

Relationship is life; without some kind of relationship one cannot exist. The hermit, the monk, however they may withdraw from the world, carry the world with them. They may deny it; they may suppress it, they may torture themselves, but they still remain in some kind of relation with the world, for they are the result of thousands of years of tradition, superstition and all the knowledge that man has gathered through millennia. So there is no escape from it all.

There is a relationship between the educator and the student. Does the teacher maintain, whether knowingly or unknowingly, a sense of superiority, always standing on a pedestal, making the student feel inferior, the one who has to be taught? Obviously in this there is no relationship. From this arises fear on the part of the student, a sense of pressure and strain, and therefore the student learns, from his youth, about this quality of superiority. He is made to feel belittled, and so throughout life he either becomes the aggressor or is continuously yielding and subservient.

A school is a place of leisure, where the educator and the one to be educated are both learning. This is the central fact of the school-to learn. We do not mean by leisure having time to oneself, though that is also necessary. It does not mean taking a book and sitting under a tree or in your bedroom, reading casually. It does not mean having a placid state of mind, and it certainly does not mean being idle or using time for daydreaming. Leisure means having a mind that is not constantly occupied with something, with a problem, with some enjoyment, with some sensory pleasure. Leisure implies that a mind has infinite time to observe what is happening around oneself and within oneself, to listen, to see clearly. Leisure implies freedom, which is generally translated as doing as one desires, which is what human beings are doing anyway, causing a great deal of mischief, misery and confusion. Leisure is having a quiet mind, with no motive and so no direction. It is only in this state of leisure that the mind can learn, not only science, history, mathematics but also about oneself. And one can learn about oneself in relationship.

Can all this be taught in our schools, or is it something you read about and either memorize or forget? When the teacher and the taught are involved in really understanding the extraordinary importance of relationship, then they are establishing in the school a right relationship among themselves. This is part of education, greater than merely teaching academic subjects.

Relationship requires a great deal of intelligence. It cannot be bought in a book or be taught. It is not the accumulated result of great experience. Knowledge is not intelligence. Knowledge can be clever, bright and utilitarian, but that is not intelligence. Intelligence can use knowledge. Intelligence comes naturally and easily when the whole nature and structure of relationship is seen. That is why it is important to have leisure so that the man or the woman, the teacher or the student can quietly and seriously talk over their relationship, so that their actual reactions, susceptibilities, and barriers are seen, not imagined, not twisted to please each other or suppressed in order to placate the other.

Surely this is the function of a school: to help the student to awaken his intelligence and to learn the great importance of right relationship.

Beauty and Nature

By chance it happened that one lived for some months in a small dilapidated house, high in the mountains, far from other houses. There were lots of trees and as it was spring there was perfume in the air. The solitude was of the mountains and the beauty of the red earth. The towering peaks were covered with snow and some of the trees were in bloom. One lived alone amidst this splendour. The forest was nearby, with deer, an occasional bear and those big monkeys with black faces and long tails, and of course there were serpents too. In deep solitude in strange ways one was related to them all. One could not hurt a thing, even that white daisy on the path. In that relationship the space between you and them didn’t exist; it was not contrived; it was not an intellectual or an emotional conviction that brought this about but simply it was so. A group of those large monkeys would come around, especially in the evening; a few were on the ground but most of them would be sitting in the trees quietly watching. Surprisingly they were still; occasionally there would be a scratch or two and we would watch each other. They would come every evening now, neither too close nor too high among the trees, and we would be silently aware of each other. We had become quite good friends but they didn’t want to encroach upon one’s solitude. Walking one afternoon in the forest one came suddenly upon them in an open space. There must have been well over thirty of them, young and old, sitting among the trees round the open space, absolutely silent and still. One could have touched them; there was no fear in them and sitting on the ground we watched each other till the sun went behind the peaks.

If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity. If there’s no relationship with nature then you become a killer; then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins and man either for gain, for ‘sport’, for food or for knowledge. Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places but you are a killer and so lose their friendship. You probably are not related to anything, to your wife or your husband; you are much too busy, gaining and losing, with your own private thoughts, pleasures and pains. You live in your own dark isolation and the escape from it is further darkness. Your interest is in a short survival, mindless, easygoing or violent. And thousands die of hunger or are butchered because of your irresponsibility. You leave the ordering of the world to the lying corrupt politician, to the intellectuals, to the experts. Because you have no integrity, you build a society that’s immoral, dishonest, a society based on utter selfishness. And then you escape from all this for which you alone are responsible, to the beaches, to the woods or carry a gun for ‘sport’.

You may know all this but knowledge does not bring about transformation in you. When you have this sense of the whole, you will be related to the universe.

Krishnamurti’s Journal – Malibu – 39th Entry – 4th April 1975

Learning is Discipline

When you look around you, not so much in the human world as in nature, in the heavens, you see an extraordinary sense of order, balance and harmony. Every tree and flower has its own order, its own beauty; every hilltop and every valley has a sense of its own rhythm and stability. Though man tries to control the rivers and pollutes their waters, they have their own flow, their own farreaching movement. Apart from man, in the seas, in the air and the vast expanse of the heavens, there is an extraordinary sense of purity and orderly existence. Though the fox kills the chicken, and the bigger animals live on the little animals, what appears to be cruelty is a design of order in this universe, except for man. When man doesn’t interfere, there is great beauty of balance and harmony. This harmony can exist only in freedom, not in restriction and not in conflict.

Everything in nature has its season, its dying and rebirth. It is only man that lives in confusion, in conflict, in disorder. If you have watched in a wood, all the living things have their instinctual ways, their own pattern of life which is immemorial and endless. But man is shaped by his selfishness, and his so-called spontaneity is within the field of his self-interest. He is shaped and controlled by the culture, the environment in which he lives. Society tells him what to do; the elders try to shape the minds of the young to conform, to obey and to live in a very small space both outwardly and inwardly. Reform is the breaking of one pattern only to conform to another. We live a very short life, in conflict, in fear and sorrow. Only when we are very young do we seem to be utterly happy and unconcerned. All this soon fades, and then begins the weary conflict of existence.

In all this turmoil there is neither freedom nor the order of spontaneity, for freedom is a great sense of spontaneity. In society, in the family, in a school, if there is no order, there is no relationship. And yet we want a relationship which is really an attachment to another without an inward sense of harmony, wholeness, integrity. If you walk past a parade ground you see the poor soldier being drilled day after day by the beat of the drum and the voice of the sergeant to obey, to conform and to follow. He is made into a machine to kill and to protect himself. In similar ways, from childhood we are drilled to protect ourselves by conforming to the old or to the new. This drilling goes on in the office, in the workshop, in the church, in the school. This is called order, and this is what concerns most parents. This has been going on for generation after generation, and the gap between two generations is only an interval in which a new pattern takes shape.

Is it not possible to have order without effort, without the strife between those who see that order is necessary and those who rebel against any form of compulsion? Is there an order without conformity? Is there an action that does not lead to routine and boredom? This is one of the problems in our world of relationship. Every intelligent person, whether old or young, sees that order is necessary—getting up, learning, playing, and so on. If you want to be a good golfer, you must swing the club in a certain way; if you want to be a good swimmer you must learn the strokes. Learning to be a good golfer or tennis player brings its own natural movement of control. This control is not imposed by anyone but the very movement of the hand and arm, of the body, is infinitely orderly and subtle. Each trade has its own discipline and learning is the discipline.

Discipline is an unfortunate word. In it are implied drill, practice, conformity, subjugation, restraint, and the conflict of indolence. The dictionary meaning of the word discipline is to learn—only to learn and nothing else. If you do not want to learn, then parents, the school, society force you to conform whether you like it or not. However new the society may be, it forces you to fit in. The religious have thrived on this through fear and reward. Either you learn through spontaneous interest or you are driven, compelled to learn. When you are compelled to learn, then your knowledge is mechanical and you use that knowledge mechanically. Then you complain that life has no meaning, and you try to escape through various illusions, through daydreaming or fanciful words. Night-clubs, the weekend recreation, the holidays, are the trivia of escape. You have narrowed down your life to the family and the responsibility it brings, to endless work and to the inevitable. Learning without reward or punishment is quite another matter. If you understand and see this very clearly, when you play football, cricket, or when you are studying a subject, you will find that learning frees the mind rather than shapes it. Knowledge by itself shapes the mind, and so the mind becomes old. The schools and universities are making minds old. They condition conformity, for knowledge has become all-important—not learning but acquiring knowledge. It is an old mind that conforms, not the mind that is always learning. In this learning there is freedom in which knowledge can be used when it is needed. There are encyclopaedias, there are computers, so do not make your mind merely the storehouse of the past. This is order.

From The Whole Movement of Life is Learning, Chapter 70

Knowledge

WE WERE WAITING for the train, and it was late. The platform was dirty and noisy, the air acrid. There were many people waiting, like us. Children were crying, a mother was suckling her baby, the vendors were shouting their wares, tea and coffee were being sold, and it was an altogether busy and clamorous place. We were walking up and down the platform, watching our own footsteps and the movement of life about us. A man came up to us and began to talk in broken English. He said he had been watching us, and felt impelled to say something to us. With great feeling he promised he would lead a clean life, and that from this moment he would never smoke again. He said he was not educated, as he was only a rickshaw boy. He had strong eyes and a pleasant smile.

Presently the train came. In the carriage a man introduced himself. He was a well-known scholar; he knew many languages and could quote freely in them. He was full of years and knowledge, well-to-do and ambitious. He talked of meditation, but he gave the impression that he was not speaking from his own experience. His god was the god of books. His attitude towards life was traditional and conformatory; he believed in early, prearranged marriage and in a strict code of life. He was conscious of his own caste or class and of the differences in the intellectual capacity of the castes. He was strangely vain in his knowledge and position.

The sun was setting, and the train was passing through lovely country. The cattle were coming home, and there was golden dust. There were huge, black clouds on the horizon, and the crack of distant thunder. What joy a green field holds, and how pleasant is that village in the fold of a curving mountain! Darkness was setting in. A big, blue deer was feeding in the fields; he did not even look up as the train roared by.

Knowledge is a flash of light between two darknesses; but knowledge cannot go above and beyond that darkness, Knowledge is essential to technique, as coal to the engine; but it cannot reach out into the unknown. The unknown is not to be caught in the net of the known. Knowledge must be set aside for the unknown to be; but how difficult that is!

We have our being in the past, our thought is founded upon the past. The past is the known, and the response of the past is ever overshadowing the present, the unknown. The unknown is not the future, but the present. The future is but the past pushing its way through the uncertain present. This gap, this interval, is filled with the intermittent light of knowledge, covering the emptiness of the present; but this emptiness holds the miracle of life.

Addiction to knowledge is like any other addiction; it offers an escape from the fear of emptiness, of loneliness, of frustration, the fear of being nothing. The light of knowledge is a delicate covering under which lies a darkness that the mind cannot penetrate. The mind is frightened of this unknown, and so it escapes into knowledge, into theories, hopes, imagination; and this very knowledge is a hindrance to the understanding of the unknown. To put aside knowledge is to invite fear, and to deny the mind, which is the only instrument of perception one has, is to be vulnerable to sorrow, to joy. But it is not easy to put aside knowledge. To be ignorant is not to be free of knowledge. Ignorance is the lack of self-awareness; and knowledge is ignorance when there is no understanding of the ways of the self. Understanding of the self is freedom from knowledge.

There can be freedom from knowledge only when the process of gathering, the motive of-accumulation, is understood. The desire to store up is the desire to be secure, to be certain. This desire for certainty through identification, through condemnation and justification, is the cause of fear, which destroys all communion. When there is communion, there is no need for accumulation. Accumulation is self-enclosing resistance, and knowledge strengthens this resistance. The worship of knowledge is a form of idolatry, and it will not dissolve the conflict and misery of our life. The cloak of knowledge conceals but can never liberate us from our ever increasing confusion and sorrow. The ways of the mind do not lead to truth and its happiness. To know is to deny the unknown.

Commentaries on Living – Series I – Chapter 9

Simplicity of the Heart

THE SKIES WERE open and full. There were not the big, wide-winged birds that float so easily from valley to valley, nor even a passing cloud. The trees were still and the curving folds of the hills were rich in shadow. The eager deer, consumed with curiosity, was watching, and suddenly darted away at our approach. Under a bush, of the same colour as the earth, was a flat horned toad, bright-eyed and motionless. To the west the mountains were sharp and clear against the setting sun. Far below was a big house; it had a swimming pool, and some people were in it. There was a lovely garden surrounding the house; the place looked prosperous and secluded, and had that peculiar atmosphere of the rich. Farther down a dusty road was a small shack in a dry field. Poverty, squalor and toil, even at that distance, were visible. Seen from that height the two houses were not far apart; ugliness and beauty were touching each other.

Simplicity of the heart is of far greater importance and significance than simplicity of possessions. To be content with few things is a comparatively easy matter. To renounce comfort, or to give up smoking and other habits, does not indicate simplicity of heart. To put on a loincloth in a world that is taken up with clothes, comforts and distractions, does not indicate a free being. There was a man who had given up the world and its ways, but his desires and passions were consuming him; he had put on the robes of a monk, but he did not know peace. His eyes were everlastingly seeking, and his mind was driven by his doubts and hopes. Outwardly you discipline and renounce, you chart your course, step by step, to reach the end. You measure the progress of your achievement according to the standards of virtue: how you have given up this or that, how controlled you are in your behaviour, how tolerant and kind you are, and so on and on. You have learnt the art of concentration, and you withdraw into a forest, a monastery or a darkened room to meditate; you pass your days in prayer and watchfulness. Outwardly you have made your life simple, and through this thoughtful and calculated arrangement you hope to reach the bliss that is not of this world.

But is reality reached through external control and sanctions? Though outward simplicity, the putting aside of comfort, is obviously necessary, will this gesture open the door to reality? To be occupied with comfort and success burdens the mind and the heart, and there must be freedom to travel; but why are we so concerned with the outward gesture? Why are we so eagerly determined to give an outward expression of our intention? Is it the fear of self-deception, or of what another might say? Why do we wish to convince ourselves of our integrity? Does not this whole problem lie in the desire to be sure, to be convinced of our own importance in becoming?

The desire to be is the beginning of complexity. Driven by the ever-increasing desire to be, inwardly and outwardly, we accumulate or renounce, cultivate or deny. Seeing that time steals all things, we cling to the timeless. This struggle to be, positively or negatively, through attachment or detachment, can never be resolved by any outward gesture, discipline or practice; but the understanding of this struggle will bring about, naturally and spontaneously, the freedom from outward and inward accumulation with their conflicts. Reality is not to be reached through detachment; it is unattainable through any means. All means and ends are a form of attachment, and they must cease for the being of reality.

Commentaries on Living – Series I – Chapter 14

Greatness is anonymity

Greatness is anonymity, to be anonymous is the greatest thing. The great cathedral, the great things of life, great sculpture, must be anonymous. They do not belong to any particular person, like truth. Truth does not belong to you or to me, it is totally impersonal and anonymous; if you say you have got truth, then you are not anonymous, you are far more important than truth. But an anonymous person may never be great. Probably he will never be great, because he does not want to be great, great in the sense of the world or even inwardly because he is nobody. He has no followers. He has no shrine, he does not puff himself up. But most of us unfortunately want to puff ourselves up, we want to be great, we want to be known, we want to have success. Success leads to fame, but that is an empty thing, is it not? It is like ashes. Every politician is known and it is his business to be known and therefore he is not great. Greatness is to be unknown, inwardly and outwardly to be as nothing; and that requires great penetration, great understanding, great affection.

Banaras, India 20th January 1954 13th, Collected Works.

Creative Happiness

There is a city by the magnificent river; wide and long steps lead down to the water’s edge, and the world seems to live on those steps. From early morning till well after dark, they are always crowded and noisy; almost level with the water are little projecting steps on which people sit and are lost in their hopes and longings, in their gods and chants. The temple bells are ringing, the muezzin is calling; someone is singing, and a huge crowd has gathered, listening in appreciative silence.

Beyond all this, round the bend and higher up the river, there is a pile of buildings. With their avenues of trees and wide roads, they stretch several miles inland; and along the river, through a narrow and dirty lane, one enters into this scattered field of learning. So many students from all over the country are there, eager, active and noisy. The teachers are pompous, intriguing for better positions and salaries. No one seems to be greatly concerned with what happens to the students after they leave. The teachers impart certain knowledge and techniques which the clever ones quickly absorb; and when they graduate, that is that. The teachers have assured jobs, they have families and security; but when the students leave, they have to face the turmoil and the insecurity of life. There are such buildings, such teachers and students all over the land. Some students achieve fame and position in the world; others breed, struggle and die. The State wants competent technicians, administrators to guide and to rule; and there is always the army, the church, and business. All the world over, it is the same.

It is to learn a technique and to have a job, a profession, that we go through this process of having the upper mind stuffed with facts and knowledge, is it not? Obviously, in the modern world, a good technician has a better chance of earning a livelihood; but then what? Is one who is a technician better able to face the complex problem of living than one who is not? A profession is only a part of life; but there are also those parts which are hidden, subtle and mysterious. To emphasize the one and to deny or neglect the rest must inevitably lead to very lopsided and disintegrating activity. This is precisely what is taking place in the world today, with ever mounting conflict, confusion and misery. Of course there are a few exceptions, the creative, the happy, those who are in touch with something that is not man-made, who are not dependent on the things of the mind.

You and I have intrinsically the capacity to be happy, to be creative, to be in touch with something that is beyond the clutches of time. Creative happiness is not a gift reserved for the few; and why is it that the vast majority do not know that happiness? Why do some seem to keep in touch with the profound in spite of circumstances and accidents, while others are destroyed by them? Why are some resilient, pliable, while others remain unyielding and are destroyed? In spite of knowledge, some keep the door open to that which no person and no book can offer, while others are smothered by technique and authority. Why? It is fairly clear that the mind wants to be caught and made certain in some kind of activity, disregarding wider and deeper issues, for it is then on safer ground; so its education, its exercises its activities are encouraged and sustained on that level, and excuses are found for not going beyond it.

Before they are contaminated by so-called education, many children are in touch with the unknown; they show this in so many ways. But environment soon begins to close around them, and after a certain age they lose that light, that beauty which is not found in any book or school. Why? Do not say that life is too much for them, that they have to face hard realities, that it is their karma, that it is their fathers sin; this is all nonsense. Creative happiness is for all and not for the few alone. You may express it in one way and I in another, but it is for all. Creative happiness has no value on the market; it is not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, but it is the one thing that can be for all.

Is creative happiness realizable? 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 pupil, 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 realize this happiness, you must give right attention to it, as you do to business. 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.

The light of reality and its bliss are destroyed when the mind, which is the seat of self, assumes control. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; without self-knowledge, learning leads to ignorance, strife and sorrow.

Commentaries On Living – Series II – Chapter 1

A different structure of morality

I think it is very important to learn about oneself, because it is only then that the mind can be emptied of the old, and unless the mind is emptied of the old, there can be no new impulse. It is this new, creative impulse that is essential if the individual is to bring about a different world, a different relationship, a different structure of morality. And it is only through totally emptying the mind of the old that the new impulse can come into being, give it whatever name you like,the impulse of reality, the grace of God,the feeling of something completely new, unpremeditated, something which has never been thought of, which has not been put together by the mind. Without that extraordinarily creative impulse of reality, do what you will to clear up the confusion and bring order in the social structure, it can only lead to further misery. I think this is fairly obvious when one observes the political and social events that are taking place in the world.

The Collected Works, Vol. X”,252, Choiceless Awareness

Revolt within the prison

We have been discussing the question of revolt within the prison: how all reformers, idealists, and others who are incessantly active in producing certain results, are always revolting within the walls of their own conditioning, within the walls of their own social structure, within the cultural pattern of civilization which is an expression of the collective will of the many. I think it would now be worth while if we could see what confidence is and how it comes about.

Through initiative there comes about confidence; but initiative within the pattern only brings self-confidence, which is entirely different from confidence without the self. Do you know what it means to have confidence? If you do something with your own hands, if you plant a tree and see it grow, if you paint a picture, or write a poem, or, when you are older, build a bridge or run some administrative job extremely well, it gives you confidence that you are able to do something. But, you see, confidence as we know it now is always within the prison, the prison which society – whether communist, Hindu, or Christian – has built around us. Initiative within the prison does create a certain confidence, because you feel you can do things: you can design a motor, be a very good doctor, an excellent scientist, and so on. But this feeling of confidence which comes with the capacity to succeed within the social structure, or to reform, to give more light, to decorate the interior of the prison is really self-confidence; you know you can do something, and you feel important in doing it, Whereas, when through investigating, through understanding, you break away from the social structure of which you are a part, there comes an entirely different kind of confidence which is without the sense of self-importance; and if we can understand the difference between these two – between self-confidence, and confidence without the self – I think it will have great significance in our life.

When you play a game very well, like badminton, cricket, or football, you have a certain sense of confidence, have you not? It gives you the feeling that you are pretty good at it. If you are quick at solving mathematical problems, that also breeds a sense of self-assurance. When confidence is born of action within the social structure, there always goes with it a strange arrogance, does there not? The confidence of a man who can do things, who is capable of achieving results, is always coloured by this arrogance of the self, the feeling, “It is I who do it”. So, in the very act of achieving a result, of bringing about a social reform within the prison, there is the arrogance of the self, the feeling that I have done it, that my ideal is important, that my group has succeeded. This sense of the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’ always goes with the confidence that expresses itself within the social prison.

Have you not noticed how arrogant idealists are? The political leaders who bring about certain results, who achieve great reforms – have you not noticed that they are full of themselves, puffed up with their ideals and their achievements? In their own estimation they are very important. Read a few of the political speeches, watch some of these people who call themselves reformers, and you will see that in the very process of reformation they are cultivating their own ego; their reforms, however extensive, are still within the prison, therefore they are destructive and ultimately bring more misery and conflict to man.

Now, if you can see through this whole social structure, the cultural pattern of the collective will which we call civilization – if you can understand all that and break away from it, break through the prison walls of your particular society, whether Hindu, communist, or Christian, then you will find that there comes a confidence which is not tainted with the sense of arrogance. It is the confidence of innocence. It is like the confidence of a child who is so completely innocent he will try anything. It is this innocent confidence that will bring about a new civilization; but this innocent confidence cannot come into being as long as you remain within the social pattern.

Think on These Things, Chapter 12

So, is it not important to find out why we are confused? Can anybody, except a very few, say that they are not confused politically, religiously, economically? Sirs, you have only to look around you. Every newspaper is shouting in confusion, reflecting the uncertainties, the pains, the anxieties, the impending wars; and the sane, thoughtful person, the earnest person who is trying to find a way out of this confusion surely has first to tackle himself. So then, our question is this, What causes confusion? Why are we confused? One of the obvious factors is that we have lost confidence in ourselves, and that is why we have so many leaders, so many gurus, so many holy books telling us what to do and what not to do. We have lost self-confidence. Obviously, there are people, the technicians, who are full of confidence because they have achieved results. For example, give a first class mechanic any machine and he will understand it.The more technique we have, the more capable we are of dealing with technical things, but surely, that is not self-confidence. We are not using the word confidence as it applies to technical matters. A professor, when he deals with his subject, is full of confidence—at least, when other professors are not listening—or a bureaucrat, a high official, feels confident because he has reached the top of the ladder in the technique of bureaucracy, and he can always exert his authority. Though he may be wrong, he is full of confidence—like a mechanic when you give him a motor he knows all about. But surely, we do not mean that kind of confidence, do we, because we are not technical machines. We are not mere machines ticking according to a certain rhythm, revolving at a certain speed, a certain number of revolutions per minute. We are life, not machines. We would like to make ourselves into machines because then we could deal with ourselves mechanically, repetitiously, and automatically—and that is what most of us want. Therefore, we build walls of resistance, disciplines, controls, tracks along which we run. But even having so conditioned, so placed ourselves, having become so automatic and mechanical, there is still a vitality that pursues different things and creates contradictions. Sirs, our difficulty is that we are pliable, that we are alive, not dead; and because life is so swift, so subtle, so uncertain, we do not know how to understand it, and therefore we have lost confidence. Most of us are trained technically because we have to earn our livelihood, and modern civilization demands higher and higher technique. But with that technical mind, that technical capacity, you cannot follow yourself because you are much too swift, you are more pliable, more complicated than the machine, so you are learning to have more and more confidence in the machine and are losing confidence in yourself and are therefore multiplying leaders. So, as I said, one of the causes of confusion is this lack of confidence in ourselves. The more imitative we are, the less confidence we have, and we have made life into a copy book. From early childhood up, we are told what to do—we must do this, we must not do that. So what do you expect? And must you not have confidence in order to find out? Must you not have that extraordinary inward certainty to know what truth is when you meet it?

So, having made life into a technical process, conforming to a particular pattern of action, which is merely technique, naturally we have lost confidence in ourselves, and therefore we are increasing our inward struggle, our inward pain and confusion. Confusion can be dissolved only through self-confidence, and this confidence cannot be gained through another. You have to undertake, for yourself and by yourself, the journey of discovery into the process of yourself in order to understand it. This does not mean you are withdrawn, aloof. On the contrary, Sirs, confidence comes the moment you understand, not what others say, but your own thoughts and feelings, what is happening in yourself and around you. Without that confidence which comes from knowing your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences—their truth, their falseness, their significance, their absurdity—without knowing that, how can you clear up the whole field of confusion which is yourself?

Third Talk in Bangalore, 18 July 1948

Progress And Revolution

THEY WERE CHANTING in the temple. It was a clean temple of carved stone, massive and indestructible. There were over thirty priests, naked to the waist; their pronunciation of the Sanskrit was precise and distinct, and they knew the meaning of the chant. The depth and sound of the words made those walls and pillars almost tremble, and instinctively the group that was there became silent. The creation, the beginning of the world was being chanted, and how man was brought forth. The people had closed their eyes, and the chant was producing a pleasant disturbance: nostalgic remembrances of their childhood, thoughts of the progress they had made since those youthful days, the strange effect of Sanskrit words, delight in hearing the chant again. Some were repeating the chant to themselves, and their lips were moving. The atmosphere was getting charged with strong emotions, but the priests went on with the chant and the gods remained silent.

How we hug to ourselves the idea of progress. We like to think we shall achieve a better state, become more merciful, peaceful and virtuous. We love to cling to this illusion, and few are deeply aware that this becoming is a pretense, a satisfying myth. We love to think that someday we shall be better, but in the meantime, we carry on. Progress is such a comforting word, so reassuring, a word with which we hypnotize ourselves. The thing which is cannot become something different; greed can never become non-greed, any more than violence can become non-violence. You can make pig iron into a marvellous, complicated machine, but progress is illusion when applied to self-becoming. The idea of the ‘me’ becoming something glorious is the simple deception of the craving to be great. We worship the success of the State, of the ideology, of the self, and deceive ourselves with the comforting illusion of progress. Thought may progress, become something more, go towards a more perfect end, or make itself silent; but as long as thought is a movement of acquisitiveness or renunciation, it is always a mere reaction. Reaction ever produces conflict, and progress in conflict is further confusion, further antagonism.

He said he was a revolutionary, ready to kill or be killed for his cause, for his ideology. He was prepared to kill for the sake of a better world. To destroy the present social order would of course produce more chaos, but this confusion could be used to build a classless society. What did it matter if you destroyed some or many in the process of building a perfect social order? What mattered was not the present man, but the future man; the new world that they were going to build would have no inequality, there would be work for all, and there would be happiness.

How can you be so sure of the future? What makes you so certain of it? The religious people promise heaven, and you promise a better world in the future; you have your book and your priests, as they have theirs, so there is really not much difference between you. But what makes you so sure that you are clear-sighted about the future? “Logically, if we follow a certain course the end is certain. Moreover, there is a great deal of historical evidence to support our position.”

We all translate the past according to our particular conditioning and interpret it to suit our prejudices. You are as uncertain of tomorrow as the rest of us, and thank heaven it is so! But to sacrifice the present for an illusory future is obviously most illogical.

Aloness and Isolation

THE SUN HAS gone down and the trees were dark and shapely against the darkening sky. The wide, strong river was peaceful and still. The moon was just visible on the horizon: she was coming up between two great trees, but she was not yet casting shadows.

We walked up the steep bank of the river and took a path that skirted the green wheat fields. This path was a very ancient way; many thousands had trodden it, and it was rich in tradition and silence. It wandered among fields and mangoes, tamarinds and deserted shrines. There were large patches of garden, sweet peas deliciously scenting the air. The birds were settling down for the night, and a large pond was beginning to reflect the stars. Nature was not communicative that evening. The trees were aloof; they had withdrawn into their silence and darkness. A few chattering villagers passed by on their bicycles, and once again there was deep silence and that peace which comes when all things are alone.

This aloneness is not aching, fearsome loneliness. It is the aloneness of being; it is uncorrupted, rich, complete. That tamarind tree has no existence other than being itself. So is the aloneness. One is alone, like the fire, like the flower, but one is not aware of its purity and of its immensity, One can truly communicate only when there is aloneness. Being alone is not the outcome of denial, of self-enclosure. Aloneness is the purgation of all motives, of all pursuits of desire, of all ends Aloneness is not an end product of the mind. You cannot wish to be alone. Such a wish is merely an escape from the pain of not being able to commune.

Loneliness, with its fear and ache, is isolation, the inevitable action of the self. This process of isolation, whether expansive or narrow, is productive of confusion, conflict and sorrow. Isolation can never give birth to aloneness; the one has to cease for the other to be. Aloneness is indivisible and loneliness is separation. That which is alone is pliable and so enduring. Only the alone can commune with that which is causeless, the immeasurable. To the alone, life is eternal; to the alone there is no death. The alone can never cease to be.

The moon was just coming over the tree tops, and the shadows were thick and dark. A dog began to bark as we passed the little village and walked back along the river. The river was so still that it caught the stars and the lights of the long bridge among its waters. High up on the bank children were standing and laughing, and a baby was crying. The fishermen were cleaning and coiling their nets. A night-bird flew silently by. Someone began to sing on the other bank of the wide river, and his words were clear and penetrating. Again the all-pervading aloneness of life.

Commentaries on Living – Series I – Chapter 5

True revolution

This is the last talk of this series in this town.

One must have observed that throughout the world man, the human being, has always been searching for something much more than the transient. He has always been, probably from time immemorial, asking himself if there is something really sacred, something that is not worldly, that is not put together by thought, by the intellect. He has always asked if there is a reality, a timeless state, not invented by the mind, not projected by thought, but actually to find oneself in that state of mind where time doesn’t exist, where there is something, if one can use the word ‘divine’, ‘sacred’, ‘holy’ that is not perishable. And organised religions seem to have supplied the answer. They say there is – there is a reality, there is God, there is something which the mind cannot possibly measure. And they begin to organise what they consider to be the real. And man is led astray by organised religions. You may remember that story of the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street and they saw a man ahead stoop down and pick up something from the road. And as he picked it up and looked at it he was very startled, there was a great delight in his face. And the friend of the devil asked, what was it that he picked up and the devil said, ‘It’s truth’. And the friend said, ‘Isn’t that a very bad business for you then?’ The devil said, ‘Not at all, I am going to help him to organise it’. (Laughter).

And organised religion throughout the world, with their dogmas, with their extraordinary meaningless rituals, their sense of beauty – and there is beauty – and the worship of an image made by the hand or by the mind, has become very holy, something very sacred, to which one prays. And so man, in his search for something that is beyond all the measure, all time, has been caught, trapped, deceived, because man hopes always to find something which is not entirely of this world. Because after all what has society to offer, any society, the most ancient or the most bureaucratic society like the communist society, or the other, capitalist societies and so on, what have they actually to offer? Very little except food, clothes and shelter, perhaps one may have more opportunity to work and more money to make, but ultimately when one observes, these societies have very little to offer. And the mind, if it is at all intelligent, alert, aware, it rejects what these societies have to offer – psychologically, not physiologically, one needs clothes, food and shelter, that is absolutely essential. But when that becomes the greatest importance then life loses its marvellous meaning.

And if we could, this evening, it might be worthwhile if we could spend some time to find out for ourselves if there is really something sacred, something which is not put together by thought, by circumstances, which is not the result of propaganda, whether it be ten thousand years or two thousand years. And if we could, it would be worthwhile to go into this question, because unless one finds something that is not measurable by words, by thought, by any experience, life, which is the everyday living, becomes so utterly superficial. And perhaps that is why the present generation rejects this society – though perhaps they may not – they are looking for something beyond the everyday struggle, ugliness, brutality and all the rest of it.

So, if you will, we can enquire into this question: what is a religious mind? What is the state of the mind which can see what truth is? You may say, ‘There is no such thing as truth, there is no such thing as God, God is dead, we must make the best of this world and get on with it. Why ask such questions when there is so much confusion, so much misery, starvation, ghettos, get rid of racial prejudices, let’s be concerned with all that, let’s bring about a humanitarian society?’ Even if you did, and I hope it will be done too, this question will inevitably be asked. You may do it at the end of ten, fifteen, fifty years, but this question must be asked otherwise life, as we live it, can have some significance but without finding out a state, if there is such a state, which puts an end to time. So, if you will, we might profitably go into it.

First of all, there must be freedom to look, freedom to observe, if there is or if there is not – we cannot possibly assume anything. We cannot hope for anything if there is any assumption, any hope, any fear, then the mind is distorted, then the mind cannot possibly see very clearly. So freedom is absolutely necessary to find out; even in a scientific laboratory you need freedom to observe, you may have an hypothesis but if that hypothesis interferes with the observation, then you put aside that hypothesis, any conclusion, any knowledge and it is only in freedom that you can discover something totally new. So if we are going to venture together, not only verbally but non-verbally, then there must be this freedom from any sense of personal demand, any sense of fear, hope or despair, one must have clear eyes, unspotted, unconditioned so that out of freedom you can observe. So that is the first thing, obviously.

As we have gone in the past three talks, into the question of fear and pleasure – if that has not been clear and if one has not applied oneself to the question of fear, then what we are going to explore will not be possible. And obviously our minds are conditioned by beliefs: the Christian belief, the Hindu, the Buddhist and so on. And unless there is complete freedom from belief of any kind, psychologically, inwardly, then that freedom is denied and therefore it’s not possible to observe, to find out for oneself if there is a reality which cannot be corrupted by thought.

And one must be free also from all this social morality, because the morality of society is not moral. And a mind that is not highly moral, a mind that is embedded in righteousness is incapable of being free. And that’s why it’s important to understand oneself, to know oneself, to see all the structure of oneself: the thoughts, the hopes, the fears, the anxieties, the ambitions, the competitive, aggressive spirit. Unless one understands and deeply establishes what is the righteous behaviour, then there is no freedom, because then the mind gets confused by its own uncertainties, by its own doubts, demands, pressures.

So to enquire into this really very, very important question: what is the religious mind – if there is such a thing – there must be this freedom, not only at the conscious level but also at the deeper level of one’s consciousness. And here comes quite a difficult problem because most of us have accepted that there is an unconscious. For most of us the unconscious is something hidden, dark, unknown and without understanding the totality of that unconscious, merely to scratch the surface by clever, analytical examination has very little meaning, whether it is done by the professionals or by one’s own intelligent enquiry. So one has to look into this also: the conscious, as well as the mind that is deep down, secret, hidden, which has never been exposed to the light of intelligence, to the light of enquiry. And if we could, this evening, also go into that a little bit, whether the conscious mind, that is, the everyday mind, the mind that has sharpened itself through competition, through so-called education – which isn’t really education at all, but that is irrelevant – whether such a mind can examine the unconscious, the deeper layers of the mind.

Public Talk 4 Berkeley, California, USA – 06 February 1969

A Truly Revolutionary Mind

FROM THE VERY first day and during these gatherings I hope we are going to be very serious. Most of us, I am afraid, have come with a sense of holiday spirit, to look upon the hills and mountains, the green valleys and the flowing streams, to be quiet, to meet friends, to gossip, to have a little fun which is all right but if we are to get any worthwhile meaning out of these gatherings we ought to be very serious from the beginning.

There are tremendous problems confronting us as human beings. Living in this mad and stupid world we have to be serious; and those people who are really serious in their hearts, in their very being not neurotically, not according to any particular principle or commitment it seems to me, have that quality of seriousness which is necessary.

As one observes what is going on in this world the students in revolt, the anxiety of war, the extreme poverty, the racial hatreds and riots, the deplorable satisfaction of the small countries with their monetary position, and so on one feels one does not know what it is all about. One has listened to many explanations, from the philosophers, from the intellectuals, the theologians, the priests, the sociologists, from all the organized bureaucracies and so on. But explanations are not good enough; and even to know the cause of these disturbances does not solve the issue. During these gatherings here, we are going to be individually and humanly responsible; we are going to see if we can understand the problem of our existence, with its turmoil, with its chaos, misery and enormous sorrow, which is both within us and outside.

It obviously behoves us to dispel the darkness which we individually have created in ourselves and in others. That is why it seems to me we ought to be very serious.

You know, there are those people who are serious rather neurotically; they think if they follow a certain principle or belief or dogma or ideology and keep practising it, that they are serious. They are not serious such people they believe and that belief breeds an extraordinary state of imbalance. So one has to be extremely alert to find out what it means to be serious.

One can see that ideologies play a tremendous part in the life of man throughout the world and that these ideologies do separate man into groups the republican and the democrat, the left and the right and so on they divide people and by their very nature these ideologies become ‘authority’. Those who assume power in these ideologies tyrannize, democratically or ruthlessly; this is observable throughout the world. Ideologies, principles and beliefs, not only separate man into groups, but they actually prevent co-operation; yet that is what we need in this world, to co-operate, to work together, to act together not you acting in one way, belonging to one group, and I in another. Division inevitably comes about if you believe in a particular ideology whether it is that of the communist, the socialist, the capitalist and so on whatever that ideology be, it must separate and breed conflict.

An ideologist is not a serious man, he does not see the consequences of his ideology. So, to be really serious one has to put away completely, totally, these nationalistic and religious divisions, deny that which is utterly false and perhaps as an outcome of that there might be a possibility of being really and truly serious. We have to build a totally different world a world that has nothing whatsoever to do with the present world of manias and conflicts, of competition, ruthlessness, brutality and violence.

It is only the religious mind that is a truly revolutionary mind; there is no other revolutionary mind, whether calling itself revolutionary from the extreme left or centre, it is not revolutionary. The mind which calls itself left or centre is only dealing with a fragment of the totality and is even breaking that fragment into various other parts; it is not a truly revolutionary mind at all. The really religious mind in the deep sense of that word is truly revolutionary because it is beyond the left, the right and the centre. To understand this and co-operate with each other is to bring about a different social order; and it is our responsibility. If we could put away all these immature, childish things, I think we could be the salt of the earth; and that is the only reason for which we have come together, there is no other reason. You are not going to get something from me, nor I from you. That which is absolutely essential is not possible round an ideology. I think that is fairly obvious, historically and factually. What is going on in the world indicates this, the division and conflict of ideologies; you, knowing of an ideology however superior, however great, however noble cannot possibly bring about co-operation; perhaps it can bring about a destructive tyranny, of the left or right, but it cannot possibly bring this co-operation of understanding and love.

Co-operation is only possible when there is no ‘authority’. You know, that is one of the most dangerous things in the world ‘authority’. One assumes ‘authority’ in the name of an ideology, or in the name of God, or Truth, and an individual, or group of people, who have assumed that ‘authority’, cannot possibly bring about a world order.

Talks and Dialogues, Saanen 1968

When the me is not, then compassion comes into being

No guru and no system can help one to understand oneself. Without understanding oneself there is no raison d’etre to find out that which is right action, that which is truth. In investigating one’s consciousness one is investigating the whole human consciousness – not only one’s own – because one is the world and when one observes one’s own consciousness one is observing the consciousness of mankind – it is not something personal and self-centred.

One of the factors in consciousness is desire. From perception, contact and sensation, thought creates the image and the pursuit of that image is the desire to fulfil, with all the frustration and the bitterness following from that. Now, can there be an observation of sensation not ending in desire? Just to observe. Which means one has to understand the nature of thought, because it is thought that gives continuity to desire; it is thought that creates the image out of sensation followed by the pursuit of that image.

Thought is the response of memory, experience and knowledge, stored up in the brain. Thought is never new, it is always from the past. Thought, therefore, is limited. Although it has created innumerable problems yet it has also created the extraordinary world of technology – marvellous things it has done. But thought is limited because it is the outcome of the past, therefore it is time-binding. Thought pretends to conceive the immeasurable, the timeless, something beyond itself; it projects all kinds of illusory images. Can one observe the whole movement of desire without images and the pursuit of those images; without thereby becoming involved in frustration, in the hope of fulfilment and so on? Just to observe the whole movement of desire; to become aware of it.

Can one psychologically be free yet not be caught up in the illusion that one is free? That illusion comes about when one says to oneself. “I must be free from fear” – which is the movement of desire. Having understood the nature of desire and its movement, its images, its conflicts, then one can look at fear in oneself and not deceive oneself that one is psychologically free from fear. Then one can go into the whole question of fear; not a particular form of fear, but go to the very root of fear, which is much simpler and quicker than taking the various branches of fear and trimming them. By observing the totality of fear then come to the root of it. One can only go to the root of it when one observes the totality of the various forms of fears – observe, become aware of them, but not try to do something about them. By observing the whole tree of fear, with all the branches, with all its various qualities, all its divisions, go to the very root of it.

Chapter 15 – 2nd Public Talk, Brockwood Park – 28th August 1977

Without responsibility there is no freedom

Freedom is one of the most important factors in life. Man has fought politically for freedom all over the world. religions have promised freedom, not in this world but in another. In the capitalist countries, individual freedom exists to some degree, and in the communist world it has been denied. From ancient times freedom has meant a great deal to man, and there have been its opponents, not only political but religious- through the Inquisition, by excommunication, tortures and banishments, and the total denial of man’s search for freedom. There have been wars and counter-wars fought for freedom. This has been the pattern of man’s endeavours for freedom throughout history.

Freedom of self-expression and freedom of speech and thought exists in some parts of the world, but in others it does not. Those who have been conditioned revolt against their backgrounds, and react in immature ways. This reaction, which takes different forms, is called “freedom”. The reaction to politics is often to shun the field of politics. One economic reaction is to form small communities based on some ideology or under the leadership of some one person, in which authority is denied and an attempt is made to be self-supporting, but these generally disintegrate. The religious reaction against established organizations of belief is to revolt, either by joining other religious organizations or by following some guru or leader or by joining some cult. Or one denies the whole religious endeavour. Don’t all these indicate mere outward movements toward freedom?

One thinks of freedom only as freedom of movement, either physical or the movements of thought. It appears one always seeks freedom on the surface, the right to go from here to there, to think what one likes, to do what one likes, to choose, and to seek wider experiences. Surely this is a rather limited freedom, involving a great deal of conflict, wars and violence. Inner freedom is something entirely different. When there is deep, fundamental freedom, which has its roots not in the idea of freedom but in the reality of freedom, then that freedom covers all movement, all the endeavours of man. Without this freedom, life will always be an activity within the limited circle of time and conflict.

So when we talk of freedom we are talking of the fundamental issue. It is not a freedom from something, but the quality of a mind and heart that are free, and in which direction does not exist. Freedom from something is only a modified continuity of what has been, and therefore it is not freedom. When there is direction, and therefore choice, freedom cannot exist; for direction is division and hence choice and conflict.

There is no such thing as individual freedom, but only freedom. The word individual in its very meaning implies indivisible, not an entity opposed to the collective. But we have made a concept of individuality with its peculiar characteristics, tendencies and so on which are the response of conditioning, and we oppose it to the collective. This conditioning is part of the culture-economic, social and so on-in which the mind is educated. Freedom lies beyond this conditioning, not within the field of consciousness with the content that makes up consciousness. The responsibility that lies beyond conditioning is different from the responsibility of so-called freedom.

The responsibility of a conditioned mind is irresponsibility, which can be perceived in the present cultures of society, whether of the East or of the West. This irresponsibility is shown in education, in social injustice, in national divisions with different ideologies leading to competition, wars, starvation, affluence and poverty. The irresponsibility of organized religions is shown in their support and maintenance of these cultures. These religions preach morality, but sustain corruption. They are at war with each other, asserting that they alone have the truth, that their gods and saviours are the real. This irresponsibility is shown when an intermediary is placed between the real and the human. This irresponsibility is shown when temples, mosques and churches become a power in the land.

Responsibility has quite a different meaning when there is freedom. responsibility does not deny freedom, they go together. When there is the deep fundamental reality of freedom, responsibility is concerned with the whole of life and not with one fragment of life; it is concerned with the whole movement and not with some particular movement; it is concerned with the whole activity of the mind and the heart and not with one particular activity or direction. Freedom is the total harmony in which responsibility is as natural as the flower in the field. That response is not induced or imposed; it is the natural outcome of freedom. Without responsibility, there is no freedom. To respond to every challenge out of freedom is responsibility. It is the inadequate response that is irresponsibility. The mind that is dependent in attachment becomes irresponsible to the whole.

So freedom is love, which in its very nature is responsible to the flower by the roadside, and to the neighbour whether the neighbour is next door or a thousand miles away.

Compassion is the very essence of freedom.

The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

Education is the cultivation of total responsibility

In past letters we have said that total responsibility is love. This responsibility is not for a particular nation or a particular group or community, or for a particular deity, or some form of political programme, or for your own guru, but for all mankind. To have this deeply understood and felt is the responsibility of the educator.

Almost all of us feel responsible for our families and children, but we do not have the feeling of being wholly concerned and committed to the environment around us, to nature, or of being totally responsible for our actions. That absolute care is love. Without this love, there can be no change in society. The idealists, though they may love their ideal or their concept, have not brought about a radically different society. revolutionaries, terrorists, have not fundamentally changed the pattern of our societies. Physically violent revolutionaries have talked about freedom for all men, forming a new society, but all the jargon and slogans have only further tortured the spirit and existence. They have twisted words to suit their own limited outlooks. No form of violence has changed society in the most fundamental way. Great rulers, through the authority of a few, have brought about some kind of order in society. Even the totalitarians have established, through violence and torture, a superficial semblance of order. We are not talking about such an order in society.

We are saying very definitely and most emphatically that it is only having a sense of total responsibility for all mankind, which is love, that can basically transform the present state of society. Existing systems in various parts of the world are corrupt, degenerate and wholly immoral. You have only to look around you to see this fact. Millions upon millions are spent on armaments throughout the world; the politicians talk about peace while preparing for war. religions have declared over and over again the sanctity of peace, but they have encouraged wars and subtle kinds of violence and torture. There are innumerable divisions and sects with their rituals and all the nonsense that goes on in the name of God and religion. Where there is division there must be disorder, struggle and conflict, whether the division is religious, political or economic. Our modern society is based on greed, envy and power.

When you consider all this as it actually is, this overpowering commercialism indicates degeneration and basic immorality. We are destroying the earth and all the things on it for our gratification. To radically change this pattern of our life, which is the basis of all society, is the educator’s responsibility.

Education is not merely the teaching of various academic subjects; it is also the cultivation of total responsibility in the student. People do not realize that an educator is bringing into being a new generation. Most schools are concerned only with imparting knowledge; they are not at all concerned with the transformation of man and his daily life. You, the educator in these schools, need to have this deep concern and the care of this total responsibility.

In what manner then can you help the student to feel this quality of love with all its excellence? If you do not feel this yourself, profoundly, talking about responsibility is meaningless. Can you as an educator feel the truth of this? Seeing the truth of it will bring about naturally this love and total responsibility. You have to ponder over it, observe it daily in your life, in your relations with your wife, your friends, your students. And in your relationship with the students you will talk about this from your heart, not pursue mere verbal clarity. The feeling for this reality is the greatest gift that man can have. Once it is burning in you, you will find the right word, right action and correct behaviour. When you consider the student, you will see that he comes to you totally unprepared for all this. He comes to you frightened, nervous, anxious to please or on the defensive, conditioned by his parents and the society in which he has lived his few years. You have to see his background; you have to be concerned with what he actually is and not impose your own opinions, conclusions and judgements on him. Considering what he is will reveal what you are, and so you will find that the student is you.

Now, can you, in the teaching of mathematics, physics, and so on-which he must know for that is the way of earning a livelihood-convey to the student that he is responsible for the whole of mankind? So that, though he may be working for his own career, his own way of life, it will not make his mind narrow, and he will see the danger of specialization with all its limitations and strange brutality. You have to help him to see all this. The flowering of goodness does not lie in knowing mathematics and biology or in passing examinations and having a successful career. It exists outside these. When there is this flowering, career and other necessary activities are touched by its beauty. Now we lay emphasis on one thing and disregard the flowering entirely.

In these schools we are trying to bring these two together, not artificially, not as a principle or pattern for you to follow, but because you see the absolute truth that these two must flow together for the regeneration of man. Can you do this? Not because you all agree to do it after discussing and coming to a conclusion, but because you see with an inward eye the extraordinary gravity of this; see it for yourself. Then what you say will have significance. Then you become a centre of light not lit by another. As you are all of humanity-which is an actuality, not a verbal statement- you are utterly responsible for the future of man.

Please do not consider this a burden. If you do, it is a bundle of words without any reality; it is an illusion. This responsibility has its own gaiety, its own humour, its own movement without the weight of thought.

The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

Imitation corrupts the mind

As we have already pointed out several times in these letters, the schools exist primarily to bring about a profound transformation in human beings. The educator is wholly responsible for this. Unless the teacher realizes this central factor, he will be merely instructing the student to become a businessman, an engineer, a lawyer, or a politician. There are so many of these who seem to be incapable of transforming either themselves or their society. Perhaps in the present structure of society lawyers and businessmen may be necessary, but when these schools came into being the intention was, and remains, to transform humanity profoundly. The teachers in these schools should really understand this, not intellectually, not as an idea, but because they see the full implications of this with their whole being. We are concerned with the total development of a human being, not merely with accumulating knowledge.

Ideas and ideals are one thing, and fact, the actual happening, is another. The two can never come together. Ideals have been imposed upon facts and twist what is happening to conform to what should be, the ideal. The utopia is a conclusion drawn from what is happening, and sacrifices the actual to conform to that which has been idealized. This has been the process for millennia, and every student and all the intellectuals revel in ideations. The avoidance of what is, is the beginning of the corruption of the mind. This corruption pervades all religions, politics and education, all human relationship. The understanding of this process of avoidance and going beyond it is our concern.

Ideals corrupt the mind; they are born of ideas, judgements and hope. Ideas are abstractions from what is, and any idea or conclusion about what is actually happening distorts what is happening, and so corruption takes place. It takes attention away from the fact, from what is, and so directs attention to the fanciful. This movement away from the fact makes for symbols, images, which then take on all- consuming importance. This movement away from the fact is corruption of the mind. Human beings indulge in this movement in conversation, in their relationships, in almost everything they do. The fact is instantly translated into an idea or a conclusion, which then dictates our reactions. When something is seen, thought immediately makes a counterpart and that becomes the real. You see a dog, and instantly thought turns to whatever image you may have about dogs, and so you never see the dog.

Can the students be taught to remain with the fact, the actual happening now, whether it is psychologically or externally? Knowledge is not the fact; it is about the fact, and that has its proper place, but knowledge prevents perception of what actually is. Then corruption takes place. This is really very important to understand. Ideals are considered noble, exalted, of great purposeful significance, and what is actually happening is considered merely sensory, worldly and of lesser value. Schools the world over have some exalted purpose, ideal; so they are educating the students in corruption.

What corrupts the mind? We are using the word mind to imply the senses, the capacity to think, and the brain that stores all memories and experiences as knowledge. This total movement is the mind. The conscious as well as the unconscious, the so-called super-consciousness, the whole of this is the mind. We are asking what the factors, the seeds of corruption are in all this. We said ideals corrupt. Knowledge also corrupts the mind. Knowledge, particular or extensive, is the movement of the past, and when the past overshadows the actual, corruption takes place. Knowledge, projected into the future and directing what is happening now, is corruption. We are using the word corruption to mean that which is being broken up, that which is not taken as a whole. The fact can never be broken up; the fact can never be limited by knowledge. The completeness of the fact opens the door to infinity. Completeness cannot be divided; it is not self-contradictory; it cannot divide itself. Completeness, wholeness, is infinite movement.

The Whole Movement of Life is Learning – Chapter 11

The Individual and Society

WE WERE WALKING along a crowded street. The sidewalks were heavy with people, and the smell of exhaust from the cars and buses filled our nostrils. The shops displayed many costly and shoddy things. The sky was pale silver, and it was pleasant in the park as we came out of the noisy thoroughfare. We went deeper into the park and sat down.

He was saying that the State, with its militarization and legislation, was absorbing the individual almost everywhere, and that worship of the State was now taking the place of the worship of God. In most countries the State was penetrating into the very intimate lives of its people; they were being told what to read and what to think. The State was spying upon its citizens, keeping a divine eye on them, taking over the function of the Church. It was the new religion. Man used to be a slave to the Church, but was now a slave of the State. Before it was the Church, and now it was the State that controlled his education; and neither was concerned with the liberation of man.

What is the relationship of the individual to society? Obviously, society exists for the individual, and not the other way round. Society exists for the fruition of man; it exists to give freedom to the individual so that he may have the opportunity to awaken the highest intelligence. This intelligence is not the mere cultivation of a technique or of knowledge; it is to be in touch with that creative reality which is not of the superficial mind. Intelligence is not a cumulative result, but freedom from progressive achievement and success. Intelligence is never static; it cannot be copied and standardized, and hence cannot be taught. Intelligence is to be discovered in freedom.

The collective will and its action, which is society, does not offer this freedom to the individual; for society, not being organic, is ever static. Society is made up, put together for the convenience of man; it has no independent mechanism of its own. Men may capture society, guide it, shape it, tyrannize over it, depending upon their psychological states; but society is not the master of man. It may influence him, but man always breaks it down. There is conflict between man and society because man is in conflict within himself; and the conflict is between that which is static and that which is living. Society is the outward expression of man. The conflict between himself and society is the conflict within himself. This conflict, within and without, will ever exist until the highest intelligence is awakened.

Series I – Chapter 21 – ‘The Individual and Society’
Commentaries on Living

Escaping through Ideas

The primary cause of conflict is escaping through ideas. Instead of facing jealousy or envy, instead of coming directly into contact with it, you say, ‘How shall I get over it? What shall I do? What are the methods by which I cannot be jealous?’ These are all ideas and therefore escapes, going away from the fact that you are jealous. Going away from the fact through ideas wastes energy and prevents you from coming into contact directly with that fact. You have to give your complete attention, not through an idea; ideas prevent attention.

When you observe or become aware of the feeling of jealousy, and give complete attention to it without ideas, you will see that not only are you directly in contact with the feeling, but because you have given your complete attention, it ceases to be. You then have greater energy to meet the next incident, the next emotion, the next feeling.

To bring about a complete transformation, you must have energy—not the energy brought about through suppression but that energy that comes to you when you are not escaping through ideas or suppression.

From Collected Works Vol. 15

K: We will discuss what is conditioning, and whether it is possible to bring up children without being conditioned. That’s what he wants to discuss. Anything… anybody else?
Perhaps that could be discussed if we approach the question differently: how to bring about an education, or to educate a child, a student, and ourselves not to imitate, not to conform. Could we discuss that? Would that be worthwhile? What do you say, would that be worthwhile to discuss: what are the implications of conforming and whether it is possible not to conform at all, but yet live in the society, in this world, not in a monastery, but here. Would that be worthwhile?

Q: Yes.

K: Right, sirs. If you don’t want to discuss that, please talk about something else that might be of interest to you. So shall we start with that?

Q: Yes.

K: Right. Before we try to find out how to educate children not to conform or to conform, shouldn’t we find out for ourselves if we are conforming – the educator, which we are, the parent, the teachers, the educator, the human being – are we conforming? Are we imitating, following a certain pattern, accepting formulas and fitting life to that formula? All that implies surely, conformity, doesn’t it: following, accepting authority, having a formula or a principle or a belief according to which one lives, or rejecting the outer patterns of conformity imposed on us through culture, through education, through the impact of social influences. We may have our own patterns of conformity, inwardly, and accept those and conform to that – you see, both outwardly and inwardly. Is one aware that one is conforming?

Am I aware that I am conforming? Not that one should not, or should, but first let’s begin to find out if one is conforming. What does it mean? I mean all the structure of language is a form of acceptance of a pattern of speech, of thought, conditioned by words and so on. That is, one can see one does conform there. And one does conform to outward social patterns – short hair, long hair, beard, no beard, trousers, short, mini skirts, and long skirts, and you know all the rest of it. And inwardly is one conforming, following an image that one has built about oneself – image, a conclusion, a belief, a pattern of conduct, and following that pattern. Is one aware of all this? Not that one should or should not imitate, but is one conscious, know, aware, recognise that there is this outward and inward conformity all the time? Because if one is conforming obviously there is no freedom. And without freedom there is no intelligence.

So in enquiring within oneself, looking at oneself quite objectively, without any sentimentality, without saying this is right, this is wrong, just to observe and find out at what depth one is conforming. At a very superficial level, or does one conform right through one’s being? When one is conforming – it is really quite a complex subject this – when we have been educated to divide life as the ‘me’ and the ‘not me’, as the observer, the censor, and the thing observed as something separate. Basically that is one of the patterns of conformity – that’s the way we have been brought up. When I say ‘I am a Hindu’, it is conforming to the pattern of the particular culture and society in which this particular mind has been cultured, brought up. Is one doing that?

Speculation

Not being free, you speculate. A prisoner is free to speculate about freedom but is not free. A citizen under a tyrannical government is free only to obey but is not free. You are free to speculate about reality, but since you are not free, your speculation will not be that of the real. 

If you are free, there will be no need for speculation; being free, you will experience. So the speculative faculty becomes unimportant, or rather a definite hindrance, to the experience of the real. Now is it not your task to set about freeing the mind from its self-created hindrances? Why do you not set about it instead of wasting your energies on speculation?

From the book The World Within

Karma

Q: “I want to find out what karma means to you.”

K: Sir, let us take the journey of discovery together. Merely to repeat the words of another has no deep significance. It is like playing a gramophone record. Repetition or imitation does not bring about freedom. What do you mean by karma?

Q: “It is a Sanskrit word meaning to do, to be, to act, and so on. Karma is action, and action is the outcome of the past. Action cannot be without the conditioning of the background. Through a series of experiences, through conditioning and knowledge, the background of tradition is built up, not only during the present life of the individual and the group, but throughout many incarnations. The constant action and interaction between the background, which is the ‘me’, and society, life, is karma; and karma binds the mind, the ‘me’. What I have done in my past life, or only yesterday, holds and shapes me, giving pain or pleasure in the present. There is group or collective karma, as well as that of the individual. Both the group and the individual are held in the chain of cause and effect. There will be sorrow or joy, punishment or reward, according to what I have done in the past.”

K: You say action is the outcome of the past. Such action is not action at all, but only a reaction, is it not? The conditioning the background, reacts to stimuli; this reaction is the response of memory, which is not action, but karma. For the present we are not concerned with what action is. Karma is the reaction which arises from certain causes and produces certain results. Karma is this chain of cause and effect. Essentially, the process of time is karma, is it not? As long as there is a past, there must be the present and the future. Today and tomorrow are the effects of yesterday; yesterday in conjunction with today makes tomorrow. Karma, as generally understood, is a process of compensation.

Q: “As you say, karma is a process of time, and mind is the result of time. Only the fortunate few can escape from the clutches of time; the rest of us are bound to time. What we have done in the past, good or evil, determines what we are in the present.”

K: Is the background, the past, a static state? Is it not undergoing constant modification? You are not the same today as you were yesterday; both physiologically and psychologically there is a constant change going on, is there not?

Q: “Of course.”

K: So the mind is not a fixed state. Our thoughts are transient, constantly changing; they are the response of the background. If I have been brought up in a certain class of society in a definite culture, I will respond to challenge, to stimuli, according to my conditioning. With most of us, this conditioning is so deep- rooted that response is almost always according to the pattern. Our thoughts are the response of the background. We are the background; that conditioning is not separate or dissimilar from us. With the changing of the background our thoughts also change.

Karma is the process of time, the past moving through the present to the future; this chain is the way of thought. Thought is the result of time, and there can be that which is immeasurable, timeless, only when the process of thought has ceased. Stillness of the mind cannot be induced, it cannot be brought about through any practice or discipline. If the mind is made still, then whatever comes into it is only a self-projection, the response of memory. With the understanding of its conditioning, with the choiceless awareness of its own responses as thought and feeling, tranquillity comes to the mind. This breaking of the chain of karma is not a matter of time; for through time, the timeless is not.

Karma must be understood as a total process not merely as something of the past. The past is time, which is also the present and the future. Time is memory, the word, the idea. When the word, the name, the association, the experience, is not, then only is the mind still, not merely in the upper layers, but completely, integrally.

Commentaries on Living- Series II – Chapter 18 – ‘Karma’

Education and World Peace

TO DISCOVER what part education can play in the present world crisis, we should understand how that crisis has come into being. It is obviously the result of wrong values in our relationship to people, to property and to ideas. If our relationship with others is based on self-aggrandizement, and our relationship to property is acquisitive, the structure of society is bound to be competitive and self-isolating. If in our relationship with ideas we justify one ideology in opposition to another, mutual distrust and ill will are the inevitable results.

Another cause of the present chaos is dependence on authority, on leaders, whether in daily life, in the small school or in the university. Leaders and their authority are deteriorating factors in any culture. When we follow another there is no understanding, but only fear and conformity, eventually leading to the cruelty of the totalitarian State and the dogmatism of organized religion.

To rely on governments, to look to organizations and authorities for that peace which must begin with the under- standing of ourselves, is to create further and still greater conflict; and there can be no lasting happiness as long as we accept a social order in which there is endless strife and antagonism between man and man. If we want to change existing conditions, we must first transform ourselves, which means that we must become aware of our own actions, thoughts and feelings in everyday life.

But we do not really want peace, we do not want to put an end to exploitation. We will not allow our greed to be interfered with, or the foundations of our present social structure to be altered; we want things to continue as they are with only superficial modifications, and so the powerful, the cunning inevitably rule our lives.

Peace is not achieved through any ideology, it does not depend on legislation; it comes only when we as individuals begin to understand our own psychological process. If we avoid the responsibility of acting individually and wait for some new system to establish peace, we shall merely become the slaves of that system.

When governments, dictators, big business and the clerically powerful begin to see that this increasing antagonism between men only leads to indiscriminate destruction and is therefore no longer profitable, they may force us, through legislation and other means of compulsion, to suppress our personal cravings and ambitions and to co-operate for the well-being of mankind. just as we are now educated and encouraged to be competitive and ruthless, so then we shall be compelled to respect one another and to work for the world as a whole.

And even though we may all be well fed, clothed and sheltered, we shall not be free of our conflicts and antagonisms, which will merely have shifted to another plane, where they will be still more diabolical and devastating. The only moral or righteous action is voluntary, and understanding alone can bring peace and happiness to man.

Beliefs, ideologies and organized religions are setting us against our neighbours; there is conflict, not only among different societies, but among groups within the same society. We must realize that as long as we identify ourselves with a country, as long as we cling to security, as long as we are conditioned by dogmas, there will be strife and misery both within ourselves and in the world.

Then there is the whole question of patriotism. When do we feel patriotic? It is obviously not an everyday emotion. But we are sedulously encouraged to be patriotic through school-books, through newspapers and other channels of propaganda, which stimulate racial egotism by praising national heroes and telling us that our own country and way of life are better than others. This patriotic spirit feeds our vanity from childhood to old age.

The constantly repeated assertion that we belong to a certain political or religious group, that we are of this nation or of that, flatters our little egos, puffs them out like sails, until we are ready to kill or be killed for our country, race or ideology. It is all so stupid and unnatural. Surely, human beings are more important than national and ideological boundaries.

The separative spirit of nationalism is spreading like fire all over the world. Patriotism is cultivated and cleverly exploited by those who are seeking further expansion, wider powers, greater enrichment; and each one of us takes part in this process, for we also desire these things. Conquering other lands and other people provides new markets for goods as well as for political and religious ideologies.

One must look at all these expressions of violence and antagonism with an unprejudiced mind, that is, with a mind that does not identify itself with any country, race or ideology, but tries to find out what is true. There is great joy in seeing a thing clearly without being influenced by the notions and instructions of others, whether they be the government, the specialists or the very learned. Once we really see that patriotism is a hindrance to human happiness, we do not have to struggle against this false emotion in ourselves, it has gone from us forever.

Education and the Significance of Life – Chapter 4

Power

HE WAS A very poor man, but capable and clever; he was content, or at least appeared so, with what little he possessed, and he had no family burdens. He often came to talk things over, and he had great dreams for the future; he was eager and enthusiastic, simple in his pleasures, and delighted in doing little things for others. He was not, he said, greatly attracted to money or to physical comfort; but he liked to describe what he would do if he had money, how he would support this or that how he would start the perfect school, and so on. He was rather dreamy and easily carried away by his own enthusiasm and by that of other?

Several years passed, and then one day he came again. There was a strange transformation in him. The dreamy look had gone; he was matter-of-fact, definite, almost brutal in his opinions, and rather harsh in his judgements. He had travelled, and his manner was highly polished and sophisticated; he turned his charm on and off. He had been left a lot of money and was successful in increasing it many times, and he had become an altogether changed man. He hardly ever comes now; and when on rare occasions we do meet, he is distant and self-enclosed.

Both poverty and riches are a bondage. The consciously poor and the consciously rich are the playthings of circumstances. Both are corruptible, for both seek that which is corrupting: power. Power is greater than possessions; power is greater than wealth and ideas. These do give power; but they can be put away, and yet the sense of power remains. One may beget power through simplicity of life, through virtue, through the party, through renunciation; but such means are a mere substitution and they should not deceive one. The desire for position, prestige and power – the power that is gained through aggression and humility, through asceticism and knowledge, through exploitation and self-denial – is subtly persuasive and almost instinctive. Such in any form is power, and failure is merely the denial of success. To be powerful, to be successful is to be slavish, which is the denial of virtue. Virtue gives freedom, but it is not a thing to be gained. Any achievement, whether of the individual or of the collective, becomes a means to power. Success in this world, and the power that self-control and self-denial bring, are to be avoided; for both distort understanding. It is the desire for success that prevents humility; and without humility how can there be understanding? The man of success is hardened, self-enclosed; he is burdened with his own importance, with his responsibilities, achievements and memories. There must be freedom from self-assumed responsibilities and from the burden of achievement; for that which is weighed down cannot be swift, and to understand requires a swift and pliable mind. Mercy is denied to the successful, for they are incapable of knowing the very beauty of life which is love.

The desire for success is the desire for domination. To dominate is to possess, and possession is the way of isolation. This self-isolation is what most of us seek, through name, through relationship, through work, through ideation. In isolation there is power, but power breeds antagonism and pain; for isolation is the outcome of fear, and fear puts an end to all communion. Communion is relationship; and however pleasurable or painful relationship may be, in it there is the possibility of self-forgetfulness. Isolation is the way of the self, and all activity of the self brings conflict and sorrow.

Commentaries on Living – Series I – Chapter 33

Direct Perception

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. —Krishnamurti

From the book The First and Last Freedom

The Fountain of Truth

There I sat crosslegged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head, I saw the Star, bright and clear. Then I could feel the vibrations of the Lord Buddha; I beheld Lord Maitreya and Master K.H. I was so happy, calm, and at peace. I could still see my body and I was hovering near it. There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself . . . The Presence of the mighty Beings was with me for some time and then They were gone. I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters at the source of the fountain of life and my thirst was appeased. Never more could I be thirsty, never more could I be in utter darkness. I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering; it is not for myself, but for the world. I have stood on the mountaintop and gazed at the mighty Beings. Never can I be in utter darkness; I have seen the glorious and healing Light. The fountain of Truth has been revealed to me and the darkness has been dispersed. Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated.
Excerpt taken from Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening (Mary Lutyens, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975)

HAVE YOU EVER sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working – or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one’s mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don’t know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is. You may read books on sociology, study social sciences, but if you don’t know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your beliefs, your going to the temple, the clothes you wear, the things you do and don’t do and what you think – society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what is going on in your own mind. So your mind is not apart from society, it is not distinct from your culture, from your religion, from your various class divisions, from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part of it. There is no `you’ separate from society.

Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mould the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means that your mind – which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out – is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do `revolt’ it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but always within the prison. When you seek God, or try to find out what is right government, it is always within the pattern of society, which says, “This is true and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are the saints”. So your revolt, like the so-called revolution brought about by ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt, that is not revolution: it is merely heightened activity, a more valiant struggle within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern and to inquire outside of it.

You see, all reformers – it does not matter who they are – are merely concerned with bettering the conditions within the prison. They never tell you not to conform, they never say, “Break through the walls of tradition and authority, shake off the conditioning that holds the mind”. And that is real education: not merely to require you to pass examinations for which you have crammed up, or to write out something which you have learnt by heart, but to help you to see the walls of this prison in which the mind is held. Society influences all of us, it constantly shapes our thinking, and this pressure of society from the outside is gradually translated as the inner; but, however deeply it penetrates, it is still from the outside, and there is no such thing as the inner as long as you do not break through this conditioning. You must know what you are thinking, and whether you are thinking as a Hindu, or a Moslem, or a Christian; that is, in terns of the religion you happen to belong to. You must be conscious of what you believe or do not believe. All this is the pattern of society and, unless you are aware of the pattern and break away from it, you are still a prisoner though you may think you are free…

Think on These Things – This Matter of Culture – Chapter 11

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 39 ‘Self-defence’

HE WAS A well-known man, and was in a position to harm others, which he did not hesitate to do. He was cunningly shallow, devoid of generosity, and worked to his own advantage. He said he was not too keen to talk things over, but circumstances had forced him to come, and here he was. From everything he said and did not say, it was fairly clear that he was very ambitious and shaped the people about him; he was ruthless when it paid, and gentle when he wanted something. He had consideration for those above him, treated his equals with condescending tolerance, and of those below him he was utterly unaware. He never so much as glanced at the chauffeur who brought him. His money made him suspicious, and he had few friends, He talked of his children as though they were toys to amuse him, and he could not bear to be alone, he said. Someone had hurt him, and he could not retaliate because that person was beyond his reach; so he was taking it out of those he could reach. He was unable to understand why he was being unnecessarily brutal, why he wanted to hurt those whom he said he loved. As he talked, he slowly began to thaw and became almost friendly. It was the friendliness of the moment whose warmth would be shut off instantly if it were thwarted or if anything were asked of it. As nothing was being asked of him, he was free and temporarily affectionate.

The desire to do harm, to hurt another, whether by a word, by a gesture, or more deeply, is strong in most of us; it is common and frighteningly pleasant. The very desire not to be hurt makes for the hurting of others; to harm others is a way of defending oneself. This self-defence takes peculiar forms, depending on circumstances and tendencies. How easy it is to hurt another, and what gentleness is needed not to hurt! We hurt others because we ourselves are hurt, we are so bruised by our own conflicts and sorrows. The more we are inwardly tortured, the greater the urge to be outwardly violent. Inward turmoil drives us to seek outward protection; and the more one defends oneself, the greater the attack on others.

What is it that we defend, that we so carefully guard? Surely, it is the idea of ourselves, at whatever level. If we did not guard the idea, the centre of accumulation, there would be no “me” and “mine.” We would then be utterly sensitive, vulnerable to the ways of our own being, the conscious as well as the hidden; but as most of us do not desire to discover the process of the “me”, we resist any encroachment upon the idea of ourselves. The idea of ourselves is wholly superficial; but as most of us live on the surface, we are content with illusions.

The desire to do harm to another is a deep instinct. We accumulate resentment, which gives a peculiar vitality, a feeling of action and life; and what is accumulated must be expended through anger, insult, depreciation, obstinacy, and through their opposites. It is this accumulation of resentment that necessitates forgiveness – which becomes unnecessary if there is no storing up of the hurt.

Why do we store up flattery and insult, hurt and affection. Without this accumulation of experiences and their responses, we are not; we are nothing if we have no name, no attachment, no belief. It is the fear of being nothing that compels us to accumulate; and it is this very fear, whether conscious or unconscious, that, in spite of our accumulative activities, brings about our disintegration and destruction. If we can be aware of the truth of this fear, then it is the truth that liberates us from it, and not our purposeful determination to be free,

You are nothing. You may have your name and title, your property and bank account, you may have power and be famous; but in spite of all these safeguards, you are as nothing. You may be totally unaware of this emptiness, this nothingness, or you may simply not want to be aware of it; but it is there, do what you will to avoid it. You may try to escape from it in devious ways, through personal or collective violence, through individual or collective worship, through knowledge or amusement; but whether you are asleep or awake, it is always there. You can come upon your relationship to this nothingness and its fear only by being choicelessly aware of the escapes. You are not related to it as a separate, individual entity; you are not the observer watching it; without you, the thinker, the observer, it is not. You and nothingness are one; you and nothingness are a joint phenomenon, not two separate processes. If you, the thinker, are afraid of it and approach it as something contrary and opposed to you, then any action you may take towards it must inevitably lead to illusion and so to further conflict and misery. When there is the discovery, the experiencing of that nothingness as you, then fear – which exists only when the thinker is separate from his thoughts and so tries to establish a relationship with them – completely drops away. Only then is it possible for the mind to be still; and in this tranquillity, truth comes into being.

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 39 ‘Self-defence’

Idea & Fact

SHE HAD BEEN married for a number of years, but had had no children; she was unable to have them, and was gravely disturbed by this fact. Her sisters had children, and why was she cursed? She had been married quite young, as was the custom, and had seen a lot of suffering; but she had known quiet joy too. Her husband was some kind of bureaucrat in a big corporation or Government department. He too was concerned about their not having children, but it appeared that he was becoming reconciled to this fact; and besides, she added, he was a very busy man. One could see that she dominated him, though not too heavily. She leaned on him, and so she could not help dominating him. Since she had no children, she was trying to fulfil herself in him; but in this she was disappointed, for he was weak and she had to take charge of things. In the office, she said smilingly, he was considered a stickler, a tyrant who threw his weight around; but at home he was mild and easy going. She wanted him to fit into a certain pattern, and she was forcing him, of course very gently, into her mould; but he was not coming up to scratch. She had nobody to lean on and give her love to.

The idea is more important to us than the fact; the concept of what one should be has more significance than what one is. The future is always more alluring than the present. The image, the symbol, is of greater worth than the actual; and on the actual we try to superimpose the idea, the pattern. So we create a contradiction between what is and what should be. What should be is the idea, the fiction, and so there is a conflict between the actual and the illusion – not in themselves, but in us. We like the illusion better than the actual; the idea is more appealing, more satisfying, and so we cling to it. Thus the illusion becomes the real and the actual becomes the false, and in this conflict between the so-called real and the so-called false we are caught.

Why do we cling to the idea, deliberately or unconsciously, and put aside the actual? The idea, the pattern, is self-projected; it is a form of self-worship, of self-perpetuation, and hence gratifying. The idea gives power to dominate, to be assertive, to guide, to shape; and in the idea, which is self-projected, there is never the denial of the self, the disintegration of the self. So the pattern or idea enriches the self; and this is also considered to be love. I love my son or my husband and I want him to be this or that, I want him to be something other than he is.

If we are to understand what is, the pattern or idea must be put aside. To set aside the idea becomes difficult only when there is no urgency in the understanding of what is. Conflict exists in us between the idea and what is because the self-projected idea offers greater satisfaction than what is. It is only when what is, the actual, has to be faced that the pattern is broken; so it is not a matter of how to be free from the idea, but of how to face the actual. It is possible to face the actual only when there is an understanding of the process of gratification, the way of the self.

We all seek self-fulfilment, though in many different ways: through money or power, through children or husband, through country or idea, through service or sacrifice, through domination or submission. But is there self-fulfilment? The object of fulfilment is ever self-projected, self-chosen, so this craving to fulfil is a form of self-perpetuation. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the way of self-fulfilment is self-chosen, it is based on the desire for gratification, which must be permanent; so the search for self-fulfilment is the search for the permanency of desire. Desire is ever transient, it has no fixed abode; it may perpetuate for a time the object to which it clings, but desire in itself has no permanency. We are instinctively aware of this, and so we try to make permanent the idea, the belief, the thing, the relationship; but as this also is impossible, there is the creation of the experiencer as a permanent essence, the “I” separate and different from desire, the thinker separate and different from his thoughts. This separation is obviously false, leading to illusion.

The search for permanency is the everlasting cry of self-fulfilment; but the self can never fulfil, the self is impermanent, and that in which it fulfils must also he impermanent. Self-continuity is decay; in it there is no transforming element nor the breath of the new. The self must end for the new to be. The self is the idea, the pattern, the bundle of memories; and each fulfilment is the further continuity of idea, of experience. Experience is always conditioning; the experiencer is ever separating and differentiating himself from experience. So there must be freedom from experience, from the desire to experience. Fulfilment is the way of covering up inward poverty, emptiness, and in fulfilment there is sorrow and pain.

Commentaries on Living: Series I – Chapter 37 – ‘Idea and Fact’

“Psychologically we have created walls around ourselves, walls of resistance, walls of hope, fear, greed, envy, ambition, desire for position, power, prestige. They are created by the thinker. The thinker has created the space around himself in which he lives, and there he is never free. Beauty is not only the thing that you see; that’s a very small part. Beauty is not the result of thought, is not put together by thought. Like love, thought has no place where affection is. Where there is jealousy, envy, greed, ambition, and pride—love is not. We all know that. But, to find out what it means to love, there must surely be freedom from all travail, all jealousy, all envy. Then we will know.

In the same way, to be free implies no psychological walls created by the center. Freedom means space. Freedom also implies an end to time, not abstractly but actually. Freedom means to live completely today because we have understood the whole structure, the nature, and the meaning of the past. The past is the conscious as well as the unconscious. We have understood the whole of that. Because of that understanding, there is the active present, which is living. Can this actually happen in our daily life?”

J. Krishnamurti
Talk 5, Paris, 1966

The Actor

THE ROAD CURVED in and out through the low hills, mile after endless mile. The burning rays of the afternoon sun lay on the golden hills, and there were deep shadows under the scattered trees, which spoke of their solitary existence. For miles around there was no habitation of any kind; here and there were a few lonely cattle, and only occasionally another car would appear on the smooth, well-kept road. The sky was very blue to the north and glare to the west. The country was strangely alive, though barren and isolated, and far away from human joy and pain. There were no birds, and you saw no wild animals apart from the few ground squirrels that scurried across the road. No water was visible except in one or two places where the cattle were. With the rains the hills would turn green, soft and welcoming, but now they were harsh, austere, with the beauty of great stillness.

It was a strange evening, full and intense, but as the road wove in and out among the rolling hills, time had come to an end. The sign said it was eighteen miles to the main road leading north. It would take half an hour or so to get there: time and distance. Yet at that moment, looking at that sign on the roadside, time and distance had ceased. It was not a measurable moment, it had no beginning and no end. The blue sky and the rolling, golden hills were there, vast and everlasting, but they were part of this timelessness. The eyes and the mind were watchful of the road; the dark and lonely trees were vivid and intense, and each separate blade of hay on the curving hills stood out, simple and clear. The light of that late afternoon was very still around the trees and among the hills, and the only moving thing was the car, going so fast. The silence between words was of that measureless stillness. This road would come to an end joining another, and that too would peter out somewhere; those still, dark trees would fall and their dust would be scattered and lost; tender green grass would come up with the rains, and it too would wither away.

Life and death are inseparable, and in their separation lies everlasting fear. Separation is the beginning of time; the fear of an end gives birth to the pain of a beginning. In this wheel the mind is caught and spins out the web of time. Thought is the process and the result of time, and thought cannot cultivate love.

He was an actor of some repute who was making a name for himself, but he was still young enough to inquire and suffer. “Why does one act?” he asked. “To some the stage is merely a means of livelihood, to others it offers a means for the expression of their own vanity, and to still others, playing various roles is a great stimulations. The stage also offers a marvellous escape from the realities of life. I act for all these reasons, and perhaps also because – I say this with hesitancy – I hope to do some good through the stage.”

Does not acting give strength to the self, to the ego? We pose, we put on masks, and gradually the pose, the mask becomes the daily habit, covering the many selves of contradiction, greed, hate, and so on. The ideal is a pose, a mask covering the fact, the actual. Can one do good through the stage? “Do you mean that one cannot?”

No, it is a question, not a judgment. In writing a play the author has certain ideas and intentions which he wants to put across; the actor is the medium, the mask, and the public is entertained or educated. Is this education doing good? Or is it merely conditioning the mind to a pattern, good or bad, intelligent or stupid, devised by the author?

“Good Lord, I never thought about all this. You see, I can become a fairly successful actor, and before I get lost in it completely, I am asking myself if acting is to be my way of life. It has a curious fascination of its own, sometimes very destructive, and at other times very pleasant. You can take acting seriously, but in itself it is not very serious. As I am inclined to be rather serious, I have wondered if I should make the stage my career.

There is something in me that rebels against the absurd superficiality of it all, and yet I am greatly attracted to it; so I am disturbed, to put it mildly. Through all this runs the thread of seriousness.

Can another decide what should be one’s way of life? “No, but in talking the matter over with another, things sometimes become clear.”

If one may point out, any activity that gives emphasis to the self, to the ego, is destructive; it brings sorrow. This is the principal issue, is it not? You said earlier that you wanted to do good; but surely the good is not possible when, consciously or unconsciously, the self is being nourished and sustained through any career or activity.

“Is not all action based on the survival of the self?”

Perhaps not always. Outwardly it may appear that an action is self-protective, but inwardly it may not be at all. What others say or think in this regard is not of great importance, but one should not deceive oneself. And self-deception is very easy in psychological matters. “It seems to me that if I am really concerned with the abnegation of the self, I shall have to withdraw into a monastery or lead a hermit’s life.”

Is it necessary to lead a hermit’s life in order to abnegate the self? You see, we have a concept of the selfless life, and it is this concept which prevents the understanding of a life in which the self is not. The concept is another form of the self. Without escaping to monasteries and so on, is it not possible to be passively alert to the activities of the self? This awareness may bring about a totally different activity which does not breed sorrow and misery. “Then there are certain professions that are obviously detrimental to a sane life, and I include mine among them. I am still quite young. I can give up the stage, and after going into all this, I am pretty sure I will; but then what am I to do? I have certain talents which may ripen and be useful.”

Talent may become a curse. The self may use and entrench itself in capacities, and then talent becomes the way and the glory of the self. The gifted man may offer his gifts to God, knowing the danger of them; but he is conscious of his gifts, otherwise he would not offer them, and it is this consciousness of being or having something, that must be understood. The offering up of what one is or has in order to be humble, is vanities.

“I am beginning to get a glimpse of all this, but it is still very complex.”

Perhaps; but what is important is choiceless awareness of the obvious and the subtle activities of the self.

Commentaries on Living – Series II – Chapter 48 – ‘The Actor’

Silence

IT WAS A powerful motor and well tuned; it took the hills easily, without a stutter, and the pick-up was excellent. The road climbed steeply out of the valley and ran between orchards of orange and tall, wide-spreading walnut trees. On both sides of the road the orchards stretched for fully forty miles, up to the very foot of the mountains. Becoming straight, the road passed through one or two small towns, and then continued into the open country, which was bright green with alfalfa. Again winding through many hills, the road finally came out on to the desert.

It was a smooth road, the hum of the motor was steady, and the traffic was very light. There was an intense awareness of the country, of the occasional passing car, of the road signals, of the clear blue sky, of the body sitting in the car; but the mind was very still. It was not the quietness of exhaustion, or of relaxation, but a stillness that was very alert. There was no point from which the mind was still; there was no observer of this tranquillity; the experiencer was wholly absent. Though there was desultory conversation, there was no ripple in this silence. One heard the roar of the wind as the car sped along, yet this stillness was inseparable from the noise of the wind, from the sounds of the car, and from the spoken word. The mind had no recollection of previous stillnesses, of those silences it had known; it did not say, “This is tranquillity.” There was no verbalization, which is only the recognition and the affirmation of a somewhat similar experience. Because there was no verbalization, thought was absent. There was no recording, and therefore thought was not able to pick up the silence or to think about it; for the word “stillness” is not stillness. When the word is not, the mind cannot operate, and so the experiencer cannot store up as a means of further pleasure. There was no gathering process at work, nor was there approximation or assimilation. The movement of the mind was totally absent.

The car stopped at the houses The barking of the dog, the unpacking of the car and the general disturbance in no way affected this extraordinary silence. There was no disturbance, and the stillness went on. The wind was among the pines, the shadows were long, and a wildcat sneaked away among the bushes. In this silence there was movement, and the movement was not a distraction. There was no fixed attention from which to be distracted. There is distraction when the main interest shifts; but in this silence there was absence of interest, and so there was no wandering away. Movement was not away from the silence but was of it. It was the stillness, not of death, of decay, but of life in which there was a total absence of conflict. With most of us, the struggle of pain and pleasure, the urge of activity, gives us the sense of life; and if that urge were taken away, we should be lost and soon disintegrate. But this stillness and its movement was creation ever renewing itself. It was a movement that had no beginning and so had no ending; nor was it a continuity. Movement implies time; but here there was no time. Time is the more and the less, the near and the far, yesterday and tomorrow; but in this stillness all comparison ceased. It was not a silence that came to an end to begin again; there was no repetition. The many tricks of the cunning mind were wholly absent.

If this silence were an illusion the mind would have some relationship to it, it would either reject it or cling to it, reason it away or with subtle satisfaction identify itself with it; but since it has no relationship to this silence, the mind cannot accept or deny it. The mind can operate only with its own projections, with the things which are of itself; but it has no relationship with the things that are not of its own origin. This silence is not of the mind, and so the mind cannot cultivate or become identified with it. The content of this silence is not to be measured by words.

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 24 ‘Silence’

Clarity in Action

IT WAS A lovely morning, pure after the rains. There were tender new leaves on the trees, and the breeze from the sea had set them dancing. The grass was green and lush, and the cattle were hungrily eating it up, for after a few months there would not be a blade of it left. The fragrance of the garden filled the room, and children were shouting and laughing. The palm trees had golden coco-nuts, and the banana leaves, large and swaying, were not yet torn by age and wind. How beautiful the earth was, and what a poem of colour! Fast the village, beyond the big houses and the groves, was the sea, full of light and with thunderous waves. Far out there was a small boat, a few logs tied together, with a solitary man fishing.

She was quite young, in her twenties, and recently married, but the passing years were already leaving their mark upon her. She said she was of good family, cultured and hard working; she had taken her M.A. with honours, and one could see that she was bright and alert. Once started, she spoke easily and fluently, but she would suddenly become self-conscious and silent. She wanted to unburden herself, for she said she had not talked to anyone about her problem, not even to her parents. Gradually, bit by bit, her sorrow was put into words. Words convey meaning only at a certain level; they have a way of distorting, of not giving fully the significance of their symbol, of creating a deception that is entirely unintentional. She wanted to convey much more than merely what the words meant, and she succeeded; she could not speak of certain things, however hard she tried, but her very silence conveyed those pains and unbearable indignities of a relationship that had become merely a contract. She had been struck and left alone by her husband, and her young children were hardly companions. What was she to do? They were now living apart, and should she go back?

What a strong hold respectability has on us ! What will they say? Can one live alone, especially a woman, without their saying nasty things? Respectability is a cloak for the hypocrite; we commit every possible crime in thought, but outwardly we are irreproachable. She was courting respectability, and was confused. It is strange how, when one is clear within oneself, whatever may happen is right. When there is this inward clarity, the right is not according to one’s desire, but whatever is is right. Contentment comes with the understanding of what is. But how difficult it is to be clear!

“How am I to be clear about what I should do?”

Action does not follow clarity: clarity is action. You are concerned with what you should do, and not with being clear. You are torn between respectability and what you should do, between the hope and what is. The dual desire for respectability and for some ideal action brings conflict and confusion, and only when you are capable of looking at what is, is there clarity. What is is not what should be, which is desire distorted to a particular pattern; what is is the actual, not the desirable but the fact. Probably you have never approached it this way; you have thought or cunningly calculated, weighing this against that, planning and counter-planning, which has obviously led to this confusion which makes you ask what you are to do. Whatever choice you may make in the state of confusion can only lead to further confusion. See this very simply and directly; if you do, then you will be able to observe what is without distortion. The implicit is its own action. If what is is clear, then you will see that there is no choice but only action, and the question of what you should do will never arise; such a question arises only when there is the uncertainty of choice. Action is not of choice; the action of choice is the action of confusion.

“I am beginning to see what you mean: I must be clear in myself, without the persuasion of respectability, without self-interested calculation, without the spirit of bargaining. I am clear, but it is difficult to maintain clarity, is it not?”

Not at all. To maintain is to resist. You are not maintaining clarity and opposing confusion: you are experiencing what is confusion, and you see that any action arising from it must inevitably be still more confusing. When you experience all this, not because another has said it but because you see it directly for yourself, then the clarity of what is is there; you do not maintain clarity, it is there.

“I quite see what you mean. Yes, I am clear; it is all right. But what of love? We don’t know what love means. I thought I loved, but I see I do not.”

From what you have told me, you married out of fear of loneliness and through physical urges and necessities; and you have found that all this is not love. You may have called it love to make it respectable, but actually it was a matter of convenience under the cloak of the word “love”. To most people, this is love, with all its confusing smoke: the fear of insecurity, of loneliness, of frustration, of neglect in old age, and so on. But all this is merely a thought process, which is obviously not love. Thought makes for repetition, and repetition makes relationship stale. Thought is a wasteful process, it does not renew itself, it can only continue; and what has continuity cannot be the new, the fresh. Thought is sensation, thought is sensuous, thought is the sexual problem. Thought cannot end itself in order to be creative; thought cannot become something other than it is, which is sensation. Thought is always the stale, the past, the old; thought can never be new. As you have seen, love is not thought. Love is when the thinker is not. The thinker is not an entity different from thought; thought and the thinker are one. The thinker is the thought.

Love is not sensation; it is a flame without smoke. You will know love when you as the thinker are not. You cannot sacrifice yourself, the thinker, for love. There can be no deliberate action for love, because love is not of the mind. The discipline, the will to love, is the thought of love; and the thought of love is sensation, Thought cannot think about love, for love is beyond the reaches of the mind. Thought is continuous, and love is inexhaustible. That which is inexhaustible is ever new, and that which has continuance is ever in the fear of ending. That which ends knows the eternal beginning of love.

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 71

The Conscious and The Unconscious

HE WAS A business man as well as a politician, and was very successful in both. He laughingly said that business and politics were a good combination; yet he was an earnest man in an odd, superstitious way. Whenever he had time he would read sacred books and repeat over and over again certain words which he considered beneficial. They brought peace to the soul, he said. He was advanced in years and very wealthy, but he was not generous either with the hand or with the heart. One could see that he was cunning and calculating, and yet there was an urge for something more than physical success. Life had scarcely touched him, for he had very studiously guarded himself against any exposure; he had made himself invulnerable, physically as well as psychologically. Psychologically he had refused to see himself as he was, and he could well afford to do this; but it was beginning to tell on him. When he was not watchful, there was about him a deep haunted look. Financially he was safe, at least as long as the present Government lasted and there was no revolution. He also wanted a safe investment in the so-called spiritual world, and that was why he played with ideas, mistaking ideas for something spiritual, real. He had no love except for his many possessions; he clung to them as a child clings to its mother, for he had nothing else. It was slowly dawning on him that he was a very sad man. Even this realization he was avoiding as long as he could; but life was pressing him.

When a problem is not consciously soluble, does the unconscious take over and help to solve it? What is the conscious and what is the unconscious? Is there a definite line where the one ends and the other begins? Has the conscious a limit, beyond which it cannot go? Can it limit itself to its own boundaries? Is the unconscious something apart from the conscious? Are they dissimilar? When one fails, does the other begin to function?

What is it that we call the conscious? To understand what it is made up of, we must observe how we consciously approach a problem. Most of us try to seek an answer to the problem; we are concerned with the solution, and not with the problem. We want a conclusion, we are looking for a way out of the problem; we want to avoid the problem through an answer, through a solution. We do not observe the problem itself, but grope for a satisfactory answer. Our whole conscious concern is with the finding of a solution, a satisfying conclusion. Often we do find an answer that gratifies us, and then we think we have solved the problem. What we have actually done is to cover over the problem with a conclusion, with a satisfactory answer; but under the weight of the conclusion, which has temporarily smothered it, the problem is still there. The search for an answer is an evasion of the problem. When there is no satisfactory answer, the conscious or upper mind stops looking; and then the so-called unconscious, the deeper mind, takes over and finds an answer.

The conscious mind is obviously seeking a way out of the problem, and the way out is a satisfying conclusion. Is not the conscious mind itself made up of conclusions, whether positive or negative, and is it capable of seeking anything else? Is not the upper mind a storehouse of conclusions which are the residue of experiences, the imprints of the past? Surely, the conscious mind is made up of the past, it is founded on the past, for memory is a fabric of conclusions; and with these conclusions, the mind approaches a problem. It is incapable of looking at the problem without the screen of its conclusions; it cannot study, be silently aware of the problem itself. It knows only conclusions, pleasant or unpleasant, and it can only add to itself further conclusions, further ideas, further fixations. Any conclusion is a fixation, and the conscious mind inevitably seeks a conclusion.

When it cannot find a satisfactory conclusion, the conscious mind gives up the search, and thereby it becomes quiet; and into the quiet upper mind, the unconscious pops an answer. Now, is the unconscious, the deeper mind, different in its make-up from the conscious mind? Is not the unconscious also made up of racial, group and social conclusions, memories? Surely, the unconscious is also the result of the past, of time, only it is submerged and waiting; and when called upon it throws up its own hidden conclusions. If they are satisfactory, the upper mind accepts them; and if they are not, it flounders about, hoping by some miracle to find an answer. If it does not find an answer, it wearily puts up with the problem, which gradually corrodes the mind. Disease and insanity follow.

The upper and the deeper mind are not dissimilar; they are both made up of conclusions, memories, they are both the outcome of the past. They can supply an answer, a conclusion, but they are incapable of dissolving the problem. The problem is dissolved only when both the upper and the deeper mind are silent, when they are not projecting positive or negative conclusions. There is freedom from the problem only when the whole mind is utterly still, choicelessly aware of the problem; for only then the maker of the problem is not.

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 54

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 52 ‘Jealousy’

THE SUN WAS bright on the white wall opposite, and its glare made the faces obscure. A little child, without the prompting of the mother, came and sat close by, wide-eyed and wondering what it was all about. She was freshly washed and clothed and had some flowers in her hair. She was keenly observing everything, as children do, without recording too much. Her eyes were sparkling, and she did not quite know what to do, whether to cry, to laugh or to jump; instead, she took my hand and looked at it with absorbing interest. Presently she forgot all those people in the room, relaxed and went to sleep with her head in my lap. Her head was of good shape and well balanced; she was spotlessly clean. Her future was as confused and as miserable as that of the others in the room. Her conflict and sorrow were as inevitable as that sun on the wall; for to be free of pain and misery needs supreme intelligence, and her education and the influences about her would see to it that she was denied this intelligence. Love is so rare in this world, that flame without smoke; the smoke is overpowering, all-suffocating, bringing anguish and tears. Through the smoke, the flame is rarely seen; and when the smoke becomes all-important, the flame dies. Without that flame of love, life has no meaning, it becomes dull and weary; but the flame cannot be in the darkening smoke. The two cannot exist together; the smoke must cease for the clear flame to be. The flame is not a rival of the smoke; it has no rival. The smoke is not the flame, it cannot contain the flame; nor does the smoke indicate the presence of the flame, for the flame is free of smoke.

“Cannot love and hate exist together? Is not jealousy an indication of love? We hold hands, and then the next minute scold; we say hard things, but soon embrace. We quarrel, then kiss and are reconciled. Is not all this love? The very expression of jealousy is an indication of love; they seem to go together, like light and darkness. The swift anger and the caress – are these not the fullness of love? The river is both turbulent and calm; it flows through shadow and sunlight, and therein lies the beauty of the river.”

What is it that we call love? It is this whole field of jealousy, of lust, of harsh words, of caress, of holding hands, of quarreling and making up. These are the facts in this field of so-called love. Anger and caress are everyday facts in this field, are they not? And we try to establish a relationship between the various facts, or we compare one fact with another. We use one fact to condemn or justify another within this same field, or we try to establish a relationship between a fact within the field and something outside of it. We do not take each fact separately, but try to find an interrelationship between them. Why do we do this? We can understand a fact only when we do not use another fact in the same field as a medium of understanding, which merely creates conflict and confusion. But why do we compare the various facts in the same field? Why do we carry over the significance of one fact to offset or to explain another?

“I am beginning to grasp what you mean. But why do we do this?”

Do we understand a fact through the screen of idea, through the screen of memory? Do I understand jealousy because I have held your hand? The holding of the hand is a fact, as jealousy is a fact; but do I understand the process of jealousy because I have a remembrance of holding your hand? Is memory an aid to understanding? Memory compares, modifies, condemns, justifies, or identifies; but it cannot bring understanding. We approach the facts in the field of so-called love with idea, with conclusion. We do not take the fact of jealousy as it is and silently observe it, but we want to twist the fact according to the pattern, to the conclusion; and we approach it in this way because we really do not wish to understand the fact of jealousy. The sensations of jealousy are as stimulating as a caress; but we want stimulation without the pain and discomfort that invariably go with it. So there is conflict, confusion and antagonism within this field which we call love. But is it love? Is love an idea, a sensation, a stimulation? Is love jealousy? “Is not reality held in illusion? Does not darkness encompass or hide light? Is not God held in bondage?”

These are mere ideas, opinions, and so they have no validity. Such ideas only breed enmity, they do not cover or hold reality. Where there is light, darkness is not. Darkness cannot conceal light; if it does, there is no light. Where jealousy is, love is not. Idea cannot cover love. To commune, there must be relationship. Love is not related to idea, and so idea cannot commune with love. Love is a flame without smoke.

Thought and Love

THOUGHT, WITH ITS emotional and sensational content, is not love. Thought invariably denies love. Thought is founded on memory, and love is not memory. When you think about someone you love, that thought is not love. You may recall a friend’s habits, manners, idiosyncrasies, and think of pleasant or unpleasant incidents in your relationship with that person, but the pictures which thought evokes are not love. By its very nature, thought is separative. The sense of time and space, of separation and sorrow, is born of the process of thought, and it is only when the thought process ceases that there can be love.

Thought inevitably breeds the feeling of ownership, that possessiveness which consciously or unconsciously cultivates jealousy. Where jealousy is, obviously love is not; and yet with most people, jealousy is taken as an indication of love. Jealousy is the result of thought, it is a response of the emotional content of thought. When the feeling of possessing or being possessed is blocked, there is such emptiness that envy takes the place of love. It is because thought plays the role of love that all the complications and sorrows arise.

If you did not think of another, you would say that you did not love that person. But is it love when you do think of the person? If you did not think of a friend whom you think you love, you would be rather horrified, would you not? If you did not think of a friend who is dead, you would consider yourself disloyal, without love, and so on. You would regard such a state as callous, indifferent, and so you would begin to think of that person, you would have photographs, images made by the hand or by the mind; but thus to fill your heart with the things of the mind is to leave no room for love. When you are with a friend, you do not think about him; it is only in his absence that thought begins to re-create scenes and experiences that are dead. This revival of the past is called love. So, for most of us, love is death, a denial of life; we live with the past, with the dead, therefore we ourselves are dead, though we call it love.

The process of thought ever denies love. It is thought that has emotional complications, not love. Thought is the greatest hindrance to love. Thought creates a division between what is and what should be, and on this division morality is based; but neither the moral nor the immoral know love. The moral structure, created by the mind to hold social relationships together, is not love, but a hardening process like that of cement. Thought does not lead to love, thought does not cultivate love; for love cannot be cultivated as a plant in the garden. The very desire to cultivate love is the action of thought.

If you are at all aware you will see what an important part thought plays in your life. Thought obviously has its place, but it is in no way related to love. What is related to thought can be understood by thought, but that which is not related to thought cannot be caught by the mind. You will ask, then what is love? Love is a state of being in which thought is not; but the very definition of love is a process of thought, and so it is not love.

We have to understand thought itself, and not try to capture love by thought. The denial of thought does not bring about love. There is freedom from thought only when its deep significance is fully understood; and for this, profound self-knowledge is essential, not vain and superficial assertions. Meditation and not repetition, awareness and not definition, reveal the ways of thought. Without being aware and experiencing the ways of thought, love cannot be.

Series I – Chapter 4 – ‘Thought and Love’

Sleep

IT WAS A cold winter and the trees were bare, their naked branches exposed to the sky. There were very few evergreen trees, and even they felt the cold winds and the frosty nights. In the far distance the high mountains were covered with heavy snow, and white billowy clouds hung over them. The grass was brown, for there had been no rain for many months, and the spring rains were still distant. The earth was dormant and fallow. There was no cheery movement of nesting birds in green hedges, and the paths were hard and dusty. On the lake there were a few ducks, pausing on their way to the south. The mountains held the promise of a new spring, and the earth was dreaming of it.

What would happen if sleep were denied to us? Would we have more time to fight, to intrigue, to make mischief? Would we be more cruel and ruthless? Would there be more time for humility, compassion and frugality? Would we be more creative? Sleep is a strange thing, but extraordinarily important. For most people, the activities of the day continue through their nocturnal slumbers; their sleep is the continuation of their life, dull or exciting, an extension at a different level of the same insipidity or meaningless strife. The body is refreshed by sleep; the internal organism, having a life of its own, renews itself. During sleep, desires are quiescent, and so do not interfere with the organism; and with the body refreshed, the activities of desire have further opportunities for stimulation and expansion. Obviously, the less one interferes with the internal organism, the better; the less the mind takes charge of the organism, the more healthy and natural is its function. But disease of the organism is another matter, produced by the mind or by its own weakness.

Sleep is of great significance. The more the desires are strengthened, the less the meaning of sleep. Desires, positive or negative, are fundamentally always positive, and sleep is the temporary suspension of this positive. Sleep is not the opposite of desire, sleep is not negation, but a state which desire cannot penetrate. The quietening of the superficial layers of consciousness takes place during sleep, and so they are capable of receiving the intimations of the deeper layers; but this is only a partial comprehension of the whole problem. It is obviously possible for all the layers of consciousness to be in communication with each other during waking hours, and also during sleep; and of course this is essential. This communication frees the mind from its own self-importance, and so the mind does not become the dominant factor. Thus it loses, freely and naturally, its self-enclosing efforts and activities. In this process the impetus to become is completely dissolved, the accumulative momentum exists no longer.

But there is something more that takes place in sleep. There is found an answer to our problems. When the conscious mind is quiet, it is capable of receiving an answer, which is a simple affair. But what is far more significant and important than all this is the renewal which is not a cultivation. One can deliberately cultivate a gift, a capacity, or develop a technique, a pattern of action and behaviour; but this is not renewal. Cultivation is not creation. This creative renewal does not take place if there is any kind of effort on the part of a becomer. The mind must voluntarily lose all accumulative impulse, the storing up of experience as a means to further experience and achievement. It is the accumulative, self-protective urge that breeds the curve of time and prevents creative renewal. Consciousness as we know it is of time, it is a process of recording and storing experience at its different levels. Whatever takes place within this consciousness is its own projection; it has its own quality, and is measurable. During sleep, either this consciousness is strengthened, or something wholly different takes place. For most of us, sleep strengthens experience, it is a process of recording and storing in which there is expansion but not renewal. Expansiveness gives a feeling of elation, of inclusive achievement, of having understood, and so on; but all this is not creative renewal. This process of becoming must wholly come to an end, not as a means to further experience, but as an ending in itself.

During sleep, and often during waking hours, when becoming has entirely ceased, when the effect of a cause has come to an end, then that which is beyond time, beyond the measure of cause and effect, comes into being.

Commentaries on Living, Series I, Chapter 16, ‘Sleep’

Love in Relationship

THE PATH WENT by a farm and climbed a hill overlooking the various buildings, the cows with their calves, the chickens, the horses, and many farm machines. It was a pleasant path, wandering through the woods, and it was often used by deer and other wild animals who left their footprints here and there in the soft earth. When it was very still, the voices from the farm, the laughter and the sound of the radio, would be carried to quite a distance. It was a well-kept farm and there was an air of tidiness about it. Often the voices were raised in anger, followed by the silence of children. There was a song among the trees and the angry voices even broke through this song. Suddenly, a woman came out of the house, banging the door; she went over to the cow-shed and began beating a cow with a stick. The sharp noise of this beating came up the hill.

How easy it is to destroy the thing we love! How quickly a barrier comes between us, a word, a gesture, a smile! Health, mood and desire cast a shadow, and what was bright becomes dull and burdensome. Through usage we wear ourselves out, and that which was sharp and clear becomes wearisome and confused. Through constant friction, hope and frustration, that which was beautiful and simple becomes fearful and expectant. Relationship is complex and difficult, and few can come out of it unscathed. Though we would like it to be static, enduring, continuous, relationship is a movement, a process which must be deeply and fully understood and not made to conform to an inner or outer pattern. Conformity, which is the social structure, loses its weight and authority only when there is love. Love in relationship is a purifying process as it reveals the ways of the self. Without this revelation, relationship has little significance.

But how we struggle against this revelation! The struggle takes many forms: dominance or subservience, fear or hope, jealousy or acceptance, and so on and on. The difficulty is that we do not love; and if we do love we want it to function in a particular way, we do not give it freedom. We love with our minds and not with our hearts. Mind can modify itself, but love cannot. Mind can make itself invulnerable, but love cannot; mind can always withdraw, be exclusive, become personal or impersonal. Love is not to be compared and hedged about. Our difficulty lies in that which we call love, which is really of the mind. We fill our hearts with the things of the mind and so keep our hearts ever empty and expectant. It is the mind that clings, that is envious, that holds and destroys. Our life is dominated by the physical centres and by the mind. We do not love and let it alone, but crave to be loved; we give in order to receive, which is the generosity of the mind and not of the heart. The mind is ever seeking certainty, security; and can love be made certain by the mind? Can the mind, whose very essence is of time, catch love, which is its own eternity?

But even the love of the heart has its own tricks; for we have so corrupted our heart that it is hesitant and confused. It is this that makes life so painful and wearisome. One moment we think we have love, and the next it is lost. There comes an imponderable strength, not of the mind, whose sources may not be fathomed. This strength is again destroyed by the mind; for in this battle the mind seems invariably to be the victor. this conflict within ourselves is not to be resolved by the cunning mind or by the hesitant heart. There is no means, no way to bring this conflict to an end. The very search for a means is another urge of the mind to be the master, to put away conflict in order to be peaceful, to have love, to become something.

Our greatest difficulty is to be widely and deeply aware that there is no means to love as a desirable end of the mind. When we understand this really and profoundly, then there is a possibility of receiving something that is not of this world. Without the touch of that something, do what we will, there can be no lasting happiness in relationship. If you have received that benediction and I have not, naturally you and I will be in conflict. You may not be in conflict, but I will be; and in my pain and sorrow I cut myself off. Sorrow is as exclusive as pleasure, and until there is that love which is not of my making, relationship is pain. If there is the benediction of that love, you cannot but love me whatever I may be, for then you do not shape love according to my behaviour. Whatever tricks the mind may play, you and I are separate; though we may be in touch with each other at some points, integration is not with you, but within myself. This integration is not brought about by the mind at any time; it comes into being only when the mind is utterly silent, having reached the end of its own tether. Only then is there no pain in relationship.

Spontaneity

SHE WAS AMONG a group of people who had come to discuss some serious matter. She must have come out of curiosity, or was brought along by a friend. Well dressed, she held herself with some dignity, and she evidently considered herself very good looking. She was completely self-conscious: conscious of her body, of her looks, of her hair and the impression she was making on others. Her gestures were studied, and from time to time she took different attitudes which she must have thought out with great care. Her whole appearance had about it the air of a long cultivated pose into which she was determined to fit, whatever might happen. The others began to talk of serious things, and during the whole hour or more she maintained her pose. One saw among all those serious and intent faces this self-conscious girl, trying to follow what was being said and to join in the discussion; but no words came out of her. She wanted to show that she too was aware of the problem that was being discussed; but there was bewilderment in her eyes, for she was incapable of taking part in the serious conversation. One saw her quickly withdraw into herself, still maintaining the long-cultivated pose. All spontaneity was being sedulously destroyed,

Each one cultivates a pose. There is the walk and the pose of a prosperous business man, the smile of one who has arrived; there is the look and the pose of an artist; there is the pose of a respectful disciple, and the pose of a disciplined ascetic. Like that self-conscious girl, the so-called religious man assumes a pose, the pose of self-discipline which he has sedulously cultivated through denials and sacrifices. She sacrifices spontaneity for effect, and he immolates himself to achieve an end. Both are concerned with a result, though at different levels; and while his result may be considered socially more beneficial than hers, fundamentally they are similar, one is not superior to the other. Both are unintelligent, for both indicate pettiness of mind. A petty mind is always petty; it cannot be made rich, abundant. Though such a mind may adorn itself or seek to acquire virtue, it remains what it is, a petty, shallow thing, and through so-called growth, experience, it can only be enriched in its own pettiness. An ugly thing cannot be made beautiful. The god of a petty mind is a petty god. A shallow mind does not become fathomless by adorning itself with knowledge and clever phrases, by quoting words of wisdom, or by decorating its outward appearance. Adornments, whether inward or outward, do not make a fathomless mind; and it is this fathomlessness of the mind that gives beauty, not the jewel or the acquired virtue. For beauty to come into being, the mind must be choicelessly aware of its own pettiness; there must be an awareness in which comparison has wholly ceased.

The cultivated pose of the girl, and the disciplined pose of the so-called religious ascetic, are equally the tortured results of a petty mind, for both deny essential spontaneity. Both are fearful of the spontaneous, for it reveals them as they are, to themselves and to others; both are bent on destroying it, and the measure of their success is the completeness of their conformity to a chosen pattern or conclusion. But spontaneity is the only key that opens the door to what is. The spontaneous response uncovers the mind as it is; but what is discovered is immediately adorned or destroyed, and so spontaneity is put an end to. The killing of spontaneity is the way of a petty mind, which then decorates the outer, at whatever level; and this decoration is the worship of itself. Only in spontaneity, in freedom, can there be discovery. A disciplined mind cannot discover; it may function effectively and hence ruthlessly, but it cannot uncover the fathomless. It is fear that creates the resistance called discipline; but the spontaneous discovery of fear is freedom from fear. Conformity to a pattern, at whatever level, is fear, which only breeds conflict confusion and antagonism; but a mind that is in revolt is not fearless, for the opposite can never know the spontaneous, the free.

Without spontaneity, there can be no self-knowledge; without self-knowledge, the mind is shaped by passing influences. These passing influences can make the mind narrow or expansive, but it is still within the sphere of influence. What is put together can be unmade, and that which is not put together can be known only through self-knowledge. The self is put together, and it is only in undoing the self that that which is not the result of influence, which has no cause, can be known.

Series I – Chapter 53
Commentaries on Living

Intelligence

As we grow older and go out of this institution after receiving education, so-called education, we have to face many problems. What profession are we to choose, so that in that profession, we can fulfil ourselves, we can be happy; so that in that profession or vocation or job, we are satisfied and are not exploiting others, we are not being cruel to others? We have to face death, suffering, disasters. We have to understand starvation, overpopulation, sex, pain, pleasure, the many confusing and conflicting and contradictory things in life, the wrangles, the conflicts between man and man or between woman and man, the conflicts within, the struggles within and the struggles without, wars, the military spirit, ambition and that extraordinary thing called peace which is much more vital than we realize. We have to understand the significance of religion; not the mere worship of images nor the mere speculations which, we think, give us the right to assume the religious feeling, but also that very complex and strange thing called love. We have to understand all this, and not merely be educated to pass examinations; we have to know the beauty of life; to watch a bird in flight; to see the beggars, the disasters, the squalor, the hideous buildings that people put up, the foul road, the still fouler temples; we have to face all these problems. We have also to face whom to follow, whom not to follow, and whether we should follow anybody at all.

Most of us are concerned with doing a little bit of change here and there, and we are satisfied with that. As we grow older, we do not want any deep fundamental change, because we are afraid. We do not think in terms of transformation, we only think in terms of change; and you will find, when you look into that change, that it is only a modified change which is not a radical revolution, not a transformation. You have to face all these things, from your own happiness to the happiness of the many, from your own self-seeking pursuits and ambitions to the ambitions and the motives and the pursuits of others; you have to face competition, the corruption in oneself and in others, the deterioration of the mind, the emptiness of the heart. You have to know all this, you have to face all this: but you are not prepared for it. What do we know when we go out from here? We are as dull, empty, shallow as when we came here; and our studies, our living in school, our contacts with our teachers and their contact with us have not helped us to understand this very very complex problem of life. The teachers are dull, and we become dull like them. They are afraid and we are afraid. So, it is our problem, it is your problem as well as the teachers’ problem, to see that you go out with maturity, with thought, without fear, so that you will be able to face life intelligently. So, it appears very important to find an answer to all these problems; but there is no answer. All you can do is to meet these very complex problems intelligently as they arise. Please follow this. Please understand this. You want an answer. You think that, by reading, by following somebody, by studying some book, you will find an answer to all these very complex and very subtle problems. But you will not find answers, because these problems have been created by human beings who may have been like you. The starvation, the cruelty, the hideousness, the squalor, the appalling callousness, the cruelty, all this has been created by human beings. So, you have to understand the human heart, the human mind, which is yourself. Merely to look for an answer in a book, or to go to a school to find out, or to follow an economic system however much it may promise, or to follow some religious absurdity and superstition, to follow a guru, to do puja, in no way will help you to understand these problems, because they are created by you and others like you. As they are created by you, you cannot understand them without understanding yourself; and to understand yourself as you live, from moment to moment, from day to day, year in and year out, you need intelligence, a great deal of insight, love, patience.

Rajghat 19th Talk to Boys and Girls 31st December 1952

The Radio and Music

IT IS OBVIOUS that radio music is a marvellous escape. Next door, they kept the thing going all day long and far into the night. The father went off to his office fairly early. The mother and daughter worked in the house or in the garden; and when they worked in the garden the radio blared louder. Apparently the son also enjoyed the music and the commercials, for when he was at home the radio went on just the same. By means of the radio one can listen endlessly to every kind of music, from the classical to the very latest; one can hear mystery plays, news, and all the things that are constantly being broadcast. There need be no conversation, no exchange of thought, for the radio does almost everything for you. The radio, they say, helps students to study; and there is more milk if at milking time the cows have music.

The odd part about all this is that the radio seems to alter so little the course of life. It may make some things a little more convenient; we may have global news more quickly and hear murders described most vividly; but information is not going to make us intelligent. The thin layer of information about the horrors of atomic bombing, about international alliances, research into chlorophyll, and so on, does not seem to make any fundamental difference in our lives. We are as war-minded as ever, we hate some other group of people, we despise this political leader and support that, we are duped by organized religions, we are nationalistic, and our miseries continue; and we are intent on escapes, the more respectable and organized the better. To escape collectively is the highest form of security. In facing what is, we can do something about it; but to take flight from what is inevitably makes us stupid and dull, slaves to sensation and confusion.

Does not music offer us, in a very subtle way, a happy release from what is? Good music takes us away from ourselves, from our daily sorrows, pettiness and anxieties, it makes us forget; or it gives us strength to face life, it inspires, invigorates and pacifies us. It becomes a necessity in either case, whether as a means of forgetting ourselves or as a source of inspiration. Dependence on beauty and avoidance of the ugly is an escape which becomes a torturing issue when our escape is cut off. When beauty becomes necessary to our well-being, then experiencing ceases and sensation begins. The moment of experiencing is totally different from the pursuit of sensation. In experiencing there is no awareness of the experiencer and his sensations. When experiencing comes to an end, then begin the sensations of the experiencer; and it is these sensations that the experiencer demands and pursues. When sensations become a necessity, then music, the river, the painting are only a means to further sensation. Sensations become all-dominant, and not experiencing. The longing to repeat an experience is the demand for sensation; and while sensations can be repeated, experiencing cannot.

It is the desire for sensation that makes us cling to music, possess beauty. Dependence on outward line and form only indicates the emptiness of our own being, which we fill with music, with art, with deliberate silence. It is because this unvarying emptiness is filled or covered over with sensations that there is the everlasting fear of what is, of what we are. Sensations have a beginning and an end, they can be repeated and expanded; but experiencing is not within the limits of time. What is essential is experiencing, which is denied in the pursuit or sensation. Sensations are limited, personal, they cause conflict and misery; but experiencing, which is wholly different from the repetition of an experience, is without continuity. Only in experiencing is there renewal, transformation.

Commentaries on Living . Series I – Chapter 27

HOW ODDLY SIMILAR are gossip and worry. They are both the outcome of a restless mind. A restless mind must have a changing variety of expressions and actions, it must be occupied; it must have ever increasing sensations, passing interests, and gossip contains the elements of all these.
Gossip is the very antithesis of intensity and earnestness. To talk about another, pleasantly or viciously, is an escape from oneself, and escape is the cause of restlessness. Escape in its very nature is restless. Concern over the affairs of others seems to occupy most people, and this concern shows itself in the reading of innumerable magazines and newspapers with their gossip columns, their accounts of murders, divorces and so on.
As we are concerned with what others think of us, so we are anxious to know all about them; and from this arise the crude and subtle forms of snobbishness and the worship of authority. Thus we become more and more externalized and inwardly empty. The more externalized we are, the more sensations and distractions there must be, and this gives rise to a mind that is never quiet, that is not capable of deep search and discovery.
Gossip is an expression of a restless mind; but merely to be silent does not indicate a tranquil mind, Tranquillity does not come into being with abstinence or denial; it comes with the understanding of what is. To understand what is needs swift awareness, for what is is not static.
If we did not worry, most of us would feel that we were not alive; to be struggling with a problem is for the majority of us an indication of existence. We cannot imagine life without a problem; and the more we are occupied with a problem, the more alert we think we are. The constant tension over a problem which thought itself has created only dulls the mind, making it insensitive and weary.
Why is there the ceaseless preoccupation with a problem? Will worry resolve the problem? Or does the answer to the problem come when the mind is quiet? But for most people, a quiet mind is a rather fearsome thing; they are afraid to be quiet, for heaven knows what they may discover in themselves, and worry is a preventive. A mind that is afraid to discover must ever be on the defensive, and restlessness is its defence.
Through constant strain, through habit and the influence of circumstances, the conscious layers of the mind have become agitated and restless Modern existence encourages this superficial activity and distraction, which is another form of self-defence. Defence is resistance, which prevents understanding.
Worry, like gossip, has the semblance of intensity and seriousness; but if one observes more closely one will see that it arises from attraction and not earnestness. Attraction is ever changing, and that is why the objects of worry and gossip change. Change is merely modified continuity. Gossip and worry can come to an end only when the restlessness of the mind is understood. Mere abstinence, control or discipline will not bring about tranquillity, but only dull the mind, making it insensitive and confined.
Curiosity is not the way of understanding. Understanding comes with self-knowledge. He who suffers is not curious; and mere curiosity, with its speculative overtones, is a hindrance to self-knowledge. Speculation, like curiosity, is an indication of restlessness; and a restless mind, however gifted, destroys understanding and happiness.

Commentaries on Living . Series I – Chapter 3

Love is not complex

THERE WAS HARDLY anyone on the long, curving beach. A few fishermen were going back to their village among the tall palms. As they walked they made thread, rolling the cotton on their naked thighs and winding it on the bobbin; it was a very fine thread, and strong. Some of them walked with ease and grace, and others with dragging feet. They were ill-fed, thin, and burnt dark by the sun. A boy passed by singing, with long, cheerful strides; and the sea came rolling in. There was no strong breeze, but it was a heavy sea, with thunderous waves. The moon, almost full was just rising out of the blue-green water, and the breakers were white against the yellow sands.

How essentially simple life is, and how we complicate it! Life is complex, but we do not know how to be simple with it. Complexity must be approached simply, otherwise we shall never understand it. We know too much, and that is why life eludes us; and the too much is so little. With that little we meet the immense; and how can we measure the immeasurable? Our vanity dulls us, experience and knowledge bind us, and the waters of life pass us by. To sing with that boy, to drag wearily with those fishermen, to spin thread on one’s thigh, to be those villagers and that couple in the car – to be all that, not as a trick of identity, needs love. Love is not complex, but the mind makes it so. We are too much with the mind, and the ways of love we do not know. We know the ways of desire and the will of desire, but we do not know love. Love is the flame without the smoke. We are too familiar with the smoke; it fills our heads and heats, and we see darkly. We are not simple with the beauty of the flame; we torture ourselves with it. We do not live with the flame, following swiftly wherever it may lead. We know too much, which is always little, and we make a path for love. Love eludes us, but we have the empty frame. Those who know that they do not know are the simple; they go far, for they have no burden of knowledge.

Commentaries on Living Chapter 78

Learning is not experience

The word learning has great significance. There are two kinds of learning. For most of us learning means the accumulation of knowledge, of experience, of technology, of a skill, of a language. There is also psychological learning, learning through experience, either the immediate experiences of life, which leave a certain residue, of tradition, of the race, of society. There are these two kinds of learning how to meet life: psychological and physiological; outward skill and inward skill. There is really no line of demarcation between the two; they overlap. We are not considering for the moment the skill that we learn through practice, the technological knowledge that we acquire through study. What we are concerned about is the psychological learning that we have acquired through the centuries or inherited as tradition, as knowledge, as experience. This we call learning, but I question whether it is learning at all. I am not talking about learning a skill, a language, a technique, but I am asking whether the mind ever learns psychologically. It has learned, and with what it has learned it meets the challenge of life. It is always translating life or the new challenge according to what it has learned. That is what we are doing. Is that learning? Doesn’t learning imply something new, something that I don’t know and am learning? If I am merely adding to what I already know, it is no longer learning.   

The book of life

Inward refinement

Is it not very important to be refined, both outwardly and inwardly? Do you know what refinement is? It is to be sensitive to everything about you, and also to the thoughts, the beliefs, the feelings that you have within yourself. Refinement is reflected in your clothes, in your manners, in your gestures, in the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you look at people. And refinement is essential, is it not? For without refinement, there is deterioration.

Do you know what it means to deteriorate? It is the opposite of creating, or building, of having the initiative to move forward, to develop. Deterioration implies slow decay, a withering away – and that is what is happening in the world. In colleges and universities, among nations, among people, in the individual, there is a slow decay; the deteriorating process is going on all the time, and this is because there is no inward refinement. You may have a certain amount of outward refinement, you may wear fine clothes, live in a nice house, eat good food, observe scrupulous cleanliness; but without inner refinement, the outward prediction of form has very little meaning. It is merely another form of deterioration. To have beautiful possessions but to be inwardly gross, that is, to be concerned with one’s own vanity and grandeur, with one’s ambitions and achievements, is the way of deterioration.

There is beauty of form in poetry, or in a person, or in a lovely tree, but it has meaning only through the inward refinement of love. If there is love, there will be outward as well as inward refinement. Refinement is expressed outwardly in consideration for others, in the way you treat your parents, your neighbours, your servant, your gardener. The gardener may have created for you a beautiful garden, but without that refinement which is love, the garden is merely an expression of your own vanity.

So, it is essential to have both outward and inward refinement. The way you eat matters a great deal; if you make a noise while you are eating, it matters very much. The way you behave, your manners when you are with your friends, the way you talk about others, all these things matter because they point to what you are inwardly, they indicate whether or not there is inward refinement. A lack of inward refinement expresses itself in the outward degeneration of form; so outward refinement has very little meaning if there is no love. And we have seen that love is not a thing we can possess. It comes into being only when the mind understands the complex problems which it has itself created.

Life Ahead 1950
Part One – Chapter 10

Distracted by Noise

I think it is very important to know how to listen. If you know how to listen, you will get to the root of the matter immediately. If you listen to pure sound, you have immediate contact with the beauty of it. Similarly, if you knew how to listen to what another is saying or to what is being said, there would be an immediate transformation, an immediate change. After all, listening is the complete focussing of attention. You think that attention is a tiresome thing, that to learn to concentrate is a drawn out process; but if you know how to listen, then it is not so difficult; because then you will see that you get to the heart of the matter immediately with an extraordinary understanding.

Most of us do not listen, We are distracted by noise or we have so much prejudice, so much bias; we have a twist that prevents us from really listening to what is being said. This is so especially with older people, because they have a series of achievements behind them, they are somebodies or nobodies in the world, and it is very difficult to penetrate through the layers of their formulations, their conceptions. The imagination, the achievements of older people will not allow the thing that is being said to penetrate. But if we knew how to listen without any barrier, just to listen as if to the sound of the bird in the morning or to see the sunlight on the water, or to listen to what is being said without any interpretation, without any barrier, just to listen, then it is an extraordinary thing, specially when something true is being said. You may not like it; you may resist it; you may think it is enclosed; but if you really listen, you see the truth of it.

Really `listening’ unburdens, it clears away the dross of many years of failure, of success, of longings. You know what propaganda is, don’t you? It is to propagate, to sow, so that the constant repetition of an idea imprints on your mind what the propagandist, the politician, the religious leader wants you to believe. There is a listening there also, because there is the constant repetition by some people of what you should do, what books you should read, whom you should follow, what kind of ideas are right, which guru is essential, which is not essential. This constant repetition of an idea, of a feeling over and over again, leaves a mark. Even if you do not listen to it, unconsciously it is leaving an imprint; that is the purpose of propaganda, the constant repetition. But you see propaganda does not bring that truth which you immediately understand when you are really listening, when you really pay attention without any effort.

You are now listening to me, you are not making any effort to pay attention, you are just listening; and if there is truth in what you hear, if what is being said is true, then you will find a remarkable change taking place in you, a change that is not wished for, a transformation, a complete revolution, in which the truth alone is the master and not your mind. So, if I may suggest, similarly listen to everything, not only to what I am saying, but to what other people are saying, to the birds, to the whistle of that engine, to the noise of the bus going by; and you will find that the more you listen, the greater is the silence, and that silence is not broken by noise. It is only when you are resisting, when you are putting up a barrier between yourselves, between listening and that to which you do not want to listen, then there is the struggle. So, if I may suggest, listen.

Rajghat 10th Talk to Boys and Girls December, 21st,  1952

Listening with great care

We ought to understand very clearly and simply the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. The word art is generally applied to artists, those who paint, write poems, make sculptures, and so on. But the meaning of that word art is giving everything its right place, putting all our thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and so on, in their right place, giving the proper proportion to things, putting everything in harmony.

We rarely listen to anybody. We are so full of our conclusions, experiences, problems and judgments that we have no space in which to listen. To listen is possible only when you put aside your opinion, knowledge, problems and conclusions. Then you are free to listen without interpreting, judging or evaluating. The art of listening is to listen with great care, attention and affection. If you are capable of such listening, communication becomes very simple and there will be no misunderstanding. Communication implies to think together, to share the things we are talking about together, to partake in the problem as two human beings. Living in a monstrous, corrupt world where things are so ugly, brutal, violent and meaningless, communication is very important. In the art of listening, one learns immediately; one sees the fact instantly. In the art of listening, there is freedom. In that freedom, every nuance of a word has significance, and there is immediate comprehension. There is immediate insight and therefore immediate freedom to observe.

From the book The Shambhala Krishnamurti Reader, by J. Krishnamurti

Intelligence comes into being when the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious.⁠

Therefore – follow this up – the body must be highly sensitive, not gross, not, you know, eating, drinking and all the rest, you know, sex, you know all that makes the body coarse, dull, heavy. Therefore you have to understand all that. The very seeing the fact of that makes you eat less, makes the body… gives the body its own intelligence, there is an awareness of the body which is not being forced – all the rest of it. So the body becomes very, very, very sensitive, you know, like a beautiful instrument. The same with the heart, which is, that it is never hurt and can never hurt another. That is innocence of the heart – not to hurt and not be hurt. And the mind, having no fear, demanding no pleasure – not that you cannot enjoy the beauty of life, beauty of the tree, beauty of a beautiful face, looking at children, the flow of water, the mountains, the green pastures – there is great delight in that. But that delight when pursued by thought becomes pleasure. So the mind has to be, you know, empty to see clearly.⁠

So the relationship between the immeasurable… the unknown and the known is this intelligence…⁠

J. Krishnamurti⁠

What is a religious life?⁠
Public Question & Answer 7 Saanen, Switzerland – 10 August 1971⁠

“The brain is active from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep, and even then the activity of the brain is still going on. That activity in the form of dreams is the same movement of the day carried on during sleep. The brain has never a moment’s rest, never does it say, ‘I have finished.’ It has carried over the problems which it accumulated during the day into sleep; when you wake up those problems still go on—it is a vicious circle. A brain that is to be quiet must have no dreams at all; when the brain is quiet during sleep there is a totally different quality entering into the mind. How does it happen that the brain which is so tremendously, enthusiastically active, can naturally, easily be quiet without any effort or suppression? I will show it to you.

As we said, during the day it is endlessly active. You wake up, you look out of the window and say to yourself, ‘Oh, awful rain,’ or ‘It is a marvelous day, but too hot’—you have started! So at that moment, when you look out of the window, don’t say a word; not suppressing words but simply realizing that by saying, ‘What a lovely morning,’ or ‘A horrible day,’ the brain has started. But if you watch, looking out of the window and not saying a word to yourself—which does not mean you suppress the word—just observing without the activity of the brain rushing in, there you have the clue, there you have the key. When the old brain does not respond, there is a quality of the new brain coming into being. You can observe the mountains, the river, the valleys, the shadows, the lovely trees, and the marvelous clouds full of light beyond the mountains—you can look without a word, without comparing.”

J. Krishnamurti

Excerpt from The Impossible Question

The whole story of mankind is in you – the vast experiences, the deep-rooted fears, anxieties, sorrows, pleasures, and all the beliefs we have accumulated throughout the millennia. You are the book, and it is an art to read that book. It is not printed by any publisher; it is not for sale; you cannot buy it in any bookshop. You cannot go to any analyst because his book is the same as yours, nor to any scientist. The scientist may have a great deal of information about matter and astrophysics, but his book, the story of mankind, is the same as yours.

Without carefully, patiently, hesitantly reading that book, you will never be able to change the society in which we live, the society that is corrupt and immoral, that has a great deal of poverty and injustice. Anyone serious is concerned with things as they are in the world, the chaos, corruption, and the greatest crime, which is war. To bring about a radical change in society and its structure, you must be able to read the book, which is yourself. Society is brought about by each one of us, by our parents, grandparents and so on. All human beings have created this society, and if it is not changed, there will be more corruption, more wars and greater destruction of the human mind. That is a fact.

So, to read this book, which is yourself, you must have the art of listening to what the book is saying. Listening implies not interpreting what the book is saying but just observing it, as you would observe a cloud. You cannot do anything about the cloud, nor the palm leaf swaying in the wind, nor the beauty of a sunset. You cannot alter it; you cannot argue with it; you cannot change it. It is so. So one must have the art of listening to what the book is saying. The book is you, so you cannot tell it what it should reveal. It will reveal everything. So that must be the first art: to listen to the book. —Krishnamurti

From The Magnitude of the Mind

Surely, a man who is understanding life does not want beliefs. A man who loves, has no beliefs—he loves. It is the man who is consumed by the intellect who has beliefs, because intellect is always seeking security, protection; it is always avoiding danger, and therefore it builds ideas, beliefs, ideals, behind which it can take shelter. What would happen if you dealt with violence directly, now? You would be a danger to society; and because the mind foresees the danger, it says “I will achieve the ideal of nonviolence ten years later which is such a fictitious, false process…” To understand what is, is more important than to create and follow ideals because ideals are false, and what is is the real. To understand what is requires an enormous capacity, a swift and unprejudiced mind. It is because we don’t want to face and understand what is that we invent the many ways of escape and give them lovely names as the ideal, the belief, God. Surely, it is only when I see the false as the false that my mind is capable of perceiving what is true. A mind that is confused in the false, can never find the truth. Therefore, I must understand what is false in my relationships, in my ideas, in the things about me because to perceive the truth requires the understanding of the false. Without removing the causes of ignorance, there cannot be enlightenment; and to seek enlightenment when the mind is unenlightened is utterly empty, meaningless. Therefore, I must begin to see the false in my relationships with ideas, with people, with things. When the mind sees that which is false, then that which is true comes into being and then there is ecstasy, there is happiness.

The Book of Life

THE VALLEY WAS in the shadow, and the setting sun touched the faraway mountain tops; their evening glow seemed to come from within. To the north of the long road, the mountains were bare and barren, exposed by the fire; to the south, the hills were green and heavy with bushes and trees. The road ran straight, dividing the long and graceful valley. The mountains on this particular evening seemed so close, so unreal, so light and tender. Heavy birds were circling effortlessly high in the heavens. Ground squirrels were lazily crossing the road, and there was the hum of a distant airplane. On both sides of the road were orange orchards, well ordered and well kept. After the hot day the smell of purple sage was very strong, and so was the smell of sunburnt earth and hay. The orange trees were dark, with their bright fruit. The quail were calling, and a road-runner disappeared into the bush. A long snake-lizard, disturbed by the dog, wriggled off into the dry weeds. The evening stillness was creeping over the land.

Experience is one thing, and experiencing is another. Experience is a barrier to the state of experiencing. However pleasant or ugly the experience, it prevents the flowering of experiencing. Experience is already in the net of time, it is already in the past, it has become a memory which comes to life only as a response to the present. Life is the present, it is not the experience. The weight and the strength of experience shadow the present, and so experiencing becomes the experience. The mind is the experience, the known, and it can never be in the state of experiencing; for what it experiences is the continuation of experience. The mind only knows continuity, and it can never receive the new as long as its continuity exists. What is continuous can never be in a state of experiencing. Experience is not the means to experiencing, which is a state without experience. Experience must cease for experiencing to be.

The mind can invite only its own self-projection, the known. There cannot be the experiencing of the unknown until the mind ceases to experience. Thought is the expression of experience; thought is a response of memory; and as long as thinking intervenes, there can be no experiencing. There is no means, no method to put an end to experience; for the very means is a hindrance to experiencing. To know the end is to know continuity, and to have a means to the end is to sustain the known. The desire for achievement must fade away; it is this desire that creates the means and the end. Humility is essential for experiencing. But how eager is the mind to absorb the experiencing into experience! How swift it is to think about the new and thus make of it the old! So it establishes the experiencer and the experienced, which gives birth to the conflict of duality.

In the state of experiencing, there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced. The tree, the dog and the evening star are not to be experienced by the experiencer; they are the very movement of experiencing. There is no gap between the observer and the observed; there is no time, no spatial interval for thought to identify itself. Thought is utterly absent, but there is being. This state of being cannot be thought of or meditated upon, it is not a thing to be achieved. The experiencer must cease to experience, and only then is there being. In the tranquillity of its movement is the timeless.

Commentaries on Living. Series I – Chapter 12 – ‘Experiencing’

TO ME IT SEEMS to be fairly clear that to observe there must be freedom, not only the outward phenomenon, but also to observe what is going on within ourselves, to observe without any prejudice, without taking any side, but to examine very closely, freely the whole process of our thinking and our activity, our pleasures, fears, and all the things that we have built around ourselves, not only outwardly but in ourselves as a form of resistance, compulsive demands, escapes, and so on. If we could do that consistently, with full intention, to discover for ourselves a way of living that is not contradictory, then perhaps these talks will be worthwhile; otherwise it will be another lecture, another entertainment, pleasurable or rather absurd, logical or illogical and so on. So if we could completely give ourselves to the examination, to observe intimately what is going on, both outwardly and inwardly.

Now the difficulty in this lies, it seems to me, in the capacity to observe, to see things as they are, not as we would like them to be, or what they should be, but actually what is going on. To so observe has its own discipline, not the discipline of imitation, or compulsion, or conformity but that very observation brings its own discipline, not imposed, not conforming to any particular pattern, which implies suppression, but to observe. After all when you do observe something very closely, or listen to somebody very fully, that very listening and seeing, in that is implied attention. And where there is attention there is discipline, without being disciplined.

If that is clear, the next point is, in observing there is always the observer. The observer who, with his prejudices, with his conditioning, with his fears and guilts and all the rest of it, he is the observer, the censor, and through his eyes he looks, and therefore he is really not looking at all, he is merely coming to conclusions based upon his past experiences and knowledge. The past experiences, conclusions and knowledge prevent actually seeing. And when there is such an observer, what he observers is something different, or something which he has to conquer, or change and so on; whereas if the observer is the observed – I think this is really a radical thing to understand, really the most important thing to understand if we are going to discuss anything seriously: that in us there is this division, this contradiction, the observer and the many fragments which he observes. The many fragments make up the ‘me’, the ego, the personality, whatever you like to call it, the many fragments. And one of the fragments becomes the observer or the censor, and that fragment looks over the various other fragments. Please do this as we are talking, not agreeing or disagreeing but observe this fact that is going on within oneself; it becomes terribly interesting and rather fun if you go at it very, very seriously.

Public Talk 1 Brockwood Park, England – 5 September 1970

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.

The Collected Works, Vol. XVI,152, Choiceless Awareness

To love is the greatest thing in life; it is very important to talk about love, to feel it, to nourish it, to treasure it, otherwise it will soon be dissipated, for the world is very brutal. If while you are young you don’t feel love, if you don’t look with love at people, at animals, at flowers, when you grow up you find that your life is empty; you will be very lonely, and the dark shadows of fear will follow you always. But the moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.

Think on these Things

 
When we are aware of ourselves, is not the whole movement of living a way of uncovering the “me,” the ego, the self? The self is a very complex process which can be uncovered only in relationship, in our daily activities, in the way we talk, the way we judge, calculate, the way we condemn others and ourselves. All that reveals the conditioned state of our own thinking, and is it not important to be aware of this whole process? It is only through awareness of what is true from moment to moment that there is discovery of the timeless, the eternal. Without self-knowledge, the eternal cannot be. When we do not know ourselves, the eternal becomes a mere word, a symbol, a speculation, a dogma, a belief, an illusion to which the mind can escape. But if one begins to understand the “me” in all its various activities from day to day, then in that very understanding, without any effort, the nameless, the timeless comes into being. But the timeless is not a reward for self-knowledge. That which is eternal cannot be sought after; the mind cannot acquire it. It comes into being when the mind is quiet, and the mind can be quiet only when it is simple, when it is no longer storing up, condemning, judging, weighing. It is only the simple mind that can understand the real, not the mind that is full of words, knowledge, information. The mind that analyzes, calculates, is not a simple mind.
The Book of Life

The passage for the week of February 7th: All becoming is disintegration

The mind has an idea, perhaps pleasurable, and it wants to be like that idea, which is a projection of your desire. You are this, which you do not like, and you want to become that, which you like. The ideal is a self-projection; the opposite is an extension of what is; it is not the opposite at all, but a continuity of what is, perhaps somewhat modified. The projection is self-willed, and conflict is the struggle towards the projection….You are struggling to become something, and that something is part of yourself. The ideal is your own projection. See how the mind has played a trick upon itself. You are struggling after words, pursuing your own projection, your own shadow. You are violent, and you are struggling to become nonviolent, the ideal; but the ideal is a projection of what is, only under a different name.

When you are aware of this trick which you have played upon yourself, then the false as the false is seen. The struggle towards an illusion is the disintegrating factor. All conflict, all becoming is disintegration. When there is an awareness of this trick that the mind has played upon itself, then there is only what is. When the mind is stripped of all becoming, of all ideals, of all comparison and condemnation, when its own structure has collapsed, then the what is has undergone complete transformation. As long as there is the naming of what is, there is relationship between the mind and what is; but when this naming process—which is memory, the very structure of the mind—is not, then what is is not. In this transformation alone is there integration.”

J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

He was a healthy and thoughtful young man, still in his thirties, and was employed in some government office. He was not too averse to his work, he explained, and everything considered, had a fairly good salary and a promising future. He was married and had a son of four whom he had wanted to bring along, but the boy’s mother had insisted that he would be a nuisance.

“I attended one or two of your talks,” he said, “and, if I may, I would like to ask a question. I have got into certain bad habits which are bothering me, and which I want to be free of. For several months now I have tried to get rid of them, but without success. What am I to do?”

Let us consider habit itself, and not divide it into good and bad. The cultivation of habit, however good and respectable, only makes the mind dull. What do we mean by habit? Let us think it out, and not depend on mere definition. “Habit is an oft-repeated act.”

It is a momentum of action in a certain direction, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and it may operate consciously or unconsciously, with thought, or thoughtlessly. Is that it? “Yes, sir, that’s right.”

Some feel the need of coffee in the morning, and without it they get a headache. The body may not have required it at first, but it has gradually got used to the pleasurable taste and stimulation of coffee, and now it suffers when deprived of it. “But is coffee a necessity?”

What do you mean by a necessity? “Good food is necessary to good health.”

Surely; but the tongue becomes accustomed to food of a certain kind or flavour, and then the body feels deprived and anxious when it does not get what it’s used to. This insistence on food of a particular kind indicates – does it not? – that a habit has been formed, a habit based on pleasure and the memory of it. “But how can one break a pleasurable habit? To break an unpleasant habit is comparatively easy, but my problem is how to break the pleasant ones.”

As I said, we aren’t considering pleasant and unpleasant habits, or how to break away from either of them, but we are trying to understand habit itself. We see that habit is formed when there is pleasure and the demand for the continuation of the pleasure. Habit is based on pleasure and the memory of it. An initially unpleasant experience may gradually become a pleasant and ‘necessary’ habit.

Now, let’s go a little further into the matter. What is your problem? “Amongst other habits, sexual indulgence has become a powerful and consuming habit with me. I have tried to bring it under control by disciplining myself against it, by dieting, practising various exercises, and so on, but in spite of all my resistance the habit has continued.” 8 Perhaps there is no other release in your life, no other driving interest. Probably you are bored with your work, without being aware of it; and religion for you may be only a repetitious ritual, a set of dogmas and beliefs without any meaning at all. If you are inwardly thwarted, frustrated, then sex becomes your only release. To be inwardly alert to think anew about your work, about the absurdities of society, to find out for yourself the true significance of religion – it is this that will free the mind from being enslaved by any habit.

“I used to be interested in religion and in literature, but I have no leisure for either of them now, because all my time is taken up with my work. I am not really unhappy in it, but I realize that earning a livelihood isn’t everything, and it may be that, as you say, if I can find time for wider and deeper interests, it will help to break down the habit which is bothering me.”

As we said, 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.

“Are you implying that we must get rid of all pleasure?”

No, sir. We are not trying to get rid of anything, or to acquire anything; we are trying to understand the full implication of habit; and we have to understand, too, the problems of pleasure. Many sannyasis, yogis, saints, have denied themselves pleasure; they have tortured themselves and forced the mind to resist, to be insensitive to pleasure in every form. It is a pleasure to see the beauty of a tree, of a cloud, of moonlight on the water, or of a human being; and to deny that pleasure is to deny beauty.

On the other hand, there are people who reject the ugly and cling to the beautiful. They want to remain in the lovely garden of their own making, and shut out the noise, the smell and the brutality that exist beyond the wall. Very often they succeed in this; but you cannot shut out the ugly and hold to the beautiful without becoming dull, insensitive. You must be sensitive to sorrow as well as to joy and not eschew the one and seek out the other. Life is both death and love. To love is to be vulnerable, sensitive, and habit breeds insensitivity; it destroys love.

“I am beginning to feel the beauty of what you are saying. It is true that I have made myself dull and stupid. I used to love to go into the woods, to listen to the birds, to observe the faces of people in the streets, and I now see what I have allowed habit to do to me. But what is love?”

Love is not mere pleasure, a thing of memory; it’s a state of intense vulnerability and beauty, which is denied when the mind builds walls of self-centred activity. Love is life, and so it is also death. To deny death and cling to life is to deny love. “I am really beginning to have an insight into all this, and into myself. Without love, life does become mechanical and habit-ridden. The work I do in the office is largely mechanical, and so indeed is the rest of my life; I am caught in a vast wheel of routine and boredom. I have been asleep, and now I must wake up.”

The very realization that you have been asleep is already an awakened state; there is no need of volition.

Now, let’s go a little further into the matter. There is no beauty without austerity, is there? “That I don’t understand, sir.”

Austerity does not lie in any outward symbol or act: wearing a loincloth or a monk’s robe, taking only one meal a day, or living the life of a hermit. Such disciplined simplicity, however rigorous, is not austerity; it is merely an outward show without an inner reality. Austerity is the simplicity of inward aloneness, the simplicity of a mind that is purged of all conflict, that is not caught in the fire of desire, even the desire for the highest. Without this austerity, there can be no love; and beauty is of love.

Commentaries on living, chapter 6.

WE HAVE BEEN discussing the question of revolt within the prison: how all reformers, idealists, and others who are incessantly active in producing certain results, are always revolting within the walls of their own conditioning, within the walls of their own social structure, within the cultural pattern of civilization which is an expression of the collective will of the many. I think it would now be worthwhile if we could see what confidence is and how it comes about.

Through initiative there comes about confidence; but initiative within the pattern only brings self -confidence, which is entirely different from confidence without the self. Do you know what it means to have confidence? If you do something with your own hands, if you plant a tree and see it grow, if you paint a picture, or write a poem, or, when you are older, build a bridge or run some administrative job extremely well, it gives you confidence that you are able to do something. But, you see, confidence as we know it now is always within the prison, the prison which society – whether communist, Hindu, or Christian – has built around us. Initiative within the prison does create a certain confidence, because you feel you can do things: you can design a motor, be a very good doctor, an excellent scientist, and so on. But this feeling of confidence which comes with the capacity to succeed within the social structure, or to reform, to give more light, to decorate the interior of the prison is really self -confidence; you know you can do something, and you feel important in doing it, Whereas, when through investigating, through understanding, you break away from the social structure of which you are a part, there comes an entirely different kind of confidence which is without the sense of self-importance; and if we can understand the difference between these two – between self -confidence, and confidence without the self – I think it will have great significance in our life.

When you play a game very well, like badminton, cricket, or football, you have a certain sense of confidence, have you not? It gives you the feeling that you are pretty good at it. If you are quick at solving mathematical problems, that also breeds a sense of self-assurance. When confidence is born of action within the social structure, there always goes with it a strange arrogance, does there not? The confidence of a man who can do things, who is capable of achieving results, is always colored by this arrogance of the self, the feeling, “It is I who do it”. So, in the very act of achieving a result, of bringing about a social reform within the prison, there is the arrogance of the self, the feeling that I have done it, that my ideal is important, that my group has succeeded. This sense of the `me’ and the `mine’ always goes with the confidence that expresses itself within the social prison.

Have you not noticed how arrogant idealists are? The political leaders who bring about certain results, who achieve great reforms – have you not noticed that they are full of themselves, puffed up with their ideals and their achievements? In their own estimation they are very important. Read a few of the political speeches, watch some of these people who call themselves reformers, and you will see that in the very process of reformation they are cultivating their own ego; their reforms, however extensive, are still within the prison, therefore they are destructive and ultimately bring more misery and conflict to man.

Now, if you can see through this whole social structure, the cultural pattern of the collective will which we call civilization – if you can understand all that and break away from it, break through the prison walls of your particular society, whether Hindu, communist, or Christian, then you will find that there comes a confidence which is not tainted with the sense of arrogance. It is the confidence of innocence. It is like the confidence of a child who is so completely innocent he will try anything. It is this innocent confidence that will bring about a new civilization; but this innocent confidence cannot come into being as long as you remain within the social pattern.

Please do listen to this carefully. The speaker is not in the least important, but it is very important for you to understand the truth of what is being said. After all, that is education, is it not? The function of education is not to make you fit into the social pattern; on the contrary, it is to help you to understand completely, deeply, fully and thereby break away from the social pattern, so that you are an individual without that arrogance of the self, but you have confidence because you are really innocent.

Is it not a great tragedy that almost all of us are only concerned either with how to fit into society, or how to reform it? Have you noticed that most of the questions you have asked reflect this attitude? You are saying, in effect, ‘How can I fit into society? What will my father and mother say, and what will happen to me if I don’t?’ Such an attitude destroys whatever confidence, whatever initiative you have. And you leave school and college like so many automatons, highly efficient perhaps, but without any creative flame. That is why it is so important to understand the society, the environment in which one lives, and, in that very process of understanding, break away from it.

You see, this is a problem all over the world. Man is seeking a new response, a new approach to life, because the old ways are decaying, whether in Europe, in Russia, or here. Life is a continual challenge, and merely to try to bring about a better economic order is not a total response to that challenge, which is always new; and when cultures, peoples, civilizations are incapable of responding totally to the challenge of the new, they are destroyed.

Unless you are properly educated, unless you have this extraordinary confidence of innocence, you are inevitably going to be absorbed by the collective and lost in mediocrity. You will put some letters after your name, you will be married, have children, and that will be the end of you.

You see, most of us are frightened. Your parents are frightened, your educators are frightened, the governments and religions are frightened of your becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the prison of environmental and cultural influences. But it is only the individuals who break through the social pattern by understanding it, and who are therefore not bound by the conditioning of their own minds – it is only such people who can bring about a new civilization, not the people who merely conform, or who resist one particular pattern because they are shaped by another. The search for God or truth does not lie within the prison, but rather in understanding the prison and breaking through its walls – and this very movement towards freedom creates a new culture, a different world.

This Matter of Culture

  1. Krishnamurti This Matter of Culture Chapter 12

“Questioner: Why are we naughty?

Krishnamurti: If you ask yourself this question when you are naughty, then it has significance, it has meaning.  But when you are angry, for example, you never ask why you are angry, do you?  It is only afterwards that you ask this question.  Having been angry, you say, “How stupid, I should not have been angry”.  Whereas, if you are aware, thoughtful at the moment of anger without condemning it, if you are `all there’ when the turmoil comes up in your mind, then you will see how quickly it fades away.

Children are naughty at a certain age, and they should be, because they are full of beans, life, ginger, and it has to break out in some form or other.  But you see, this is really a complex question, because naughtiness may be due to wrong food, a lack of sleep, or a feeling of insecurity, and so on.  If all the factors involved are not properly understood, then naughtiness on the part of children becomes a revolt within society, in which there is no release for them.

Do you know what `delinquent’ children are?  They are children who do all kinds of terrible things; they are in revolt within the prison of society because they have never been helped to understand the whole problem of existence.  They are so vital, and some of them are extraordinarily intelligent, and their revolt is a way of saying, “Help us to understand, to break through this compulsion, this terrible conformity”.  That is why this question is very important for the educator, who needs educating more than the children”.

  • Krishnamurti, J. This Matter of Culture, January, 1964, p. 122.

I am glad it is such a lovely day. We ought to be in the woods.

We were saying, weren’t we, the last two times that we met here that this identification with our bodies, with our experiences, with the house, with the family, with the nation, with a particular ideology or belief has brought about the emphasis on the self, the ‘me’, the ego. And that has cultivated this idea – and I am using the word ‘idea’ in its proper sense – the idea of an individual, that we human beings are separate, distinct individuals apart from everybody else. This emphasis on individuality has created a lot of mischief. It has destroyed families – I don’t know if you are aware of it – it has brought about excellence in achievement, in technology, a sense of highest endeavor on the part of a particular human being, the individual, the individual enterprise. Opposed to that there is this whole ideology of the totalitarianism. So we have these two opposites. On the one side freedom – so-called freedom, on the other no freedom at all, except for the few. And as one observes throughout the world, the excellence of the individual has brought about certain beneficial results, not only in the technological world, but also in the artistic world. And though the individual thinks he is free, is he free actually? And on the other side of the coin is the totalitarianism where there is no freedom at all, except for the few.

Now what is the truth of this? It is obvious there must be freedom. What do we mean by that word ‘freedom’? Again let us be very clear that we are asking this question of ourselves; that the speaker isn’t asking, you are asking. As we said, there is no speaker here. You and I are the speakers. You and I – this person talking – are enquiring together into this question: on the one side the enormous importance given to individuality with all its identifications: nation, house, family, capitalism and socialism, whatever it is; and the other, identification with the ideological society. Society there becomes all important according to the few. And in enquiring into this we must first ask, if I may suggest, what is it we human beings are trying to do? What is it that we human beings, not Mr So-and-so, Mrs So-and-so, as human beings without labels, without nationalities, without all the rubbish that has been pushed down our throats by other people as well as by us over other people, what is it that we human beings are trying to do in this world? What is it that we are seeking, that we are searching, that we are longing for? And one of the questions involved in this is: what is freedom? We think we are free because we can travel, go to America, go anywhere you like if you have money and the inclination. And on the other side you can’t travel, you can’t leave the borders, they are controlled.

So what is freedom? Perhaps most of us, at least those who are serious and thoughtful, aware, must inevitably ask this question: what is freedom? Is freedom to do what you like, as an individual? Is freedom a permissive activity? That is, each one wants to do what he wants to do. If he wants to believe in god, he believes in god. If he wants to pursue, take drugs, sex and all the rest of it, he is free, if he has the money and if he has the inclination and all the rest of it, to go with it. And we have considered this kind of activity freedom, to do what one likes to do, what one wants to do, what one wants to fulfil. Or trying to find, in freedom, identity. You know all this. So is this freedom? Or, is freedom something entirely different? We think of freedom as being free from something, from poverty, from a person you have married you don’t want any more and you are free to divorce and all the rest of it. Free to choose your activity in the business world, or in the psychological world, or free to believe what you want to believe and so on, so on, so on. One is free, one thinks, in our choice to become a Catholic, or a Protestant, or not to believe in anything at all. You know all this.

So is that freedom? Please ask yourself this question, not me. You are facing the mirror, looking at yourself, investigating into the whole psychological structure of yourself. And our conditioning has been to do what we want to do. And we have never enquired into what it is that urges us to do, either to go left, right, or whatever it is. And as long as there is identity with a nation, with a family, with a husband, with a girl, with this belief or with that dogma, ritual, tradition, is there freedom? You are following all this? You are asking these questions. I am only voicing your enquiry. As we may point out again, we are not authoritarian here, there is nobody as far as the speaker is concerned with any sense of authority, any sense of superiority. There is no dogmatism, there is no belief. And if the speaker is rather emphatic, it is not an assertive, aggressive expression, it is his natural self.

So we are enquiring if there is freedom in its total sense, not from something to something else, or from something else to something else. We are enquiring into this whole feeling of freedom, if there is such a thing. And as long as the mind, thought, sensations, emotions identify themselves with a particular object, a piece of furniture, a human being or a belief, is there freedom? Obviously not. The moment you identify yourself with something you are denying freedom. Bene? If I, because I like the idea of some supreme being and all the rest of it and I identify myself with that and pray to that, worship that, is there freedom at all? So we are discovering that there is no freedom as long as there is an identifying process going on. Right?

Public Talk 3 Saanen, Switzerland – 13 July 1978

HAVE YOU EVER sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working – or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one’s mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don’t know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is. You may read books on sociology, study social sciences, but if you don’t know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your beliefs, your going to the temple, the clothes you wear, the things you do and don’t do and what you think – society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what is going on in your own mind. So your mind is not apart from society, it is not distinct from your culture, from your religion, from your various class divisions, from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part of it. There is no `you’ separate from society.

Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mould the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means that your mind – which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out – is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do `revolt’ it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but always within the prison. When you seek God, or try to find out what is right government, it is always within the pattern of society, which says, “This is true and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are the saints”. So your revolt, like the so-called revolution brought about by ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt, that is not revolution: it is merely heightened activity, a more valiant struggle within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern and to inquire outside of it.

You see, all reformers – it does not matter who they are – are merely concerned with bettering the conditions within the prison. They never tell you not to conform, they never say, “Break through the walls of tradition and authority, shake off the conditioning that holds the mind”. And that is real education: not merely to require you to pass examinations for which you have crammed up, or to write out something which you have learnt by heart, but to help you to see the walls of this prison in which the mind is held. Society influences all of us, it constantly shapes our thinking, and this pressure of society from the outside is gradually translated as the inner; but, however deeply it penetrates, it is still from the outside, and there is no such thing as the inner as long as you do not break through this conditioning. You must know what you are thinking, and whether you are thinking as a Hindu, or a Moslem, or a Christian; that is, in terns of the religion you happen to belong to. You must be conscious of what you believe or do not believe. All this is the pattern of society and, unless you are aware of the pattern and break away from it, you are still a prisoner though you may think you are free.

This Matter of Culture Chapter 11, Think on These Things

IT WAS A well-proportioned room, quiet and restful. The furniture was elegant and in very good taste; the carpet was thick and soft. There was a marble fireplace, with a fire in it. There were old vases from different parts of the world, and on the walls were modern paintings as well as some by the old masters. Considerable thought and care had been spent on the beauty and comfort of the room, which reflected wealth and taste. The room overlooked a small garden, with a lawn that must have been mowed and rolled for many, many years.

Life in a city is strangely cut off from the universe; man-made buildings have taken the place of valleys and mountains, and the roar of traffic has been substituted for that of boisterous streams. At night one hardly ever sees the stars, even if one wishes to, for the city lights are too bright; and during the day the sky is limited and held. Something definitely happens to the city-dwellers; they are brittle and polished, they have churches and museums, drinks and theatres, beautiful clothes and endless shops. There are people everywhere, on the streets, in the buildings, in the rooms. A cloud passes across the sky, and so few look up. There is rush and turmoil.

But in this room there was quiet and sustained dignity. It had that atmosphere peculiar to the rich, the feeling of aloof security and assurance, and the long freedom from want. He was saying that he was interested in philosophy, both of the East and of the West, and how absurd it was to begin with the Greeks, as though nothing existed before them; and presently he began to talk of his problem: how to give, and to whom to give. The problem of having money, with its many responsibilities, was somewhat disturbing him. Why was he making a problem of it? Did it matter to whom he gave, and with what spirit? Why had it become a problem?

His wife came in, smart, bright and curious. Both of them seemed well read, sophisticated and worldly wise; they were clever and interested in many things. They were the product of both town and country, but mostly their hearts were in the town. That one thing, compassion, seemed so far away. The qualities of the mind were deeply cultivated; there was a sharpness, a brutal approach, but it did not go very far. She wrote a little, and he was some kind of politician; and how easily and confidently they spoke. Hesitancy is so essential to discovery, to further understanding; but how can there be hesitancy when you know so much, when the self-protective armour is so highly polished and all the cracks are sealed from within? Line and form become extraordinarily important to those who are in bondage to the sensate; then beauty is sensation, goodness a feeling, and truth a matter of intellection. When sensations dominate, comfort becomes essential, not only to the body, but also to the psyche; and comfort, especially that of the mind, is corroding, leading to illusion.

We are the things we possess, we are that to which we are attached. Attachment has no nobility. Attachment to knowledge is not different from any other gratifying addiction. Attachment is self-absorption, whether at the lowest or at the highest level. Attachment is self-deception, it is an escape from the hollowness of the self. The things to which we are attached – property, people, ideas – become all-important, for without the many things which fill its emptiness, the self is not. The fear of not being makes for possession; and fear breeds illusion, the bondage to conclusions. Conclusions, material or ideational, prevent the fruition of intelligence, the freedom in which alone reality can come into being; and without this freedom, cunning is taken for intelligence. The ways of cunning are always complex and destructive. It is this self-protective cunning that makes for attachment; and when attachment causes pain, it is this same cunning that seeks detachment and finds pleasure in the pride and vanity of renunciation. The understanding of the ways of cunning, the ways of the self, is the beginning of intelligence.

There was not a sound in the valley; it was dark and there wasn’t
a leaf moving; dawn would come in an hour or so. meditation is
not self-hypnosis, by words or thought, by repetition or image; all
imagination of every kind must be put aside for they lead to
delusion. The understanding of facts and not theories, not the
pursuits of conclusions and adjustments to them and the ambitions
of visions. All these must be set aside and meditation is the
understanding of these facts and so going beyond them.

Self-knowing is the beginning of meditation; otherwise so-called
meditation leads to every form of immaturity and silliness. It was
early and the valley was asleep. On waking, meditation was the
continuation of what had been going on; the body was without a
movement; it was not made to be quiet but it was quiet; there was
no thought but the brain was watchful, without any sensation;
neither feeling nor thought existed. And a timeless movement
began. Word is time, indicating space; word is of the past or the
future but the active present has no word. The dead can be put into
words but the living cannot. Every word used to communicate
about the living is the denial of the living. It was a movement that
passed through and between the walls of the brain but the brain had
no contact with it; it was incapable of pursuit or of recognition.
This movement was something that was not born out of the known;
the brain could follow the known as it could recognize it but here
no recognition, of any kind, was possible. A movement has
direction but this had no direction; it was not static. Because it was
without direction, it was the essence of action. All direction is of
influence or of reaction. But action which is not the outcome of
reaction, push, or pull, is total energy. This energy, love, has its
own movement. But the word love, the known, is not love. There is
only the fact, the freedom from the known. Meditation was the
explosion of the fact.

Our problems multiply and continue; the continuation of a
problem perverts and corrupts the mind. A problem is a conflict, an
issue which has not been understood; such problems become scars
and innocency is destroyed. Every conflict has to be understood
and so ended. One of the factors of deterioration is the continued
life of a problem; every problem breeds another problem, and a
mind burnt with problems, personal or collective, social or
economic, is in a state of deterioration.

THE PATH WENT by a farm and climbed a hill overlooking the various buildings, the cows with their calves, the chickens, the horses, and many farm machines. It was a pleasant path, wandering through the woods, and it was often used by deer and other wild animals who left their footprints here and there in the soft earth. When it was very still, the voices from the farm, the laughter and the sound of the radio, would be carried to quite a distance. It was a well-kept farm and there was an air of tidiness about it. Often the voices were raised in anger, followed by the silence of children. There was a song among the trees and the angry voices even broke through this song. Suddenly, a woman came out of the house, banging the door; she went over to the cow-shed and began beating a cow with a stick. The sharp noise of this beating came up the hill.

How easy it is to destroy the thing we love! How quickly a barrier comes between us, a word, a gesture, a smile! Health, mood and desire cast a shadow, and what was bright becomes dull and burdensome. Through usage we wear ourselves out, and that which was sharp and clear becomes wearisome and confused. Through constant friction, hope and frustration, that which was beautiful and simple becomes fearful and expectant. Relationship is complex and difficult, and few can come out of it unscathed. Though we would like it to be static, enduring, continuous, relationship is a movement, a process which must be deeply and fully understood and not made to conform to an inner or outer pattern. Conformity, which is the social structure, loses its weight and authority only when there is love. Love in relationship is a purifying process as it reveals the ways of the self. Without this revelation, relationship has little significance.

But how we struggle against this revelation! The struggle takes many forms: dominance or subservience, fear or hope, jealousy or acceptance, and so on and on. The difficulty is that we do not love; and if we do love we want it to function in a particular way, we do not give it freedom. We love with our minds and not with our hearts. Mind can modify itself, but love cannot. Mind can make itself invulnerable, but love cannot; mind can always withdraw, be exclusive, become personal or impersonal. Love is not to be compared and hedged about. Our difficulty lies in that which we call love, which is really of the mind. We fill our hearts with the things of the mind and so keep our hearts ever empty and expectant. It is the mind that clings, that is envious, that holds and destroys. Our life is dominated by the physical centres and by the mind. We do not love and let it alone, but crave to be loved; we give in order to receive, which is the generosity of the mind and not of the heart. The mind is ever seeking certainty, security; and can love be made certain by the mind? Can the mind, whose very essence is of time, catch love, which is its own eternity?

But even the love of the heart has its own tricks; for we have so corrupted our heart that it is hesitant and confused. It is this that makes life so painful and wearisome. One moment we think we have love, and the next it is lost. There comes an imponderable strength, not of the mind, whose sources may not be fathomed. This strength is again destroyed by the mind; for in this battle the mind seems invariably to be the victor. this conflict within ourselves is not to be resolved by the cunning mind or by the hesitant heart. There is no means, no way to bring this conflict to an end. The very search for a means is another urge of the mind to be the master, to put away conflict in order to be peaceful, to have love, to become something.

Our greatest difficulty is to be widely and deeply aware that there is no means to love as a desirable end of the mind. When we understand this really and profoundly, then there is a possibility of receiving something that is not of this world. Without the touch of that something, do what we will, there can be no lasting happiness in relationship. If you have received that benediction and I have not, naturally you and I will be in conflict. You may not be in conflict, but I will be; and in my pain and sorrow I cut myself off. Sorrow is as exclusive as pleasure, and until there is that love which is not of my making, relationship is pain. If there is the benediction of that love, you cannot but love me whatever I may be, for then you do not shape love according to my behaviour. Whatever tricks the mind may play, you and I are separate; though we may be in touch with each other at some points, integration is not with you, but within myself. This integration is not brought about by the mind at any time; it comes into being only when the mind is utterly silent, having reached the end of its own tether. Only then is there no pain in relationship.

Commentaries on Living

THE LONG EVENING shadows were over the still waters, and the river was becoming quiet after the day. Fish were jumping out of the water, and the heavy birds were coming to roost among the big trees. There was not a cloud in the sky, which was silver-blue. A boat full of people came down the river; they were singing and clapping, and a cow called in the distance. There was the scent of evening. A garland of marigold was moving with the water, which sparkled in the setting sun. How beautiful and alive it all was – the river, the birds, the trees and the villagers.

We were sitting under a tree, overlooking the river. Near the tree was a small temple, and a few lean cows wandered about. The temple was clean and well swept, and the flowering bush was watered and cared for. A man was performing his evening rituals, and his voice was patient and sorrowful. Under the last rays of the sun, the water was the colour of newborn flowers. Presently someone joined us and began to talk of his experiences. He said he had devoted many years of his life to the search for God, had practised many austerities and renounced many things that were dear. He had also helped considerably in social work, in building a school, and so on. He was interested in many things, but his consuming interest was the finding of God; and now, after many years, His voice was being heard, and it guided him in little as well as big things. He had no will of his own, but followed the inner voice of God. It never failed him, though he often corrupted its clarity; his prayer was ever for the purification of the vessel, that it might be worthy to receive.

Can that which is immeasurable be found by you and me? Can that which is not of time be searched out by that thing which is fashioned of time? Can a diligently practised discipline lead us to the unknown? Is there a means to that which has no beginning and no end? Can that reality be caught in the net of our desires? What we can capture is the projection of the known; but the unknown cannot be captured by the known. That which is named is not the unnameable, and by naming we only awaken the conditioned responses. These responses, however noble and pleasant, are not of the real. We respond to stimulants, but reality offers no stimulant: it is.

The mind moves from the known to the known, and it cannot reach out into the unknown. You cannot think of something you do not know; it is impossible. What you think about comes out of the known, the past, whether that past be remote, or the second that has just gone by. This past is thought, shaped and conditioned by many influences, modifying itself according to circumstances and pressures, but ever remaining a process of time. Thought can only deny or assert it cannot discover or search out the new. Thought cannot come upon the new. but when thought is silent, then there may be the new – which is immediately transformed into the old, into the experienced, by thought. Thought is ever shaping, modifying, colouring according to a pattern of experience. The function of thought is to communicate but not to be in the state of experiencing. When experiencing ceases, then thought takes over and terms it within the category of the known. Thought cannot penetrate into the unknown, and so it can never discover or experience reality.

Disciplines, renunciations, detachment, rituals, the practice of virtue – all these, however noble, are the process of thought; and thought can only work towards an end, towards an achievement, which is ever the known. Achievement is security, the self-protective certainty of the known. To seek security in that which is nameless is to deny it. The security that may be found is only in the projection of the past, of the known. For this reason the mind must be entirely and deeply silent; but this silence cannot be purchased through sacrifice, sublimation or suppression. This silence comes when the mind is no longer seeking, no longer caught in the process of becoming. This silence is not cumulative, it may not be built up through practice. The silence must be as unknown to the mind as the timeless; for if the mind experiences the silence, then there is the experiencer who is the result of past experiences, who is cognizant of a past silence; and what is experienced by the experiencer is merely a self-projected repetition. The mind can never experience the new, and so the mind must be utterly still.

The mind can be still only when it is not experiencing, that is, when it is not terming or naming, recording or storing up in memory. This naming and recording is a constant process of the different layers of consciousness, not merely of the upper mind. But when the superficial mind is quiet, the deeper mind can offer up its intimations. When the whole consciousness is silent and tranquil, free from all becoming, which is spontaneity then only does the immeasurable come into being. The desire to maintain this freedom gives continuity to the memory of the becomer, which is a hindrance to reality. Reality has no continuity; it is from moment to moment, ever new, ever fresh. What has continuity can never be creative.

The upper mind is only an instrument of communication it cannot measure that which is immeasurable. Reality is not to be spoken of; and when it is, it is no longer reality.

This is meditation.

Surely, a man who is understanding life does not want beliefs. A man who loves, has no beliefs—he loves. It is the man who is consumed by the intellect who has beliefs, because intellect is always seeking security, protection; it is always avoiding danger, and therefore it builds ideas, beliefs, ideals, behind which it can take shelter. What would happen if you dealt with violence directly, now? You would be a danger to society; and because the mind foresees the danger, it says “I will achieve the ideal of nonviolence ten years later which is such a fictitious, false process…” To understand what is, is more important than to create and follow ideals because ideals are false, and what is is the real. To understand what is requires an enormous capacity, a swift and unprejudiced mind. It is because we
don’t want to face and understand what is that we invent the many ways of escape and give them lovely names as the ideal, the belief, God. Surely, it is only when I see the false as the false that my mind is capable of perceiving what is true. A mind that is confused in the false, can never find the truth. Therefore, I must understand what is false in my relationships, in my ideas, in the things about me because to perceive the truth requires the understanding of the false. Without removing the causes of ignorance, there cannot be enlightenment; and to seek enlightenment when the mind is unenlightened is utterly empty, meaningless. Therefore, I must begin to see the false in my relationships with ideas, with people, with things. When the mind sees that which is false, then that which is true comes into being and then there is ecstasy, there is happiness.

The Book of Life


I AM SURE we all have sometime or other experienced a great sense of tranquillity and beauty coming to us from the green fields, the setting sun, the still waters, or the snowcapped peaks. But what is beauty? Is it merely the appreciation that we feel, or is beauty a thing apart from perception? If you have good taste in clothes, if you use colours that harmonize, if you have dignified manners, if you speak quietly and hold yourself erect, all that makes for beauty, does it not? But that is merely the outward expression of an inward state, like a poem you write or a picture you paint. You can look at the green field reflected in the river and experience no sense of beauty, just pass it by. If, like the fisherman, you see every day the swallows flying low over the water, it probably means very little to you; but if you are aware of the extraordinary beauty of something like that, what is it that happens within you and makes you say, “How very beautiful”? What goes to make up this inward sense of beauty? There is the beauty of outward form: tasteful clothes, nice pictures, attractive furniture, or no furniture at all with bare, well-proportioned walls, windows that are perfect in shape, and so on. I am not talking merely of that, but of what goes to make up this inward beauty.

Surely, to have this inward beauty, there must be complete abandonment; the sense of not being held, of no restraint, no defence, no resistance; but abandonment becomes chaotic if there is no austerity with it. And do we know what it means to be austere, to be satisfied with little and not to think in terms of ‘the more’? There must be this abandonment with deep inward austerity – the austerity that is extraordinarily simple because the mind is not acquiring, gaining, not thinking in terms of `the more’. It is the simplicity born of abandonment with austerity that brings about the state of creative beauty. But if there is no love you cannot be simple, you cannot be austere. You may talk about simplicity and austerity, but without love they are merely a form of compulsion, and therefore there is no abandonment. Only he has love who abandons himself, forgets himself completely, and thereby brings about the state of creative beauty.

― Jiddu Krishnamurti, Think on These Things


An idea about energy is entirely different from the fact of energy itself. We have formulas or concepts of how to bring about a quality of energy that is of the highest quality. But the formula is entirely different from the renovating, renewing quality of energy itself. …The highest form of this energy, the apogee, is the state of mind when it has no idea, no thought, no sense of a direction or motive—that is pure energy. And that quality of energy cannot be sought after. You can’t say, “Well, tell me how to get it, the modus operandi, the way.” There is no way to it. To find out for ourselves the nature of this energy, we must begin to understand the daily energy that is wasted—the energy when we talk, when we hear a bird, a voice, when we see the river, the vast sky and the villagers, dirty, ill kept, ill, half-starved, and the tree that withdraws of an evening from all the light of day. The very observation of everything is energy. And this energy we derive through food, through the sun’s rays. This physical, daily energy that one has, obviously can be augmented, increased, by the right kind of food and so on. That is necessary, obviously. But that same energy which becomes the energy of the psyche— that is, thought—the moment that energy has any contradiction in itself, that energy is a waste of energy.

― Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

Violence and nihilism are spreading throughout the world. The more highly organized society is, the more possibility there is of violence; and the sense of non-co-operation, which is nihilism, must be on the increase. Law cannot solve this problem for we all depend on each other. If one highly specialized group strikes against another and the strike is legal, there is no way out of this disorder. The tyrannical states have forbidden strikes, but that is not the way either. Each specialized segment of the community is opposing another specialized group; and the poor, seeing affluence, naturally want part of it. So there is tremendous struggle going on within society, leading to violence in every form. Law and police order cannot bring peace to the world, and we must have peace to survive at all. Peace is not established by the politicians; theirs is only a peace between two conflicts. Peace is in the relationship of human beings whether they are black, white or pink, communist or Catholic, and so on. The relationship is not at the intellectual level. A relationship at that level is no relationship at all. relationship is on the human level of understanding and affection. This is denied when action conforms or adjusts to an image made by the intellect. Ideas are far more important to us than the human relationship of affection with its consideration.

Why have formulas become so important? Is it because we do not know how to act, and so escape into ideas, into formulas with which we hope to solve the problems?

The Whole Movement of Life is learning – Chapter 64

I would like, if I may, this morning, to talk about the implications of meditation and what is necessary for a mind that is capable of really true meditation – what is the first step, as it were.

First of all, I think one has to understand the meaning of the word freedom. For most of us, freedom implies freedom to express ourselves, or freedom to do what we like in society; or freedom to think what we like; or freedom from a particular tiresome habit or a particular idiosyncrasy and so on. To understand what is freedom – because that seems to me absolutely necessary for a mind that is capable without any distortion to be able to meditate.

For most of us we demand freedom politically or religiously or to think what we like, and there is the freedom of choice. Political freedom is all right and one must have it, but for most of us we never demand and find out whether it is at all possible to be free inwardly. Our mind is a slave to its own projections, to its own demands, to its own desires and fulfilment’s. The mind is a slave to its cravings, to its appetites. And apparently we never ask whether it is at all possible to be free inwardly. But we are always wanting freedom outwardly – to go against the society, against a particular structure of society. And this revolt against society, which is taking place all over the world, is a form of violence which indicates that one is concentrating on an outward change without the inward change.

So, violence plays an extraordinary part in our life, we never ask whether the mind can be completely and utterly free from violence. We have accepted it as part of life, as we have accepted war as a way of life. And we have our favourite wars – you may not like this particular war, but you don’t mind having other kinds of wars. And there will be always wars – and there have been for 5,000 years, wars, because man has accepted violence as the way of life. And we never question whether the mind can be really and truly, deeply free of violence. And the permissive society in which we live, the culture in which this is gradually coming out of this society, to do what one likes or choose what one likes, is still an indication of violence. Where there is choice there is no freedom. Choice implies confusion, not clarity. When you see something very clearly there is no choice, there is only action. It is only a confused mind that chooses. And choice is an indication of the lack of freedom and therefore in choice there is resistance, conflict.

Excerpt taken from: Public Talk 3 San Diego, California, USA – 07 April 1970

May we go on where we left off yesterday. We were talking about conflict, not only in ourselves, but in the society in which we live – conflict between nations, between groups, between the various gurus, between ideologies, the communist ideology and the so-called democratic ideology. Apparently man has lived, throughout these centuries, in a state of constant conflict, struggle, fighting each other, killing each other, destroying that which he has created and then rebuilding it again. This has been the historical process for the last five or six thousand years or more. Religions have also, except perhaps Buddhism and Hinduism, have created wars – a hundred heretics, burnt them, destroyed them. And so man has lived on this earth without any peace. And to live in peace appears to be almost impossible – to live without conflict, without aggression, not only in personal relationships, but also with those with whom we don’t agree, or have not the same belief, the same concepts, the same culture. There is this constant, endless, struggle, conflict. And one asks whether it is possible to live in this world utterly peacefully. Because it is only in peace that one can flower. It’s only in peace that the human mind, the human brain can really be free. And why has man who has learned so much, who has acquired such extraordinary knowledge, experience, doing his best, why can he not live in peace?

As we said yesterday, this is not a talk, a lecture on a particular subject, to be informed, to be instructed. But we are together exploring this question. Not that the speaker explores, and you listen, but together, you and the speaker investigate, sanely without any bias, without any definite conclusions, to find out why we human beings cannot live on this beautiful earth with peace and without conflict. That is where we left off yesterday.

There are various forms of chemical injections to make man peaceful. They are doing it now: in the totalitarian states they send them to hospitals, psychotherapeutic hospitals where they are drugged, kept peaceful. And also belief has also drugged us tremendously, to be peaceful. We all believe, if you are Christians, in some form of savior. And that belief has kept us somewhat tamed.

There have been attempts of every kind, throughout the world, to help man to live peacefully. They have said: meditate, follow, obey, conform, don’t hurt, love another – the whole religious instructions throughout the world. And yet, in spite of all that, and perhaps because of all that, man has not lived at peace with himself or created a society that’s peaceful. Why? We are asking, you are also asking the question not only me.

Are we different, each one of us, from the world outside of us? Are you, as British, or French or American, Russian or whatever nationality, group to which one belongs, or Indian, are we the rest of humanity or separate individuals, struggling, separate souls, each one seeking his own fulfilment, his own happiness, his own salvation, identifying himself with something noble, illusory, imaginary, and so on? Are we living in isolation on this earth, each one of us isolated, separated from the rest of mankind? And this separation, this so-called ‘individualism’ may be one of the causes why human beings do not live at peace, either in their relationships, or with his neighbor who might be next door, or a thousand miles away.

Excerpt taken from: Public Talk 2 Brockwood Park, England – 28 August 1983

The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

The greatest art is the art of living, greater than all things that human beings have created by mind or hand, greater than all the scriptures and their gods. It is only through this art of living that a new culture can come into being. It is the responsibility of every teacher, especially in these schools, to bring this about. This art of living can come only out of total freedom.

This freedom is not an ideal, a thing to take place eventually. The first step in freedom is the last step in it. It is the first step that counts, not the last step. What you do now is far more essential than what you do at some future date. Life is what is happening this instant, not an imagined instant, not what thought has conceived. So it is the first step you take now that is important. If that step is in the right direction, then the whole of life is open to you. The right direction is not towards an ideal, a predetermined end. It is inseparable from that which is taking place now. This is not a philosophy, a series of theories. It is exactly what the word philosophy means-the love of truth, the love of life. It is not something that you go to a university to learn. We are learning about the art of living in our daily life.

We live by words, and words become our prison. Words are necessary to communicate, but the word is never the thing. The actual is not the word, but the word becomes all- important when it has taken the place of that which is. You may observe this phenomenon when the description-the symbol we worship, the shadow we follow, the illusion we cling to-has become the reality instead of the thing itself. Words, the language, shape our reactions. Language becomes the compelling force and our minds are shaped and controlled by the word. The words nation, State, God, family, and so on, envelop us with all their associations, and so our minds become slaves to the pressure of words.

Excerpt taken from: The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

You have to be good because you are the future

We ought to understand right from the beginning of this new year that we are primarily concerned with the psychological aspect of our life, though we are not going to neglect the physical, biological side. What one is inwardly will eventually bring about a good society or the gradual deterioration of human relationship. We are concerned with both aspects of life, not giving one or the other predominance, although the psychological-that is what we are inwardly-will dictate our behaviour, our relationship with others.

We seem to neglect wholly the deeper and wider realities of life, and give far greater importance to physical aspects, to everyday activities, however relevant or irrelevant. So please bear in mind that in these letters we are approaching our existence from the inner to the outer, not the other way round. Though most people are concerned with the outer, our education must be concerned with bringing about a harmony between the outer and inner; this cannot possibly come about if our eyes are fixed only on the outer.

We mean by the inner all the movement of thought, our feelings both reasonable and unreasonable, our imaginings, our beliefs, our happy and unhappy attachments, our secret desires with their contradictions, our experiences, suspicions, violence, and so on. The hidden ambitions, the illusions that the mind clings to, the superstitions of religion, and the seemingly everlasting conflict within ourselves are also part of our psychological structure. If we are blind to these, or accept them as an inevitable part of our human nature, we will allow a society in which we ourselves become prisoners. So this is really important to understand.

Surely every student throughout the world sees the effect of the chaos around us, and hopes to escape into some kind of outward order, even though in himself he may be in utter turmoil. He wants to change the outer without changing himself, but he is the source and continuation of the disorder. This is a fact, not a personal conclusion. So, we are concerned in our education with changing the source of the disorder and its continuation. It is human beings who create society, not some gods in some heaven.

So we begin with the student. The very word implies studying, learning and acting. Basic education is to learn not only from books and teachers, but to study and learn about yourself. If you don’t know about yourself, and are filling your mind with the facts of the universe, you are merely accepting and continuing the disorder. Probably as a student you are not interested in this. You want to enjoy yourself, pursue your own interests. You are forced to study, and do so only under pressure, accepting the inevitable comparisons and results with an eye fixed on some kind of career. This is your basic interest, which seems natural, because your parents and grandparents have followed the same path-job, marriage, children, responsibility. As long as you are safe, you care little for what is happening around you. This is your actual relationship to the world, the world human beings have created. The immediate is far more real, important and demanding for you than the whole.

But your concern and the educator’s concern is and must be to understand the whole of human existence; not a part but the whole. The part is only the knowledge of human physical discoveries. So, here in these letters we begin primarily with you, the student, and the educator who is helping you to know yourself. This is the function of all education. We need to bring about a good society in which all human beings can live happily in peace, without violence, with security. You as a student are responsible for this. A good society doesn’t come into existence through some ideal, a hero or a leader, or some carefully planned system. You have to be good because you are the future. You will make the world, either as it is, modified, or as a world in which you and others can live without wars, without brutalities, with generosity and affection.

So what will you do? You have understood the problem, which is not difficult, so what will you do? Most of you are instinctively kind, good and wanting to help, unless of course you have been too trodden down and twisted, which one hopes you are not. So what will you do? If the educator is worth his salt, he will want to help you. Then the question is: what will you do together to help you to study yourself, to learn about yourself and act? We will stop here with this letter and go on in our next.

The Whole Movement of Life is Learning

The passage for the week of May 17 —

‘What Is’

Questioner: I have read a great deal of philosophy, psychology, religion and politics, all of which to a greater or lesser degree are concerned with human relationships. I have also read your books which all deal with thought and ideas, and somehow I’m fed up with it all. I have swum in an ocean of words, and wherever I go there are more words – and actions derived from those words are offered to me: advice, exhortations, promises, theories, analyses, remedies. Of course one sets all these aside – you yourself have really done so; but for most of those who have read you, or heard you, what you say is just words. There may be people for whom all this is more than words, for whom it is utterly real, but I’m talking about the rest of us. I’d like to go beyond the word, beyond the idea, and live in total relationship to all things. For after all, that is life. You have said that one has to be a teacher and a pupil to oneself. Can I live in the greatest simplicity, without principles, beliefs, and ideals? Can I live freely, knowing that I am enslaved by the world? Crises don’t knock on the door before they appear: challenges of everyday life are there before you are aware of them. Knowing all this, having been involved in many of these things, chasing various phantoms, I ask myself how I can live rightly and with love, clarity and effortless joy. I’m not asking how to live, but to live: the how denies the actual living itself. The nobility of life is not practising nobility.

Krishnamurti: After stating all this, where are you? Do you really want to live with benediction, with love? If you do, then where is the problem?

Questioner: I do want to, but that doesn’t get me anywhere. I’ve wanted to live that way for years, but I can’t.

Krishnamurti: So though you deny the ideal, the belief, the directive, you are very subtly and deviously asking the same thing which everybody asks: this is the conflict between the “what is” and the “what should be”.

Questioner: Even without the “what should be”, I see that the “what is” is hideous. To deceive myself into not seeing it would be much worse still.

Krishnamurti: If you see “what is” then you see the universe, and denying “what is” is the origin of conflict. The beauty of the universe is in the “what is; and to live with “what is” without effort is virtue.

Questioner: The “what is” also includes confusion, violence, every form of human aberration. To live with that is what you call virtue. But isn’t it callousness and insanity? Perfection doesn’t consist simply in dropping all ideals! Life itself demands that I live it beautifully, like the eagle in the sky: to live the miracle of life with anything less than total beauty is unacceptable.

Krishnamurti: Then live it!

Questioner: I can’t, and I don’t.

Krishnamurti: If you can’t, then live in confusion; don’t battle with it. Knowing the whole misery of it, live with it: that is “what is”. And to live with it without conflict frees us from it.

Questioner: Are you saying that our only fault is to be self-critical?

Krishnamurti: Not at all. You are not sufficiently critical. You go only so far in your self-criticism. The very entity that criticizes must be criticized, must be examined. If the examination is comparative, examination by yardstick, then that yardstick is the ideal. If there is no yardstick at all – in other words, if there is no mind that is always comparing and measuring – you can observe the “what is”, and then the “what is” is no longer the same.

Questioner: I observe myself without a yardstick, and I’m still ugly.

Krishnamurti: All examination means there is a yardstick. But is it possible to observe so that there is only observation, seeing, and nothing else – so that there is only perception without a perceiver?

Questioner: What do you mean?

Krishnamurti: There is looking. The assessment of the looking is interference, distortion in the looking: that is not looking; instead it is evaluation of looking – the two are as different as chalk and cheese. Is there a perception of yourself without distortion, only an absolute perception of yourself as you are?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: In that perception is there ugliness?

Questioner: There is no ugliness in the perception, only in what is perceived.

Krishnamurti: The way you perceive is what you are. Righteousness is in purely looking, which is attention without the distortion of measure and idea. You came to enquire how to live beautifully, with love. To look without distortion is love, and the action of that perception is the action of virtue. That clarity of perception will act all the time in living. That is living like the eagle in the sky; that is living beauty and living love.

The Urgency of Change

Religion is the cessation of the ‘me’

Have we shared this together? Because it is your life, not my life. It is your life of sorrow, of tragedy, of confusion, guilt, reward, punishment. All that is your life. If you are serious you have tried to untangle all this. You have read some book, or followed a teacher, or listened to somebody, but the problem remains. These problems will exist as long as the human mind moves within the field of the activity of the self; that activity of the self must create more and more and more problems. When you observe, when you become extraordinarily aware of this activity of the self, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet, sane, healthy, holy. And from that silence our life in everyday activity is transformed.

Religion is the cessation of the me, and action born of that silence. That life is a sacred life full of meaning.

This Light in Oneself, p 77

To bring about a totally new mind

It is definitely possible to bring about a totally new mind. But there are certain indications, certain necessary characteristics which do bring about that quality of newness. They are affection or love and integrity. Most of us do not know what it means to be affectionate. To us, it is a word which we casually use without much significance. Love is of course something very carefully guarded, something with which we are not so familiar with, though we use the word so glibly, so facilely – love of the country, love of truth, love of life and many many loves that we talk about; and I do not think it has anything to do with this. The ingredient – if I may use that word which is absolutely necessary is the quality of affection and integrity. I don’t mean by integrity any form of pattern of belief, nor do I mean it as integrity according to the experience through which one has to live; but I mean that integrity that comes about when you begin to observe every movement of your own thought and when no thought is hidden. You do not wear a mask, you do not any longer pretend to be something other than what you actually are; and therefore there is no discipline, no fancy, no worship; and out of that comes the external sense of integrity I mean that kind of integrity, not the man who has belief and lives according to that belief, not the man who is sincere but with certain ideals, not the man who follows a certain discipline or tries to bring about an integration emotionally or intellectually. Such efforts do not bring out integrity. On the contrary, they increase conflict, misery. Whereas the integrity that we are talking about is the quality of seeing the fact every minute, not trying to translate the fact in terms of pleasure and pain, but letting the fact flower without choice, without opinion – out of which seeing comes integrity which is never altered. Now these two, affection and integrity, are necessary.

Madras 4th Public Talk 3rd December 1961

The passage for the week of April 16 —

Art & Beauty

Questioner: I wonder what an artist is? There on the banks of the Ganges, in a dark little room, a man sits weaving a most beautiful sari in silk and gold, and in Paris in his atelier another man is painting a picture which he hopes will bring him fame. Somewhere there is a writer cunningly spinning out stories stating the old, old problem of man and woman; then there is the scientist in his laboratory and the technician putting together a million parts so that a rocket may go to the moon. And in India a musician is living a life of great austerity in order to transmit faithfully the distilled beauty of his music. There is the housewife preparing a meal, and the poet walking alone in the woods. Aren’t these all artists in their own way? I feel that beauty is in the hands of everybody, but they don’t know it. The man who makes beautiful clothes or excellent shoes, the woman who arranged those flowers on your table, all of them seem to work with beauty. I often wonder why it is that the painter, the sculptor, the composer, the writer – the so-called creative artists – have such extraordinary importance in this world and not the shoemaker or the cook. Aren’t they creative too? When you consider all the varieties of expression which people consider beautiful, then what place has a true artist in life, and who is the true artist? It is said that beauty is the very essence of all life. Is that building over there, which is considered to be so beautiful, the expression of that essence? I should greatly appreciate it if you would go into this whole question of beauty and the artist.

Krishnamurti: Surely the artist is one who is skilled in action? This action is in life and not outside of life. Therefore if it is living skillfully that truly makes an artist. This skill can operate for a few hours in the day when he is playing an instrument, writing poems or painting pictures, or it can operate a bit more if he is skilled in many such fragments – like those great men of the Renaissance who worked in several different media. But the few hours of music or writing may contradict the rest of his living which is in disorder and confusion. So is such a man an artist at all? The man who plays the violin with artistry and keeps his eye on his fame isn’t interested in the violin, he is only exploiting it to be famous, the “me” is far more important than the music, and so it is with the writer or the painter with an eye on fame. The musician identifies his “me” with what he considers to be beautiful music, and the religious man identifies his “me” with what he considers to be the sublime. All these are skilled in their particular little fields but the rest of the vast field of life is disregarded. So we have to find out what is skill in action, in living, not only in painting or in writing or in technology, but how one can live the whole of life with skill and beauty. Are skill and beauty the same? Can a human being – whether he be an artist or not – live the whole of his life with skill and beauty? Living is action and when that action breeds sorrow it ceases to be skillful. So can a man live without sorrow, without friction, without jealousy and greed, without conflict of any kind? The issue is not who is an artist and who is not an artist but whether a human being, you or another, can live without torture and distortion. Of course it is profane to belittle great music, great sculpture, great poetry or dancing, or to sneer at it; that is to be unskilled in one’s own life. But the artistry and beauty which is skill in action should operate throughout the day, not just during a few hours of the day. This is the real challenge, not just playing the piano beautifully. You must play it beautifully if you touch it at all, but that is not enough. It is like cultivating a small corner of a huge field. We are concerned with the whole field and that field is life. What we always do is to neglect the whole field and concentrate on fragments, our own or other people’s. Artistry is to be completely awake and therefore to be skillful in action in the whole of life, and this is beauty.

Except taken from ‘Urgency to Change’

We ought to consider very seriously, not only in these schools but also as human beings, the capacity to work together; to work together with nature, the living things of the earth, and also with other human beings. As social beings, we exist for ourselves. Our laws, our governments, our religions all emphasize the separateness of humanity, and during the centuries this has developed into man against man. It is becoming more and more important if we are to survive, that there be a spirit of cooperation with the universe, with all the things of the sea and earth.

One can see in all social structures the destructive effect of fragmentation taking place: nation against nation, one group against another group, one family against another family, one individual against another. It is the same religiously, socially and economically. Each one is striving for himself, for his class, or his particular interest in the community. This division of beliefs, ideals, conclusions and prejudices is preventing the spirit of co-operation from flowering.

We are human beings, not tribal identities, exclusive and separate. We are human beings caught in conclusions, theories, faiths. We are living creatures, not labels. It is our human circumstance that makes us search for food, clothes and shelter at the expense of others. Our very thinking is separative; and all action springing from this limited thought must prevent co-operation. The economic and social structure, as it is now, including organized religions, intensifies exclusiveness, separateness. This lack of co-operation ultimately brings about wars and the destruction of man. It is only during crises or disasters, that we seem to come together, and when they are over we are back to our old condition.

We seem to be incapable of living and working together harmoniously. Has this isolating, aggressive process come about because our brain, which is the centre of our thought, our feeling, has from ancient days become through necessity so conditioned to seek its own personal survival? Is it because this isolating process identifies itself with the family, with the tribe, and becomes glorified nationalism? Isn’t all isolation linked to a need for identification and fulfilment? Hasn’t the importance of the self been cultivated through evolution by the opposition of the “me” and the “you”, the “we” and the “they”? Haven’t all religions emphasized personal salvation, personal enlightenment, personal achievement, both religiously and in the world? Has co-operation become impossible because we have given such importance to talent, to specialization, to achievement, to success, which all emphasize separateness? Is it because human co-operation has centred on some kind of authority of government or religion, around some ideology or conclusion, which then inevitably brings about its own destructive opposite?

What does it mean to co-operate; not the word but the spirit of it? You cannot possibly co-operate with another, with the earth and its waters, unless you in yourself are harmonious, not broken up, not contradictory. You cannot co-operate if you yourself are under strain, pressure, conflict. How can you co-operate with the universe if you are concerned with yourself, your problems, your ambitions? There can be no co-operation if all your activities are selfcentred and you are occupied with your own selfishness, with your own secret desires and pleasures. As long as the intellect with its thoughts dominates all your actions, obviously there can be no co-operation, for thought is partial, narrow and everlastingly divisive. Co-operation demands great honesty.

Honesty has no motive. Honesty is not some ideal, some faith. Honesty is clarity, the clear perception of things as they are. Perception is attention. That very attention throws light, with all its energy, on that which is being observed. This light of perception brings about a transformation of the thing observed.

There is no system through which you learn to cooperate. It is not to be structured and classified. Its very nature demands that there be love, and that love is not measurable; for when you compare, which is the essence of measurement, thought has entered. Where thought is, love is not.

Co-operation demands great honesty – The Whole Movement of Life is Learning Chapter 30

Observing without the ‘me’

I am so glad it is such a nice morning. A beautiful sky and lovely countryside. But I am afraid this is not a weekend entertainment. What we shall talk about is quite serious, and perhaps after I have talked a little we can talk over, discuss, or dialogue, or talk over together what we have talked about.
I don’t know how you feel about what is happening in the world, in our environment, to our culture and society. It seems to me there is so much chaos, so much contradiction and so much strife and war, hatred and sorrow. And various leaders, both political and religious, try to find an answer either in some ideology, or in some belief, or in a cultivated faith. And none of these things seems to answer the problems. Our problems go on endlessly. And if we could in these four talks in this tent and the two discussions that are to take place, if we could be serious enough to go into this question of how to bring about, not only in ourselves but in society, a revolution, not physical revolution because that only leads to tyranny and the heightened control of bureaucracy; if we could very deeply find out for ourselves what to do, not depending on any authority, including that of the speaker, or on a book, on a philosophy, on any structural behavioural pattern, but actually find out irrevocably, if one can, what to do about all this confusion, this strife, this extraordinary, contradictory, hypocritical life on leads.

To me it seems to be fairly clear that to observe there must be freedom, not only the outward phenomenon, but also to observe what is going on within ourselves, to observe without any prejudice, without taking any side, but to examine very closely, freely the whole process of our thinking and our activity, our pleasures, fears, and all the things that we have built around ourselves, not only outwardly but in ourselves as a form of resistance, compulsive demands, escapes, and so on. If we could do that consistently, with full intention, to discover for ourselves a way of living that is not contradictory, then perhaps these talks will be worthwhile; otherwise it will be another lecture, another entertainment, pleasurable or rather absurd, logical or illogical and so on. So if we could completely give ourselves to the examination, to observe intimately what is going on, both outwardly and inwardly.

Now the difficulty in this lies, it seems to me, in the capacity to observe, to see things as they are, not as we would like them to be, or what they should be, but actually what is going on. To so observe has its own discipline, not the discipline of imitation, or compulsion, or conformity but that very observation brings its own discipline, not imposed, not conforming to any particular pattern, which implies suppression, but to observe. After all when you do observe something very closely, or listen to somebody very fully, that very listening and seeing, in that is implied attention. And where there is attention there is discipline, without being disciplined.

If that is clear, the next point is, in observing there is always the observer. The observer who, with his prejudices, with his conditioning, with his fears and guilts and all the rest of it, he is the observer, the censor, and through his eyes he looks, and therefore he is really not looking at all, he is merely coming to conclusions based upon his past experiences and knowledge. The past experiences, conclusions and knowledge prevent actually seeing. And when there is such an observer, what he observers is something different, or something which he has to conquer, or change and so on; whereas if the observer is the observed – I think this is really a radical thing to understand, really the most important thing to understand if we are going to discuss anything seriously: that in us there is this division, this contradiction, the observer and the many fragments which he observes. The many fragments make up the ‘me’, the ego, the personality, whatever you like to call it, the many fragments. And one of the fragments becomes the observer or the censor, and that fragment looks over the various other fragments. Please do this as we are talking, not agreeing or disagreeing but observe this fact that is going on within oneself; it becomes terribly interesting and rather fun if you go at it very, very seriously.

Public Talk 1 Brockwood Park, England – 05 September 1970

Most of us, in this very confused and rather brutal world, try to carve out a private life of our own, a life where we can be happy, somewhat peaceful and yet abide with the things of the world. We seem to think that our life, the daily life one leads, the life of struggle, conflict, pain and sorrow is something separate, away from the whole world of travail, misery, confusion. We seem to think the individual, the you, is different from the rest of the world, the world with all its atrocities, wars, the world of riots, the world of inequality and injustice, is something entirely different from our particular, individual life. When you look a little more closely, not only at your own life but also at the world then you will see what you are, your daily life, what you think, what you feel, is the external world, the world about you. The world about you is not different. You are the world. You are the human being that has made this world – the world so utterly in disorder, the world that is crying, in great sorrow, helpless. It is you, the human being have built this world. So that world outside you is not different from the world in which you live, your world, your private life. So this division between the individual and the society doesn’t really exist at all. Though one tries to carve out a life of our own, in spite of that the individual is no different from the community in which he lives. For the individual, the human being, has put together the community, the society. So I think we ought to be very clear from the beginning that this division is artificial, is utterly unreal.

So, in bringing about a radical change in the human being, in you, in the individual, you are naturally bringing about a radical change in the structure and the nature of society. I think that must be very clearly understood, that the human mind with all its complexity, with all its intricate work is part of this world, of the external world. The ‘you’ is the world and in bringing about a fundamental revolution, if I may use that word without being misunderstood, in bringing about a fundamental revolution, not the communist, not the socialist, but a totally different kind of revolution, a revolution in the very structure and nature of the psyche, of yourself. Then it seems to me you will bring about a social revolution. It must begin not outwardly first but inwardly, because the outer is the result of our private, individual, inner life.

Students Talk 1 San Juan, Puerto Rico – 10 September 1968

Listening with great care

We ought to understand very clearly and simply the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. The word art is generally applied to artists, those who paint, write poems, make sculptures, and so on. But the meaning of that word art is giving everything its right place, putting all our thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and so on, in their right place, giving the proper proportion to things, putting everything in harmony.

We rarely listen to anybody. We are so full of our conclusions, experiences, problems and judgments that we have no space in which to listen. To listen is possible only when you put aside your opinion, knowledge, problems and conclusions. Then you are free to listen without interpreting, judging or evaluating. The art of listening is to listen with great care, attention and affection. If you are capable of such listening, communication becomes very simple and there will be no misunderstanding. Communication implies to think together, to share the things we are talking about together, to partake in the problem as two human beings. Living in a monstrous, corrupt world where things are so ugly, brutal, violent and meaningless, communication is very important. In the art of listening, one learns immediately; one sees the fact instantly. In the art of listening, there is freedom. In that freedom, every nuance of a word has significance, and there is immediate comprehension. There is immediate insight and therefore immediate freedom to observe.

From the book The Shambhala Krishnamurti Reader, by J. Krishnamurti

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IT WAS A cold winter and the trees were bare, their naked branches exposed to the sky. There were very few evergreen trees, and even they felt the cold winds and the frosty nights. In the far distance the high mountains were covered with heavy snow, and white billowy clouds hung over them. The grass was brown, for there had been no rain for many months, and the spring rains were still distant. The earth was dormant and fallow. There was no cheery movement of nesting birds in green hedges, and the paths were hard and dusty. On the lake there were a few ducks, pausing on their way to the south. The mountains held the promise of a new spring, and the earth was dreaming of it. 2 What would happen if sleep were denied to us? Would we have more time to fight, to intrigue, to make mischief? Would we be more cruel and ruthless? Would there be more time for humility, compassion and frugality? Would we be more creative? Sleep is a strange thing, but extraordinarily important. For most people, the activities of the day continue through their nocturnal slumbers; their sleep is the continuation of their life, dull or exciting, an extension at a different level of the same insipidity or meaningless strife. The body is refreshed by sleep; the internal organism, having a life of its own, renews itself. During sleep, desires are quiescent, and so do not interfere with the organism; and with the body refreshed, the activities of desire have further opportunities for stimulation and expansion. Obviously, the less one interferes with the internal organism, the better; the less the mind takes charge of the organism, the more healthy and natural is its function. But disease of the organism is another matter, produced by the mind or by its own weakness.
Sleep is of great significance. The more the desires are strengthened, the less the meaning of sleep. Desires, positive or negative, are fundamentally always positive, and sleep is the temporary suspension of this positive. Sleep is not the opposite of desire, sleep is not negation, but a state which desire cannot penetrate. The quietening of the superficial layers of consciousness takes place during sleep, and so they are capable of receiving the intimations of the deeper layers; but this is only a partial comprehension of the whole problem. It is obviously possible for all the layers of consciousness to be in communication with each other during waking hours, and also during sleep; and of course this is essential. This communication frees the mind from its own self-importance, and so the mind does not become the dominant factor. Thus it loses, freely and naturally, its self-enclosing efforts and activities. In this process the impetus to become is completely dissolved, the accumulative momentum exists no longer.
But there is something more that takes place in sleep. There is found an answer to our problems. When the conscious mind is quiet, it is capable of receiving an answer, which is a simple affair. But what is far more significant and important than all this is the renewal which is not a cultivation. One can deliberately cultivate a gift, a capacity, or develop a technique, a pattern of action and behaviour; but this is not renewal. Cultivation is not creation. This creative renewal does not take place if there is any kind of effort on the part of a becomer. The mind must voluntarily lose all accumulative impulse, the storing up of experience as a means to further experience and achievement. It is the accumulative, self-protective urge that breeds the curve of time and prevents creative renewal.
Consciousness as we know it is of time, it is a process of recording and storing experience at its different levels. Whatever takes place within this consciousness is its own projection; it has its own quality, and is measurable. During sleep, either this consciousness is strengthened, or something wholly different takes place. For most of us, sleep strengthens experience, it is a process of recording and storing in which there is expansion but not renewal. Expansiveness gives a feeling of elation, of inclusive achievement, of having understood, and so on; but all this is not creative renewal. This process of becoming must wholly come to an end, not as a means to further experience, but as an ending in itself.
During sleep, and often during waking hours, when becoming has entirely ceased, when the effect of a cause has come to an end, then that which is beyond time, beyond the measure of cause and effect, comes into being.Commentaries on Living –  Series I – Chapter 16

‘Creative Happiness’

There is a city by the magnificent river; wide and long steps lead down to the water’s edge, and the world seems to live on those steps. From early morning till well after dark, they are always crowded and noisy; almost level with the water are little projecting steps on which people sit and are lost in their hopes and longings, in their gods and chants. The temple bells are ringing, the muezzin is calling; someone is singing, and a huge crowd has gathered, listening in appreciative silence.

Beyond all this, round the bend and higher up the river, there is a pile of buildings. With their avenues of trees and wide roads, they stretch several miles inland; and along the river, through a narrow and dirty lane, one enters into this scattered field of learning. So many students from all over the country are there, eager, active and noisy. The teachers are pompous, intriguing for better positions and salaries. No one seems to be greatly concerned with what happens to the students after they leave. The teachers impart certain knowledge and techniques which the clever ones quickly absorb; and when they graduate, that is that. The teachers have assured jobs, they have families and security; but when the students leave, they have to face the turmoil and the insecurity of life. There are such buildings, such teachers and students all over the land. Some students achieve fame and position in the world; others breed, struggle and die. The State wants competent technicians, administrators to guide and to rule; and there is always the army, the church, and business. All the world over, it is the same.

It is to learn a technique and to have a job, a profession, that we go through this process of having the upper mind stuffed with facts and knowledge, is it not? Obviously, in the modern world, a good technician has a better chance of earning a livelihood; but then what? Is one who is a technician better able to face the complex problem of living than one who is not? A profession is only a part of life; but there are also those parts which are hidden, subtle and mysterious. To emphasize the one and to deny or neglect the rest must inevitably lead to very lopsided and disintegrating activity. This is precisely what is taking place in the world today, with ever mounting conflict, confusion and misery. Of course there are a few exceptions, the creative, the happy, those who are in touch with something that is not man-made, who are not dependent on the things of the mind.

You and I have intrinsically the capacity to be happy, to be creative, to be in touch with something that is beyond the clutches of time. Creative happiness is not a gift reserved for the few; and why is it that the vast majority do not know that happiness? Why do some seem to keep in touch with the profound in spite of circumstances and accidents, while others are destroyed by them? Why are some resilient, pliable, while others remain unyielding and are destroyed? In spite of knowledge, some keep the door open to that which no person and no book can offer, while others are smothered by technique and authority. Why? It is fairly clear that the mind wants to be caught and made certain in some kind of activity, disregarding wider and deeper issues, for it is then on safer ground; so its education, its exercises its activities are encouraged and sustained on that level, and excuses are found for not going beyond it.

Before they are contaminated by so-called education, many children are in touch with the unknown; they show this in so many ways. But environment soon begins to close around them, and after a certain age they lose that light, that beauty which is not found in any book or school. Why? Do not say that life is too much for them, that they have to face hard realities, that it is their karma, that it is their fathers sin; this is all nonsense. Creative happiness is for all and not for the few alone. You may express it in one way and I in another, but it is for all. Creative happiness has no value on the market; it is not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, but it is the one thing that can be for all.

Is creative happiness realizable? 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 pupil, 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 realize this happiness, you must give right attention to it, as you do to business. 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.

The light of reality and its bliss are destroyed when the mind, which is the seat of self, assumes control. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; without self-knowledge, learning leads to ignorance, strife and sorrow.

Commentaries on Living –  Series II – Chapter 1

Immensity

THE VALLEY LAY far below and was filled with the activity of most valleys. The sun was just setting behind the distant mountains, and the shadows were dark and long. It was a quiet evening, with a breeze coming off the sea. The orange trees, row upon row, were almost black, and on the long straight road that ran through the valley there were occasional glints as moving cars caught the light of the setting sun. It was an evening of enchantment and peace.

The mind seemed to cover the vast space and the unending distance; or rather, the mind seemed to expand without an end, and behind and beyond the mind there was something that held all things in it. The mind vaguely struggled to recognize and remember that which was not of itself, and so it stopped its usual activity; but it could not grasp what was not of its own nature, and presently all things, including the mind were enfolded in that immensity. The evening darkened, and the distant barking of dogs in no way disturbed that which is beyond all consciousness. It cannot be thought about and so experienced by the mind.

But what is it, then, that has perceived and is aware of something totally different from the projections of the mind? Who is it that experiences it? Obviously it is not the mind of everyday memories, responses and urges. Is there another mind, or is there a part of the mind which is dormant, to be awakened only by that which is above and beyond all mind? If this is so, then within the mind there is always that which is beyond all thought and time. And yet this cannot be, for it is only speculative thought and therefore another of the many inventions of the mind.

Since that immensity is not born of the process of the mind, then what is it that is aware of it? Is the mind as the experiencer aware of it, or is that immensity aware of itself because there is no experiencer at all? There was no experiencer when this happened coming down the mountain, and yet the awareness of the mind was wholly different, in kind as well as in degree, from that which is not measurable. The mind was not functioning; it was alert and passive, and though cognizant of the breeze playing among the leaves, there was no movement of any kind within itself. There was no observer who measured the observed. There was only that, and that was aware of itself without measure. It had no beginning and no word.

The mind is aware that it cannot capture by experience and word that which ever abides, timeless and immeasurable.

Commentaries on Living –  Series II – Chapter 57

Think on These Things

Have you ever sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working – or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one’s mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don’t know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is. You may read books on sociology, study social sciences, but if you don’t know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your beliefs, your going to the temple, the clothes you wear, the things you do and don’t do and what you think – society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what is going on in your own mind. So your mind is not apart from society, it is not distinct from your culture, from your religion, from your various class divisions, from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part of it. There is no ‘you’ separate from society.

Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mold the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means that your mind – which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out – is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do ‘revolt’ it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but always within the prison. When you seek God, or try to find out what is right government, it is always within the pattern of society, which says, “This is true and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are the saints”. So your revolt, like the so-called revolution brought about by ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt, that is not revolution: it is merely heightened activity, a more valiant struggle within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern and to inquire outside of it.

Urgency to Change

Question: When I listen to you there is an urgency to change. When I return home it fades. What am I to do?

What are you to do? Is the urgency to change due to, or influenced by, the speaker? While you are here you are driven into a corner but when you leave that is so no longer. It means that you are being challenged, influenced, driven, persuaded, and when that is gone you are where you were.

Now, what is one to do? Please let us think out the right answer to this. What is one to do? I come to this gathering from a distant place. It is a lovely day. I have put up a tent and I am really interested. I have read, not only what the speaker has said, but a great deal besides. I know the Christian and Buddhist concepts, the Hindu mythology, and I have also done different forms of meditation, the T.M., the Tibetan, Hindu and Buddhist. But I am dissatisfied with all those, so I come here and I listen. Now am I prepared to listen completely? I cannot listen completely if I bring all my knowledge here with me. I cannot listen or learn, or comprehend, completely if I belong to some sect, if I am attached to one particular concept and if I also want to add to that what is said here. I must come, if I am serious, with a free mind, with a mind that says, “Let’s find out, for God’s sake”, not, “I want to add what you are saying to what I already know”.

So what is one’s attitude going to be? The speaker has been saying constantly: freedom is absolutely necessary. Psychological freedom first, not the physical freedom which you have in the democratic, if not in the totalitarian, countries. Inward freedom can only come about when one understands one’s conditioning, the conditioning which is both social and cultural, religious, economic and physical. Can one be free of that – of the psychological conditioning? Me first, everybody else second!

What is difficult in all this is that we cling to something so deeply that we are unwilling to let go. One has studied various things and one is attracted to a particular psychological school. One has gone into it, studied it and found out that there is a great deal in it and one sticks to it. And then one comes here and listens and adds what one has heard to that. So it all becomes a melange, a mixture of everything. Are we not doing that? Our minds become very confused. And for the time being when you are here that confusion is somewhat pushed away or diminished, but when you leave, it is back again. Can one be aware of this confusion, not only while you are here but when you are at home – that is much more important?

So what does it all indicate? We have the intelligence to solve technological problems: the problem-solving mind. We all have that, but it is not intelligence. The capacity to think clearly, objectively, and to be aware of the limitation of thinking, that is the beginning of intelligence. We worship thinking; the more cleverly we can think, the greater we see ourselves as being. Whereas if we could observe our own confusion, our own individual narrow way of looking at life, if we could be aware of all that, we would see how thought is perpetually creating problems. Thought creates the image and that image divides – to see that requires intelligence. To see psychological dangers is intelligence. But apparently we do not see those things. That means somebody has to goad you all the time, push you, drive you, ask you, persuade you, beg you to make you aware of yourself; and then to move from there, not just stay there. And I am afraid nobody is going to do that for you, not even the most enlightened human being, because then you become his slave.

Vitality, physical and psychological energy, is, as you are now, being dissipated in conflict, in worry, in chattering, in endless gossip not only with others but with oneself. This endless chattering! It all dissipates the psychological energy that is needed to observe ourselves in the mirror of relationship – we are all related to somebody or other – and so discover our illusions, images, absurdities and idiocies. Then out of that observation comes freedom and the intelligence which will show the way of life.

42nd Question – Brockwood Park, 1st Question & Answer Meeting – 2nd September 1980 – ‘Urgency to Change’

Education and the Significance of Life – Chapter I

When one travels around the world, one notices to what an extraordinary degree human nature is the same, whether in India or America, in Europe or Australia. This is especially true in colleges and universities. We are turning out, as if through a mould, a type of human being whose chief interest is to find security, to become somebody important, or to have a good time with as little thought as possible.

Conventional education makes independent thinking extremely difficult. Conformity leads to mediocrity. To be different from the group or to resist environment is not easy and is often risky as long as we worship success. The urge to be successful, which is the pursuit of reward whether in the material or in the so-called spiritual sphere, the search for inward or outward security, the desire for comfort – this whole process smothers discontent, puts an end to spontaneity and breeds fear; and fear blocks the intelligent understanding of life. With increasing age, dullness of mind and heart sets in.

In seeking comfort, we generally find a quiet corner in life where there is a minimum of conflict, and then we are afraid to step out of that seclusion. This fear of life, this fear of struggle and of new experience, kills in us the spirit of adventure; our whole upbringing and education have made us afraid to be different from our neighbor, afraid to think contrary to the established pattern of society, falsely respectful of authority and tradition.

Fortunately, there are a few who are in earnest, who are willing to examine our human problems without the prejudice of the right or of the left; but in the vast majority of us, there is no real spirit of discontent, of revolt. When we yield uncomprehendingly to environment, any spirit of revolt that we may have had dies down, and our responsibilities soon put an end to it.

Revolt is of two kinds: there is violent revolt, which is mere reaction, without understanding, against the existing order; and there is the deep psychological revolt of intelligence. There are many who revolt against the established orthodoxies only to fall into new orthodoxies, further illusions and concealed self-indulgences. What generally happens is that we break away from one group or set of ideals and join another group, take up other ideals, thus creating a new pattern of thought against which we will again have to revolt. Reaction only breeds opposition, and reform needs further reform.

But there is an intelligent revolt which is not reaction, and which comes with self-knowledge through the awareness of one’s own thought and feeling. It is only when we face experience as it comes and do not avoid disturbance that we keep intelligence highly awakened; and intelligence highly awakened is intuition, which is the only true guide in life. 7 Now, what is the significance of life? What are we living and struggling for? If we are being educated merely to achieve distinction, to get a better job, to be more efficient, to have wider domination over others, then our lives will be shallow and empty. If we are being educated only to be scientists, to be scholars wedded to books, or specialists addicted to knowledge, then we shall be contributing to the destruction and misery of the world.

Though there is a higher and wider significance to life, of what value is our education if we never discover it? We may be highly educated, but if we are without deep integration of thought and feeling, our lives are incomplete, contradictory and torn with many fears; and as long as education does not cultivate an integrated outlook on life, it has very little significance (…)

Excerpt taken from: Education and the Significance of Life

“I KNOW YOU HAVE healed,” he said, “and will you not heal my son? He is nearly blind. I have seen a few doctors, and they can do nothing. They advise me to take him to Europe or America, but I am not a rich man and I cannot afford it. Will you not please do something? He is our only child, and my wife is heart-stricken.”

He was a petty official, poor but educated, and like all of his group he knew Sanskrit and its literature. He kept on saying that it was the boy’s karma that he should suffer, and theirs too. What had they done to deserve this punishment? What evil had they committed, in a previous life or in the earlier part of this one, to have to bear such pain? There must be a cause for this calamity, hidden in some past action.

There may be an immediate cause for this blindness which the physicians have not yet discovered; some inherited disease may have brought it about. If the doctors cannot discover the physical cause, why do you seek a metaphysical one in the distant past? “By seeking the cause I may be better able to understand the effect.”

Do you understand anything by knowing its cause? By knowing why one is afraid, is one free of fear? One may know the cause, but does that in itself bring understanding? When you say that you will understand the effect by knowing the cause, you mean that you will take comfort in knowing how this thing has come about, do you not?

“Of course, that is why I want to know what action in the past has produced this blindness. It will certainly be most comforting.”

Then you want comfort and not understanding. “But are they not the same thing? To understand is to find comfort. What is the good of understanding if there is no joy in it?”

Understanding a fact may cause disturbance, it does not necessarily bring joy. You want comfort, and that is what you are seeking. You are disturbed by the fact of your son’s ailment, and you want to be pacified. This pacification you call understanding. You start out, not to understand, but to be comforted; your intention is to find a way to quiet your disturbance, and this you call the search for the cause. Your chief concern is to be put to sleep, to be undisturbed, and you are seeking a way to do it. We put ourselves to sleep through various ways: God, rituals, ideals, drink, and so on. We want to escape from disturbance, and one of the escapes is this search for the cause.

“Why shouldn’t one seek freedom from disturbance? Why shouldn’t one avoid suffering?”

Through avoidance is there freedom from suffering? You may shut the door on some ugly thing, on some fear; but it is still there behind the door, is it not? What is suppressed, resisted, is not understood, is it? You may suppress or discipline your child, but surely that does not yield the understanding of him. You are seeking the cause in order to avoid the pain of disturbance; with that intention you look, and naturally you will find what you are seeking. There is a possibility of being free of suffering only when one observes its process, when one is aware of every phase of it, cognizant of its whole structure. To avoid suffering is only to strengthen it. The explanation of the cause is not the understanding of the cause. Through explanation you are not freed from suffering; the suffering is still there, only you have covered it over with words, with conclusions, either your own or those of another. The study of explanations is not the study of wisdom; when explanations cease, then only is wisdom possible. You are anxiously seeking explanations which will put you to sleep, and you find them; but explanation is not truth. Truth comes when there is observation without conclusions, without explanations, without words. The observer is built out of words, the self is made up of explanations, conclusions, condemnations, justifications, and so on. There is communion with the observed only when the observer is not; and only then is there understanding, freedom from the problem.

“I think I see this; but is there not such a thing as karma?”

What do you mean by that word? “Present circumstances are the result of previous actions, immediately past or long removed. This process of cause and effect, with all its ramifications, is more or less what is meant by karma.”

That is only an explanation, but let us go beyond the words. Is there a fixed cause producing a fixed effect? When cause and effect are fixed, is there not death? Anything static, rigid, specialized, must die. The specialized animals soon come to an end, do they not? Man is the unspecialized, and so there is a possibility of his continued existence. That which is pliable endures; that which is not pliable is broken. The acorn cannot become anything but an oak tree; the cause and the effect are in the acorn. But man is not so completely enclosed, specialized; hence, if he does not destroy himself through various ways, he can survive. Are cause and effect fixed, stationary? When you use the word “and” between cause and effect, does it not imply that both are stationary? But is cause ever stationary? Is effect always unchangeable? Surely, cause-effect is a continuous process, is it not? Today is the result of yesterday, and tomorrow is the result of today; what was cause becomes effect, and what was effect becomes cause. It is a chain-process, is it not? One thing flows into another, and at no point is there a halt. It is a constant movement, with no fixation. There are many factors that bring about this cause-effect-cause movement.

Explanations, conclusions, are stationary, whether they are of the right or of the left, or of the organized belief called religion. When you try to cover the living with explanations, there is death to the living, and that is what most of us desire; we want to be put to sleep by word, by idea, by thought. Rationalization is merely another way to quiet the disturbed state; but the very desire to be put to sleep, to find the cause, to seek conclusions, brings disturbance, and so thought is caught in a net of its own making. Thought cannot be free nor can it ever make itself free. Thought is the result of experience, and experience is always conditioning. Experience is not the measure of truth. Awareness of the false as the false is the freedom of truth.

Commentaries on Living – Series I, Chapter 69

You are all that conditioning. Does one realize that one’s consciousness is its content? The content makes up consciousness. So, consciousness is not separate from its content; the content is consciousness.

The world order, or disorder, is the content of my consciousness, which is disorder. Therefore, I said, “I am the world, the world is me.” The “me” is made up of all the different parts of the content, and so is the world.

I can’t do anything about the noise of that train going by; therefore, I listen to it. Therefore, I don’t put up a resistance to it. I listen. There is noise, but it does not affect me. In the same way I realize that I am neurotic, that I am holding on to a particular belief, a particular way of action, that I have tremendous prejudices. I do not resist it. I listen to it
totally, completely, with my heart.

This division has brought about such disorder in the world and in myself. Can I look at all this as a marvelous single movement? I can’t; that is a fact. I can’t, because I am fragmented in myself. I am conditioned in myself. So, my concern then is not to find out how to live a unitary life, but to see if the fragmentation can come to an end. And that fragmentation comes to an end only when I realize that all my consciousness is made up of these fragments.

My consciousness is the fragmentation. And when I say, “There must be integration, it must be brought together,” it is still part of that trick I am playing upon myself. So, I realize that. I realize it as a truth, like fire burns; you can’t deceive me. It is a fact, and I am left with it. And I have to find out how it operates in my daily life—not guess, play, theorise. Because I have seen the truth of it, that truth is going to act. If I don’t see it but pretend I have seen it, then I am going to make a hideous mess of my life.

J Krishnamurti
Public discussion, Saanen, Switzerland, 4 August 1971.

You Have to Be Good Because You Are the Future

We ought to understand right from the beginning of this new year that we are primarily concerned with the psychological aspect of our life, though we are not going to neglect the physical, biological side. What one is inwardly will eventually bring about a good society or the gradual deterioration of human relationship. We are concerned with both aspects of life, not giving one or the other predominance, although the psychological-that is what we are inwardly-will dictate our behaviour, our relationship with others.

We seem to neglect wholly the deeper and wider realities of life, and give far greater importance to physical aspects, to everyday activities, however relevant or irrelevant. So please bear in mind that in these letters we are approaching our existence from the inner to the outer, not the other way round. Though most people are concerned with the outer, our education must be concerned with bringing about a harmony between the outer and inner; this cannot possibly come about if our eyes are fixed only on the outer.

We mean by the inner all the movement of thought, our feelings both reasonable and unreasonable, our imaginings, our beliefs, our happy and unhappy attachments, our secret desires with their contradictions, our experiences, suspicions, violence, and so on. The hidden ambitions, the illusions that the mind clings to, the superstitions of religion, and the seemingly everlasting conflict within ourselves are also part of our psychological structure. If we are blind to these, or accept them as an inevitable part of our human nature, we will allow a society in which we ourselves become prisoners. So this is really important to understand.

Surely every student throughout the world sees the effect of the chaos around us, and hopes to escape into some kind of outward order, even though in himself he may be in utter turmoil. He wants to change the outer without changing himself, but he is the source and continuation of the disorder. This is a fact, not a personal conclusion. So, we are concerned in our education with changing the source of the disorder and its continuation. It is human beings who create society, not some gods in some heaven.

So we begin with the student. The very word implies studying, learning and acting. Basic education is to learn not only from books and teachers, but to study and learn about yourself. If you don’t know about yourself, and are filling your mind with the facts of the universe, you are merely accepting and continuing the disorder. Probably as a student you are not interested in this. You want to enjoy yourself, pursue your own interests. You are forced to study, and do so only under pressure, accepting the inevitable comparisons and results with an eye fixed on some kind of career. This is your basic interest, which seems natural, because your parents and grandparents have followed the same path-job, marriage, children, responsibility. As long as you are safe, you care little for what is happening around you. This is your actual relationship to the world, the world human beings have created. The immediate is far more real, important and demanding for you than the whole.

But your concern and the educator’s concern is and must be to understand the whole of human existence; not a part but the whole. The part is only the knowledge of human physical discoveries. So, here in these letters we begin primarily with you, the student, and the educator who is helping you to know yourself. This is the function of all education. We need to bring about a good society in which all human beings can live happily in peace, without violence, with security. You as a student are responsible for this. A good society doesn’t come into existence through some ideal, a hero or a leader, or some carefully planned system. You have to be good because you are the future. You will make the world, either as it is, modified, or as a world in which you and others can live without wars, without brutalities, with generosity and affection.

So what will you do? You have understood the problem, which is not difficult, so what will you do? Most of you are instinctively kind, good and wanting to help, unless of course you have been too trodden down and twisted, which one hopes you are not. So what will you do? If the educator is worth his salt, he will want to help you. Then the question is: what will you do together to help you to study yourself, to learn about yourself and act? We will stop here with this letter and go on in our next.

The Very Nature of Intelligence is Sensitivity, Which is Love

Intelligence and the capacity of the intellect are two entirely different things. Perhaps these two words derive from the same root, but in order to clarify the full significance of compassion we must be able to distinguish the difference in meaning between the two. Intellect is the capacity to discern, to reason, imagine, to create illusions, to think clearly and also to think non-objectively, personally. Intellect is generally considered different from emotion, but we use the word intellect to convey the whole human capacity for thought. Thought is the response of memory accumulated through various experiences, real or imagined, which are stored as knowledge in the brain. So the capacity of the intellect is to think. Thinking is limited under all circumstances, and when the intellect dominates our activities in both the outer and inner world, naturally our actions must be partial, incomplete. This brings about regret, anxiety and pain.

All theories and ideologies are in themselves partial, and when scientists, technicians and so- called philosophers dominate our society, our morals, and so our daily lives, then we are never faced with the realities of what is actually going on. These influences colour our perceptions, our direct understanding. It is the intellect that finds explanations for wrong-doing as well as for right-doing. It rationalizes misbehaviour, killing and wars. It defines the good as the opposite of the bad. The good has no opposite. If the good were related to the bad, then goodness would have in it the seeds of the bad. Then it would not be goodness. But the intellect is incapable, because of its own divisive capacity, to understand the fullness of the good.

The intellect, thought, is always comparing, evaluating, competing, imitating; so we become conforming, second-hand human beings. The intellect has given enormous benefits to mankind, but it has also brought about great destruction. It has cultivated the arts of war, but it is incapable of wiping away the barriers between human beings. Anxiety is part of the nature of the intellect, as is hurt, for the intellect, which is thought, creates the image which is then capable of being hurt.

When one understands the whole nature and movement of the intellect and thought, one can begin to investigate what intelligence is. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the whole. Intelligence is incapable of dividing the senses, the emotions and the intellect from each other; it regards them as one unitary movement. Because its perception is always whole, intelligence is incapable of dividing man from man and of setting man against nature. Because in its very nature intelligence is whole, it is incapable of killing.

Practically all religions have said do not kill, but they have never prevented killing. Some religions have said that the things of the earth, including the living creatures, are put there for man’s use-therefore kill and destroy them. Killing for pleasure, killing for commerce, killing for nationalism, killing for ideologies, killing for one’s faith, are all accepted as a way of life. As we are killing the living things of the earth and of the sea we are becoming more and more isolated, and in this isolation we become more and more greedy, seeking pleasure in every form. Intellect may perceive this, but it is incapable of complete action. Intelligence, which is inseparable from love, will never kill. “Not to kill”, if it is a concept, an ideal, is not intelligence.

When intelligence is active in our daily life it will tell us when to co-operate and when not to. The very nature of intelligence is sensitivity, and this sensitivity is love. Without this intelligence there can be no compassion. Compassion is not the doing of charitable acts or social reform; it is free from sentiment, romanticism and emotional enthusiasm. It is as strong as death. It is like a great rock, immovable in the midst of confusion, misery and anxiety. Without this compassion no new culture or society can come into being.

Compassion and intelligence walk together; they are not separate. Compassion acts through intelligence. It can never act through the intellect. Compassion is the essence of the wholeness of life.

Cooperation Demands Great Honesty

We ought to consider very seriously, not only in these schools but also as human beings, the capacity to work together; to work together with nature, the living things of the earth, and also with other human beings. As social beings, we exist for ourselves. Our laws, our governments, our religions all emphasize the separateness of humanity, and during the centuries this has developed into man against man. It is becoming more and more important if we are to survive, that there be a spirit of cooperation with the universe, with all the things of the sea and earth.

One can see in all social structures the destructive effect of fragmentation taking place: nation against nation, one group against another group, one family against another family, one individual against another. It is the same religiously, socially and economically. Each one is striving for himself, for his class, or his particular interest in the community. This division of beliefs, ideals, conclusions and prejudices is preventing the spirit of cooperation from flowering.

We are human beings, not tribal identities, exclusive and separate. We are human beings caught in conclusions, theories, faiths. We are living creatures, not labels. It is our human circumstance that makes us search for food, clothes and shelter at the expense of others. Our very thinking is separative; and all action springing from this limited thought must prevent co-operation. The economic and social structure, as it is now, including organized religions, intensifies exclusiveness, separateness. This lack of cooperation ultimately brings about wars and the destruction of man. It is only during crises or disasters, that we seem to come together, and when they are over we are back to our old condition.

We seem to be incapable of living and working together harmoniously. Has this isolating, aggressive process come about because our brain, which is the centre of our thought, our feeling, has from ancient days become through necessity so conditioned to seek its own personal survival? Is it because this isolating process identifies itself with the family, with the tribe, and becomes glorified nationalism? Isn’t all isolation linked to a need for identification and fulfilment? Hasn’t the importance of the self been cultivated through evolution by the opposition of the “me” and the “you”, the “we” and the “they”? Haven’t all religions emphasized personal salvation, personal enlightenment, personal achievement, both religiously and in the world? Has cooperation become impossible because we have given such importance to talent, to specialization, to achievement, to success, which all emphasize separateness? Is it because human cooperation has centred on some kind of authority of government or religion, around some ideology or conclusion, which then inevitably brings about its own destructive opposite?

What does it mean to co-operate; not the word but the spirit of it? You cannot possibly co-operate with another, with the earth and its waters, unless you in yourself are harmonious, not broken up, not contradictory. You cannot cooperate if you yourself are under strain, pressure, conflict. How can you cooperate with the universe if you are concerned with yourself, your problems, your ambitions? There can be no co-operation if all your activities are self centered and you are occupied with your own selfishness, with your own secret desires and pleasures. As long as the intellect with its thoughts dominates all your actions, obviously there can be no co-operation, for thought is partial, narrow and everlastingly divisive. Co-operation demands great honesty.

Honesty has no motive. Honesty is not some ideal, some faith. Honesty is clarity, the clear perception of things as they are. Perception is attention. That very attention throws light, with all its energy, on that which is being observed. This light of perception brings about a transformation of the thing observed.

There is no system through which you learn to cooperate. It is not to be structured and classified. Its very nature demands that there be love, and that love is not measurable; for when you compare, which is the essence of measurement, thought has entered. Where thought is, love is not.

Now, can this be conveyed to the student, and can cooperation exist among educators in these schools? These schools are centres of a new generation with a new outlook, with a new sense of being citizens of the world, concerned with all the living things of this world. It is your grave responsibility to bring about this spirit of cooperation.

The Places Exist for the Enlightenment of Humanity

Teachers or educators are human beings. Their function is to help the student to learn not only this or that subject, but to understand the whole activity of learning; not only to gather information about various subjects, but primarily to be complete human beings. These schools are not merely centres of learning, they must be centres of goodness and bring about a religious mind.

All over the world, human beings are degenerating to a greater or lesser extent. When pleasure, personal or collective, becomes the dominant interest in life-the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of asserting one’s own will, the pleasure of excitement, the pleasure of self- interest, the pleasure of power and status, the insistent demand to have one’s own pleasure fulfilled-there is degeneration. When human relationships become casual, based on pleasure, there is degeneration. When responsibility has totally lost its meaning, when there is no care for another or for the earth and the things of the sea, this disregard of heaven and earth is another form of degeneration. When there is hypocrisy in high places, when there is dishonesty in commerce, when lies are part of everyday speech, when there is the tyranny of the few, when only things predominate, there is the betrayal of all life. Then killing becomes the only language of life. When love is taken as pleasure, then human beings have cut themselves off from beauty and the sacredness of life.

Pleasure is always personal, an isolating process. Though one thinks pleasure is something shared with another through gratification, it is actually an enclosing, isolating action of the ego, of the “me”. The greater the pleasure, the greater is the strengthening of the “me”. When there is pursuit of pleasure, human beings are exploiting each other. When pleasure becomes dominant in our lives, relationship is exploited for this purpose, and so there is no actual relationship with another. Then relationship becomes merchandise. The urge for fulfilment is based on pleasure, and when that pleasure is denied or has not found means of expression, then there is anger, cynicism, hatred or bitterness. This incessant pursuit of pleasure is actually insanity.

All this indicates, doesn’t it, that man, in spite of his vast knowledge and extraordinary capacities, his driving energy and aggressive action, is on the decline? This calculated self centredness with its fears, pleasures and anxieties is evident throughout the world.

What, then, is the total responsibility of these schools? Surely they must be centres for learning a way of life that is not based on pleasure, on self-centred activities, but on the understanding of correct action, the depth and beauty of relationship, and the sacredness of a religious life. When the world around us is so utterly destructive and without meaning, these schools, these centres, must become places of light and wisdom. It is the responsibility of those who are in charge of these places to bring this about.

As this is urgent, excuses have no meaning. Either the centres are like a rock round which the waters of destruction flow, or they go with the current of decay. These places exist for the enlightenment of humanity.

To Live with Clarity is Not a Value

It is one of the peculiarities of human beings to cultivate values. From childhood, we are encouraged to set certain deep-rooted values for ourselves. Each person has his own long-lasting purposes and intents and naturally the values of one differ from those of another. These are cultivated either by desire or by the intellect. They are either illusory, comfortable, consoling, or factual. These values obviously encourage division between human beings. values are ignoble or noble according to one’s prejudices and intentions.

We can ask, without listing various types of values, why it is that human beings have values and what their consequences are. The root meaning of the word value is strength. It comes from the word valour. Strength is not a value. It becomes a value when it is the opposite of weakness. Strength-not strength of character, which is the result of the pressure of society-is the essence of clarity. Clear thinking is without prejudices, without bias; it is observation without distortion. Strength or valour is not a thing to be cultivated as you would cultivate a plant or a new breed. It is not a result. A result has a cause, and when there is a cause it indicates a weakness. The consequences of weakness are resistance or yielding. Clarity has no cause. Clarity is not an effect or result; it is the pure observation of thought and thought’s total activity. This clarity is strength.

So, why have human beings projected values? Is it to give guidance in daily life? Is it to give them a sense of purpose without which life seems uncertain, vague, without direction? But the direction is set by the intellect or desire, and so the very direction becomes a distortion. These distortions vary from man to man, and man clings to them in the restless ocean of confusion. One can observe the consequences of having values; they separate one human being from another and set them against one another. Extended, this leads to misery, to violence and ultimately to war.

Ideals are values. Ideals of any kind are a series of values-national, religious, collective, or personal-and one can observe the consequences of these ideals as they are taking place in the world. When one sees the truth of this, the mind is freed of all values. For such a mind there is only clarity. A mind that clings to or desires an experience is pursuing the fallacy of value, and so becomes private, secretive and divisive.

As an educator, can you explain to a student the need to have no values whatsoever, but to live with clarity which is not a value? This can be brought about when the educator himself has felt deeply the truth of this. If he has not, then it becomes merely a verbal explanation without any deep significance. This has to be conveyed not only to the older students but also to the very young. The older students are already heavily conditioned through the pressure of society and of parents with their values; or they themselves have projected their own goals which become their prison. With the very young, what is most important is to help them to free themselves from psychological pressures and problems. The very young are now being taught complicated intellectual problems; their studies are becoming more and more technical; they are given more and more abstract information; various forms of knowledge are being imposed on their brains, thus conditioning them right from childhood.

What we are concerned with is to help the very young to have no psychological problems, to be free of fear, anxiety, cruelty, and to have care, generosity and affection. This is far more important than the imposition of knowledge on their young minds. This does not mean that the child should not learn to read, write and so on, but the emphasis is on psychological freedom instead of the acquisition of knowledge, though that is necessary. This freedom does not mean the child doing what he wants to do, but understanding the nature of his reactions and his desires.

This requires a great deal of insight on the part of the teacher. After all, you want the student to be a complete human being without any psychological problems; otherwise he will misuse any knowledge he is given. Our education is to live in the known and so be a slave to the past with all its traditions, memories, experiences. Our life is from the known to the known, so there is never freedom from the known. If one lives constantly in the known, there is nothing new, nothing original, nothing uncontaminated by thought. Thought is the known. If our education is the constant accumulation of the known, then our minds and hearts become mechanical, without that immense vitality of the unknown. That which has continuity as knowledge, is everlastingly limited; and that which is limited must everlastingly create problems. The ending of continuity, which is time, is the flowering of the timeless.

Comparison is One of the Many Aspects of Violence

One is apt to forget or disregard the responsibility of the educator to bring about a new generation of human beings who are psychologically, inwardly free of miseries, anxieties and travail. It is a sacred responsibility, not to be easily set aside for one’s own ambitions, status or power. If the educator feels such a responsibility-the greatness of it and the depth and beauty of that responsibility-he will find the capacity to instruct and to sustain his own energy.

This demands great diligence, not a periodic, haphazard endeavour. The very profound responsibility will kindle the fire that will maintain the educator as a total human being and a great teacher. As the world is rapidly degenerating, there must be in all these schools a group of teachers and students who are dedicated to bringing about a radical transformation of human beings through right education. The word right is not a matter of opinion, evaluation or some concept invented by the intellect. The word right denotes total action in which all self interested motive ceases. The very dominant responsibility, the concern not only of the educator but also of the student, banishes self-perpetuating problems. However immature the mind, once you accept this responsibility that very acceptance brings about the flowering of the mind. This flowering is in the relationship between the student and the educator. It is not a one-sided affair.

When you read this, please give your total attention and feel the urgency and intensity of this responsibility. Please do not make it into an abstraction, an idea, but rather observe the actual fact, the actual happening in the reading of this.

Almost all human beings in their lives desire power and wealth. When there is wealth, there is a sense of freedom, and pleasure is pursued. The desire for power seems be an instinct which expresses itself in many ways. It is in the priest, the guru, the husband or the wife or in the action of one student towards another. The desire to dominate or to submit is one of the conditions of mankind, probably inherited from the animal. This aggressiveness and the yielding to it pervert all relationships throughout life. This has been the pattern from the beginning of time. Humanity has accepted this as a natural way of life, with all the conflicts and miseries it brings.

Basically, measurement is involved in it-the more and the less, the greater and the smaller-which is essentially comparison. One is always comparing oneself with another, comparing one painting with another. There is comparison between the greater power and the lesser, between the timid and the aggressive. This constant measurement of power, position, wealth begins almost at birth and continues throughout life. This is encouraged in schools, colleges and universities. Their whole system of gradation is this giving comparative value to knowledge. When A is compared to B who is clever, bright, assertive, that very comparison destroys A. This destruction takes the form of competition, of imitation of and conformity to the patterns set by B. This breeds, consciously or unconsciously, antagonism, jealousy, anxiety and even fear; and this becomes the condition in which A lives for the rest of his life, always measuring, always comparing psychologically and physically.

This comparison is one of the many aspects of violence. The word more is always comparative, as is the word better. The question is: can the educator put aside all comparison, all measurement, in his teaching? Can he take the student as he is, not as what he should be, and not make judgements based on comparative evaluations? It is only when there is comparison between the one called clever and the one called dull that there is such a quality as dullness.

Is an idiot so because of comparison, or because he is incapable of certain activities? We set certain standards which are based on measurement, and those who do not come up to them are considered deficient. When the educator puts aside comparison and measurement, then he is concerned with the student as he is, and his relationship with the student is direct and totally different. This is really very important to understand. Love is not comparative. It has no measurement.

Comparison and measurement are ways of the intellect. This is divisive. When this is understood basically, not the verbal meaning but the actual truth of it, the relationship of teacher and student undergoes a radical change. The ultimate tests of measurement are examinations accompanied by fear and anxieties, which deeply affect the future life of the student. The whole atmosphere of a school undergoes a change when there is no sense of competition, comparison.

The Desire to Be Separate is the Source of Destruction 

In a world where mankind feels threatened by social upheavals, overpopulation, wars, terrifying violence and callousness, each human being is more than ever concerned with his own survival. Survival implies living sanely, happily, without great pressure or strain. Each one of us translates survival according to his own particular concept. The idealist projects a way of life that is not the actual; the theoreticians, whether Marxist, religious, or of any other particular persuasion, have laid down patterns for survival; the nationalists consider survival possible only in a particular group or community. These ideological differences, ideals and faiths are the roots of a division that is preventing human survival.

Human beings want to survive in particular ways, according to their narrow responses, according to their immediate pleasures, according to some faith, according to some religious saviour, prophet or saint. All these cannot bring security; in themselves they are divisive, exclusive, limited. To live in the hope of survival according to a tradition, however ancient or modern, has no meaning. Partial solutions of any kind, whether they are scientific, religious, political, or economic, can no longer assure mankind’s survival. Man has been concerned with his own individual survival, with his family, with his group, his tribal nation; and because all this is divisive it threatens his actual survival.

The modern divisions of nationalities, of colour, of culture, of religion are the causes of man’s uncertainty about survival. In the turmoil of today’s world, uncertainty has made man turn to authorities, to the political, religious or economic experts. The specialist is inevitably a danger because his response must always be partial, limited. Man is no longer individual, separate. What affects the few affects all mankind. There is no escape or avoidance of the problem; you can no longer withdraw from the totality of the human predicament.

We have stated the problem, the cause, and now we must find the solution. This solution must not depend on any kind of pressure-sociological, religious, economic, political, or from any organization. We cannot possibly survive if we are concerned only with our own survival. All human beings the world over are interrelated today. What happens in one country affects the others. Man has considered himself an individual separate from others, but psychologically a human being is inseparable from the whole of mankind.

There is no such thing as psychological survival. When there is the desire to survive or to fulfil, you are psychologically creating a situation which not only separates, but which is totally unreal. Psychologically, you cannot be separate from another. The desire to be separate psychologically is the very source of danger and destruction. Each person by asserting himself threatens his own existence. When the truth of this is seen and understood, man’s responsibility undergoes a radical change, not only towards his immediate environment, but towards all living things. This total responsibility is compassion. This compassion acts through intelligence. This intelligence is not partial, individual, separate. Compassion is never partial. Compassion is for the sacredness of all living things.

The Word Prevents Actual Perception

The greatest art is the art of living, greater than all things that human beings have created by mind or hand, greater than all the scriptures and their gods. It is only through this art of living that a new culture can come into being. It is the responsibility of every teacher, especially in these schools, to bring this about. This art of living can come only out of total freedom.

This freedom is not an ideal, a thing to take place eventually. The first step in freedom is the last step in it. It is the first step that counts, not the last step. What you do now is far more essential than what you do at some future date. Life is what is happening this instant, not an imagined instant, not what thought has conceived. So it is the first step you take now that is important. If that step is in the right direction, then the whole of life is open to you. The right direction is not towards an ideal, a predetermined end. It is inseparable from that which is taking place now. This is not a philosophy, a series of theories. It is exactly what the word philosophy means-the love of truth, the love of life. It is not something that you go to a university to learn. We are learning about the art of living in our daily life.

We live by words, and words become our prison. Words are necessary to communicate, but the word is never the thing. The actual is not the word, but the word becomes all- important when it has taken the place of that which is. You may observe this phenomenon when the description-the symbol we worship, the shadow we follow, the illusion we cling to-has become the reality instead of the thing itself. Words, the language, shape our reactions. Language becomes the compelling force and our minds are shaped and controlled by the word. The words nation, State, God, family, and so on, envelop us with all their associations, and so our minds become slaves to the pressure of words.

Questioner: How is this to be avoided?

Krishnamurti: The word is never the thing. The word wife is never the person; the word door is not the door. The word prevents the actual perception of the thing or person because the word has many associations. These associations, which are actually remembrances, distort not only visual but also psychological observation. Words then become a barrier to the free flow of observation. Take the words Prime Minister and clerk. They describe functions, but the words Prime Minister have tremendous significance of power, status and importance, whereas the word clerk has associations of unimportance, little status and no power. So the word prevents you from looking at both of them as human beings. There is ingrained snobbery in most of us, and to see what words have done to our thinking and to be choicelessly aware of it, is to learn the art of observation-to observe without association.

Q: I understand what you say, but the speed of association is so instantaneous that the reaction takes place before one realizes it. Is it possible to prevent this?

K: Isn’t this a wrong question? Who is to prevent it? Is it another symbol, another word, another idea? If it is, the none has not seen the whole significance of the enslavement of the mind by words, language. You see, we use words emotionally; it is a form of emotional thinking, apart from the use of technological words, as in numbers, or measures, which are precise. In human relationship and activity, emotions play a great part. Desire, sustained by thought creating the image, is very strong,. The image is the word, is the picture, and this follows our pleasure, our desire. So the whole way of our life is shaped by the word and its associations. To see this entire process as a whole is to see the truth of how thought prevents perception.

Q: Are you saying that there is no thinking without words?

K: Yes, more or less. Please bear in mind that we are talking about the art of living, learning about it, not memorizing the words. We are learning; not I teaching and you becoming a silly disciple. You are asking if there is thinking without words. This is a very important question. Our whole thinking is based on memory, and memory is based on words, images, symbols, pictures. All these are words.

Q: But what one remembers is not a word; it is an experience, an emotional event, a picture of a person or a place. The word is a secondary association.

K: We are using words to describe all this. After all, the word is a symbol to indicate that which has happened or is happening, to communicate or to evoke something. Is there thinking without this whole process? Yes, there is, but it should not be called thinking. Thinking implies a continuation of memory, but perception is not the activity of thought; it is really insight into the whole nature and movement of the word, the symbol, the image and their emotional involvements. To see this as a whole is to give the word its right place.

Q: But what does it mean to see the whole? You say this often. What do you mean by it?

K: Thought is divisive because in itself it is limited. To observe wholly implies the non-interference of thought; to observe without the past as knowledge blocking the observation. Then the observer is not, for the observer is the past, the very nature of thought.

Q: Are you asking us to stop thought?

K: Again, if we may point out, that is a wrong question. If thought tells itself to stop thinking, it creates duality and conflict. This is the very divisive process of thought. If you really grasp the truth of this, then thought is in abeyance naturally. Thought then has its own limited place. Thought then will not take over the whole expanse of life, which it is doing now.

Q: Sir, I see what extraordinary attention is needed. Can I really have that attention; am I serious enough to give my whole energy to this?
K: Can energy be divided at all? Energy is expended in earning a livelihood, in having a family, and in being serious enough to grasp what is being said. It is all energy, but thought divides it, and so we expend much energy on living and very little on the other. This art of living is the art in which there is no division. This is the whole of life.

Relationship is the Art of Living

 

Questioner: If I may ask you in all seriousness, what do you consider to be one of the most important things in life? I have thought about this matter considerably and there are so many things in life that all seem important.
Krishnamurti: Perhaps it is the art of living. We are using the word art in its widest sense. As life is so complex, it is always difficult and confusing to pick one aspect and say it is the most important. The very choice, the differentiating quality, if I may point out, leads to further confusion. If you say this is the most important, then you relegate the other facts of life to a secondary position. Either we take the whole movement of life as one, which is extremely difficult for most people, or we take one fundamental aspect in which all the others may be included. If you agree to this, then we can proceed with our dialogue.Q: Do you mean to say that one aspect may cover the whole field of life? Is that possible?
K: It is possible. Let us go into it very slowly and hesitantly. First of all, the two of us must investigate and not immediately come to some conclusion, which is generally rather superficial. We are exploring together one facet of life, and in the very understanding of it we may cover the whole field of life. To investigate, we must be free of our prejudices, personal experiences, and predetermined conclusions. Like a good scientist, we must have a mind unclouded by the knowledge that we have already accumulated. We must come to it afresh, without any reaction to what is being observed. This is one of the necessities in this exploration, which is not the exploration of an idea or series of philosophical concepts, but of our own minds. This is absolutely necessary; otherwise our investigation is coloured by our own fears, hopes and pleasures.Q: Aren’t you asking too much? Is it possible to have such a mind?
K: The very urge to investigate and the intensity of it free the mind from its colouring. As we said, one of the most important things is the art of living. Is there a way of living our daily life that is entirely different from what it normally is? We all know the usual. Is there a way of living without any control, without any conflict, without a disciplinary conformity? How do I find out? I can only find out when my whole mind is facing exactly what is happening now. This means I can only find out what it means to live without conflict, when what is happening now can be observed. This observation is not an intellectual or emotional affair, but acute, clear, sharp perception in which there is no duality. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Q: What do you mean by duality in this instance?
K: That there is no opposition or contradiction in what is going on. Duality arises only when there is an escape from what is. This escape creates the opposite, and so conflict arises. There is only the actual and nothing else.

Q: Are you saying that when something which is happening now is perceived, the mind must not come in with associations and reactions?
K: Yes, that is what we mean. The associations and reactions to what is happening are the conditioning of the mind. This conditioning prevents the observation of what is taking place now. What is taking place now is free of time. Time is the evolution of our conditioning; it is man’s inheritance, the burden that has no beginning. When there is this passionate observation of what is going on, that which is being observed dissolves into nothingness. An observation of anger that is taking place now reveals the whole nature and structure of violence. This insight is the ending of all violence. It is not replaced by anything else; and therein lies our difficulty, because our whole desire and urge is to find a definite end. In that end there is an illusory sense of security.

Q: There is difficulty for many of us in the observation of anger because emotions and reactions seem inextricably part of that anger. One doesn’t feel anger without associations, content.
K: Anger has many stories behind it. It isn’t just a solitary event. It has, as you pointed out, a great many associations. These very associations, with their emotions, prevent actual observation. With anger, the content is the anger; the anger is the content; they are not two separate things. The content is the conditioning. In the passionate observation of what is actually going on, that is, the activities of the conditioning, the nature and structure of the conditioning are dissolved.

Q: Are you saying that when an event is taking place there is the immediate, racing current of associations in the mind and that if one instantly sees this starting to happen, that observation instantly stops it and it is gone? Is this what you mean?
K: Yes. It is really simple, so simple that you miss its very simplicity and so its subtlety. What we are saying is that whatever is happening-when you are walking, talking, “meditating”-the event that is taking place is to be observed. When the mind wanders, the very observation of it ends its chatter. So there is no distraction whatsoever at any time.

Q: It seems as if you are saying that the content of thought essentially has no meaning in the art of living.
K: Yes. remembrance has no place in the art of living. relationship is the art of living. If there is remembrance in relationship, it is not relationship. relationship is between human beings, not between their memories. It is these memories that divide, and so there is contention, the opposition of the “you” and the “me”. So thought, which is remembrance, has no place whatsoever in relationship. This is the art of living. relationship is to all things-to nature, the birds, the rocks, to everything around us and above us, to the clouds, the stars and to the blue sky. All existence is relationship. Without it you cannot live. Because we have corrupted relationship, we live in a society that is degenerating. The art of living can come into being only when thought does not contaminate love. In these schools can the teacher be wholly committed to this art?

Learn from the Book of the Story of Yourself

 

Why are we being educated? Perhaps you never ask this question, but if you do, what is your response to it? Many reasons are put forward for the necessity of being educated, arguments that are reasonable, quite necessary and mundane. The usual reply is to get a job, have a successful career, or to become skillful with your hands or with your mind. Great emphasis is laid upon the capacity of the mind to find itself a good, profitable career. If you are not intellectually bright, then the skill of your hands becomes important. Education is necessary, it is said, to sustain society as it is, to conform to a pattern set by the so-called establishment, traditional or ultramodern. The educated mind has great capacity to gather information on almost any subject-art, science, and so on. This informed mind is scholastic, professional, philosophical. Such erudition is greatly praised and honoured.This education,if you are studious, clever, swift in your learning, will assure you a bright future, the brightness of it depending on your social and environmental situation. If you are not so bright in this framework of education, you become a labourer, a factory worker, or you have to find a place at the bottom of this very complex society. This is generally the way of our education.

What is education? It is essentially the art of learning, not only from books, but from the whole movement of life. The printed word has become consumingly all-important. You are learning what other people think, their opinions, their values, their judgements and a variety of their innumerable experiences. The library is more important than the man who has the library. He himself is the library, and he assumes that he is learning by constant reading. This accumulation of information, as in a computer, is considered to make an educated, sophisticated mind. Then there are those who do not read at all, who are rather contemptuous of those who do, and are absorbed in their own self-centred experiences and assertive opinions.

Recognising all this, what is the function of a holistic mind? We mean by the mind all the responses of the senses, the emotions-which are entirely different from love-and the intellectual capacity. We now give fantastic importance to the intellect. We mean by the intellect the capacity to reason logically, sanely or without sanity, objectively or personally. It is the intellect with its movement of thought that brings about fragmentation of our human condition. It is the intellect that has divided the world linguistically, nationally, religiously-divided man from man. The intellect is the central factor of the degeneration of mankind throughout the world, for the intellect is only a part of the human condition and capacity. When the part is extolled, praised and given honours, when it assumes all-importance, then one’s life-which is relationship, action, conduct-becomes contradictory, hypocritical. Then anxiety and guilt come into being. Intellect has its place, as in science, but man has used scientific knowledge not only for his benefit, but to bring about instruments of war and pollution of the earth. The intellect can perceive its own activities, which bring about degeneration, but it is utterly incapable of putting an end to its own decline, because essentially it is only a part.

As we have said, education is the essence of learning. Learning about the nature of the intellect, its dominance, its activities, its vast capacities and its destructive power, is education. To learn the nature of thought, which is the very movement of the intellect, not from a book but from the observation of the world about you, to learn what exactly is happening, without theories, prejudices and values, is education. To learn from books is important, but what is far more important is to learn from the book of the story of yourself, because you are all mankind. To read that book is the art of learning. It is all there-the institutions, their pressures, the religious impositions and doctrines, their cruelty, their faiths. The social structure of all societies is the relationship between human beings with their greed, their ambitions, their violence, their pleasures, their anxieties. It is there if you know how to look.

The book is not out there or hidden in yourself; it is all around you; you are part of that book. The book tells you the story of the human being, and it is to be read in your relationships, in your reactions, in your concepts and values. The book is the very centre of your being, and the learning is to read that book with exquisite care. The book tells you the story of the past, how the past shapes your mind, your heart and your senses. The past shapes the present, modifying itself according to the challenge of the moment. And in this endless movement of time human beings are caught. This is the conditioning of man.

This conditioning has been the endless burden of man, of you and your brother. The philosophers, the theologians, the saints, have accepted this conditioning, have allowed the acceptance of it, making the best of it; or they have offered escapes into fantasies of mystical experiences, of gods and heavens. Education is the art of learning about this conditioning and the way out of it, the freedom from this burden. There is a way out, which is not an escape, which does not accept things as they are. It is not the avoidance of the conditioning; it is not the suppression of it. It is the dissolution of the conditioning.

When you read this or when you hear it, be aware of whether you are listening or reading with the verbal capacity of the intellect, or with the care of attention? When there is total attention, there is no past but only the pure observation of what is actually going on.

Thought is the Root of all our Sorrow, all our Ugliness

It is the concern of these schools to bring about a new generation of human beings who are free from self-centred action. No other educational centres are concerned with this. It is our responsibility as educators to bring about a mind that has no conflict within itself, and to end the struggle and conflict in the world about us.

Can the mind, which is a complex structure and movement, free itself from the network it has woven? Every intelligent human being asks whether it is possible to end the conflict between man and man. Some have gone into it very deeply, intellectually; others, seeing the hopelessness of it, become bitter, cynical, or look to some outside agency to deliver them from their own chaos and misery. When we ask whether the mind can free itself from the prison it has created, it is not an intellectual or rhetorical question. It is asked in all seriousness; it is a challenge to which you have to respond, not at your convenience or comfort, but according to the depth of that challenge. It cannot be postponed.

A challenge is not asking whether it is possible or not, whether the mind is capable of freeing itself. The challenge, if it is worth anything at all, is immediate and intense. To respond to it you must have that quality of intensity and immediacy, the feeling of it. When there is this intense approach, then the question has great implications. The challenge is demanding the highest excellence from you, not just intellectually but with every faculty of your being. This challenge is not outside you. Please do not externalize it, which is to make a concept of it. You are demanding of yourself the totality of all your energy. That very demand wipes away all control, all contradiction and any opposition within yourself. It implies a total integrity, complete harmony. This is the essence of not being selfish.

The mind with its emotional responses, with all the things that thought has put together, is our consciousness. This consciousness with its content is the consciousness of every human being. It is modified, not entirely similar, different in its nuances and subtleties, but basically the roots of its existence are common to all of us. Scientists and psychologists are examining this consciousness, and the gurus are playing with it for their own ends. The serious ones are examining consciousness as a concept, as a laboratory process; they are examining the responses of the brain, alpha waves and so on, as something outside themselves. But we are not concerned with the theories, concepts and ideas about consciousness; we are concerned with its activity in our daily life. In understanding these activities, the daily responses, the conflicts, we will have an insight into the nature and structure of our own consciousness. As we pointed out, the basic reality of this consciousness is common to us all. It is not your particular consciousness or mine. We have inherited it, and we are modifying it, changing it here and there, but its basic movement is common to all mankind.

This consciousness is our mind with all its intricacies of thought, the emotions, the sensory responses, the accumulated knowledge, the suffering, the pain, the anxiety, the violence. All that is our consciousness. The brain is ancient and it is conditioned by centuries of evolution, by every kind of experience, increased by more recent accumulations of knowledge. All this is consciousness in action in every moment of our life. It is the relationship between humans with all the pleasures, pains, confusion of contradictory senses and the gratification of desire with its pain. This is the movement of our life. We are asking- and this must be met as a challenge-whether this ancient movement can ever come to an end? For this has become a mechanical activity, a traditional way of life. In the ending there is a beginning, and then only is there neither ending nor beginning.

Consciousness appears to be a very complex affair, but actually it is very simple. Thought has put together all the content of our consciousness, its security, its uncertainty, its hopes and fears, the depression and elation, the ideals, the illusions. Once it is grasped that thought is responsible for the whole content of our consciousness, then the inevitable question arises whether thought can be stopped. Many attempts have been made, religious and mechanical, to end thought. The very demand for the ending of thought is part of the movement of thought. The very search for super- consciousness is still the measure of thought. The gods, the rituals, all the emotional illusions of churches, temples and mosques, with their marvellous architecture, is still the movement of thought. God is put in heaven by thought. Thought has not made nature; that is real. The chair is also real, and it is made by thought; all the things technology has brought about are real. Illusions avoid the actual- that which is taking place now-but illusions become real because we live by them. The dog is not made by thought, but what we wish the dog to be is the movement of thought. Thought is measure. Thought is time. The whole of this is our consciousness. The mind, the brain, the senses are part of it. We are asking if this movement can come to an end.

Thought is the root of all our sorrow, all our ugliness. What we are asking for is the ending of these things that thought has put together; not the ending of thought itself, but the ending of our anxiety, grief, pain, power, violence. With the ending of these, thought finds its rightful, limited place-the everyday knowledge and memory one must have. When the contents of consciousness, which have been put together by thought, are no longer active, then there is vast space and so the release of immense energy which was limited by consciousness. Love is beyond this consciousness.

The Intelligence of the Body will Guard its own Well-Being

The flowering of goodness is the release of our total energy. It is not the control or suppression of energy but rather the total freedom of this vast energy. It is limited, narrowed down by thought, by the fragmentation of our senses. Thought itself is this energy manipulating itself into a narrow groove, a centre of the self. The flowering of goodness can be only when energy is free. Thought by its very nature has limited this energy, and so the fragmentation of the senses takes place. Hence there are the senses, sensations, desires and the images that thought creates out of desire. All this is a fragmentation of energy. Can this limited movement be aware of itself? That is, can the senses be aware of themselves? Can desire see itself arising out of the senses, out of the sensation of the image that thought has created; and can thought be aware of itself, of its movement? All this implies: can the whole physical body be aware of itself?

We live by our senses. One of them is usually dominant: the listening, the seeing, the tasting seem to be separate from each other; but is this a fact? Or is it that we have given to one or other a greater importance, or rather that thought has given the greater importance? One may hear great music and delight in it, and yet be insensitive to other things. One may have a sensitive taste and be wholly insensitive to delicate colour. This is fragmentation. When each fragment is aware only of itself, then fragmentation is maintained. In this way energy is broken up. If this is so, as it appears to be, is there a non- fragmentary awareness by all the senses?

Thought is part of the senses. Can the body be aware of itself? Not you being aware of your own body, but the body itself being aware. This is very important to find out. It cannot be taught by another for then it is second-hand information, which thought is imposing on it. You must discover for yourself whether the whole organism, the physical entity, can be aware of itself. You may be aware of the movement of an arm, a leg or the head, and through that movement feel that you are becoming aware of the whole, but what we are asking is: can the body be aware of itself without any movement? This is essential to find out, because thought has imposed its pattern on the body, what it thinks is right exercise, right food, and so on. So there is the domination of thought over the organism; there is consciously or unconsciously a struggle between thought and the organism. In this way thought is destroying the natural intelligence of the body itself.

Does the body, the physical organism, have its own intelligence? It has when all the senses are acting together in harmony so that there is no straining, no emotional or sensory demands of desire. When one is hungry one eats, but usually taste, formed by habit, dictates what one eats. So fragmentation takes place. A healthy body can be brought about only through the harmony of all the senses, which is the intelligence of the body itself. What we are asking is: doesn’t disharmony bring about waste of energy? Can the organism’s own intelligence, which has been suppressed or destroyed by thought, be awakened?

Remembrance plays havoc with the body. The remembrance of yesterday’s pleasure makes thought master of the body. The body then becomes a slave to the master, and intelligence is denied. So there is conflict. This struggle may express itself as laziness, fatigue, indifference, or in neurotic responses. When the body has its own intelligence freed from thought, though thought is part of it, this intelligence will guard its own well-being.

Pleasure dominates our life in its crudest or most educated forms; and pleasure essentially is a remembrance- that which has been, or that which is anticipated. Pleasure is never at the moment. When pleasure is denied, suppressed or blocked, neurotic acts, such as violence and hatred, take place out of this frustration. Then pleasure seeks other forms and outlets; satisfaction and dissatisfaction arise. To be aware of all these physical and psychological activities requires an observation of the whole movement of one’s life.

When the body is aware of itself, then we can ask a further and perhaps more difficult question: can thought, which has put together this whole consciousness, be aware of itself? Most of the time thought dominates the body, and so the body loses its vitality, intelligence, its own intrinsic energy, and hence has neurotic reactions. Is the intelligence of the body different from total intelligence, which can come about only when thought, realizing its own limitation, finds its right place?

As we said at the beginning of this letter, the flowering of goodness can take place only when there is the release of total energy. In this release there is no friction. It is only in this supreme undivided intelligence that there is this flowering. This intelligence is not the child of reason. The totality of this intelligence is compassion.

Mankind has tried to release this immense energy through various forms of control, through exhausting discipline, through fasting, through sacrificial denials offered to some supreme principle or god, or through manipulating this energy through various states. All this implies the manipulation of thought towards a desired end. But what we are saying is quite contrary to all this. Can all this be conveyed to the student? It is your responsibility to do so.

Selfishness is the Essential Problem of our Life

Most human beings are selfish. They are not conscious of their own selfishness, it is the way of their life. And if one is aware that one is selfish, one hides it very carefully and conforms to the pattern of society, which is essentially selfish. The selfish mind is very cunning. Either it is brutally and openly selfish, or it takes many forms. If you are a politician, the selfishness seeks power, status and popularity; it identifies itself with an idea, a mission, all for the public good. If you are a tyrant, it expresses itself in brutal domination. If you are inclined to be religious, it takes the form of adoration, devotion, adherence to some belief, some dogma. It also expresses itself in the family; the father pursues his own selfishness in the ways of his life, and so does the mother.

Fame, prosperity, good looks form a basis for this hidden creeping movement of the self. It is in the hierarchical structure of the priesthood, however much they may proclaim their love of God, their adherence to the self- created image of their particular deity. The captains of industry and the poor clerk have this expanding and benumbing sensuality of the self. The monks who have renounced the ways of the world may wander the face of the world or may be locked away in some monastery, but they have not left this unending movement of the self. They may change their names, put on robes or take vows of celibacy or silence, but they burn with some ideal, with some image, some symbol.

It is the same with the scientists, with the philosophers and the professors in the universities. The doer of good works, the saints and gurus, the man or the woman who works endlessly for the poor, all attempt to lose themselves in their work, but the work is part of the self. They have transferred the egotism to their labours. It begins in childhood and continues to old age. The conceit of knowledge, the practised humility of the leader, the submitting wife and dominating man all have this disease. The self identifies with the State, with endless groups, with endless ideas and causes, but it remains what it was at the beginning.

Human beings have tried various practices, methods, meditations to be free of this centre which causes so much misery and confusion but, like a shadow, it is never captured. It is always there, and it slips through your fingers, through your mind. Sometimes it is strengthened or becomes weak according to circumstances. You corner it here, it turns up there.

One wonders if the educator, who is responsible for a new generation, understands non-verbally what a mischievous thing the self is, how corrupting, distorting, how dangerous it is in our lives. He may not know how to be free of it; he may not even be aware it is there; but once he sees the nature of the movement of the self, can he or she convey its subtleties to the student? Isn’t it the teacher’s responsibility to do this? Insight into the working of the self is of greater importance than academic learning. Knowledge can be used by the self for its own expansion, its aggressiveness, its innate cruelty.

Selfishness is the essential problem of our life. Conforming and imitation are part of the self, as are competition and the ruthlessness of talent. If the educator in these schools takes this problem to his heart seriously, which I hope he does, then how will he help the student to be selfless? You might say it is a “gift of strange gods”, or brush it aside as being impossible; but if you are serious, as one must be, and are totally responsible for the student, how will you set about freeing the mind from this age-old, binding energy, this self which has caused so much sorrow?

Wouldn’t you, with great care, which implies affection, explain in simple words what the consequences are when the student speaks in anger, or when he hits somebody, or when he is thinking of his own importance? Is it not possible to explain to him that when he insists, ‘This is mine’, or boasts. ‘I did it’, or when he avoids a certain action through fear, he is building a wall, brick by brick, around himself? Is it not possible when his desires, his sensations overpower his rational thinking, to point out that the shadow of self is growing? Is it not possible to say to him that where the self is, in any guise, there is no love?

But the student might ask the educator, ‘Have you realized all this or are you just playing with words?’ That very question might awaken your own intelligence, and that very intelligence will give you the right feeling and the right words to answer.

As an educator you have no status; you are a human being with all the problems of life, like a student. The moment you speak from status, you are actually destroying the human relationship. Status implies power, and when you are seeking this, consciously or unconsciously, you enter a world of cruelty. You have a great responsibility, my friend, and if you take this total responsibility, which is love, then the roots of the self are gone. This is not said as an encouragement or to make you feel that you must do this, but as we are all human beings, representing the whole of mankind, we are totally and wholly responsible, whether we choose to be or not. You may try to evade it, but that very movement is the action of the self. Clarity of perception is freedom from the self.

Physical and Psychological Problems Waster our Energy

 

As a rule, parents have very little time for their children except when they are babies. They send them to the local or boarding schools, or they allow others to look after them. They may not have time or the necessary patience to educate them at home. They are occupied with their own problems. So our schools become the children’s homes and the educators become the parents with all the responsibility. We have written about this earlier, and it is not out of place to repeat it: home is a place where there is a certain freedom, a sense of being secure, being provided for and sheltered. Do the children in these schools feel that they are being carefully watched over, given a great deal of thought and affection, and that there is concern for their behaviour, their food, their clothes and their manners? If so, the school becomes a place where the student feels that he is really at home, with all its implications, that there are people around him who are looking after his tastes, the way he talks; that he is being looked after physically as well as psychologically, being helped to be free from hurts and fear. This is the responsibility of every teacher in these schools, not of one or two. The whole school exists for this, for an atmosphere in which both the educators and the students are flowering in goodness.

The educator needs leisure to be quiet by himself, to gather the energy that has been expended, to be aware of his own personal problems and resolve them, so that when he meets the students again he does not carry the noise of his personal turmoil. As we have pointed out earlier, any problem arising in our lives should be resolved instantly or as quickly as possible, for when problems are carried from day to day, the sensitivity of the whole mind degenerates. This sensitivity is essential. We lose this sensitivity when we are merely instructing the student in a subject. When the subject becomes the only important thing, sensitivity fades away, and then you really lose contact with the student. The student then is merely a receptacle for information. Thus your mind and the student’s mind become mechanical.

Generally, we are sensitive to our own problems, to our own desires and thoughts, and rarely to those of others. When we are constantly in contact with the students, there is a tendency to impose our own images on them or, if the student has his own strong images, there is conflict between these images. So it becomes very important that the educator should leave his images at home and be concerned with the images that parents or society have imposed on the student, or the images that the student himself has created.

Physical and psychological problems waste our energy. Can the educator be physically secure in these schools and be free of psychological problems? This is really important to understand. When there is not a sense of physical security, uncertainty brings about psychological turmoil. This encourages dullness of the mind, so the passion that is so necessary in our daily life withers away and enthusiasm takes its place. Enthusiasm is a dangerous thing for it is never constant. It rises in a wave and is gone. This is mistaken for seriousness. You may be enthusiastic, eager, active for some time about what you are doing, but inherent in it is dissipation. Again it is essential that we understand this, for most relationship is prone to this waste.

Passion is wholly different from lust, interest or enthusiasm. Interest in something can be very deep and you can use that interest for profit or for power, but that interest is not passion. Interest may be stimulated by an object or by an idea. Interest is self-indulgence. Passion is free of the self. Enthusiasm is always about something. Passion is a flame in itself. Enthusiasm can be aroused by another, something outside of you. Passion is the summation of energy, which is not the outcome of any kind of stimulation. Passion is beyond the self.

Do the teachers have this sense of passion? For out of this comes creation. In teaching subjects, one has to find new ways of transmitting information without the information making the mind mechanical. Can you teach history, which is the story of mankind, not as Indian, English, American history, but as the story of mankind, which is global? Then the educator’s mind is always fresh, eager, discovering a whole different approach to teaching. In this the educator is intensely alive, and with this aliveness goes passion.

Can this be done in all our schools? For we are concerned with bringing about a different society, with the flowering of goodness, with a non-mechanical mind. True education is this. Will you, the educators, undertake this responsibility? In this responsibility lies the flowering of goodness in you and in the student. We are responsible for the whole of mankind, which is you and the student. You have to start there and cover the whole earth. You can go very far if you start very near. The nearest is you and your student. We generally start with the farthest, the supreme principle, the greatest ideal, and get lost in some hazy dream of imaginative thought. But when you start very near, with the nearest, which is you, then the whole world is open, for you are the world, and the world beyond you is only nature. Nature is not imaginary, it is actual; and what is happening to you now is actual. You must begin from the actual, with what is happening now. And the now is timeless.

Can the Senses Be Supremely Active without Desire Coming In?

School is where one learns not only the knowledge required for daily life but also the art of living with all its complexities and subtleties. We seem to forget this, and become totally caught up in the superficiality of knowledge. Knowledge is always superficial. Learning the art of living is not considered to be necessary; living is not considered to be an art.

When one leaves school, one stops learning, and continues to live on that which one has accumulated as knowledge. We never consider that life is a whole process of learning. As one observes life, daily living is a constant change and movement, and one’s mind is not quick and sensitive enough to follow its subtleties. One comes to it with ready-made reactions and fixations. Can this be prevented in these schools? This does not mean that one must have an open mind. Generally the open mind is like a sieve retaining little or nothing. It is a mind that is capable of quick perception and action that is necessary. That is why we went into the subject of insight with its immediacy of action. Insight does not leave the scar of memory. Generally, experience, as it is understood, leaves its residue as memory, and from this residue one acts. The action strengthens the residue, and so action becomes mechanical. Insight is not a mechanical activity.

Without strengthening the residue that is memory, can it be taught in the school that daily life is a constant process of learning and action in relationship? With most of us the scar of residue becomes all-important, and we lose the swift current of life.

Both the student and the educator live in a state of confusion and disorder outwardly and inwardly. One may not be aware of this fact; if one is, one quickly puts order into outward things, but one is rarely aware of inner confusion and disorder.

God is disorder. Consider the innumerable gods that man has invented, or the one god, the one saviour, and observe the confusion this has created in the world, the wars it has brought about, the innumerable divisions, the separating beliefs, symbols and images. Isn’t this confusion and disorder? We have become accustomed to this; we accept it readily, for our life is so wearisome with boredom and pain that we seek comfort in the gods that thought has conjured up. This has been our way of life for thousands of years. Every civilization has invented gods, and they have been the source of great tyranny, wars and destruction. Their buildings may be extraordinarily beautiful, but inside there is darkness and the source of confusion.

Can one put aside these gods? One must if one is to consider why the human mind accepts disorder politically, religiously and economically and lives in it. What is the source of this disorder-the actuality of it, not the theological reason? Can one put aside the concepts of disorder and be free to inquire into the actual daily source of our disorder- not into what order is but disorder? We can find out what absolute order is only when we have thoroughly investigated disorder and its source. We are so eager to find out what order is, so impatient with disorder, that we are apt to suppress it, thinking thereby to bring about order. Here we are asking not only if there can be absolute order in our daily life, but also whether confusion can end. So our first concern is with disorder and its source. Is it thought? Is it contradictory desires? Is it fear and the search for security? Is it the constant demand for pleasure? Is thought one of the sources or the main reason for the disorder?

It is not merely the writer but you asking these questions. Please bear this in mind all the time. You must discover the source, not be told the source and then repeat that.

Thought, as we have pointed out, is finite, limited; and whatever is limited, however wide its activities may be, inevitably brings confusion. That which is limited is divisive and therefore destructive and confusing. We have gone sufficiently into the nature and structure of thought. To have an insight into the nature of thought is to give it its right place so that it loses its overpowering domination.

Is desire and the changing objects of desire one of the causes of our disorder? To suppress desire is to suppress all sensation, which is to paralyse the mind. We think this is the easy and quick way to end desire, but one cannot suppress it; it is much too strong, much too subtle. You cannot grasp it in your hand and twist it according to your wish, which is another desire. We have talked about desire in a previous letter. Desire can never be suppressed or transmuted or corrupted as right and wrong desire; whatever you do about it, it remains always sensation and desire,. Desire for enlightenment and desire for money are the same, though the objects vary.

Can one live without desire? Or to put it differently, can the senses be supremely active without desire coming in? There are both psychological and physical sensory activities. The body seeks warmth, food, sex; there is physical pain and so on. These sensations are natural, but when they enter into the psychological field, the trouble begins. Therein lies our confusion. It is important to understand this, especially when we are young, and to observe the physical sensations without suppression or exaggeration; to be alert, watchful that they do not seep into the psychological inner realm where they do not belong.

That is our difficulty; the whole process happens so quickly because we do not see this, have not understood it, have never really examined what actually takes place. There is immediate sensory response to challenge. This response is natural and is not under the domination of thought, of desire. Our difficulty begins when these sensory responses enter into the psychological realm. The challenge may be a woman or man or something pleasant, appetizing, or a lovely garden. The response to this is sensation, and when this sensation enters the psychological field, desire begins and thought with its images seeks the fulfilment of desire.

Our question is how to prevent the natural physical responses from entering into the psychological. Is this possible? It is possible only when you observe the nature of the challenge with great attention and carefully watch your responses. This total attention will prevent the physical responses from entering into the inner psyche.

We are concerned with desire and the understanding of it, not the brutalizing factor of suppressing, avoiding or sublimating. You cannot live without desire. When you are hungry you need food. But to understand, which is to investigate the whole activity of desire, is to give it its right place. Then it will not be a source of disorder in our daily life.

Where there is no Measurement, there is the Quality of Wholeness

What man has done to man has no limit. He has tortured him; he has burned him; he has killed him; he has exploited him in every possible way-religious, political and economic. This has been the story of man against man; the clever exploit the stupid, the ignorant. All philosophies are intellectual and therefore not whole. These philosophies have enslaved man. They have invented concepts of what society should be and sacrificed man to their concepts; the ideals of the so-called thinkers have dehumanized man. Exploitation of another man or woman seems to be the way of our daily life. We use each other, and each one accepts this. Out of this peculiar relationship, dependence arises with all the misery, confusion and agony that is inherent in dependence. Man has been both inwardly and outwardly so treacherous to himself and to others. How can there be love in these circumstances?

So it becomes very important for the educator to feel total responsibility in his personal relationship not only to the student but to the whole of mankind. He is mankind. If he does not feel responsible for himself totally, then he will be incapable of feeling the passion of total responsibility which is love. Do you as an educator feel this responsibility? If not, why not? You may feel responsible for your own wife, husband or children, and may disregard or feel no responsibility for another, but if you feel completely responsible in yourself, you cannot but be responsible for the whole of humanity.

The question of why you do not feel responsible for another is very important. responsibility is not an emotional reaction, not something you impose upon yourself-to feel responsible. Then it becomes duty, and duty has lost the perfume or the beauty of the inward quality of total responsibility. It is not something you invite as a principle or an idea to hold on to, like possessing a chair or a watch. A mother may feel responsible for her child, feel that the child is part of her blood and flesh, and so give all her care and attention to that baby for some years. Is this maternal instinct responsibility? It may be that we have inherited this peculiar attachment to the child from the first animals. It exists in all nature from the tiniest bird to the majestic elephant. We are asking if this instinct is responsibility. If it were, parents would feel responsible for a right kind of education, for a totally different kind of society. They would see that there were no wars and that they themselves flowered in goodness.

So, it appears that a human being is not concerned for another but is committed only to himself. This commitment is total irresponsibility. His own emotions, his own personal desires, his own attachments, his success, his advancement will inevitably breed ruthlessness both open and subtle. Is this the way of true responsibility?

In these schools the one who gives and the one who receives are both responsible, so they can never indulge in the peculiar quality of separateness. Egotistic separateness is perhaps the very root of the degeneration of the wholeness of the mind with which we are deeply concerned. This does not mean that there is no personal relationship, with affection, with tenderness, with encouragement and support; but when personalrelationshipbecomesall-importantandisresponsible only for the few, then the mischief has begun. The reality of this is known to every human being. This fragmentation of relationship is the degenerating factor in our lives. We have broken up relationship so that it is to the personal, to a group, to a nation, to certain concepts and so on.

That which is fragmented can never comprehend the wholeness of responsibility. From the little we are always trying to capture the greater. The better is not the good, and all our thought is based on the better, the more-being better at exams, having better jobs, greater status, better gods, nobler ideas. The better is the outcome of comparison. The thought of the better picture, the better technique, the greater musician, the more talented, the more beautiful and the more intelligent depend on this comparison. We rarely look at a painting for itself, or at a man or a woman for themselves. There is always this quality of comparison.

Is love comparison? Can you ever say you love this one more than that one? When there is this comparison, is that love? When there is this feeling of the more, which is measurement, then thought is in operation. Love is not the movement of thought. This measurement is comparison. We are encouraged throughout our life to compare. When in your school you compare B with A, you are destroying both of them. So is it possible to educate without any sense of comparison?

Why do we compare? We compare for the simple reason that measuring is the way of thought and the way of our life. We are educated in this corruption. The better is always nobler than what is, than what is actually going on. The observation of what is, without comparison, without the measure, is to go beyond what is.

When there is no comparison, there is integrity. It is not that you are true to yourself, which is a form of measurement, but when there is no measurement at all there is the quality of wholeness. The essence of the ego, the “me”, is measurement. When there is measurement, there is fragmentation. This must be profoundly understood, not as an idea but as an actuality. When you read this statement, you may make an abstraction of it as an idea, a concept, and the abstraction is another form of measurement. That which is has no measurement.

Please give your heart to the understanding of this. When you have grasped the full significance of this, your relationship with the student and with your own family will become something quite different. If you ask if that difference will be better, then you are caught in the wheel of measurement. Then you are lost. You will find the difference when you actually test this out. The very word difference implies measurement, but we are using the word non-comparatively. Almost every word we use has this feeling of measurement, so the words affect our reactions, and reactions deepen the sense of comparison. The word and the reaction are interrelated, and the art lies in not being conditioned by the word, which means that language does not shape us. Use the word without the psychological reactions to it.

As we have said, we are concerned with communicating with each other about the nature of the degeneration of our minds and so the ways of our life. Enthusiasm is not passion. You can be enthusiastic about something one day and lose it the next. You can be enthusiastic about playing football and lose interest when it no longer entertains you. But passion is something entirely different. It has no time lag in it.

Which is the honest desire or thought, and which is not?

Any form of conflict, struggle, corrupts the mind-the mind being the wholeness of all our existence. This quality is destroyed when there is any kind of friction, any kind of contradiction. As most of us live in a perpetual state of contradiction and conflict, this lack of completeness makes for degeneration. We are concerned here to discover for ourselves whether it is at all possible to end these degenerating factors.Perhaps most of us have never thought about this; we have accepted it as a normal way of life. We have convinced ourselves that conflict, like competition, brings growth, and we have various explanations for this-the tree struggles in the forest for light; the baby just born struggles for breath; the mother labours to deliver. We are conditioned to accept this and to live in this manner. This has been the way of our life for generations, and any suggestion that perhaps there might be a way of life without conflict seems quite incredible. You may listen to this as some idealistic nonsense, or reject it out of hand, but you never consider whether there is any significance in the statement that it is possible to live a life without a shadow of conflict. When you are concerned with integrity and the responsibility of bringing about a new generation, which as educators is the only function you have, can you investigate this fact? And in the very process of educating, can you convey to the student what you are discovering for yourself?Conflict in any form is an indication of resistance. In a fast flowing river there is no resistance; it flows around big boulders, through villages and towns. Man controls it for his own purpose. After all, doesn’t freedom imply absence of the resistance that thought has built around itself?

Honesty is a very complex affair. When one says to oneself that one must be honest, is that possible? What are you honest about and for what reason? Can you be honest with yourself and so be fair to another? Is honesty a matter of ideals? Can an idealist ever be honest? He is living in a future carved out of the past; he is caught between that which has been and that which ought to be, and so he can never be honest. You are the centre of various sometimes contradictory activities, of various thoughts, feelings and desires which are always in opposition to each other. Which is the honest desire or thought and which is not? These are not mere rhetorical questions or clever arguments. It is very important to find out what it means to be totally honest, because we are going to deal with insight and the immediacy of action. It is utterly important, if we would grasp the depth of meaning of insight, to have the quality of complete integrity, to have that integrity which is the honesty of the whole.

One may feel honest about an ideal, a principle or an ingrained belief. Surely this is not honesty. Honesty can be only when there is no conflict of duality, when the opposite does not exist. There is darkness and light, night and day; there is man, woman, the tall, the short, and so on, but it is thought that makes them opposites, puts them in contradiction. We are expressing the psychological contradiction that mankind has cultivated. Love is not the opposite of hate or jealousy. If it were, it would not be love. Humility is not the opposite of vanity or pride and arrogance. If it were, it would still be part of arrogance and pride and so could not be humility. Humility is totally divorced from all this. A mind that is humble is unaware of its humility. So honesty is not the opposite of dishonesty.

One can be sincere in one’s belief or in one’s concept, but that sincerity breeds conflict; and where there is conflict there is no honesty. So we are asking if you can be honest to yourself. Yourself is a mixture of many movements crossing each other, dominating each other and rarely flowing together. When all these movements flow together, then there is honesty. There is separation between the conscious and unconscious, god and the devil. Thought has brought about these divisions and the conflict that exists between these divisions. Goodness has no opposite.

With this new understanding of what honesty is, we can proceed with the investigation into what insight is. This is utterly important because that may be the factor to revolutionize our action and bring about a transformation in the brain itself. We have said that our way of life has become mechanical-the past with all the accumulated experience and knowledge, which is the source of thought, is directing, shaping all action. The past and the future are interrelated and inseparable, and the very process of thinking is based upon this. Thought is ever-limited, finite. Though it may pretend to reach heaven, that very heaven is within the frame of thought. Memory is measurable, as time is. This movement of thought can never be fresh, new, original. So action based on thought must ever be broken up, incomplete, contradictory. This whole movement of thought must be deeply understood, including its place relative to seeing to the necessities of life and things that must be remembered. Then what is action which is not the continuance of remembrance? It is insight.

Insight is not the careful deduction of thought, the analytical process of thought or the time-binding nature of memory. It is instantaneous perception without the perceiver. From this insight, action takes place. From this insight the explanation of any problem is accurate, final and true. There are no regrets, no reactions. It is absolute. There can be no insight without the quality of love. Insight is not an intellectual affair to be argued about. This love is the highest form of sensitivity when all the senses are flowering together. Without this sensitivity-which is not to one’s desires, problems and all the pettiness of life-insight is obviously quite impossible.

Insight is holistic. Holistic implies the whole, the whole of the mind. The mind is all the experience of humanity, including the vast accumulated knowledge with its technical skills, with its sorrows, anxiety, pain, grief and loneliness. But insight is beyond all this. Freedom from sorrow, from grief, from loneliness, is essential for insight to be. Insight is not a continuous movement. It cannot be captured by thought. Insight is supreme intelligence, and this intelligence employs thought as a tool. Insight is intelligence with its beauty and love; they are really inseparable; they are actually one. This is the whole, which is the most sacred.

Learn more about the school’s founder, J. Krishnamurti.

Many resources about Krishnamurti can be found on the Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) website.