I don't know if any of you have noticed, early in the morning, the sunlight on the waters. How extraordinarily soft is the light, and how the dark waters dance, with the morning star over the trees, the only star in the sky. Do you ever notice any of that? Or are you so busy, so occupied with the daily routine, that you forget or have never known the rich beauty of this earth this earth on which all of us have to live? Whether we call ourselves communists or capitalists, Hindus or Buddhists, Moslems or Christians, whether we are blind, lame, well or happy, this earth is ours.
Do you understand? It is our earth, not somebody else's; it is not only the rich man's earth, it does not belong exclusively to the powerful rulers, to the nobles of the land, but it is our earth, yours and mine.
We are nobodies, yet we also live on this earth and we all have to live together. It is the world of the poor as well as of the rich, of the unlettered as well as of the learned. It is our world, and I think it is very important to feel this and to love the earth, not just occasionally on a peaceful morning, but all the time. We can feel that it is our world and love it only when we understand what freedom is.
Penguin Krishnamurti Reader
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in Madanapalle, South India on May 12, 1895. For more than sixty years he traveled the world giving public talks and private interviews to millions of people of all ages and backgrounds, saying that only through a complete change in the hearts and minds of individuals can there come about a change in society and peace in the world. He died on February 17, 1986 in Ojai, California, at the age of ninety and his talks, dialogues, journals and letters have been preserved in seventy books and in hundreds of audio and video recordings.
The century in which Krishnamurti lived saw two world wars, continuous political, ethnic and religious violence, mass murder on an unprecedented scale and the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world. In addition, overpopulation, environmental degradation and the collapse of social institutions have bred fear and cynicism about people's ability to solve their ever-multiplying problems. In virtually every public talk he gave, Krishnamurti addressed this global crisis, calling on his listeners to give serious attention to the psychological structures that breed violence and sorrow in their lives.
Throughout his lifetime, Krishnamurti insisted that he wanted no followers. "To follow another is evil," he said, "it does not matter who it is." He created no organization of believers and disciples, authorized no one to become an interpreter of his work and asked only that, after his death, those who shared his concerns preserve for posterity an authentic record of his talks, dialogues and writings and make them widely available to the public. This book contains excerpts from Krishnamurti's published work.
The chronology to the left of the text documents the places where Krishnamurti lived and spoke during his lifetime. It should be noted that he often spoke at one place more than once in a year. Hence, place names are repeated in the chronology.
(Note: The Indian government has renamed several cities. Chennai is the new name for Madras. Mumbai is the new name for Bombay.)
The problems of the world are so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so to resolve them, one must approach them in a very simple, direct manner. And simplicity, directness, do not depend on outward circumstances nor on our particular prejudices or moods. The solution is not to be found through conferences, blueprints, or the substitution of new leaders for old, and so on. The solution obviously lies in the creator of the problem, in the creator of the mischief, of the hate and the enormous misunderstanding that exists between human beings. The creator of this mischief, the creator of these problems, is the individual, you and I .... We are the world, and our problems are the worlds problems. This cannot be repeated too often, because we are so sluggish in our mentality that we think the worlds problems are not our business, that they have to be resolved by the United Nations or by substituting new leaders for the old. It is a very dull mentality that thinks like that, because we are responsible for the frightful misery and confusion in the world, this ever-impending war.
To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand that this is our responsibility yours and mine because, however small may be the world we live in, if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others.
Penguin Krishnamurti Reader
Although he spoke and wrote exclusively in English, Krishnamurtis writings have been translated into 47 languages. Fifty books of Krishnamurti were published during his lifetime and 20 books have been published since his death. For many decades, his texts were circulated surreptitiously in totalitarian countries, but since 1990, when the Berlin Wall was torn down, arrangements for the publication of Krishnamurtis works have been made in Russia, Poland and Romania. More than 3,000,000 copies of his books have been sold worldwide in the past 60 years. Some 10,000 pages of Krishnamurtis words have yet to be published.
It has been estimated that Krishnamurti talked to more people than any other person in recorded history; he gave his last public talk January 3, 1986. For six decades, the audiences for his talks very often numbered in the thousands, especially in large cities in India, and in Ojai, California, where warm weather permitted everyone to gather outdoors with virtually no limit on the availability of seating. The concert halls and auditoriums where he spoke in metropolitan areas in the West were often filled to capacity, as were the large tents that sheltered approximately 2,000 people during his annual summer meetings in Switzerland and England. Smaller groups that Krishnamurti met with usually consisted of twenty to forty people, but Krishnamurti once said, "Even if only two people talk together seriously, they can move mountains."
Despite his very active public life, Krishnamurti was a shy, deferential man. From his earliest years , he dismissed all efforts to portray him as an exceptional human being. In 1929, he withdrew from those attempting to create a mystique around him and his work, saying, "I desire those who seek to understand me to be free, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect." Two years before his death, when asked to reflect upon the importance of his own life, he replied: "Does it matter if the world says of K, What a wonderful person he is ? Who cares? ... The vase contains water; you have to drink the water, not worship the vase. Humanity worships the vase, forgets the water."
We, as human beings separated, isolated, have not been able to solve our problems; although highly educated, cunning, self-centered, capable of extraordinary things outwardly, yet inwardly, we are more or less what we have been for thousands of years. We hate, we compete, we destroy each other; which is what is actually going on at the present time. You have heard the experts talking about some recent war; they are not talking about human beings being killed, but about destroying airfields, blowing up this or that. There is this total confusion in the world, of which one is quite sure we are all aware; so what shall we do? As a friend some time ago told the speaker: "You cannot do anything; you are beating your head against a wall. Things will go on like this indefinitely; fighting, destroying each other, competing and being caught in various forms of illusion. This will go on. Do not waste your life and time." Aware of the tragedy of the world, the terrifying events that may happen should some crazy person press a button; the computer taking over mans capacities, thinking much quicker and more accurately what is going to happen to the human being? This is the vast problem we are facing.
The Flame of Attention
Because of the very serious nature of the issues that Krishnamurti raised, he felt it was of primary importance that those interested in inquiring with him begin their investigation in the right spirit. He reminded his audiences that he was not trying to convince them of anything, nor was he an instructor. In a public talk in Varanasi, India, in 1981, he described his approach this way: "This is a conversation between two friends, two friends who have a certain affection for each other, a certain care for each other, who will not betray each other and have certain deep common interests. So they are conversing amicably, with a sense of deep communication with each other, sitting under a tree on a lovely cool morning with dew on the grass, talking over together the complexities of life."
Krishnamurti frequently met with smaller groups of people to discuss the problems of everyday living and to go deeply into the nature of existence. These groups were most often comprised of teachers, students and parents associated with the schools which Krishnamurti helped bring into being, and they often included scientists, psychologists and scholars. Krishnamurti set no criteria for those who could attend these small dialogues. The active participants at a single session sometimes ranged from internationally renowned figures to the housecleaners at the homes Krishnamurti visited.
To an extraordinary degree, Krishnamurti did not use the first person pronoun "I" in public conversations or in private life. In his talks, he generally introduced himself to the audience as "the speaker," and in dialogue with others, he often substituted "K" or simply "X" when referring to himself. This was not a pose but an invitation to those listening to engage in a wholly impersonal investigation of human life and not regard his words as authoritative opinions or subjective conclusions. For the same reasons, Krishnamurti almost invariably addressed those engaged in dialogue with him as "Sir," or "Madam," even though sometimes the participants were longtime friends.
Questioner: Why is there so much cruelty in nature?
Krishnamurti: That is natural, perhaps. Dont say there is cruelty in nature. Why are you so cruel? Why are human beings so cruel?
Questioner: I want to get rid of my pain and sorrow; therefore, if anybody hurts me, I also react or respond in a similar manner.
Krishnamurti: Sir, have you ever considered that all human beings suffer all human beings in the world, whether they live in Russia, America, China, India, Pakistan, wherever it is? All human beings suffer.
Questioner: Yes, sir.
Krishnamurti: Now, how do you solve that suffering?
Questioner: I am interested in my own suffering.
Krishnamurti: What are you doing about it?
Questioner: I have come here to be enlightened by you.
Krishnamurti: What shall we do together, sir? Together. Not I help you or you help me; what shall we do together to get rid of sorrow?
Questioner: I dont know, sir.
Krishnamurti: Are you sure?
Questioner: Yes, sir.
Krishnamurti: No, no, answer carefully; this is a very serious question. Are you sure you dont know how to be free of sorrow?
Questioner: Yes, I do not know how to get rid of my sorrow.
Krishnamurti: Just a minute, just a minute remain in that state.
The Future is Now
In the 1920s and 1930s, professional stenographers made verbatim transcriptions of the public talks of Krishnamurti, and Krishnamurti himself often kept detailed journal entries not only of his talks but his interviews with individuals. Beginning in 1949, the talks were tape recorded as a matter of course and, toward the end of his life, it was sometimes the case that Krishnamurti was recorded two or three times a day, as he met with friends or students and teachers following a public address. The first videotape of Krishnamurti speaking was made in 1968, and from then on, all of his public talks were recorded in this format, as were many of his dialogues with smaller groups. The Krishnamurti Foundations distribute these video tapes throughout the world, and they are frequently seen on television in the United States, Latin America, India and Great Britain.
The Krishnamurti Foundations in Great Britain, India, Latin America and the United States initially came into being to arrange Krishnamurtis travels and public talks, and he gave them sole authority in handling copyright and other business matters regarding the dissemination of his work. Today, the Foundations also maintain the schools for children that Krishnamurti helped found, and the study centers and archives that he requested be established. In addition, the Foundations facilitate dialogues and gatherings on all five continents for those interested in discussing and resolving the deep problems of human existence.
Krishnamurti was often asked about people who claimed to be interpreters or teachers of his work. Three months before he died he reiterated that such an individual "has no power to say that he represents Krishnamurti, or that he is a follower." Yet Krishnamurti suggested that those who appreciated deeply not his words, but the life to which they pointed, would naturally share their discovery with others, as they would anything that had profoundly affected them: "Seeing the beauty of those hills, the extraordinary tranquillity of a fresh morning, the shape of the mountains, the valleys, the shadows, how everything is in proportion seeing all that, will you not write to your friend, saying, Come over here, look at this? You are not concerned about yourself, but only about the beauty of the mountain."
There is an element of violence in most of us that has never been resolved, never been wiped away, so that we can live totally without violence. Not being able to be free of violence we have created the idea of its opposite, non-violence. Non-violence is non-fact. Violence is a fact. Non-violence does not exist, except as an idea. What exists, "what is," is violence. It is like those people in India who say they worship the idea of non-violence, they preach about it, talk about it, copy it they are dealing with a non-fact, non-reality, with an illusion. What is a fact is violence, major or minor, but violence. When you pursue non-violence, which is an illusion, which is not an actuality, you are cultivating time. That is, "I am violent, but I will be non-violent." The "I will be" is time, which is the future, a future that has no reality; it is invented by thought as an opposite of violence. It is the postponement of violence that creates time. If there is an understanding and so the ending of violence, there is no psychological time.
The Flame of Attention
As to the authority of the Foundations themselves, Krishnamurti said: "The Foundation has no authority over your life, to tell you what to do or what not to do, or to say: This is the center from which all radiation goes on, like a radio station or a television station; we are not saying that. All we are saying is: Here is something which may be original; here is something for you to look at. Take time to read it; take time to understand it. If you are not interested, throw it away; it does not matter. "
Krishnamurti spoke privately and publicly with a number of noted world figures, and many of these interviews are available to the public in books, or on video and audio tape. Among those who sought out interviews with Krishnamurti were three Prime Ministers of India, Jawaharal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi; the eminent physicist, Dr. David Bohm; novelists Aldous Huxley, Iris Murdoch and Christopher Isherwood; the psychologist Ira Progoff, the educator Ivan Illich and the biologist Rupert Sheldrake; Dr. Jonas Salk, the famed inventor of the polio vaccine, and Chugyam Trungpa Rimpoche, the Tibetan monk and lecturer. The single largest exposure of Krishnamurti to the public most likely has been through the American television program, "The Young Indiana Jones."
Krishnamurti was adamant that, in psychological learning, there actually can be no teacher. Each human being must inquire alone into the beauty and complexity of life, and be free to discover love. Yet his vast body of writings, talks and tapes have come to be called "the teachings," a term to which Krishnamurti himself did not object although he once remarked that perhaps it was a "rather grandiose" term. When asked about this, Krishnamurti described how it came about in a discussion among friends: "We thought of using the word work ironworks, big building works, hydroelectric works, you understand? So I thought work is very, very common. So we thought we might use the word teaching. But it is not important the word right? ... It depends upon you, whether you live the teachings, or not."
Do not ask me what psychological time is. Ask that question of yourself. Perhaps the speaker may prompt you, put it into words, but it is your own question. One has had a son, a brother, a wife, father. They are gone. They can never return. They are wiped away from the face of the earth. Of course, one can invent a belief that they are living on other planes. But one has lost them; there is a photograph on the piano or the mantelpiece. Ones remembrance of them is in psychological time. How one had lived, how they loved me; what help they were; they helped to cover up ones loneliness. The remembrance of them is a movement in time. They were there yesterday and gone today. That is, a record has been formed in the brain. That remembrance is a recording on the tape of the brain; and that tape is playing all the time. How one walked with them in the woods, ones sexual remembrances, their companionship, the comfort one derived from them. All that is gone, and the tape is playing on. This tape is memory and memory is time. If you are interested, go into it very deeply.
The Flame of Attention
Whenever and wherever possible, Krishnamurti spoke outdoors. Every spring he gave a series of public talks in an oak grove in the rural town of Ojai, California, and tape recordings of those meetings are filled not only with the sound of Krishnamurtis voice and the questions of his audience, but with the singing of birds. In the winter months in India, he often pointed out the majesty of the rising moon to the thousands of people, young and old, who gathered in the evenings to hear him speak in public gardens in Chennai and Mumbai. Krishnamurti even wrote outdoors, most notably Education and the Significance of Life in 1953, which he penciled into a notebook over a span of three days while sitting under the shade of a tree.
As Krishnamurti traveled from country to country, he dressed according to the local custom, both as a matter of courtesy and of not wishing to draw attention to himself. Thus in India, he wore kurta and pyjama or churidar and often carried a large umbrella to shield himself from the sun on afternoon walks. Krishnamurti wore suits made in London while traveling in the West. In California, Krishnamurti dressed neatly but casually, favoring jeans, open-collared shirts and running shoes.
Krishnamurti sometimes illustrated a point he was making by sharing with his audience a joke he had heard. One of his enduring favorites was the story of a man walking along the street and instead of looking at the beautiful sky he was watching the pavement. Then he saw in the distance something very brilliant. He went rapidly towards it, picked it up and looked at it. He was in a state of beatitude, because it was extraordinarily beautiful. He put it in his pocket. Behind were two people walking. One of them says to the other, "What was it that he picked up? Did you see his expression of ecstasy in the very act of looking at it?" And the other, who happened to be the devil, said, "What he picked up was truth." And the friend said, "That is very bad business for you that he has found it." He said, "Not at all. I am going to help him organize it."
Most of us are afraid of something or of many things; you may be afraid of your wife, of your husband, afraid of losing a job; afraid of not having security in old age, afraid of public opinion which is the most silly form of fear afraid of so many things darkness, death and so on. Now we are going to examine together, not what we are afraid of, but what fear is in itself. We are not talking about the object of fear, but about the nature of fear, how fear arises, how you approach it. Is there a motive behind ones approach to the problem of fear? Obviously one usually has a motive; the motive to go beyond it, to suppress it, to avoid it, to neglect it; and one has been used to fear for the greater part of ones life, so one puts up with it. If there is any kind of motive, one cannot see it clearly, cannot come near it. And when one looks at fear, does one consider that fear is separate from oneself, as if one was an outsider, looking inside, or an insider looking out? But is fear different from oneself? Obviously not, nor is anger. But through education, through religion, one is made to feel separate from it, so that one must fight it, must get over it. One never asks if that thing called fear is actually separate from oneself. It is not, and in understanding that, one understands that the observer is the observed.
The Flame of Attention
Among the most popular of Krishnamurtis writings are those contained in a three-volume series of transcripts of interviews entitled Commentaries on Living. In them, Krishnamurti explores the complexity of life with the individuals who visited him in California, Europe and India, or who approached him in airports and train stations. His anonymous interlocutors were politicians, students, widows, businessmen, married couples, professors, monks and artists people from every walk of life, every age, every religious creed and nationality.
Krishnamurti kept a heavy schedule of private interviews giving sometimes as many as thirty a day. Whether in India, California, Switzerland or England, he and his visitors would most often meet on a verandah or walk outdoors to discuss the intricacies of life, where they could watch a sunset, observe the landscape or listen to the sound of a river flowing by. Krishnamurti often asked those with him to pause for a moment to look at a flower in bloom or, depending on the locale, he would point to the play of squirrels or monkeys, the flight of parrots or eagles. On some occasions, those who visited Krishnamurti chose not to speak at all. Instead, they sat with him in silence, Krishnamurti having given them his hand.
In the late 1930s, Krishnamurti became friends with Aldous Huxley, the noted English essayist and novelist who had moved to Southern California. They enjoyed many long lunches and conversations about religion and the future of humanity, and it was Huxley who encouraged Krishnamurti to publish Commentaries on Living, finding his blend of descriptive passages of nature with philosophical inquiry unique. Huxley wrote the forward to Krishnamurtis The First and Last Freedom, published in 1954, in which he said that readers would find in the writings and talks of Krishnamurti "a clear contemporary statement of the fundamental human problem."
Who cares to listen to the troubles of another? We have so many problems of our own that we have no time for those of others. To make another listen you have to pay either in coin, in prayer, or in belief. The professional will listen, it is his job, but in that there is no lasting release. We want to unburden ourselves freely, spontaneously with no regrets afterwards. The purification of confession does not depend on the one who listens, but on him who desires to open his heart. To open ones heart is important, and it will find someone, a beggar perhaps, to whom it can pour itself out. Introspective talk can never open the heart; it is enclosing, depressing and utterly useless. To be open is to listen, not only to yourself, but to every influence, to every movement about you. It may or may not be possible to do something tangibly about what you hear, but the very fact of being open brings about its own action. Such hearing purifies your own heart, cleansing it of the things of the mind. Hearing with the mind is gossip, and in it there is no release either for you or the other; it is merely a continuation of pain, which is stupidity.
Commentaries on Living, Vol I
To preserve an authentic record of Krishnamurtis work, the Krishnamurti Foundations have established three separate archives in Ojai, California, Brockwood Park, England, and Chennai, India. The corpus consists of approximately 500 video tapes, 1,200 audio tapes, 100,000 pages of written material and thousands of photographs. In addition, a CD-ROM containing 15,000,000 words has been completed and is available through the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. in England. Through an ongoing exchange program among the Foundations, it is hoped that by the end of the century each of the archives will contain all of Krishnamurtis work and memorabilia, so that scholars all over the world need not travel far to gain access to the complete holdings.
A child once asked Krishnamurti: "Is it your hobby to give lectures? Dont you get tired of talking? Why are you doing it?" Krishnamurti replied: "I am glad you asked that question. You know, if you love something, you never get tired of it I mean love in which there is no seeking of a result, no wanting something out of it. When you love something, it is not self-fulfillment, therefore there is no disappointment, there is no end. Why am I doing this? You might as well ask why the rose blooms, why the jasmine gives its scent, or why the bird flies. You see, I have tried not talking to find out what happens if I dont talk. That is all right too. Do you understand? If you are talking because you are getting something out of it money, a reward, a sense of your own importance then there is weariness, then your talking is destructive; it has no meaning because it is only self-fulfillment; but if there is love in your heart, and your heart is not filled with the things of the mind, then it is like a fountain, like a spring that is timelessly giving fresh water."
As a young child Krishnamurti attended a school in India where he recalled being beaten for failing to learn his lessons. The son of a civil servant who lived on property owned by the Theosophical Society in India, he was taken to England at age 15, where he was educated privately. In 1929, Krishnamurti took the initiative in creating a residential school in Rishi Valley, India, out of a deep concern that children should be educated without pressure, and that they enter into adulthood free of the crippling effects of tradition and fear. In subsequent years, he helped to establish five other such schools in India: in Rajghat, Uttar Kashi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. In 1968 he joined with others to create the Brockwood Park school in England and again, in 1975, the Oak Grove School in the United States.
In our search for knowledge, in our acquisitive desires, we are losing life, we are blunting the feeling for beauty, the sensitivity to cruelty; we are becoming more and more specialized and less and less integrated. Wisdom cannot be replaced by knowledge, and no amount of explanation, no accumulation of facts, will free man from suffering. Knowledge is necessary, science has its place; but if the mind and heart are suffocated by knowledge, and if the cause of suffering is explained away, life becomes vain and meaningless. And is this not what is happening to most of us? Our education is making us more and more shallow; it is not helping us to uncover the deeper layers of our being, and our lives are increasingly disharmonious and empty. Information, the knowledge of facts, though ever increasing, is by its nature very limited. Wisdom is infinite, it includes knowledge and the way of action; but we take hold of a branch and think it is the whole tree. Through the knowledge of the part, we can never realize the joy of the whole. Intellect can never lead to the whole, for it is only a segment, a part.
Education and the Significance of Life
Of the schools that he founded over six decades, Krishnamurti said: "The purpose, the aim and the drive of these schools is to equip the child with the most excellent technological proficiency so that he may function with clarity and efficiency in the modern world and, far more important, to create the right climate so that the child may develop fully as a complete human being." Until the very end of his life, Krishnamurti was deeply involved in these schools, and he visited often to converse with students and teachers. In addition, he wrote dozens of letters to their staff expressing his vital interest that the schools not be simply academic enterprises, but places where students and teachers alike learned about "the totality, the wholeness of life." These Letters to the Schools have been collected and published in two volumes.
The Rishi Valley Education Centre in India, begun under the initiative of Krishnamurti in 1931, is a co-educational, English medium school which yearly educates approximately 350 students aged 8 to 17, some of whom board at the school. Located not far from Krishnamurtis birthplace, Rishi Valley was selected by Krishnamurti as an appropriate site for a school because of its natural beauty and its legendary association with the contemplative life. Today, the Rishi Valley Education Centre also oversees a rural education program, operating some 18 satellite schools in impoverished hamlets around the valley.
These letters are written in a friendly spirit. They are not intended to dominate your way of thinking or to persuade you to conform to the way the writer thinks or feels. They are not propaganda. It is really a dialogue between you and the writer, two friends talking over their problems, and in good friendship there is never any sense of competition or domination. You too must have observed the state of the world and our society, and that there must be a radical transformation in the way human beings live, their relation to each other, their relation with the world as a whole and in every way possible. We are talking to each other, both being deeply concerned, not only with our own particular selves, but also with the students for whom you are wholly responsible. The teacher is the most important person in a school, for on her or him depends the future welfare of mankind. This is not a mere verbal statement. This is an absolute and irrevocable fact. Only when the educator himself feels the dignity and the respect implicit in his work, will he be aware that teaching is the highest calling, greater than that of the politician, greater than the princes of the world. The writer means every word of this and so please do not brush it aside as exaggeration or an attempt to make you feel a false importance. You and the students must flower together in goodness.
Letters to the Schools, Vol I
The Rajghat Besant School is located on property first acquired by the late Annie Besant, President of the Theosophical Society. The sprawling 200-acre campus that stretches across both banks of the Varuna river contains both the Rajghat Besant School and Vasanta College, a pioneer in the field of womens education in India. The Rajghat Besant School is a residential, co-educational English medium school that educates approximately 400 students, aged 5 to 16, each year. In addition, the associated Rural Primary School educates another 400 students in surrounding villages.
The Uttar Kashi Education Centre in the Garhwal Himalayas is situated in an oval valley filled with pines, rhododendrons and oaks at an altitude of 4,000 feet. On the banks of the Bhagirathi river is the Bhagirathi Valley School, founded under the auspices of Krishnamurti in 1985, which educates approximately sixty students from the surrounding towns and villages. It is a primary, co-educational, English medium day school.
The Bangalore Education Centre is a 110-acre campus of undulating hills, farms and streams located seventeen kilometres from the city. In this picturesque locale is The Valley School, founded in 1978, and the approximately 270 students who yearly attend classes there come by bus to the campus from Bangalore. The Valley School is a co-educational, English medium day school, educating children aged 5 to 16.
Is it possible to be responsible for the whole of mankind, and therefore responsible for nature? That is, is it possible to answer adequately, totally to your children, to your neighbour, for all the movement that man has created in his endeavour to live rightly. And to feel that immense responsibility, not only intellectually, verbally, but very deeply, to be able to answer to the whole human struggle of pain, brutality, violence and despair? To respond totally to that, one must know what it means to love.
That word love has been so misused, so spoilt, so trodden upon, but we will have to use that word and give to it a totally different kind of meaning. To be able to answer to the whole there must be love. And to understand that quality, that compassion, that extraordinary sense of energy, which is not created by thought, we must understand suffering. When we use the word understand, it is not a verbal or intellectual communication of words, but the communication or communion that lies behind the word. We must understand and be able to go beyond suffering, otherwise we cannot possibly understand the responsibility for the whole, which is real love.
So, to understand this responsibility for the whole, and therefore that strange quality of love, one must go beyond suffering. What is suffering? Why do human beings suffer? This has been one of the great problems of life for millions of years. Apparently very few have gone beyond suffering, and they become either heroes or saviours, or some kind of neurotic leaders, and there they remain. But ordinary human beings like you and me never seem to go beyond it. We seem to be caught in it. And we are asking now whether it is possible for you to be really free of suffering.
Talks in Saanen 1974
In the heart of Chennai, under the shade of ancient trees and not far from the headquarters of the Krishnamurti Foundation of India, sits The School-KFI, a co-educational, English medium day school founded in 1973. Approximately 330 students who live in the city attend classes there, and The School-KFI also features a well-developed program of pre-school education.
Bal Anand in The Mumbai Education Centre is an after-school centre to which poor children from nearby tenements come for creative respite and tutoring. The children learn arts and crafts, music and yoga, and are taken to the countryside, to cultural events and to meet with people from all walks of life to give them a broader outlook on the world. The centre, which was started in 1975, also operates a regular pre-primary day care facility, and provides nourishing snacks to all children in attendance.
The Oak Grove School in Ojai, California, was founded by Krishnamurti in 1975 as a day school where he hoped parents would take an active role in the education of their children. Today the school also has boarding facilities for high school students and educates approximately 200 students, aged five to eighteen, each year. The 150-acre campus, surrounded by towering mountains, includes the grove of ancient oaks where Krishnamurti most frequently spoke in the United States over the course of sixty years.
In the south of England, near Winchester, the Brockwood Park School is situated on a dozen acres of rolling wooded country hillscape. Founded by Krishnamurti in 1969, this co-educational, secondary boarding school offers a student body of 60 a full curriculum of O-level and A-level studies. Preparation for entrance to European and American colleges is part of the studies as well as a unique program on the mind of man, and "one world." Affiliation with the Open University is also available for older students. Traveling to remote parts of the world is part of the calendar each year as well as challenging classroom explorations of the inner landscape of relationships, social problems, and issues that arise in a serious adult educational community. Krishnamurtis dialogues with Brockwood Park students and faculty can be found in Beginnings of Learning, The Flame of Learning, and in the film Can You Live That Way?
To be sensitive is to love. The word love is not love. And love is not to be divided as the love of God and the love of man, nor is it to be measured as the love of the one and of the many. Love gives itself abundantly as a flower gives its perfume; but we are always measuring love in our relationship and thereby destroying it. Love is not a commodity of the reformer or the social worker; it is not a political instrument with which to create action. When the politician and the reformer speak of love, they are using the word and do not touch the reality of it; for love cannot be employed as a means to an end, whether in the immediate or in the far-off future. Love is of the whole earth and not of a particular field or forest. The love of reality is not encompassed by any religion; and when organized religions use it, it ceases to be. Societies, organized religions and authoritarian governments, sedulous in their various activities, unknowingly destroy the love that becomes passion in action... Love is not sentimentality, nor is it devotion. It is as strong as death. Love cannot be bought through knowledge; and a mind that is pursuing knowledge without love is a mind that deals in ruthlessness and aims merely at efficiency.
In the latter part of his life, Krishnamurti became concerned that mature individuals seriously interested in his work had no place to spend time with it, to study and reflect, because of the pressures of job and family. To meet their needs, he asked the Foundations to establish retreats and study centers near the schools that he had founded. Today, there are six such study centers and retreats in India in Chennai, Rishi Valley, Bangalore, Mumbai, Varanasi and Uttar Kashi. There is also a Krishnamurti Study Centre in Brockwood Park, England, and Krishnamurtis former home in Ojai, California, is now the Krishnamurti Library.
Krishnamurti hoped that those visiting these study centres and retreats situated in an atmosphere of quiet, natural beauty, would take the opportunity to delve deeply into the teachings and to meet others who were ready to engage freely in conversation about their mutual, human concerns. He said: "The study will be a place for all serious people who have left behind them nationality, their sectarian beliefs and other things that divide human beings."
The Rishi Valley Study Centre is located in the ancient hills that form the southeastern fringes of the Deccan plateau in the heart of the school that Krishnamurti created in Rishi Valley over 60 years ago. There are modern cottages for 20 overnight visitors and meals are served in the schools dining hall. Interested visitors can participate in the schools Land-Care project, which has reforested the once drought-plagued area and reclaimed it as a lush greenbelt.
We consider living to be a positive action. Doing, thinking, the everlasting bustle, conflict, fear, sorrow, guilt, ambition, competition, lusting after pleasure with all its pain, the desire to be successfulall this is what we call living. That is our life, with its occasional joy, with its moments of compassion without any motive, and generosity without any strings attached to it. There are rare moments of ecstasy, of a bliss that has no past or future. But going to the office, anger, hatred, contempt, enmity, are what we call everyday living, and we consider it extraordinarily positive.
The negation of the positive is the only true positive. To negate this so-called living, which is ugly, lonely, fearful, brutal and violent, without knowledge of the other, is the most positive action. Are we communicating with each other? You know, to deny conventional morality completely is to be highly moral, because what we call social morality, the morality of respectability, is utterly immoral; we are competitive, greedy, envious, seeking our own way you know how we behave. We call this social morality; religious people talk about a different kind of morality, but their life, their whole attitude, the hierarchical structure of religious organization and belief, is immoral. To deny that is not to react, because when you react, this is another form of dissenting through ones own resistance. But when you deny because you understand it, there is the highest form of reality.
In the same way, to negate social morality, to negate the way we are living our petty little lives, our shallow thinking and existence, the satisfaction at a superficial level with our accumulated things to deny all that, not as a reaction but seeing the utter stupidity and the destructive nature of this way of living to negate all that is to live. To see the false as the false this seeing is the true.
The Flight of the Eagle
The Rajghat Study Centre/Retreat lies just outside the city of Varanasi, overlooking the confluence of the Varuna and Ganga rivers. The guest house and cottages are located within the 250-acre campus of the Rajghat Besant School and can accommodate 20 overnight visitors. Meals are served in the main guest house.
The Uttar Kashi Retreat in the Garhwal Himalayas is a retreat in the true sense of the word. Surrounded by twelve snow-capped mountain peaks, it sits opposite the Bhagirathi Valley School. There is no formal study center here, but furnished cottages with attached baths are available and meals are served in a central dining room.
The Bangalore Study Centre/Retreat is located 17 kilometres from the city centre at The Valley School. In a quiet corner at the edge of the valley are furnished guest rooms with attached baths; meals are served in the guest house. Public screenings of Krishnamurtis video tapes are held regularly at the centre.
Do you have a sense of beauty in your life, or is it mediocre, meaningless, an everlasting struggle from morning until night? What is beauty? It isnt a sensual question, nor a sexual question. It is a very serious question because without beauty in your heart, you cannot flower in goodness. Have you ever looked at a mountain or the blue sea without chattering, without making noise, really paying attention to the blue sea, the beauty of the water, the beauty of light on a sheet of water? When you see the extraordinary beauty of the earth, its rivers, lakes, mountains, what actually takes place? What takes place when you look at something which is actually marvellously beautiful: a statue, a poem, a lily in the pond, or a well-kept lawn? At that moment, the very majesty of a mountain makes you forget yourself. Have you ever been in that position?
If you have, you have seen that then you dont exist, only that grandeur exists. But a few seconds later or a minute later, the whole cycle begins, the confusion, the chatter. So beauty is, where you are not. It is a tragedy if you dont see this. Truth is, where you are not. Beauty is, love is, where you are not. We are not capable of looking at this extraordinary thing called truth.
Mumbai 4th Public Talk, January 31, 1982
Vasanta Vihar Study Centre/Retreat in Chennai is located at the headquarters of the Krishnamurti Foundation India. An oasis of beauty and tranquillity in the midst of the bustling city, its furnished rooms with attached baths sit among coconut and mango groves. Meals are available.
The Krishnamurti Study Centre at Brockwood Park is situated on the campus of the school Krishnamurti founded in southern England in 1969. Its award-winning building on the schools forty acres of gardens and trees offers accommodation in individual guest flats. Meals are served in the centres dining room.
The Krishnamurti Library and Study Center in Ojai, California, is open to the public five days a week and holds an extensive collection of Krishnamurti books, audio tapes and video tapes for study within the library facilities. Before his death, Krishnamurti requested that this ranch house where he most often stayed during six decades of visiting the United States be made into a library so it could serve, in his words, as "a vessel of learning."
There are Krishnamurti Archives located at the Krishnamurti Centers in Chennai and Varanasi, India (Krishnamurti Foundation India); Brockwood Park, England (Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd.), and Ojai, USA (Krishnamurti Foundation of America). Each Archives has a complete collection of books, audiotapes, videotapes, films, photographs, manuscripts, letters, newspapers, magazines, and other publications that authenticate the original teachings of Krishnamurti. The Archives are open and available for research and study upon written request to respective Archives Directors.
To look is one of the most difficult things in life or to listen to look and listen are the same. If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset. Most of us have lost touch with nature. Civilization is tending more and more towards large cities; we are becoming more and more an urban people, living in crowded apartments and having very little space even to look at the sky of an evening and morning, and therefore we are losing touch with a great deal of beauty. I dont know if you have noticed how few of us look at a sunrise or a sunset or the moonlight or the reflection of light on water.
Having lost touch with nature we naturally tend to develop intellectual capacities. We read a great many books, go to a great many museums and concerts, watch television and have many other entertainments. We quote endlessly from other peoples ideas and think and talk a great deal about art. Why is it that we depend so much upon art? Is it a form of escape, of stimulation? If you are directly in contact with nature; if you watch the movement of a bird on the wing, see the beauty of every movement of the sky, watch the shadows on the hills or the beauty on the face of another, do you think you will want to go to any museum to look at any picture?
Freedom From the Known
There have been three documentary films made about Krishnamurti. The Challenge of Change offers an overview of his personal history as well as a concise synthesis of his work, as the camera travels with Krishnamurti to public talks around the globe. With a Silent Mind features interviews with those who knew Krishnamurti and segments from his talks and dialogues. The Seer Who Walks Alone focuses on Krishnamurtis life and work in India. Each of these color films is available on videocassette or can be viewed at the study centres.
In 1974, Krishnamurti made an 18-part series of hour-long videotapes with Dr. Allan W. Anderson, a professor of religious studies and literature at the University of California in San Diego. Today, this series is considered to be one of the most comprehensive introductions to the work of Krishnamurti. He and Dr. Anderson explore such topics as knowledge, transformation, human relationship, responsibility, order, fear, desire, beauty, the art of listening, the nature of hurt, love, death and religion. Their conversations were unpremeditated and unfolded without an agenda; the hour-long format allowed the two men to delve deeply into individual questions. These color videotapes are available through the Krishnamurti Foundations, singly and as the entire series, and can be viewed at the study centers. The dialogues have also been published in A Wholly Different Way of Living.
Over a span of two decades, Krishnamurti engaged in extensive dialogues with the late David Bohm, a theoretical physicist who taught at the University of London and who played a leading role in the creation of the Brockwood Park school in England. They participated in hundreds of dialogues together, many of which were recorded, some of which were published in books. Their wide-ranging and deeply philosophical conversations investigated such issues as the nature of time, consciousness, insight, truth and reality, sorrow, the brain and, above all, the transformation of mankind and the future of humanity.
David Bohm: We were saying the other day that when the brain is kept busy with intellectual activity and thought, it does not decay and shrink.
Krishnamurti: As long as it is thinking, moving, living.
DB: Thinking in a rational way; then it remains strong.
K: Yes, as long as it is functioning, moving, thinking rationally.
DB: If it starts irrational movement, then it breaks down. Also if it gets caught in a routine it begins to die.
K: Thats it. If the brain is caught in any routine, a meditation routine, or the routine of the priests ...
DB: Or the daily life of the farmer ...
K: ... the farmer, and so on, it must gradually become dull.
DB: Not only that, but it seems to shrink. Perhaps some of the cells die?
K: To shrink physically, and the opposite of that is the eternal occupation with business, a routine job, thinking, thinking, thinking!
DB: Surely experience seems to show that it does shrink, from measurements that have been made. The brain starts to shrink at a certain age, just as when the body is not being used the muscles begin to lose their flexibility.
K: So, take lots of exercise!
DB: Well, they say exercise the body and exercise the brain.
K: Yes. If it is caught in any pattern, any routine, it must shrink.
DB: Could we go into what makes it shrink?
K: That is fairly simple. It is repetition.
DB: Repetition is mechanical, and doesnt really use the full capacity of the brain.
K: One has noticed that people who have spent years and years in meditation are the dullest people on earth.
The Ending of Time
Krishnamurti personally rejected all traditional forms of meditation as practised in the East and adapted by the West, and told anyone who asked him that he considered any system that the mind might impose on itself to be dangerous and unwise. Krishnamurti often said he felt it was important for a person to be quiet and alone some part of each day so as to give the brain a rest, but said even this should not be adopted as a routine. Yet he also spoke of what he considered to be "true mediation," and devoted entire talks to the subject in order to convey the subtlety of its meaning.
Krishnamurtis favorite form of exercise was walking, but he did yoga exercises to keep his body supple. Krishnamurti adhered to no fixed exercise routine, saying that he let his body rest when he felt tired and did not force it. He once showed some students in England a few yogic breathing exercises, but suggested that they only do them for "fun." He said he saw no value in yoga as a means of understanding the mind.
In 1984, Krishnamurti took the unusual step of speaking into a tape recorder as a means of keeping a diary. His observations, which have been published in Krishnamurti to Himself, range freely over such topics as the enduring beauty of the earth, the immorality of killing animals, the naturalness of death, the urgent need for change and the meaning of meditation. At that time, Krishnamurti recommended: "You should really forget the word meditation."
Meditation is never control of the body. There is no actual division between the organism and the mind. The brain, the nervous system, and the thing we call the mind are all one, indivisible. It is the natural act of meditation that brings about the harmonious movement of the whole. To divide the body from the mind and to control the body with intellectual decisions is to bring about contradiction, from which arise various forms of struggle, conflict and resistance. Every decision to control only breeds resistance, even the determination to be aware. Meditation is the understanding of the division brought about by decision. Freedom is not the act of decision but the act of perception. The seeing is the doing. It is not a determination to see and then to act. After all, will is desire with all its contradictions. When one desire assumes authority over another, that desire becomes will. In this there is inevitable division. And meditation is the understanding of desire, not the overcoming of one desire by another. Desire is the movement of sensation, which becomes pleasure and fear. This is sustained by the constant dwelling of thought upon one or the other. Meditation is really a complete emptying of the mind.
Beginnings of Learning
Krishnamurti never looked back on his own work to select one talk or dialogue as embodying all that he had been communicating during the course of sixty years. Instead, he viewed every occasion that he spoke publicly as having its own unique unfoldment, and he approached his audiences without notes or preconceptions as to what he would say or what they might ask. It is therefore impossible to present any one talk or dialogue as definitive, yet this book would be incomplete without the inclusion of an uninterrupted session with Krishnamurti. The following is a talk and dialogue held by Krishnamurti in 1971 in New York City.
I would like to talk about relationship, about what love is, about human existence in which is involved our daily living, the problems one has, the conflicts, the pleasures and the fears, and that most extraordinary thing one calls death.
I think one has to understand, not as a theory, not as a speculative, entertaining concept, but rather as an actual fact that we are the world and the world is us. The world is each one of us; to feel that, to be really committed to it and to nothing else, brings about a feeling of great responsibility and an action that must not be fragmentary, but whole.
I think we are apt to forget that our society, the culture in which we live, which has conditioned us, is the result of human endeavor, conflict, human misery and suffering. Each one of us is that culture; the community is each one of us we are not separate from it. To feel this, not as an intellectual idea or a concept, but to actually feel the reality of this, one has to go into the question of what is relationship; because our life, our existence, is based on relationship. Life is a movement in relationship. If we do not understand what is implied in relationship, we inevitably not only isolate ourselves, but create a society in which human beings are divided, not only nationally, religiously, but also in themselves and therefore they project what they are into the outer world.
I do not know if you have gone into this question deeply for yourself, to find out if one can live with another in total harmony, in complete accord, so that there is no barrier, no division, but a feeling of complete unity. Because relationship means to be related not in action, not in some project, not in an ideology but to be totally united in the sense that the division, the fragmentation between individuals, between two human beings, does not exist at all at any level.
Unless one finds this relationship, it seems to me that when we try to bring order in the world, theoretically or technologically, we are bound to create not only deep divisions between man and man, but also we shall be unable to prevent corruption. Corruption begins in the lack of relationship; I think that is the root of corruption. Relationship as we know it now is the continuation of division between individuals. The root meaning of that word individual means "indivisible". A human being who is in himself not divided, not fragmented, is really an individual. But most of us are not individuals; we think we are, and therefore there is the opposition of the individual to the community. One has to understand not only the meaning of that word individuality in the dictionary sense, but in that deep sense in which there is no fragmentation at all. That means perfect harmony between the mind, the heart and the physical organism. Only then an individuality exists.
If we examine our present relationship with each other closely, be it intimate or superficial, deep or passing, we see it fragmented. Wife or husband, boy or girl, each lives in his own ambition, in personal and egotistic pursuits, in his own cocoon. All these contribute to the factor of bringing about an image in himself and therefore his relationship with another is through that image, therefore there is no actual relationship.
I do not know if you are aware of the structure and the nature of this image that one has built around oneself and in oneself. Each person is doing this all the time, and how can there be a relationship with another, if there is that personal drive, envy, competition, greed and all the rest of those things which are sustained and exaggerated in modern society? How can there be relationship with another, if each one of us is pursuing his own personal achievement, his own personal success?
I do not know if one is at all aware of this. We are so conditioned that we accept it as the norm, as the pattern of life, that each one must pursue his own particular idiosyncrasy or tendency, and yet try to establish a relationship with another in spite of this. Isnt that what we are all doing? You may be married and you go to the office or to the factory; whatever you are doing during the whole of the day, you pursue that. And your wife is in her house, with her own troubles, with her own vanities, with all that happens. Where is the relationship between those two human beings? Is it in bed, in sex? Is a relationship so superficial, so limited, so circumscribed, not in itself corruption?
One may ask: how then are you to live, if you do not go to the office, pursue your own particular ambition, your own desire to achieve and to attain? If one does not do any of this, what is one to do? I think that is a wrong question altogether, dont you? Because we are concerned, are we not, in bringing about a radical change in the whole structure of the mind. The crisis is not in the outer world, but in consciousness itself. And until we understand this crisis, not superficially, not according to some philosopher, but actually deeply understand it for ourselves by looking into it and examining it, we shall not be able to bring about a change. We are concerned with psychological revolution, and this revolution can only take place when there is the right kind of relationship between human beings.
How is such a relationship to be brought about? The problem is clear, isnt it? Please, share this problem with me, will you? Its your problem, not my problem; its your life, not my life, its your sorrow, your trouble, your anxiety, your guilt. This battle is ones life. If you listen merely to a description, then you will find that you are only swimming on the surface and not resolving any problem at all. It is actually your problem, and the speaker is merely describing it knowing that the description is not the described. Let us share this problem together, which is: how can human beings, you and I, find a right relationship in all this turmoil, hatred, destruction, pollution, and among these terrible things which are going on in the world?
To find that out, it seems to me, one must examine what is taking place, see what actually "is". Not what we should like to think it should be, or try to change our relationship to a future concept, but actually observe what it is now. In observing the fact, the truth, the actuality of it, there is a possibility of changing it. As we said the other day, when there is a possibility then there is great energy. What dissipates energy is the idea that it is not possible to change.
So we must look at our relationship as it is actually now, every day; and in observing what it is, we shall discover how to bring about a change in that actuality. So we are describing what actually is, which is: each one lives in his own world, in his world of ambition, greed, fear, the desire to succeed and all the rest of ityou know what is going on. If I am married, I have responsibilities, children, and all the rest of it. I go to the office, or some place of work, and we meet each other, husband and wife, boy and a girl, in bed. And thats what we call love, leading separate lives, isolated, building a wall of resistance round ourselves, pursuing a self-centered activity; each one is seeking security psychologically, each one is depending on the other for comfort, for pleasure, for companionship; because each one is so deeply lonely, each demands to be loved, to be cherished, each one is trying to dominate the other.
You can see this for yourself, if you observe yourself. Is there any kind of relationship at all? There is no relationship between two human beings; though they may have children, a house, actually they are not related. If they have a common project, that project sustains them, holds them together, but thats not relationship.
Realizing all this, one sees that if there is no relationship between two human beings, then corruption begins not in the outward structure of society, in the outer phenomenon of pollution, but inner pollution, corruption, destruction begins, when human beings have actually no relationship at all, as you havent. You may hold the hand of another, kiss each other, sleep together, but actually, when you observe very closely, is there any relationship at all? To be related means not to be dependent on each other, not to escape from your loneliness through another, not to try to find comfort, companionship, through another. When you seek comfort through another, are dependent and all the rest of it, can there be any kind of relationship? Or are you then using each other?
We are not being cynical, but actually observing what is: that is not cynicism. So to find out what it actually means to be related to another, one must understand this question of loneliness, because most of us are terribly lonely; the older we grow the more lonely we become, especially in this country. Have you noticed the old people, what they are like? Have you noticed their escapes, their amusements? They have worked all their lives and they want to escape into some kind of entertainment.
Seeing this, can we find a way of living in which we dont use another? psychologically, emotionally, not depend on another, not use another as a means of escape from our own tortures, from our own despairs, from our own loneliness.To understand this is to understand what it means to be lonely. Have you ever been lonely? Do you know what it means? that you have no relationship with another, are completely isolated. You may be with your family, in a crowd, in the office, wherever you are, when this complete sense of utter loneliness with its despair suddenly comes upon you. Till you solve that completely, your relationship becomes a means of escape and therefore it leads to corruption, to misery. How is one to understand this loneliness, this sense of complete isolation? To understand it, one has to look at ones own life. Is not your every action a self-centered activity? You may occasionally be charitable, generous, do something without any motive those are rare occasions. This despair can never be dissolved through escape, but by observing it.
So we have come back to this question, which is: how to observe? How to observe ourselves, so that in that observation there is no conflict at all? Because conflict is corruption, is waste of energy, it is the battle of our life, from the moment we are born till we die. Is it possible to live without a single moment of conflict? To do that, to find that out for ourselves, one has to learn how to observe our whole movement. There is observation which becomes harmonious, which is true, when the observer is not, but only observation.
When there is no relationship can there be love? We talk about it, and love, as we know it, is related to sex and pleasure, isnt it? Some of you say "No". When you say "No", then you must be without ambition, then there must be no competition, no division as you and me, we and they. There must be no division of nationality, or the division brought about by belief, by knowledge. Then, only, can you say you love. But for most people love is related to sex and pleasure and all the travail that comes with it: jealousy, envy, antagonism, you know what happens between man and woman. When that relationship is not true, real, deep, completely harmonious, then how can you have peace in the world? How can there be an end to war?
So relationship is one of the most, or rather the most important thing in life. That means that one has to understand what love is. Surely, one comes upon it, strangely, without asking for it. When you find out for yourself what love is not, then you know what love is not theoretically, not verbally but when you realize actually what it is not, which is: not to have a mind that is competitive, ambitious, a mind that is striving, comparing, imitating; such a mind cannot possibly love.
So can you, living in this world, live completely without ambition, completely without ever comparing yourself with another? Because the moment you compare, then there is conflict, there is envy, there is the desire to achieve, to go beyond the other. Can a mind and a heart that remembers the hurts, the insults, the things that have made it insensitive and dull can such a mind and heart know what love is? Is love pleasure? And yet that is what we are pursuing, consciously or unconsciously. Our gods are the result of our pleasure. Our beliefs, our social structure, the morality of society which is essentially immoral is the result of our pleasure. And when you say, "I love somebody", is it love? That means: no separation, no domination, no self-centered activity. To find out what it is, one must deny all this deny it in the sense of seeing the falseness of it. When you once see something as false which you have accepted as true, as natural, as human then you can never go back to it; when you see a dangerous snake, or a dangerous animal, you never play with it, you never come near it. Similarly, when you actually see that love is none of these things, feel it, observe it, chew it, live with it, are totally committed to it, then you will know what love is, what compassion is which means passion for everyone.
We have no passion; we have lust, we have pleasure. The root meaning of the word passion is sorrow. We have all had sorrow of some kind or another, losing somebody, the sorrow of self-pity, the sorrow of the human race, both collective and personal. We know what sorrow is, the death of someone whom you consider you have loved. When we remain with that sorrow totally, without trying to rationalize it, without trying to escape from it in any form through words or through action, when you remain with it completely, without any movement of thought, then you will find that out of that sorrow comes passion. That passion has the quality of love, and love has no sorrow.
One has to understand this whole question of existence, the conflicts, the battles: you know the life that one leads, so empty, so meaningless. The intellectuals try to give it a meaning and we also want to find significance in life, because life has no meaning as it is lived. Has it? The constant struggle, the endless work, the misery, the suffering, the travail that one goes through in life, all that has actually no meaning we go through it as a habit. But to find out what the significance is, one must also understand the significance of death; because living and dying go together, they are not two separate things.
So one must inquire what it means to die, because that is part of our living. Not something in the distant future, to be avoided, only to be faced when one is desperately ill, in old age or in an accident, or on a battlefield. As it is part of our daily life to live without a single breath of conflict, so it is part of our life to find out what it means to love. That is also part of our existence, and one must understand it.
How do we understand what death is? When you are dying, at the last moment, can you understand the way you have livedthe strains, the emotional struggles, the ambitions, the drive? You are probably unconscious and that makes you incapable of clear perception. Then there is the deterioration of the mind in old age and all the rest of it. So one has to understand what death is now, not tomorrow. As you observe, thought does not want to think about it. It thinks about all the things it will do tomorrow how to make new inventions, better bathrooms, all the things that thought can think about. But it does not want to think about death, because it does not know what it means.
Is the meaning of death to be found through the process of thought? Please do share this. When we share it, then we will begin to see the beauty of all this, but if you sit there and let the speaker go on, merely listening to his words, then we dont share together. Sharing together implies a certain quality of care, attention, affection, love. Death is a tremendous problem. The young people may say: why do you bother about it? But it is part of their life, as it is part of their life to understand celibacy. Dont just say, "Why do you talk about celibacy, thats for the old fogies, thats for the stupid monks." What it means to be celibate has also been a problem for human beings, that also is part of life.
Can the mind be completely chaste? Not being able to find out how to live a chaste life, one takes vows of celibacy and goes through tortures. That is not celibacy. Celibacy is something entirely different. It is to have a mind that is free from all images, from all knowledge; which means understanding the whole process of pleasure and fear.
Similarly, one has to understand this thing called death. How do you proceed to understand something of which you are terribly frightened? Arent we frightened of death? Or we say, "Thank God Im going to die, Ive had enough of this life with all the misery of it, the confusion, the shoddiness, the brutality, the mechanical things by which one is caught, thank God all this will end!" That is not an answer; nor is it to rationalize death, or to believe in some reincarnation, as the whole Asiatic world does. To find out what reincarnation means, which is to be born in a future existence, you must find out what you are now. If you believe in reincarnation, what are you now? a lot of words, a lot of experience, of knowledge; you are conditioned by various cultures, you are all the identifications of your life, your furniture, your house, your bank account, your experiences of pleasure and pain. Thats what you are, arent you? The remembrance of the failures, the hopes, the despairs, all that you are now, and that is going to be born in the next life a lovely idea, isnt it!
Or you think there is a permanent soul, a permanent entity. Is there anything permanent in you? The moment you say there is a permanent soul, a permanent entity, that entity is the result of your thinking, or the result of your hopes, because there is so much insecurity, everything is transient, in a flux, in a movement. So when you say there is something permanent, that permanency is the result of your thinking. And thought is of the past, thought is never free it can invent anything it likes!
So if you believe in a future birth, then you must know that the future is conditioned by the way you live now, what you do now, what you think, what your acts are, your ethics. So what you are now, what you do now, matters tremendously. But those people who believe in a future birth dont give a pin about what happens now, its just a matter of belief.
So, how do you find out what death means, when you are living with vitality, with energy, full of health? Not when you are unbalanced, or ill, not at the last moment, but now, knowing the organism must inevitably wear out, like every machinery. Unfortunately we use our machinery so disrespectfully, dont we? Knowing the physical organism comes to an end, have you ever thought about what it means to die? You cant think about it. Have you ever experimented to find out what it means to die psychologically, inwardly? not how to find immortality, because eternity, that which is timeless, is now, not in some distant future. To inquire into that, one must understand the whole problem of time; not only chronological time, by the watch, but the time that thought has invented as a gradual process of change.
How does one find out about this strange thing that we all have to meet one day or another? Can you die psychologically today, die to everything that you have known? For instance: to die to your pleasure, to your attachment, your dependence, to end it without arguing, without rationalizing, without trying to find ways and means of avoiding it. Do you know what it means to die, not physically, but psychologically, inwardly? Which means to put an end to that which has continuity; to put an end to your ambition, because thats whats going to happen when you die, isnt it? You cant carry it over and sit next to God! (Laughter) When you actually die, you have to end so many things without any argument. You cant say to death, "Let me finish my job, let me finish my book, all the things I have not done, let me heal the hurts which I have given others" you have no time.
So can you find out how to live a life now, today, in which there is always an ending to everything that you began? Not in your office of course, but inwardly to end all the knowledge that you have gathered knowledge being your experiences, your memories, your hurts, the comparative way of living, comparing yourself always with somebody else. To end all that every day, so that the next day your mind is fresh and young. Such a mind can never be hurt, and that is innocence.
One has to find out for oneself what it means to die; then there is no fear, therefore every day is a new day and I really mean this, one can do this so that your mind and your eyes see life as something totally new. That is eternity. That is the quality of the mind that has come upon this timeless state, because it has known what it means to die every day to everything it has collected during the day. Surely, in that there is love. Love is something totally new every day, but pleasure is not, pleasure has continuity. Love is always new and therefore it is its own eternity.
Do you want to ask any questions?
Questioner: Supposing, Sir, that through complete, objective, self-observation I find that I am greedy, sensual, selfish and all that. Then how can I know whether this kind of living is good or bad, unless I have already some preconceptions of the good? If I have these preconceptions, they can only derive from self-observation.
Krishnamurti: Quite, Sir.
Questioner: I also find another difficulty. You seem to believe in sharing, but at the same time you say that two lovers, or husband and wife, cannot base their love, shouldnt base their love, on comforting each other. I dont see anything wrong in comforting each other that is sharing.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says, "One must have a concept of the good, otherwise, why should one give up all this ambition, greed, envy and all the rest of it?" You can have a formula or a concept of what is better, but can you have a concept of what is good?
Questioner: Yes, I think so.
Krishnamurti: Can thought produce what is good?
Questioner: No, I meant the conception of such good.
Krishnamurti: Yes Sir. The conception of good is the product of thought; otherwise how can you conceive what is good?
Questioner: The conceptions can only be derived from our self-observation.
Krishnamurti: Im just pointing that out, Sir. Why should you have a concept of the good at all?
Questioner: Otherwise how do I know whether my life is good or bad?
Krishnamurti: Just listen to the question. Dont we know what conflict is? Do I have to have a concept of non-conflict before I am aware of conflict? I know what conflict is the struggle, the pain. Dont I know that, without knowing a state when there is no conflict? When I formulate what is good, I will formulate it according to my conditioning, according to my way of thinking, feeling, my particular idiosyncrasy and all the rest of my cultural conditioning. Is the good to be projected by thought? and will thought then tell me what is good and bad in my life? Or has goodness nothing whatsoever to do with thought, or with a formula? Where does goodness flower? do tell me. In a concept? In some idea, in some ideal that lies in the future? A concept means a future, a tomorrow. It may be very far away, or very close, but it is still in time. And when you have a concept, projected by thought thought being the response of memory, the response of accumulated knowledge depending on the culture in which you have lived do you find that goodness in the future, created by thought? Or do you find it when you begin to understand conflict, pain and sorrow? So in the understanding of "what is" not by comparing "what is" with "what should be" in that understanding flowers goodness. Surely, goodness has nothing whatsoever to do with thought has it? Has love got anything to do with thought? Can you cultivate love by formulating it and saying "My ideal of love is that"? Do you know what happens when you cultivate love? You are not loving. You think you will have love at some future date; in the meantime you are violent. So is goodness the product of thought? Is love the product of experience, of knowledge? What was the second question, Sir?
Questioner: The second question was about sharing.
Krishnamurti: What do you share? What are we sharing now? We talked about death, we talked about love, about the necessity of total revolution, about complete psychological change, not to live in the old pattern of formulas, of struggle, pain, imitation, conformity and all the rest of those things man has lived for through millennia and has produced this marvellous, messy world! We have talked about death. How do we share that together? share the understanding of it, not the verbal statement, not the description, not the explanations of it? What does sharing mean? to share the understanding, to share the truth which comes with the understanding. And what does understanding mean? You tell me something which is serious, which is vital, which is relevant, important, and I listen to it completely, because it is vital to me. To listen vitally, my mind must be quiet, mustnt it? If I am chattering, if I am looking somewhere else, if I am comparing what you are saying with what I know, my mind is not quiet. It is only when my mind is quiet and listens completely, that there is understanding of the truth of the thing, that we share together. Otherwise we cant share; we cant share the words we can only share the truth of something. You and I can only see the truth of something when the mind is totally committed to the observation. To see the beauty of a sunset, the lovely hills, the shadows and the moonlight how do you share it with a friend? By telling him, "Do look at that marvelous hill"? You may say it, but is that sharing? When you actually share something with another, it means you must both have the same intensity, at the same time, at the same level. Otherwise you cant share, can you? You must both have a common interest, at the same level, with the same passion otherwise how can you share something? You can share a piece of bread but thats not what we are talking about. To see together which is sharing together we must both of us see; not agree or disagree, but see together what actually is; not interpret it according to my conditioning or your conditioning, but see together what it is. And to see together one must be free to observe, one must be free to listen. That means to have no prejudice. Then only, with that quality of love, is there sharing.
Questioner: How can one quieten, or free the mind, from interruptions by the past?
Krishnamurti: You cannot quieten the mind: full stop! Those are tricks. You can take a pill and make the mind quietyou absolutely cannot make the mind quiet, because you are the mind. You cant say, "I will make my mind quiet". Therefore one has to understand what meditation isactually, not what other people say it is. One has to find out whether the mind can ever be quiet; not: how to make the mind quiet. So one has to go into this whole question of knowledge, and whether the mind, the brain cells, which are loaded with all the past memories, can be absolutely quiet and come into function when necessary; and when it is not necessary, be completely and wholly quiet.
Questioner: Sir, when you speak of relationships, you speak always of a man and a woman or a girl and a boy. Will the same things you say about relationships also apply to a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?
Questioner: If you wish to give it that name, Sir, yes.
Krishnamurti: You see, when we are talking of love, whether it is of man and man, woman and woman, or man and woman, we are not talking of a particular kind of relationship, we are talking about the whole movement, the whole sense of relationship, not a relationship of two. Dont you know what it means to be related to the world? when you feel you are the world. Not as an idea thats appalling but actually to feel that you are responsible, that you are committed to this responsibility. That is the only commitment; not to be committed through bombs, or committed to a particular activity, but to feel that you are the world and the world is you. Unless you change completely, radically, and bring about a total mutation in yourself, do what you will outwardly, there will be no peace for man. If you feel that in your blood, then your questions will be related entirely to the present and to bringing about a change in the present, not to some speculative ideals.
Questioner: The last time we were together, you were telling us that if someone has a painful experience and it is not fully faced, is avoided, it goes into the unconscious as a fragment. How are we to free ourselves from these fragments of painful and fearful experiences, so that the past wont have a grip on us?
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, that is conditioning. How does one free oneself from this conditioning? How do I free myself from my conditioning of the culture in which I was born? First, I must be aware that I am conditioned not somebody telling me that I am conditioned. You understand the difference? If somebody tells me I am hungry, thats something different from actually being hungry. So I must be aware of my conditioning, which means, I must be aware of it not only superficially, but at the deeper levels. That is, I must be aware totally. To be so aware, means that I am not trying to go beyond the conditioning, not trying to be free of the conditioning. I must see it as it actually is, not bring in another element, such as wanting to be free of it, because that is an escape from actuality. I must be aware. What does that mean? To be aware of my conditioning totally, not partially, means my mind must be highly sensitive, mustnt it? Otherwise I cant be aware. To be sensitive means to observe everything very, very closely the colors, the quality of people, all the things around me. I must also be aware of what actually is without any choice. Can you do that? not trying to interpret it, not trying to change it, not trying to go beyond it or trying to be free of it just to be totally aware of it.
When you observe a tree, between you and the tree there is time and space, isnt there? And there is also the botanical knowledge about it, the distance between you and the tree which is time and the separation which comes through knowledge of the tree. To look at that tree without knowledge, without the time-quality, does not mean identifying yourself with the tree, but to observe the tree so attentively, that the boundaries of time dont come into it at all; the boundaries of time come in only when you have knowledge about the tree. Can you look at your wife, or your friend, or whatever it is without the image? The image is the past, which has been put together by thought, as nagging, bullying, dominating, as pleasure, companionship and all that. It is the image that separates; it is the image that creates distance and time. Look at that tree, or the flower, the cloud, or the wife or the husband, without the image!
If you can do that, then you can observe your conditioning totally; then you can look at it with a mind that is not spotted by the past, and therefore the mind itself is free of conditioning.
To look at myself as we generally do I look as an observer looking at the observed: myself as the observed and the observer looking at it. The observer is the knowledge, is the past, is time, the accumulated experiences he separates himself from the thing observed.
Now, to look without the observer! You do this when you are completely attentive. Do you know what it means to be attentive? Dont go to school to learn to be attentive! To be attentive means to listen without any interpretation, without any judgment just to listen. When you are so listening there is no boundary, there is no "you" listening. There is only a state of listening. So when you observe your conditioning, the conditioning exists only in the observer, not in the observed. When you look without the observer, without the "me" his fears, his anxieties and all the rest of it then you will see, you enter into a totally different dimension.
April 24, 1971, New York.
o what will make you change? Please ask yourself, burn with that question, because we have fallen into habit. Your house is burning, and apparently you do not pay attention. So, if you dont change, society remains as it is. And clever people are coming along saying that society must change, we need a new structure and the structure then becomes more important than man, as all revolutions have shown.
After considering all this, is there a learning, is there an awakening of intelligence, is there a sense of order in our lives? Or are we going back to the same routine? If you have that intelligence, that goodness, that sense of great love, then you will create a marvellous new society where we can all live happily. Its our earth not Indian earth, or English earth, Russian earth; its our earth where we can live happily, intelligently, not at each others throats. So, please give your heart and mind to find out why you dont change even in little things. Please pay attention to your own life. You have extraordinary capacities. It is all waiting for you to open the door.
Chennai 3rd Public Talk, December 29, 1979
© 1997 Krishnamurti Foundation of America