Freedom From the Known (You are the world)

Freedom From the Known Chapter 8

NONE OF THE agonies of suppression, nor the brutal discipline of conforming to a pattern has led to truth. To come upon truth the mind must be completely free, without a spot of distortion.

But first let us ask ourselves if we really want to be free? When we talk of freedom are we talking of complete freedom or of freedom from some inconvenient or unpleasant or undesirable thing? We would like to be free from painful and ugly memories and unhappy experiences but keep our pleasurable, satisfying ideologies, formulas and relationships. But to keep the one without the other is impossible, for, as we have seen, pleasure is inseparable from pain.

So it is for each one of us to decide whether or not we want to be completely free. If we say we do, then we must understand the nature and structure of freedom.

Is it freedom when you are free from something - free from pain, free from some kind of anxiety? Or is freedom itself something entirely different? You can be free from jealousy, say, but isn't that freedom a reaction and therefore not freedom at all? You can be free from dogma very easily, by analysing it, by kicking it out, but the motive for that freedom from dogma has its own reaction because the desire to be free from a dogma may be that it is no longer fashionable or convenient. Or you can be free from nationalism because you believe in internationalism or because you feel it is no longer economically necessary to cling to this silly nationalistic dogma with its flag and all that rubbish. You can easily put that away. Or you may react against some spiritual or political leader who has promised you freedom as a result of discipline or revolt. But has such rationalism, such logical conclusion, anything to do with freedom?

If you say you are free from something, it is a reaction which will then become another reaction which will bring about another conformity, another form of domination. In this way you can have a chain of reactions and accept each reaction as freedom. But it is not freedom; it is merely a continuity of a modified past which the mind clings to.

The youth of today, like all youth, are in revolt against society, and that is a good thing in itself, but revolt is not freedom because when you revolt it is a reaction and that reaction sets up its own pattern and you get caught in that pattern. You think it is something new. it is not; it is the old in a different mould. Any social or political revolt will inevitably revert to the good old bourgeois mentality.

Freedom comes only when you see and act, never through revolt. The seeing is the acting and such action is as instantaneous as when you see danger. Then there is no cerebration, no discussion or hesitation; the danger itself compels the act, and therefore to see is to act and to be free.

Freedom is a state of mind - not freedom from something but a sense of freedom, a freedom to doubt and question everything and therefore so intense, active and vigorous that it throws away every form of dependence, slavery, conformity and acceptance. Such freedom implies being completely alone. But can the mind brought up in a culture so dependent on environment and its own tendencies ever find that freedom which is complete solitude and in which there is no leadership, no tradition and no authority?

This solitude is an inward state of mind which is not dependent on any stimulus or any knowledge and is not the result of any experience or conclusion. Most of us, inwardly, are never alone. There is a difference between isolation, cutting oneself off, and aloneness, solitude. We all know what it is to be isolated - building a wall around oneself in order never to be hurt, never to be vulnerable, or cultivating detachment which is another form of agony, or living in some dreamy ivory tower of ideology. Aloneness is something quite different.

You are never alone because you are full of all the memories, all the conditioning, all the mutterings of yesterday; your mind is never clear of all the rubbish it has accumulated. To be alone you must die to the past. When you are alone, totally alone, not belonging to any family, any nation, any culture, any particular continent, there is that sense of being an outsider. The man who is completely alone in this way is innocent and it is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.

We carry about with us the burden of what thousands of people have said and the memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that totally is to be alone, and the mind that is alone is not only innocent but young - not in time or age, but young, innocent, alive at whatever age - and only such a mind can see that which is truth and that which is not measurable by words.

In this solitude you will begin to understand the necessity of living with yourself as you are, not as you think you should be or as you have been. See if you can look at yourself without any tremor, any false modesty, any fear, any justification or condemnation - just live with yourself as you actually are. It is only when you live with something intimately that you begin to understand it. But the moment you get used to it - get used to your own anxiety or envy or whatever it is - you are no longer living with it. If you live by a river, after a few days you do not hear the sound of the water any more, or if you have a picture in the room which you see every day you lose it after a week. It is the same with the mountains, the valleys, the trees - the same with your family, your husband, your wife. But to live with something like jealousy, envy or anxiety you must never get used to it, never accept it. You must care for it as you would care for a newly planted tree, protect it against the sun, against the storm. You must care for it, not condemn it or justify it. Therefore you begin to love it. When you care for it, you are beginning to love it. It is not that you love being envious or anxious, as so many people do, but rather that you care for watching.

So can you - can you and I - live with what we actually are, knowing ourselves to be dull, envious, fearful, believing we have tremendous affection when we have not, getting easily hurt, easily flattered and bored - can we live with all that, neither accepting it nor denying it, but just observing it without becoming morbid, depressed or elated?

Now let us ask ourselves a further question. Is this freedom, this solitude, this coming into contact with the whole structure of what we are in ourselves - is it to be come upon through time? That is, is freedom to be achieved through a gradual process? Obviously not, because as soon as you introduce time you are enslaving yourself more and more. You cannot become free gradually. It is not a matter of time.

The next question is, can you become conscious of that freedom? If you say, 'I am free', then you are not free. It is like a man saying,`I am happy'. The moment he says, `I am happy' he is living in a memory of something that has gone. Freedom can only come about naturally, not through wishing, wanting, longing. Nor will you find it by creating an image of what you think it is. To come upon it the mind has to learn to look at life, which is a vast movement, without the bondage of time, for freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness.

Freedom From the Known Chapter 9

I AM TEMPTED TO repeat a story about a great disciple going to God and demanding to be taught truth. This poor God says, `My friend, it is such a hot day, please get me a glass of water.' So the disciple goes out and knocks on the door of the first house he comes to and a beautiful young lady opens the door. The disciple falls in love with her and they marry and have several children. Then one day it begins to rain, and keeps on raining, raining, raining - the torrents are swollen, the streets are full, the houses are being washed away. The disciple holds on to his wife and carries his children on his shoulders and as he is being swept away he calls out, 'Lord, please save me', and the Lord says, `Where is that glass of water I asked for?'

It is rather a good story because most of us think in terms of time. Man lives by time. Inventing the future has been a favourite game of escape.

We think that changes in ourselves can come about in time, that order in ourselves can be built up little by little, added to day by day. But time doesn't bring order or peace, so we must stop thinking in terms of gradualness. This means that there is no tomorrow for us to be peaceful in. We have to be orderly on the instant.

When there is real danger time disappears, doesn't it? There is immediate action. But we do not see the danger of many of our problems and therefore we invent time as a means of overcoming them. Time is a deceiver as it doesn't do a thing to help us bring about a change in ourselves. Time is a movement which man has divided into past, present and future, and as long as he divides it he will always be in conflict.

Is learning a matter of time? We have not learnt after all these thousands of years that there is a better way to live than by hating and killing each other. The problem of time is a very important one to understand if we are to resolve this life which we have helped to make as monstrous and meaningless as it is.

The first thing to understand is that we can look at time only with that freshness and innocency of mind which we have already been into. We are confused about our many problems and lost in that confusion. Now if one is lost in a wood, what is the first thing one does? One stops, doesn't one? One stops and looks round. But the more we are confused and lost in life the more we chase around, searching, asking, demanding, begging. So the first thing, if I may suggest it, is that you completely stop inwardly. And when you do stop inwardly, psychologically, your mind becomes very peaceful, very clear. Then you can really look at this question of time.

Problems exist only in time, that is when we meet an issue incompletely. This incomplete coming together with the issue creates the problem. When we meet a challenge partially, fragmentarily, or try to escape from it - that is, when we meet it without complete attention - we bring about a problem. And the problem continues so long as we continue to give it incomplete attention, so long as we hope to solve it one of these days.

Do you know what time is? Not by the watch, not chronological time, but psychological time? It is the interval between idea and action. An idea is for self-protection obviously; it is the idea of being secure. Action is always immediate; it is not of the past or of the future; to act must always be in the present, but action is so dangerous, so uncertain, that we conform to an idea which we hope will give us a certain safety.

Do look at this in yourself. You have an idea of what is right or wrong, or an ideological concept about yourself and society, and according to that idea you are going to act. Therefore the action is in conformity with that idea, approximating to the idea, and hence there is always conflict. There is the idea, the interval and action. And in that interval is the whole field of time. That interval is essentially thought. When you think you will be happy tomorrow, then you have an image of yourself achieving a certain result in time. Thought, through observation, through desire, and the continuity of that desire sustained by further thought, says, `Tomorrow I shall be happy. Tomorrow I shall have success. Tomorrow the world will be a beautiful place.' So thought creates that interval which is time.

Now we are asking, can we put a stop to time? Can we live so completely that there is no tomorrow for thought to think about? Because time is sorrow. That is, yesterday or a thousand yesterday's ago, you loved, or you had a companion who has gone, and that memory remains and you are thinking about that pleasure and that pain - you are looking back, wishing, hoping, regretting, so thought, going over it again and again, breeds this thing we call sorrow and gives continuity to time.

So long as there is this interval of time which has been bred by thought, there must be sorrow, there must be continuity of fear. So one asks oneself can this interval come to an end? If you say, `Will it ever end?', then it is already an idea, something you want to achieve, and therefore you have an interval and you are caught again.

Now take the question of death which is an immense problem to most people. You know death, there it is walking every day by your side. Is it possible to meet it so completely that you do not make a problem of it at all? In order to meet it in such a way all belief, all hope, all fear about it must come to an end, otherwise you are meeting this extraordinary thing with a conclusion, an image, with a premeditated anxiety, and therefore you are meeting it with time.

Time is the interval between the observer and the observed. That is, the observer, you, is afraid to meet this thing called death. You don't know what it means; you have all kinds of hopes and theories about it; you believe in reincarnation or resurrection, or in something called the soul, the atman, a spiritual entity which is timeless and which you call by different names. Now have you found out for yourself whether there is a soul? Or is it an idea that has been handed down to you? Is there something permanent, continuous, which is beyond thought? If thought can think about it, it is within the field of thought and therefore it cannot be permanent because there is nothing permanent within the field of thought. To discover that nothing is permanent is of tremendous importance for only then is the mind free, then you can look, and in that there is great joy.

You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be frightened of. Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear. So can you look at death without the image of death? As long as the image exists from which springs thought, thought must always create fear. Then you either rationalize your fear of death and build a resistance against the inevitable or you invent innumerable beliefs to protect you from the fear of death. Hence there is a gap between you and the thing of which you are afraid. In this time-space interval there must be conflict which is fear, anxiety and self-pity. Thought, which breeds the fear of death, says, `Let's postpone it, let's avoid it, keep it as far away as possible, let's not think about it' - but you are thinking about it. When you say, `I won't think about it', you have already thought out how to avoid it. You are frightened of death because you have postponed it.

We have separated living from dying, and the interval between the living and the dying is fear. That interval, that time, is created by fear. Living is our daily torture, daily insult, sorrow and confusion, with occasional opening of a window over enchanted seas. That is what we call living, and we are afraid to die, which is to end this misery. We would rather cling to the known than face the unknown - the known being our house, our furniture, our family, our character, our work, our knowledge, our fame, our loneliness, our gods - that little thing that moves around incessantly within itself with its own limited pattern of embittered existence.

We think that living is always in the present and that dying is something that awaits us at a distant time. But we have never questioned whether this battle of everyday life is living at all. We want to know the truth about reincarnation, we want proof of the survival of the soul, we listen to the assertion of clairvoyants and to the conclusions of psychical research, but we never ask, never, how to live - to live with delight, with enchantment, with beauty every day. We have accepted life as it is with all its agony and despair and have got used to it, and think of death as some- thing to be carefully avoided. But death is extraordinarily like life when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.

Most of us are frightened of dying because we don't know what it means to live. We don't know how to live, therefore we don't know how to die. As long as we are frightened of life we shall be frightened of death. The man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands that inwardly, psychologically, there is no security. When there is no security there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same. The man who lives without conflict, who lives with beauty and love, is not frightened of death because to love is to die.

If you die to everything you know, including your family, your memory, everything you have felt, then death is a purification, a rejuvenating process; then death brings innocence and it is only the innocent who are passionate, not the people who believe or who want to find out what happens after death.

To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn't a joke. You must die - not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind that is completely empty of itself, empty of its daily longing, pleasure; and agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all because thought is old. When there is death there is something totally new. Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.

TALK AUGUST 2017 PART 1 (krishnamurti and the world crisis)


We have touched upon many things during the course of these Sunday talks, but it seems to me that one of the most important questions to discuss and find out the significance of is that of time. The lives of most of us are rather sluggish like still waters, they are dull, dreary, ugly and insipid; and some of us, realizing this, bury ourselves in political, social or religious activities, and thereby we think we can enrich our lives. But surely, such action is not enrichment, because our lives are still empty; though we may talk about political reform, yet our minds and hearts continue to be dull. We may be very active socially or may dedicate our lives to religion, yet the meaning of virtue is still a matter of ideas, of mere ideation. So, do what we may, we find our lives to be dull, they are without much significance; for mere action without understanding does not bring about enrichment or freedom. So, if I may, I would like to talk a little about what is time, because I think the enrichment, the beauty and significance of that which is timeless, of that which is true, can be experienced only when we understand the whole process of time. After all, we are seeking, each in his own way, a sense of happiness, of enrichment. Surely, a life that has significance, the riches of true happiness, is not if time. Like love, such a life is timeless; and to understand that which is timeless, we must not approach it through time, but rather understand time. We must not utilize time as a means of attaining, realizing, apprehending the timeless. But that is what we are doing most of our lives: spending time in trying to grasp that which is timeless. So, it is important to understand what we mean by time, because I think it is possible to be free of time. It is very important to understand time as a whole, and not partially; but I will have to deal with it as rapidly and as briefly as possible, because I have many questions to answer and this is the last evening of these talks. So, I hope you will not mind if I am very brief and to the point.

It is interesting to realize that our lives are mostly spent in time - time; not in the sense of chronological sequence, of minutes, hours, days and years, but in the sense of psychological cal memory. We live by time, w are the result of time. Our minds are the product of many yesterdays, and the present is merely the passage of the past to the future. So, our minds, our activities, our being are founded on time; without time we cannot think, because thought is the result of time, thought is the product of many yesterdays, and there is no thought without memory. Memory is time; for there are two kinds of time, the chronological and the psychological. There is time a; yesterday by the watch and as yesterday by memory. You cannot reject chronological time, which would be absurd - then you would miss your train. But is there really any time at all apart from chronological time? Obviously, there is timE as yesterday; but is there time as the mind thinks of it? That is, is there time apart from the mind? Surely, time, psychological time, is the product of the mind. Without the foundation of thought there is no time - time merely being memory as yesterday in conjunction with today, which moulds tomorrow. That is, memory of yesterday's experience in response to the present is creating the future - which is still the process of thought, a path of the mind. So, the thought process brings about psychological progress in time; but is it real, as real as chronological time? And can we use that time which is of the mind as a means of understanding the eternal, the timeless? Because, as I said, happiness is not of yesterday, happiness is not the product of time, happiness is always in the present, a timeless state. I do not know if you have noticed that when you have ecstasy, a creative joy, a series of bright clouds surrounded by dark clouds, in that moment there is no time: there is only the immediate present. But the mind, coming in after the experiencing in the present, remembers and wishes to continue it, gathering more and more of itself, thereby creating time. So, time is created by the `more; time is acquisition, and time is also detachment, which is still an acquisition of the mind. Therefore, merely disciplining the mind in time, conditioning thought within the framework of time, which is memory, surely does not reveal that which is timeless.

So, there is chronological time, and there is the time of the mind, the time which is mind itself, and we are always confusing these two issues. Obviously, chronological time is confused with the psychological, with the psyche of one's being; and with that chronological mentality we try to become, we try to achieve. So, this whole process of becoming is of time; and one must surely enquire if there really is such a thing as becoming, becoming in the sense of finding reality, God, happiness. Can you use time as a means to the timeless? That is, through a wrong means can the right end be achieved? Surely, the right means must be employed for the right end, because the means and the end are one. When we try to find the timeless in terms of becoming, which implies disciplining, conditioning, rejecting, accepting, acquiring and denying, all of which involves time, we are using the wrong means for the right end; therefore, our means will produce a wrong end. As long as you are using the wrong means, which is time, to find the timeless, the timeless is not; for time is not the means to the timeless. Therefore, to find the timeless, to realize that which is eternal, time must stop - which means the whole process of thinking must come to an end; and, if you examine it really closely, widely and intelligently, it is not as difficult as it appears. Because, there are moments when the mind is absolutely still, not put together, but still of itself. Surely, there is a difference between a mind that is made still, and a mind that is still. But those moments of stillness are mere remembrances, and remembrances become the time clement which prevents the further experiencing of those moments.

So, as I said, for thought to come to an end and for the timeless to be, you must understand memory; for without memory, there is no thought; without memory, there is no time. Memory is merely incomplete experience; for that which you experience fully, completely, is without any response, and in that state there is no memory. At the moment when you are experiencing something, there is no memory, there is no experiencer apart from the experienced, there is neither the observer nor the observed; there is only a state of experiencing in which time is not. Time comes in only when experiencing has become a memory; and most of you are living on the memory of yesterday's experiencing, either your own, or that of your guru, and so on and on. Therefore, if we understand this psychological functioning of memory, which springs from chronological action, we cannot confuse the two. We must see the whole problem of time without apprehension and without a desire to continue; because, most of us desire to continue, and it is this continuity that must come to an end. Continuity is merely time, and continuity cannot lead to the timeless. To understand time is to understand memory, and to understand memory is to become aware of our relationship to all things - to nature, to people, to pro- perty, and to ideas. Relationship reveals the process of memory, and the understanding of that process is self-knowledge. Without understanding the process of the self, at whatever level that self is placed, you cannot be free of memory, and therefore you are not free of time; and hence the timeless is not.

Question: Have dreams any meaning? If so, how should one interpret them?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by `dream'? When we are asleep, when the body is asleep, the mind is functioning; and when we wake up, we remember certain impressions, symbols, word-expressions or pictures. That is what we mean by dreams, is it not? - those impressions that are recollected upon waking, those symbols, intimations, hints to the conscious mind concerning things not fully understood. That is, during our waking consciousness the mind is completely occupied with earning a livelihood, with immediate relationships, with amusements, and so on. So, the conscious mind leads a very superficial life. But our life is not merely the superficial layer, it is going on at different levels all the time. These different levels are constantly trying to convey their meaning, their significance, to the conscious mind; and when the conscious mind is quiet, as during sleep, the hints and the intimations of the hidden are communicated in the form of symbols, and on waking, these symbols are remembered as dreams. Then, having dreams, you try to interpret those dreams, or you go to a psychoanalyst to have them interpreted for you. That is what actually takes place. Perhaps you do not go to the interpreter, because it is too expensive, and it does not lead you to hope; but still you depend on interpretation, you want your dreams to be explained, you look to their meaning, you search out their significance, you try to analyze them; and in that process of interpretation, of analysis, there is always hope, doubt and uncertainty.

Now, need we dream at all? There are dreams which are very superficial. When you overeat at night, naturally you have violent dreams. There are dreams which are the result of the suppression of sexual and other cravings. When they are suppressed, they assert themselves while you are asleep, and you remember them as dreams when you awake. There are many forms of dreams, but my point is this: Heed one dream at all? If it is possible not to dream, then there is nothing that needs to be interpreted. Psychologists - not that I have read them, but I know several - have told me that it is impossible not to dream. I think it is possible not to dream, and you can experiment with it for yourself and therefore put aside the fear of interpretation, with its anxieties, with it uncertainties. As I said, you dream because the conscious mind is no aware of what is actually taking place every minute, is not aware of all the intimations, hints, impressions and responses that are constantly coming on. And is it not possible to be passively aware so that everything is immediately perceived and understood? Surely, it can be done. It is only when there is passive awareness of each problem that it is immediately resolved, and not carried over to the next day. Now, when you have a problem and that problem causes considerable worry, what happens? You go to bed and you say, `I will sleep on it'. Next morning when you look at the problem you see it can be solved, and you are free. What actually happens is that the conscious mind having searched and worried, becomes quiet; and then the unconscious mind, which goes on working on the problem, gives its hints, its intimations, and when you wake up the problem is solved.

So, it is possible to meet every problem afresh, anew, and not carry it over. You can meet every problem, anew, with quickness, with rapidity, only when you do not condemn, when you do not justify, because only then can the problem tell you its whole significance; and it is possible to live so alertly, so passively aware, that each problem gives its full significance as it arises. You can test this out for yourselves, you do not have to accept another's word for it. But the whole conscious mind must be alert, watchful, so that there is no part of it that is sluggish and that has therefore to be quickened through dreams, through symbols. Only when the conscious mind is aware, not merely at one depth or in one layer, but fully and entirely, is it possible not to dream.

Dreams are also self-projections, the interpretation through symbols of different experiences. Also the conversation one has with people in a dream is obviously still self-projection - which does not mean that it is impossible for thought to meet thought, for one identified thought to meet another identified thought. This is too vast a subject to go completely into now; but one can see that as long as we deal with problems partially and not fully, as long as there is conditioned response to challenge, there must be these intimations, these hints from that part of the mind which is alert, either through dreams, or through rude shocks. As long as problems are not fully understood, you will dream, and those dreams need interpretation. Interpretations are never complete, for they always arise out of fear, anxiety; there is in them an element of the unknown, and the conscious mind always rejects that which is unknown. Whereas, if one can experience each challenge completely, fully, then there is no necessity for dreams nor for an interpreter of dreams.

Question: What is the meaning of right relationship with nature?

Krishnamurti: Sir I do not know if you have discovered your relationship with nature. There is no `right' relationship, there is only the understanding of relationship. Right relationship implies the mere acceptance of a formula, as does right thought. Right thought and right thinking are two different things. Right thought is merely conforming to what is right, what is respectable, whereas right thinking is movement, it is the product of understanding; and understanding is constantly undergoing modification, change. Similarly, there is a difference between right relationship, and understanding our relationship with nature. What is your relationship with nature? - nature being the rivers, the trees, the swift-flying birds, the fish in the water, the minerals under the earth, the waterfalls and shallow pools. What is your relationship to them? Most of us are not aware of that relationship. We never look at a tree, or if we do, it is with a view of using that tree, either to sit in its shade, or to cut it down for lumber. In other words, we look at trees with utilitarian purpose; we never look at a tree without projecting ourselves and utilizing it for our own convenience. We treat the earth and its products in the same way. There is no love of earth, there is only usage of earth. If one really loved the earth, there would be frugality in using the things of the earth. That is, Sir, if we were to understand our relationship with the earth, we should be very careful in the use we made of the things of the earth. The understanding of one's relationship with nature is as difficult as understanding one's relationship with one's neighbour, wife and children. But we have not given a thought to it, we have never sat down to look at the stars, the moon or the trees. We are too busy with social or political activities. Obviously, these activities are escapes from ourselves; and to worship nature is also an escape from ourselves. We are always using nature, either as an escape, or for utilitarian ends - we never actually stop and love the earth or the things of the earth. We never enjoy the rich fields, though we utilize them to feed and clothe ourselves. We never like to till the earth with our hands - we are ashamed to work with our hands. There is an extraordinary thing that takes place when you work the earth with your hands. But this work is done only by the lower castes; we upper classes are much too important apparently to use our own hands! So, we have lost our relationship with nature. If once we understood that relationship, its real significance then we would not divide property into yours and mine; though one might own a piece of land and build a house on it, it would not be `mine' or `yours' in the exclusive sense - it would be more a means of taking shelter. Because we do not love the earth and the things of the earth but merely utilize them, we are insensitive to the beauty of a waterfall, we have lost the touch of life, we have never sat with our backs against the trunk of a tree; and since we do not love nature, we do not know how to love human beings and animals. Go down the street and watch how the bullocks are treated, their tails all out of shape. You shake your head and say, `Very sad'. But we have lost the sense of tenderness, that sensitivity, that response to things of beauty; and it is only in the renewal of that sensitivity that we can have understanding of what is true relationship. That sensitivity does not come in the mere hanging of a few pictures, or in painting a tree, or putting a few flowers in your hair; sensitivity comes only when this utilitarian outlook is put aside. It does not mean that you cannot use the earth; but you must use the earth as it is to be used. Earth is there to be loved, to be cared for, not to be divided as `yours' and `mine'. It is foolish to plant a tree in a compound and call it `mine'. It is only when one is free of exclusiveness that there is a possibility of having sensitivity, not only to nature, but to human beings and to the ceaseless challenges of life.

Question: While talking about right means of livelihood, you said that the profession of the army, of the lawyer, and of government service, were obviously not right means of livelihood. Are you not advocating sanyasism, withdrawal from society, and is that not running away from social conflicts and supporting the injustice and exploitation around us?

Krishnamurti: To transform anything or to understand anything you must first examine what is; then only is there a possibility of a renewal, a regeneration, a transformation. Merely to transform what is without understanding it, is a waste of time, a retrogression. Reform without understanding is retrogression, because we do not face what is; but if we begin to understand exactly what is, then we shall know how to act. You cannot act without first observing, discussing, and understanding what is. We must examine society as it is, with its weaknesses, its foibles; and to examine it we must see directly our connection, our relationship with it, not through a posedly intellectual or theoretical explanation.

Now, as society exists at present, there is no choice between right livelihood and wrong livelihood. You take any you can get, if you are lucky enough to get one at all. So, to the man who is pressed for an immediate job, there is no problem. He takes what he can get because he must eat. But to those of you who are not so immediately pressed, it should be a problem, and that is what we are discussing: what is the right means of livelihood in a society which is based on acquisition and class differences, on nationalism, greed, violence, and so on? Given these things, can there be right livelihood? Obviously not. And there are obviously wrong professions, wrong means of livelihood, such as the army, the lawyer, the police and the government.

The army exists, not for peace, but for war. It is the function of the army to create war, it is the function of the general to plan for war. If he does not, you will throw him out, won't you? You will get rid of him. The function of the general staff is to plan and prepare for future wars, and a general staff that does not plan for future wars is obviously inefficient. So the army is not a profession for peace, therefore it is not a right means of livelihood. I know the implications as well as you do. Armies will exist as long as sovereign governments exist, with their nationalism and frontiers; and since you support sovereign governments, you must support nationalism and war. Therefore, as long as you are a nationalist you have no choice about right livelihood.

Similarly, the police. The function of the police is to protect and to maintain things as they are. It also becomes the instrument of investigation, of inquisition, not only in the hands of totalitarian governments, but in the hands of any government. The function of the police is to snoop around, to investigate into the private life of people. The more revolutionary you become, outwardly or inwardly, the more dangerous you are to government. That is why governments, and especially totalitarian governments, liquidate those who are outwardly or inwardly creating a revolution. So, obviously, the profession of police is not a right means of livelihood.

Similarly, the lawyer. He thrives on contention: it is essential for his livelihood that you and I should fight and wrangle. (Laughter). You laugh it off. Probably many of you are lawyers, and your laugh indicates a mere nervous response to a fact; and through avoidance of that fact, you will still go on being lawyers. You may say that you are a victim of society; but you are victimized because you accept society as it is. So, law is not a right means of livelihood. There can be right means of livelihood only when you do not accept the present state of things; and the moment you do not accept it, you do not accept law as a profession.

Similarly, you cannot expect to find right means of livelihood in the big corporations of business men who are amassing wealth, nor in the bureaucratic routine of government with its officials and red tape. Governments are only interested in maintaining things as they are, and if you become an engineer for the government, you are directly or indirectly helping war.

So, as long as you accept society as it is, any profession, whether the army, the police, the law, or the government, is obviously not a right means of livelihood. Seeing that, what is an earnest man to do? Is he to run away and bury himself in some village? Even there, he has to live somehow. He can beg, but the very food that is given to him comes indirectly from the lawyer, the policeman, the soldier, the government. And he cannot live in isolation, because that again is impossible; to live in isolation is to lie, both psychologically and physiologically. So, what is one to do? All that one can do, if one is earnest, if one is intelligent about this whole process, is to reject the present state of things and give to society all that one is capable of. That is, Sir, you accept food, clothing and shelter from so- ciety, and you must give something to society in return. As long as you use the army, the police, the law, the government, as your means of livelihood, you maintain things as they are, you support dissension, inquisition and war. But if you reject the things of society and accept only the essentials, you must give something in return. It is more important to find out what you are giving to society than to ask what is the right means of livelihood.

Now, what are you giving to society? What is society? Society is relationship with one or with many, it is your relationship with another. What are you giving to another? Are you giving anything to another in the real sense of the word, or merely taking payment for something? As long as you do not find out what you are giving, whatever you take from society is bound to be a wrong means of livelihood. This is not a clever answer, and therefore you have to ponder, enquire into the whole question of your relationship to society. You may ask me in return, `What are you giving to society in order that you be clothed, given shelter and food?' I am giving to society that of which I am talking today - which is not merely the verbal service any fool can give. I am giving to society what to me is true. You may reject it and say, `Nonsense, it is not true'. But I am giving what to me is true, and I am far more concerned with that than with what society gives me. Sir, when you do not use society or your neighbour as a means of self-extension, you are completely content with the things that society gives you in the way of food, clothing and shelter. Therefore you are not greedy; and not being greedy, your relationship with society is entirely different. The moment you do not use society as a means of self-extension, you reject the things of society, and therefore there is a revolution in your relationship. You are not depending on another for your psychological needs - and it is only then that you can have a right means of livelihood.

You may say this is all a very complicated answer, but it is not. Life has no simple answer. The man who looks for a simple answer to life has obviously a dull mind, a stupid mind. Life has no conclusion, life has no definite pattern; life is living, altering, changing. There is no positive, definite answer to life, but we can understand its whole significance and meaning. To understand, we must first see that we are using life as a means of self-extension, as a means of self-fulfilment; and because we are using life as a means of self-fulfilment, we create a society which is corrupt, which must begin to decay the very moment it comes into existence. So, an organized society has inherent in it the seed of decay.

It is very important for each one of us to find out what his relationship is with society, whether it is based?n greed - which means self-extension, self-fulfilment, in which is implied power, position, authority - or if one merely accepts from society such essentials as food, clothing and shelter. If your relationship is one of need and not of greed, then you will find the right means of livelihood wherever you are, even when society I is corrupt. So, as the present society is disintegrating very rapidly, one has to find out; and those whose relationship is one of need only, will create a new culture, they will be the nucleus of society in which the necessities of life are equitably distributed and are not used as a means of self-extension. As long as society remains for you as a means of self-extension, there must be a craving for power, and it is power that creates a society of classes divided as the high and the low, the rich and the poor, the man who has and the man who has not, the literate and the illiterate, each struggling with the other, all based on acquisitiveness and not on need. It is acquisitiveness which gives power, position and prestige, and as long as that exists, your relationship with society must be a wrong means of livelihood. There can be right means of livelihood when you look to society only for your needs - and then your relationship with society is very simple. Simplicity is not the `more', nor is it the putting on of a loin cloth and renouncing the world. Merely limiting yourself to a few things is not simplicity. Simplicity of the mind is essential, and that simplicity of the mind cannot exist if the mind is used for self-extension, self-fulfilment, whether that self-fulfilment comes through the pursuit of God, of knowledge, of money, property or position. The mind that is seeking God is not a simple mind, for its God is its own projection. The simple man is he who sees exactly what is and understands it - he does not demand anything more. Such a mind is content, it understands what is - which docs not mean accepting society as it is, with its exploitation, classes, wars, and so on. But a mind that sees and understands what is, and therefore acts, such a mind has few needs, it is very simple, quiet; and it is only when the mind is quiet that it can receive the eternal.

Question: Every art has a technique of its own, and it takes effort to master the technique. How can one reconcile creativeness with technical achievement?

Krishnamurti: You cannot reconcile creativeness with technical achievement. You may be perfect in playing the piano, and not be creative; you may play the piano most brilliantly, and not be a musician. You may be able to handle colour, to put paint on canvas most cleverly, and not be a creative painter. You may create a face, an image out of a stone, because you have learned the technique, and not be a master creator. Creation comes first, not technique, and that is why we are miserable all our lives. We have technique, how to put up a house, how to build a bridge, how to assemble a motor, how to educate our children through a system; we have learned all these techniques, but our hearts and minds are empty. We are first class machines, we know how to operate most beautifully, but we do not love a living thing. You may be a good engineer, you may be a pianist, you may write in a good style in English or Marathi or whatever your language is; but creativeness is not found through technique. If you have something to say, you create your own style; but when you have nothing to say, even if you have a beautiful style, what you write is only the traditional routine, a repetition in new words of the same old thing. So, if you watch yourself very critically, you will see that technique does not lead to creativeness, but when you have creativeness, you can have technique within a week. To express something there must be something to express, you must have a song in your heart to sing. You must have sensitivity to receive in order to express, and the expression is of very little importance. The expression is important only when you want to convey it to another, but it has very little importance when you write for your own amusement.

So, having lost the song, we pursue the singer. We learn from the singer the technique of song, but there is no song; and I say the song is essential, the joy of singing is essential. When the joy is there, the technique can be built up from nothing; you will invent your own technique, you won't have to study elocution or style. When you have, you see, and the very seeing of beauty is an art. The expression of that seeing becomes beautiful, technically perfect, when you have something to say. To have a song in your heart, that is the important thing, not the technique - though technique is essential. What is important is to be creative. It is really an important problem, because you are not creative; you may produce children galore, but that is merely accidental, that is not creative. You may be able to write about creative thinkers, but that is not being creative. You may watch, you may be spectators at a play, but you are not the actors. Since the mere learning of a technique is more and more emphasized, you have to find what it is to be creative.

How is one to be creative? Creativeness is not imitation. Our whole life is imitative, not only on the verbal level, but inwardly and psychologically also; it is nothing but imitation, conformity and regimentation. Do you think there can be creativeness when you are thinking according to a pattern, a technique? There is creativeness only when there is freedom from imitation, from regimentation, which means, freedom from authority, not only external authority, but the inward authority of experience which has become memory. Again, there cannot be creativeness if there is fear; for fear produces imitation, fear creates copy, fear engenders the desire to be secure, to be certain, which in turn creates authority; and there cannot be creativeness as long as the mind moves from the known to the known. As long as the mind is held by technique, as long as the mind is engaged in knowledge, there cannot be creativeness. Knowledge is of the past, of the known; and as long as the mind moves from the known to the known, there cannot be creativeness. As long as the mind is moving in a series of changes, there cannot be creativeness, because change is merely modified continuity. There can be creativeness only in ending, not in continuity. Most of us do not want to end, we all want to continue, and our continuance is merely the continuance of memory. Memory can be placed at the level of the Atman, or at a lower level, but still it is memory. As long as all these things exist, there cannot be creativeness. It is not difficult to be free of these things, but one needs attention, observation, intention to understand; then, I assure you, creativeness comes into being.

When a man wishes to create, he must ask himself and see what it is he wants to create. Is it motor cars, war machines, gadgets? The mere pursuit of things distracts the mind and interferes with generosity, with the instinctive response to beauty. That is what we are all doing with our minds. As long as the mind is active, formulating, fabricating, criticizing, there cannot be creativeness; and, I assure you, that creativeness comes silently, with extraordinary swiftness, without any enforcement, when you understand the truth that the mind must be empty for creativeness to take place. When you see the truth of that, then instantaneously there is creativeness. You do not have to paint a picture, you do not have to sit on the platform, you do not have to invent new mathematical theorems; for creativeness does not necessarily demand expression. The very expression of it begins to destroy it. That does not mean that you must not express it; but if the expression becomes more important than creativeness, then creativeness recedes, For you, expression is so important - to paint a picture and put your name at the bottom! Then you want to see who is criticizing it, who is going to buy it, how many critics have written about it and what they say; and when you are knighted, you think you have achieved some, thing! That is not creativeness, that is decay, disintegration. Creativeness comes into being only when the mind, with its prompting's and corruption, ceases; and for the mind to come to an end is not a difficult task, nor is it the ultimate task that you should undertake. On the contrary it is the immediate task. Our lives are in the present, with its miseries, with its confusion, its extraordinarily mounting sorrow and strife. So, the only thing is for the mind, which is thought, to come to an end, and then, I assure you, you will know creativeness. There is creativeness only when the mind, understanding its own insufficiency, its own poverty, its own loneliness, comes to an end. Being aware of itself, it puts an end to itself; then that which is creative, that which is immeasurable, comes subtly and swiftly. To put an end to the process of thought is to be passively aware of one's own insufficiency, one's own poverty one's own void, emptiness, without struggling against it; only then there comes that thing which is not the product of the mind; and that which is not the product of the mind is creativeness.

Question: You are telling us every day that the root cause of our trouble and ugliness in life is the absence of love. How is one to find the pearl of real love?

Krishnamurti: To answer this question fully, one must think negatively, because negative thinking is the highest form of thinking. Mere positive thinking is conformity to a pattern, therefore it is not thinking at all - it is adjustment to an idea, and an idea is merely the product of the mind, therefore unreal. So, to think this problem through completely, fully, we must approach it negatively - which does not mean denial of life. Do not jump to conclusions, but follow step by step, if you kindly will. if you will follow this experience deeply and not merely verbally, then as we proceed you will find out what love is. We are going to enquire into love. Mere conclusions are not love; the word `love' is not love. Let us begin very near, in order to go very far.

Now, do you call it love when in your relationship with your wife there is possessiveness, jealousy, fear, constant nagging, dominating and asserting? Can that be called love? When you possess a person, and thereby create a society which helps you to possess the person, do you call that love? When you use somebody for your sexual convenience, or in any other way, do you call that love? Obviously it is not. That is, where there is jealousy, where there is fear, where there is possessiveness, there is no love. You may call it love, but it is not love. Surely, love does not admit of contention, of jealousy. When you possess, there is fear; and though you may call it love, it is far from love. Experience it, Sirs and ladies, as we go along. You are married and have children, you have wives or husbands whom you possess, whom you use, of whom you are afraid or jealous. Be aware of that and see if it is love. You may see a beggar in the street, you give him a coin and express a word of sympathy. Is that love? Is sympathy love? What does that mean? By giving a coin to the beggar, sympathizing with his state, have you solved the problem? I am not saying that you should not be sympathetic - we are enquiring into the question of love. Is it love when you give a coin to the beggar? You have something to give; and when you give it, is that love? That is, when you are conscious of giving, is that love? Obviously, when you give consciously, it is you who are important, not the beggar. So, when you give and you express sympathy, you are important, are you not? Why should you have something to give? You give a coin to the beggar; the multimillionaire also gives, and is always sympathetic to poor humanity. What is the difference between you and him? You have ten coins, and you give one; he has umpteen coins, and he gives a few more. He has got that money through acquiring, multiplying, revolutionizing, exploiting. When he gives, you call it charity, philanthropy; you say, `How noble'. is that noble? (Laughter). Do not laugh, Sirs, you also want to do the same thing. When you have and you give something, is that love? Why is it that you have and others have not? You say it is the fault of society. Who has created society? You and I. Therefore, to attack society, we have to begin with ourselves. So, your sympathy is not love. Is forgiveness love? Let us go into it and you will see. I hope you are experiencing as I am talking, not merely listening to words. Is forgiveness love? What is implied in forgiveness? You insult me, and I resent it, remember it; and then, either through compulsion or through repentance, I say, `I forgive you'. First I retain, and then I reject. Which means what? I am still the central figure. I am still important, it is I who am forgiving somebody. Surely, as long as there is the attitude of forgiving, it is I who am important, not the man who is supposed to have insulted me. So, when I accumulate resentment and then deny that resentment, which you call forgiveness, it is not love. A man who loves obviously has no enmity, and to all these things he is indifferent. So, sympathy, forgiveness, the relationship of possessiveness, jealousy and fear - all these things are not love. They are all of the mind, are they not? As long as the mind is the arbiter, there is no love; for the mind arbitrates only through possessiveness, and its arbitration is merely possessiveness in different forms. The mind can only corrupt love, it cannot give birth to love, it cannot give beauty. You can write a poem about love, but that is not love.

So, the mind is the product of time, and time exists when love is denied; therefore, love is not of time. Love is not a coin to be distributed. Giving you something, giving you satisfaction, giving you courage to fight with - all these belong to the field of time, which is of the mind. Therefore, mind destroys love. It is because we as so-called civilized people are cultivating the mind, the intellect, the verbal expression, the technique, that there is no love; and that is why there is this confusion, why our troubles, our miseries multiply. It is because we are seeking an answer through the mind that there is no answer to any of our problems, that wars succeed wars, disasters follow disasters. The mind has created these problems, and we are trying to solve them on their own level, which is that of the mind. So, it is only when the mind ceases that there is love, and it is only love that will solve all our problems, like sunshine and darkness. There is no relationship between the mind and love. Mind is of time, love is not of time. You can think about a person whom you love, but you cannot think about love. Love cannot be thought about; though you may identify yourself with a person, a country, a church, the moment you think about love, it is not love - it is merely mentation. What is thought about, is not love; and there is emptiness in the heart only when the mind is supremely active. Because the mind is active, it fills the empty heart with the things of the mind; and with these things of the mind we play, we create problems. The playing with problems is what we call activity, and our solution of the problems is still of the mind. Do what you will, build churches, invent new parties, follow new leaders, adopt political slogans, they will never solve our problem The problems are the product of the mind, and for the mind to solve its own problem, it has to stop; for only when the mind stops is there love. Love cannot be thought about, love cannot be cultivated, love cannot be practiced. The practice of love, the practice of brotherhood, is still within the field of the mind, therefore it is not love. When all this has stopped, then love comes into being, then you will know what it is to love. Then love is not quantitative, but qualitative. You do not say, `I love the whole world; but when you know how to love one, you know how to love the whole. Because we do not know how to love one, our love of humanity is fictitious. When you love, there is neither one nor many: there is only love. It is only when there is love that all our problems can be solved, and then we shall know its bliss and its happiness.

October 17, 1948



I think most of us regard individual action as unimportant, while there is so much collective action necessary. For most of us, the individual action is generally opposed to the collective action. Most of us regard that collective action is much more important and has greater significance for society than individual action. For us individual action leads nowhere, it is not sufficiently significant, or creative enough, to bring about a definite change of order, a definite revolution in society. So we regard collective action as much more impressive, much more urgent than individual action. Specially, technologically, mechanistically, in a world that is becoming more and more technically-minded and mechanically-minded, individual action has very little place; and so, gradually, the importance of the individual diminishes, and the collective becomes all important.

One can observe this taking place when the mind of man is being taken over, is being collectivised - if I may use that word - , is being forced to conform much more than ever before. The mind is no longer free. It is being shaped by politics, by education, by religious, organized belief and dogma. Everywhere throughout the world, freedom is becoming less and less, and the individual is becoming less and less significant. You must have observed this, not only in your lives but also generally, that freedom has withered away - freedom to think quite independently, freedom to stand up against something which you think is right, freedom to say `no' to established order, freedom to discover, to question, to find out for yourself. More and more, leadership is becoming important, because we want to be told, we want to be guided; and unfortunately, when this takes place, corruption is inevitable, there is deterioration of the mind - not the technical mind, not the capacity to build bridges, atomic reactors and so on; but deterioration of the quality of the mind that is creative. I am using that word `creative' in quite a different way. I do not mean creative in the sense of writing a poem or building a bridge or putting down, in marble or in stone, a vision that is being caught - those are mere expressions of what one feels or what one thinks. But we are talking of a creative mind in quite a different sense: a mind that is free, is creative. A mind that is not bound by dogmas, by beliefs; a mind that has not taken shelter within the limits of experience; a mind that breaks through the barriers of tradition, of authority, of ambition, that is no longer within the net of envy - such a mind is a creative mind. And it seems to me that in a world where there is the threat of war, where there is general deterioration, not technologically but in every other way, such a creative, free mind is necessary.

It is absolutely, urgently necessary to alter the whole course of human thought, of human existence, because it is becoming more and more mechanistic. And I do not see how this complete revolution can take place except in the individual. The collective cannot be revolutionary; the collective can only follow, can only adjust itself, can imitate, can conform. But it is only the individual, the `you', that can break through shattering all these conditionings and be creative. It is the crisis in consciousness which demands this mind, this new mind. And apparently, from what one observes, one never thinks along these lines; but one is always thinking that more improvement - technological, mechanistic improvement - will bring about in some miraculous way the creative mind, the mind that is free from fear.

So in these talks - I believe there are going to be seven of them - we are going to concern ourselves not with the improvement of the technical processes which are necessary in the world of mechanistic action which is collective, but rather how to bring about this creative mind, this new mind. Because in this country, as one sees, there is a general decline, except perhaps industrially, in making more money, in building railways, dredging canals, dredging rivers, iron works, manufacturing more goods - which are all necessary. But that is not going to bring about a new civilization. That will bring progress; but progress, as one observes, does not bring freedom to man. Things are necessary, goods are necessary; more shelter, more clothes, and more food are absolutely necessary; but there is the other thing also equally necessary - the individual who says `no'.

To say `no' is much more important than to say `yes'. We all say `yes' and we never say `no' and stand by `no'. It is very difficult to deny, and very easy to conform; and most of us do conform because it is the easiest way easily to slip into conformity through fear, through desire for security, and thereby gradually to stagnate, disintegrate. But to say `no' requires the highest form of thinking, because to say `no' implies negative thinking - that is to see what is false. The very perception of what is false, the clarity with which one sees what is false, that very perception is creative action. The denial of something, the questioning of something - however sacred, however powerful, however well-established - requires deep penetration, requires the shattering of one's own ideas, traditions. And such an individual is absolutely essential in the modern world where propaganda, where organized religion, the make-believe is taking over. So, I do not know if you also see the importance of this - not verbally, not theoretically, but actually.

You know there is a way of looking at things. Either we look at them directly, experience the thing which we see, or we examine what we see, verbally, intellectually, we spin theories about `what is' and find explanations for `what is'. But without finding explanations, without mere judgment which we will also come to later, to perceive directly something as false requires attention, requires all your capacity. And apparently, specially in this unfortunate country where tradition, authority and the ancient so-called wisdom rule and dominate, that energetic quality to see what is false, to deny it and to stand by it, seems to be utterly lacking. But to enquire into what is false requires a free mind. You cannot ask, if you have committed yourself to a particular form of belief, to a particular form of experience, to a certain course of action. If you have committed yourself to a particular pattern of government, you cannot question, you dare not question, because you lose your position, your influence, the things that you are afraid of losing. And also when you are committed to a particular form of religion as a Hindu, a Buddhist or what not, you dare not question, you dare not tear through, destroy everything to find out. But unfortunately, most of us are committed politically, economically, socially or religiously; and from there, from that commitment, we never question the very centre, the very thing to which we are committed. Therefore, we are always seeking freedom in ideas, in books, in a lot of words.

So I would suggest, if I may, that while you are listening, you are not only hearing the words which are only a means of communication, a symbol which needs to be interpreted by each one, but also, through the words, discovering your own state of mind, discovering the things to which you are committed yourself, discovering for yourself the things to which you are tied hand and foot, mind and heart - actually discovering it and seeing whether it is possible to break down the things to which you are committed, to find out what is true. Because, I do not see otherwise how a regeneration is to take place in the world. There will be social upheavals - whether communistic or otherwise - , there will be more prosperity, more food, more factories, more fertilizers, more engines and so on. But surely that is not all life, that is only a part of life. And to worship and live in the fragment does not solve our human problems. There is still sorrow, there is still death, there is still anxiety, guilt, the aches of many ideas, hopes, despairs they are all there.

So, in listening, I would suggest that it should be rather the listening of a mind which is self-examining - examining its own processes rather than to listen to words with which it agrees or disagrees, which is of very little importance. Because we deal only with facts - the fact that human beings are becoming more and more mechanical; the fact there is less and less freedom; the fact that when there is confusion, authority is resorted to; and the fact that there is conflict outwardly as war and inwardly as misery, despair, fear. These are all facts and to deal with them, not theoretically but actually. So, what we are concerned with is how to bring about a change, a radical revolution in the individual, in the listener, because he is the only one that can be creative - not the politician, not the leader, not the important man; they have committed themselves and they have settled down in a groove; and they want fame, they want power, position. You also may want them, but you are still feeling your way towards them; so, there is still some hope, because you are not completely committed, you are not the big men of the land. You are still small people, you are not leaders, you have no tremendous organizations over which you are the bosses, you are just ordinary average men; and being fairly uncommitted, you have still some hope.

Therefore, it may be possible, though at the eleventh hour, to bring about this change in ourselves. And so, that is the only thing with which we are concerned: how to bring about this tremendous revolution within ourselves?

Most of us change through compulsion, through some outside influence, through fear, through punishment, or through reward - that is the only thing that will make us change. Do follow this, sirs, observe all this. We never change voluntarily, we always change with a motive; and a change through a motive is no change at all. And to be aware of the motives, of the influences, of the compulsions that force us to change, to be aware of them and to deny them is to bring about change. Circumstances make us change; the family, the law, our ambitions, our fears bring about a change. But that change is a reaction and therefore really it is a resistance, a psychological resistance to a compulsion; and that resistance creates its own modification, change; and therefore, it is no change at all. If I change or if I adjust myself to society because I expect something from society, is that a change? Or, does mutation take place only when I see the things that are compelling me to change, and see their falseness? Because, all influences, whether good or bad, condition the mind; and merely to accept such conditioning is inwardly to resist any form of change, any radical change.

So, seeing the world-situation, not only in this country but throughout the world, where progress is denying freedom, where prosperity is making the mind more and more secure in things and therefore there is less and less freedom, where religious organizations are taking over more and more the formula of belief which will make man believe in God or in no God, seeing that the mind is becoming more and more mechanistic, and also observing that the electronic brains and the modern technological knowledge are giving man more and more leisure - not in this country, because we are fifty years or a hundred years behind; but it will come - , seeing all this we have to find out what is freedom, what is reality? These questions cannot be answered by a mechanical mind. One has to put the questions to oneself fundamentally, deeply, inwardly, and find the answers for oneself, if there are answers - which means really questioning all authority. Apparently, that is one of the most difficult things to do. We never regard society as the enemy. We regard society as something with which we have to live, conform and adjust ourselves; we never think it is really the enemy of man, the enemy of freedom, the enemy of righteousness. Do think about it, look at it. Environment which is society is destroying freedom. It does not want a man who is free; it wants the saints, the reformers who would modify, bolster up, uphold the social institutions. But religion is something entirely different. The religious man is the enemy of society. The religious man is not a man who goes to church or goes to a temple, reads the Gita, does puja every day - he is not really religious at all. A really religious man has got rid of all ambition, envy, greed, fear, so that he has a mind that is young, fresh, new, so as to investigate, to find out what is beyond all the things that man has put together and which he calls religion. But all this requires a great deal of self-enquiry, an enquiry into oneself, self-knowing; and without that foundation you cannot go very far.

So, a mutation, a complete revolution, not a modified change but a complete mutation in the mind is necessary. `How to bring about this?' is the problem. We see it is necessary. Any man who has thought at all, who has observed the world-conditions, who is sensitive to what is going on within himself and outside of himself, must demand this mutation. But how is one to bring it about.

Now, first of all, is there a `how' - the `how' being the method, the system the way, the practice? If there is a way, if there is a method, if there is a system, and if you practise it in order to bring about a mutation, your mind is merely a slave to that system, your mind is shaped by that system, by that method, by that practice, and therefore can never be free. It is like saying, `I will discipline myself in order to be free'. Freedom and discipline do not go together which does not mean that you have become undisciplined. The very `seeking freedom' brings its own discipline. But the mind that has disciplined itself in a system, in a formula, in a belief, in ideas - such a mind can never be free. So, one has to see from the very beginning that the `how', which implies practice, discipline, the following of a formula, prevents mutation from taking place. That is the first thing that one has to see; because practice, method, or system becomes the authority which denies freedom and therefore mutation. One has really to see that fact, see the truth of that. I mean by `seeing' not seeing intellectually, verbally, but being emotionally in contact with that fact. We are emotionally in contact with the fact when we see a snake; there is no question about it, there is a direct challenge and a direct response. In the same way one has to see that any system however well thought out - it does not matter by whom - does deeply destroy freedom, does deeply pervert creation - not pervert, but stop creation - , because system implies gaining, an achievement, arriving somewhere, a reward, and therefore the very denial of freedom. That is why you will follow somebody, because you pursue the medium through which you gain - the medium being some kind of discipline.

But one must see this fact that the mind must be absolutely free - whether it is possible or not, that is quite a different matter - , that there must be freedom: otherwise, you become merely mechanical like any glorified machine. One has to see very clearly that freedom is essential. And it is only when there is freedom you can discover if there is, or if there is not, God or something immense, beyond the measure of man. Then you will begin to question every system, every authority, every structure of society. And the crisis demands this mind. Surely, only such a mind can find out what is true. It is only such a mind that can find out if there is, or if there is not, something beyond time, beyond the things that man has put together in his thought.

All this requires immense energy, and the essence of energy is the denial of conflict. A mind that is lost in conflict has no energy, whether the conflict is within oneself or outside with the world. All this requires immense investigation and understanding. And I hope that we can do this in the next six meetings: to be aware of the fact and to pursue the fact to its end and see whether the mind, our mind, your mind, can be really free.

Question: How is one to know if one has changed at all?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman wants to know: how does one know if one has changed at all? Even if it is a healthy change brought about by outward events, should it not be encouraged? How do you know anything? `How do you know you have changed?' is an important question - the gentleman says so. We will go into it. How do you know it? Either by direct experience, or you have been told about it. There are only two ways - someone tells you or informs you, or you have experienced yourself.

Now, is experience a criterion by which you know? Will your experience tell you what is true? Your experience is the response to a challenge and that experience is according to your background. Surely, you respond according to your background to every challenge; and your background is the result of innumerable influences, of thousand years of propaganda; and that propaganda may be good or may be bad. That background is the result of your conditioning, that background is your conditioning; and according to that conditioning, you respond to every challenge, however small. Is that the criterion of good and bad; or, is the good, the really healthy, outside the conditioning? You follow? This country is now beginning to worship flags, is becoming nationally conscious; and that is the new kind of conditioning that is going on.

Nationalism obviously is a poison because it is going to separate man and man. In the name of the flag we are going to destroy people, not only in this country but also in other countries as well. We think that it will be the rallying point which will bring unity to man; and that is the latest influence, the latest pressure, the latest propaganda. Now, without questioning that - merely accepting the influence of the daily newspaper or of the political leaders without questioning it - , how will you find out whether it is righteous, whether it is true or false, whether it is noble or ignoble? There is no influence which is good; every influence can be bad. So, your mind has to be like a razor to cut through this to find out, to be sane in a mad world where false things are worshipped.

So, that is why you have to enquire into your own conditioning; and the enquiry is the beginning of self-knowing.

Question: Can we keep our mind free when we are in contact with nature?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks: is it possible to be free when we are in contact with nature? I do not quite understand this question. Perhaps he means that we are being constantly stimulated by outward events, by our senses, and every stimulus leaves a mark on the mind as memory; and how can we be free of this memory? That is - let me make the question clear to myself also - how can a human being who is receiving all the time challenges in the form of stimuli, and is responding to them consciously or unconsciously from his background, from his memory - how can such a mind be free? And is it possible for such a mind to be free?

Now, may I put the question in a different way? I am not avoiding the question, I am putting it in a different way. Every experience leaves a mark on the mind as memory; every conscious or unconscious experience leaves a scratch which we call memory; and as long as that memory is in operation, can the mind be free?

What is the need for memory? I need to know where I live; otherwise, I could not get back home. I need to know how to build a house, I need to know how to run a bicycle, a motor. So, memory becomes essential in mechanical things; and that is why we create habits; once I have a habit I function without thinking, and that becomes mechanical. So, our life is made gradually mechanical through habit, through memory, through these so-called experiences which leave their mark. So, let us differentiate between the necessity of memory as mechanical and that of memory which is detrimental to further understanding. I need to know how to write; that memory is good. The English I am speaking is the result of memory, that is essential for communication; the technical knowledge, the know-how, of the things I have learnt is necessary to run an office, to function in a factory and so on. But when society, through culture, through tradition, imposes on the mind a certain belief, and according to that belief I function mechanically, are not that belief and that mechanical pursuit according to that belief detrimental to the mind and therefore denying freedom? You are Hindus. You have been told so for centuries, you have been brought up from childhood in believing certain things, and that has become automatic, mechanical; you believe in God absolutely - that is mechanical. Must you not deny the whole of that to find out? If you observe, you can deny all that, wipe out all that memory as being a Hindu.

So, there is freedom when you see the things that have been imposed upon you in thought - as thought, as an idea, as a belief, as a dogma - , when you deny them and go into the whole process of denial, why you deny. Then out of that comes freedom, though you are mechanically functioning in the daily events of life.

You may say man is merely the result of environment - which you are. It is no good pretending you are not, and saying you are Paramatman - a kind of propaganda which you swallow, which you have been told. So, the fact is that you are the result of environment - the climate, the food, the newspapers, the magazines, the mother, the grandmother, the religion, the society, the social and moral values. You are that, and it is no good denying you are not that but saying you are God - that again is merely propaganda. One has to admit that, to see the fact of that, and to break through it. Is it possible to break through it? It is not possible verbally, theoretically. But if you go into it factually step by step, deny totally being a Hindu or an Indian or a Christian or what you will - which means to enquire into the whole question of fear which we are not going into now, because that involves a great deal - , then you can find out whether man can be free or not; but merely speculating about freedom is utterly useless.

Question: Does not thought function in symbols?

Krishnamurti: The lady says: thought functions in symbols, thought is word; and is it possible to wipe away symbols and the word, and therefore let a new thought come into being? Symbols and words have been imposed upon us through centuries upon centuries. Now, is it possible to be aware of the symbols and the source of those symbols and to go beyond them? First of all, we must enquire not only into the conscious mind but also into the unconscious. Otherwise, we will merely be dealing with words - again with merely symbols and not with actuality. There is only consciousness. We divide our consciousness into the conscious and the unconscious for convenience, but there is no actual division as such. We are dividing it for convenience; there is no such division as the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the educated mind which has learnt the new language, the new technique - how to go to the office, how to run an engine-; it has recently been educated to live in this world. The unconscious, comprising the deeper layers of that mind, is the result of centuries of racial inheritance, of racial fears, of the residue of man's experience - collective as well as individual - the things that one has heard in boyhood, the things that one's great-grandmother told one, the influences that one has gathered by reading a newspaper, of which one is not absolutely conscious. So, the influences, the past, whether the immediate past or ten thousand years past - all those have taken root in the unconscious. You do not have to agree with me, it is a psychological fact, it is not a matter of my invention with which you agree or disagree. This is so. It is so, only if you have gone into yourself: - not reading books and saying it is so. If you have gone into yourself very deeply, you are bound to come across this. If you have merely read books and come to a conclusion, then you have to agree or disagree - it has no importance at all.

All thinking is symbolic. All thinking is the result of, is the response to, your memory; that memory is very deep, and that memory responds in words, in symbols. And the lady asks: is it possible to be free of these symbols? Is it possible for the Christian to be free of the symbol of Jesus and the Cross? Is it possible for the Hindu to be free of the idea of Krishna, the Gita and all that? The lady also asks: how did these symbols arise? You know it is much easier to get excited about the symbol rather than about reality. The symbol is the means of propaganda in the hands of the propagandist. The symbol is the flag, and you can get terribly excited about the flag. Now the symbol of Krishna, the symbol of the Cross and all the rest of it - how does it arise? Obviously, to make man behave in a certain pattern, to make man conform to authority through fear, because this world is a deteriorating world, a messy world, a confused world; and the Cross and Krishna are symbols with which to escape from this world. The authority says, `Look to that, and you will be happy; cultivate that, and you will become noble' and all the rest of it. So, through fear, through the desire to be secure psychologically, inwardly, symbols come into being.

A mind that is not afraid inwardly, deeply, has no symbol. Why should it have a symbol of any kind? When the mind is no longer seeking security of any kind, why should it function in symbols? Then it is facing the fact and not an idea of the fact, which becomes the symbol. So, psychologically, inwardly, for most of us, symbols become extraordinarily important. And the lady asks: is it possible not only to be aware of the symbols and their source, but also of the fear? I can say, `Yes', but it will have no importance because it is my word against somebody else's word. But if you can go deeply into yourself, think and be aware of all the thought-process - why you think, how you think, and whether there is such a thing as going beyond form - and enquire into all this, it will be your direct experience. And it is only such a mind which knows the source of the symbol, and which is free of the symbol and of the word; it is only such a mind which is free.

Question: Can a mind be free and yet have faith? Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks: can a mind that is free, have faith?

Obviously not. Faith in what? Why should I have faith in a fact? I see a fact, I see I am jealous; why should I have faith, and say that one day I will not be jealous? I am dealing with the fact, and the fact is I am jealous; and I am going to wipe it out. To find out how to do it - that is more important for me than to have faith in not being jealous, faith in the idea.

So, a mind that is enquiring into freedom destroys everything to find out. Therefore, such a mind is a very dangerous mind. Therefore, society is an enemy to such a mind.

Question: How is one to stop one's mind from getting conditioned?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks: what is the concrete action that will arrest conditioning? What is the definite action that will stop a mind from being conditioned?

It can only be stopped when you are aware of the conditioning processes. When you read the newspaper every day, as you do, in which nothing but politics is discussed, obviously that is being imprinted in your mind. But to read a newspaper and not be influenced, to see the world as it is and not to be influenced, requires a very alert mind, a very sharp mind, a mind that can reason sanely, rationally, logically - which means a very sensitive mind.

Now, the question is: how to bring about a sensitive mind? Sirs, there is no `how', there is no method; if there were a method, it would be like taking a tranquillizer - you know what it is, it is a pill that will tranquillize all your troubles, put you to sleep. To be aware of all the difficulties - which is to know them, to watch them, just to feel them, not verbally but actually, to know them as you know your hunger, your sexual appetites - that very knowing, that very contact with the fact, makes the mind sensitive. To know that you have no courage - not that you must develop courage - , to know that you cannot stand by yourself, to know that you cannot stand up for what you think, to know the fact that you have not the capacity, brings you the capacity; you do not have to search for capacity.

January 1, 1962


Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 57 'Self-esteem'

SHE HAD COME with three of her friends; they were all earnest and had the dignity of intelligence. One was quick to grasp, another was impatient in his quickness, and the third was eager, but the eagerness was not sustained. They made a good group, for they all shared the problem of their friend, and no one offered advice or weighty opinions. They all wanted to help her do whatever she thought was the right thing, and not merely act according to tradition, public opinion or personal inclination. The difficulty was, what was the right thing to do? She herself was not sure, she felt disturbed and confused. But there was much pressure for immediate action; a decision had to be made, and she could not postpone it any longer. It was a question of freedom from a particular relationship. She wanted to be free, and she repeated this several times.

There was quietness in the room; the nervous agitation had subsided, and they were all eager to go into the problem without expecting a result, a definition of the right thing to do. The right action would emerge, naturally and fully, as the problem was exposed. The discovery of the content of the problem was important, and not the end result; for any answer would only be another conclusion, another opinion, another piece of advice, which would in no way solve the problem. The problem itself had to be understood, and not how to respond to the problem or what to do about it. The right approach to the problem was important, because the problem itself held the right action.

The waters of the river were dancing, for the sun had made on them a path of light. A white sail crossed the path, but the dance was not disturbed. It was a dance of pure delight. The trees were full of birds, scolding, preening, flying away only to come back again. Several monkeys were tearing off the tender leaves and stuffing them in their mouths; their weight bent the delicate branches into long curves, yet they held on lightly and were unafraid. With what ease they moved from branch to branch; though they jumped, it was a flow, the taking off and the landing were one movement. They would sit with their tails hanging and reach for the leaves. They were high up, and took no notice of the people passing below. As darkness approached, the parrots came by the hundred to settle down for the night among the thick leaves. One saw them come and disappear into the foliage. The new moon was just visible. Far away a train whistled as it was crossing the long bridge around the curve of the river. This river was sacred, and people came from far distances to bathe in it, that their sins might be washed away. Every river is lovely and sacred, and the beauty of this one was its wide, sweeping curve and the islands of sand between deep stretches of water; and those silent white sails that went up and down the river every day.

"I want to be free from a particular relationship," she said.

What do you mean by wanting to be free? When you say, "I want to be free," you imply that you are not free. In what way are you not free?

"I am free physically; I am free to come and go, because physically I am no longer the wife. But I want to be completely free; I do not want to have anything to do with that particular person."

In what way are you related to that person, if you are already physically free? Are you related to him in any other way?

"I do not know, but I have great resentment against him. I do not want to have anything to do with him."

You want to be free, and yet you have resentment against him? Then you are not free of him. Why have you this resentment against him ?

"I have recently discovered what he is: his meanness, his real lack of love, his complete selfishness. I cannot tell you what a horror I have discovered in him. To think that I was jealous of him, that I idolized him, that I submitted to him! Finding him to be stupid and cunning when I thought him an ideal husband, loving and kind, has made me resentful of him. To think I had anything to do with him makes me feel unclean. I want to be completely free from him." You may be physically free from him, but as long as you have resentment against him, you are not free. If you hate him, you are tied to him; if you are ashamed of him, you are still enslaved by him. Are you angry with him, or with yourself? He is what he is, and why be angry with him? Is your resentment really against him? Or, having seen what is, are you ashamed of yourself for having been associated with it? Surely, you are resentful, not of him, but of your own judgment, of your own actions. You are ashamed of yourself. Being unwilling to see this, you blame him for what he is. When you realize that your resentment against him is an escape from your own romantic idolization, then he is out of the picture. You are not ashamed of him, but of yourself for being associated with him. It is with yourself that you are angry, and not with him.

"Yes, that is so."

If you really see this, experience it as a fact, then you are free of him. He is no longer the object of your enmity. Hate binds as love does.

"But how am I to be free from my own shame, from my own stupidity? I see very clearly that he is what he is, and is not to be blamed; but how am I to be free of this shame, this resentment which has been slowly ripening in me and has come to fullness in this crisis? How am I to wipe out the past?"

Why you desire to wipe out the past is of more significance than knowing how to wipe it out. The intention with which you approach the problem is more important than knowing what to do about it. Why do you want to wipe out the memory of that association.

"I dislike the memory of all those years. It has left a very bad taste in my mouth. Is that not a good enough reason?"

Not quite, is it? Why do you want to wipe out those past memories? Surely, not because they leave a bad taste in your mouth. Even if you were able through some means to wipe out the past, you might again be caught in actions that you would be ashamed of. Merely wiping out the unpleasant memories does not solve the problem, does it?

"I thought it did; but what is the problem then? Are you not making it unnecessarily complex? It is already complex enough, at least my life is. Why add another burden to it?"

Are we adding a further burden, or are we trying to understand what is and be free of it? Please have a little patience. What is the urge that is prompting you to wipe out the past? It may be unpleasant, but why do you want to wipe it out? You have a certain idea or picture of yourself which these memories contradict, and so you want to get rid of them. You have a certain estimation of yourself, have you not?

"Of course, otherwise..."

We all place ourselves at various levels, and we are constantly falling from these heights. It is the falls we are ashamed of. Self-esteem is the cause of our shame, of our fall. It is this self-esteem that must be understood, and not the fall. If there is no pedestal on which you have put yourself, how can there be any fall? Why have you put yourself on a pedestal called self-esteem, human dignity, the ideal, and so on? If you can understand this, then there will be no shame of the past; it will have completely gone. You will be what you are without the pedestal. If the pedestal is not there, the height that makes you look down or look up, then you are what you have always avoided. It is this avoidance of what is, of what you are, that brings about confusion and antagonism, shame and resentment. You do not have to tell me or another what you are, but be aware of what you are, whatever it is, pleasant or unpleasant: live with it without justifying or resisting it. Live with it without naming it; for the very term is a condemnation or an identification. Live with it without fear, for fear prevents communion, and without communion you cannot live with it. To be in communion is to love. Without love, you cannot wipe out the past; with love, there is no past. Love, and time is not.

Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 58 'Fear'

SHE HAD TRAVELLED a long way, half across the world. There was a wary look about her, a guarded approach, a tentative opening that would close up at any suggestion of too deep an inquiry. She was not timid; but she was unwilling, though not consciously, to expose her inward state. Yet she wanted to talk about herself and her problems, and had come all that distance expressly to do so. She was hesitant, uncertain of her words, aloof, and at the same time eager to talk about herself. She had read many books on psychology, and while she had never been analysed, she was entirely capable of analysing herself; in fact, she said that from childhood she was used to analysing her own thoughts and feelings.

Why are you so intent upon analysing yourself?

"I do not know, but I have always done it ever since I can remember."

Is analysis a way of protecting yourself against yourself, against emotional explosions and consequent regrets?

"I am pretty sure that is why I analyse, constantly interrogate. I do not want to get caught up in all the mess about me, personal and general. It is too hideous, and I want to keep out of it. I see now that I have used analysis as a means of keeping myself intact, of not getting caught in the social and family turmoil."

Have you been able to avoid getting caught?

"I am not at all sure. I have succeeded in some directions, but in others I do not think I have. In talking about all this, I see what an extraordinary thing I have done. I have never looked at it all so clearly before."

Why are you protecting yourself so cleverly, and against what? You say, against the mess around you; but what is there in the mess against which you have to protect yourself? If it is a mess and you see it clearly as such, then you do not have to guard yourself against it. One guards oneself only when there is fear and not understanding. So what are you afraid of?

"I do not think I am afraid; I simply do not want to get entangled in the miseries of existence. I have a profession that supports me, but I want to be free of the rest of the entanglements, and I think I am."

If you are not afraid, then why do you resist entanglements? One resists something only when one does not know how to deal with it. If you know how a motor works, you are free of it; if anything goes wrong, you can put it right. We resist that which we do not understand; we resist confusion, evil, misery, only when we do not know its structure, how it is put together. You resist confusion because you are not aware of its structure, of its make-up. Why are you not aware of it?

"But I have never thought about it that way."

It is only when you are in direct relationship with the structure of confusion that you can be aware of the working of its mechanism. It is only when there is communion between two people that they understand each other; if they resist each other, there is no understanding. Communion or relationship can exist only when there is no fear.

"I see what you mean."

Then what are you afraid of?

"What do you mean by fear?"

Fear can exist only in relationship; fear cannot exist by itself, in isolation. There is no such thing as abstract fear; there is fear of the known or the unknown, fear of what one has done or what one may do; fear of the past or of the future. The relationship between what one is and what one desires to be causes fear. Fear arises when one interprets the fact of what one is in terms of reward and punishment. Fear comes with responsibility and the desire to be free from it. There is fear in the contrast between pain and pleasure. Fear exists in the conflict of the opposites. The worship of success brings the fear of failure. Fear is the process of the mind in the struggle of becoming. In becoming good, there is the fear of evil; in becoming complete, there is the fear of loneliness; in becoming great, there is the fear of being small. Comparison is not understanding; it is prompted by fear of the unknown in relation to the known. Fear is uncertainty in search of security.

The effort to become is the beginning of fear, the fear of being or not being. The mind, the residue of experience, is always in fear of the unnamed, the challenge. The mind, which is name, word, memory, can function only within the field of the known; and the unknown, which is challenge from moment to moment, is resisted or translated by the mind in terms of the known. This resistance or translation of the challenge is fear; for the mind can have no communion with the unknown. The known cannot commune with the unknown; the known must cease for the unknown to be.

The mind is the maker of fear; and when it analyses fear, seeking its cause in order to be free from it, the mind only further isolates itself and thereby increases fear. When you use analysis to resist confusion, you are increasing the power of resistance; and resistance of confusion only increases the fear of it, which hinders freedom. In communion there is freedom, but not in fear.


The Urgency of Change

The Urgency of Change 'The Religious Life'

Questioner: I should like to know what a religious life is. I have stayed in monasteries for several months, meditated, led a disciplined life, read a great deal. I've been to various temples, churches and mosques. I've tried to lead a very simple, harmless life, trying not to hurt people or animals. This surely isn't all there is to a religious life? I've practised yoga, studied Zen and followed many religious disciples. I am, and have always been, a vegetarian. As you see, I'm getting old now, and I've lived with some of the saints in different parts of the world, but somehow I feel that all this is only the outskirts of the real thing. So I wonder if we can discuss today what to you is a religious life.

Krishnamurti: A sannyasi came to see me one day and he was sad. He said he had taken a vow of celibacy and left the world to become a mendicant, wandering from village to village, but his sexual desires were so imperious that one morning he decided to have his sexual organs surgically removed. For many months he was in constant pain, but somehow it healed, and after many years he fully realized what he had done. And so he came to see me and in that little room he asked me what he could do now, having mutilated himself, to become normal again - not physically, of course, but inwardly. He had done this thing because sexual activity was considered contrary to a religious life. It was considered mundane, belonging to the world of pleasure, which a real sannyasi must at all costs avoid. He said, "Here I am, feeling completely lost, deprived of my manhood. I struggled so hard against my sexual desires, trying to control them, and ultimately this terrible thing took place. Now what am I to do? I know that what I did was wrong. My energy has almost gone and I seem to be ending my life in darkness." He held my hand, and we sat silently for some time.

Is this a religious life? Is the denial of pleasure or beauty a way that leads to a religious life? To deny the beauty of the skies and the hills and the human form, will that lead to a religious life? But that is what most saints and monks believe. They torture themselves in that belief. Can a tortured, twisted, distorted mind ever find what is a religious life? Yet all religions assert that the only way to reality or to God, or whatever they call it, is through this torture, this distortion. They all make the distinction between what they call a spiritual or religious life and what they call a worldly life.

A man who lives only for pleasure, with occasional flashes of sorrow and piety, whose whole life is given to amusement and entertainment is, of course, a worldly man, although he may also be very clever, very scholarly, and fill his life with other people's thoughts or his own. And a man who has a gift and exercises it for the benefit of society, or for his own pleasure, and who achieves fame in the fulfilment of that gift, such a man, surely, is also worldly. But it is also worldly to go to church, or to the temple or the mosque, to pray, steeped in prejudice, bigotry, utterly unaware of the brutality that this implies. It is worldly to be patriotic, nationalistic, idealistic. The man who shuts himself up in a monastery - getting up at regular hours with a book in hand, reading and praying - is surely also worldly. And the man who goes out to do good works, whether he is a social reformer or a missionary, is just like the politician in his concern with the world. The division between the religious life and the world is the very essence of worldliness. The minds of all these people - monks, saints, reformers - are not very different from the minds of those who are only concerned with the things that give pleasure.

So it is important not to divide life into the worldly and the non-worldly. It is important not to make the distinction between the worldly and the so-called religious. Without the world of matter, the material world, we wouldn't be here. Without the beauty of the sky and the single tree on the hill, without that woman going by and that man riding the horse, life wouldn't be possible. We are concerned with the totality of life not a particular part of it which is considered religious in opposition to the rest. So one begins to see that a religious life is concerned with the whole and not with the particular.

Questioner: I understand what you say. We have to deal with the totality of living; we can't separate the world from the so-called spirit. So the question is: in what way can we act religiously with regard to all the things in life?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by acting religiously? Don't you mean a way of life in which there is no division - division between the worldly and the religious, between what should be and what shouldn't be, between me and you, between like and dislike? This division is conflict. A life of conflict is not a religious life. A religious life is only possible when we deeply understand conflict. This understanding is intelligence. It is this intelligence that acts rightly. What most people call intelligence is merely deftness in some technical activity, or cunning in business or political chicanery. Questioner: So my question really means how is one to live without conflict, and bring about that feeling of true sanctity which is not simply emotional piety conditioned by some religious cage - no matter how old and venerated that cage is?

Krishnamurti: A man living without too much conflict in a village, or dreaming in a cave on a "sacred" hillside, is surely not living the religious life that we are talking about. To end conflict is one of the most complex things. It needs self-observation and the sensitivity of awareness of the outer as well as of the inner. Conflict can only end where there is the understanding of the contradiction in oneself. This contradiction will always exist if there is no freedom from the known, which is the past. Freedom from the past means living in the now which is not of time, in which there is only this movement of freedom, untouched by the past, by the known.

Questioner: What do you mean by freedom from the past?

Krishnamurti: The past is all our accumulated memories. These memories act in the present and create our hopes and fears of the future. These hopes and fears are the psychological future: without them there is no future. So the present is the action of the past, and the mind is this movement of the past. The past acting in the present creates what we call the future. This response of the past is involuntary, it is not summoned or invited, it is upon us before we know it.

Questioner: In that case, how are we going to be free of it?

Krishnamurti: To be aware of this movement without choice - because choice again is more of this same movement of the past - is to observe the past in action: such observation is not a movement of the past. To observe without the image of thought is action in which the past has ended. To observe the tree without thought is action without the past. To observe the action of the past is again action without the past. The state of seeing is more important than what is seen. To be aware of the past in that choiceless observation is not only to act differently, but to be different. In this awareness memory acts without impediment, and efficiently. To be religious is to be so choicelessly aware that there is freedom from the known even whilst the known acts wherever it has to.

Questioner: But the known, the past, still sometimes acts even when it should not; it still acts to cause conflict.

Krishnamurti: To be aware of this is also to be in a state of inaction with regard to the past which is acting. So freedom from the known is truly the religious life. That doesn't mean to wipe out the known but to enter a different dimension altogether from which the known is observed. This action of seeing choicelessly is the action of love. The religious life is this action, and all living is this action, and the religious mind is this action. So religion, and the mind, and life, and love, are one.

The Urgency of Change

The Urgency of Change 'Seeing the Whole'

Questioner: When I listen to you I seem to understand what you are talking about, not only verbally, but at a much deeper level. I am part of it; I fully grasp with my whole being the truth of what you say. My hearing is sharpened, and the very seeing of the flowers, the trees, and those mountains with snow, makes me feel I am part of them. In this awareness I have no conflict, no contradiction. it is as though I could do anything, and that whatever I did would be true, would not bring either conflict or pain. But unfortunately that state doesn't last. Perhaps it lasts for an hour or two while I'm listening to you. When I leave the talks it all seems to evaporate and I'm back where I was. I try to be aware of myself; I keep remembering the state I was in when I listened to your talks, keep trying to reach it, hold on to it, and this becomes a struggle. You have said, "Be aware of your conflict, listen to your conflict, see the causes of your conflict, your conflict is yourself". I am aware of my conflict, my pain, my sorrow, my confusion, but this awareness in no way resolves these things. On the contrary, being aware of them seems to give them vitality and duration. You talk of choiceless awareness, which again breeds another battle in me, for I am full of choice, decisions and opinions. I have applied this awareness to a particular habit I have, and it has not gone. When you are aware of some conflict or strain, this same awareness keeps looking to see if it has already gone. And this seems to remind you of it, and you never shake it off. Krishnamurti: Awareness is not a commitment to something. Awareness is an observation, both outer and inner, in which direction has stopped. You are aware, but the thing of which you are aware is not being encouraged or nourished. Awareness is not concentration on something. It is not an action of the will choosing what it will be aware of, and analysing it to bring about a certain result. When awareness is deliberately focused on a particular object, as a conflict, that is the action of will which is concentration. When you concentrate - that is, put all your energy and thought within your chosen frontiers, whether reading a book or watching your anger - then, in this exclusion, the thing you are concentrating upon is strengthened, nourished. So here we have to understand the nature of awareness: We have to understand what we are talking about when we use the word awareness. Now, you can either be aware of a particular thing, or be aware of that particular as part of the total. The particular by itself has very little meaning, but when you see the total, then that particular has a relationship to the whole. Only in this relationship does the particular have its right meaning; it doesn't become all-important, it is not exaggerated. So the real question is: does one see the total process of life or is one concentrated on the particular, thus missing the whole field of life? To be aware of the whole field is to see also the particular, but, at the same time, to understand its relationship to the whole. If you are angry and are concerned with ending that anger, then you focus your attention on the anger and the whole escapes you and the anger is strengthened. But anger is interrelated to the whole. So when we separate the particular from the whole, the particular breeds its own problems.

Questioner: What do you mean by seeing the whole? What is this totality you talk about, this extensive awareness in which the particular is a detail? Is it some mysterious, mystical experience? If so then we are lost completely. Or is this perhaps what you are saying, that there is a whole field of existence, of which anger is a part, and that to be concerned with the part is to block out the extensive perception? But what is this extensive perception? I can only see the whole through all its particulars. And what whole do you mean? Are you talking about the whole of the mind, or the whole of existence, or the whole of myself, or the whole of life? What whole do you mean, and how can I see it?

Krishnamurti: The whole field of life: the mind, love, everything which is in life.

Questioner: How can I possibly see all that! I can understand that everything I see is partial, and that all my awareness is awareness of the particular, and that this strengthens the particular.

Krishnamurti: Let's put it this way: do you perceive with your mind and your heart separately, or do you see, hear, feel, think, all together, not fragmentarily?

Questioner: I don't know what you mean.

Krishnamurti: You hear a word, your mind tells you it is an insult, your feelings tell you you don't like it, your mind again intervenes to control or justify, and so on. Once again feeling takes over where the mind has concluded. In this way an event unleashes a chain-reaction of different parts of your being. What you hear had been broken up, made fragmentary, and if you concentrate on one of those fragments, you miss the total process of that hearing. Hearing can be fragmentary or it can be done with all your being, totally. So, by perception of the whole we mean perception with your eyes, your ears, your heart, your mind; not perception with each separately. It is giving your complete attention. In that attention, the particular, such as anger, has a different meaning since it is interrelated to many other issues.

Questioner: So when you say seeing the whole, you mean seeing with the whole of your being; it is a question of quality not quantity. Is that correct?

Krishnamurti: Yes, precisely. But do you see totally in this way or are you merely verbalizing it? Do you see anger with your heart, mind, ears and eyes? Or do you see anger as something unrelated to the rest of you, and therefore of great importance? When you give importance to the whole you do not forget the particular.

Questioner: But what happens to the particular, to anger?

Krishnamurti: You are aware of anger with your whole being. If you are, is there anger? Inattention is anger, not attention. So attention with your entire being is seeing the whole, and inattention is seeing the particular. To be aware of the whole, and of the particular, and of the relationship between the two, is the whole problem. We divide the particular from the rest and try to solve it. And so conflict increases and there is no way out.

Questioner: When you speak then of seeing only the particular, as anger, do you mean looking at it with only one part of your being?

Krishnamurti: When you look at the particular with a fragment of your being, the division between that particular and the fragment which is looking at it grows, and so conflict increases. When there is no division there is no conflict.

Questioner: Are you saying that there is no division between this anger and me when I look at it with all my being?

Krishnamurti: Exactly. Is this what you actually are doing, or are you merely following the words? What is actually taking place? This is far more important than your question.

Questioner: You ask me what is taking place. I am simply trying to understand you.

Krishnamurti: Are you trying to understand me or are you seeing the truth of what we are talking about, which is independent of me? If you actually see the truth of what we are talking about, then you are your own guru and your own disciple, which is to understand yourself. This understanding cannot be learnt from another.



Question: Can the past dissolve all at once, or does it invariably need time ?

Krishnamurti: We are the result of the past. Our thought is founded upon yesterday and many thousand yesterdays. We are the result of time, and our responses, our present attitudes, are the cumulative effect of many thousand moments, incidents and experiences. So the past is, for the majority of us, the present, which is a fact which cannot be denied. You, your thoughts, your actions, your responses, are the result of the past. Now the questioner wants to know if that past can be wiped out immediately, which means not in time but immediately wiped out; or does this cumulative past require time for the mind to be freed in the present? It is important to understand the question, which is this: As each one of us is the result of the past, with a background of innumerable influences, constantly varying, constantly changing, is it possible to wipe out that background without going through the process of time?

What is the past? What do we mean by the past? Surely we do not mean the chronological past. We mean, surely, the accumulated experiences, the accumulated responses, memories, traditions, knowledge, the subconscious storehouse of innumerable thoughts, feelings, influences and responses. With that background, it is not possible to understand reality, because reality must be of no time: it is timeless. So one cannot understand the timeless with a mind which is the outcome of time. The questioner wants to know if it is possible to free the mind, or for the mind, which is the result of time, to cease to be immediately; or must one go through a long series of examinations and analyses and so free the mind from its background. The mind is the background; the mind is the result of time; the mind is the past, the mind is not the future. It can project itself into the future and the mind uses the present as a passage into the future, so it is still - whatever it does, whatever its activity, its future activity, its present activity, its past activity - in the net of time. Is it possible for the mind to cease completely, for the thought process to come to an end? Now there are obviously many layers to the mind; what we call consciousness has many layers, each layer interrelated with the other layer, each layer dependent on the other, interacting; our whole consciousness is not only experiencing but also naming or terming and storing up as memory. That is the whole process of consciousness, is it not ?

When we talk about consciousness, do we not mean the experiencing, the naming or the terming of that experience and thereby storing up that experience in memory? All this, at different levels, is consciousness. Can the mind, which is the result of time, go through the process of analysis, step by step, in order to free itself from the background or is it possible to be free entirely from time and look at reality directly?

To be free of the background, many of the analysts say that you must examine every response, every complex, every hindrance, every blockage, which obviously implies a process of time. This means the analyser must understand what he is analysing and he must not misinterpret what he analyses. If he mistranslates what he analyses it will lead him to wrong conclusions and therefore establish another background. The analyser must be capable of analysing his thoughts and feelings without the slightest deviation; and he must not miss one step in his analysis, because to take a wrong step, to draw a wrong conclusion, is to re-establish a background along a different line, on a different level. This problem also arises: Is the analyser different from what he analyses? Are not the analyser and the thing that is analysed a joint phenomenon?

Surely the experiencer and the experience are a joint phenomenon; they are not two separate processes, so first of all let us see the difficulty of analysing. It is almost impossible to analyse the whole content of our consciousness and thereby be free through that process. After all, who is the analyser? The analyser is not different, though he may think he is different, from that which he is analysing. He may separate himself from that which he analyses but the analyser is part of that which he analyses. I have a thought, I have a feeling - say, for exampLe, I am angry. The person who analyses anger is still part of anger and therefore the analyser as well as the analysed are a joint phenomenon, they are not two separate forces or processes. So the difficulty of analysing ourselves, unfolding, looking at ourselves page after page, watching every reaction, every response, is incalculably difficult and long. Therefore that is not the way to free ourselves from the background, is it? There must be a much simpler, a more direct way, and that is what you and I are going to find out. In order to find out we must discard that which is false and not hold on to it. So analysis is not the way, and we must be free of the process of analysis.

Then what have you left? You are only used to analysis, are you not? The observer observing - the observer and the observed being a joint phenomenon - the observer trying to analyse that which he observes will not free him from his background. If that is so, and it is, you abandon that process, do you not? If you see that it is a false way, if you realize not merely verbally but actually that it is a false process, then what happens to your analysis? You stop analysing, do you not? Then what have you left? Watch it, follow it, and you will see how rapidly and swiftly one can be free from the background. If that is not the way, what else have you left? What is the state of the mind which is accustomed to analysis, to probing, looking into, dissecting, drawing conclusions and so on? If that process has stopped, what is the state of your mind?

You say that the mind is blank. Proceed further into that blank mind. In other words, when you discard what is known as being false, what has happened to your mind? After all, what have you discarded? You have discarded the false process which is the outcome of a background. Is that not so? With one blow, as it were, you have discarded the whole thing. Therefore your mind, when you discard the analytical process with all its implications and see it as false, is freed from yesterday and therefore is capable of looking directly, without; going through the process of time, and thereby discarding the background immediately.

To put the whole question differently, thought is the result of time, is it not? Thought is the result of environment, of social and religious influences, which is all part of time. Now, can thought be free of time? That is, thought which is the result of time, can it stop and be free from the process of time? Thought can be controlled, shaped; but the control of thought is still within the field of time and so our difficulty is: How can a mind that is the result of time, of many thousand yesterdays, be instantaneously free of this complex background? You can be free of it, not tomorrow but in the present, in the now. That can be done only when you realize that which is false; and the false is obviously the analytical process and that is the only thing we have. When the analytical process completely stops, not through enforcement but through understanding the inevitable falseness of that process, then you will find that your mind is completely dissociated from the past - which does not mean that you do not recognize the past but that your mind has no direct communion with the past. So it can free itself from the past immediately, now, and this dissociation from the past, this complete freedom from yesterday, not chronologically but psychologically, is possible; and that is the only way to understand reality.

To put it very simply, when you want to understand something, what is the state of your mind? When you want to understand your child, when you want to understand somebody, something that someone is saying, what is the state of your mind? You are not analysing, criticizing, judging what the other is saying; you are listening, are you not? Your mind is in a state where the thought process is not active but is very alert. That alertness is not of time, is it? You are merely being alert, passively receptive and yet fully aware; and it is only in this state that there is understanding. When the mind is agitated, questioning, worrying, dissecting, analysing, there is no understanding. When there is the intensity to understand, the mind is obviously tranquil. This, of course, you have to experiment with, not take my word for it, but you can see that the more and more you analyse, the less and less you understand. You may understand certain events, certain experiences, but the whole content of consciousness cannot be emptied through the analytical process. It can be emptied only when you see the falseness of the approach through analysis. When you see the false as the false, then you begin to see what is true; and it is truth that is going to liberate you from the background.


Question: For Truth to come, you advocate action without idea. Is it possible to act at all times without idea, that is, without a purpose in view?

Krishnamurti: What is our action at present? What do we mean by action? Our action - what we want to do or to be - is based on idea, is it not? That is all we know; we have ideas, ideals, promises, various formulas as to what we are and what we are not. The basis of our action is reward in the future or fear of punishment. We know that, don't we? Such activity is isolating, self-enclosing. You have an idea of virtue and according to that idea you live, you act, in relationship. To you, relationship, collective or individual, is action which is towards the ideal, towards virtue, towards achievement and so on.

When my action is based on an ideal which is an idea - such as "I must be brave", "I must follow the example", "I must he charitable", "I must be socially conscious" and so on - that idea shapes my action, guides my action. We all say, "There is an example of virtue which I must follow; which means, "I must live according to that". So action is based on that idea. Between action and idea, there is a gulf, a division, there is a time process. That is so, is it not? In other words, I am not charitable, I am not loving, there is no forgiveness in my heart but I feel I must be charitable. So there is a gap, between what I am and what I should be; we are all the time trying to bridge that gap. That is our activity, is it not?

Now what would happen if the idea did not exist? At one stroke, you would have removed the gap, would you not? You would be what you are. You say "I am ugly, I must become beautiful; what am I to do?" - which is action based on idea. You say "I am not compassionate, I must become compassionate". So you introduce idea separate from action. Therefore there is never true action of what you are but always action based on the ideal of what you will he. The stupid man always says he is going to become clever. He sits working, struggling to become; he never stops, he never says "I am stupid". So his action, which is based on idea, is not action at all.

Action means doing, moving. But when you have idea, it is merely ideation going on, thought process going on in relation to action. If there is no idea, what would happen? You are what you are. You are uncharitable, you are unforgiving, you are cruel, stupid, thoughtless. Can you remain with that? If you do, then see what happens. When I recognize I am uncharitable, stupid, what happens when I am aware it is so? Is there not charity, is there not intelligence? When I recognize uncharitableness completely, not verbally, not artificially, when I realize I am uncharitable and unloving, in that very seeing of what is is there not love? Don't I immediately become charitable? If I see the necessity of being clean, it is very simple; I go and wash, But if it is an ideal that I should be clean, then what happens? Cleanliness is then postponed or is superficial.

Action based on idea is very superficial, is not true action at all, is only ideation, which is merely the thought process going on.

Action which transforms us as human beings, which brings regeneration, redemption, transformation - call it what you will - such action is not based on idea. It is action irrespective of the sequence of reward or punishment. Such action is timeless, because mind, which is the time process, the calculating process, the dividing, isolating process, does not enter into it.

This question is not so easily solved. Most of you put questions and expect an answer "yes" or "no". It is easy to ask questions like "What do you mean?" and then sit back and let me explain but it is much more arduous to find out the answer for yourselves, go into the problem so profoundly, so clearly and without any corruption that the problem ceases to be. That can only happen when the mind is really silent in the face of the problem. The problem, if you love it, is as beautiful as the sunset. If you are antagonistic to the problem, you will never understand. Most of us are antagonistic because we are frightened of the result, of what may happen if we proceed, so we lose the significance and the purview of the problem.