Instead of making a speech, I am going to answer as many
questions as possible, and before doing so, I would like to point out
something with regard to answering questions. One can ask any
question; but to have a right answer, the question must also be
right. If it is a serious question put by a serious person, by an
earnest person who is seeking out the solution of a very difficult
problem, then, obviously, there will be an answer befitting that
question. But what generally happens is that lots of questions are
sent in, sometimes very absurd ones, and then there is a demand
that all those questions be answered. It seems to me such a waste of
time to ask superficial questions and expect very serious answers. I
have several questions here, and I am going to try to answer them
from what I think is the most serious point of view; and, if I may
suggest, as this is a small audience, perhaps you will interrupt me if
the answer is not very clear, so that you and I can discuss the
Question: What can the average decent man do to put an end to
our communal problem?
Krishnamurti: Obviously the sense of separatism is spreading
throughout the world. Each successive war is creating more
separatism, more nationalism, more sovereign governments, and so
on. Especially in India, this problem of communal dissension is on
the increase. Why? First of all, obviously, because people are
seeking jobs. The more separate governments there are, the more
jobs there will be; but that is a very shortsighted policy, is it not? Because, eventually the world’s tendency will be more and more
towards federation, towards a coming together, and not a constant
breaking up. Surely, any decent person who really thinks about this
situation – which is not merely Indian, but a world affair – , must
first be free from nationalism, not only in matters of state, but in
thought, in action, in feeling. After all, communalism is merely a
branch of nationalism. Belonging to a particular country, to a
particular race or group of people, or to a particular ideology, tends
more and more to divide people, to create antagonism and hatred
between man and man. Obviously, that is not the solution to the
world’s chaos. So, what each one of us can do is to be non-
communal: We can cease to be Brahmins, cease to belong to any
caste or to any country. But that is very difficult, because by
tradition, by occupation, by tendency, we are conditioned to a
particular pattern of action; and to break away from it is extremely
hard. We may want to break away, but family tradition, religious
orthodoxy, and so on, all prevent us. It is only men of goodwill
who really seek goodwill, who desire to be friendly; and only such
men will free themselves from all these limitations which create
So, it seems to me that to put an end to this communal
contention, one must begin with oneself, and not wait for
somebody else, for legislation, for government, to act. Because,
after all, compulsion or legislation does not solve the problem. The
spirit of communalism, separatism, of belonging to a particular
class or ideology, to a religion, does ultimately create conflict and
antagonism between human beings. Friendliness is not brought
about by compulsion, and to look to compulsion, surely, is not the answer. So the way out of this is for each one, for every individual,
for you and me, to break away from the communal spirit, from
nationalism Is that not the only way out of this difficulty? Because,
as long as the mind and the heart are not willing to be open and
friendly, mere compulsion or legislation is not going to solve this
problem. So, it is obviously the responsibility of each one of us,
living as we do in a particular community, in a particular nation or
group of people, to break away from the narrow spirit of
The difficulty is that most of us have grievances. Most of us
agree with the ideal that we should break away and create a new
world, a new set of ideas, and so on; but when we go back home
the compulsion of environmental influences is so strong that we
fall back – and that is the greatest difficulty, is it not? Intellectually
we agree about the absurdity of communal contention, but very
few of us care to sit down and think out the whole issue and
discover the contributory causes. Belonging to any particular
group, whether of social action or of political action, does create
antagonism, separatism; and real revolution is not brought about by
following any particular ideology, because revolution based on
ideology creates antagonisms at different levels and therefore is a
continuation of the same thing. So this communal dissension,
obviously, can come to an end only when we see the whole
absurdity of separate action, of a particular ideology, morality, or
organized religion – whether Christianity, Hinduism, or any other
organized and limited religion.
Audience: All this sounds very convincing, but in action it is
very difficult; and as you say, when we go home most of us are entirely different people from what we are here. Although we may
listen to you and think about what you say, the result depends on
each one of us. There is always this «but.»
Audience: This move to do away with organized religion may
itself form an organized religion.
Krishnamurti: How, Sir?
Audience: For instance, neither Christ nor Ramakrishna
Paramahamsa wanted an organized religion; but forgetting the very
essence of the teachings, people have built around them an
organized religion.
Krishnamurti: Why do we do this? Is it not because we want
collective security, we want to feel safe?
Audience: Are all institutions separatist in character?
Krishnamurti: They are bound to be.
Audience: Is even belonging to a family wicked?
Krishnamurti: You are introducing the word «wicked», which I
never used.
Audience: We are repudiating our family system. Our family
system is ancient.
Krishnamurti: If it is misused, it must obviously be scrapped.
Audience: So an institution by itself need not be separatist?
Krishnamurti: Obviously. The post office is not separatist,
because all communities use it. It is universal. So, why is it that
individual human beings find it important to belong to something –
to a religious organization, to a society, to a club, and so on? Why?
Audience: There is no life without relationship.
Krishnamurti: Obviously. But why seek separatism?
Audience: There are natural relationships and unnatural relationships. A family is a natural relationship.
Krishnamurti: I am just asking: why is there the desire, the urge,
to belong to an exclusive group? Let us think it out, and not just
make statements. Why is it that I belong to a particular caste or
nation? Why do I call myself a Hindu? Why have we got this
exclusive spirit?
Audience: Selfishness. The ego of power.
Krishnamurti: Throwing in a word or two does not mean an
answer. There is some motive power, a drive, an intention, that
makes us belong to a certain group of people. Why? Is it not
important to find out? Why does one call oneself a German, an
Englishman, a Hindu, a Russian? Is it not obvious that there is this
desire to identify oneself with something, because identification
with something large makes one feel important? That is the
fundamental reason.
Audience: Not always. A Harijan, for instance, belongs to a
very low community. He does not take pride in it.
Krishnamurti: But we keep him there. Why don’t we invite him
into our particular caste? Audience: We are trying to invite him.
Audience: We are trying to invite him.
Krishnamurti: But why is it that individuals identify themselves
with the greater, with the nation, with an idea which is beyond
Audience: Because from the moment the individual is born,
certain ideas are instilled into him. These ideas develop, and he
thinks he is a slave, In other words, he is so conditioned.
Krishnamurti: Exactly. He is so conditioned that he cannot
break away from his serfdom. The identification with the greater exists because one wants to be secure, safe, through belonging to a
particular group of thought or of action. Sirs, this is obvious, is it
not? In ourselves we are nothing, we are timid, afraid to remain
alone, and therefore we want to identify ourselves with the larger,
and in that identification we become very exclusive. This is a
world process. This is not my opinion, it is exactly what is taking
place. Identification is religiously or nationalistically inflamed at
moments of great crisis; and the problem is vast, it is not just in
India, it is everywhere throughout the world – this sense of
identification with a particular group which gradually becomes
exclusive and thereby creates between people antagonism, hatred.
So, that is why, when answering this question, we will have to deal
with nationalism as well as communalism, in which is also
involved the identification with a particular organized religion.
Audience: Why do we identify ourselves at all?
Krishnamurti: For the very simple reason that if we did not
identify ourselves with something we would be confused, we
would be lost; and because of that fear, we identify ourselves in
order to be safe.
Audience: Fear of what? Is it not ignorance rather than fear?
Krishnamurti: Call it what you like, fear or ignorance, they are
all the same. So the point is really this: Can you and I be free from
this fear, can we stand alone and not be exclusive? Aloneness is
not exclusive; only loneliness is exclusive. Surely, that is the only
way out of the problem; because, the individual is a world process,
not a separate process, and as long as individuals identify
themselves with a particular group or a particular section, they
must be exclusive, thereby inevitably creating antagonism, hatred and conflict.
Question: Man must know what God is, before he can know
God. How are you going to introduce the idea of God to man
without bringing God to man’s level?
Krishnamurti: You cannot, Sir. Now, what is the impetus
behind the search for God, and is that search real? For most of us,
it is an escape from actuality. So, we must be very clear in
ourselves whether this search after God is an escape, or whether it
is a search for truth in everything – truth in our relationships, truth
in the value of things, truth in ideas. If we are seeking God merely
because we are tired of this world and its miseries, then it is an
escape. Then we create god, and therefore it is not God. The god of
the temples, of the books, is not God, obviously – it is a marvellous
escape. But if we try to find the truth, not in one exclusive set of
actions, but in all our actions, ideas and relationships, if we seek
the right evaluation of food, clothing and shelter, then, because our
minds are capable of clarity and understanding, when we seek
reality we shall find it. It will not then be an escape. But if we are
confused with regard to the things of the world – food, clothing,
shelter, relationship, and ideas – how can we find reality? We can
only invent «reality.» So, God, truth, or reality, is not to be known
by a mind that is confused, conditioned, limited. How can such a
mind think of reality or God? It has first to decondition itself. It has
to free itself from its own limitations, and only then can it know
what God is, obviously not before. Reality is the unknown, and that
which is known is not the real.
So, a mind that wishes to know reality has to free itself from its
own conditioning, and that conditioning is imposed either externally or internally; and as long as the mind creates contention,
conflict in relationship, it cannot know reality. So, if one is to
know reality, the mind must be tranquil; but if the mind is
compelled, disciplined to be tranquil, that tranquillity is in itself a
limitation, it is merely self-hypnosis. The mind becomes free and
tranquil only when it understands the values with which it is
surrounded. So, to understand that which is the highest, the
supreme, the real, we must begin very low, very near; that is, we
have to find the value of things, of relationship, and of ideas, with
which we are occupied every day. And without understanding
them, how can the mind seek reality? It can invent «reality», it can
copy, it can imitate; because it has read so many books, it can
repeat the experience of others. But surely, that is not the real. To
experience the real, the mind must cease to create; because,
whatever it creates is still within the bondage of time. The problem
is not whether there is or is not God, but how man may discover
God; and if in his search he disentangles himself from everything,
he will inevitably find that reality. But he must begin with the near
and not with the far. Obviously, to go far one must begin near. But
most of us want to speculate, which is a very convenient escape.
That is why religions offer such a marvellous drug for most people.
So, the task of disentangling the mind from all the values which it
has created is an extremely arduous one, and because our minds are
weary, or we are lazy, we prefer to read religious books and
speculate about God; but that, surely, is not the discovery of
reality. Realizing is experiencing, not imitating.
Question: Is the mind different from the thinker?
Krishnamurti: Now, is the thinker different from his thoughts? Does the thinker exist without thoughts? Is there a thinker apart
from thought? Stop thinking, and where is the thinker? Is the
thinker of one thought different from the thinker of another
thought? Is the thinker separate from his thought, or does thought
create the thinker, who then identifies himself with thought when
he finds it convenient, and separates himself when it is not
convenient? That is, what is the «I», the thinker? Obviously, the
thinker is composed of various thoughts which have become
identified as the «me». So, the thoughts produce the thinker, not the
other way round. If I have no thoughts, then there is no thinker; not
that the thinker is different each time, but if there are no thoughts
there is no thinker. So, thoughts produce the thinker, as actions
produce the actor. The actor does not produce actions.
Audience: You seem to suggest, Sir, that by ceasing to think,
the «I» will be absent.
Krishnamurti: The I is made up of my qualities, my
idiosyncracies, my passions, my possessions, my house, my
money, my wife, my books. These create the idea of «me», I do not
create them. Do you agree?
Audience: We find it difficult to agree.
Krishnamurti: If all thoughts were to cease, the thinker would
not be there. Therefore, the thoughts produce the thinker.
Audience: All the thoughts and environments are there, but that
does not produce the thinker.
Krishnamurti: How does the thinker come into being?
Audience: He is there.
Krishnamurti: You take it for granted that he is there. Why do
you say so?       Audience: That we do not know. You must answer that for us.
Krishnamurti: I say the thinker is not there. There is only the
action, the thought, and then the thinker comes in.
Audience: How does the «I», the thinker, come into being?
Krishnamurti: Now, let us go very slowly. Let us all try to
approach the problem with the intention of finding the truth, then
discussing it will be worthwhile. We are trying to find out how the
thinker, the «I», the «mine», comes into being. Now, first there is
perception, then contact, desire, and identification. Before that, the
«I» is not in existence.
Audience: When my mind is away, I shall not perceive at all.
Unless there is first the perceiver, there is no sensation. A dead
body cannot perceive, though the eyes and the nerves may be there.
Krishnamurti: You take it for granted that there is a superior
entity, and the object it sees.
Audience: It appears so.
Krishnamurti: You say so. You take it for granted that there is.
Audience: My experience is that without the cooperation of the
«I», there is no perception.
Krishnamurti: We cannot talking of pure perception. Perception
is always mixed up with the perceiver – it is a joint phenomenon. If
we talk of perception, the perceiver is immediately dragged in. It is
beyond our experience to speak of perceiving, we never have such
an experience as perceiving. You may fall into a deep sleep, when
the perceiver does not perceive himself; but in deep sleep there is
neither perception nor perceiver. If you know a state in which the
perceiver is perceiving himself without bringing in other objects of perception, then only can you validly speak of the perceiver. As
long as that state is unknown, we have no right to talk of the
perceiver as apart from perception. So, the perceiver and the
perception are a joint phenomenon, they are the two sides of the
same medal. They are not separate, and we have no right to
separate two things which are not separate. We insist on separating
the perceiver from the perception when there is no valid ground for
it. We know no perceiver without perception, and we know no
perception without a perceiver. Therefore, the only valid
conclusion is that perception and perceiver, the «I» and the will, are
two sides of the same medal, they are two aspects of the same
phenomenon, which is neither perception nor perceiver; but an
accurate examination of it requires close attention.
Audience: Where does that take us?
Audience: We must discover a state in which perceiver and
perception do not exist apart, but are part and parcel of the same
phenomenon. The act of perceiving, feeling, thinking, brings in the
division of perceiver and perception, because that is the basic
phenomenon of life. If we can follow up these fleeting moments of
perceiving, of knowing, of feeling, of acting, and divorce them
from perception on the one side, and the perceiver on the other.
Krishnamurti: Sir, this question arose out of the enquiry about
the search for God. Obviously, most of us want to know the
experience of reality. Surely, it can be known only when the
experiencer stops experiencing; because, the experiencer is
creating the experience. If the experiencer is creating the
experience, then he will create god; therefore, it will not be God.
Can the experiencer cease? That is the whole point in this question. Now, if the experiencer and the experience are a joint
phenomenon, which is so obvious, then the experiencer, the actor,
the thinker, has to stop thinking. Is that not obvious? So, can the
thinker cease to think? Because, when he thinks, he creates, and
what he creates is not the real. Therefore, to find out whether there
is or there is not reality, God, or what you will, the thought process
has to come to an end, which means that the thinker must cease.
Whether he is produced by thoughts is irrelevant for the moment.
The whole thought process, which includes the thinker, has to
come to an end. It is only then that we will find reality. Now, first
of all, in bringing that process to an end, how is it to be done, and
who is to do it? If the thinker does it, the thinker is still the product
of thought. The thinker putting an end to thought is still the
continuity of thought. So, what is the thinker to do? Any exertion
on his part is still the thinking process. I hope I am making myself
Audience: It may even mean resistance to thinking.
Krishnamurti: Resistance to thinking, putting down all thinking,
is still a form of thinking; therefore the thinker continues, and
therefore he can never find the truth. So, what is one to do? This is
very serious and requires sustained attention. Any effort on the part
of the thinker projects the thinker on a different level. That is a
fact. If the thinker, the experiencer, positively or negatively makes
an effort to understand reality, he is still maintaining the thought
process. So, what is he to do? All that he can do is to realize that
any effort on his part, positively or negatively, is detrimental. He
must see the truth of that and not merely verbally understand it. He
must see that he cannot act, because any action on his part maintains the actor, gives nourishment to the actor; any effort on
his part, positively or negatively, gives strength to the «I», the
thinker, the experiencer. So all that he can do is not to do anything.
Even to wish positively or negatively is still part of thinking. He
must see the fact that any effort he makes is detrimental to the
discovery of truth. That is the first requirement. If I want to
understand, I must be completely free from prejudice; and I cannot
be in that state when I am making an effort, negatively or
positively. It is extremely hard. It requires a sense of passive
awareness in which there is no effort. It is only then that reality can
project itself.
Audience: Concentration upon the projected reality?
Krishnamurti: Concentration is another form of exertion, which
is still an act of thinking. Therefore, concentration will obviously
not lead to reality.
Audience: You said that, positively or negatively, any action on
the part of the thinker is a projection of the thinker.
Krishnamurti: It is a fact, Sir.
Comment from the Audience: In other words, you distinguish
between awareness and thought.
Krishnamurti: I am going at it slowly. When we talk of
concentration, concentration implies compulsion, exclusion,
interest in something exclusive, in which choice is involved. That
implies effort on the part of the thinker, which strengthens the
thinker. Is that not a fact? So, we will have to go into the problem
of thought. What is thought? Thought is reaction to a condition,
which means thought is the response of memory; and how can
memory which is the past, create the eternal?       Audience: We do not say memory creates it because memory is
a thing without awareness.
Krishnamurti: It is unconscious, subconscious, it comes of its
own accord, involuntarily. We are now trying to find out what we
mean by thought. To understand this question, don’t look into a
dictionary, look at yourself, examine yourself. What do you mean
by thinking? When you say you are thinking, what are you actually
doing? You are reacting. You are reacting through your past
memory. Now, what is memory? It is experience, the storing up of
yesterday’s experience, whether collective or individual.
Experience of yesterday is memory. When do we remember an
experience? Surely, only when it is not complete. I have an
experience, and that experience is incomplete, unfinished, and it
leaves a mark. That mark I call memory, and memory responds to a
further challenge. This response of memory to a challenge is called
Audience: On what is the mark left?
Krishnamurti: On the «me». After all, the «me», the «mine», is
the residue of all memories, collective, racial, individual, and so
on. That bundle of memories is the «me», and that «me» with its
memory responds. That response is called thinking.
Audience: Why are these memories bundled together?
Krishnamurti: Through identification. I put everything in a bag,
consciously or unconsciously.
Comment from the Audience: So, there is a bag separate from
Krishnamurti: Memory is the bag.
Comment from the audience: Why do the memories stick together?
Krishnamurti: Because they are incomplete.
Audience: But memories are non-existent, they are in a state of
inertia, unless somebody is there to remember.
Krishnamurti: In other words, is the rememberer different from
memory? The rememberer and the memory are two sides of a coin.
Without memory, there is no rememberer, and without the
rememberer, there is no memory.
Audience: Why do we insist on separating the perceiver from
the perception, the rememberer from the memory? Is this not at the
root of our trouble?
Krishnamurti: We separate it because the rememberer, the
experiencer, the thinker, becomes permanent by separation.
Memories are obviously fleeting; so the rememberer, the
experiencer, the mind, separates itself because it wants
permanency. The mind that is making an effort, that is striving, that
is choosing, that is disciplined, obviously cannot find the real;
because, as we said, through that very effort it projects itself and
sustains the thinker. Now, how to free the thinker from his
thoughts? This is what we are discussing. Because, whatever he
thinks must be the result of the past, and therefore he creates god,
truth, out of memory, which is obviously not real. In other words,
the mind is constantly moving from the known to the known.
When memory functions, the mind can move only in the field of
the known; and when it moves within the field of the known, it can
never know the unknown. So, our problem is, how to free the mind
from the known. To free ourselves from the known, any effort is
detrimental, because effort is still of the known. So, all effort must cease. Have you ever tried to be without effort? If I understand that
all effort is futile, that all effort is a further projection of the mind,
of the «I», of the thinker, if I realize the truth of that, what happens?
If I see very clearly the label «poison» on a bottle, I leave it alone.
There is no effort not to be attracted to it. Similarly – and in this
lies the greatest difficulty – , if I realize that any effort on my part is
detrimental, if I see the truth of that, then I am free of effort. Any
effort on our part is detrimental, but we are not sure, because we
want a result, we want an achievement – and that is our difficulty.
Therefore, we go on striving, striving, striving. But God, truth, is
not a result, a reward, an end. Surely, it must come to us, we
cannot go to it. If we make an effort to go to it, we are seeking a
result, an achievement. But for truth to come, a man must be
passively aware. Passive awareness is a state in which there is no
effort; it is to be aware without judgment, without choice, not in
some ultimate sense, but in every way; it is to be aware of your
actions, of your thoughts, of your relative responses, without
choice, without condemnation, without identifying or denying, so
that the mind begins to understand every thought and every action
without judgment. This evokes the question of whether there can
be understanding without thought.
Audience: Surely, if you are indifferent to something.
Krishnamurti: Sir, indifference is a form of judgment. A dull
mind, an indifferent mind, is not aware. To see without judgment,
to know exactly what is happening, is awareness. So, it is vain to
seek God or truth without being aware now, in the immediate
present. It is much easier to go to a temple, but that is an escape
into the realm of speculation. To understand reality, we must know it directly, and reality is obviously not of time and space; it is in the
present, and the present is our own thought and action.
July 4, 1948

In a talk like this it is more important, I think, to experience what is
being said rather than to discuss merely on the verbal level. One is
apt to remain on the verbal level without deeply experiencing what
is said; and experiencing an actual fact is much more important
than to discover if the ideas themselves are true or not, because
ideas are never going to transform the world. Revolution is not
based on mere ideas. Revolution comes only when there is a
fundamental conviction, a realization, that there must be an inward
transformation, not merely an outward one, however significant the
outward demand may be. What I would like to discuss here during
these five Sunday meetings is how to bring about, not a superficial
change, but a radical transformation which is so essential in a
world that is rapidly disintegrating. If we are at all observant, it
should be obvious to most of us whether we travel or remain in one
place, that a fundamental change or revolution is necessary. But to
perceive the full significance of such a revolution is difficult;
because, though we think we want a change, a modification, a
revolution, most of us look to a particular pattern of action, to a
system either of the left or of the right, or in between. We see the
confusion, the frightful mess, the misery, the starvation, the
impending war; and, obviously, the thoughtful demand action. But
unfortunately, we look to action according to a particular formula
or theory. The left has a system, a pattern of action, and so has the
right. But can there be revolution according to any particular
pattern of action, according to a line laid down, or does revolution come into being from the awakened individual’s interest and
awareness? Surely, it is only when the individual is awake and
responsible that there can be a revolution. Now, obviously, most of
us want an agreed plan of action. We see the mess, not only in
India and in our own lives, but throughout the world. In every
corner of the world there is confusion, there is misery, there is
appalling strife and suffering. There is never a moment when men
can be secure; because, as the arts of war are developed more and
more, the destruction becomes greater and greater. We know all
that. That is an obvious fact which we need not go into. But is it
not important to find out what our relationship is to this whole
confusion, chaos and misery? Because, after all, if we can discover
our relationship to the world and understand that relationship, then
perhaps we may be able to alter this confusion. So, first, we must
clearly see the relationship that exists between the world and
ourselves, and then perhaps, if we change our lives, there can be a
fundamental and radical change in the world in which we live.
So, what is the relationship between ourselves and the world? Is
the world different from us, or is each one of us the result of a total
process, not separate from the world but part of the world? That is,
you and I are the result of a world process, of a total process, not of
a separate, individualistic process; because after all, you are the
result of the past, you are conditioned through environmental
influences, political, social, economic, geographical, climatic, and
so on. You are the result of a total process; therefore, you are not
separate from the world. You are the world, and what you are, the
world is. Therefore, the world’s problem is your problem; and if
you solve your problem, you solve the world’s problem. So, the world is not separate from the individual. To try to solve the
world’s problem without solving your individual problem is futile,
utterly empty, because you and I make up the world. Without you
and me, there is no world. So, the world problem is your problem.
it is an obvious fact. Though we would like to think that we are
individualistic in our actions, separate, independent, apart, that
narrow individualistic action of each human being is, after all, part
of a total process which we call the world. So, to understand the
world and to bring about a radical transformation in the world, we
must begin with ourselves with you and me, and not with
somebody else. Mere reformation of the world has no meaning
without the transformation of you who create the world. Because,
after all, the world is not distant from you; it is where you live, the
world of your family, of your friends, of your neighbours; and if
you and I can fundamentally transform ourselves, then there is a
possibility of changing the world, and not otherwise. That is why
all great changes and reforms in the world have begun with a few,
with indivi- duals, with you and me. So-called mass action is
merely the collective action of individuals who are convinced, and
mass action has significance only when the individuals in the mass
are awake; but if they are hypnotized by words, by an ideology,
then mass action must lead to disaster.
So, seeing that the world is in an appalling mess, with
impending wars, starvation, the disease of nationalism, with
corrupt organized religious ideologies at work – recognizing all
this, it is obvious that to bring about a fundamental, radical
revolution, we must begin with ourselves. You may say, «I am
willing to change myself, but it will take an infinite number of years if each individual is to change». But is that a fact? Let it take
a number of years. If you and I are really convinced, really see the
truth that revolution must begin with ourselves and not with
somebody else, will it take very long to convince, to transform the
world? Because you are the world, your actions will affect the
world you live in, which is the world of your relationships. But the
difficulty is to recognize the importance of individual
transformation. We demand world transformation, the
transformation of society about us, but we are blind, unwilling to
transform ourselves. What is society? Surely, it is the relationship
between you and me. What you are and what I am produces
relationship and creates society. So, to transform society, whether
it calls itself Hindu, communist, capitalist, or what you will, our
relationship has to change, and relationship does not depend on
legislation, on governments, on outward circumstances, but
entirely upon you and me. Though we are a product of the outward
environment, we obviously have the power to transform ourselves,
which means seeing the importance of the truth that there can be
revolution only when you and I understand ourselves, and not
merely the structure which we call society. So, that is the first
difficulty we have to face in all these talks. The aim is not to bring
about a reformation through new legislation, because legislation
ever demands further legislation; but it is to see the truth that you
and I, on whatever social level we may live, wherever we are, must
bring about a radical, lasting revolution in ourselves. And as I said,
revolution which is not static, which is lasting, revolution which is
constant from moment to moment, cannot come into being
according to my plan, either of the left or of the right. That constant revolution which is self-sustaining can come into being
only when you and I realize the importance of individual
transformation; and I am going to discuss with you, I am going to
talk and answer questions from that point of view during the five
Sundays that follow.
Now, if you observe, you will find that in all historical
revolutions there is revolt according to a pattern; and when the
flame of that revolt comes to an end, there is a falling back into the
old pattern, either on a higher or a lower level. Such a revolution is
not revolution at all – it is only a change, which means a modified
continuity. A modified continuity does not relieve suffering;
change does not lead to the cessation of sorrow. What does lead to
the cessation of sorrow is to see yourself individually as you are, to
be aware of your own thoughts and feelings and to bring about a
revolution in your thoughts and feelings. So, as I said, those of you
who look to a pattern of action will, I am afraid, be liable to
disappointment during these talks. Because, it is very easy to
invent a pattern, but it is much more difficult to think out the issues
and see the problem clearly. If we merely look for an answer to a
problem, whether economic, social or human, we shall not
understand the problem, because we shall be concentrated upon the
answer, and not upon the problem itself. We shall be studying the
answer, the solution. Whereas, if we study the question, the
problem itself, then we shall find that the answer, the solution, lies
in the problem and not away from the problem. So, our problem is
the transformation of the individual, of you and me, because the
individual’s problem is the world’s problem, they are not separate.
What you are, the world is – which is so obvious.       What is our present society? Our present society, whether
Western or Eastern, is the result of man’s cunning, deceit, greed, ill
will, and so on. You and I have created the structure, and only you
and I can destroy it and introduce a new society. But to create the
new society, the new culture, you must examine and understand the
structure which is disintegrating, which you and I have built
together. And to understand that which you have built, you must
understand the psychological process of your being. So, without
self-knowledge, there can be no revolution, and a revolution is
essential – not of the bloody kind, which is comparatively easy, but
a revolution through self-knowledge. That is the only lasting and
permanent revolution, because self-knowledge is a constant
movement of thought and feeling in which there is no refuge, it is a
constant flow of the understanding of what you are. So, the study
of oneself is far more important than the study of how to bring
about a reformation in the world; because, if you understand
yourself and thereby change yourself, there will naturally be a
revolution. To look to a panacea, to a pattern of action for
revolution in outward life, may bring about a temporary change;
but each temporary change demands further change and further
bloodshed. Whereas, if we study very carefully the problem of
ourselves, which is so complex, then we shall bring about a far
greater revolution of a much more lasting, more valuable kind, than
the mere economic or social revolution.
So, I hope we see the truth and the importance of this: that, with
the world in such confusion, misery and starvation, to bring order
in this chaos we must begin with ourselves. But most of us are too
lazy or too dull to begin to transform ourselves. It is so much easier to leave it to others, to wait for new legislation, to speculate and
compare. But our issue is to study the problem of suffering
intelligently and wisely, to see its causes which lie, not in outward
circumstances but in ourselves, and to bring about a
To study any problem, there must be the intention to understand
it, the intention to go into it, to unravel it, not to avoid it. If the
problem is sufficiently great and immediate, the intention also is
strong; but ff the problem is not great, or if we do not see its
urgency, the intention becomes weak. Whereas, if we are fully
aware of the problem and have a clear and definite intention to
study it, then we shall not look to outward authorities, to a leader,
to a guru, to an organized system; because the problem is
ourselves, it cannot be resolved by a system, a formula, a guru, a
leader or a government. Once the intention is clear, then the
understanding of oneself becomes comparatively easy. But to
establish this intention is the greatest difficulty, because no one can
help us in understanding ourselves. Others may verbally paint the
picture; but to experience a fact which is in us, to see without
judgment a particular thought, action, or feeling, is much more
important than verbally to listen to others, or to follow a particular
rule of conduct, and so on.
So, the first thing is to realize that the world’s problem is the
individual’s problem; it is your problem and my problem, and the
world’s process is not separate from the individual process. They
are a joint phenomenon, and therefore what you do, what you
think, what you feel, is far more important than to introduce
legislation or to belong to a particular party or group of people. That is the first truth to be realized, which is obvious. A revolution
in the world is essential; but revolution according to a particular
pattern of action is not a revolution. A revolution can take place
only when you, the individual, understand yourself and therefore
create a new process of action. Surely, we need a revolution,
because everything is going to pieces; social structures are
disintegrating, there are wars and more wars. We are standing on
the edge of a precipice, and obviously there must be some kind of
transformation, for we cannot go on as we are. The left offers a
kind of revolution, and the right proposes a modification of the left.
But such revolutions are not revolutions; they do not solve the
problem, because the human entity is much too complex to be
understood through a mere formula. And as a constant revolution is
necessary, it can only begin with you, with your understanding of
yourself. That is a fact, that is the truth, and you cannot avoid it
from whatever angle you approach it. After seeing the truth of that,
you must establish the intention to study the total process of
yourself; because, what you are, the world is. If your mind is
bureaucratic, you will create a bureaucratic world, a stupid world, a
world of red tape; if you are greedy, envious, narrow, nationalistic,
you will create a world in which there is nationalism, which
destroys human beings, a social structure based on greed, division,
property, and so on. So, what you are, the world is: and without
your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world.
But to study oneself demands extraordinary care, extraordinarily
swift pliability, and a mind burdened with the desire for a result
can never follow the swift movement of thought. So then, the first
difficulty is to see the truth that the individual is responsible, that you are responsible for the whole mess; and when you see your
responsibility, to establish the intention to observe and therefore to
bring about a radical transformation in yourself.
Now, if the intention is there, then we can proceed, then we can
begin to study ourselves. To study yourself, you must come with
an unburdened mind, must you not? But once you assert that you
are Atman, paramatman, or whatever it is, once you seek a
satisfaction of that kind, then you are already caught in a
framework of thought, and therefore you are not studying your
total process. You are looking at yourself through a screen of ideas,
which is not study, which is not observation. If I want to know you,
what do I have to do? I have to study you, have I not? I cannot
condemn you because you are a Brahmin or belong to some other
blinking caste. I must study you, I must watch you, I must observe
your moods, your temperament, your speech, your words, your
mannerisms, and so on. But if I look at you through a screen of
prejudice, of conclusions, then I do not understand you; I am only
studying my own conclusions, which have no significance when I
am trying to understand you. Similarly, if I want to understand
myself, I must discard the whole set of screens, the traditions and
beliefs established by other people, it does not matter if it is
Buddha, Socrates, or anybody else; because, the «you», the «I», is
an extraordinarily complex entity, with a different mask, a different
facet, depending on time and occasion, circumstance,
environmental influence, and so on. The self is not a static entity;
and to know and understand oneself is far more important than to
study the sayings of others or to look at oneself through the screen
of others. experiences. So, when the intention is there to study ourselves, then the screens, the assertions, the knowledge and
experiences of others, obviously have no value. Because, if I want
to know myself, I must know what I am, and not what I should be.
A hypothetical «me» has no value. If I want to know the truth of
something, I must look at it, not shut the door on it. If I am
studying a motorcar, I must study it for itself, not compare a
Packard with a Rolls Royce. I must study the car as the Rolls
Royce, as the Packard, as the Ford. The individual is of the highest
importance, because he, in his relationships, creates the world.
When we see the truth of that, we shall begin to study ourselves
irrespective of the assertions of others, however great. Then only
shall we be able to follow without condemnation or justification
the whole process of every thought and feeling that exists in us,
and so begin to understand it. So, when the intention is there, I can
proceed to investigate that which I am. Obviously, I am the product
of environment. That is the beginning, the first fact to see. To find
out if I am anything more than merely a product of environmental
and climatic influences, I must first be free from those influences
which exist about me and of which I am the product. I am the
result of the conditions, the absurdities, the superstitions, the
innumerable factors, good and bad, which form the environment
about me; and to find out if I am something more, I must obviously
be free of those influences, must I not? To understand something
more, I must first understand what is. Merely to assert that I am
something more has no meaning until I am free from the
environmental influences of the society in which I am living.
Freedom is the discovery of not merely a denial of them. Surely,
freedom comes with the discovery of truth in everything that is about me – the truth of property, the truth of things, the truth of
relationship, the truth of ideas. Without discovering the truth of
these things, I cannot find what one may call the abstract truth or
God. Being caught in the things about me, obviously the mind
cannot go further, cannot see or discover what is beyond. A man
who is seeking to understand himself, must understand his
relationship to things, to property, to possessions, to country, to
ideas, to the people immediately about him. This discovery of the
truth of relationship is not a matter of repeating words, verbally
throwing at others ideas about relationship. The discovery of the
truth of relationship comes only through experience in relationship
with property, with people, with ideas; and it is that truth which
liberates, not mere effort to be free from property or from
relationship. One can discover the truth of property, of relationship,
of ideas, only when there is the intention to find out the truth and
not be influenced by prejudice, by the demands of a particular
society or belief, or by preconceptions concerning God, truth, or
what you will; because, the name, the word, is not the thing. The
word «God» is not God, it is only a word; and to go beyond the
verbal level of the mind, of knowledge, one must experience
directly, and to experience directly one must be free from those
values which the mind creates and clings to. Therefore, to
understand this psychological process of oneself is far more
important than to understand the process of outward environmental
influences. It is important to understand yourself first, because in
understanding yourself you will bring about a revolution in your
relationships and thereby create a new world.
I have been given several ques- tions, and I shall answer some of them.
Question: How can we solve our present political chaos and the
crisis in the world? Is there anything an individual can do to stop
the impending war?
Krishnamurti: War is the spectacular and bloody projection of
our everyday life, is it not? War is merely an outward expression of
our inward state, an enlargement of our daily action. It is more
spectacular, more bloody, more destructive, but it is the collective
result of our individual activities. So, you and I are responsible for
war, and what can we do to stop it? Obviously, the impending war
cannot be stopped by you and me, because it is already in
movement; it is already taking place though still chiefly on the
psychological level. It has already begun in the world of ideas,
though it may take a little longer for our bodies to be destroyed. As
it is already in movement, it cannot be stopped – the issues are too
many, too great, and are already committed. But you and I, seeing
that the house is on fire, can understand the causes of that fire, can
go away from it and build in a new place with different materials
that are not combustible, that will not produce other wars. That is
all that we can do. You and I can see what creates wars, and if we
are interested in stopping wars, then we can begin to transform
ourselves, who are the causes of war. So, what causes war –
religious, political or economic? Obviously, belief, either in
nationalism, in an ideology, or in a particular dogma. If we had no
belief, but goodwill, love and consideration between us, then there
would be no wars. But we are fed on beliefs, ideas and dogmas,
and therefore we breed discontent. Surely, the present crisis is of
an exceptional nature, and we as human beings must either pursue the path of constant conflict and continuous wars which are the
result of our everyday action, or else see the causes of war and turn
our back upon them.
Obviously, what causes war is the desire for power, position,
prestige, money, and also the disease called nationalism, the
worship of a flag, and the disease of organized religion, the
worship of a dogma. All these are the causes of war; and if you as
an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are
greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a
society which will result in destruction. So again, it depends upon
you and not on the leaders, not on Stalin, Churchill, and all the rest
of them. It depends upon you and me, but we do not seem to
realize that. If once we really felt the responsibility of our own
actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this
appalling misery!But you see, we are indifferent. We have three
meals a day, we have our jobs, we have our bank accounts, big or
little, and we say, «For God’s sake, don’t disturb us, leave us
alone». The higher up we are, the more we want security,
permanency, tranquillity, the more we want to be left alone, to
maintain things fixed as they are; but they cannot be maintained as
they are, because there is nothing to maintain. Everything is
disintegrating. We do not want to face these things, we do not want
to face the fact that you and I are responsible for wars. You and I
may talk about peace, have conferences, sit around a table and
discuss; but inwardly, psychologically, we want power, position,
we are motivated by greed. We intrigue, we are nationalistic, we
are bound by beliefs, by dogmas, for which we are willing to die
and destroy each other. Do you think such men, you and I, can have peace in the world? To have peace, we must be peaceful; to
live peacefully means not to create antagonism. Peace is not a
ideal. To me, an ideal is merely an escape, an avoidance of what is,
a contradiction of what is. An ideal prevents direct action upon
what is – which we will go into presently, in another talk. But to
have peace, we will have to love, we will have to begin, not to live
an ideal life, but to see things as they are and act upon them,
transform them. As long as each one of us is seeking psychological
security, the physiological security we need – food, clothing and
shelter – is destroyed. We are seeking psychological security,
which does not exist; and we seek it, if we can, through power,
through position, through titles, names – all of which is destroying
physical security. This is an obvious fact, if you look at it.
So, to bring about peace in the world, to stop all wars, there
must be a revolution in the individual, in you and me. Economic
revolution without this inward revolution is meaningless, for
hunger is the result of the maladjustment of economic conditions
produced by our psychological states – greed, envy, ill will and
possessiveness. To put an end to sorrow, to hunger, to war, there
must be a psychological revolution, and few of us are willing to
face that. We will discuss peace, plan legislation, create new
leagues, the United Nations, and so on and on; but we will not win
peace, because we will not give up our position, our authority, our
monies, our properties, our stupid lives. To rely on others is utterly
futile; others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to give us
peace, no government, no army, no country. What will bring peace
is inward transformation which will lead to outward action. Inward
transformation is not isolation, is not a withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right thinking, and there is no
right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing
yourself, there is no peace.
To put an end to outward war, you must begin to put an end to
war in yourself. Some of you will shake your heads and say, «I
agree», and go outside and do exactly the same as you have been
doing for the last ten or twenty years. Your agreement is merely
verbal and has no significance, for the world’s miseries and wars
are not going to be stopped by your casual assent. They will be
stopped only when you realize the danger, when you realize your
responsibility, when you do not leave it to somebody else. If you
realize the suffering, if you see the urgency of immediate action
and do not postpone, then you will transform yourself; and peace
will come only when you yourself are peaceful, when you yourself
are at peace with your neighbour.
Question: Family is the framework of our love and greed, of our
selfishness and division. What is its place in your scheme of
Krishnamurti: Sirs, I have no scheme of things. See in what an
absurd way we are thinking of life! Life is a living thing, a
dynamic, active thing, and you cannot put it in a frame. It is the
intellectuals who put life in a frame, who have a scheme to
systematize it. So, I have no scheme, but let us look at the facts.
First, there is the fact of our relationship with another, whether it is
with a wife, a husband or a child – the relationship which we call
the family. Let us examine the fact of what is, not what we should
like it to be. Anyone can have rash ideas about family life; but if
we can look at, examine, understand what is, then perhaps we shall be able to transform it. But merely to cover up what is with a
lovely set of words, calling it responsibility, duty, love – all that has
no meaning. So, what we are going to do is to examine what we
call the family. Because Sirs, to understand something, we must
examine what is, and not cover it up with sweet-sounding phrases.
Now, what is it that you call the family? Obviously, it is a
relationship of intimacy, of communion. Now, in your family, in
your relationship with your wife, with your husband, is there
communion? Surely, that is what we mean by relationship, do we
not? Relationship means communion without fear, freedom to
understand each other, to communicate directly. Obviously,
relationship means that – to be in communion with another. Are
you? Are you in communion with your wife? Perhaps you are
physically, but that is not relationship. You and your wife live on
opposite sides of a wall of isolation, do you not? You have your
own pursuits, your ambitions, and she has hers. You live behind
the wall and occasionally look over the top – and that you call
relationship. That is a fact, is it not? You may enlarge it, soften it,
introduce a new set of words to describe it, but that is the actual
fact – that you and another live in isolation, and that life in isolation
you call relationship.
Now, if there is real relationship between two people, which
means there is communion between them, then the implications are
enormous. Then there is no isolation, then there is love and not
responsibility or duty. It is the people who are isolated behind their
walls that talk about duty and responsibility. But a man who loves
does not talk about responsibility – he loves. Therefore he shares
with another his joy, his sorrow, his money. Are our families such? Is there direct communion with your wife, with your children?
Obviously not, Sirs. Therefore, the family is merely an excuse to
continue your name or tradition, to give you what you want,
sexually or psychologically. So, the family becomes a means of
self-perpetuation, of carrying on your name. That is one kind of
immortality, one kind of permanency. Also, the family is used as a
means of gratification. I exploit others ruthlessly in the business
world, in the political or social world outside, and at home I try to
be kind and generous. How absurd!Or the world is too much for
me, I want peace, and I go home. I suffer in the world, and I go
home and try to find comfort. So I use relationship as a means of
gratification, which means I do not want to be disturbed by my
So, what is happening, Sirs, is this, is it not? In our families
there is isolation and not communion, and therefore there is no
love. Love and sex are two different things, which we will discuss
another time. We may develop in our isolation a form of
selflessness, a devotion, a kindness, but it is always behind the
wall, because we are more concerned with ourselves than with
others. If you were concerned with others, if you were really in
communion with your wife, with your husband, and were therefore
open to your neighbour, the world would not be in this misery.
That is why families in isolation become a danger to society.
So then, how to break down this isolation? To break down this
isolation, we must be aware of it, we must not be detached from it
or say that it does not exist. It does exist, that is an obvious fact. Be
aware of the way you treat your wife, your husband, your children,
be aware of the callousness, the brutality, the traditional assertions, the false education. Do you mean to say, Sirs and Ladies, that if
you loved your wife or your husband we would have this conflict
and misery in the world? It is because you do not know how to
love your wife, your husband, that you don’t know how to love
God. You want God as a further means of isolation, a further
means of security. After all, God is the ultimate security; but such a
search is not for God, it is merely a refuge, an escape. To find God
you must know how to love, not God, but the human beings around
you, the trees, the flowers, the birds. Then, when you know how to
love them, you will really know what it is to love God. Without
loving another, without knowing what it means to be completely in
communion with one another, you cannot be in communion with
truth. But you see, we are not thinking of love, we are not
concerned with being in communion with another. We want
security, either in the family, in property, or in ideas; and where the
mind is seeking security, it can never know love. For love is the
most dangerous thing, because when we love somebody, we are
vulnerable, we are open; and we do not want to be open. We do not
want to be vulnerable. We want to be enclosed, we want to be
more at ease within ourselves.
So again, Sirs, to bring about transformation in our relationship
is not a matter of legislation, of compulsion according to Shastras,
and all that. To bring about radical transformation in relationship,
we must begin with ourselves. Watch yourself, how you treat your
wife and children. Your wife is a woman, and that is the end of it –
she is to be used as a doormat!Don’t look at the ladies, look at
yourselves. Sirs, I don’t think you realize what a catastrophic state
the world is in at the present time, otherwise you wouldn’t be so casual about all this. We are at the edge of a precipice – moral,
social and spiritual. You don’t see that the house is burning and you
are living in it. If you knew that the house is burning, if you knew
that you are on the edge of a precipice, you would act. But
unfortunately, you are at ease, you are afraid, you are comfortable,
you are dull, you are weary, demanding immediate satisfaction.
Therefore you let things drift, and therefore the world’s catastrophe
is approaching. It is not a mere threat, it is an actual fact. In Europe
war is already moving – war, war, war, disintegration, insecurity.
After all, what affects another affects you. You are responsible for
another, and you cannot shut your eyes and say, «I am secure in
Bangalore». That is obviously a very shortsighted and stupid
So, the family becomes a danger where there is isolation
between husband and wife, between parents and children, because
then the family encourages general isolation; but when the walls of
isolation are broken down in the family, then you are in
communion, not only with your wife and children, but with your
neighbour. Then the family is not enclosed, limited, it is not a
refuge, an escape. So the problem is not somebody else’s, but our
Question: How do you propose to justify your claim of being
the World Teacher?
Krishnamurti: I am not really interested in justifying it. The
label is not what matters, Sirs. The degree, the title does not matter:
what matters is what you are. So, scrap the title – put it in the
wastebasket, burn, destroy it, get rid of it. We live by words, we
don’t live by the reality of what is. What does it matter what I call myself or don’t call myself? What matters is whether what I am
saying is truth; and if it is truth, then find out the truth and live by
it for yourselves.
Sirs, titles, whether spiritual titles or titles of the world, are a
means of exploiting people. And we like to be exploited. Both the
exploiter and the exploited enjoy the exploitation. (Laughter), You
laugh, you see! And that is all you will do, because you don’t see
that you yourself are exploited and therefore create the exploiter –
whether the capitalistic exploiter or the communistic exploiter. We
live by titles, words, phrases, which have no meaning; that is why
we are inwardly empty, and that is why we suffer. Sirs, do examine
what is being said, or what I say, and don’t merely live on the
verbal level, for on that level there can be no experience. You may
read all the books in the world, all the sacred books and
psychological books, but merely living on that level will not satisfy
you; and I am afraid that is what is happening. We are empty in
ourselves, and that is why we fall in with other peoples ideas, other
peoples» experiences, moods, mottos, and thereby we become
stagnant; and that is what is happening throughout the world. We
look to authority, to the guru, the teacher, which is all on the verbal
level. To experience the truth for yourself, to understand and not
follow somebody else’s understanding you must leave the verbal
level. To understand the truth for yourself, you must be free of all
authority, the worship of another, however great; for authority is
the most pernicious poison that prevents direct experience. Without
direct experience, without understanding, there can be no
realization of the truth.
So, I am not introducing new ideas, because ideas do not radically transform mankind. They may bring superficial
revolutions, but what we are trying to do is something quite
different. In all these talks and discussions, if you care to attend
them, we are trying to understand what it is to look at things as
they are; and in understanding things as they are, there is a
transformation. To know that I am greedy, without finding excuses
for it or condemning it, without idealizing its opposite and saying.
«I must not be greedy» – simply to know that I am greedy, is
already the beginning of transformation. But you see, you don’t
want to know what you are, but what the guru is, what the teacher
is. You worship others because it gives you gratification. It is very
much easier to escape by studying somebody else than to look at
yourself as you are. Sirs, God or truth is within, not in illusions.
But to understand that which is, is very difficult; for that which is,
is not static, it is constantly changing, undergoing modifications.
To understand what is, you need a swift mind, a mind not anchored
to a belief, to a conclusion, or to a party. And to follow what is,
you have to understand the process of authority, why you cling to
authority, and not merely discard it. You cannot discard authority
without understanding its whole process, because then you will
create a new authority to free you from the old one. So, this
question has no meaning if you are merely looking at the label,
because I am not interested in labels. But if you care to, we can
undertake a journey together to find out what is, and in knowing
ourselves, we can create a new world, a happy world.
July 11, 1948

As there are only a few of us, instead of my making an
introductory speech as I did last time before answering questions,
may I suggest that we turn this into a discussion meeting? Perhaps
that may be more worthwhile than my making a formal speech, and
so on. So, would you mind coming in a little closer? What subject
shall we discuss which will be worthwhile and profitable? What
would you suggest, Sirs, as a subject to be discussed?
Audience: Why are you touring around? Krishnamurti: Do you
really want to discuss why I am touring around?
Comment from the Audience: May we discuss the purpose of
Krishnamurti: Does that interest everybody, to discuss what is
the purpose of life, reincarnation and karma?
Audience: Yes.
Krishnamurti: Then let us discuss what is the purpose of life,
and perhaps later we shall introduce other subjects.
First of all, in discussing any subject of this kind, we must
obviously be earnest and not academic, scholarly or superficial,
because that will not lead us anywhere. So, we have to be very
serious, and that means we cannot merely accept or reject, but must
investigate to find out the truth of any subject. One must be
attentive and not academic. One must be open to suggestion, and
therefore one must have a desire to investigate and not merely
accept the authority, either of the platform or of a book, of the dead
past or of the present. So, in discussing what is the purpose of life, we have to find out what we mean by «life» and what we mean by
«purpose» – not merely the dictionary meaning, but the significance
we give to those words. Surely, life implies everyday action,
everyday thought, everyday feeling, does it not? It implies the
struggles, the pains, the anxieties, the deceptions, the worries, the
routine of the office, of business, of bureaucracy, and so on. All
that is life, is it not? By life we mean, not just one department or
one layer of consciousness, but the total process of existence which
is our relationship to things, to people, to ideas. That is what we
mean by life – not an abstract thing.
So, if that is what we mean by life, then has life a purpose? Or
is it because we do not understand the ways of life – the everyday
pain, anxiety, fear, ambition, greed – , because we do not
understand the daily activities of existence, that we want a purpose,
remote or near, far away or close? We want a purpose so that we
can guide our everyday life towards an end. That is obviously what
we mean by purpose. But if I understand how to live, then the very
living is in itself sufficient, is it not? Do we then want a purpose? If
I love you, if I love another, is that not sufficient in itself? Do I
then want a purpose? Surely, we want a purpose only when we do
not understand, or when we want a mode of conduct with an end in
view. After all, most of us are seeking a way of life, a way of
conduct; and we either look to others, to the past, or we try to find
a mode of behaviour through our own experience. When we look
to our own experience for a pattern of behaviour, our experience is
always conditioned, is it not? However wide the experiences one
may have had, unless these experiences dissolve the past
conditioning, any new experiences only further strengthen the past conditioning. That is a fact which we can discuss. And if we look
to another, to the past, to a guru, to an ideal, to an example, for a
pattern of behaviour, we are merely forcing the extraordinary
vitality of life into a mould, into a particular shape, and thereby we
lose the swiftness, the intensity, the richness of life.
So, we must find out very clearly what we mean by purpose, if
there is a purpose. You may say there is a purpose: to reach reality,
God, or what you will. But to reach that, you must know it, you
must be aware of it, you must have the measure, the depth, the
significance of it. Do we know reality for ourselves, or do we know
it only through the authority of another? So, can you say that the
purpose of life is to find reality when you do not know what reality
is? Since reality is the unknown, the mind that seeks the unknown
must first be free from the known, must it not? If my mind is
clouded, burdened with the known, it can only measure according
to its own condition, its own limitation, and therefore it can never
know the unknown, can it?
So, what we are trying to discuss and find out is whether life
has a purpose, and whether that purpose can be measured. It can
only be measured in terms of the known, in terms of the past; and
when I measure the purpose of life in terms of the known, I will
measure it according to my likes and dislikes. Therefore, the
purpose will be conditioned by my desires, and therefore it ceases
to be the purpose. Surely, that is clear, is it not? I can understand
what is the purpose of life only through the screen of my own
prejudices, wants and desires – otherwise I cannot judge, can I? So,
the measure, the tape, the yardstick, is a conditioning of my mind,
and according to the dictates of my conditioning I will decide what the purpose is. But is that the purpose of life? It is created by my
want, and therefore it is surely not the purpose of life. To find out
the purpose of life, the mind must be free of measurement; then
only can it find out – otherwise you are merely projecting your own
want. This is not mere intellection, and if you go into it deeply you
will see its significance. After all, it is according to my prejudice,
to my want, to my desire, to my predilection, that I decide what the
purpose of life is to be. So, my desire creates the purpose. Surely,
that is not the purpose of life. Which is more important, to find out
the purpose of life, or to free the mind itself from its own
conditioning, and the mind is free from its own conditioning, that
very freedom itself is the purpose. Because, after all, it is only in
freedom that one can discover any truth.
So, the first requisite is freedom, and not seeking the purpose of
life. Without freedom, obviously, one cannot find it; without being
liberated from our own petty little wants, pursuits, ambitions,
envies and ill will, without freedom from these things, how can one
possibly enquire or discover what is the purpose of life? So, is it
not important, for one who is enquiring about the purpose of life, to
find out first if the instrument of enquiry is capable of penetrating
into the processes of life, into the psychological complexities of
one’s own being? Because, that is all we have, is it not? – a
psychological instrument that is shaped to suit our own needs. And
as the instrument is fashioned out of our own petty desires, as it is
the outcome of our own experiences, worries, anxieties and ill will,
how can such an instrument find reality? Therefore, is it not
important, if you are to enquire into the purpose of life, to find out
first if the enquirer is capable of understanding or discovering what that purpose is? I am not turning the tables on you, but that is what
is implied when we enquire about the purpose of life. When we ask
that question, we have first to find out whether the questioner, the
enquirer, is capable of understanding.
Now, when we discuss the purpose of life, we see that we mean
by life the extraordinarily complex state of interrelationship
without which there would be no life. And if we do not understand
the full significance of that life, its varieties, impressions, and so
on, what is the good of enquiring about the purpose of life? If I do
not understand my relationship with you, my relationship with
property and ideas, how can I go further? After all, Sir, to find
truth, or God, or what you will, I must first understand my
existence, I must understand,the life around me and in me,
otherwise the search for reality becomes merely a escape from
everyday action; and a most of us do not understand every day
action, as for most of us life is drudgery, pain, suffering, anxiety,
we say, «For God’s sake, tell us how to escape from it.» That is
what most of us want – a drug to put us to sleep so that we don’t
feel the aches and pains of life. Have I answered your question
about the purpose of life?
Audience: May one say that the purpose of life is to live
Krishnamurti: It is suggested that the purpose of life is to live
rightly. Sirs, I do not want to quibble, but what do we mean by a
«right life»? We have the idea that to live according to a pattern
laid down by Shankaracharya, Buddha, X, Y or Z, is to live rightly.
Is that living rightly? Surely, that is only a conformity which the
mind seeks in order to be secure, in order not to be disturbed.       Audience: There is a Chinese saying that the purpose of life is
the pleasure of it, the joy of it. It is not an abstract joy, but it is the
joy of living, the pleasures of sleeping, drinking, the joy of meeting
people and talking to them, of coming, of going, of working. The
joy of living, of everyday happenings, is the purpose of life.
Krishnamurti: Surely, Sirs, there is a joy. There is real
happiness in understanding something, is there not? If I understand
my relationship with my neighbour, my wife, with the property
over which we fight, wrangle and destroy each other – if I
understand these things, surely out of that understanding there
comes a joy; then life itself is a joy, a richness, and with that
richness one can go further, deeper. But without that foundation,
you cannot build a great structure, can you? After all, happiness
comes naturally, easily, only when there is no friction either in us
or about us; and friction ceases only when there is an
understanding of things in their right proportion, in their right
values. To find out what is right, one must first know the process,
the working of one’s own mind. Otherwise, if you do not know
your own mind, how can you discover the right value of anything?
So, we are confused; our relationships, our ideas, our
governments, are really confused. It is only a foolish man who
does not see the confusion. The world is in an awful mess, and the
world is the projection of ourselves. What we are, the world is. We
are confused, fearfully entangled in ideas, and we do not know
what is true and what is false; and being confused, we say, «Please,
what is the purpose of life, what is the need of all this mess, this
Now, some will naturally give you a verbal explanation of what the purpose of life is; and if you like it, you accept it and mould
your life accordingly. But that does not solve the problem of
confusion, does it? You have only postponed it, you have not
understood what is. Surely, the understanding of what is – the
confusion within me and therefore about me – is more important
than to inquire how to behave rightly. If I understand what has
caused this confusion, and therefore how to put an end to it,I
understand these things, there comes naturally a true, affectionate
behaviour. So, being confused, my problem is, not to find out what
is the end or purpose of life, nor how to get out of confusion, but
rather how to understand the confusion; because, if I understand it,
then I can dissolve it. To put an end to confusion requires the
understanding of what is at any given moment, and that demands
enormous attention, interest to find out what is, and not merely the
dissipation of our energies in the pursuit of our life, of our own
methods, of our actions according to a particular pattern – all of
which is so much easier, because it is not tackling our problems but
rather escaping from them.
So, as you are confused, every man who becomes a leader,
political or religious, is merely the expression of our own
confusion; and because you follow the leader, he becomes the
voice of confusion. He may lead you away from a particular
confusion, but he will not help you to resolve the cause of
confusion, and therefore you will still be confused; because, you
create the confusion, and confession is where you are. So, the
question is. not how to get out of confusion, but how to understand
it; and in understanding it, perhaps you will find the meaning of all
these struggles, these pains, these anxieties, this constant battle within and without.
So, is it not important to find out why we are confused? Can
anybody, except a very few, say that they are not confused,
politically, religiously, economically? Sirs, you have only to look
around you. Every newspaper is shouting in confusion, reflecting
the uncertainties, the pains, the anxieties, the impending wars; and
the sane, thoughtful person, the earnest person who is trying to find
a way out of this confusion, surely has first to tackle himself. So
then, our question is this: What causes confusion? Why are we
confused? One of the obvious factors is that we have lost
confidence in ourselves, and that is why we have so many leaders,
so many gurus, so many holy books telling us what to do and what
not to do. We have lost self-confidence. Now, what do you mean
by self-confidence? Obviously, there are people, the technicians,
who are full of confidence because they have achieved results. For
example, give a first class mechanic any machine and he will
understand it. The more technique we have, the more capable we
are of dealing with technical things; but surely; that is not self-
confidence. We are not using the word «confidence» as it applies to
technical matters. A professor, when he deals with his subject, is
full of confidence – at least, when other professors are not listening;
or a bureaucrat, a high official, feels confident because he has
reached the top of the. ladder in the technique of bureaucracy, and
he can always exert his authority. Though he may be wrong, he is
full of confidence – like a mechanic when you give him a motor he
knows all about. But surely, we do not mean that kind of
confidence, do we? , because we are not technical machines. We
are not mere machines ticking according to a certain rhythm, revolving at a certain speed, a certain number of revolutions per
minute. We are life, not machines. We would like to make
ourselves into machines, because then we could deal with
ourselves mechanically, repetitiously and automatically – and that
is what most of us want. Therefore, we build walls of resistance,
disciplines, controls, tracks along which we run. But even having
so conditioned, so placed ourselves, having become so automatic
and mechanical, there is still a vitality that pursues different things
and creates contradictions. Sirs, our difficulty is that we are pliable,
that we are alive, not dead; and because life is so swift, so subtle,
so uncertain, we do not know how to understand it, and therefore
we have lost confidence. Most of us are trained technically because
we have to earn our livelihood, and modern civilization demands
higher and higher technique. But with that technical mind, that
technical capacity, you cannot follow yourself, because you are
much too swift, you are more pliable, more complicated than the
machine; so you are learning to have more and more confidence in
the machine, and are losing confidence in yourself, and are
therefore multiplying leaders. So, as I said, one of the causes of
confusion is this lack of confidence in ourselves. The more
imitative we are, the less confidence we have, and we have made
life into a copy book. From early childhood up, we are told what to
do; we must do this, we must not do that. So what do you expect?
And must you not have confidence in order to find out? Must you
not have that extraordinary inward certainty to know what truth is
when you meet it?
So, having made life into a technical process, conforming to a
particular pattern of action, which is merely technique, naturally we have lost confidence in ourselves, and therefore we are
increasing our inward struggle, our inward pain and confusion.
Confusion can be dissolved only through self-confidence, and this
confidence cannot be gained through another. You have to
undertake, for yourself and by yourself, the journey of discovery
into the process of yourself, in order to understand it. This does not
mean you are withdrawn, aloof. On the contrary, Sirs, confidence
comes the moment you understand, not what others say, but your
own thoughts and feelings, what is happening in yourself and
around you. Without that confidence which comes from knowing
your own thoughts, feelings and experiences – their truth, their
falseness, their significance, their absurdity – , without knowing
that, how can you clear up the whole field of confusion which is
Audience: Confusion can be dispelled by being aware.
Krishnamurti: You are saying, Sir, that by being aware, by
being conscious of the confusion, that confusion can be dissipated.
Is that it?
Audience: Yes, Sir.
Krishnamurti: For the moment, we are not discussing how to
dissipate confusion. Having lost self confidence, our problem is
how to get it back – if we ever had it at all. Because, obviously,
without that element of confidence we shall be led astray by every
person we come across – and that is exactly what is happening.
What is right purpose politically, and how are you to know it?
Should you not know it? Should you not know what is true in it?
Similarly, must you not know what is true in the babble of tongues
of religion? And how are you going to find out what is true among all the innumerable sayings, Christian, Hindu, Mussulman, and so
on? In this frightful confusion, how are you going to find out? To
find out, you must obviously be in a great strait, you must be
burning to know what you are in yourself. Are you in such a
position? Are you burning to find out the truth of anything,
whether of communism, fascism, or capitalism? To find out what is
true in the various political actions, in the religious assertions and
experiences which you so easily accept – to find out the truth of all
these things, must you not be burning with the desire to know the
truth? Therefore, never accept any authority. Sir, after all,
acceptance of authority indicates that the mind wants comfort,
security. A mind that seeks security. either with a guru or in a
party, political or any other, a mind that is seeking safety, comfort,
can never find truth, even in the smallest things of our existence.
So, a man who wants this creative self-confidence must obviously
be burning with the desire to know the truth of everything, not
about empires or the atomic bomb, which is merely a technical
matter, but in our human relationships, our relationship with others,
and our relationship to property and to ideas. If I want to know the
truth, I begin to enquire; and before I can know the truth of
anything, I must have confidence. To have confidence, I must
enquire into myself and remove those causes that prevent each
experience from giving its full significance.
Audience: Our minds are limited. What is the way out of this
Krishnamurti: Now wait a minute. Before we enquire how to
free the mind from its own conditioning, which creates confusion,
let us try to find out how to discover the truth of anything – not of technical things, but the truth of ourselves in relation to something,
even in relation to the atomic bomb. You understand the problem,
Sir? We are not self-confident, there is no confidence in us, that
creative thing which gives sustenance, life, vitality, understanding.
We have lost it, or we have never had it; and, because we do not
know how to judge anything, we have been led here and pushed
there, beaten up, driven, politically, religiously and socially. We
don’t know – but it is difficult to say we don’t know. Most of us
think we do, but actually we know very little except in technical
matters – how to run a government, a machine, or how to kick the
servant or wife or children, or whatever it is. But we do not know
ourselves, we have lost that capacity. I am using the word «lost»,
but that is probably the wrong word, because we have never had it.
Since we do not know ourselves and yet we want to find out what
truth is, how are we going to find it? Do you understand the quest;
on, Sir? I am afraid not.
Someone wanted to discuss reincarnation. Now, I want to know
the truth of reincarnation, not what the Bhagavad Gita, Christ, or
my pet guru has said. I want to know the truth of that matter.
Therefore, what am I to do to know the truth of it? What is the first
requirement it, must I? I must not be persuaded by the clever
arguments or by the personality of another, which means I am not
easily satisfied by the reassuring comfort which reincarnation
gives. Must I not be in that position? That is, I am not seeking
comfort, I am trying to find out what is true. Are you in that
position? Surely, when you are seeking comfort, you can be
persuaded by anyone, and therefore you lose self-confidence; but
when you do not seek comfort but want to know the truth, when you are completely free from the desire to take refuge, then you
will experience truth, and that experience will give you confidence.
So, that is the first requirement, is it not? To know the truth of
anything psychologically, you cannot seek comfort; because, the
moment you want comfort, security, a haven in which you are
protected, you will have what you want, but what you have will not
be the truth. Therefore, you will be persuaded by another who
offers a greater comfort, a greater security, a better refuge; and so
you are driven from port to port, and that is why you have lost
confidence. You have no confidence because you have been driven
from one refuge to another by your own desire to be comfortable,
to be secure. So, a man who would seek the truth in relationship
must be free of the destructive and limiting desire to be
comfortable, to be secure. This fear of losing oneself
psychologically must go. Only then can you find the truth of
reincarnation or of anything else, because you are seeking truth and
not security. Then truth will reveal to you what is right, and
therefore you will have confidence. Sir, is it not more important to
find out the truth than to believe that there is or is not continuity?
That is the question, is it not? If I want to know the truth, I am in a
position not to be easily persuaded. Audience: When we asked the
question about reincarnation, we wanted to be reassured that there
is reincarnation, we did not want to know about truth and all that.
Krishnamurti: Of course you want to know if there is
reincarnation, if reincarnation is a fact, but you don’t want to know
the truth of it; and I want to know the truth of reincarnation, not the
fact. It may or may not be a fact. I do not know if the distinction is
clear.       Audience: It is not clear.
Krishnamurti: Alright, Sir, let us discuss it.
Audience: When we ask the question about reincarnation, it is
in order to be assured that there is reincarnation. In other words, we
put the question in a state of anxiety that there should be
reincarnation, and being anxious, we listen with a biased mind. We
do not want to find out the real truth of it; we only want to be
assured that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
Audience: Do you want to know whether there is such a thing
as reincarnation, or do you want to know the truth? Are you
anxious that there should be reincarnation, or are you seeking to
find out the truth, whatever it is?
Audience: Both.
Audience: You cannot do both. Either you want to know the
truth about reincarnation, or you want to be assured that there is
reincarnation. Which is the case?
Krishnamurti: Let us be very clear on this point. If I am anxious
to know whether there is reincarnation or not, what is the motive
behind that question?
Audience: The motive is quite clear, I think.
Krishnamurti: What is it, Sir?
Audience: The motive is that life begins at a certain stage and
ends at a certain stage.
Krishnamurti: Which means what?
Audience: It means that the purpose is understood and the goal
is reached or not reached.
Audience: When you say that life is limited, are you anxious?
Audience: I did not say that life is limited.       Audience: You said it begins at a certain point and ends at a
certain point.
Audience: I mean by that, birth and death.
Audience: Life is spanned by birth and death. It is limited.
Audience: Yes.
Audience: When you ask whether there is reincarnation, are you
in a state of mind which desires it?
Audience: I am in a state of enquiry. Audience: Are you a
Audience: An enquirer, a seeker.
Krishnamurti: If I seek, what is the state of my mind? What is
making me seek?
Audience: I do not understand, Sir.
Krishnamurti: What is making me seek?
Audience: We desire to know the truth.
Krishnamurti: Therefore, you are not anxious.
Audience: There is no motive, only anxiety.
Krishnamurti: So you are saying you are anxious?
Audience: Everybody is.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you are not seeking truth. You are not
Audience: I seek out of anxiety to know the truth.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir?
Audience: What are you anxious about?
Audience: I am not anxious about anything. I am viewing it
merely from an academic point of view.
Krishnamurti: Either we are discussing merely academically,
superficially, or we are discussing very seriously.       Audience: Certainly.
Krishnamurti: I am not saying you are superficial; but surely,
we must know if we are merely discussing out of curiosity. If we
are, it will lead us in one direction, and if we are discussing to find
out the truth, then it will lead us in another direction. Which is it:
As I said right from the beginning this evening, if we are merely
discussing as a club for intellectual amusement, then I am afraid I
shall not partake in it, because that is not my intention; but if we
are seeking to find out the truth of anything, that is, the truth of our
relationship, then let us discuss.
Now, if I ask about reincarnation because I am anxious, surely
that anxiety comes into being because I am afraid of death, of
coming to an end, of not fulfilling myself, of not seeing my friends,
of not finishing my book, and all the rest of it. That is, my enquiry
is based on fear; therefore fear will dictate the answer, fear will
determine what truth shall be. But if I am not afraid and am
seeking the truth of what is, then reincarnation has a different
meaning. So, inwardly, psychologically, we must be very clear
what it is that we are seeking. Are we seeking the truth about
reincarnation, or are we seeking reincarnation out of anxiety?
Audience: I do not think there is much difference between the
two. I am seeking.
Audience: I think he used the word «anxiety» to mean
«earnestness». Audience: It is obvious that if you are seeking out of
anxiety, you are prejudice in favour of a certain answer which will
relieve you of that anxiety, and therefore you cannot find the truth.
Audience: I can honestly tell you that I am neither in favour of
this nor of that. I want to know the truth. The question arose in me when we were discussing the subject.
Audience: Why did it arise?
Audience: I cannot explain. That is for you to explain.
Audience: People usually ask questions about reincarnation in
order to be assured that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
Audience: Not all.
Audience: It is very rare that somebody asks about reincarnation
just to know the truth.
Audience: You can naturally understand that I am very much
interested in the subject.
Krishnamurti: Alright. I am not answering your question for the
moment. We are discussing it generally. Does our approach lie
through anxiety, through fear; or, without being afraid, do we want
to know? Because, the results of our enquiry will be different in
each case. As has been pointed out by one of you, either I am
anxious to know, and therefore my anxiety is going to colour what
is, or, I want to know about continuity, independent of my likes
and dislikes, fears and anxieties. I want to know what is. Now,
most of us are a mixture of both, are we not? When my son dies, I
am anxious, I am burning with pain, with loneliness, and I want to
know. Then my enquiries are based on anxiety. But sitting and
discussing in this hall and casually saying, «Well, I would like to
know» when there is no crisis – can such a mind know? Surely, you
can find truth only in a crisis and not away from the crisis. It is
then that you will have to enquire, not when you casually say, «Let
us discuss whether there is truth or not». Is that not so? When my
son dies, I want to know, not whether he lives, but the truth about
continuity, which means that I am willing to understand the subject. Does it not imply that? I have lost my son, and I want to
know what makes me suffer, and if there is an end to suffering. So,
it is in that moment of crisis alone, when there is pressure, that I
will find the truth, if I want to know the truth. But in the moment
of crisis, in the moment of pressure, we want comfort, we want
alleviation, we want to put our head on somebody’s lap; in
moments of anxiety we want to be lulled to sleep. And I say, on the
contrary, the moment of anxiety is the right moment to enquire and
to find the truth. When I want comfort in the moment of crisis, I
am not enquiring. Therefore, I must know the state of my own
being, of my psychological or spiritual being. I must know the state
I am in before I can enquire and find out what truth is.
Sir, most of us are in a crisis – about the war, about a job, about
our wives running away with somebody. We have crises about us
and in us all the time, whether we admit it or not; and is that not
the moment to enquire, rather than to wait till the ultimate moment
when the bomb is thrown? Because, though we may deny it, we are
in a crisis from moment to moment, politically psychologically,
economically. There is intense pressure all the time; and is this not
the moment to find out? Are we not in this moment? If you say, «I
have no crisis, I am only sitting back and looking at life», that is
merely avoiding the issue isn’t it? Is any one of us in that position?
Surely, that is not true of any person. We have crises one after
another, but we have become dull, secure, indifferent; and our
difficult is, is it not? , that we do not know how to meet crises? Are
we to meet them with anxiety, or to enquire and so find the truth of
the matter? Most of us meet a crisis with anxiety; growing weary,
we say, «Will you please solve this problem?» When we talk, we are looking for an answer and not for the understanding of the
problem. Similarly, in discussing the question of reincarnation, the
problem of whether there is or is not continuity, what we mean by
continuity, what we mean by death: to understand such a problem,
the problem of continuity or no continuity, we must not seek an
answer away from the problem. We must understand the problem
itself – which we will discuss at another meeting, because our time
is nearly up.
My point is that there must be self-confidence – and I have
sufficiently explained what I mean by self confidence. It is not the
confidence that you have through technical capacity, technical
knowledge, technical training. The confidence that comes with self-
knowledge is entirely different from the confidence of
aggressiveness and of technical skill; and that confidence born of
self knowledge is essential to clear up the confusion in which we
live. Obviously, you cannot have this self knowledge given to you
by another, because what is given to you by another is mere
technique. That is the joy of discovering, the bliss of
understanding, can come only when I understand myself, the whole
total process of myself; and to understand oneself is not such a
very complex business, one can begin at any level of
consciousness. But, as I said last Sunday, to have that confidence
there must be the intention to know oneself. Then I am not easily
persuaded: I want to know everything about myself and so I am
open to all the intimations concerning me, whether they come from
another or from within myself. I am open to the conscious and the
unconscious within me, open to every thought and feeling that is
constantly moving, urging, arising and fading away in myself. Surely, that is the way to have this confidence: to know oneself
completely, whatever one is, and not pursue an ideal of what one
should be, or assume that one is this or that, which is really absurd.
It is absurd because then you are merely accepting a preconceived
idea, whether your own or another’s, of what you are or would like
to be. But to understand yourself as you are, you must be
voluntarily open, spontaneously vulnerable to all the intimations of
yourself; and as you begin to understand the flow, the movement,
the swiftness of your own mind, you will see that confidence
comes from that understanding. It is not the aggressive, brutal,
assertive confidence, but the confidence of knowing what is taking
place in oneself. Surely, without that confidence, you cannot dispel
confusion; and without dispelling the confusion within you and
about you. how can you possibly find the truth of any relationship?
So, to find out what is true, or what is the purpose of life, or to
discover the truth of reincarnation or of any human problem, the
enquirer who is demanding truth, who wants to know truth, must
be very clear as regards his intentions, If his intentions are to seek
security, comfort, then obviously he does not want truth; because,
truth may be one of the most devastating, discomforting things.
The man who is seeking comfort does not want truth: he only
wants security, safety, a refuge in which he will not be disturbed.
But a man who is seeking truth must invite disturbances,
tribulations; because, it is only in moments of crisis that there is
alertness, watchfulness, action. Then only that which is is
discovered and understood.
July 18, 1948

As I was saying the last time we met, the problems of the world are
so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so to resolve
them, one must approach them in a very simple and direct manner;
and simplicity, directness, do not depend on outward circumstances
nor on our particular prejudices and moods. As I was pointing out,
the solution is not to be found through conferences, blue prints, or
through the substitution of new leaders for old, and so on. The
solution obviously lies in the creator of the problem, in the creator
of the mischief, of the hate and of the enormous misunderstanding
that exists between human beings. The creator of this mischief, the
creator of these problems, is the individual, you and I, not the
world as we think of it. The world is your relationship with
another. The world is not something separate from you and me; the
world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to
establish between each other.
So, you and I are the problem, and not the world; because, the
world is the projection of ourselves, and to understand the world,
we must understand ourselves. The world is not separate from us;
we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems. This
cannot be repeated too often, because we are so sluggish in our
mentality that we think the world’s problems are not our business,
that they have to be resolved by the United Nations, or by
substituting new leaders for the old. It is a very dull mentality that
thinks that way; because, we are responsible for this frightful
misery and confusion in the world, this impending war. To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and, as I said,
what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The
intention must be to understand ourselves, and not to leave it to
others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change
through revolution, either of the left or of the right. So, it is
important to understand that this is our responsibility, your’s and
mine; because, however small may be the world we live in, if we
can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of
view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world
at large, the extended relationship with others.
So, as I said, we are going to discuss and find out the process of
understanding ourselves, which is not an isolating process. It is not
withdrawal from the world, because you cannot live in isolation.
To be is to be related, and there is no such thing as living in
isolation. It is the lack of right relationship that brings about
conflicts, misery and strife; and however small our world may be,
if we can transform our relationship in that narrow world, it will be
like a wave extending outward all the time. I think it is important to
see that point, that the world is our relationship, however narrow;
and if we can bring a transformation there, not a superficial but a
radical transformation, then we shall begin actively to transform
the world. Real revolution is not according to any particular
pattern, either of the left or of the right, but it is a revolution of
values, a revolution from sensate values to the values that are not
sensate or created by environmental influences. To find these true
values which will bring about a radical revolution, a transformation
or a regeneration, it is essential to understand oneself. Self-
knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and therefore the beginning of transformation or regeneration. To understand oneself, there
must be the intention to understand – and that is where our
difficulty comes in. Because, although most of us are discontented,
we desire to bring about a sudden change, our discontent is
canalized merely to achieve a certain result; being discontented, we
either seek a different job, or merely succumb to environment. So,
discontent, instead of setting us aflame, causing us to question life,
the whole process of existence is canalized, and thereby we
become mediocre, losing that drive, that intensity to find out the
whole significance of existence. Therefore, it is important to
discover these things for ourselves, because self knowledge cannot
be given to us by another, it is not to be found through any book.
We must discover, and to discover there must be the intention, the
search, the enquiry. As long as that intention to find out, to enquire
deeply, is weak or does not exist, mere assertion, or a casual wish
to find out about oneself, is of very little significance.
So, the transformation of the world is brought about by the
transformation of oneself; because the self is the product and a part
of the total process of human existence. To transform oneself, self-
knowledge is essential; because, without knowing what you are,
there is no basis for right thought, and without knowing yourself
there cannot be transformation. One must know oneself as one is,
not as one wishes to be, which is merely an ideal and therefore
fictitious, unreal; and it is only that which is that can be
transformed, not that which you wish to be. So, to know oneself as
one is, requires an extraordinary alertness of mind; because, what
is is constantly undergoing transformation, change, and to follow it
swiftly, the mind must not be tethered to any particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern of action. If you would follow
anything, it is no good being tethered. So, to know yourself, there
must be the awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is
freedom from all beliefs, from all idealization; because, beliefs and
ideals only give you a colour, perverting true perception. If you
want to know what you are, you cannot imagine or have belief in
something which you are not. If I am greedy, envious, violent,
merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little
value. But to know that one is greedy or violent, to know and
understand it, requires an extraordinary perception, does it not? It
demands honesty, clarity of thought. Whereas, to pursue an ideal
away from what is, is an escape; it prevents you from discovering
and acting directly upon what you are.
So, the understanding of what you are, whatever it be – ugly or
beautiful, wicked or mischievous – , the understanding of what you
are without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is
essential, for it gives freedom. It is only in virtue that you can
discover, that you can live – not in the cultivation of a virtue, which
merely brings about respectability, and not understanding and
freedom. There is a difference between being virtuous and
becoming virtuous. Being virtuous comes through the
understanding of what is, whereas becoming virtuous is
postponement, the covering up of what is with what you would like
to be. Therefore, in becoming virtuous you are avoiding action
directly upon what is. This process of avoiding what is through the
cultivation of the ideal is considered virtuous; but if you look at it
closely and directly, you will see that it is nothing of the kind. It is
merely a postponement of coming face to face with what is. Virtue is not the becoming of what is not; virtue is the understanding of
what is and therefore the freedom from what is. And virtue is
essential in a society that is rapidly disintegrating. In order to
create a new world, a new structure away from the old, there must
be freedom to discover; and to be free, there must be virtue, for
without virtue there is no freedom. Can the immoral man who is
striving to become virtuous, ever know virtue? The man who is not
moral can never be free, and therefore he can never find out what
reality is. Reality can be found only in understanding what is; and
to understand what is, there must be freedom, freedom from the
fear of what is.
Is virtue, then, a matter of time? The understanding of what is,
which is virtue, for it gives freedom, immediate release – is this a
matter of time? Are you kind, generous, affectionate, through the
process of time? That is, will you be kind day after tomorrow? Can
kindness be thought of in terms of time? After all, affection, mercy,
generosity are necessities of life, they are the only solvent for all
our problems. Goodwill is essential, and we have not got it, have
we? Neither the politicians, nor the leaders, nor the followers have
real goodwill, which is not an ideal; and without goodwill, without
that extraordinary mellowness of being which gives affection, our
problems cannot be solved by mere conferences. So, you, like the
politicians and the vast majority of human beings the world over,
are not kind, you have not got that goodwill which is the only
solution; and since you have not got it, is it a mere question of
time? Will you have goodwill tomorrow or ten years hence? Is it
not fallacious reasoning to think in the future? If you are not kind
now, you will never be kind. You may think that by slow practice, discipline, and all the rest of it, you will be kind tomorrow or ten
years later; but in the meantime, you are being unkind. And
kindness, goodwill, affection, is the only solvent for the immediate
problems of existence; it is the only remedy that will destroy the
poison of nationalism, of communalism, the only cement that can
bring us together.
Now, if kindness, mercy, is not a matter of time, then why is it
that you and I are not kind immediately, directly? Why is it that we
are not kind now? If we can understand why we are not kind,
understanding being immediate, we shall be kind immediately;
then we shall forget what our caste is, we shall forget our
communal, religious and nationalistic differences and be
immediately generous, kind. Therefore, we must understand why
we are not kind, and not patiently practise goodness or meditate on
generosity – which is all absurd. But if I know why I am unkind
and I want to be kind, then, because my intention is to be kind, I
will be. So again, the intention matters enormously; but the
intention is futile if I do not know the cause of unkindness.
Therefore, I must know the whole process of my thinking, the
whole process of my attitude towards life. So, the study of oneself
becomes tremendously important; but self-knowledge is not an
end. One must study oneself more and more, but not with an object
in view, to achieve a result; because, if we seek an object, a result,
we put an end to enquiry, to discovery, to freedom. Self-knowledge
is the understanding of the process of oneself, the process of the
mind, it is to be aware of all the intricacies of the passions and their
pursuits; and as one knows oneself more and more deeply and
widely, extensively ind profoundly, there comes a freedom, a liberation from the entanglements of fear, the fear which brings
about beliefs, dogmas, nationalism, caste and all the hideous
inventions of the mind to keep itself isolated in fear And when
there is freedom, there is the discovery of that which is eternal.
Without that freedom, merely asking what is the eternal, or reading
books about the eternal, has no value at all. It is like children
playing with toys. Eternity, reality, God, or what you will, can be
discovered only by you. It comes into being only when the mind is
free, untrammelled by beliefs, untrammelled by prejudice, not
caught in the net of passion, ill will and worldliness. But a mind
that is entangled in nationalism, or in beliefs and rituals, is caught
in its own desires, ambitions and pursuits, and obviously such a
mind cannot possibly understand. It is not prepared to receive.
Only the discovery of truth will bring happiness, and to
discover, there must be the understanding of oneself. To
understand oneself, there must be the intention to understand and
with the intention, comes an enquiring mind, a mind that is alertly
aware without condemnation, without identification or
justification; and such awareness brings an immediate release from
the problem. Therefore, our whole search is not for the answer to a
problem, but for the understanding of the problem itself. And the
problem is not outside you: it is you, the problem is you. To
understand the problem, to understand the creator of the problem,
which is yourself, you have to discover yourself spontaneously
from day to day as you are: because, it is only at the moment when
your responses arise that you can understand them. But if you
discipline your responses to a particular pattern, either of the left or
of the right, or if you follow a particular rule of conduct, then you cannot discover your own responses. Experiment with it and you
will find being aware of each response as it arises, seeing it without
condemnation or justification and pursuing the whole implication
of that response. Freedom is in release from the response, not in
disciplining that response.
So, our whole enquiry into the purpose of existence, our
question as to whether there is reality or not, has very little
meaning if there is no understanding of the mind, which is
yourself. The problem, which is so vast, so complex, so immediate,
lies in you, and no one can solve it except yourself; no guru can
solve it, no teacher, no saviour, no organized compulsion. The
outward organization can always be overthrown, because the inner
is much stronger than the outward structure of man’s existence.
Without understanding the inner, merely to change the pattern of
the outer has very little meaning. To bring about a lasting
reorganization in outer things, each one of us must begin with
himself; and when there is that inner transformation, the outer can
then be transformed with intelligence, with compassion and with
care. There are several questions, and I will try to answer as many
of them as possible this afternoon.
Question: Do you have a special message for youth?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, is there a very great difference between the
young and the old? Youth, the young people, if they are at all alive,
are full of revolutionary ideas, full of discontent, are they not?
They must be: otherwise they are already old. Please, this is very
serious, so don’t agree or disagree. We are discussing life – I am not
making a speech from the platform to please you or to please
myself.       As I was saying if the young have not that revolutionary
discontent, they are already old; and the old are those who were
once discontented, but have settled back. They want security, they
want permanency, either in their jobs or in their souls. They want
certainty in ideas, in relationship, or in property. If in you, who are
young, there is a spirit of enquiry which makes you want the truth
of anything, of any political action whether of the left or of the
right, and if you are not bound by tradition, then you will be the
regenerators of the world, the creators of a new civilization, a new
culture. But, like the rest of us, like the past generation, young
people also want security, certainty. They want jobs, they want
food, clothing and shelter, they don’t want to disagree with their
parents because it means going against society. Therefore, they fall
in line, they accept the authority of older people. So,what happens?
The discontent which is the very flame of enquiry, of search, of
understanding – that discontent is made mediocre, it becomes
merely a desire for a better job, or a rich marriage, or a degree. So,
their discontent is destroyed, it merely becomes the desire for more
security. Surely, what is essential for the old and for the young is to
live fully, completely. But you see, there are very few people in the
world who want to live completely. To live fully and completely,
there must be freedom, not an acceptance of authority; and there
can be freedom only when there is virtue. Virtue is not imitation;
virtue is creative living. That is, creativeness comes through the
freedom which virtue brings; and virtue is not to be cultivated, it
does not come through practice or at the end of your life. Either
you are virtuous and free now, or you are not. And to find out why
you are not free, you must have discontent, you must have the intention, the drive, the energy to enquire; but you dissipate that
energy sexually, or through shouting political slogans, waving
flags, or merely imitating, passing examinations for a better job.
So, the world is in such misery because there is not that
creativeness. To live creatively, there cannot be mere imitation,
following either Marx, the Bible. or the Bhagavad Gita.
Creativeness comes through freedom, and there can be freedom
only when there is virtue, and virtue is not the result of the process
of time. Virtue comes when you begin to understand what is in
your everyday existence. Therefore, to me the division between the
old and the young is rather absurd. Sirs, maturity is not a matter of
age. Although must of us are older, we are infantile, we are afraid
of what society thinks, afraid of the past. Those who are old seek
permanency, comforting assurances, and the young also want
security. So, there is no essential difference between the old and
the young. As I said, maturity does not lie in age. Maturity comes
with understanding, and there is no understanding as long as we
escape from conflict, from suffering; and we escape from suffering
when we seek comfort, when we seek an ideal. But it is when we
are young that we can really, ardently, purposefully enquire. As we
grow older, life is too much for us, and we become more and more
dull. We waste our energies so uselessly. To conserve that energy
for purposes of enquiry, to discover reality, requires a great deal of
education – not mere conformity to a pattern, which is not
education. Merely passing examinations is not education. A fool
can pass examinations, it only requires a certain type of mind. But
to enquire deeply and find out what life is, to understand the whole
basis of existence, requires a very alert and keen mind, a mind that is pliable. But the mind is made unplayable when it is forced to
conform, and the whole structure of our society is based on
compulsion. However subtle com- pulsion may be, through
compulsion there cannot be understanding.
Question: Is your self-confidence born of your own release from
fear or does it arise from the conviction that you are solidly backed
by great beings like the Buddha and the Christ?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, first of all, how does confidence come into
being? Confidence is of two types. There is the confidence that
comes through the acquisition of technical knowledge. A
mechanic, an engineer, a physicist, a man who masters the violin,
has confidence, because he has studied or practiced for a number of
years and has acquired a technique. That gives one type of
confidence – a confidence which is merely superficial, technical.
But there is another type of confidence which comes from self –
knowledge, from knowing oneself entirely, both the conscious and
the unconscious, the hidden mind as well as the open. I say it is
possible to know yourself completely, and then there comes a
confidence which is not aggressive not self-assertive, not shrewd,
not that confidence which comes from achievement; but it is the
confidence of seeing things as they are from moment to moment
without distortion Such confidence comes into being naturally
when thought is not based on personal achievement, personal
aggrandisement, or personal salvation, and when each thing reveals
its true significance. Then you are backed by wisdom, whether it is
of the Buddha or of the Christ. That wisdom, that confidence, that
extraordinarily swift pliability of mind, is not for the exclusive few.
There is no hierarchy of understanding. When you understand a problem of relationship, whether with physical objects, with ideas,
or with your neighbour, that understanding frees you from all sense
of time, of position, of authority. Therefore, there is not the Master
and the pupil, the guru sitting on a platform and you sitting down
below. Sirs, such confidence is love, affection; and when you love
somebody, there is no difference, there is neither high nor low.
When there is love, this extraordinary flame, then that itself is its
own eternity.
Question: Can we come to the real through beauty, or is beauty
sterile as far as truth is concerned?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do we mean by beauty and what do
we mean by truth? Surely, beauty is not an ornament; mere
decoration of the body is not beauty. We all want to be beautiful,
we all want to be presentable – but that is not what we mean by
beauty. To be neat, to be tidy, to be clean, courteous, considerate,
and so on, is part of beauty, is it not? But these are merely
expressions of the inward release from ugliness. Now, what is
happening in the world? Every day, more and more, we are
decorating the outer. The cinema stars, and you who copy them,
are keeping beautiful outwardly; but if you have nothing inside, the
outward decoration, the ornamentation, is not beauty. Sirs, don’t
you know that inward state of being that inward tranquillity, in
which there is love, kindliness, generosity, mercy? That state of
being, obviously, is the very essence of beauty, and without that,
merely to decorate oneself is to emphasize the sensate values, the
values of the senses; and to cultivate the values of the senses, as we
are doing now, must inevitably lead to conflict, to war, to
destruction.       The decoration of the outer is the very nature of our present
civilization, which is based on industrialization. Not that I am
against industrialization – it would be absurd to destroy industries.
But merely to cultivate the outer without understanding the inner
must inevitably create those values which lead men to destroy each
other; and that is exactly what is taking place in the world. Beauty
is regarded as an ornament to be bought and sold, to be painted,
and so on. Surely, that is not beauty. Beauty is a state of being, and
that state of being comes with inward richness – not the inward
accumulation of riches which we call virtue, ideals. That is not
beauty. Richness, inward beauty with its own imperishable
treasures, comes into being when the mind is free; and the mind
can be free only when there is no fear. The understanding of fear
comes through self-knowledge, not through resistance to fear. If
you resist fear, that is, any form of ugliness, you merely build a
wall against it. Behind the wall there is no freedom, there is only
isolation, and what lives in isolation can never be rich, can never
be full. So, beauty has a relationship to reality only when reality
manifests itself through those virtues which are essential.
Now, what do we mean by truth, or God, or what you will?
Obviously, it cannot be formulated; for, that which is formulated is
not the real, it is the creation of the mind, the result of a thought
process; and thought is the response of memory. Memory is the
residue of incomplete experiences; therefore, truth, or God, or what
you will, is the unknown and it cannot be formulated. For the
unknown to be, the mind itself must cease to be attached to the
known, and then there is relationship between beauty and reality,
then reality and beauty are not different; then truth is beauty, whether it is in a smile, the flight of a bird, the cry of a baby, or in
the anger of your wife or husband. To know the truth of what is, is
good; but to know the beauty of that truth, the mind must be
capable of understanding, and mind is not capable of understanding
when it is tethered, when it is afraid, when it is avoiding
something. This avoidance takes the form of outward decoration,
ornamentation: being inwardly insufficient, poor, we try to become
outwardly beautiful. We build lovely houses, buy a great many
jewels, accumulate possessions. All these are indications of inward
poverty. Not that we should not have nice dress, good houses; but
without inner richness, they have no meaning. Because we are not
inwardly rich, we cultivate the outer, and therefore the cultivation
of the outer is leading us to destruction. That is, when you cultivate
sensate values, expansion is necessary, markets are necessary; you
must expand through industry, and the competitive expansion of
industry means more and more controls, whether of the left or of
the right, inevitably leading to war; and we try to solve the
problems of war on the basis of sensate values.
The seeker after truth is the seeker after beauty – they are not
distinct. Beauty is not merely outward ornamentation but that
richness that comes through the freedom of inward understanding,
the realization of what is.
Question: Why do you decry religion, which obviously contains
grains of truth? Why throw out the baby with the bath water? Need
not truth be recognized wherever it is found?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, what do you mean by religion? Organized
dogma, belief, rituals, worshipping any person however great,
reciting prayers, repeating Shastras, quoting the Bible – is that religion? Or is religion the search for truth or God? Can you find
God through organized belief? By your calling yourself a Hindu
and following all the rituals of Hinduism or of any other «ism», will
you find God or truth? Sure- ly, what I decry is not religion, not the
search for reality, but organized belief with its dogmas and
separative forces and influences. We are not seeking reality, but are
caught in the net of organized beliefs, repetitive rituals – you know
the whole business of it – which I call nonsense, because they are
drugs that distract the mind from seeking; they offer escapes, and
thereby make the mind dull, ineffective.
So, as our minds are caught in the net of organized beliefs with
their whole system of authorities, priests and gurus, all of which
are engendered through fear and the desire for certainty – as we are
caught in that net, obviously, we cannot merely accept, we must
enquire, we must look directly, experience directly, and see what it
is we are caught in and why we are caught. Because my great
grandfather did some ritual, or my mother is going to cry if I do not
do it, therefore I must do it. Surely, such a man, who is
psychologically dependent on others and hence fearful, is
incapable of finding out what truth is. He may talk about it, he may
repeat the name of God umpteen times, but he is nowhere, he has
no reality. Reality will shun him, because he is encased in his own
prejudices and fears. And you are responsible for this organized
religion, whether of the East or of the West, whether of the left or
of the right, which, being based on authority, has separated man
from man. Why do you want authority, either of the past or of the
present? You want authority because you are confused, you are in
pain, in anxiety, there is loneliness and you are suffering. Therefore, you want help from outside; so you create authority,
whether political or religious, and having created that authority,
you follow its directions, hoping that the confusion, the anxiety,
the pain in your heart, will be removed. Can another remove your
pains, your sorrows? Others may help you to escape from sorrow,
but it is always there.
So, it is you who create authority; and having created the
authority, you become its slaves. Belief is a product of authority;
and because you want to escape from confusion, you are caught in
belief and therefore continue in confusion. Your leaders are the
outcome of your confusion, therefore they must be confused. You
would never follow anyone if you were clear, unconfused and
directly experiencing. It is because you are confused that there is
no direct experience. Out of your confusion you create the leader,
organized religion, separative worship, which brings about the
strife that is going on in the world at the present time. In India it is
taking the form of communal conflicts between the Mussalmans
and the Hindus, in Europe it is the communists against the rightists,
and so on and on. If you look into it carefully, analyze it, you will
see that it is all based on authority, one person says this and
another person says that; and authority is created by you and me,
because we are confused. This may sound oversimplified verbally,
but if you go into it, it is not simple, it is extremely complex. Being
confused, you want to be led out – which means you are not
understanding the problem of confusion, you are only seeking an
escape. To understand confusion, you must understand the person
who is making the confusion, which is yourself; and without
understanding yourself what is the good of following somebody? Being confused, do you think you will find truth in any practice or
organized religion? Though you may study the Upanishads, the
Gita, the Bible, or any other book, do you think that you are
capable of reading the truth of it when you yourself are confused?
You will translate what you read according to your confusion, your
likes and dislikes, your prejudices, your conditioning. Your
approach, surely, is not to reality To find truth, Sir, is to understand
yourself. Then truth comes to you you do not have to go to truth –
and that is the beauty of it. If you go to truth, that which you
approach is projected out of yourself, and therefore it is not truth.
Then it becomes merely a process of self-hypnosis, which is
organized religion. To find truth, for truth to come to you, you
must see very clearly your own prejudices, opinions, ideas and
conclusions; and that clarity comes through the freedom which is
virtue. For the virtuous mind, there is truth everywhere. Then you
do not belong to any organized religion, then you are free.
So, truth comes into being when the mind is capable of
receiving it, when the heart is empty of the things of the mind. At
present our hearts are full of the things of the mind; and when the
heart frees itself of the mind, then it is receptive, sensitive to
Question: Some of us who have listened to you for many years
agree, perhaps only verbally, with all that you say. But actually, in
daily life, we are dull, and there is not the living from moment to
moment that you speak of. Why is there such a huge gap between
thought, or rather words, and action?
Krishnamurti: I think we mistake verbal appreciation for real
understanding. Verbally we understand each other, we understand the words. I communicate to you verbally certain thoughts that I
have, and you remain on the verbal level, and from that verbal
level, you hope to act. So, you will have to find out if verbal
appreciation brings about understanding, action. For example.
when I say that goodwill, affection, love, is the only solution, the
only way out of this mess, verbally you thoughtful, you will
probably agree. Now, why don’t you act? For the very simple
reason that the verbal response is identified with the intellectual
response. That is, intellectually you think you have grasped the
idea, and so there is division between idea and action. That is why
the cultivation of ideas creates, not understanding, but mere
opposition, counter-ideas; and although this opposition may bring
about a revolution, it will not be a real transformation of the
individual and therefore of society.
I do not know if I am making myself clear on this point. If we
dwell on the verbal level, then we merely produce ideas, because
words are things of the mind. Words are sensate, and if we dwell
on the verbal level, words can only create sensate ideas and values.
That is, one set of ideas creates counter-ideas, and these counter-
ideas produce an action; but that action is merely reaction, the
response to an idea. Most of us live merely verbally, we feed on
words; the Bhagavad Gita says this, the Puranas say that; or, Marx
says this, Einstein says that. Words can only produce ideas, and
ideas will never produce action. Ideas can produce a reaction, but
not action – and that is why we have this gap between verbal
comprehension and action.
Now, the questioner wants to know how to build the bridge
between word and action. I say you cannot, you cannot bridge the gap between word and action. Please see the importance of this.
Words can never produce action. They can only produce a
response, a counter-action or reaction, and therefore still further
reaction, like a wave; and in that wave you are caught. Whereas,
action is quite a different thing, it is not reaction. So, you cannot
bridge the gap between the word and the action. You have to leave
the word – and then you will act. Our difficulty, then, is how to
leave the word. That means, how to act without reaction. Do you
follow? Because, as long as you are fed on words, you are bound to
react; therefore you have to empty yourself of words, which means
emptying yourself of imitation. Words are imitation, living on the
verbal level is to live in imitation; and since our whole life is based
on imitation, on copying, naturally we have made ourselves
incapable of action. Therefore you have to investigate the various
patterns which make you copy, imitate, live on the verbal level;
and as you begin to unravel the various patterns that have made
you imitative, you will find that you act without reaction.
Sir, love is not a word; the word is not the thing, is it? God is
not the word «god», love is not the word «love». But you are
satisfied with the word, because the word gives you a sensation.
When somebody says «God», you are psychologically or nervously
affected, and that response you call the understanding of God. So,
the word affects you nervously and sensuously, and that produces
certain action. But the word is not the thing, the word «god» is not
God; you have merely been fed on words, on nervous, sensuous
responses. Please see the significance of this. How can you act if
you have been fed on empty words? For words are empty, are they
not? They can only produce a nervous response, but that is not action. Action can take place only when there is no imitative
response, which means the mind must enquire into the whole
process of verbal life. For example, some leader, political or
religious, makes a statement, and without thought you say you
agree ; and then you wave a flag, you fight for India or Germany.
But you have not examined what was said; and since you have not
examined, what you do is merely a reaction, and between reaction
and action there can be no relationship. Most of us are conditioned
to reaction, so you have to discover the causes of this conditioning;
and as the mind begins to free itself from the conditioning you will
find that there is action. Such action is not reaction, it is its own
vitality, it is its own eternity.
So, with most of us the difficulty is that we want to bridge the
unbridgeable, we want to serve both God and mammon, we want
to live on the verbal plane, and yet act. The two are incompatible.
We all know reaction, but very few of us know action, because
action can come only when we understand that the word is not the
thing. When we understand that, then we can go much deeper, we
can begin to uncover in ourselves all the fears, the imitations,
escapes and authorities; but that means we have to live very
dangerously, and very few of us want to live in a state of perpetual
revolution. What we want is a backwater refuge where we can
settle down and be comforted, emotionally, physically, or
psychologically. As between a lazy man and a very active man
there is no relationship, so there is no relationship between word
and action; but once we understand that and see the whole
significance of it, then there is action. Such action, surely, leads to
reality; it is the field in which reality can operate. Then we do not have to seek out reality: it comes directly, mysteriously, silently,
stealthily. And a mind that is capable of receiving reality is
July 25, 1948

In the last two talks we were considering the importance of
individual action, which is not opposed to collective action. The
individual is the world, he is both the root and the outcome of the
total process, and without transformation of the individual, there
can be no radical transformation in the world. Therefore, the
important thing is not individual action as opposed to collective
action, but to realize that true collective action can come about
only through individual regeneration. It is important to understand
the individual action which is not opposed to the collective.
Because, after all, the individual, you and your neighbour, are part
of a total process; the individual is not a separate, isolated process.
You are, after all, the product of the whole of humanity, though
you may be climatically, religiously and socially conditioned. You
are the total process of man, and therefore, when you understand
yourself as a total process – not as a separate process opposed to
the mass or to the collective – , then through that understanding of
yourself there can be a radical transformation. That is what we
were talking about the last two times we met.
Now, what do we mean by action? Obviously, action implies
behaviour in relation to something. Action by itself is non-existent;
it can only be in relation to an idea, to a person, or to a thing. And
we have to understand action, because the world at the present time
is crying for an action of some kind. We all want to act, we all
want to know what to do, especially when the world is in such
confusion, in such misery and chaos, when there are impending wars, when ideologies are opposing each other with such
destructive force and religious organizations are pitting man
against man. So, we must know what we mean by action; and in
understanding what we mean by action, then perhaps we shall be
able to act truly.
To understand what we mean by action – which is behaviour,
and behaviour is righteousness – , we must approach it negatively.
That is, all positive approach to a problem must of necessity be
according to a particular pattern; and action conforming to a
pattern ceases to be action – it is merely conformity, and therefore
not action. In order to understand action, that is, behaviour, which
is righteousness, we have to find out how to approach it. We must
understand first that any positive approach, which is trying to fit
action to a pattern, to a conclusion, to an idea, is no longer action;
it is merely continuity of the pattern, of the mould, and therefore it
is not action at all. Therefore, to understand action, we must go to
it negatively, that is, we must understand the false process of a
positive action. Because, when I know the false as the false, and
the truth as the truth, then the false will drop away and I will know
how to act. That is, if I know what is false action, unrighteous
action, action that is merely a continuation of conformity, then
seeing the falseness of that action, I shall know how to act rightly.
It is obvious that we need in everyday existence, in our social
structure, in our political and religious life, a radical transformation
of values, a complete revolution. Without laboring the point, I
think it is obvious that there must be a change – or rather, not a
change, which implies a modified continuity, but a transformation.
There must be transformation, there must be a complete revolution, politically, socially, economically, in our relationship with each
other, in every phase of life. Because, things cannot go on as they
are – which is self-evident to any thoughtful person who is alert,
watching world events. Now, how is this revolution in action to be
brought about? – which is what we are discussing. How can there
be action that transforms, not in time, but now? Is that not what we
are concerned with? Because, there is so much misery, here in
Bangalore as everywhere else throughout the world; there are
economic slumps, there is dirt, poverty, unemployment, communal
struggle, and so on and on, with the constant threat of a war in
Europe. So, there must be a complete change of values, must there
not? Not theoretically, because merely to discuss on the verbal
level is futile, it has no meaning. It is like discussing food in front
of a hungry man. So, we will not discuss merely verbally, and
please don’t be like spectators at a game. Let us both experience
what we are talking about; because, if there is experiencing, then
perhaps we shall understand how to act, and this will affect our
lives and therefore bring a radical transformation. So, please do not
be like spectators at a football game. You and I are going to take a
journey together into the understanding of this thing called action,
because that is what we are concerned with in our daily life. If we
can understand action in the fundamental sense of the word, then
that fundamental unrest and longing will affect our superficial
activities also; but first we must understand the fundamental nature
of action.
Now is action brought about by an idea? Do you have an idea
first, and act afterwards? Or, does action come first and then,
because action creates conflict, you build around it an idea? That is, does action create the actor, or does the actor come first? This is
not a philosophical speculation, it is not based on the Shastras, the
Bhagavad Gita, or any other book. They are all irrelevant. Don’t let
us quote what other people say because as I have read none of the
books, you will win. We are trying to find out directly whether
action comes first, and the idea afterwards; or whether idea comes
first, and then action follows. It is very important to discover which
comes first. If the idea comes first, then action merely conforms to
an idea, and therefore it is no longer action but imitation,
compulsion according to an idea. It is very important to realize
this; because, as our society is mostly constructed on the
intellectual or verbal level, the idea comes first with all of us, and
action follows. Action is then the handmaid of an idea, and the
mere construction of ideas is obviously detrimental to action. That
is, ideas breed further ideas, and when there is merely the breeding
of ideas, there is antagonism, and society becomes top-heavy with
the intellectual process of ideation. Our social structure is very
intellectual, we are cultivating the intellect at the expense of every
other factor of our being, and therefore we are suffocated with
All this may sound rather abstract, academic, professorial, but it
is not. Personally, I have a horror of academic discussion,
theoretical speculations, because they lead nowhere. But it is very
important that we find out what we mean by an idea, because the
world is dividing itself over the opposing ideas of the left and of
the right, the ideas of the communists as opposed to those of the
capitalists; and without understanding the whole process of
ideation, merely to take sides is infantile, it has no meaning. A mature man does not take sides; he tries to solve directly the pro-
blems of human suffering, human starvation, war and so on. We
take sides only when we are moulded by the intellect, whose
function is to fabricate ideas. So, it is very important, is it not?, to
find out for ourselves, and not go according to what Marx, the
Shastras, the Bhagavad Gita, or any of them says. You and I have
to find out, because it is our problem; it is our daily problem to
discover what is the right solution to our aching civilization.
Now, can ideas ever produce action, or do ideas merely mould
thought and therefore limit action? When action is compelled by an
idea, action can never liberate man. Please, it is extraordinarily
important for us to understand this point. If an idea shapes action,
then action can never bring about the solution to our miseries;
because, before it can be put into action, we have first to discover
how the idea comes into being. The investigation of ideation, of the
building up of ideas, whether of the socialists, the capitalists, the
communists, or of the various religions, is of the utmost
importance, especially when our society is at the edge of a
precipice, inviting another catastrophe, another excision; and those
who are really serious in their intention to discover the human
solution to our many problems must first understand this process of
ideation. As I said, this is not academic, it is the most practical
approach to human life. It is not philosophical or speculative,
because that is sheer waste of time. Let us leave it to the
undergraduates to discuss theoretical matters in their unions or in
their clubs.
So, what do we mean by an idea? How does an idea come into
being? And can idea and action be brought together? That is, I have an idea, and I wish to carry it out, so I seek a method of
carrying out that idea; and we speculate, waste our time and
energies, in quarrelling over how the idea should be carried out.
So, it is really very important to find out how ideas come into
being; and after discovering the truth of that, we can discuss the
question of action. Without discussing ideas, merely to and out
how to act, has no meaning.
Now, how do you get an idea: – a very simple idea, it need not
be philosophical, religious or economic. Obviously, it is a process
of thought, is it not? Idea is the outcome of a thought process.
Without a thought process, there can be no idea. So, I have to
understand the thought process itself before I can understand its
product, the idea. What do we mean by thought? When do you
think? Obviously, thought is the result of a response, neurological
or psychological, is it not? It is the immediate response of the
senses to a sensation, or it is psychological, the response of stored
up memory. There is the immediate response of the nerves to a
sensation, and there is the psychological response of stored up
memory, the influence of race, group, guru, family, tradition, and
so on – all of which you call thought. So, the thought process is the
response of memory, is it not? You would have no thoughts if you
had no memory; and the response of memory to a certain
experience brings the thought process into action. Say, for
example, I have the stored up memories of nationalism, calling
myself a Hindu. That reservoir of memories of past responses,
actions, implications, traditions, customs, responds to the challenge
of a Mussulman, a Buddhist or a Christian, and the response of
memory to the challenge inevitably brings about a thought process. Watch the thought process operating in yourself and you can test
the truth of this directly. You have been insulted by someone, and
that remains in your memory, it forms part of the background; and
when you meet the person, which is the challenge, the response is
the memory of that insult. So, the response of memory, which is
the thought process, creates an idea; therefore, the idea is always
conditioned – and this is important to understand. That is, idea is
the result of the thought process, the thought process is the
response of memory, and memory is always conditioned. Memory
is always in the past, and that memory is given life in the present
by a challenge. Memory has no life in itself; it comes to life in the
present when confronted by a challenge. And all memory, whether
dormant or active, is conditioned, is it not?
What, then, is memory? If you observe your own memory and
how you gather memory,you will notice that it is either factual,
technical, having to do with information, with engineering,
mathematics, physics, and all the rest of it? or, it is the residue of
an unfinished, uncompleted experience, is it not? Watch your own
memory and you will see. When you finish an experience,
complete it, there is no memory of that experience in the sense of a
psychological residue. There is a residue only when an experience
is not fully understood; and there is no understanding of experience
because we look at each experience through past memories, and
therefore we never meet the new as the new, but always through
the screen of the old. Therefore, it is clear that our response to
experience is conditioned, always limited.
So, we see that experiences which are not completely
understood leave a residue, which we call memory. That memory, when challenged, produces thought. That thought creates the idea,
and the idea molds action. Therefore, action based on an idea can
never be free; and therefore there is no release for any of us
through an idea. Please, this is very important to understand. I am
not building up an argument against ideas, I am painting the picture
of how ideas can never bring about a revolution. Ideas can modify
the present state, or change the present state, but that is not
revolution. A substitution, or a modified continuity, is not
revolution. As long as I am exploited, it matters very little whether
I am exploited by private capitalists or by the state; but exploitation
by the state we consider better than exploitation by the few. Is it
any better? I am not talking of the top-dogs. Is it any better for the
man who is exploited? So, mere modification is not revolution, it is
merely reaction to a condition. That is, the capitalistic background
may produce a reaction in the form of communism, but that is still
on the same level. It is the modified continuity of capitalism in a
different form. I am not advocating either capitalism or
communism. We are trying to find out what we mean by change,
what we mean by revolution. So, an idea can never produce
revolution in the deepest sense of the word, in the sense of
complete transformation. An idea can bring about a modified
continuity of what is, but that is obviously not revolution. And we
need a revolution, not a modified continuity; we need, not a
substitution, but a complete transformation.
So, to bring about revolution, that complete transformation, I
must first understand ideas and how they arise; and if I understand
ideas, if I see the false as the false, then I can proceed to enquire
what we mean by action, if thought creates idea – or, if thought itself, put in verbal form, is what I call idea and if that thought is
always conditioned because it is the response memory to a
challenge which always new, then an idea can never bring about
revolution in the deeper sense of the word; and yet that is what we
are trying to do. We are looking to an idea to bring about
transformation. I hope I am making myself clear.
So, our problem is this: If I cannot look to an idea, which is a
thought process, then how can I act? Please, before I can find out
how to act, I must be completely sure that action based on an idea
is utterly false; I must see that ideas shape action, and that action
which is shaped by ideas will ever be limited. Therefore, there is
no release through action based on an idea, on an ideology, or on a
belief, because such action is the outcome of a thought process
which is but the response of memory. That thought process must
inevitably create an idea which is conditioned, limited, and an
action based on a limitation can never free man, Action based on
an idea is limited action, conditioned action, and if I look to that
action as a means of freedom, obviously I can only continue in a
conditioned state. Therefore, I cannot look to an idea as a guide to
action. And yet that is what we are doing, because we are so
addicted to ideas, whether they are other people’s ideas or our own.
So, what we have to do now is to find out how to act without
the thought process – which sounds quite loony; but is it? Just see
our problem, it is quite interesting. When I live and act within the
thought process, which gives rise to idea, which in turn molds
action, there is no release. Now, can I act without the thought
process, which is memory? Please, don’t let us be confused: by
memory I do not mean factual memory. It would be absurd to talk of throwing away all the technical knowledge – how to build a
house, a dynamo, a jet plane, how to break the atom, and so on and
so on – that man has acquired through centuries, generation after
generation. But can I live, can I act, be in relationship with another,
without the psychological response of memory which results in
ideation, and which in turn controls action? To most of us this may
sound very odd, for we are accustomed to having an idea first, and
then conforming action to the idea. All our disciplines, all our
activities, are based on this – the idea first, and then conformity to
the idea; and when I put the question to you, you have no answer,
because you have not thought about it in this direction at all. As I
say, it will sound crazy to many of you; but if you really examine
the whole process of life very closely and seriously because you
want to understand and not just throw words at each other, then
this question as to what we mean by action is bound to arise.
Now, is action really based on idea, or does action come first
and the idea afterwards? If you observe still more closely, you will
see that action comes first always, and not the idea. The monkey in
the tree feels hungry, and then the urge arises to take a fruit or a
nut. Action comes first, and then the idea that you had better store
it up. To put it in different words, does action come first, or the
actor? Is there an actor without action? Do you understand? This is
what we are always asking ourselves: Who is it that sees? Who is
the watcher? Is the thinker apart from his thoughts, the observer
apart from the observed,the experiencer apart from the experience,
the actor apart from the action? Is there an entity always
dominating, overseeing observing action – call it Parabrahman, or
what you will? When you give a name, you are merely caught in the idea, and that idea compels your thoughts; and therefore you
say the actor comes first, and then the action. But if you really
examine the process, very carefully, closely and intelligently, you
will see that there is always action first, and that action with an end
in view creates the actor. Do you follow? If action has an end in
view, the gaining of that end brings about the actor. If you think
very clearly and without prejudice,without conformity, without
trying to convince somebody, without an end in view, in that very
thinking there is no thinker – there is only the thinking. It is only
when you seek an end in your thinking that you become important,
and not thought. Perhaps some of you have observed this. It is
really an important thing to find out, because from that we shall
know how to act. If the thinker comes first, then the thinker is more
important than thought, and all the philosophies, customs and
activities of the present civilization are based on this assumption;
but if thought comes first then thought is more important than the
thinker. Of course they are related – there is no thought without the
thinker, and there is no thinker without the thought. But I do not
want to discuss this now, because we will get off the point.
So, can there be action without memory? That means, can there
be action which is constantly revolutionary? The only thing that is
constantly revolutionary is action without the screen of memory.
An idea cannot bring about constant revolution, because it always
modifies action according to the background of its conditioning.
Our question is, then, can there be action without the thought
process which creates the idea, which in turn controls action? I say
there can be, and that it can take place immediately when you see
that idea is not a release, but a hindrance to action. If I see that, my action will not be based on any idea, and therefore I am in a state
of complete revolution; and therefore there is the possibility of a
society which is never static, which never needs to be overthrown
and rebuilt. I say you can live with your wife, with your husband,
with your neighbour in that state of action which does not conform
to an idea; and that is possible only when you understand the
significance of idea, how idea is brought about and molds action.
The idea that molds action is detrimental to action, and a man who
looks to an idea as a means of bringing about a revolution either in
the mass or the individual, is looking in vain. Revolution is
constant, it is never static. Ideas create, not a revolution, but merely
a modified continuity. Only that action which is not based on an
idea can bring about revolution which is constant and therefore
ever renewing.
There are many questions and I shall answer as many of them as
Question: What is the place of power in your scheme of things?
Do you think human affairs can be run without compulsion?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do you mean by «your scheme of
things»? Obviously, you think I have a pattern in which I am
putting life, (Laughter). Please, this is important, don’t laugh it off.
Most of us have a scheme, a blue print of how life should be
according to Marx, Buddha, Christ or Sankara, or accord- ing to
the United Nations, and we force life into that mould. We say, «It is
a marvellous scheme, let us fit into it» – which is absurd. Beware of
the man who has a scheme of life; anyone who follows him,
follows confusion and sorrow. Life is much bigger than any
scheme that any human being can invent. So, that is out.       «What is the place of power? Do you think human affairs can be
run without compulsion?» Now, what do we mean by power?
There is the power that wealth gives, the power that knowledge
brings, the power of an idea, the power of the technician. Which
power do we mean? Obviously, the power to control, to dominate.
That is what we mean by power, isn’t it? The power that each one
wants is the power which we exercise at home over the wife or the
husband – only we want greater power to control, to dominate
others. Also, there is the power which you give to the leader.
Because you are confused, you hand over to the leader the reins of
authority, and he guides and controls you; or you yourself would
like to be the leader, and so on and on. And there is the power of
love, of understanding, of kindliness, of mercy, the power of
reality. Now, we have to be very clear which power we are
referring to. There is the power of an army, that enormous power to
destroy, to maim, to bring horror to mankind; and there is the
power of a strong government, or of a strong personality. Merely to
be in power is comparatively easy. Power implies domination; and
the more power you have, the more evil you become – which is
shown over and over again throughout history. The power to
dominate, a mould, to shape, to control, to force others to think
what the authorities want them to think – surely, this is a power
which is utterly evil, utterly dark and stupid. So also is the power
of the rich man swaggering in his factory, and the power of the
ambitious man in government affairs. Obviously, all that is power
in its most stupid form, because it dominates, controls, shapes,
warps human beings.
Now, there is the so-called power of love, the power of understanding. Is love a power? Does love dominate, twist, shape
the human heart? If it does, it is no longer love. Love,
understanding, truth, has its own quality; it does not compel,
therefore it is not on the same level as power. Love, truth, or
understanding comes when all these ideas of compulsion,
authority, dogmatism, have ceased. Humility is not the opposite of
authority or of power. The cultivation of humility is merely the
desire for authority, for power, in a different guise.
So, what is happening in the world? The power of governments,
of States, the power of leaders, of the clever orators and writers, is
used more and more for the shaping of man, compelling man to
think along a certain line, teaching him, not how to think, but what
to think. That has become the function of governments, with their
enormous power of propaganda – which is the ceaseless repetition
of an idea; and any repetition of an idea or of truth, becomes a lie.
Because there is confusion, misery in our minds and hearts, we
create leaders who control us, shape us, and so do our
governments. All over the world there is conformity to the dictates
of the military, the social environment is influencing us to
conform; and do you think that understanding or love comes
through compulsion? Do you have goodwill through compulsion?
If I am the dictator can I compel you to have goodwill? So, the
compulsion which comes with placing enormous power in the
hands of those who can wield it, does not bring men together.
As I was explaining in my talk compulsion is the outcome of an
idea. Surely, a man who is drunk with ideology is intolerant, he
creates the torture of compulsion. Obviously, there can never be
understanding, love, communion with each other, when there is compulsion; and no society can be built on compulsion. Such a
society may for a time succeed technically, superficially; but
inwardly there is the agony of being compelled, and therefore, like
a prisoner kept within four walls, there is always the seeking for a
release, for an escape, a way out. So, a government or a society
that compels, shapes, forces the individual from the outside, will
eventually create disorder, chaos and violence. That is exactly what
is happening in the world.
Then, we compel ourselves to conform to a pattern, calling it
discipline, which is suppression, and suppression gives you a
certain power. But in either extreme, in either opposite, there is no
stability, and human minds go from one to the other, evading the
quiet stability of understanding. A mind that is compelled, a mind
that is caught in power, can never know love; and without love,
there is no solution to our problems. You may postpone
understanding, intellectually you may avoid it, you may cleverly
build bridges, but they are all temporary; and without goodwill,
without mercy, without generosity, without kindliness, there is
bound to be ever increasing misery and destruction, because
compulsion is not the cement that brings human beings together.
Compulsion in any form, inward or outward, only creates further
confusion, further misery. What we need in world affairs at the
present time is not more ideas, more blue prints, bigger and better
leaders, but goodwill, affection, love, kindliness. Therefore, what
we need is the person who loves, who is kind; and that is you, not
somebody else. Love is not the worship of God; you may worship
a stone image, or your conception of God, and that is a marvellous
escape from your brutal husband or your nagging wife, but it does not solve our difficulty. Love is the only solvent, and love is
kindness to your wife, to your child, to your neighbour.
Question: Why are we so callous to each other in spite of all the
suffering it involves?
Krishnamurti: Why am I or why are you callous to another
man’s suffering? Why are we indifferent to the coolie who is
carrying a heavy load, to the woman who is carrying a baby? Why
are we so callous? To understand that, we must understand why
suffering makes us dull. Surely, it is suffering that makes us
callous; because we don’t understand suffering, we become
indifferent to it. If I understand suffering, then I become sensitive
to suffering, awake to everything, not only to myself, but to the
people about me, to my wife, to my children, to an animal, to a
beggar. But we don’t want to understand suffering, we want to
escape from suffering; and the escape from suffering makes us
dull, and therefore we are callous. Sir, the point is that suffering,
when not understood, dulls the mind and heart; and we do not
understand suffering because we want to escape from it, through
the guru, through a saviour, through mantras, through
reincarnation, through ideas, through drink and every other kind of
addiction – anything to escape what is. So, our temples, our
churches, our politics, our social reforms, are mere escapes from
the fact of suffering. We are not concerned with suffering, we are
concerned with the idea of how to be released from suffering. We
are concerned with ideas, not with suffering; we are constantly
looking for a better idea and how to carry it out, which is so
infantile. When you are hungry, you don’t discuss how to eat; you
say, «Give me food», you are not concerned with who will bring it, whether the left or the right, or which ideology is the best. But
when you want to avoid the understanding of what is, which is
suffering, then you escape into ideologies; and that is why our
minds, though superficially very clever, have essentially become
dull, rude, callous, brutal. To understand suffering requires seeing
the falseness of all the escapes, whether God or drink. All escapes
are the same though socially each may have a different
significance. When I escape from sorrow, all escapes are on the
same level – there is no «better escape.
Now, the understanding of suffering does not lie in finding out
what the cause is. Any man can know the cause of suffering; his
own thoughtlessness, his stupidity, his narrowness, his brutality,
and so on. But if I look at the suffering itself without wanting an
answer, then what happens? Then, as I am not escaping, I begin to
understand suffering; my mind is watchfully alert, keen, which
means I become sensitive, and being sensitive, I am aware of other
people’s suffering. Therefore I am not callous, therefore I am kind,
not merely to my friends – I am kind to everyone, because I am
sensitive to suffering. We are callous because we have become dull
to suffering, we have dulled our minds through escapes. Escape
gives a great deal of power, and we like power, we like to have a
radio, a motor car, an airplane, we like to have money and enjoy
immense power. But when you understand suffering, there is no
power, there is no escape through power. When you understand
suffering, there is kindliness, there is affection. Affection, love,
demands the highest intelligence, and without sensitivity there is
no great intelligence.
Question: Can you not build up a following and use it rightly? Must you remain a voice in the desert?
Krishnamurti: Now what do you mean by a following, and what
do you mean by a leader? Why do you follow, and why do you
create a leader? If you are interested, please consider this closely.
When do you follow? You follow only when you are confused;
when you are unhappy when you feel torn down, you want
someone – a political, a religious, a military leader – to help you to
take you out of your misery. When you are clear, when you
understand, you do not want to be led. You want to be led only
when you are yourself in confusion, with all its implications. So,
what happens? When you are confused, how can you see clearly?
Since you cannot see clearly, you will choose a leader who is also
confused. (Laugher) Don’t laugh. This is what is happening in the
world, and it is disastrous. It may sound very clever, but it is not.
How can a blind man choose a leader? He can only choose those
around him. Similarly a confused man can only choose a leader
who is as confused as himself. And what happens? Being confused,
your leader naturally leads you to further confusion, further
disaster, further misery. That is what is taking place all over the
world. For God’s sake, Sirs, look at it – it is your misery? You are
being led to the slaughter because you refuse to see and clear away
the cause of your own confusion. And because you refuse to see it,
you are creating out of your confusion the clever, the cunning
leaders who exploit you because, the leader, like you, is seeking
self-fulfilment. Therefore you become a necessity to the leader,
and the leader becomes a necessity to you – it is a mutual
So, why do you want a leader? And can there ever be a right leadership? You and I can help each other to clear up our own
confusion – which does not mean that I become your leader and
you become my follower, or I am your guru and you are my pupil.
We simply help each other to understand the confusion that exists
in our own hearts and minds. It is only when you do not want to
understand the confusion that you run away from it, and then you
will turn to somebody, to a leader or a guru. But if you want to
understand it, then you must look to the common misery, the aches,
the burdens, the loneliness; and you can look only when you are
not trying to find an answer, a way out of the confusion. You look
at it because confusion itself leads to misery, therefore you want to
understand it; and when you understand, clear it up, you will be
free as the air, you will love, you will not follow, you will have no
leaders; and then will come the society of true equality, without
class or caste.
Sirs, you are not seeking truth, you are trying to find a way out
of some difficulty; and that is your misery. You want leaders to
direct you, to pull you along, to force you, to make you conform –
and that inevitably leads to destruction, to greater suffering.
Suffering is what is happening directly in front of us, yet we refuse
to see it and we want «right» leaders – which is so immature. To
me, all leadership indicates a deterioration of society. A leader in
society is a destructive element. (Laughter.) Don’t laugh it off,
don’t pass it by: look at it. It is very serious, especially now. The
world is on the verge of a catastrophe, it is rapidly disintegrating;
and merely to find another leader, a new Churchill, a greater Stalin,
a different God, is utterly futile; because, the man who is confused
can choose only according to the dictates of his own mind, which is confusion. Therefore, it is no good seeking a leader, right or
wrong. There is no «right» leader – all leaders are wrong. What you
have to do is to clear your own confusion. And confusion is set
aside only when you understand yourself; with the beginning of
self-knowledge, there comes clarity. Without self-knowledge, there
is no release from confusion; without self-knowledge, confusion is
like a wave eternally catching you up. So, it is very important for
those who are really serious and in earnest to begin with
themselves, and not seek release or escape from confusion. The
moment you understand confusion, you are free of it.
Question: Grains of truth are to be found in religions, theories,
ideas, and beliefs. What is the right way of separating them?
Krishnamurti: The false is the false, and by seeking you cannot
separate the false from the truth, you have to see the false as the
false, and then only is there the cessation of the false. You cannot
seek the truth in the false, but you can see the false as the false, and
then there is a release from the false. Sir, how can the false contain
the truth? How can ignorance, darkness, contain understanding,
light? I know we would like to have it so; we would like to think
that somewhere in us there is eternity, light, truth, piety all covered
over with ignorance. Where there is light, there is no darkness;
where there is ignorance, there is always ignorance, but never
understanding. So, there is release only when you and I see the
false as the false, that is, when we see the truth about the false,
which means not dwelling in the false as the false. Our seeing the
false as the false is prevented by our prejudice, by our
conditioning. With that understanding, let us proceed.
Now, the question is, is there not truth in religions, in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Let us examine. What do we mean by
religion? Surely, not organized religion, not Hinduism, Buddhism,
or Christianity – which are all organized beliefs with their
propaganda, conversion, proselytism, compulsion, and so on. Is
there any truth in organized religion? It may engulf, enmesh truth,
but the organized religion itself is not true. Therefore, organized
religion is false, it separates man from man. You are a Mussulman,
I am a hindu, another is a Christian or a Buddhist – and we are
wrangling, butchering each other. Is there any truth in that? We are
not discussing religion as the pursuit of truth, but we are
considering if there is any truth in organized religion. We are so
conditioned by organized religion to think there is truth in it that
we have come to believe that by calling oneself a Hindu one is
somebody, or one will find God. How absurd! Sir, to find God, to
find reality, there must be virtue. Virtue is freedom, and only
through freedom can truth be discovered – not when you are caught
in the hands of organized religion, with its beliefs. And is there any
truth in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Why do you have beliefs?
Obviously, because beliefs give you security, comfort, safety, a
guide. In yourself you are frightened, you want to be protected, you
want to lean on somebody, and therefore you create the ideal,
which prevents you from understanding that which is; Therefore,
an ideal becomes a hindrance to action. Sir, when I am violent,
why do I want to pursue the ideal of non-violence? For the obvious
reason that I want to avoid violence, escape from violence. I
cultivate the ideal in order not to have to face and understand
violence. Why do I want the ideal at all? It is an impediment. If I
want to understand violence, I must try to understand what it is directly, not through the screen of an ideal. The ideal is false,
fictitious, preventing me from understanding that which I am. Look
at it more closely, and you will see. If I am violent, to understand
violence I do not want an ideal; to look at violence, I do not need a
guide. But I like to be violent, it gives me a certain sense of power,
and I will go on being violent, though I cover it up with the ideal of
nonviolence. So, the ideal is fictitious, it is simply not there. It
exists only in the mind; it is an idea to be achieved, and in the
meantime I can be violent. Therefore, an ideal, like a belief, is
unreal, false.
Now, why do I want to believe? Surely, a man who is
understanding life does not want beliefs. A man who loves, has no
beliefs – he loves. It is the man who is consumed by the intellect
that has beliefs, because intellect is always seeking security,
protection; it is always avoiding danger, and therefore it builds
ideas, beliefs, ideals, behind which it can take shelter. What would
happen if you dealt with violence directly, now? You would be a
danger to society; and because the mind foresees the danger, it
says, «I will achieve the ideal of non-violence ten years later, –
which is such a fictitious, false process. So, theories – we are not
dealing with mathematical theories, and all the rest of it, but with
the theories that arise in connection with our human, psychological
problems – theories, beliefs, ideals, are false, because they prevent
us from seeing things as they are. To understand what is, is more
important than to create and follow ideals; because ideals are false,
and what is is the real. To understand what is requires an enormous
capacity, a swift and unprejudiced mind. It is because we don’t
want to face and understand what is that we invent the many ways of escape and give them lovely names as the ideal, the belief, God.
Surely, it is only when see the false as the false that my mind is
capable of perceiving what is true. A mind that is confused in the
false, can never find the truth. Therefore, I must understand what is
false in my relationships, in my ideas, in the things about me;
because, to perceive the truth requires the understanding of the
false. Without removing the causes of ignorance, there cannot be
enlightenment; and to seek enlightenment when the mind is
unenlightened is utterly empty, meaningless. Therefore, I must
begin to see the false in my relationships with ideas, with people,
with things. When the mind sees that which is false, then that
which is true comes into being; and then there is ecstasy, there is
August 1, 1948

We have been discussing, the several times that we have met, the
problem of transformation, which alone can bring about the
revolution which is so necessary in the world’s affairs. And, as we
have seen, the world is not different from you and me: the world is
what we make it. We are the result of the world, and we are the
world; so the transformation must begin with us, not with the
world, not with outward legislation, blue prints, and so on. It is
essential that each one should realize the importance of this inner
transformation, which will bring about an outward revolution.
Mere change in the outward circumstances of life is of very little
significance without the inner transformation; and, as we said, this
inner transformation can not take place without self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge is to know the total process of oneself, the ways of
one’s own thinking, feeling, and action; and without knowing
oneself, there is no basis for broader action. So, self-knowledge is
of primary importance. One must obviously begin to understand
oneself in all one’s actions, thoughts and feelings, because the self,
the mind, the «me» is so very complex and subtle. So many
impositions have been placed upon the mind, the «me», so many
influences – racial, religious, national, social, environmental – have
shaped it, that to follow each step, to analyze each imprint, is
extremely difficult; and if we miss one, if we do not analyze
properly and miss one step, then the whole process of analysis
miscarries. So, our problem is to understand the self, the «me» – not
just one part of the «me», but the whole field of thought, which is the response of the «me». We have to understand the whole field of
memory from which all thought arises, both the conscious and the
unconscious; and all that is the self – the hidden as well as the
open, the dreamer and what he dreams.
Now, to understand the self, which alone can bring about a
radical revolution, a regeneration, there must be the intention to
understand its whole process. The process of the individual is not
opposed to the world, to the mass, whatever that term may mean;
because, there is no mass apart from you – you are the mass. So, to
understand that process, there must be the intention to know what
is, to follow every thought, feeling and action; and to understand
what is is extremely difficult, because what is is never still, never
static, it is always in movement. The what is is what you are, not
what you would like to be; it is not the ideal, because the ideal is
fictitious, but it is actually what you are doing, thinking and feeling
from moment to moment. What is is the actual, and to understand
the actual requires awareness, a very alert, swift mind. But if we
begin to condemn what is, if we begin to blame or resist it, then we
shall not understand its movement. If I want to understand
somebody, I cannot condemn him: I must observe, study him. I
must love the very thing I am studying. If you want to understand a
child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with
him, watch his movements, his idiosyncrasies, his ways of
behaviour; but if you merely condemn, resist or blame him, there is
no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is,
one must observe what one thinks, feels and does from moment to
moment. That is the actual. Any other action, any ideal or
ideological action, is not the actual; it is merely a wish, a fictitious desire to be something other than what is.
So, to understand what is requires a state of mind in which there
is no identification or condemnation, which means a mind that is
alert and yet passive. We are in that state when we really desire to
understand something; when the intensity of interest is there, that
state of mind comes into being. When one is interested in
understanding what is, the actual state of the mind, one does not
need to force, discipline, or control it; on the contrary, there is
passive alertness, watchfulness. If I want to understand a picture or
a person, I must put aside all my prejudices, my preconceptions,
my classical or other training, and study the picture or the person
directly. This state of awareness comes when there is interest, the
intention to understand.
Now, the next question is whether transformation is a matter of
time. Most of us are accustomed to think that time is necessary for
transformation: I am something, and to change what I am into what
I should be requires time. I am greedy, with its results of
confusion, antagonism, conflict and misery; and to bring about the
transformation, which is non-greed, we think time is necessary.
That is, time is considered as a means for evolving something
greater, for becoming something. Do you understand the problem?
The problem is this: One is violent, greedy, envious, angry,
vicious, or passionate. Now, to transform what is, is time
necessary? First of all, why do we want to change what is, or bring
about a transformation? Why? Because what we are dissatisfies us;
it creates conflict, disturbance; and disliking that state, we want
something better, something nobler, more idealistic. So, we desire
transformation because there is pain, discomfort, conflict. Now, is conflict overcome by time? If you say it will be overcome by time,
you are still in conflict. That is, you may say it will take 20 days or
20 years to get rid of conflict, to change what you are; but during
that time you are still in conflict, and therefore time does not bring
about transformation. When we use time as a means of acquiring a
quality, a virtue, or a state of being, we are merely postponing or
avoiding what is; and I think it is important to understand this
point. Greed or violence causes pain, disturbance, in the world of
our relationship with another, which is society; and being
conscious of this state of disturbance, which we term greed or
violence, we say to ourselves, «I will get out of it in time. I will
practise non-violence, I will practise non-envy, I will practise
peace». Now, you want to practise non-violence because violence
is a state of disturbance, conflict, and you think that in time you
will gain nonviolence and overcome the conflict. So, what is
actually happening? Being in a state of conflict, you want to
achieve a state in which there is no conflict. Now, is that state of
no-conflict the result of time, of a duration? Obviously not.
Because, while you are achieving a state of nonviolence, you are
still being violent and are therefore still in conflict.
So, our problem is, can a conflict, a disturbance, be overcome in
a period of time, whether it be days, years, or lives? What happens
when you say, «I am going to practise nonviolence during a certain
period of time»? The very practice indicates that you are in
conflict, does it not? You would not practise if you were not
resisting conflict; and you say the resistance to conflict is necessary
in order to overcome conflict and for that resistance you must have
time. But the very resistance to conflict is itself a form of conflict. You are spending your energy in resisting conflict in the form of
what you call greed, envy, or violence, but your mind is still in
conflict. So, it is important to see the falseness of the process of
depending on time as a means of overcoming violence, and thereby
be free of that process. Then you are able to be what you are: a
psychological disturbance which is violence itself.
Now, to understand anything, any human or scientific problem,
what is important, what is essential? A quiet mind, is it not? A
mind that is intent on understanding. It is not a mind that is
exclusive, that is trying to concentrate – which again is an effort of
resistance. If I really want to understand something, there is
immediately a quiet state of mind. That is, when you want to listen
to music or look at a picture which you love, which you have a
feeling for, what is the state of your mind. Immediately there is a
quietness, is there not? When you are listening to music, your mind
does not wander all over the place; you are listening. Similarly,
when you want to understand conflict, you are no longer depending
on time at all; you are simply confronted with what is, which is
conflict. Then immediately there comes a quietness, a stillness of
mind. So, when you no longer depend on time as a means of
transforming what is because you see the falseness of that process,
then you are confronted with what is; and as you are interested to
understand what is, naturally you have a quiet mind. In that alert
yet passive state of mind, there is understanding. As long as the
mind is in conflict, blaming, resisting, condemning, there can be no
understanding. If I want to understand you, I must not condemn
you, obviously. So, it is that quiet mind, that still mind, which
brings about transformation. When the mind is no longer resisting, no longer avoiding, no longer discarding or blaming what is, but is
simply passively aware, then in that passivity of the mind you will
find, if you really go into the problem, that there comes a
transformation. So, transformation is not the result of time: it is the
result of a quiet mind, a steady mind, a mind that is still, tranquil,
passive. The mind is not passive when it is seeking a result; and the
mind will seek a result as long as it wishes to transform, change, or
modify what is. But if the mind simply has the intention to
understand what is and is therefore still, in that stillness you will
find there is an understanding of what is, and therefore a
transformation. We actually do this when we are confronted with
anything in which we are interested. Observe yourself, and you
will see this extraordinary process going on. When you are
interested in something, your mind is quiet. It has not gone to
sleep, it is extremely alert and sensitive, and is therefore capable of
receiving hints, intimations; and it is this stillness, this alert
passivity, that brings a transformation. This does not involve using
time as a means of transformation, modification, or change.
Revolution is only possible now, not in the future; regeneration
is today, not tomorrow. If you will experiment with what I have
been saying, you will find that there is immediate regeneration, a
newness, a quality of freshness; because, the mind is always still
when it is interested, when it desires or has the intention to
understand. The difficulty with most of us is that we have not the
intention to understand, because we are afraid that, if we
understood, it might bring about a revolutionary action in our life;
and therefore we resist. It is the defence mechanism that is at work
when we use time or an ideal as a means of gradual transformation.       So, regeneration is only possible in the present, not in the
future, not tomorrow. A man who relies on time as a means
through which he can gain happiness, or realize truth or God, is
merely deceiving himself; he is living in ignorance, and therefore
in conflict. But a man who sees that time is not the way out of our
difficulty, and who is therefore free from the false, such a man
naturally has the intention to understand; therefore his mind is
quiet spontaneously, without compulsion, without practice. When
the mind is still, tranquil, not seeking any answer or any solution,
neither resisting nor avoiding – it is only then that there can be a
regeneration, because then the mind is capable of perceiving what
is true; and it is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.
I will answer some of the questions that have been given to me.
Question: You speak so much about the need for ceaseless
alertness. I find my work dulls me so irresistibly, that to talk of
alertness after a day’s work is merely putting salt on the wound.
Krishnamurti: Sir, this is an important question. Please let us
examine it together carefully and see what it involves. Now, most
of us are dulled by what we call our work, the job, the routine.
Those who live work, and those who are forced to work out of
necessity and who see that work makes them, dull – they are both
dull. Both those who love their work, and those who resist it, are
made dull, are they not? A man who loves his work, what does he
do? He thinks about it from morning to night, he is constantly
occupied with it. He is so identified with his work that he cannot
look at it – he is himself the action, the work; and to such a person,
what happens? He lives in a cage, he lives in isolation with his
work. In that isolation he may be very clever, very inventive, very subtle, but still he is isolated; and he is made dull because he is
resisting all other work, all other approaches. His work is therefore
a form of escape from life – from his wife, from his social duties,
from innumerable demands, and so on. And there is the man in the
other category, the man who, like most of you, is compelled to do
something he dislikes and who resists it. He is the factory worker,
the bank clerk, the lawyer, or whatever our various jobs are.
Now, what is it that makes us dull? Is it the work itself? Or is it
our resistance to work, or our avoidance of other impacts upon us?
Do you follow the point? I hope I am making it clear. That is, the
man who loves his work is so enclosed in it, so enmeshed, that it
becomes an addiction. Therefore his love of work is an escape
from life. And the man who resists work, who wishes he were
doing something else, for him there is the ceaseless conflict of
resistance to what he is doing. So, our problem is, does work make
the mind dull? Or is dullness brought about by resistance to work
on the one hand, and by the use of work to avoid the impacts of
life, on the other? That is, does action, work, make the mind dull?
Or is the mind made dull by avoidance, by conflict, by resistance?
Obviously, it is not work, but resistance, that dulls the mind. If you
have no resistance and accept work, what happens? The work does
not make you dull,because only a part of your mind is working
with the job that you have to do. The rest of your being, the
unconscious, the hidden, is occupied with those thoughts in which
you are really interested. So there is no conflict. This may sound
rather complex; but if you will carefully follow it, you will see that
the mind is made dull, not by work, but by resistance to work, or
by resistance to life. Say, for example, you have to do a certain piece of work which may take five or six hours. If you say, «What
a bore, what an awful thing, I wish I could be doing something
else», obviously your mind is resisting that work. Part of your mind
is wishing you were doing something else. This division, brought
about through resistance, creates dullness, because you are using
your effort wastefully, wishing you were doing something else.
Now if you do not resist it, but do what is actually necessary, then
you say, «I have to earn my livelihood and I will earn that
livelihood rightly». But right livelihood does not mean the army,
the police, or being a lawyer, because they thrive on contention,
disturbance, cunning subterfuge and so on. This is quite a difficult
problem in itself, which we will perhaps discuss later if we have
So, if you are occupied in doing something which you have to
do to earn your livelihood, and if you resist it, obviously the mind
becomes dull; because that very resistance is like running an
engine with the brake on. What happens to the poor engine? Its
performance becomes dull, does it not? If you have driven a car,
you know what will happen if you keep putting on the brake – you
will not only wear out the brake, but you will wear out the engine.
That is exactly what you are doing when you resist work. Whereas,
if you accept what you have to do, and do it as intelligently and as
fully as possible, then what happens? Because you are no longer
resisting, the other layers of your consciousness are active
irrespective of what you are doing; you are giving only the
conscious mind to your work, and the unconscious, the hidden part
of your mind is occupied with other things in which there is much
more vitality, much more depth. Though you face the work, the unconscious takes over and functions.
Now, if you observe, what actually happens in your daily life?
You are interested, say, in finding God, in having peace. That is
your real interest, with which your conscious as well as your
unconscious mind is occupied: to find happiness, to find reality, to
live rightly, beautifully, clearly. But you have to earn a livelihood,
because there is no such thing as living in isolation: that which is,
is in relationship. So, being interested in peace, and since your
work in daily life interferes with that, you resist work. You say, «I
wish I had more time to think, to meditate, to practise the violin» –
or whatever it be. When you do that, when you merely resist the
work you have to do, that very resistance is a waste of effort which
makes the mind dull; whereas, if you realize that we all do various
things which have got to be done – writing letters, talking, clearing
away the cow dung, or what you will – and therefore don’t resist,
but say, «I have got to do that work», then you will do it willingly
and without boredom. If there is no resistance, the moment that
work is over, you will find that the mind is peaceful; because the
unconscious, the deeper layers of the mind, are interested in peace,
you will find that peace begins to come. So, there is no division
between action which may be routine, which may be uninteresting,
and your pursuit of reality: they are compatible when the mind is
no longer resisting, when the mind is no longer made dull through
resistance. It is the resistance that creates the division between
peace and action. Resistance is based on an idea, and resistance
cannot bring about action. It is only action that liberates, not the
resistance to work.
So, it is important to understand that the mind is made dull through resistance, through condemnation, blame, and avoidance.
The mind is not dull when there is no resistance. When there is no
blame, no condemnation, then it is alive, active. Resistance is
merely isolation; and the mind of man who, consciously or
unconsciously, is continually isolating himself, is made dull by this
Question: Do you love the people you talk to? Do you love the
dull and ugly crowd, the shapeless faces, the stinking atmosphere
of stale desires, of putrid memories, the decaying of many needless
lives? No one can love them. What is it that makes you slave away
in spite of your repugnance, which is both obvious and
Krishnamurti: No Sirs there is no repugnance, which is
apparently obvious and understandable to you. I am not repelled. I
only see it like I see a fact. A fact is never ugly. When you are
talking seriously, a man may be scratching his ear, or playing with
his legs, or looking about. As for you, you just observe it – which
does not mean that you are revolted, that you want to avoid it, or
that you hate the fact. A smell is a smell – you just take it; and it is
very important to understand that point. To see a fact as a fact is an
important reality. But the moment you regret or avoid it, call it a
name, give it an emotional content, obviously there is repugnance,
avoidance, and then resistance comes into being. Now, that is not
my attitude at all, and I am afraid the questioner has me wrongly
there. It is like seeing that a person has a red sari or a white coat;
but if you give emotional content to the red and the white, saying
this is beautiful or that is ugly, then you are repelled or attracted.
Now, the point in this question is why do I talk? Why do I wear myself out, if I don’t love the people who have «shapeless faces,
stale desires, putrid memories», and so on? And the questioner says
that no one can love them. Now, does one love people, or is there
love? Is love independent of people, and therefore you love people,
or is one in a state of love? Do you follow what I mean? If I say, «I
love people», and slave away, wear myself out talking, then the
people become very important, and not love. That is, if I have the
intention to convert you to a particular belief, and slave away at it
from morning till night because I think I can make you happy if
you believe in my particular formula, then it is the formula, the
belief that I love, not you. Then I put up with all the ugliness, «the
stale desires, the putrid memories, the stinking atmosphere», and I
say it is part of the whole routine; I become a martyr to my belief,
which I think will help you. So, I am in love with my belief; and as
my belief is my own projection, therefore I am in love with myself.
After all, a man who loves a belief, an idea, a scheme, identifies
himself with that formula, and that formula is a projection of
himself. Obviously, he never identifies himself with something of
which he does not approve. If he likes me, that very liking is his
own projection.
Now, if I may say it without being personal, to me it is quite
different. I am not trying to convert you, to proselytize you or to do
propaganda against any particular religion. I am just stating the
facts, because I feel the very understanding of these facts will help
man to live more happily. When you love something, when you
love a person, what is the actual state? Are you in love with the
person, or are you in a state of love? Surely, the person attracts or
repels you only when you are not in that state. When you are in that state of love, there is no repugnance. It is like a flower giving
perfume: next to it a cow may have left its mark, but the flower is
still a flower giving forth its perfume. But a man comes along and,
seeing the cow dung beside the flower, regards it differently. Sir, in
this question is involved the whole problem of attraction and
repulsion. We want to be attracted, that is, to identify ourselves
with that which is pleasant, and avoid that which is ugly. But if you
merely look at things as they are, the fact itself is never ugly or
repellent – it is simply a fact. A man who loves is consumed by his
love, he is not concerned with whether people have shapeless
faces, stale desires and putrid memories. «Don’t you know, Sirs?
When you are in love with someone, actually you are not very
much concerned with what that person looks like, whether it is a
shapeless face or a beautiful face. When there is love, you are not
concerned; though you observe the facts, the facts do not repel you.
It is not love, but the empty heart, the arid mind, the stale intellect,
that is repelled or attracted. And when one loves, there is no
«slaving away. «There is ever a renewal, a freshness, a joy – not in
talking, not in putting out a lot of words, but in that state itself. It is
when one does not love that all these things matter – whether you
are attractive or repellent, whether face is shapeless or beautiful,
and so on and on.
So, why I «slave away» is not important. Our problem is that we
have no love. Because our hearts are empty, our minds dull, weary,
exhausted, we seek to fill the empty heart with the things made by
the mind or by the hand; or we repeat words, mantrams, do pujas.
Those things will not fill the heart; on the contrary, they will empty
the heart of whatever it has. The heart can be filled only when the mind is quiet. When the mind is not creating, fabricating, caught up
in ideas – only then is the heart alive. Then one knows what it is to
have that warmth, the richness in holding the hand of another.
Question: Is not all caress sexual? Is not all sex a form of
revitalization, through interpretation and exchange? The mere
exchange of loving glances is also an act of sex. Why do you
castigate sex by linking it up with the emptiness of our lives? Do
empty people know sex? They know only evacuation.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid it is only the empty people who know
sex, because sex then is an escape, a mere release. I call him empty
who has no love; and for him sex becomes a problem, an issue, a
thing to be avoided or to be indulged. The heart is empty when the
mind is full of its own ideas, fabrications and mechanization.
Because the mind is full, the heart is empty; and it is only the
empty heart that knows sex. Sirs, have you not noticed? An
affectionate man, a man full of tenderness, kindliness,
consideration, is not sexual. It is the man who is intellectual, full of
knowledge, knowledge being different from wisdom; the man who
has schemes, who wants to save the world, who is full of
intellection, full of mentation – it is he who is caught up in sex.
Because his life is shallow, his heart empty, sex becomes important
– and that is what is happening in the present civilization. We have
over-cultivated our intellect, and the mind is caught in its own
creations as the radio, the motor car, the mechanized amusements,
the technical knowledge, and the various addictions the mind
indulges in. When such a mind is caught, there is only one release
for it, which is sex. Sirs, look at what is happening within each one
of us, don’t look at somebody else. Examine your own life and you will see how you are caught in this problem, how extraordinarily
empty your life is. What is your life, Sirs? Bright, arid, empty, dull,
weary, is it not? You go to your offices, do your jobs, repeat your
mantrams, perform your pujas. When you are in the office, you are
subjugated, dull, you have to follow a routine; you have become
mechanical in your religion, it is mere acceptance of authority. So,
religiously, in the world of business, in your education, in your
daily life, what is actually happening? There is no creative state of
being, is there? You are not happy, you are not vital, you are not
joyous. Intellectually, religiously, economically, socially,
politically, you are dull, regimented, are you not? This
regimentation is the result of your own fears, your own hopes, your
own frustrations; and since for a human being so caught there is no
release, naturally he looks to sex for a release – there he can
indulge himself, there he can seek happiness. So, sex becomes
automatic, habitual, routine, and that also becomes a dulling, a
vicious process. That is your life, actually, if you look at it, if you
don’t try to dodge it, if you don’t try to excuse it. The actual fact is,
you are not creative. You may have babies, innumerable babies,
but that is not creative action, that is an accidental action of
So, a mind that is not alert, vital, a heart that is not affectionate,
full, how can it be creative? And not being creative, you seek
stimulation through sex, through amusement, cinemas, theatres,
through watching others play while you remain a spectator; others
paint the scene or dance, and you yourself are but an observer. That
is not creation. Similarly, so many books are printed in the world
because you merely read. You are not the creator. Where there is no creation, the only release is through sex, and then you make
your wife or husband the prostitute. Sirs, you have no idea of the
implications, the wickedness, the cruelty of all this. I know you are
uncomfortable. You are not thinking it out. You are shutting your
mind, and therefore sex has become an immense problem in
modern civilization – either promiscuity, or the mechanical habit of
sexual release in marriage. Sex will remain a problem as long as
there is no creative state of being. You may use birth control, you
may adopt various practices, but you are not free of sex.
Sublimation is not freedom, suppression is not freedom, control is
not freedom. There is freedom only when there is affection, when
there is love. Love is pure; and when that is missing, your trying to
become pure through the sublimation of sex is mere stupidity. The
factor that purifies is love, not your desire to be pure. A man who
loves is pure, though he may be sexual; and without love, sex is
what it is now in your lives – a routine, an ugly process, a thing to
be avoided, ignored, done away with, or indulged in.
So, this problem of sex will exist as long as there is no creative
release. There can be no creative release, religiously, if you accept
authority, whether of tradition, the sacred books, or the priest; for
authority compels, distorts, perverts. Where there is authority there
is compulsion, and you accept authority because you hope through
religion to have security; and while the mind is seeking security,
intellectually or religiously, there can be no creative understanding,
there can be no creative release. It is the mind, the mechanism of
the mind that is always seeking security, always wanting certainty.
The mind is ever moving from the known to the known; and mere
cultivation of the mind, of the intellect, is not a release. On the contrary, the intellect can grasp only the known, never the
unknown. Therefore the mere cultivation of the mind through more
and more knowledge, more and more technique, is not creative. A
mind that wishes to be creative must set aside the desire to be
secure, which means the desire to find authority. Truth can come
into being only when the mind is free from the known, when the
mind is free from security, the desire to be certain. But look at our
education: mere passing of examinations to get a job, adding a few
letters after your name. It has become so mechanical, it is but the
cultivation of the mind, which is memory. In that way there is no
release either.
So, socially, religiously, in every way, you are caught and held.
Therefore a man who wishes to solve this problem of sex must
disentangle himself from the thoughts of his own making; and
when he is in that state of freedom, there is creativeness which is
understanding of the heart. When one loves, there is chastity; it is
the lack of love that is unchaste, and without love no human
problem can be solved. But instead of understanding the
hindrances that prevent love, we merely try to sublimate, suppress.
or find a substitute for the sexual appetite; and substitution,
sublimation or suppression is called the attainment of reality. On
the contrary, where there is suppression, there is no
comprehension; where there is substitution, there is ignor- ance.
Our difficulty is that we are caught in this habit of withholding
suppressing, sublimating. Surely, one has to look at this habit, to be
aware of its full significance, not just for one or two moments, but
all through life. One has to see how one is caught in the machine of
routine; and to break away from that needs understanding, self-knowledge. Therefore, it is important to understand oneself; but
that understanding becomes extremely difficult if there is no
intention to study and to understand oneself. The problem of sex,
which is now so important, so vast in our lives, loses its meaning
when there is the tenderness, the warmth, the kindliness, the mercy
of love.
Question: Are you sure that it is not the myth of world
teachership that keeps you going? To put it differently, are you not
loyal to your past? Is there not a desire in you to fulfil the many
expectations put in you? Are they not a hindrance to you? How can
you go on unless you destroy the myth?
Krishnamurti: The myth gives life, a spurious life, a life of
impotence. The myth becomes necessary when there is no
understanding of truth every minute. Most people’s lives are guided
by myths, which means that they believe in something, and the
belief is a myth. Either they believe themselves to be the World
Teacher, or they follow an ideal, or they have a message for the
world, or they believe in God, or they hold to the left formula for
the government of the world, or to the right. Most people are
caught in a myth, and if the myth is taken away, their life is empty.
Sirs, if all your beliefs, all your titles, all your possessions, all your
memories are removed, what are you? You are empty, are you not?
Therefore your possessions, your ideas, your beliefs are myths
which you must hold to, or you are lost.
Now, the questioner wants to know if it is not the myth of world
teacher-ship that keeps me going. I am really not interested in
whether I am or I am not; I am not particularly concerned, because
I am interested to find out what is, and to see the truth of what is from moment to moment. Truth is not a continuity. That which
continues has an end, that which continues knows death. But that
which is from moment to moment is eternal, it is timeless, and to
be aware of that which is true from moment to moment is to be in
the state of eternity. To know the eternal there must be the moment-
to moment life, not the continuous life; for that which continues
has an end, it knows death, whereas that which is living from
moment to moment, without the residue of yesterday, is timeless –
and that is not a myth. That state can be only when one is not loyal
to the past, because it is the past, yesterday, , that corrupts, destroys
and prevents the present, which is now, today, Yesterday uses
today as a passage to tomorrow, so the past molds the present and
projects the future; and that process, that continuity of mind knows
death, and such a mind can never discover reality.
So, it is neither the myth, nor loyalty to the past, nor the desire
to fulfil those expectations that have been placed in me,that makes
me go on. On the contrary, they are all a hindrance. The
expectations, the past and loyalty to the past, the attachment to a
label – they are a perverting influence, they give a fictitious life.
That is why those people who believe in a myth are very active and
enthusiastic. Don’t you know people who believe in myths How
they work, work, work; and the moment they don’t work, they
come to an end. Sir, the man who works making money, that is his
myth. Just watch him when he retires at the age of 50 or 60 – he
declines very rapidly because his myth is taken away. Similarly
with the political leader; remove his myth and you will see how
soon he sinks, he disintegrates. It is the same with the man who
believes in something. Doubt, question, condemn, remove his belief, and he is done for. Therefore, belief, loyalty or adherence to
the past, or living up to an expectation, is a hindrance.
So, you want to know why I keep going? Obviously,Sir, I feel I
have something to say. And also there is the natural affection for
something, the love of truth. When one loves, one keeps going; and
love is not a myth. You can build a myth about love, but to the man
who knows love, love is not a myth. He may be alone in a room, or
sitting on a platform, or digging in the garden – to him, it is the
same, because his heart is full. It is like having a well in your
garden that is always filled with fresh waters, the waters that
quench the thirst, the waters that purify, the waters that put away
corruption; and when there is such love, it is not mere mechanical
routine to go from meeting to meeting, from discussion to
discussion, from interview to interview. That would be a bore, and
I could not do it. To do something which becomes a routine thing
would be to destroy oneself.
Sirs, when you love, when your heart is full, you will know
what it is to strive without effort, to live without conflict. It is the
mind that does not love that is taken up with flattery, that enjoys
adulation and avoids insult, that needs a crowd, a platform, that
needs confusion; but such a mind, such a heart, will not know love.
The man whose heart is filled with the things of the mind, his
world is a world of myth, and on myths he lives; but he who is free
of myths, knows love.
August 8, 1948
AUGUST, 1948

I think by understanding relationship we shall understand what we
mean by independence. Life is a process of constant movement in
relationship, and without understanding relationship we shall bring
about confusion and struggle and fruitless effort. So, it is important
to understand what we mean by relationship; because, out of
relationship society is built, and there can be no isolation. There is
no such thing as living in isolation. That which is isolated soon
So, our problem is not what is independence, but what we mean
by relationship. In understanding relationship, which is the conduct
between human beings whether intimate or foreign, whether close
or far away, we shall begin to understand the whole process of
existence and the conflict between bondage and independence. So,
we must very carefully examine what we mean by relationship. Is
not relationship at present a process of isolation, and therefore a
constant conflict? The relationship between you and another,
between you and your wife, between you and society, is the
product of this isolation. By isolation I mean that we are all the
time seeking security, gratification and power. After all, each one
of us in our relationship with another is seeking gratification; and
where there is search for comfort, for security, whether it be a
nation or an individual, there must be isolation, and that which is in
isolation invites conflict. Any thing that resists is bound to produce
conflict between itself and that which it is resisting; and since most
of our relationship is a form of resistance we create a society which inevitably breeds isolation and hence conflict within and without
that isolation. So, we must examine relationship as it actually
works in our lives. After all, what I am – my actions, my thoughts,
my feelings, my motives, my intentions – brings about that
relationship between myself and another which we call society.
There is no society without this relationship between two people;
and before we can talk about independence, wave the flag, and all
the rest of it, we have to understand relationship, which means we
must examine ourselves in our relationship with another.
Now, if we examine our life, our relationship with another, we
will see that it is a process of isolation. We are really not concerned
with another; though we talk a great deal about it, actually we are
not concerned. We are related to someone only as long as that
relationship gratifies us, as long as it gives us a refuge, as long as it
satisfies us. But the moment there is a disturbance in the
relationship which produces discomfort in ourselves, we discard
that relationship. In other words, there is relationship only as long
as we are gratified. This may sound harsh, but if you really
examine your life very closely, you will see it is a fact; and to
avoid a fact is to live in ignorance, which can never produce right
relationship. So, if we look into our lives and observe relationship,
we see it is a process of building resistance against another, a wall
over which we look and observe the other; but we always retain the
wall and remain behind it, whether it be a psychological wall, a
material wall, an economic wall, or a national wall. As long as we
live in isolation, behind a wall, there is no relationship with
another; and we live enclosed because it is much more gratifying,
we think it is much more secure. The world is so disruptive, there is so much sorrow, so much pain, war, destruction, misery, that we
want to escape and live within the walls of security of our own
psychological being. So, relationship with most of us is actually a
process of isolation, and obviously such relationship builds a
society which is also isolating. That is exactly what is happening
throughout the world: You remain in your isolation and stretch
your hand over the wall, calling it nationalism, brotherhood or
what you will; but actual, sovereign governments, armies,
continue. That is, clinging to your own limitations, you think you
can create world unity, world peace – which is impossible. As long
as you have a frontier, whether national, economic, religious, or
social, it is an obvious fact that there cannot be peace in the world.
Now, the process of isolation is a process of the search for
power; and whether one is seeking power individually or for a
racial or national group, there must be isolation, because the very
desire for power, for position, is separatism. After all, that is what
each one wants, is it not? He wants a powerful position in which he
can dominate, whether at home, in the office, or in a bureaucratic
regime. Each one is seeking power, and in seeking power he will
establish a society which is based on power, military, industrial,
economic, and so on – which again is obvi- ous. Is not the desire
for power in its very nature isolating? I think it is very important to
understand this; because, the man who wants a peaceful world, a
world in which there are no wars, no appalling destruction, no
catastrophic misery, on an immeasurable scale, must understand
this fundamental question, must he not? As long as the individual
seeks power, however much or however little, whether as a prime
minister, as a governor, a lawyer, or merely as a husband or a wife in the home, that is, as long as you desire the sense of domination,
the sense of compulsion, the sense of building power, influence,
surely you are bound to create a society which is the result of an
isolating process; because, power in its very nature is isolating, is
separating. A man who is affectionate, who is kindly, has no sense
of power, and therefore such a man is not bound to any nationality,
to any flag. He has no flag. But the man who is seeking power in
any form, whether derived from bureaucracy or from the self-
projection which he calls God, is still caught in an isolating
process. If you examine it very carefully, you will see that the
desire for power in its very nature is a process of enclosure. Each
one is seeking his own position, his own security, and as long as
that motive exists, society must be built on an isolating process.
Where there is the search for power, there is a process of isolation,
and that which is isolated is bound to create conflict. That is
exactly what is happening throughout the world: each group is
seeking power and thereby isolating itself, and this is the process of
nationalism, of patriotism, ultimately leading to war and
Now, without relationship, there is no possibility of existence in
life; and as long as relationship is based on power, on domination,
there must be the process of isolation, which inevitably invites
conflict. There is no such thing as living in isolation – no country,
no people, no individual, can live in isolation; yet because you are
seeking power in so many different ways, you breed isolation. The
nationalist is a curse because through his very nationalistic,
patriotic spirit, he is creating a wall of isolation. He is so identified
with his country that he builds a wall against another. And what happens, Sirs, when you build a wall against something? That
something is constantly beating against your wall. When you resist
something, the very resistance indicates that you are in conflict
with the other. So nationalism. which is a process of isolation,
which is the outcome of the search for power, cannot bring about
peace in the world. The man who is a nationalist and talks of
brotherhood is telling a lie, he is living in a state of contradiction.
So, peace in the world is essential, otherwise we will be
destroyed; a few may escape, but there will be greater destruction
than ever before unless we solve the problem of peace. Peace is not
an ideal; an ideal, as we discussed, is fictitious. What is actual must
be understood, and that understanding of the actual is prevented by
the fiction which we call an ideal. The actual is that each one is
seeking power, titles, positions of authority, and so on – all of
which is covered up in various forms by well meaning words. This
is a vital problem, it is not a theoretical problem nor one that can
be postponed – it demands action now, because the catastrophe is
obviously coming. If it does not come tomorrow, it will come next
year, or soon after, because the momentum of the isolating process
is already here; and he who really thinks about it must tackle the
root of the problem, which is the indivi- dual’s search for power,
creating the power-seeking group, race, and nation.
Now, can one live in the world without the desire for power, for
position, for authority? Obviously one can. One does it when one
does not identify oneself with something greater. This
identification with something greater – the party, the country, the
race, the religion, God – is the search for power. Because you in
yourself are empty, dull, weak, you like to identify yourself with something greater. That desire to identify yourself with something
greater is the desire for power. That is why nationalism, or any
communal spirit, is such a curse in the world; it is still the desire
for power. So, the important thing in understanding life, and
therefore relationship, is to discover the motive that is driving each
one of us; because what that motive is, the environment is. That
motive brings either peace or destruction in the world. And so it is
very important for each one of us to be aware that the world is in a
state of misery and destruction, and to realize that if we are seeking
power, consciously or unconsciously, we are contributing to that
destruction, and therefore our relationship with society will be a
constant process of conflict. There are multiple forms of power, it
is not merely the acquisition of position and wealth. The very
desire to be something is a form of power, which brings isolation
and therefore conflict; and unless each one understands the motive,
the intention of his actions, mere government legislation is of very
little importance, because the inner is always overcoming the outer.
You may outwardly build a peaceful structure but the men who run
it will alter it according to their intention. That is why it is very
important, for those who wish to create a new culture, a new
society, a new state, first to understand themselves. In becoming
aware of oneself. of the various inward movements and
fluctuations, one will understand the motives, the intentions, the
perils that are hidden; and only in that awareness is there
transformation. Regeneration can come about only when there;s
cessation of this search for power; and then only can we create a
new culture, a society which will not be based on conflict, but on
understanding. Relationship is a process of self revelation, and without knowing oneself, the ways of one’s own mind and heart,
merely to establish an outward order, a system , a cunning formula,
has very little meaning. So, what is important is to understand
oneself in relationship with another. Then relationship becomes,
not a process of isolation, but a movement in which you discover
your own motives, your own thoughts, your own pursuits; and that
very discovery is the beginning of liberation, the beginning of
transformation. It is only this immediate transformation that can
bring about the fundamental, radical revolution in the world which
is so essential. Revolution within the walls of isolation is not a
revolution. Revolution comes only when the walls of isolation are
destroyed, and that can take place only when you are no longer
seeking power.
I have several questions, and I will try to answer as many of
them as possible.
Question: Can I remain a government official if I want to follow
your teachings? The same question would arise with regard to so
many professions. What is the right solution to the problem of
livelihood? Krishnamurti: Sirs, what do we mean by livelihood? It
is the earning of one’s needs, food clothing and shelter, is it not?
The difficulty of livelihood arises only when we use the essentials
of life – food, clothing and shelter – as a means of psychological
aggression. That is, when se the needs, the necessities, as a means
of self-aggrandizement, then the problem of livelihood arises and
our society is essentially based, not on supplying the essentials, but
on psychological aggrandizement, using the essentials as a
psychological expansion of oneself. Sirs, you have to think it out a
little bit. Obviously, food, clothing and shelter could be produced abundantly, there is enough scientific knowledge to supply the
demand; but the demand for war is greater, not merely by the
warmongers, but by each one of us, because each one of us is
violent. There is sufficient scientific knowledge to give man all the
necessities; it has been worked out, and they could be produced so
that no man would be in need. Why does it not happen? Because
no one is satisfied with food, clothing and shelter, each one wants
something more; and, put in different words, the «more» is power.
But it would be brutish merely to be satisfied with needs. We will
be satisfied with needs in the true sense, which is freedom from the
desire for power, only when we have found the inner treasure
which is imperishable. which you call God, truth, or what you will.
if you can find those imperishable riches within yourself, then you
are satisfied with few things, which few things can be supplied.
But, unfortunately, we are carried away by sensate values. The
values of the senses have become more important than the values
of the real. After all, our whole social structure, our present
civilization, is essentially based on sensate values. Sensate values
are not merely the values of the senses, but the values of thought,
because thought is also the result of the senses; and when the
mechanism of thought, which is the intellect, is cultivated, then
there is in us a predominance of thought, which is also a sensory
value. So, as long as we are seeking sensate value, whether of
touch, of taste, of smell, of perception, or of thought, the outer
becomes far more significant than the inner; and the mere denial of
the outer is not the way to the inner. You may deny the outer and
withdraw from the world into a jungle or a cave and there think of
God; but that very denial of the outer, that thinking of God, is still sensate, because thought is sensate; and any value based on the
sensate is bound to create confusion – which is what is happening
in the world at the present time. The sensate is dominant, and as
long as the social structure is built on that, the means of livelihood
becomes extraordinarily difficult.
So, what is the right means of livelihood? This question can be
answered only when there is a complete revolution in the present
social structure, not according to the formula of the right or of the
left, but a complete revolution in values which are not based on the
sensate. Now, those who have leisure, like the older people who
are drawing their pensions, who have spent their earlier years
seeking God or else various forms of destruction, if they really
gave their time, their energy, to finding out the right solution, then
they would act as a medium, as an instrument for bringing about
revolution in the world. But they are not interested. They want
security. They have worked so many years for their pensions, and
they would like to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. They
have time, but they are indifferent; they are only concerned with
some abstraction which they call God, and which has no reference
to the actual; but their abstraction is not God, it is a form of escape.
And those who fill their lives with ceaseless activity are caught in
the middle, they have not the time to find the answers to the
various problems of life. So, those who are concerned with these
things, with bringing about a radical transformation in the world
through the understanding of themselves, in them alone is there
Sirs, surely we can see what is a wrong profession. To be a
soldier, a policeman, a lawyer, is obviously a wrong profession, because they thrive on conflict, on dissension; and the big business
man, the capitalist, thrives on exploitation. The big business man
may be an individual, or it may be the State; if the State takes over
big business it does not cease to exploit you and me. And as
society is based on the army, the police, the law, the big business
man, that is, on the principle of dissension, exploitation and
violence, how can you and I, who want a decent, right profession,
survive? There is increasing unemployment, greater armies, larger
police forces with their secret service, and big business is
becoming bigger and bigger, forming vast corporations which are
eventually taken over by the State; for the State has become a great
corporation in certain countries. Given this situation of
exploitation, of a society built on dissension, how are you going to
find a right livelihood? It is almost impossible, is it not? Either you
will have to go away and form with a few people a community, a
self-supporting, cooperative community – or merely succumb to the
vast machine. But you see, most of us are not interested in really
finding the right livelihood. Most of us are concerned with getting
a job and sticking to it in the hope of advancement with more and
more pay. Because each one of us wants safety, security, a
permanent position, there is no radical revolution. It is not those
who are self-satisfied, contented, but only the adventurous, those
who want to experiment with their lives, with their existence, who
discover the real things, a new way of living.
So, before there can be a right livelihood, the obviously false
means of earning a livelihood must first be seen; the army, the law,
the police, the big business corporations that are sucking people in
and exploiting them, whether in the name of the State, of capital, or of religion. When you see the false and eradicate the false, there is
transformation, there is revolution; and it is that revolution alone
that can create a new society. To seek, as an individual, a right
livelihood, is good, is excellent, but that does not solve the vast
problem. The vast problem is solved only when you and I are not
seeking security. There is no such thing as security. When you seek
security, what happens? What is happening in the world at the
present tine? All Europe wants security, is crying for it, and what is
happening? They want security through their nationalism. After all,
you are a nationalist because you want security, and you think that
through nationalism you are going to have security. It has been
proved over and over again that you cannot have security through
nationalism, because nationalism is a process of isolation, inviting
wars, misery and destruction. So, right livelihood on a vast scale
must begin with those who understand what is false. When you are
battling against the false. then you are creating the right means of
liveli- hood. When you are battling against the whole structure of
dissension, of exploitation whether by the left or by the right, or the
authority of religion and the priests, that is the right profession at
the present time; because, that will create a new society, a new
culture. But to battle, you must see very clearly and very definitely
that which is false, so that the false drops away. To discover what
is false, you must be aware of it, you must observe everything that
you are doing, thinking and feeling; and out of that you will not
only discover what is false, but out of that there will come a new
vitality, a new energy, and that energy will dictate what kind of
work to do or not to do.
Question: Can you state briefly the basic principles on which a new society should be built?
Krishnamurti: I can state the principles, that is very simple; but
it would be of no value. What has value is that you and I should
discover together the basic principles on which a new society can
be built; because, the moment we discover together what are the
basic principles, there is a new basis of relationship between us. Do
you understand? Then I am no longer the teacher and you the
pupil, or you the audience and I the lecturer – we start on a
different footing altogether. That means no authority, does it not?
We are partners in discovering, and therefore we are in
cooperation; therefore, you do not dominate or influence me, nor I
you. We are both discovering; and when there is the intention on
your part as well as on mine to discover what are the basic
principles of a new culture, obviously there cannot be an
authoritative spirit, can there? Therefore, we have established, a
new principle already, have we not? As long as there is authority in
relationship, there is compulsion; and nothing can be created
through compulsion. A government that compels, a teacher that
compels, an environment that compels, does not bring about
relationship, but merely a state of slavery. So, we have discovered
one thing together, for we know that we both want to create a new
society in which there can be no authority; and that has an
enormous significance, because the structure of our present social
order is based on authority. The specialist in education, the
specialist in medicine, the military specialist, the specialist in law,
the bureaucrat – they all dominate us. The Shastras say so,
therefore it must be true; my guru says so, therefore it must be right
and I am going to follow it. In other words, in a society where there is the search for the real, the search for understanding, the search
for the establishment of right relationship between two human
beings, there can be no authority. The moment you discard
authority, you are in partnership; therefore there is cooperation,
there is affection – which is contrary to the present social structure.
At present, you leave your children to the educator, while the
educator himself needs educating. Religiously, you are merely
imitative, copying machines. In every direction you are dominated,
influenced, compelled, forced; and how can there be a relationship
between the exploiter and the exploited, between those who are in
power and those who are subject to power – unless you yourself
want the same kind of power? If you do, then you are in
relationship with that power. But if you see that any desire for
power is in itself destructive, then there is no relationship with
those who seek power. So, we begin to discover the basic
principles upon which a new society can be built. Obviously,
relationship based on domination is no longer a relationship. When
there is no domination, no authority, no compulsion, what does it
mean? Obviously, there is affection, there is tenderness, there is
love, there is understanding. For that to take place, domination
must disappear. But we can discuss this presently, if you will listen
to me. You seem irritated – perhaps I am upsetting your apple cart a
little bit; but you will go out and do exactly the same thing that you
did before, because you are not really concerned with the finding
of a new basic order. You want to be secure, you want your
positions, or such positions as you have, and you want to use them
for your own purpose, which you call noble; but it is still a form of
self-expansion, exploitation.       So, our difficulty in these discussions and talks is that we are
not very serious about all this. We would like things to be altered,
but slowly, gradually, and at our convenience. W»don’t want to be
disturbed too much, so we are not really basically concerned with a
new culture. The man who is concerned sees as false the obviously
pernicious things such as authority, belief, nationalism, the whole
hierarchical spirit. When all that is put aside, what happens? You
are merely a citizen, a human being without authority; and when
you have no authority, then perhaps you will have love, and
therefore, you will have understanding. That is what is required: a
group of people who understand, who have affection, whose hearts
are not filled with empty words and empty phrases, the things of
the mind. It is they who will create a new culture, not the spinner
of words. Therefore, it is very important for each one of us to see
himself in the mirror of relationship, for out of that alone can there
be a new culture.
Question: What must we do to have really good government,
and not merely self-government?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, to have a good government, you must first
understand what you mean by government. Don’t let us use words
without a referent, words without meaning. without something
behind them. The word «watch» has a referent, but «good
government» has no referent, To find the referent, we will have to
discuss what we mean by «government» and what we mean by
«good», but merely to say what is good government has no
So, first, let us find out what we mean by «good». I am not
splitting hairs, I am not being school-boyish discussing at a union; because, it is very important to find out what we are talking about,
and not merely use words that have little meaning. I know we are
fed on words; it creates an impression for, us to talk of having self-
government and wave the flag – you know the whole business of
being enchanted with words when our hearts and minds are empty.
So, let us find out what we mean by «good government».
What do we mean by «good»? «Good» obviously has a referent
based on pleasure and pain. «Good» is that which gives you
pleasure, «bad» that which gives you pain, whether outwardly or
inwardly, whether inside or outside the skin. That is a fact, is it
not? We are discussing the fact, not what you would like it to be.
The fact is, as long as you seek pleasure in various forms – as
security, as comfort, as power, as money – , that plea- sure is what
you call «good», and anything that disturbs the state of pleasure,
you call «not good». I am not discussing philosophically. but
actually. Pleasure is what you want, so obviously you call «good»
that which gives you security, comfort, position, power, safety. Do
you follow? That is, «good government, is that body which can
supply what you want; and if the government does not give you
what you want, you say, «Throw it out» – unless it is a totalitarian
government. Even totalitarian governments can be destroyed if the
people say, «We don’t want this». But nowadays it is almost
impossible to bring about physical revolution, because the
airplanes and other war machines without which there cannot be
modern revolution are in the hands of the government. So, the
«good» is what you want, is it not? Sirs, don’t let us fool ourselves
and spin a lot of words about abstract «good» and abstract «evil».
Actually, in your daily life, the fact is that those who give you what you want, you call «good», «noble», «efficient», and so on, using
various terms. What you want is gratification in different forms,
and that which can give it to you, you call beneficent.
So, the government is the body which you create out of your
want, is it not? That is, the government is you. What you are, the
government is, which is an obvious facE in the world. You hate a
particular country, and elect those people who will support your
hate. You are communalistically inclined and you create a
government that has your communalistic outlook – which is again
an obvious fact, we need not elaborate it. Since what you are, your
government is, how can you have «good» government? You can
have good government only when you have transformed
yourselves. Otherwise, the government is merely a bureau, a group
of people whom you have elected to supply you with what you
want. You say you don’t want war, but you encourage all the
causes that breed war, like nationalism, communalism, and so on.
That being your condition, you create a government, as you create
a society, after your own likeness; and having created that
government, the government in turn exploits you. So, it is a vicious
circle. There can be good – I won’t call it «good» – there can be sane
government only when you yourself are sane. Sirs, don’t smile. It is
a fact; we are insane, we are not rational, clean human beings. We
are unbalanced, therefore our governments are unbalanced. Do you
mean to say, Sirs, that, seeing the whole world caught up in the
appalling catastrophe of war and the production of war machines, a
sane human being does not want to break it up? Therefore, he will
find out what are the causes of war, and not say, «Well, it is my
country, I must protect it» – which is too immature and silly.       Now, one of the causes of war is greed – greed to be something
greater – which causes you to identify yourself with the country.
You say, «I am a Hindu», «I am a Buddhist», «I am a Christian», «I
am a Russian», or what you will. That is one of the causes of war.
And a man who is sane says, «I am going to get rid of that insane
imitation which ultimately produces destruction». Therefore, We
must first create sanity, not a plan for a new government, or a so-
called «good» government; and in order to be sane, you must know
what you are, you must be aware of yourself. But again, you see,
you are not interested. You are interested in waving flags, you are
interested in listening to speeches which have no meaning, you are
interested stimulation. All these are indi- cations of insanity. And
how can you expect a sane government when the citizens are not
fully awake when they are half-alert and unbalanced?
Sirs, when you yourselves are in confusion, you create the
leader who is confused, and you will hear the voice of him who is
confused. If you are not confused, if you are clear, tranquil, you
will have no leader; if you are clear, you will not wait for the
government to tell you what to do. Why does a man want a
government? Sirs, some of you smile, and you will push it out.
Because you don’t know how to love rationally, humanly, you want
somebody to tell you what to do; therefore there is the
multiplication of laws, laws, and more laws, what you must and
must not do. So, it is your fault, Sirs. You are responsible for the
government that you have, or are going to have; because, unless
you radically transform yourselves, what you are, your government
is. If you are communalistically-minded, you will create a
government that is like you. And what does it mean? More disturbance, more destruction.
So, there can be a sane society, a sane world, only when you, as
part of that society, that world, are breaking away, that is,
becoming sane; and there can be sanity only when you spurn
authority, when you are not caught in the nationalistic, patriotic
spirit, when you treat human beings as human beings, not as
brahmins, or as of any other caste or country. And it is impossible
to treat human beings as human beings if you label them, if you
term them, if you give them a name as Hindus, Russians, or what
you will. It is so much easier to label people, for than you can pass
by and kick them, drop a bomb on India or Japan. But if you have
no labels, but merely meet people as human beings, then what
happens? You have to be very alert, you have to be very wise in
your relationship with another. But as you don’t want to do that,
you create a government befitting yourself.
Question: What is eternal love or death? What happens to love
when death breaks its thread? What happens to death when love
asserts its claim?
Krishnamurti: Now again, let us find out what we mean by
death and what we mean by love. Sorry, some of you get bored
with all this. Are you bored?
Audience: No, Sir.
Krishnamurti: I am surprised, because we have taken up very
serious things. Life is serious, life is very earnest. It is only the
empty headed and the dull at heart who are trivial, and if you are
bored with the serious things of life, it indicates your own
immaturity. This is a question with which everyone is concerned,
whether it be the totalitarian, the politician, or you; because, death awaits each one of us, whether we like it or not. You may be a high
government official, with titles, wealth, position, and a red carpet;
but there is this inevitable thing at the end of it. So, what do we
mean by death? By death we obviously mean putting an end to
continuity, do we not? There is a physical death, and we are a little
bit anxious about it; but that does not matter if we can overcome it
by continuing in some mother form. So when we ask about death,
we are concerned with whether there is continuity or not. And what
is the thing that conti- nues? Obviously, not your body because
every day we see that people who die are burnt or buried.
Therefore, we mean, do we not? a super sensory continuity, a
psychological continuity, a thought continuity, a continuity of
character, which is termed the soul, or what you will. We want to
know if thought continues. That is, I have meditated, I have
practiced so many things, I have not finished writing my book, I
have not completed my career, I am weak and need time to grow
strong, I want to continue my pleasure, and so on; and I am afraid
that death will put an end to all that. So, death is a form of
frustration, is it not? I am doing something, and I don’t want to end
it; I want continuity in order to fulfil myself. Now, is there
fulfilment through continuity? Obviously, there is fulfilment of a
sort through continuity. If I am writing a book, I don’t want to die
till I have finished it; I want time to develop a certain character,
and so on. So, there is fear of death only when there is the desire to
fulfil oneself; because to fulfil oneself, there must be time,
longevity, continuity. But if you can fulfil yourself from moment to
moment, you are not afraid of death.
Now, our problem is how to have continuity in spite of death, is it not? And you want an assurance from me; or, if I don’t assure
you of that, you go to somebody else, to your gurus, to your books,
or to various other forms of distraction and escape. So, you
listening to me and I talking to you, we are going to find out
together what we actually mean by continuity, what it is that
continues, and what we want to continue. That which continues is
obviously a wish, a desire, is it not? I am not powerful, but I would
like to be; I have not built my house, but I would like to build it; I
have not got that title, but I would like to get it; I have not amassed
enough money but I will do so presently; I would like to find God
in this life – and so on and on. So, continuity is the process of want.
When this is put an end to, you call it death, do you not? You want
to continue desire as a means of achievement, as a process through
which to fulfil yourself. Surely, this is fairly simple, is it not? Now,
obviously thought continues in spite of your physical death. This
has been proved. Thought is a continuity; because, after all, what
are you? You are merely a thought, are you not? You are the
thought of a name, the thought of a position, the thought of money;
you are merely an idea. Remove the idea, remove the thought, and
where are you? So, you are an embodiment of thought as the «me».
Now, you say thought must continue because thought is going to
enable me to fulfil myself, that thought will ultimately find the
real. Is that not so? That is why you want thought to continue. You
want thought to continue because you think thought is going to
find the real, which you call happiness, God, or what you will.
Now, through the continuity of thought, do you find the real?
To put it differently, does the thought process discover the real? Do
you understand what I mean? I want happiness, and I search for it through various means – property, position, wealth, women, men,
or whatever it be. All that is the demand of a thought for happiness,
is it not? Now, can thought find happiness? If it can, then thought
must have a continuity. But what is thought? Thought is merely the
response of memory, is it not? If you had no memory, there would
be no thought. You would be in a state of amnesia, of complete
blankness – as most peo- ple want to be. Thinking mesmerize itself
and remains in a certain state which is a state of blankness. But we
are not trying to discuss the state of amnesia, we want to find out
what thought is. Thought, if you will look at it a little closely, is
obviously the response of memory; and memory is the result of an
uncompleted experience. So, through an incomplete experience
you think you are going to find the complete, the whole, the real.
How can it be done? Do you follow what I mean? Sirs, probably
you are not thinking this out. You want to know if there is or if
there is not continuity, that is all; you want an assurance. When
you are seeking an assurance, you are seeking authority,
gratification – you don’t want to know the real. It is only the real
that will liberate, not an assurance, or my giving you that
assurance. We are trying to find out what is true in all this.
Since thought is the outcome of an incomplete experience –
because you don’t remember, in the psychological sense, a
complete experience – , how can thought, through its own
conditioned, incomplete state, find that which is complete. Do you
follow? So, our question is, can there be a renewal, a regeneration,
a freshness, a newness, through the continuity of the thought
process? After all, if there is renewal, then we are not afraid of
death. If for you there is renewal from moment to moment, there is no death. But there is death, and the fear of death, if you demand a
continuity of the thought process. It is only thought that can
continue, obviously, an idea about yourself. That idea is the
outcome of thought, the outcome of a conditioned mind; because
thought is the outcome of the past, it is founded on the past. And
through time, through continuing the past, will you find the
So, we look to continuity as a means of renewal,as a means of
bringing about a new state. Otherwise we don’t want continuity, do
we? That is, I want continuity only if it promises the new state;
otherwise I don’t want it, because my present state is miserable. If
through continuity I can find happiness, then I want continuity. But
can I find happiness through continuity? There is only the
continuity of thought, thought being the response of memory; and
memory is always conditioned, always in the past. Memory is
always dead, it comes to life only through the present. Therefore,
thought as a continuity cannot be the means of renewal. So, to
continue thought is merely to continue the past in a modified form,
and therefore it is not a renewal; therefore, through that passage
there is no hope. There is hope only when I see the truth that
through continuity there is no renewal. And when I see that, what
happens? Then I am only concerned with the ending of the thought
process from moment to moment – which is not insanity! The
thought process ceases only when I understand the falseness of the
thought process as a means of achieving a desirable end, or of
avoiding a painful one. When I see the false as the false, the false
drops away. When the false drops away, what then is the state of
the mind? Then the mind is in a state of high sensitivity, of high receptivity, of great tranquillity, because there is no fear. What
happens when there is no fear? There is love, is there not? It is only
in the negative state that love can be, not in the positive state. The
positive state is the continuity of thought towards an end, and as
long as that exists, there cannot be love.
The questioner also wants to know what happens to love when
death breaks its thread. Love is not a con- tinuity. If you watch
yourself, if you observe your own love, you will see that love is
from moment to moment, you are not thinking that it must
continue. That which continues is a hindrance to love. It is only
thought that can continue, not love. You can think about love, and
that thought can continue; but the thought about love is not love –
and that is your difficulty. You think about love, and you want that
thought to continue; therefore you ask, «What happens to love
when death comes»? But you are not concerned with love; you are
concerned with the thought of love, which is not love. When you
love, there id no continuity. It is only the thought that wishes love
to continue, but the thought is not love. Sirs, this is very important.
When you love, when you really love somebody, you are not
thinking, you are not calculating – your whole heart, your whole
being is open. But when you merely think about love, or about the
person whom you love, your heart is dry – and therefore you are
already dead. When there is love, there is no fear of death. Fear of
death is merely the fear of not continuing, and when there is love
there is no sense of continuity. It is a state of being.
The questioner also asks, «What happens to death when love
asserts its claim? «Sirs, love has no claim – and that is the beauty of
love. That which is the highest state of negation does not claim, does not demand: it is a state of being. And when there is love,
there is no death; there is death only when the thought process
arises. When there is love, there is no death, because there is no
fear; and love is not a continuous state – which is again the thought
process. Love is merely being from moment to moment. Therefore,
love is its own eternity.
August 15, 1948

As this is the last talk, perhaps it might be just as well if I made a
brief summary of what we have been discussing for the last six
weeks. Our life is beset with so many problems at different levels.
We have not only the physical problems, but the much more subtle
and more intricate psychological problems; and without solving the
psychological problems or even trying to understand their
subtleness, we seek merely to rearrange their effects. We try to
reconcile the effects without really understanding the causes which
produce these effects. Therefore, it seems to me much more
important to understand the psychological conflicts and sorrows
than merely to rearrange the pattern of effects; because, the mere
reconciliation of effects cannot profoundly and ultimately solve the
problems that are produced. If we merely rearrange the effects
without understanding the psychological struggles that produce
these effects, we will naturally produce further confusion, further
antagonism, further conflict. So, in understanding the
psychological factors that bring about our well-being, there may be
a possibility – and I think there is a definite possibility – of creating
a new culture and a new civilization; but it must begin with every
one of us, because, after all, society is my relationship with you,
and your relationship with another. Society is the outcome of our
relationship, and without under standing relationship, which is ac-
tion, there can be no cessation of conflict. So, relationship and its
effect and cause must be thoroughly understood before I can
transform or bring about a radical revolution in the ways of my life.
We are concerned, then, with the individual problem and our
own psychological sufferings. In understanding the individual
problem we will naturally bring about a different arrangement in its
effects, but we should not begin with the effects; because, after all,
we do not live by the effects alone but by the deeper causes. So,
our problem is how to understand suffering and conflict in the
individual. Mere verbal explanation of suffering, mere intellection,
the perception of the causes of suffering, does not resolve
suffering. That is an obvious fact; but as most of us are fed on
words, and as words have become of such immense importance,
we are easily satisfied by explanations. We read the Bhagavad
Gita, the Bible, or any other religious book which explains the
cause of suffering, and we are satisfied; we take the explanation for
the resolution of suffering. Words have become much more
significant than the understanding of suffering itself; but the word
is not the thing. Any amount of explanation, any amount of
reasoning, will not feed a hungry man. What he wants is food, not
the explanation of food, or the smell of food. He is hungry, and he
must have the substance that nourishes. Most of us are satisfied by
the explanation of the cause of suffering. Therefore, we don’t take
suffering as a thing to be radically resolved, a contradiction in
ourselves that must be understood. How is one to understand
suffering? One can understand suffering only when explanation
subsides and all kinds of escapes are understood and put aside, that
is, when one sees the actual in suffering. But you see, you don’t
want to understand suffering; you run away to the club, you read
the newspaper, you do puja, go to the temple, plunge into politics or social service – anything rather than to face that which is. So, the
cultivation of escapes has become much more important than the
understanding of sorrow; and it requires a very intelligent mind, a
mind that is very alert, to see that it is escaping and to put an end to
How, I have explained that conflict is not productive of creative
thinking. To be creative, to produce what you will, the mind must
be at peace, the heart full. If you want to write, to have great
thoughts, to enquire into truth, conflict must cease; but in our
civilization, escapes have become much more significant than the
understanding of conflict. Modern things help us to escape, and to
escape is to be utterly uncreative, it is self-projection. That does
not solve our problem. What does solve our problem is to cease to
escape and to live with suffering; because, after all, to understand
something, one must give full attention to it, and distractions are
mere escapes. To understand escapes, which is to put an end to
them by seeing their falseness, and to perceive the whole
significance of suffering, is a process of self-knowledge; and
without self-knowledge, without knowing yourself fundamentally,
not the mere superficial effects of your actions, but the whole total
process of yourself, both the thinker and the thought, the actor and
the action – without that self-knowledge, there is no basis for
thought. You can repeat like a gramophone, but you will not be the
music-maker, there will be no song in your heart.
So, through self-knowledge alone an suffering come to an end.
After all, what does suffering mean – not as a verbal explanation,
but as a fact? How does suffering arise, not merely as a scientific
observation, but actually? In order to know, to find out, surely discontent is essential. One must be thoroughly discontented in
order to find out. But when there is discontent – and most of us are
discontented – we find an easy way of smothering that discontent.
We become something – clerks, governors, ministers, or what you
will – , anything to smother that flame, that spark, that
dissatisfaction. Materially as well as psychologically we want to be
sure, we want to be secure, we do not want to be disturbed. We
want certainty, and where the mind is looking for certainty,
security, there is no discontent; and most of us spend our lives
doing this, we are all seeking security. Obviously there must be
physical security, food, clothing and shelter; but that is denied
when we seek psychological security – psychological security
being self-expansion through physical necessities. A house in itself
is not important except as shelter, but we use the house as a means
of self-aggrandizement. That is why property becomes very
important, and hence we create a social system which denies the
right distribution of food, clothing and shelter.
So, it is discontent that drives, that creates, that urges us on; and
if we can understand discontent without smothering it by the search
for certainty, psychological security, if we can keep that discontent
and its flame alive, then our problem is simple; because, that very
discontent is creative, and from that we can move on. But the
moment we smother discontent, put it away, resist it, hide it, then
the mind is concerned merely with the reconciliation of effects, and
discontent is no longer a means of going forward, plunging into
something unknown. That is why it is so important for each one
really to understand oneself. The study of oneself is not an end, but
a beginning; because, there is no end in understanding oneself, it is a constant movement. If you observe yourself very carefully, you
will see that there is no fixed moment when you can say, `I
understand the whole totality of myself’, it is like reading many
volumes. The more one studies oneself, the more there is to be
studied. Therefore, the movement of the self is timeless; and that
self is not the high or the low, but the self which is from moment to
moment, with its actions, its thoughts, its words. That self-
knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and in that self-knowledge
one discovers a state of utter tranquillity in which the mind is not
made still, but is still; and only when the mind is still, when it is
not caught up in the thought process or occupied with its own
creations – only then is there creativeness, is there reality. It is this
creativeness, this perception of reality which will free us from our
problem, not the search for an answer to the problem.
So, self-knowledge is the technique of meditation, and without
self-knowledge there is no meditation. Self-knowledge is not
something acquired from a book, or from a guru or teacher. Self-
knowledge begins in understanding oneself from moment to
moment, and that understanding requires one’s full attention to be
given to each thought at any particular moment without an end in
view; because, there cannot be complete attention when there is
condemnation or justification. When the mind condemns or
justifies, it does so either to deny or to escape what it perceives. It
is much easier to condemn a child than to understand a child.
Similarly, when a thought arises, it is easier to put it away or
discipline it than to give it your undivided attention and thereby
discover its full significance. Therefore, the problem is to
understand oneself, and one can approach it rightly only when there is no justification, condemnation or resistance – and then you
will find that the problem unfolds like a map.
To discover what is eternal, the process of the mind must be
understood. You cannot think about the unknown; you can think
only about the known, and what is known is not the real. Reality
cannot be thought about, meditated upon, pictured, or formulated;
if it is, it is not real, because it is merely the projection of the mind.
It is only when the thought process ceases, when the mind is
literally and utterly still – and stillness can come about only
through self-knowledge – , that reality is understood; and it is the
real that resolves our problems, not our cunning distractions and
formulated escapes.
I have several questions here, and I shall try to answer them as
briefly and clearly as possible.
Question: I have parents who are orthodox and who depend on
me, but I myself have ceased to believe in their orthodoxy. How
am I to deal with such a situation? This is a real problem to me.
Krishnamurti: Now, why has one ceased to be orthodox? Before
you say, `I have ceased to be orthodox’, must you not find out why,
for what reason? Is it because you see that orthodoxy is mere
repetition without much meaning, a framework in which man lives
because he is afraid to go beyond and discover? Or, have you
abandoned orthodoxy as a mere reaction, because it is the modern
thing to do to reject the ancient, the old? Have you rejected the old
without understanding it? – which is merely a reaction. If that is the
case, it is quite different, it brings about quite a different issue. But
if you have ceased to be orthodox because you see that a mind
caught in tradition, in habit, is without understanding, then you know the full significance of orthodoxy. I do not know which you
have done: Either you have left it in protest; or, you have
abandoned it – or rather, it has fallen away from you naturally –
because you understand it. Now, if it is the latter, then what is your
responsibility to those people around you who are orthodox?
Should you yield to their orthodoxy because they are your mother
and father, and they cry and give you trouble at home, calling you
an undutiful son? Should you yield to them because they create
trouble? What is your responsibility? If you yield, then your
understanding of orthodoxy has no meaning; then you are
placatory, you don’t want trouble, you want to let sleeping dogs lie.
But surely, you must have trouble, a revolution is essential; not the
bloody kind of revolution, but a psychological revolution – which
is far more important than mere revolution in outward effects.
Most of us are afraid to have a fundamental revolution; we yield to
the parents saying, `There is enough trouble as it is in the world,
why should I add more?’ But surely, that is not the answer, is it?
When one has trouble, it must be exposed, opened up and looked
into. Merely to accept an attitude, to concede to the parents
because they are going to give you trouble, kick you out of the
house, does not bring out clarity; it merely hides, suppresses
conflict, and a conflict which is suppressed acts as a poison in the
system, in the psychological being.
If there is tension between you and your parents, this
contradiction has to be faced if you want to live creatively, happily;
but as most of us do not want to lead a creative life and are
satisfied to be dull, we say, `It is all right, I will yield’. After all,
relationship with another, especially with a father, mother or child, is a very difficult thing, because relationship with most of us is a
matter of gratification. We do not want any trouble in relationship.
Surely, a person who is looking for gratification, satisfaction,
comfort, security in relationship, ceases to have a relationship that
is alive; he makes that relationship into a dead thing. After all,
what is relationship? What is the function of relationship? Surely,
it is a means by which I discover my- self. Relationship is a
process of self-revelation; but if the self-revelation is unpleasant,
unsatisfactory, disturbing, we do not want to look any further into
it. So, relationship becomes merely a means of communication,
and therefore a dead thing. But if relationship is an active process
in which there is self-revelation, in which I discover myself as in a
mirror, then that relationship not only brings about conflict,
disturbance, but out of it comes clarity and joy.
The question, then, is: `When you are not orthodox, what is
your responsibility to the person who is dependent on you?’ Now,
the older you grow, the more orthodox you become; that is,
because you know you are soon coming to the end of your life and
you don’t know what awaits you on the other side, you seek safety,
security, on both sides. But a man who believes without
understanding is obviously stupid; and should you encourage
stupidity? Belief creates antagonism, the very nature of belief is to
divide: You believe in one thing, I believe in another; you are a
communist, I am a capitalist, which is merely a matter of belief;
you call yourself a Hindu, I call myself a Musalman – and we
slaughter each other. So, belief is obviously a device which sets
man against man; and recognizing all these factors, what is your
responsibility? Can one advise another as to what to do? You and I can discuss; but it is for you to act, after looking into it. To look
into it you must pay attention, and you must face the consequences
of your decision, you cannot leave it to me or to anybody else. That
means you understand and are quite willing to face trouble, to be
thrown out, to be called an ungrateful son, and all the rest of it; it
means that for you orthodoxy does not matter, but that truth, which
is the understanding of the problem, matters immensely, and
therefore you are prepared to face trouble. But most of us do not
want the clear happiness that truth brings; want mere gratification,
and therefore we concede and say, `All right, I will do what you
want me to do; but for God’s sake, leave me alone.’ That way you
will never create a new society, a new culture.
Question: It us the universally accepted conclusion of modern
intellectuals that educators have failed. What is, then, the task of
those whose function it is to teach the young?
Krishnamurti: There are several problems involved in this, and
to understand them, one must go very carefully into them. First of
all, why do you have children? Is it mere accident, an unwanted
event? Do you have children to carry on your name, title or estate?
Or do you love, and therefore you have children? Which is it? If
you have children merely as toys, something to play with, or if you
arc lonely and a child helps you to cover up that loneliness – then
children become important because they are your own self-
projection. But if children are not a mere means of amusement or a
result of accidents, if you really love them in the profound sense of
that word – and to love somebody means to be in complete
communion with them – , then education has quite a different
significance. If as a parent you really love your children, you will see that they have the right kind of education. In other words,
children must be helped to be intelligent, sensitive, to have a mind
and heart that are pliable, able to deal with any situation. Surely, if
you really love your child, you as a parent will not be a nationalist,
you will not belong to any country, you will not belong to any
organized religion; because, obviously, if you are a nationalist, if
you worship the State, then you inevitably destroy your son,
because you are creating war. If you really love your son, you will
find out what is your right relationship with property; because it is
the possessive instinct which has given property such enormous
significance, and which is destroying the world. Again, if you
really love your children, you will not belong to any particular
religion, because belief creates antagonism between man and man.
It you love your children, you will do all these things. So, that is
one aspect.
Then the other aspect is that the educator needs educating. What
are you educating the children for? To become clerks or glorified
clerks, governors, engineers, technicians? Is that all life us, merely
a matter of glorified clerks, technicians, mechanics, human beings
made into cannon fodder? What us the purpose and intention of
education? Is ut to turn cut soldiers, lawyers and policemen?
Surely, the occupations of soldier, lawyer, and policeman, are not
right professions for decent human beings. (Laughter.) Don’t laugh
it off. By laughing it off, you are pushing it aside. You can see that
these professions do not contribute to the total well-being of man,
though they may be necessary in a society that has already become
corrupt. Therefore, first of all, you have to find out why it is that
you have children, and what it is that you are educating them for. If you are merely educating them to be technicians, naturally you will
find the best technician to educate your child, and he will be made
into a machine, he will discipline himself to conform to a pattern.
Is that all there is to our existence, our struggle and our happiness –
merely to become mechanics, tank or airplane experts, scientists,
physicists inventing new ways of destruction? Therefore, education
is your responsibility, is it not? What is it you want your children
to be, or not to be? What is the purpose of existence? If it is merely
to adjust to a system, to efface oneself for a party, then it is very
simple; then all that you have to do is to conform and fit in. But if
life is meant to be lived rightly, fully, joyously, sensitively, then
there must be quite a different process of education in which there
is the cultivation of sensitivity, of intelligence, and not mere
technique – though technique is necessary.
So, as a parent – and God knows why you are parents – you have
to find out what your responsibility is. Sirs, you love so easily: you
say you love, but really you don’t love your children. You have no
feeling. You accept social events and conditions as inevitable; you
don’t want to transform them, to create a revolution and bring about
a new culture, a new society. Surely, it depends on you what kind
of education your children will have. As the questioner says,
education throughout the world has failed, it has produced
catastrophe after catastrophe, destruction and more destruction,
bloodshed, rape and murder. Obviously, education has failed; and
if you look to the experts, the specialists, to educate your children,
the disaster must continue, because the specialists, being concerned
only with the part and not with the whole, are themselves inhuman.
Surely, the first thing is to have love; for if there is love, it will find the way to educate the children rightly. But you see, we are all
brains and no heart; we have cultivated the intellect, and in
ourselves we are so absurdly lopsided – and then the problem arises
of what to do with the children. Surely, it is obvious that the
educator himself needs educating – and the educator is you; for the
home environment is as important as the school environment. So,
you have to transform yourself first to give the right environment
to the child; for the environment can make him either a brute, an
unfeeling technician, or a very sensitive, intelligent human being.
The environment is yourself and your action; and unless you
transform yourself, the environment, the present society in which
we live, must inevitably harm the child, make him rude, rough,
Surely, sirs, those who are deeply interested in this problem will
begin to transform themselves and thereby transform society,
which will in turn bring about a new means of education. But you
are really not interested. You will listen to all this and say, `Yes, I
agree; but it is too impracticable’. You don’t treat it as a direct
responsibility; you are not really, fundamentally concerned. If you
really loved your son and knew the war was coming, as it
inevitably is, do you mean to say yon would not act, you would not
find a way of stopping war? You see, we don’t love; we use the
word `love’ but the content of that word has no meaning any more.
We just use the word without a referent, without substance, and we
live merely on the word; so the complex problem is there still, and
we have to face it. And don’t say I have not shown you a way out
of it. The way is yourself and your relationship with your children,
your wife, your society. You are the gleam, you are the hope; otherwise there is no way out of this at all.
Look at what is happening. More and more governments are
taking charge of education, which means they want to produce
efficient beings, either as technicians or for war; and therefore the
children must be regimented, they must be told, not how to think,
but what to think. They are taught to live on propaganda, slogans.
Because those who are in power don’t want to be disturbed, they
want to keep the power, it has become the function of government
to maintain the status quo with little alterations here and there. So,
taking all these factors into consideration, you have to find out
what is the meaning of existence why you are living, why you are
producing children; and you have to find out how to create a new
environment – for, what the environment is, your child is. He
listens to your talk, he repeats what the older people think and do.
So, you have to create a right environment, not only at home, but
outside, which is society; and you have to create a new kind of
government which is radically different, which is not based on
nationalism, on the sovereign State with its armies and efficient
ways of murdering people. That implies seeing your responsibility
in relationship, and you actually see that responsibility in
relationship only when you love somebody. When your heart is
full, then you find a way. This is urgent, it is imminent – you
cannot wait for the experts to come and tell you how to educate
your child. Only you who love will find the way; for, those hearts
are empty that look to the experts.
You have listened to all this, and what is your reaction? You
will say, `Yes, very nice, very good, it should be done; but let
somebody else begin’ – which means, really, you don’t love your child; you have no relationship with your child, so you don’t see
the difficulty. The more irresponsible you become, the more the
State takes over all responsibility – the State being the few, the
party, left or right. You yourself have to work it out because we are
facing a great crisis – not a verbal crisis, not a political or an
economic crisis, but a crisis of human degradation, of human
disintegration. Therefore, it is your responsibility; as the father, as
the mother, you have got to transform yourself. These are not just
words I am indulging in. One sees this calamity approaching so
closely and dangerously, and we sit here and do not do a thing
about it; or if we do, we look to some leader and turn our hearts
over to him. It is an obvious fact that when you pursue a leader,
you choose that leader out of your own confusion, and therefore
the leader himself is confused. (Laughter.) Don’t laugh it off as a
clever remark: please look at it, see what you are doing. It is you
who are responsible for the appalling horror which we have come
to, and you are not facing it. You go out and do exactly the same
thing that you did yesterday; and you feel your responsibility is
over when you ask that question about education and pass your
child on to a teacher who teaches and beats him. Don’t you see?
Unless you love your wife, your children, and not merely use them
as a tool or means for your own gratification, unless you are really
touched by this, you will not find a right way of education. To
educate your children means to be interested in the whole process
of life. What you think, what you do, and what you say, matters
infinitely, because that creates the environment, and it is the
environment which created the child.
Question: Marriage is a necessary part of any organized society, but you seem to be against the institution of marriage. What do you
say? Please also explain the problem of sex. Why has it become,
next to war, the most urgent problem of our day?
Krishnamurti: To ask a question is easy, but the difficulty is to
look very carefully into the problem itself, which contains the
answer. To understand this problem, we must see its enormous
implications. That is difficult, because our time is very limited and
I shall have to be brief; and if you don’t follow very closely, you
may not be able to understand. Let us investigate the problem, not
the answer, because the answer is in the problem, not away from it.
The more I understand the problem, the clearer I see the answer. If
you merely look for an answer, you will not find one, because you
will be seeking an answer away from the problem. Let us look at
marriage, but not theoretically or as an ideal, which is rather
absurd; don’t let us idealize marriage, let us look at it as it is, for
then we can do something about it. If you make it rosy, then you
can’t act; but if you look at it and see it exactly as it is, then perhaps
you will be able to act.
Now, what actually takes place? When one is young, the
biological, sexual urge is very strong, and in order to set a limit to
it you have the institution called marriage. There is the biological
urge on both sides, so you marry and have children. You tie
yourself to a man or to a woman for the rest of your life, and in
doing so you have a permanent source of pleasure, a guaranteed
security, with the result that you begin to disintegrate; you live in a
cycle of habit, and habit is disintegration. To understand this
biological, this sexual urge, requires a great deal of intelligence,
but we are not educated to be intelligent. We merely get on with a man or a woman with whom we have to live. I marry at 20 or 25,
and I have to live for the rest of my life with a woman whom I
have not known. I have-not known a thing about her, and yet you
ask me to live with her for the rest of my life. Do you call that
marriage? As I grow and observe, I find her to be completely
different from me, her interests are different from mine; she is
interested in clubs, I am interested in being very serious, or vice
versa. And yet we have children – that is the most extraordinary
thing. Sirs, don’t look at the ladies and smile; it is your problem.
So, I have established a relationship the significance of which I do
not know, I have neither discovered it nor understood it.
It is only for the very, very few who love that the married
relationship has significance, and then it is unbreakable, then it is
not mere habit or convenience, nor is it based on biological, sexual
need. In that love which is unconditional the identities are fused,
and in such a relationship there is a remedy, there is hope. But for
most of you, the married relationship is not fused. To fuse the
separate identities, you have to know yourself, and she has to know
herself. That means to love. But there is no love – which is am
obvious fact. Love is fresh, new, not mere gratification, not mere
habit. It is unconditional. You don’t treat your husband or wife that
way, do you? You live in your isolation, and she lives in her
isolation, and you have established your habits of assured sexual
pleasure. What happens to a man who has an assured income?
Surely, he deteriorates. Have you not noticed it? Watch a man who
has an assured income and you will soon see how rapidly his mind
is withering away. He may have a big position, a reputation for
cunning, but the full joy of life is gone out of him.       Similarly, you have a marriage in which you have a permanent
source of pleasure, a habit without understanding, without love,
and you are forced to live in that state. I am not saying what you
should do; but look at the problem first. Do you think that is right?
It does not mean that you must throw off your wife and pursue
somebody else. What does this relationship mean? Surely, to love
is to be in communion with somebody; but are you in communion
with your wife, except physically? Do you know her, except
physically? Does she know you? Are you not both isolated, each
pursuing his or her own interests, ambitions and needs, each
seeking from the other gratification, economic or psychological
security? Such a relationship is not a relationship at all: it is a
mutually self-enclosing process of psychological, biological and
economic necessity, and the obvious result is conflict, misery,
nagging, possessive fear, jealousy, and so on. Do you think such a
relationship is productive of anything except ugly babies and an
ugly civilization? Therefore, the important thing is to see the whole
process, not as something ugly, but as an actual fact which is
taking place under your very nose; and realizing that, what are you
going to do? You cannot just leave it at that; but because you do
not want to look into it, you take to drink, to politics, to a lady
around the corner, to anything that takes you away from the house
and from that nagging wife or husband – and you think you have
solved the problem. That is your life, is it not? Therefore, you have
to do something about it, which means you have to face it, and that
means, if necessary, breaking up; because, when a father and
mother are constantly nagging and quarrelling with each other, do
you think that has not an effect on the children? And we have already considered, in the previous question, the education of
So, marriage as a habit, as a cultivation of habitual pleasure, is a
deteriorating factor, because there is no love in habit. Love is not
habitual; love is something joyous, creative, new. Therefore, habit
is the contrary of love; but you are caught in habit, and naturally
your habitual relationship with another is dead. So, we come back
again to the fundamental issue, which is that the reformation of
society depends on you, not on legislation. Legislation can only
make for further habit or conformity. Therefore, you as a
responsible individual in relationship have to do something, you
have to act, and you can act only when there is an awakening of
your mind and heart. I see some of you nodding your heads in
agreement with me, but the obvious fact is that you don’t want to
take the responsibility for transformation, for change; you don’t
want to face the upheaval of finding out how to live rightly. And so
the problem continues, you quarrel and carry on, and finally you
die; and when you die somebody weeps, not for the other fellow,
but for his or her own loneliness. You carry on unchanged and you
think you are human beings capable of legislation, of occupying
high positions, talking about God, finding a way to stop wars, and
so on. None of these things mean anything, because you have not
solved any of the fundamental issues.
Then, the other part of the problem is sex, and why sex has
become so important. Why has this urge taken such a hold on you?
Have you ever thought it out? You have not thought it out, because
you have just indulged; you have not searched out why there is this
problem. Sirs, why is there this problem? And what happens when you deal with it by suppressing it completely – you know, the ideal
of Brahmacharya, and so on? What happens? It is still there. You
resent anybody who talks about a woman, and you think that you
can succeed in completely suppressing the sexual urge in yourself
and solve your problem that way; but you are haunted by it. It is
like living in a house and putting all your ugly things in one room;
but they are still there. So, discipline is not going to solve this
problem – discipline being sublimation, suppression, substitution – ,
because you have tried it, and that is not the way out. So, what is
the way out? The way out is to understand the problem, and to
understand is not to condemn or justify. Let us look at it, then, in
that way.
Why has sex become so important a problem in your life? Is not
the sexual act, the feeling, a way of self-forgetfulness? Do you
understand what I mean? In that act there is complete fusion; at
that moment there is complete cessation of all conflict, you feel
supremely happy because you no longer feel the need as a separate
entity and you are not consumed with fear. That is, for a moment
there is an ending of self-consciousness, and you feel the clarity of
self-forgetfulness, the joy of self abnegation. So, sex has become
important because in every other direction you are living a life of
conflict, of self-aggrandizement and frustration. Sirs, look at your
lives, political, social, religious: you are striving to become
something. Politically, you want to be somebody, powerful, to
have position, prestige. Don’t look at somebody else, don’t look at
the ministers. If you were given all that, you would do the same
thing. So, politically, you are striving to become somebody, you
are expanding yourself, are you not? Therefore, you are creating conflict, there is no denial, there is no abnegation of the `me’. On
the contrary, there is accentuation of the `me’. The same process
goes on in your relationship with things, which is ownership of
property, and again in the religion that you follow. There is no
meaning in what you are doing, in your religious practices. You
just believe, you cling to labels, words. If you observe, you will see
that there too there is no freedom from the consciousness of the
`me’ as the centre. Though your religion says, `Forget yourself’,
your very process is the assertion of yourself, you are still the
important entity. You may read the Gita or the Bible, but you are
still the minister, you are still the exploiter, sucking the people and
building temples.
So, in every field, in every activity, you are indulging and
emphasizing yourself, your importance, your prestige, your
security. Therefore, there is only one source of self-forgetfulness,
which is sex, and that is why the woman or the man becomes all-
important to you, and why you must possess. So, you build a
society which enforces that possession, guarantees you that
possession; and naturally sex becomes the all-important problem
when everywhere else the self is the important thing. And do you
think, Sirs, that one can live in that state without contradiction,
without misery, without frustration? But when there is honestly and
sincerely no self-emphasis, whether in religion or in social activity,
then sex has very little meaning. It is because you are afraid to be
as nothing, politically, socially, religiously, that sex becomes a
problem; but if in all these things you allowed yourself to diminish,
to be the less, you would see that sex becomes no problem at all.
There is chastity only when there is love. When there is love, the problem of sex ceases; and without love, to pursue the ideal of
Brahmacharya is an absurdity, because the ideal is unreal. The real
is that which you are; and if you don’t understand your own mind,
the workings of your own mind, you will not understand sex,
because sex is a thing of the mind. The problem is not simple. It
needs, not mere habit-forming practices, but tremendous thought
and enquiry into your relationship with people, with property and
with ideas. Sir, it means you have to undergo strenuous searching
of your heart and mind, thereby bringing a transformation within
yourself. Love is chaste; and when there is love, and not the mere
idea of chastity created by the mind, then sex has lost its problem
and has quite a different meaning.
Question: In my view, the guru is one who awakens me to truth,
to reality. What is wrong in my taking to such a guru?
Krishnamurti: This question arises because I have said that
gurus are an impediment to truth. Don’t say you are wrong and I
am right, or I am wrong and you are right, but let us examine the
problem and find out. Let us enquire like mature, thoughtful
people, without denying and without justifying.
Which is more important, the guru or you? And why do you go
to a guru? You say, `To be awakened to truth’. Are you really
going to a guru to be awakened to truth? Let us think this out very
clearly. Surely, when you go to a guru you are actually seeking
gratification. That is you have a problem and your life is a mess, it
is in confusion; and because you want to escape from it, you go to
somebody whom you call a guru to find consolation verbally, or to
escape an ideation. That is the actual process, and that process you
call seeking truth. That is, you want comfort, you want gratification, you want your confusion cleared away by somebody;
and the person who helps you to find escapes you call a guru.
Actually, not theoretically, you look to a guru who will assure you
of what you want. You go guru-hunting as you go window-
shopping: you see what suits you best, and then buy it. In India,
that is the position: You go around hunting for gurus, and when
you find one you hold on to his feet or neck or hand till he gratifies
you. To touch a man’s feet – that is one of the most extraordinary
things. You touch the guru’s feet and kick your servants, and
thereby you destroy human beings, you lose human significance.
So, you go to a guru to find gratification, not truth. The idea may
be that he should awaken you to truth, but the actual fact is that
you find comfort. Why? Because you say, `I can’t solve my
problem, somebody must help me’. Can anybody help you to solve
the confusion which you have created? What is confusion?
Confusion with regard to what, suffering with regard to what?
Confusion and suffering exist in your relationship with things,
people and ideas; and if you cannot understand that confusion
which you have created, how can another help you? He can tell
you what to do, but you have to do it for yourself, it is your own
responsibility; and because you are unwilling to take that
responsibility, you sneak off to the guru – that is the right
expression to use, `sneak off’ – and you think you have solved the
problem. On the contrary, you have not solved it at all; you have
escaped, but the problem is still there. And, strangely, you always
choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore you
are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You
are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires; that is why you create a leader, religious or political, and give
yourself over to him, and that is why you accept his authority.
Authority is evil, whether religious or political, because it is the
leader and his position that are all-important, and you are
unimportant. You are a human being with sorrow, pain, suffering,
joy, and when you deny yourself and give yourself over to
somebody, you are denying reality; because it is only through
yourself that you can find reality, not through somebody else.
Now, you say that you accept a guru as one who awakens you
to reality. Let us find out if it is possible for another to awaken you
to reality. I hope you are following all this, because it is your
problem, not mine. Let us find out the truth about whether another
can awaken you to reality. Can I, who have been talking for an
hour and a half, awaken you to reality, to that which is real? The
term `guru’ implies, does it not?, a man who leads you to truth, to
happiness, to bliss eternal. Is truth a static thing that someone can
lead you to? Someone can direct you to the station. Is truth like
that, static, something permanent to which you can be led? It is
static only when you create it out of your desire for comfort. But
truth is not static, nobody can lead you to truth. Beware of the
person who says he can lead you to truth, because it is not true.
Truth is something unknown from moment to moment, it cannot be
captured by the mind, it cannot be formulated, it has no resting
place. Therefore, no one can lead you to truth. You may ask me,
`Why are you talking here?’ All that I am doing is pointing out to
you what is and how to understand what is as it is, not as it should
be. I am not talking about the ideal, but about a thing that is
actually right in front of you, and it is for you to look and see it. Therefore, you are more important than I, more important than any
teacher, any saviour, any slogan, any belief; because you can find
truth only through yourself, not through another. When you repeat
the truth of another, it is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated. All that
you can do is to see the problem as it is, and not escape. When you
see the thing as it actually is, then you begin to awaken, but not
when you are compelled by another. There is no saviour but
yourself. When you have the intention and the attention to look
directly at what is, then your very attention awakens you, because
in attention everything is implied. To give attention, you must be
devoted to what is, and to understand what is, you must have
knowledge of it. Therefore, you must look, observe, give it your
undivided attention, for all things are contained in that full
attention you give to what is.
So, the guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point
out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind.
The guru can give you words, he can give you an explanation, the
symbols of the mind; but the symbol is not the real, and if you are
caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that
which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not
the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth. To seek rightly
is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don’t
know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your
wife, your children, your neighbour. When you establish right
relationship then you love truth; for truth is not a thing that can be
bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or
through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only
when there is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no
problems. When there are no problems, then the mind is quiet, it is
no longer caught up in its own creations. When the mind is not
creating problems, when it understands each problem immediately
as it arises, then it is utterly still, not made still. This total process
is awareness, and it brings about a state of undisturbed tranquillity
which is not the outcome of any discipline, of any practice or
control, but is the natural outcome of understanding every problem
as it arises. Problems arise only in relationship; and when there is
understanding of one’s relationship with things, with people and
with ideas, then there is no disturbance of any kind in the mind and
the thought process is silent. In that state there is neither the thinker
nor the thought, the observer nor the observed. Therefore, the
thinker ceases, and then the mind is no longer caught in time; and
when there is no time, the timeless comes into being. But the
timeless cannot be thought of. The mind, which is the product of
time, cannot think of that which is timeless. Thought cannot
conceive or formulate that which is beyond thought. When it does,
its formulation is still part of thought. Therefore, eternity is not a
thing of the mind; eternity comes into being only when there is
love, for love in itself is eternal. Love is not something abstract to
be thought about; love is to be found only in relationship with your
wife, your children, your neighbour. When you know that love
which is unconditional, which is not the product of the mind, then
reality comes into being, and that state is utter bliss.
December 19, 1948

The world is in confusion and misery, and every nation, including
India, is looking for a way out of this conflict, this mounting
sorrow. Though India has gained so-called freedom, she is caught
in the turmoil of exploitation, like every other people; communal
and caste antagonisms are rife, and though she is not as advanced
as the West in technological matters, yet she is faced like the rest
of the world with problems that no politician, no economist or
reformer, however great, is able to solve. She seems to be so
completely overwhelmed by the unexpected problems confronting
her, that she is willing to sacrifice, for immediate ends, the
essential values and the cumulative understanding of man’s
struggle. India is giving her heart over to the glittering and
glamorous pomp of a modern State. Surely this is not freedom.
India’s problem is the world problem, and merely to look to the
world for the solution of her problem is to avoid the understanding
of the problem itself. Though India has been, in ancient times, a
source of great action, merely to look to that past, to breathe the
dead air of things that have been, does not bring about creative
understanding of the present. Till we understand this aching
present there can be no resolution of any human problem, and
merely to escape into the past or into the future is utterly vain.
The present crisis, which is obviously unprecedented, demands
an entirely new approach to the problem of our existence.
Throughout the world man is frustrated and in sorrow, for all the
avenues through which he has sought fulfilment have failed him. So, far, the diagnosis and the remedy of this problem have been left
to the specialists, and all specialization denies integrated action.
We have divided life into departments, and each department has its
own expert; and to these experts we have handed over our life, to
be shaped according to the pattern of their choice. We have
therefore lost all sense of individual responsibility, and this
irresponsibility denies self-confidence. The lack of confidence in
oneself is the outcome of fear, and we try to cover up this fear
through so-called collective action, through the search for
immediate results, or through the sacrifice of the present for a
future Utopia. Confidence comes with action which is fully thought
out and felt out.
Because we have allowed ourselves to become irresponsible, we
have bred confusion, and out of our confusion we have chosen
leaders who are themselves confused. This has led us to despair, to
a deep and aching frustration; it has emptied our hearts, which do
not respond eagerly and swiftly, and therefore we never find a new
approach to our problems. All that we seem able to do,
unfortunately, is to follow some leader, old or new, who promises
to take us to another world of hope. Instead of understanding our
own irresponsibility, we turn to some ideology or to some easily
recognizable social activity. It requires intelligence to perceive
clearly that the problem of existence is relationship, which must be
approached directly and simply. Because we do not understand
relationship, whether with the one or with the many, we look to the
expert for the solution of our problems; but it is vain to rely on the
specialists, for they cam only think within the pattern of their
conditioning. For the solution of this crisis, you and I must look to ourselves – not as of the East or of the West, with a special culture
of our own, but as human beings.
Now, we are challenged by war, by race and class, and by
technology; and if our response to this challenge is not creatively
adequate, we shall have to face greater disaster and greater sorrow.
Our real difficulty is that we are so conditioned by our Eastern or
Western outlook, or by some cunning ideology, that it has become
almost impossible for us to think of the problem anew. You are
either an Englishman, an Indian, a Russian, or an American; and
you try to answer this challenge according to the pattern in which
you have been brought up. But these problems cannot be
adequately met as long as you are not free from your national,
social and political background or ideology; they can never be
solved according to any system, whether of the left or of the right.
The many human problems can be solved only, when you and I
understand our relationship to each other, and to the collective –
which is society. Nothing can live in isolation. To be, is to be
related; and because we refuse to see the truth of this our
relationships fraught with conflict and pain. We have avoided the
challenge by escaping into the abstraction called the mass. This
escape has no true significance, for the mass is you and I. It is a
fallacy to think in terms of the mass, for the mass is yourself in
relationship with another; and if you do not understand this
relationship, you become an amorphous entity exploited by the
politician, the priest, and the expert.
The ideological warfare that is going on at the present time has
its roots in the confusion which exists in your relationship with
another. War is obviously the spectacular and bloody expression of your daily life. You create a society that represents you, and your
governments are the reflection of your own confusion and lack of
integration. Being unaware of this, you try to solve the problem of
war merely on the economic or the ideological level. War will exist
as long as there are nationalistic states with their sovereign
governments and frontiers. The gathering round a table of the
various national re- presentatives will in no way end war; for how
can there be goodwill as long as you cling to organized dogmas
called religion, as long as you remain nationalistic, with particular
ideologies backed up by fully armed sovereign governments? Until
you see these things as a hindrance to peace and realize their
cultivated falsehood, there can be no freedom from conflict,
confusion and antagonism; on the contrary, whatever you say or do
will contribute directly to war.
The class and racial divisions which are destroying man are the
outcome of the desire to be secure. Now, any kind of security,
except the physiological, is really insecurity. That is, the pursuit of
psychological security destroys physical security; and as long as
we seek psychological security, which creates an acquisitive
society, the needs of man can never be sanely and effectively
organized. The effective organization of man’s needs is the real
function of technology; but when used for our psychological
security, technology becomes a curse. Technological knowledge is
intended for the use of man; but when the means have lost their
true significance and are misapplied, then they ride the man – the
machine becomes the master.
In this present civilization, man’s happiness is lost because
technological knowledge is being used for the psychological glorification of power. Power is the new religion, with its national
and political ideologies; and this new religion, the worship of the
State, has its own dogmas, priests and inquisitions. In this process,
the freedom and the happiness of man are completely denied, for
the means have become a way of postponing the end. But the
means are the end, the two cannot be separated; and because we
have separated them, we inevitably create a contradiction between
the means and the end.
As long as we use technological knowledge for the
advancement and glorification of the individual or of the group, the
needs of man can never be sanely and effectively organized. It is
this desire for psychological security through technological
advancement that is destroying the physical security of man. There
is sufficient scientific knowledge to feed, clothe and shelter man;
but the proper use of this knowledge is denied as long as there are
separative nationalities with their sovereign governments and
frontiers – which in turn give rise to class and racial strife. So, you
are responsible for the continuance of this conflict between man
and man. As long as you, the individual, are nationalistic and
patriotic, as long as you hold to political and social ideologies, you
are responsible for war, because your relationship with another can
only breed confusion and antagonism. Seeing the false as the false
is the beginning of wisdom, and it is this truth alone that can bring
happiness to you and so to the world.
As you are responsible for war, you must be responsible for
peace. Those who creatively feel this responsibility, must first free
themselves psychologically from the causes of war, and not merely
plunge into organizing political peace groups – which will only breed further division and opposition.
Peace is not an idea opposed to war. Peace is a way of life; for
there can be peace only when everyday living is understood. It is
only this way of life that can effectively meet the challenge of war,
of class, and of everincreasing technological advancement. This
way of life is not the way of the intellect. The worship of the
intellect in opposition to life has led us all to our present
frustration, with its innumerable escapes. These escapes have
become far more important than the understanding of the problem
itself. The present crisis has come into being because of the
worship of the intellect, and it is the intellect that has divided life
into a series of opposing and contradictory actions; it is the
intellect that has denied the unifying factor which is love. The
intellect has filled the empty heart with the things of the mind; and
it is only when the mind is aware of its own reasoning and is able
to go beyond itself, that there can be the enrichment of the heart.
Only the incorruptible enrichment of the heart can bring peace to
this mad and battling world.
November 6, 1948


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