This Matter Of Culture
Authors’s Note
Culture  has  many  aspects,  and  we  shall  plunge  straightway  into  a  broad
consideration of the matter. J. Krishnamurti    4
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 1
I WONDER IF we have ever asked ourselves what education means. Why do
we go to school, why do we learn various subjects, why do we pass examinations
and  compete  with  each  other  for  better  grades?  What  does  this  so-called
education mean, and what is it all about? This is really a very important question,
not  only  for  the  students,  but  also  for  the  parents,  for  the  teachers,  and  for
everyone  who  loves  this  earth.  Why  do  we  go  through  the  struggle  to  be
educated? Is it merely in order to pass some examinations and get a job? Or is it
the  function  of  education  to  prepare  us  while  we  are  young  to  understand  the
whole process of life? Having a job and earning one’s livelihood is necessary –
but is that all? Are we being educated only for that? Surely, life is not merely a
job,  an  occupation;  life  is  something  extraordinarily  wide  and  profound,  it  is  a
great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If we merely
prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the whole point of life; and
to  understand  life  is  much  more  important  than  merely  to  prepare  for
examinations and become very proficient in mathematics, physics, or what you
So, whether we are teachers or students, is it not important to ask ourselves
why we are educating or being educated? And what does life mean? Is not life an
extraordinary thing? The birds, the flowers, the flourishing trees, the heavens, the
stars, the rivers and the fish therein – all this is life. Life is the poor and the rich;
life is the constant battle between groups, races and nations; life is meditation; life
is what we call religion, and it is also the subtle, hidden things of the mind – the
envies, the ambitions, the passions, the fears, fulfilments and anxieties. All this
and  much  more  is  life.  But  we  generally  prepare  ourselves  to  understand  only
one small corner of it. We pass certain examinations, find a job, get married, have   5
children,  and  then  become  more  and  more  like  machines.  We  remain  fearful,
anxious, frightened of life. So, is it the function of education to help us understand
the whole process of life, or is it merely to prepare us for a vocation, for the best
job we can get?
What is going to happen to all of us when we grow to be men and women?
Have you ever asked yourselves what you are going to do when you grow up? In
all likelihood you will get married, and before you know where you are you will be
mothers and fathers; and you will then be tied to a job, or to the kitchen, in which
you will gradually wither away. Is that all that your life is going to be? Have you
ever  asked  yourselves  this  question?  Should  you  not  ask  it?  If  your  family  is
wealthy  you  may  have  a  fairly  good  position  already  assured,  your  father  may
give you a comfortable job, or you may get richly married; but there also you will
decay, deteriorate. Do you see?
Surely, education has no meaning unless it helps you to understand the vast
expanse of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and
joys. You may earn degrees, you may have a series of letters after your name
and  land  a  very  good  job;  but  then  what?  What  is  the  point  of  it  all  if  in  the
process your mind becomes dull, weary, stupid? So, while you are young, must
you not seek to find out what life is all about? And is it not the true function of
education to cultivate in you the intelligence which will try to find the answer to all
these problems? Do you know what intelligence is? It is the capacity, surely, to
think  freely  without  fear,  without  a  formula,  so  that  you  begin  to  discover  for
yourself  what  is  real,  what  is  true;  but  if  you  are  frightened  you  will  never  be
intelligent.  Any  form  of  ambition,  spiritual  or  mundane,  breeds  anxiety,  fear;
therefore ambition does not help to bring about a mind that is clear, simple, direct,
and hence intelligent.
You  know,  it  is  really  very  important  while  you  are  young  to  live  in  an
environment  in  which  there  is  no  fear.  Most  of  us,  as  we  grow  older,  become   6
frightened; we are afraid of living, afraid of losing a job, afraid of tradition, afraid of
what  the  neighbours,  or  what  the  wife  or  husband  would  say,  afraid  of  death.
Most of us have fear in one form or another; and where there is fear there is no
intelligence. And is it not possible for all of us, while we are young, to be in an
environment  where  there  is  no  fear  but  rather  an  atmosphere  of  freedom  –
freedom,  not  just  to  do  what  we  like,  but  to  understand  the  whole  process  of
living? Life is really very beautiful, it is not this ugly thing that we have made of it;
and  you  can  appreciate  its  richness,  its  depth,  its  extraordinary  loveliness  only
when you revolt against everything – against organized religion, against tradition,
against  the  present  rotten  society  –  so  that  you  as  a  human  being  find  out  for
yourself what is true. Not to imitate but to discover – that is education, is it not? It
is  very  easy  to  conform  to  what  your  society  or  your  parents  and  teachers  tell
you. That is a safe and easy way of existing; but that is not living, because in it
there is fear, decay, death. To live is to find out for yourself what is true, and you
can  do  this  only  when  there  is  freedom,  when  there  is  continuous  revolution
inwardly, within yourself.
But you are not encouraged to do this; no one tells you to question, to find out
for  yourself  what  God  is,  because  if  you  were  to  rebel  you  would  become  a
danger to all that is false. Your parents and society want you to live safely, and
you also want to live safely. Living safely generally means living in imitation and
therefore in fear. Surely, the function of education is to help each one of us to live
freely and without fear, is it not? And to create an atmosphere in which there is no
fear requires a great deal of thinking on your part as well as on the part of the
teacher, the educator.
Do  you  know  what  this  means  –  what  an  extraordinary  thing  it  would  be  to
create an atmosphere in which there is no fear? And we must create it, because
we see that the world is caught up in endless wars; it is guided by politicians who
are  always  seeking  power;  it  is  a  world  of  lawyers,  policemen  and  soldiers,  of
ambitious men and women all wanting position and all fighting each other to get   7
it. Then there are the so-called saints, the religious gurus with their followers; they
also want power, position, here or in the next life. It is a mad world, completely
confused, in which the communist is fighting the capitalist, the socialist is resisting
both, and everybody is against somebody, struggling to arrive at a safe place, a
position of power or comfort. The world is torn by conflicting beliefs, by caste and
class  distinctions,  by  separative  nationalities,  by  every  form  of  stupidity  and
cruelty  –  and  this  is  the  world  you  are  being  educated  to  fit  into.  You  are
encouraged to fit into the framework of this disastrous society; your parents want
you to do that, and you also want to fit in.
Now,  is  it  the  function  of  education  merely  to  help  you  to  conform  to  the
pattern of this rotten social order, or is it to give you freedom – complete freedom
to  grow  and  create  a  different  society,  a  new  world?  We  want  to  have  this
freedom, not in the future, but now, otherwise we may all be destroyed. We must
create immediately an atmosphere of freedom so that you can live and find out
for yourselves what is true, so that you become intelligent, so that you are able to
face the world and understand it, not just conform to it, so that inwardly, deeply,
psychologically  you  are  in  constant  revolt;  because  it  is  only  those  who  are  in
constant revolt that discover what is true, not the man who conforms, who follows
some tradition. It is only when you are constantly inquiring, constantly observing,
constantly  learning,  that  you  find  truth,  God,  or  love;  and  you  cannot  inquire,
observe, learn, you cannot be deeply aware, if you are afraid. So the function of
education,  surely,  is  to  eradicate,  inwardly  as  well  as  outwardly,  this  fear  that
destroys human thought, human relationship and love.
Questioner:  If  all  individuals  were  in  revolt,  don’t  you  think  there  would  be
chaos in the world?
Krishnamurti:  Listen  to  the  question  first,  because  it  is  very  important  to
understand the question and not just wait for an answer. The question is: if all
individuals  were  in  revolt,  would  not  the  world  be  in  chaos?  But  is  the  present   8
society in such perfect order that chaos would result if everyone revolted against
it?  Is  there  not  chaos  now?  is  everything  beautiful,  uncorrupted?  Is  everyone
living happily, fully, richly? Is man not against man? Is there not ambition, ruthless
competition?  So  the  world  is  already  in  chaos,  that  is  the  first  thing  to  realize.
Don’t take it for granted that this is an orderly society; don’t mesmerize yourself
with  words.  Whether  here  in  Europe,  in  America  or  Russia,  the  world  is  in  a
process of decay. If you see the decay, you have a challenge: you are challenged
to  find  a  way  of  solving  this  urgent  problem.  And  how  you  respond  to  the
challenge  is  important,  is  it  not?  If  you  respond  as  a  Hindu  or  a  Buddhist,  a
Christian  or  a  communist,  then  your  response  is  very  limited  –  which  is  no
response at all. You can respond fully, adequately only if there is no fear in you,
only  if  you  don’t  think  as  a  Hindu,  a  communist  or  a  capitalist,  but  as  a  total
human being who is trying to solve this problem; and you cannot solve it unless
you  yourself  are  in  revolt  against  the  whole  thing,  against  the  ambitious
acquisitiveness on which society is based. When you yourself are not ambitious,
not acquisitive, not clinging to your own security – only then can you respond to
the challenge and create a new world.
Questioner: To revolt, to learn, to love – are these three separate processes,
or are they simultaneous?
Krishnamurti: Of course they are not three separate processes; it is a unitary
process. You see, it is very important to find out what the question means. This
question is based on theory, not on experience; it is merely verbal, intellectual,
therefore  it  has  no  validity.  A  man  who  is  fearless,  who  is  really  in  revolt,
struggling to find out what it means to learn, to love – such a man does not ask if it
is  one  process  or  three.  We  are  so  clever  with  words,  and  we  think  that  by
offering explanations we have solved the problem.
Do you know what it means to learn? When you are really learning you are
learning throughout your life and there is no one special teacher to learn from.   9
Then everything teaches you – a dead leaf, a bird in flight, a smell, a tear, the rich
and the poor, those who are crying, the smile of a woman, the haughtiness of a
man. You learn from everything, therefore there is no guide, no philosopher, no
guru.  Life  itself  is  your  teacher,  and  you  are  in  a  state  of  constant  learning.
Questioner: It is true that society is based on acquisitiveness and ambition; but if
we had no ambition would we not decay?
Krishnamurti:  This  is  really  a  very  important  question,  and  it  needs  great
Do you know what attention is? Let us find out. In a class room, when you
stare  out  of  the  window  or  pull  somebody’s  hair,  the  teacher  tells  you  to  pay
attention.  Which  means  what?  That  you  are  not  interested  in  what  you  are
studying and so the teacher compels you to pay attention – which is not attention
at all. Attention comes when you are deeply interested in something, for then you
love  to  find  out  all  about  it;  then  your  whole  mind,  your  whole  being  is  there.
Similarly, the moment you see that this question – if we had no ambition, would
we not decay? – is really very important, you are interested and want to find out
the truth of the matter.
Now, is not the ambitious man destroying himself? That is the first thing to find
out, not to ask whether ambition is right or wrong. Look around you, observe all
the people who are ambitious. What happens when you are ambitious? You are
thinking about yourself, are you not? You are cruel, you push other people aside
because you are trying to fulfil your ambition, trying to become a big man, thereby
creating in society the conflict between those who are succeeding and those who
are falling behind. There is a constant battle between you and the others who are
also after what you want; and is this conflict productive of creative living? Do you
understand, or is this too difficult?
Are you ambitious when you love to do something for its own sake? When you
are  doing  something  with  your  whole  being,  not  because  you  want  to  get   10
somewhere, or have more profit, or greater results, but simply because you love
to do it – in that there is no ambition, is there? In that there is no competition; you
are not struggling with anyone for first place. And should not education help you
to find out what you really love to do so that from the beginning to the end of your
life you are working at something which you feel is worth while and which for you
has deep significance? Otherwise, for the rest of your days, you will be miserable.
Not knowing what you really want to do, your mind falls into a routine in which
there is only boredom, decay and death. That is why it is very important to find
out while you are young what it is you really love to do; and this is the only way to
create a new society.
Questioner: In India, as in most other countries, education is being controlled
by  the  government.  Under  such  circumstances  is  it  possible  to  carry  out  an
experiment of the kind you describe?
Krishnamurti:  If  there  were  no  government  help,  would  it  be  possible  for  a
school  of  this  kind  to  survive?  That  is  what  this  gentleman  is  asking.  He  sees
everything  throughout  the  world  becoming  more  and  more  controlled  by
governments, by politicians, by people in authority who want to shape our minds
and hearts, who want us to think in a certain way. Whether in Russia or in any
other country, the tendency is towards government control of education; and this
gentleman asks whether it is possible for a school of the kind I am talking about
to come into being without government aid.
Now, what do you say? You know, if you think something is important, really
worth while, you give your heart to it irrespective of governments and the edicts of
society  –  and  then  it  will  succeed.  But  most  of  us  do  not  give  our  hearts  to
anything, and that it why we put this sort of question. If you and I feel vitally that a
new world can be brought into being, when each one of us is in complete revolt
inwardly,  psychologically,  spiritually  –  then  we  shall  give  our  hearts,  our  minds,   11
our bodies towards creating a school where there is no such thing as fear with all
its implications.
Sir, anything truly revolutionary is created by a few who see what is true and
are  willing  to  live  according  to  that  truth;  but  to  discover  what  is  true  demands
freedom from tradition, which means freedom from all fears.    12
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 2
I  WOULD  LIKE  to  discuss  with  you  the  problem  of  freedom.  It  is  a  very
complex  problem,  needing  deep  study  and  understanding.  We  hear  much  talk
about freedom, religious freedom, and the freedom to do what one would like to
do.  Volumes  have  been  written  on  all  this  by  scholars.  But  I  think  we  can
approach  it  very  simply  and  directly,  and  perhaps  that  will  bring  us  to  the  real
I wonder if you have ever stopped to observe the marvellous glow in the west
as the sun sets, with the shy young moon just over the trees? Often at that hour
the river is very calm, and then everything is reflected on its surface: the bridge,
the train that goes over it, the tender moon, and presently, as it grows dark, the
stars. It is all very beautiful. And to observe, to watch, to give your whole attention
to something beautiful, your mind must be free of preoccupations, must it not? It
must  not  be  occupied  with  problems,  with  worries,  with  speculations.  It  is  only
when  the  mind  is  very  quiet  that  you  can  really  observe,  for  then  the  mind  is
sensitive to extraordinary beauty; and perhaps here is a clue to our problem of
Now,  what  does  it  mean  to  be  free?  Is  freedom  a  matter  of  doing  what
happens to suit you, going where you like, thinking what you will? This you do
anyhow. Merely to have independence, does that mean freedom? Many people in
the  world  are  independent,  but  very  few  are  free.  Freedom  implies  great
intelligence, does it not? To be free is to be intelligent, but intelligence does not
come  into  being  by  just  wishing  to  be  free;  it  comes  into  being  only  when  you
begin to understand your whole environment, the social, religious, parental and
traditional influences that are continually closing in on you. But to understand the
various influences – the influence of your parents, of your government, of society,   13
of the culture to which you belong, of your beliefs, your gods and superstitions, of
the  tradition  to  which  you  conform  unthinkingly  –  to  understand  all  these  and
become free from them requires deep insight; but you generally give in to them
because inwardly you are frightened. You are afraid of not having a good position
in life; you are afraid of what your priest will say; you are afraid of not following
tradition, of not doing the right thing. But freedom is really a state of mind in which
there is no fear or compulsion, no urge to be secure.
Don’t most of us want to be safe? Don’t we want to be told what marvellous
people we are, how lovely we look, or what extraordinary intelligence we have?
Otherwise we would not put letters after our names. All that kind of thing gives us
self-assurance, a sense of importance. We all want to be famous people – and
the moment we want to be something, we are no longer free.
Please see this, for it is the real clue to the understanding of the problem of
freedom. Whether in this world of politicians, power, position and authority, or in
the so-called spiritual world where you aspire to be virtuous, noble, saintly, the
moment you want to be somebody you are no longer free. But the man or the
woman who sees the absurdity of all these things and whose heart is therefore
innocent, and therefore not moved by the desire to be somebody – such a person
is  free.  If  you  understand  the  simplicity  of  it  you  will  also  see  its  extraordinary
beauty and depth.
After all, examinations are for that purpose: to give you a position, to make
you somebody. Titles, position and knowledge encourage you to be something.
Have  you  not  noticed  that  your  parents  and  teachers  tell  you  that  you  must
amount to something in life, that you must be successful like your uncle or your
grandfather?  Or  you  try  to  imitate  the  example  of  some  hero,  to  be  like  the
Masters, the saints; so you are never free. Whether you follow the example of a
Master, a saint, a teacher, a relative, or stick to a particular tradition, it all implies   14
a demand on your part to be something; and it is only when you really understand
this fact that there is freedom.
The function of education, then, is to help you from childhood not to imitate
anybody, but to be yourself all the time. And this is a most difficult thing to do:
whether you are ugly or beautiful, whether you are envious or jealous, always to
be what you are, but understand it. To be yourself is very difficult, because you
think that what you are is ignoble, and that if you could only change what you are
into something noble it would be marvellous; but that never happens. Whereas, if
you  look  at  what  you  actually  are  and  understand  it,  then  in  that  very
understanding there is a transformation. So freedom lies, not in trying to become
something different, nor in doing whatever you happen to feel like doing, nor in
following  the  authority  of  tradition,  of  your  parents,  of  your  guru,  but  in
understanding what you are from moment to moment.
You  see,  you  are  not  educated  for  this;  your  education  encourages  you  to
become something or other – but that is not the understanding of yourself. Your
`self’ is a very complex thing; it is not merely the entity that goes to school, that
quarrels,  that  plays  games,  that  is  afraid,  but  it  is  also  something  hidden,  not
obvious. It is made up, not only of all the thoughts that you think, but also of all
the things that have been put into your mind by other people, by books, by the
newspapers, by your leaders; and it is possible to understand all that only when
you don’t want to be somebody, when you don’t imitate, when you don’t follow –
which means, really, when you are in revolt against the whole tradition of trying to
become  something.  That  is  the  only  true  revolution,  leading  to  extraordinary
freedom. To cultivate this freedom is the real function of education.
Your parents, your teachers and your own desires want you to be identified
with something or other in order to be happy, secure. But to be intelligent, must
you not break through all the influences that enslave and crush you?    15
The hope of a new world is in those of you who begin to see what is false and
revolt against it, not just verbally but actually. And that is why you should seek the
right  kind  of  education;  for  it  is  only  when  you  grow  in  freedom  that  you  can
create  a  new  world  not  based  on  tradition  or  shaped  according  to  the
idiosyncrasy of some philosopher or idealist. But there can be no freedom as long
as you are merely trying to become somebody, or imitate a noble example.
Questioner: What is intelligence?
Krishnamurti: Let us go into the question very slowly, patiently, and find out.
To find out is not to come to a conclusion. I don’t know if you see the difference.
The moment you come to a conclusion as to what intelligence is, you cease to be
intelligent. That is what most of the older people have done: they have come to
conclusions. Therefore they have ceased to be intelligent. So you have found out
one  thing  right  off:  that  an  intelligent  mind  is  one  which  is  constantly  learning,
never concluding.
What  is  intelligence?  Most  people  are  satisfied  with  a  definition  of  what
intelligence is. Either they say, «That is a good explanation», or they prefer their
own  explanation;  and  a  mind  that  is  satisfied  with  an  explanation  is  very
superficial, therefore it is not intelligent.
You have begun to see that an intelligent mind is a mind which is not satisfied
with explanations, with conclusions; nor is it a mind that believes, because belief
is  again  another  form  of  conclusion.  An  intelligent  mind  is  an  inquiring  mind,  a
mind  that  is  watching,  learning,  studying.  Which  means  what?  That  there  is
intelligence  only  when  there  is  no  fear,  when  you  are  willing  to  rebel,  to  go
against the whole social structure in order to find out what God is, or to discover
the truth of anything.
Intelligence is not knowledge. If you could read all the books in the world it
would not give you intelligence. Intelligence is something very subtle; it has no   16
anchorage. it comes into being only when you understand the total process of the
mind  –  not  the  mind  according  to  some  philosopher  or  teacher,  but  your  own
mind.  Your  mind  is  the  result  of  all  humanity,  and  when  you  understand  it  you
don’t  have  to  study  a  single  book,  because  the  mind  contains  the  whole
knowledge of the past. So intelligence comes into being with the understanding of
yourself; and you can understand yourself only in relation to the world of people,
things and ideas. Intelligence is not something that you can acquire, like learning;
it  arises  with  great  revolt,  that  is,  when  there  is  no  fear  –  which  means,  really,
when there is a sense of love. For when there is no fear, there is love.
If you are only interested in explanations, I am afraid you will feel that I have
not answered your question. To ask what is intelligence is like asking what is life.
Life is study, play, sex, work, quarrel, envy, ambition, love, beauty, truth – life is
everything, is it not? But you see, most of us have not the patience earnestly and
consistently to pursue this inquiry.
Questioner: Can the crude mind become sensitive?
Krishnamurti: Listen to the question, to the meaning behind the words. Can
the crude mind become sensitive? If I say my mind is crude and I try to become
sensitive, the very effort to become sensitive is crudity. Please see this. Don’t be
intrigued, but watch it. Whereas, if I recognize that I am crude without wanting to
change,  without  trying  to  become  sensitive,  if  I  begin  to  understand  what
crudeness  is,  observe  it  in  my  life  from  day  to  day  –  the  greedy  way  I  eat,  the
roughness with which I treat people, the pride, the arrogance, the coarseness of
my habits and thoughts – then that very observation transforms what is.
Similarly,  if  I  am  stupid  and  I  say  I  must  become  intelligent,  the  effort  to
become intelligent is only a greater form of stupidity; because what is important is
to  understand  stupidity.  However  much  I  may  try  to  become  intelligent,  my
stupidity will remain. I may acquire the superficial polish of learning, I may be able
to quote books, repeat passages from great authors, but basically I shall still be   17
stupid. But if I see and understand stupidity as it expresses itself in my daily life –
how I behave towards my servant, how I regard my neighbour, the poor man, the
rich  man,  the  clerk  –  then  that  very  awareness  brings  about  a  breaking  up  of
stupidity.  You  try  it.  Watch  yourself  talking  to  your  servant,  observe  the
tremendous respect with which you treat a governor, and how little respect you
show to the man who has nothing to give you. Then you begin to find out how
stupid you are; and in understanding that stupidity there is intelligence, sensitivity.
You  do  not  have  to  become  sensitive.  The  man  who  is  trying  to  become
something is ugly, insensitive; he is a crude person.
Questioner:  How  can  the  child  find  out  what  he  is  without  the  help  of  his
parents and teachers?
Krishnamurti: Have I said that he can, or is this your interpretation of what I
said?  The  child  will  find  out  about  himself  if  the  environment  in  which  he  lives
helps  him  to  do  so.  If  the  parents  and  teachers  are  really  concerned  that  the
young person should discover what he is, they won’t compel him; they will create
an environment in which he will come to know himself.
You have asked this question; but is it a vital problem to you? If you deeply felt
that it is important for the child to find out about himself, and that he cannot do
this if he is dominated by authority, would you not help to bring about the right
environment? It is again the same old attitude: tell me what to do and I will do it.
We  don’t  say,  «Let  us  work  it  out  together».  This  problem  of  how  to  create  an
environment  in  which  the  child  can  have  knowledge  of  himself  is  one  that
concerns everybody – the parents, the teachers and the children themselves. But
self-knowledge  cannot  be  imposed,  understanding  cannot  be  compelled;  and  if
this is a vital problem to you and me, to the parent and the teacher, then together
we shall create schools of the right kind.    18
Questioner:  The  children  tell  me  that  they  have  seen  in  the  villages  some
weird phenomena, like obsession, and that they are afraid of ghosts, spirits, and
so on. They also ask about death. What is one to say to all this?
Krishnamurti: In due course we shall inquire into what death is. But you see,
fear is an extraordinary thing. You children have been told about ghosts by your
parents,  by  older  people,  otherwise  you  would  probably  not  see  ghosts.
Somebody has told you about obsession. You are too young to know about these
things. It is not your own experience, it is the reflection of what older people have
told you. And the older people themselves often know nothing about all this. They
have merely read about it in some book, and think they have understood it. That
brings  up  quite  a  different  question:  is  there  an  experience  which  is
uncontaminated by the past? If an experience is contaminated by the past it is
merely a continuity of the past, and therefore not an original experience.
What is important is that those of you who are dealing with children should not
impose upon them your own fallacies, your own notions about ghosts, your own
particular ideas and experiences. This is a very difficult thing to avoid, because
older  people  talk  a  great  deal  about  all  these  inessential  things  that  have  no
importance  in  life;  so  gradually  they  communicate  to  the  children  their  own
anxieties,  fears  and  superstitions,  and  the  children  naturally  repeat  what  they
have  heard.  It  is  important  that  the  older  people,  who  generally  know  nothing
about these things for themselves, do not talk about them in front of children, but
instead help to create an atmosphere in which the children can grow in freedom
and without fear.    19
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 3
PERHAPS SOME of you do not wholly understand all that I have been saying
about freedom; but, as I have pointed out, it is very important to be exposed to
new ideas, to something to which you may not be accustomed. It is good to see
what is beautiful, but you must also observe the ugly things of life, you must be
awake to everything. Similarly, you must be exposed to things which you perhaps
don’t  quite  understand,  for  the  more  you  think  and  ponder  over  these  matters
which may be somewhat difficult for you, the greater will be your capacity to live
I don’t know if any of you have noticed, early in the morning, the sunlight on
the waters. How extraordinarily soft is the light, and how the dark waters dance,
with the morning star over the trees, the only star in the sky. Do you ever notice
any  of  that?  Or  are  you  so  busy,  so  occupied  with  the  daily  routine,  that  you
forget or have never known the rich beauty of this earth – this earth on which all of
us have to live? Whether we call ourselves communists or capitalists, Hindus or
Buddhists, Moslems or Christians, whether we are blind, lame, or well and happy,
this earth is ours. Do you understand? It is our earth, not somebody else’s; it is
not only the rich man’s earth, it does not belong exclusively to the powerful rulers,
to the nobles of the land, but it is our earth, yours and mine. We are nobodies, yet
we also live on this earth, and we all have to live together. It is the world of the
poor as well as of the rich, of the unlettered as well as of the learned; it is our
world, and I think it is very important to feel this and to love the earth, not just
occasionally  on  a  peaceful  morning,  but  all  the  time.  We  can  feel  that  it  is  our
world and love it only when we understand what freedom is.
There is no such thing as freedom at the present time, we don’t know what it
means. We would like to be free but, if you notice, everybody – the teacher, the   20
parent, the lawyer, the policeman, the soldier, the politician, the business man – is
doing something in his own little corner to prevent that freedom. To be free is not
merely to do what you like, or to break away from outward circumstances which
bind  you,  but  to  understand  the  whole  problem  of  dependence.  Do  you  know
what  dependence  is?  You  depend  on  your  parent,  don’t  you?  You  depend  on
your teachers, you depend on the cook, on the postman, on the man who brings
you milk, and so on. That kind of dependence one can understand fairly easily.
But there is a far deeper kind of dependence which one must understand before
one can be free: the dependence on another for one’s happiness. do you know
what  it  means  to  depend  on  somebody  for  your  happiness?  It  is  not  the  mere
physical  dependence  on  another  which  is  so  binding,  but  the  inward,
psychological dependence from which you derive so-called happiness; for when
you depend on somebody in that way, you become a slave. If, as you grow older,
you depend emotionally on your parents, on your wife or husband, on a guru, or
on some idea, there is already the beginning of bondage. We don’t understand
this – although most of us, especially when we are young, want to be free.
To be free we have to revolt against all inward dependence, and we cannot
revolt  if  we  don’t  understand  why  we  are  dependent.  Until  we  understand  and
really break away from all inward dependence we can never be free, for only in
that understanding can there be freedom. But freedom is not a mere reaction. Do
you know what a reaction is? If I say something that hurts you, if I call you an ugly
name  and  you  get  angry  with  me,  that  is  a  reaction  –  a  reaction  born  of
dependence;  and  independence  is  a  further  reaction.  But  freedom  is  not  a
reaction, and until we understand reaction and go beyond it, we are never free.
Do you know what it means to love somebody? Do you know what it means to
love a tree, or a bird, or a pet animal, so that you take care of it, feed it, cherish it,
though it may give you nothing in return though it may not offer you shade, or
follow you, or depend on you? Most of us don’t love in that way, we don’t know
what  that  means  at  all  because  our  love  is  always  hedged  about  with  anxiety,   21
jealousy, fear – which implies that we depend inwardly on another, we want to be
loved. We don’t just love and leave it there, but we ask something in return; and
in that very asking we become dependent.
So freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because
you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love.
To  love  is  not  to  ask  anything  in  return,  not  even  to  feel  that  you  are  giving
something – and it is only such love that can know freedom. But, you see, you are
not educated for this. You are educated in mathematics, in chemistry, geography,
history, and there it ends, because your parents’ only concern is to help you get a
good job and be successful in life. If they have money they may send you abroad,
but like the rest of the world their whole purpose is that you should be rich and
have a respectable position in society; and the higher you climb the more misery
you cause for others, because to get there you have to compete, be ruthless. So
parents send their children to schools where there is ambition, competition, where
there  is  no  love  at  all,  and  that  is  why  a  society  such  as  ours  is  continually
decaying, in constant strife; and though the politicians, the judges, the so-called
nobles of the land talk about peace, it does not mean a thing.
Now, you and I have to understand this whole problem of freedom. We must
find  out  for  ourselves  what  it  means  to  love;  because  if  we  don’t  love  we  can
never be thoughtful, attentive; we can never be considerate. Do you know what it
means  to  be  considerate?  When  you  see  a  sharp  stone  on  a  path  trodden  by
many bare feet, you remove it, not because you have been asked, but because
you feel for another – it does not matter who he is, and you may never meet him.
To plant a tree and cherish it, to look at the river and enjoy the fullness of the
earth,  to  observe  a  bird  on  the  wing  and  see  the  beauty  of  its  flight,  to  have
sensitivity  and  be  open  to  this  extraordinary  movement  called  life  –  for  all  this
there must be freedom; and to be free you must love. Without love there is no
freedom; without love, freedom is merely an idea which has no value at all. So it
is only for those who understand and break away from inner dependence, and   22
who therefore know what love is, that there can be freedom; and it is they alone
who will bring about a new civilization, a different world.
Questioner: What is the origin of desire, and how can I get rid of it?
Krishnamurti: It is a young man who is asking this question; and why should
he get rid of desire? Do you understand? He is a young man, full of life, vitality;
why should he get rid of desire? He has been told that to be free of desire is one
of the greatest virtues, and that through freedom from desire he will realize God,
or  whatever  that  ultimate  something  may  be  called;  so  he  asks,  «What  is  the
origin of desire, and how can I get rid of it?» But the very urge to get rid of desire
is still part of desire, is it not? It is really prompted by fear.
What is the origin, the source,  the beginning of desire? You see something
attractive, and you want it. You see a car, or a boat, and you want to possess it;
or you want to achieve the position of a rich man, or become a sannyasi. This is
the origin of desire: seeing, contacting, from which there is sensation, and from
sensation there is desire. Now, recognizing that desire brings conflict, you ask,
«How  can  I  be  free  of  desire?»  So  what  you  really  want  is  not  freedom  from
desire,  but  freedom  from  the  worry,  the  anxiety,  the  pain  which  desire  causes.
You want freedom from the bitter fruits of desire, not from desire itself, and this is
a very important thing to understand. If you could strip desire of pain, of suffering,
of struggle, of all the anxieties and fears that go with it, so that only the pleasure
remained, would you then want to be free of desire?
As  long  as  there  is  the  desire  to  gain,  to  achieve,  to  become,  at  whatever
level, there is inevitably anxiety, sorrow, fear. The ambition to be rich, to be this or
that,  drops  away  only  when  we  see  the  rottenness,  the  corruptive  nature  of
ambition itself. The moment we see that the desire for power in any form – for the
power of a prime minister, of a judge, of a priest, of a guru – is fundamentally evil,
we no longer have the desire to be powerful. But we don’t see that ambition is
corrupting, that the desire for power is evil; on the contrary, we say that we shall   23
use power for good – which is all nonsense. A wrong means can never be used
towards a right end. If the means is evil, the end will also be evil. Good is not the
opposite  of  evil;  it  comes  into  being  only  when  that  which  is  evil  has  utterly
So, if we don’t understand the whole significance of desire, with its results, its
by-products, merely to try to get rid of desire has no meaning.
Questioner: How can we be free of dependence as long as we are living in
Krishnamurti:  Do  you  know  what  society  is?  Society  is  the  relationship
between man and man, is it not? Don’t complicate it, don’t quote a lot of books;
think very simply about it and you will see that society is the relationship between
you  and  me  and  others.  Human  relationship  makes  society;  and  our  present
society is built upon a relationship of acquisitiveness, is it not? Most of us want
money,  power,  property,  authority;  at  one  level  or  another  we  want  position,
prestige,  and  so  we  have  built  an  acquisitive  society.  As  long  as  we  are
acquisitive, as long as we want position prestige, power and all the rest of it, we
belong to this society and are therefore dependent on it. But if one does not want
any of these things and remains simply what one is with great humility, then one
is out of it; one revolts against it and breaks with this society.
Unfortunately, education at present is aimed at making you conform, fit into
and  adjust  yourself  to  this  acquisitive  society.  That  is  all  your  parents,  your
teachers and your books are concerned with. As long as you conform, as long as
you are ambitious, acquisitive, corrupting and destroying others in the pursuit of
position and power, you are considered a respectable citizen. You are educated
to fit into society; but that is not education, it is merely a process which conditions
you to conform to a pattern. The real function of education is not to turn you out to
be a clerk, or a judge, or a prime minister, but to help you understand the whole
structure of this rotten society and allow you to grow in freedom, so that you will   24
break away and create a different society, a new world. There must be those who
are in revolt, not partially but totally in revolt against the old, for it is only such
people who can create a new world – a world not based on acquisitiveness, on
power and prestige.
I can hear the older people saying, «It can never be done. Human nature is
what  it  is,  and  you  are  talking  nonsense».  But  we  have  never  thought  about
unconditioning the adult mind, and not conditioning the child. Surely, education is
both  curative  and  preventive.  You  older  students  are  already  shaped,  already
conditioned, already ambitious; you want to be successful like your father, like the
governor, or somebody else. So the real function of education is not only to help
you uncondition yourself, but also to understand this whole process of living from
day to day so that you can grow in freedom and create a new world – a world that
must be totally different from the present one. Unfortunately, neither your parents,
nor  your  teachers,  nor  the  public  in  general  are  interested  in  this.  That  is  why
education must be a process of educating the educator as well as the student.
Questioner: Why do men fight?
Krishnamurti:  Why  do  young  boys  fight?  You  sometimes  fight  with  your
brother,  or  with  the  other  boys  here,  don’t  you?  Why?  You  fight  over  a  toy.
Perhaps another boy has taken your ball, or your book, and therefore you fight.
Grown-up people fight for exactly the same reason, only their toys are position,
wealth and power. If you want power and I also want power, we fight, and that is
why nations go to war. It is as simple as that, only philosophers, politicians and
the so-called religious people complicate it. You know, it is a great art to have an
abundance of knowledge and experience – to know the richness of life, the beauty
of existence, the struggles, the miseries, the laughter, the tears – and yet keep
your mind very simple; and you can have a simple mind only when you know how
to love.
Questioner: What is jealousy?    25
Krishnamurti: Jealousy implies dissatisfaction with what you are and envy of
others, does it not? To be discontented with what you are is the very beginning of
envy. You want to be like somebody else who has more knowledge, or is more
beautiful,  or  who  has  a  bigger  house,  more  power,  a  better  position  than  you
have. You want to be more virtuous, you want to know how to meditate better,
you want to reach God, you want to be something different from what you are;
therefore  you  are  envious,  jealous.  To  understand  what  you  are  is  immensely
difficult, because it requires complete freedom from all desire to change what you
are  into  something  else.  The  desire  to  change  yourself  breeds  envy,  jealousy;
whereas, in the understanding of what you are, there is a transformation of what
you are. But, you see, your whole education urges you to try to be different from
what you are. When you are jealous you are told, «Now, don’t be jealous, it is a
terrible  thing».  So  you  strive  not  to  be  jealous;  but  that  very  striving  is  part  of
jealousy, because you want to be different.
You  know,  a  lovely  rose  is  a  lovely  rose;  but  we  human  beings  have  been
given the capacity to think, and we think wrongly. To know how to think requires a
great  deal  of  penetration,  understanding,  but  to  know  what  to  think  is
comparatively easy. Our present education consists in telling us what to think, it
does not teach us how to think, how to penetrate, explore; and it is only when the
teacher as well as the student knows how to think that the school is worthy of its
Questioner: Why am I never satisfied with anything?
Krishnamurti:  A  little  girl  is  asking  this  question,  and  I  am sure she has not
been prompted. At her tender age she wants to know why she is never satisfied.
What  do  you  grown-up  people  say?  It  is  your  doing;  you  have  brought  into
existence  this  world  in  which  a  little  girl  asks  why  she  is  never  satisfied  with
anything.  You  are  supposed  to  be  educators,  but  you  don’t  see  the  tragedy  of
this. You meditate, but you are dull, weary, inwardly dead.    26
Why  are  human  beings  never  satisfied?  Is  it  not  because  they  are  seeking
happiness, and they think that through constant change they will be happy? They
move from one job to another, from one relationship to another, from one religion
or ideology to another, thinking that through this constant movement of change
they will find happiness; or else they choose some backwater of life and stagnate
there. Surely, contentment is something entirely different. It comes into being only
when  you  see  yourself  as  you  are  without  any  desire  to  change,  without  any
condemnation or comparison – which does not mean that you merely accept what
you  see  and  go  to  sleep.  But  when  the  mind  is  no  longer  comparing,  judging,
evaluating, and is therefore capable of seeing what is from moment to moment
without wanting to change it – in that very perception is the eternal.
Questioner: Why must we read?
Krishnamurti: Why must you read? Just listen quietly. You never ask why you
must play, why you must eat, why you must look at the river, why you are cruel –
do you? You rebel and ask why you must do something only when you don’t like
to do it. But reading, playing, laughing, being cruel, being good, seeing the river,
the clouds – all this is part of life; and if you don’t know how to read, if you don’t
know how to walk, if you are unable to appreciate the beauty of a leaf, you are
not living. You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That
is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must
sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand; for all that is life.
Questioner: What is shyness?
Krishnamurti: Don’t you feel shy when you meet a stranger? Didn’t you feel
shy when you asked that question? Wouldn’t you feel shy if you had to be on this
platform,  as  I  am,  and  sit  here  talking?  Don’t  you  feel  shy,  don’t  you  feel  a  bit
awkward and want to stand still when you suddenly come upon a lovely tree, or a
delicate flower, or a bird sitting on its nest? You see, it is good to be shy. But for
most  of  us  shyness  implies  self-consciousness.  When  we  meet  a  big  man,  if   27
there  is  such  a  person,  we  become  conscious  of  ourselves.  We  think,  «How
important he is, so well known, and I am nobody; so we feel shy, which is to be
conscious of oneself. But there is a different kind of shyness, which is really to be
tender, and in that there is no self-consciousness.    28
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 4
WHY  ARE  YOU  here  listening  to  me?  Have  you  ewer  considered  why  you
listen to people at all? And what does listening to somebody mean? All of you
here  are  sitting  in  front  of  one  who  is  speaking.  Are  you  listening  to  hear
something that will confirm, tally with your own thoughts or are you listening to
find  out?  Do  you  see  the  difference?  Listening  to  find  out  has  quite  a  different
significance from listening merely to hear that which will confirm what you think. If
you are here merely to have confirmation, to be encouraged in your own thinking,
then  your  listening  has  very  little  meaning.  But,  if  you  are  listening  to  find  out,
then your mind is free, not committed to anything; it is very acute, sharp, alive,
inquiring, curious, and therefore capable of discovery. So, is it not very important
to consider why you listen, and what you are listening to?
Have you ever sat very silently, not with your attention fixed on anything, not
making  an  effort  to  concentrate,  but  with  the  mind  very  quiet,  really  still?  Then
you hear everything, don’t you? You hear the far-off noises as well as those that
are  nearer  and  those  that  are  very  close  by,  the  immediate  sounds  –  which
means, really that you are listening to everything. Your mind is not confined to
one narrow little channel. If you can listen in this way, listen with ease, without
strain,  you  will  find  an  extraordinary  change  taking  place  within  you,  a  change
which comes without your volition, without your asking; and in that change there
is great beauty and depth of insight.
Just try it sometime, try it now. As you are listening to me, listen not only to
me, but to everything about you. Listen to all those bells, the bells of the cows
and the temples; listen to the distant train and the carts on the road; and if you
then come nearer still and listen to me also, you will find there is a great depth to
listening. But to do this you must have a very quiet mind.  If  you  really  want  to   29
listen,  your  mind  is  naturally  quiet,  is  it  not?  You  are  not  then  distracted  by
something  happening  next  to  you;  your  mind  is  quiet  because  you  are  deeply
listening  to  everything.  If  you  can  listen  in  this  way  with  ease,  with  a  certain
felicity, you will find an astonishing transformation taking place in your heart, in
your  mind  –  a  transformation  which  you  have  not  thought  of,  or  in  any  way
Thought  is  a  very  strange  thing,  is  it  not?  Do  you  know  what  thought  is?
Thought or thinking for most people is something put together by the mind, and
they battle over their thoughts. But if you can really listen to everything – to the
lapping of the water on the bank of a river, to the song of the birds, to the crying
of a child, to your mother scolding you, to a friend bullying you, to your wife or
husband nagging you – then you will find that you go beyond the words, beyond
the mere verbal expressions which so tear one’s being.
And it is very important to go beyond the mere verbal expressions because,
after all, what is it that we all want? Whether we are young or old, whether we are
inexperienced or full of years, we all want to be happy, don’t we? As students we
want to be happy in playing our games, in studying, in doing all the little things we
like  to  do.  As  we  grow  older  we  seek  happiness  in  possessions,  in  money,  in
having  a  nice  house,  a  sympathetic  wife  or  husband,  a  good  job.  When  these
things no longer satisfy us, we move on to something else. We say, «I must be
detached and then I shall be happy». So we begin to practise detachment. We
leave our family, give up our property and retire from the world. Or we join some
religious society, thinking that we shall be happy by getting together and talking
about brotherhood, by following a leader, a guru, a Master, an ideal, by believing
in what is essentially a self-deception, an illusion, a superstition.
Do you understand what I am talking about?
When you comb your hair, when you put on clean clothes and make yourself
look nice, that is all part of your desire to be happy, is it not? When you pass your   30
examinations and add a few letters of the alphabet after your name, when you get
a job, acquire a house and other property, when you marry and have children,
when you join some religious society whose leaders claim they have messages
from  unseen  Masters  –  behind  it  all  there  is  this  extraordinary  urge,  this
compulsion to find happiness.
But,  you  see,  happiness  does  not  come  so  easily,  because  happiness  is  in
none of these things. You may have pleasure, you may find a new satisfaction,
but sooner or later it becomes wearisome. Because there is no lasting happiness
in the things we know. The kiss is followed by the tear, laughter by misery and
desolation. Everything withers, decays. So, while you are young you must begin
to find out what is this strange thing called happiness. That is an essential part of
Happiness does not come when you are striving for it – and that is the greatest
secret, though it is very easily said. I can put it in a few simple words; but, by
merely listening to me and repeating what you have heard, you are not going to
be happy. Happiness is strange; it comes when you are not seeking it. When you
are not making an effort to be happy, then unexpectedly, mysteriously happiness
is there, born of purity, of a loveliness of being. But that requires a great deal of
understanding – not joining an organization or trying to become somebody. Truth
is  not  something  to  be  achieved.  Truth  comes  into  being  when  your  mind  and
heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become
somebody;  it  is  there  when  the  mind  is  very  quiet,  listening  timelessly  to
everything that is happening. You may listen to these words but, for happiness to
be, you have to find out how to free the mind of all fear.
As long as you are afraid of anyone or anything, there can be no happiness.
There  can  be  no  happiness  as  long  as  you  are  afraid  of  your  parents,  your
teachers, afraid of not passing examinations, afraid of not making progress, of not
getting nearer to the Master, nearer to truth, or of not being approved of patted on   31
the back. But if you are really not afraid of anything, then you will find – when you
wake up of a morning, or when you are walking alone – that suddenly a strange
thing happens: uninvited, unsolicited, unlooked for, that which may be called love,
truth, happiness, is suddenly there. That is why it is so important for you to be
educated  rightly  while  you  are  young.  What  we  now  call  education  is  not
education  at  all,  because  nobody  talks  to  you  about  all  these  things.  Your
teachers  prepare  you  to  pass  examinations,  but  they  do  not  talk  to  you  about
living, which is most important; because very few know how to live. Most of us
merely survive, we somehow drag along, and therefore life becomes a dreadful
thing.  Really  to  live  requires  a  great  deal  of  love,  a  great  feeling  for  silence,  a
great  simplicity  with  an  abundance  of  experience;  it  requires  a  mind  that  is
capable of thinking very clearly, that is not bound by prejudice or superstition, by
hope  or  fear.  All  this  is  life,  and  if  you  are  not  being  educated  to  live,  then
education has no meaning. You may learn to be very tidy, have good manners,
and you may pass all your examinations; but, to give primary importance to these
superficial things when the whole structure of society is crumbling, is like cleaning
and polishing your fingernails while the house is burning down. You see, nobody
talks to you about all this, nobody goes into it with you. As you spend day after
day  studying  certain  subjects  –  mathematics,  history,  geography  –  so  also  you
should spend a great deal of time talking about these deeper matters, because
this makes for richness of life.
Questioner: Is not the worship of God true religion?
Krishnamurti: First of all, let us find out what is not religion. Isn’t that the right
approach? If we can understand what is not religion, then perhaps we shall begin
to perceive something else. It is like cleaning a dirty window – one begins to see
through it very clearly. So let us see if we can understand and sweep out of our
minds that which is not religion; don’t let us say, «I will think about it» and just play
around  with  words.  Perhaps  you  can  do  it,  but  most  of  the  older  people  are   32
already caught; they are comfortably established in that which is not religion and
they do not want to be disturbed.
So, what is not religion? Have you ever thought about it? You have been told
over and over again what religion is supposed to be – belief in God and a dozen
other things – but nobody has asked you to find out what is not religion; and now
you and I are going to find out for ourselves.
In listening to me, or to anyone else, do not merely accept what is said, but
listen to discern the truth of the matter. If once you perceive for yourself what is
not religion, then throughout your life no priest or book can deceive you, no sense
of fear will create an illusion which you may believe and follow. To find out what is
not religion you have to begin on the everyday level, and then you can climb. To
go far you must begin near, and the nearest step is the most important one. So
what is not religion? Are ceremonies religion? Doing puja over and over again – is
that religion?
True education is to learn how to think, not what to think. If you know how to
think, if you really have that capacity, then you are a free human being – free of
dogmas, superstitions ceremonies – and therefore you can find out what religion
Ceremonies are obviously not religion, because in performing ceremonies you
are merely repeating a formula which has been handed down to you. You may
find a certain pleasure in performing ceremonies, just as others do in smoking or
drinking; but is that religion? In performing ceremonies you are doing something
about which you know nothing. Your father and your grandfather do it, therefore
you do it, and if you don’t they will scold you. That is not religion, is it?
And  what  is  in  a  temple?  A  graven  image  fashioned  by  a  human  being
according to his own imagination. The image may be a symbol, but it is still only
an image, it is not the real thing. A symbol, a word, is not the thing it represents.   33
The word `door’ is not the  door,  is  it?  The  word  is  not the thing. We go to the
temple to worship – what? An image which is supposed to be a symbol; but the
symbol  is  not  the  real  thing.  So  why  go  to  it?  These  are  facts;  I  am  not
condemning; and, since they are facts, why bother about who goes to the temple,
whether  it  be  the  touchable  or  the  untouchable,  the  brahman  or  the  non-
brahman? Who cares? You see, the older people have made the symbol into a
religion for which they are willing to quarrel, fight, slaughter; but God is not there.
God  is  never  in  a  symbol.  So  the  worship  of  a  symbol  or  of  an  image  is  not
religion. And is belief religion? This is more complex. We began near, and now
we are going a little bit farther. Is belief religion? The Christians believe in one
way, the Hindus in another, the Moslems in another, the Buddhists in still another,
and  they  all  consider  themselves  very  religious  people;  they  all  have  their
temples,  gods,  symbols,  beliefs.  And  is  that  religion?  Is  it  religion  when  you
believe in God, in Rama, Sita, Ishwara, and all that kind of thing? How do you get
such a belief? You believe because your father and your grandfather believe; or
having  read  what  some  teacher  like  Shankara  or  Buddha  is  supposed  to  have
said, you believe it and say it is true. Most of you just believe what the Gita says,
therefore you don’t examine it clearly and simply as you would any other book;
you don’t try to find out what is true.
We have seen that ceremonies are not religion that going to a temple is not
religion, and that belief is not religion. Belief divides people. The Christians have
beliefs  and  so  are  divided  both  from  those  of  other  beliefs  and  among
themselves;  the  Hindus  are  everlastingly  full  of  enmity  because  they  believe
themselves  to  be  brahmans  or  non-brahmans,  this  or  that.  So  belief  brings
enmity, division, destruction, and that is obviously not religion.
Then what is religion? If you have wiped the window clean – which means that
you have actually stopped performing ceremonies, given up all beliefs, ceased to
follow any leader or guru – then your mind, like the window, is clean, polished,
and you can see out of it very clearly. When the mind is swept clean of image of   34
ritual, of belief, of symbol, of all words, mantrams and repetitions, and of all fear,
then what you see will be the real, the timeless, the everlasting, which may be
called God; but this requires enormous insight, understanding, patience, and it is
only for those who really inquire into what is religion and pursue it day after day to
the  end.  Only  such  people  will  know  what  is  true  religion.  The  rest  are  merely
mouthing words, and all their ornaments and bodily decorations, their pujas and
ringing  of  bells  –  all  that  is  just  superstition  without  any  significance.  It  is  only
when the mind is in revolt against all so-called religion that it finds the real.    35
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 5
HAVE YOU EVER sat very quietly without any movement? You try it, sit really
still, with your back straight, and observe what your mind is doing. Don`t try to
control  it,  don’t  say  it  should  not  jump  from  one  thought  to  another,  from  one
interest  to  another,  but  just  be  aware  of  how  your  mind  is  jumping.  Don’t  do
anything about it, but watch it as from the banks of a river you watch the water
flow  by.  In  the  flowing  river  there  are  so  many  things  –  fishes,  leaves,  dead
animals  –  but  it  is  always  living,  moving,  and  your  mind  is  like  that.  It  is
everlastingly restless, flitting from one thing to another like a butterfly.
When you listen to a song, how do you listen to it? You may like the person
who is singing, he may have a nice face, and you may follow the meaning of the
words;  but  behind  all  that,  when  you  listen  to  a  song,  you  are  listening  to  the
tones and to the silence between the tones, are you not? In the same way, try
sitting  very  quietly  without  fidgeting,  without  moving  your  hands  or  even  your
toes, and just watch your mind. It is great fun. If you try it as fun, as an amusing
thing, you will find that the mind begins to settle down without any effort on your
part to control it. There is then no censor, no judge, no evaluator; and when the
mind is thus very quiet of itself, spontaneously still, you will discover what it is to
be gay. Do you know what gaiety is? It is just to laugh, to take delight in anything
or  nothing,  to  know  the  joy  of  living,  smiling,  looking  straight  into  the  face  of
another without any sense of fear.
Have you ever really looked anybody in the face? Have you ever looked into
the face of your teacher, of your parent, of the big official, of the servant, the poor
coolie, and seen what happens? Most of us are afraid to look directly into the face
of an- other; and others don’t want us to look at them in that way, because they
also are frightened. Nobody wants to reveal himself; we are all on guard, hiding   36
behind various layers of misery, suffering, longing, hope, and there are very few
who can look you straight in the face and smile. And it is very important to smile,
to be happy; because, you see, without a song in one’s heart life becomes very
dull. One may go from temple to temple, from one husband or wife to another, or
one may find a new teacher or guru; but if there is not this inward joy, life has
very little meaning. And to find this inward joy is not easy, because most of us are
only superficially discontented.
Do  you  know  what  it  means  to  be  discontented?  It  is  very  difficult  to
understand  discontent,  because  most  of  us  canalize  discontent  in  a  certain
direction  and  thereby  smother  it.  That  is,  our  only  concern  is  to  establish
ourselves in a secure position with well-established interests and prestige, so as
not to be disturbed. It happens in homes and in schools too. The teachers don’t
want  to  be  disturbed,  and  that  is  why  they  follow  the  old  routine;  because  the
moment  one  is  really  discontented  and  begins  to  inquire,  to  question,  there  is
bound  to  be  disturbance.  But  it  is  only  through  real  discontent  that  one  has
Do you know what initiative is? You have initiative when you initiate or start
something  without  being  prompted.  It  need  not  be  anything  very  great  or
extraordinary – that may come later; but there is the spark of initiative when you
plant a tree on your own, when you are spontaneously kind, when you smile at a
man who is carrying a heavy load, when you remove a stone from the path, or pat
an animal along the way. That is a small beginning of the tremendous initiative
you  must  have  if  you  are  to  know  this  extraordinary  thing  called  creativeness.
Creativeness has its roots in the initiative which comes into being only when there
is deep discontent.
Don’t be afraid of discontent, but give it nourishment until the spark becomes a
flame and you are everlastingly discontented with everything – with your jobs, with
your families, with the traditional pursuit of money, position, power – so that you   37
really  begin  to  think,  to  discover.  But  as  you  grow  older  you  will  find  that  to
maintain this spirit of discontent is very difficult. You have children to provide for
and  the  demands  of  your  job  to  consider;  the  opinion  of  your  neighbours,  of
society  closing  in  upon  you,  and  soon  you  begin  to  lose  this  burning  flame  of
discontent. When you feel discontented you turn on the radio, you go to a guru,
do puja, join a club, drink, run after women – anything to smother the flame. But,
you see, without this flame of discontent you will never have the initiative which is
the  beginning  of  creativeness.  To  find  out  what  is  true  you  must  be  in  revolt
against  the  established  order;  but  the  more  money  your  parents  have  and  the
more secure your teachers are in their jobs, the less they want you to revolt.
Creativeness  is  not  merely  a  matter  of  painting  pictures  or  writing  poems,
which  is  good  to  do,  but  which  is  very  little  in  itself.  What  is  important  is  to  be
wholly  discontented,  for  such  total  discontent  is  the  beginning  of  the  initiative
which becomes creative as it matures; and that is the only way to find out what is
truth, what is God, because the creative state is God.
So one must have this total discontent – but with joy. Do you understand? One
must  be  wholly  discontented,  not  complainingly,  but  with  joy,  with  gaiety,  with
love.  Most  people  who  are  discontented  are  terrible  bores;  they  are  always
complaining that something or other is not right, or wishing they were in a better
position,  or  wanting  circumstances  to  be  different,  because  their  discontent  is
very superficial. And those who are not discontented at all are already dead.
If you can be in revolt while you are young, and as you grow older keep your
discontent  alive  with  the  vitality  of  joy  and  great  affection,  then  that  flame  of
discontent  will  have  an  extraordinary  significance  because  it  will  build,  it  will
create, it will bring new things into being. For this you must have the right kind of
education, which is not the kind that merely prepares you to get a job or to climb
the  ladder  of  success,  but  the  education  that  helps  you  to  think  and  gives  you
space – space, not in the form of a larger bedroom or a higher roof, but space for   38
your mind to grow so that it is not bound by any belief, by any fear. Questioner:
Discontent prevents clear thinking. How are we to overcome this obstacle?
Krishnamurti:  I  don’t  think  you  can  have  listened  to  what  I  was  saying;
probably you were concerned with your question, worrying about how you were
going to put it. That is what you are all doing in different ways. Each one has a
preoccupation, and if what I say is not what you want to hear you push it aside
because  your  mind  is  occupied  with  your  own  problem.  If  the  questioner  had
listened  to  what  was  being  said,  if  he  had  really  felt  the  inward  nature  of
discontent, of gaiety, of being creative, then I don’t think he would have put this
Now, does discontent prevent clear thinking? And what is clear thinking? is it
possible to think very clearly if you want to get something out of your thinking? If
your mind is concerned with a result, can you think very clearly? Or can you think
very  clearly  only  when  you  are  not  seeking  an  end,  a  result,  not  trying  to  gain
And can you think clearly if you have a prejudice, a particular belief – that is, if
you  think  as  a  Hindu,  a  communist,  or  a  Christian?  Surely,  you  can  think  very
clearly  only  when  your  mind  is  not  tethered  to  a  belief  as  a  monkey  might  be
tethered to a stake; you can think very clearly only when you are not seeking a
result; you can think very clearly only when you have no prejudice – all of which
means, really, that you can think clearly, simply and directly only when your mind
is no longer pursuing any form of security and is therefore free of fear.
So,  in  one  way,  discontent  does  prevent  clear  thinking.  When  through
discontent you pursue a result, or when you seek to smother discontent because
your mind hates to be disturbed and wants at all costs to be quiet, peaceful, then
clear thinking is not possible. But if you are discontented with everything – with
your prejudice, with your beliefs, with your fears – and are not seeking a result,
then that very discontent brings your thought into focus, not upon any particular   39
object  or  in  any  particular  direction,  but  your  whole  thinking  process  becomes
very simple, direct and clear. Young or old, most of us are discontented merely
because we want something – more knowledge, a better job, a finer car, a bigger
salary. Our discontent is based upon our desire for `the more’. It is only because
we want something more that most of us are discontented. But I am not talking
about  that  kind  of  discontent.  It  is  the  desire  for  `the  more’  that  prevents  clear
thinking. Whereas if we are discontented, not because we want something, but
without knowing what we want; if we are dissatisfied with our jobs, with making
money, with seeking position and power, with tradition, with what we have and
with what we might have; if we are dissatisfied, not with anything in particular but
with everything, then I think we shall find that our discontent brings clarity. When
we don’t accept or follow, but question, investigate, penetrate, there is an insight
out of which comes creativity, joy.
Questioner: What is self-knowledge, and how can we get it?
Krishnamurti:  Do  you  see  the  mentality  behind  this  question?  I  am  not
speaking out of disrespect for the questioner, but let us look at the mentality that
asks, «How can I get it, for how much can I buy it? What must I do, what sacrifice
must I make, what discipline or meditation must I practise in order to have it?» It is
a machine-like, mediocre mind which says, «I shall do this in order to get that».
The  so-called  religious  people  think  in  these  terms;  but  self-knowledge  is  not
come  by  in  this  way.  You  cannot  buy  it  through  some  effort  or  practice.  Self-
knowledge comes when you observe yourself in your relationship with your fellow
students and your teachers, with all the people around you; it comes when you
observe the manner of another, his gestures, the way he wears his clothes, the
way  he  talks,  his  contempt  or  flattery  and  your  response;  it  comes  when  you
watch everything in you and about you and see yourself as you see your face in a
mirror. When you look into the mirror you see yourself as you are, don’t you? You
may wish your head were a different shape, with a little more hair, and your face
a little less ugly; but the fact is there, clearly reflected in the mirror, and you can’t   40
push it aside and say, «How beautiful I am!» Now, if you can look into the mirror of
relationship exactly as you look into the ordinary mirror, then there is no end to
self-knowledge. it is like entering a fathomless ocean which has no shore. Most of
us  want  to  reach  an  end,  we  want  to  be  able  to  say,  «I  have  arrived  at  self-
knowledge and I am happy; but it is not like that at all. If you can look at yourself
without  condemning  what  you  see,  without  comparing  yourself  with  somebody
else,  without  wishing  to  be  more  beautiful  or  more  virtuous;  if  you  can  just
observe what you are and move with it, then you will find that it is possible to go
infinitely  far.  Then  there  is  no  end  to  the  journey,  and  that  is  the  mystery,  the
beauty of it.
Questioner: What is the soul?
Krishnamurti:  Our  culture,  our  civilization  has  invented  the  word  `soul’  –
civilization being the collective desire and will of many people. Look at the Indian
civilization. Is it not the result of many people with their desires, their wills? Any
civilization  is  the  outcome  of  what  may  be  called  the  collective  will;  and  the
collective will in this case has said that there must be something more than the
physical  body  which  dies,  decays,  something  much  greater,  vaster,  something
indestructible immortal; therefore it has established this idea of the soul. Now and
then  there  may  have  been  one  or  two  people  who  have  discovered  for
themselves something about this extraordinary thing called immortality, a state in
which there is no death, and then all the mediocre minds have said, «Yes, that
must be true, he must be right; and because they want immortality they cling to
the word `soul’.
You  also  want  to  know  if  there  is  something  more  than  mere  physical
existence,  do  you  not?  This  ceaseless  round  of  going  to  an  office,  working  at
something in which you have no vital interest, quarrelling, being envious, bearing
children,  gossiping  with  your  neighbour,  uttering  useless  words  –  you  want  to
know if there is something more than all this. The very word `soul’ embodies the   41
idea of a state which is indestructible, timeless, does it not? But, you see, you
never find out for yourself whether or not there is such a state. You don’t say, «I
am not concerned with what Christ, Shankara, or anybody else has said, nor with
the dictates of tradition of so-called civilization; I am going to find out for myself
whether or not there is a state beyond the framework of time». You don’t revolt
against what civilization or the collective will has formulated; on the contrary, you
accept  it  and  say,  «Yes,  there  is  a  soul».  You  call  that  formulation  one  thing,
another  calls  it  something  else,  and  then  you  divide  yourselves  and  become
enemies over your conflicting beliefs.
The man who really wants to find out whether or not there is a state beyond
the framework of time, must be free of civilization; that is, he must be free of the
collective will and stand alone. And this is an essential part of education: to learn
to stand alone so that you are not caught either in the will of the many or in the
will of one, and are therefore capable of discovering for yourself what is true.
Don’t depend on anybody. I or another may tell you there is a timeless state,
but what value has that for you? If you are hungry you want to eat, and you don’t
want to be fed on mere words. What is important is for you to find out for yourself.
You  can  see  that  everything  about  you  is  decaying,  being  destroyed.  This  so-
called civilization is no longer being held together by the collective will; it is going
to  pieces.  Life  is  challenging  you  from  moment  to  moment,  and  if  you  merely
respond to the challenge from the groove of habit, which is to respond in terms of
acceptance, then your response has no validity. You can find out whether or not
there is a timeless state, a state in which there is no movement of `the more’ or of
`the less’, only when you say, «I am not going to accept, I am going to investigate,
explore» – which means that you are not afraid to stand alone.    42
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 6
MOST OF US cling to some small part of life, and think that through that part
we  shall  discover  the  whole.  Without  leaving  the  room  we  hope  to  explore  the
whole  length  and  width  of  the  river  and  perceive  the  richness  of  the  green
pastures  along  its  banks.  We  live  in  a  little  room,  we  paint  on  a  little  canvas,
thinking that we have grasped life by the hand or understood the significance of
death; but we have not. To do that we must go outside. And it is extraordinarily
difficult  to  go  outside,  to  leave  the  room  with  its  narrow  window  and  see
everything as it is without judging, without condemning, without saying, «This I like
and  that  I  don’t  like;  because  most  of  us  think  that  through  the  part  we  shall
understand the whole. Through a single spoke we hope to understand the wheel;
but one spoke does not make a wheel, does it? it takes many spokes, as well as
a hub and a rim, to make the thing called a wheel, and we need to see the whole
wheel in order to comprehend it. In the same way we must perceive the whole
process of living if we are really to understand life.
I  hope  you  are  following  all  this,  because  education  should  help  you  to
understand the whole of life and not just prepare you to get a job and carry on in
the usual way with your marriage, your children, your insurance, your pujas and
your little gods. But to bring about the right kind of education requires a great deal
of intelligence, insight, and that is why it is so important for the educator himself
to be educated to understand the whole process of life and not merely to teach
you according to some formula, old or new.
Life is an extraordinary mystery – not the mystery in books, not the mystery
that people talk about, but a mystery that one has to discover for oneself; and that
is why it is so grave a matter that you should understand the little, the narrow, the
petty, and go beyond it.    43
If  you  don’t  begin  to  understand  life  while  you  are  young,  you  will  grow  up
inwardly hideous; you will be dull, empty inside, though outwardly you may have
money,  ride  in  expensive  cars,  put  on  airs.  That  is  why  it  is  very  important  to
leave your little room and perceive the whole expanse of the heavens. But you
cannot do that unless you have love – not bodily love or divine love, but just love;
which is to love the birds, the trees, the flowers, your teachers, your parents, and
beyond your parents, humanity.
Will it not be a great tragedy if you don’t discover for yourselves what it is to
love? If you don’t know love now, you will never know it, because as you grow
older, what is called love will become something very ugly – a possession, a form
of merchandise to be bought and sold. But if you begin now to have love in your
heart, if you love the tree you plant, the stray animal you pat, then as you grow up
you will not remain in your small room with its narrow window, but will leave it and
love the whole of life.
Love  is  factual,  it  is  not  emotional,  something  to  be  cried  over;  it  is  not
sentiment. Love has no sentimentality about it at all. And it is a very grave and
important matter that you should know love while you are young. Your parents
and  teachers  perhaps  don’t  know  love,  and  that  is  why  they  have  created  a
terrible  world,  a  society  which  is  perpetually  at  war  within  itself  and  with  other
societies. Their religions, their philosophies and ideologies are all false because
they have no love. They perceive only a part; they are looking out of a narrow
window  from  which  the  view  may  be  pleasant  and  extensive,  but  it  is  not  the
whole expanse of life. Without this feeling of intense love you can never have the
perception of the whole; therefore you will always be miserable, and at the end of
your life you will have nothing but ashes, a lot of empty words.
Questioner: Why do we want to be famous?
Krishnamurti: Why do you think you want to be famous? I may explain; but, at
the end of it, will you stop wanting to be famous? You want to be famous because   44
everybody  around  you  in  this  society  wants  to  be  famous.  Your  parents,  your
teachers, the guru, the yogi – they all want to be famous, well known, and so you
do too.
Let us think this out together. Why do people want to be famous? First of all, it
is profitable to be famous; and it gives you a great deal of pleasure, does it not? If
you are known all over the world you feel very important, it gives you a sense of
immortality. You want to be famous, you want to be known and talked about in
the world because inside yourself you are nobody. Inwardly there is no richness,
there is nothing there at all, therefore you want to be known in the world outside;
but, if you are inwardly rich, then it does not matter to you whether you are known
or unknown.
To  be  inwardly  rich  is  much  more  arduous  than  to  be  outwardly  rich  and
famous; it needs much more care, much closer attention. If you have a little talent
and  know  how  to  exploit  it,  you  become  famous;  but  inward  richness  does  not
come about in that way. To be inwardly rich the mind has to understand and put
away the things that are not important, like wanting to be famous. Inward richness
implies standing alone; but the man who wants to be famous is afraid to stand
alone because he depends on people’s flattery and good opinion.
Questioner:  When  you  were  young  you  wrote  a  book  in  which  you  said:
«These are not my words, they are the words of my Master.» How is it that you
now insist upon our thinking for ourselves? And who was your Master?
Krishnamurti: One of the most difficult things in life is not to be bound by an
idea;  being  bound  is  called  being  consistent.  If  you  have  the  ideal  of  non-
violence, you try to be consistent with that ideal. Now, the questioner is saying in
effect, «You tell us to think for ourselves, which is contrary to what you said when
you were a boy. Why are you not consistent?»    45
What does it mean to be consistent? This is really a very important point. To
be consistent is to have a mind that is unvaryingly following a particular pattern of
thinking – which means that you must not do contradictory things one thing today
and the opposite thing tomorrow. We are trying to find out what is a consistent
mind. A mind which says «I have taken a vow to be something and I am going to
be that for the rest of my life» is called consistent; but it is really a most stupid
mind,  because  it  has  come  to  a  conclusion  and  it  is  living  according  to  that
conclusion. It is like a man building a wall around himself and letting life go by.
This is a very complex problem; I may be oversimplifying it, but I don’t think so.
When the mind is merely consistent it becomes mechanical and loses the vitality,
the glow, the beauty of free movement. It is functioning within a pattern. That is
one side of the question.
The other is: who is the Master? You don’t know the implications of all this. It
is just as well. You see, it has been said that I wrote a certain book when I was a
boy, and that gentleman has quoted from the book a statement which says that a
Master helped to write it. Now, there are groups of people, like the Theosophists,
who believe that there are Masters living in the remote Himalayas who guide and
help  the  world;  and  that  gentleman  wants  to  know  who  the  Master  is.  Listen
carefully, because this applies to you also.
Does it matter very much who a Master or a guru is? What matters is life – not
your guru, not a Master, a leader or a teacher who interprets life for you. It is you
who have to understand life; it is you who are suffering, who are in misery; it is
you who want to know the meaning of death, of birth, of meditation, of sorrow,
and  nobody  can  tell  you.  Others  can  explain,  but  their  explanations  may  be
entirely false, altogether wrong.
So  it  is  good  to  be  sceptical,  because  it  gives  you  a  chance  to  find  out  for
yourself whether you need a guru at all. What is important is to be a light unto
yourself, to be your own Master and disciple, to be both the teacher and the pupil.   46
As long as you are learning, there is no teacher. It is only when you have stopped
exploring, discovering, understanding the whole process of life, that the teacher
comes into being – and such a teacher has no value. Then you are dead, and
therefore your teacher is also dead. Questioner: Why is man proud?
Krishnamurti: Are you not proud if you write a nice hand, or when you win a
game  or  pass  some  examination?  Have  you  ever  written  a  poem  or  painted  a
picture, and then shown it to a friend? If your friend says it is a lovely poem or a
marvellous picture, don’t you feel very pleased? When you have done something
which somebody says is excellent, you feel a sense of pleasure, and that is all
right, that is nice; but what happens the next time you paint a picture, or write a
poem,  or  clean  a  room?  You  expect  someone  to  come  along  and  say  what  a
wonderful boy you are; and, if no one comes, you no longer bother about painting
or writing, or cleaning. So you come to depend on the pleasure which others give
you by their approbation. It is as simple as that. And then what happens? As you
grow older you want what you do to be acknowledged by many people. You may
say, «I will do this thing for the sake of my guru, for the sake of my country, for the
sake of man, for the sake of God», but you are really doing it to gain recognition,
out of which grows pride; and when you do anything in that way, it is not worth
doing. I wonder if you understand all this?
To  understand  something  like  pride,  you  must  be  capable  of  thinking  right
through; you must see how it begins and the disaster it brings, see the whole of it,
which means that you must be so keenly interested that your mind follows it to
the end and does not stop half way. When you are really interested in a game
you play it to the end, you don’t suddenly stop in the middle and go home. But
your mind is not used to this kind of thinking, and it is part of education to help
you to inquire into the whole process of life and not just study a few subjects.    47
Questioner: As children we are told what is beautiful and what is ugly, with the
result that all through life we go on repeating, » This is beautiful, that is ugly». How
is one to know what is real beauty and what is ugliness?
Krishnamurti: Suppose you say that a certain arch is beautiful, and someone
else  says  it  is  ugly.  Now,  which  is  import-  ant:  to  fight  over  your  conflicting
opinions as to whether something is beautiful or ugly, or to be sensitive to both
beauty and ugliness? In life there is filth, squalor, degradation, sorrow, tears, and
there is also joy, laughter, the beauty of a flower in the sunlight. What matters,
surely, is to be sensitive to everything, and not merely decide what is beautiful
and what is ugly and remain with that opinion. If I say, «I am going to cultivate
beauty  and  reject  all  ugliness»,  what  happens?  The  cultivation  of  beauty  then
makes for insensitivity. It is like a man developing his right arm, making it very
strong, and letting his left arm wither. So you must be awake to ugliness as well
as  to  beauty.  You  must  see  the  dancing  leaves,  the  water  flowing  under  the
bridge, the beauty of an evening, and also be aware of the beggar in the street;
you must see the poor woman struggling with a heavy load and be ready to help
her,  give  her  a  hand.  All  this  is  necessary,  and  it  is  only  when  you  have  this
sensitivity  to  everything  that  you  can  begin  to  work,  to  help  and  not  reject  or
Questioner: Pardon me, but you have not said who was your Master.
Krishnamurti: Does it matter very much? Burn the book, throw it away. When
you give importance to something so trivial as who the Master is, you are making
the whole of existence into a very petty affair. You see, we always want to know
who the Master is, who the learned person is, who the artist is that painted the
picture.  We  never  want  to  discover  for  ourselves  the  content  of  the  picture
irrespective of the identity of the artist. It is only when you know who the poet is
that you say the poem is lovely. This is snobbishness, the mere repetition of an
opinion, and it destroys your own inward perception of the reality of the thing. If   48
you perceive that a picture is beautiful and you feel very grateful, does it really
matter to you who painted it? If your one concern is to find the content, the truth
of the picture, then the picture communicates its significance.    49
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 7
WE HAVE BEEN discussing how essential it is to have love, and we saw that
one cannot acquire or buy it; yet without love, all our plans for a perfect social
order in which there is no exploitation, no regimentation, will have no meaning at
all, and I think it is very important to understand this while we are young.
Wherever  one  goes  in  the  world,  it  does  not  matter  where,  one  finds  that
society is in a perpetual state of conflict. There are always the powerful, the rich,
the well-to-do on the one hand, and the labourers on the other; and each one is
enviously  competing,  each  one  wants  a  higher  position,  a  bigger  salary,  more
power, greater prestige. That is the state of the world, and so there is always war
going on both within and without.
Now, if you and I want to bring about a complete revolution in the social order,
the first thing we have to understand is this instinct for the acquisition of power.
Most of us want power in one form or another. We see that through wealth and
power  we  shall  be  able  to  travel,  associate  with  important  people  and  become
famous;  or  we  dream  of  bringing  about  a  perfect  society.  We  think  we  shall
achieve that which is good through power; but the very pursuit of power – power
for ourselves, power for our country, power for an ideology – is evil, destructive,
because it inevitably creates opposing powers, and so there is always conflict.
Is it not right, then, that education should help you, as you grow up to perceive
the importance of bringing about a world in which there is no conflict either within
or without, a world in which you are not in conflict with your neighbour or with any
group  of  people  because  the  drive  of  ambition,  which  is  the  desire  for  position
and  power,  has  utterly  ceased?  And  is  it  possible  to  create  a  society  in  which
there will be no inward or out- ward conflict? Society is the relationship between   50
you and me; and if our relationship is based on ambition each one of us wanting
to be more powerful than the other, then obviously we shall always be in conflict.
So, can this cause of conflict be removed? Can we all educate ourselves not to
be competitive, not to compare ourselves with somebody else, not to want this or
that position – in a word, not to be ambitious at all?
When  you  go  outside  the  school  with  you  parents,  when  you  read  the
newspapers  or  talk  to  people,  you  must  have  noticed  that  almost  everybody
wants to bring about a change in the world. And have you not also noticed that
these very people are always in conflict with each other over something or other –
over ideas, property, race, caste or religion? Your parents, your neighbours, the
ministers  and  bureaucrats  –  are  they  not  all  ambitious,  struggling  for  a  better
position, and therefore always in conflict with somebody? Surely, it is only when
all this competitiveness is removed that there will be a peaceful society in which
all of us can live happily, creatively.
Now, how is this to be done? Can regulation, legislation, or the training of your
mind not to be ambitious, do away with ambition? Outwardly you may be trained
not to be ambitious, socially you may cease to compete with others; but inwardly
you  will  still  be  ambitious,  will  you  not?  And  is  it  possible  to  sweep  away
completely  this  ambition,  which  is  bringing  so  much  misery  to  human  beings?
Probably you have not thought about it before, because nobody has talked to you
like this; but now that somebody is talking to you about it, don’t you want to find
out if it is possible to live in this world richly, fully, happily, creatively, without the
destructive drive of ambition, without competition? Don’t you want to know how to
live so that your life will not destroy another or cast a shadow across his path?
You see, we think this is a Utopian dream which can never be brought about
in fact; but I am not talking about Utopia, that would be nonsense. Can you and I,
who are simple, ordinary people, live creatively in this world without the drive of
ambition  which  shows  itself  in  various  ways  as  the  desire  for  power,  position?   51
You will find the right answer when you love what you are doing. If you are an
engineer merely because you must earn a livelihood, or because your father or
society expects it of you, that is another form of compulsion; and compulsion in
any  form  creates  a  contradiction,  conflict.  Whereas,  if  you  really  love  to  be  an
engineer,  or  a  scientist  or  if  you  can  plant  a  tree,  or paint a picture, or write a
poem, not to gain recognition but just because you love to do it, then you will find
that you never compete with another. I think this is the real key: to love what you
But when you are young it is often very difficult to know what you love to do,
because  you  want  to  do  so  many  things.  You  want  to  be  an  engineer,  a
locomotive driver, an airplane pilot zooming along in the blue skies; or perhaps
you  want  to  be  a  famous  orator  or  politician.  You  may  want  to  be  an  artist,  a
chemist,  a  poet  or  a  carpenter.  You  may  want  to  work  with  your  head,  or  do
something with your hands. Is any of these things what you really love to do, or is
your  interest  in  them  merely  a  reaction  to  social  pressures?  How  can  you  find
out? And is not the true purpose of education to help you to find out, so that as
you grow up you can begin to give your whole mind, heart and body to that which
you really love to do?
To find out what you love to do demands a great deal of intelligence; because,
if you are afraid of not being able to earn a livelihood, or of not fitting into this
rotten society, then you will never find. But,if you are not frightened, if you refuse
to be pushed into the groove of tradition by your parents, by your teachers, by the
superficial demands of society, then there is a possibility of discovering what it is
you really love to do. So, to discover, there must be no fear of not surviving.
But most of us are afraid of not surviving, we say, «What will happen to me if I
don’t do as my parents say, if I don’t fit into this society?» Being frightened, we do
as we are told, and in that there is no love, there is only contradiction; and this
inner contradiction is one of the factors that bring about destructive ambition.    52
So, it is a basic function of education to help you to find out what you really
love to do, so that you can give your whole mind and heart to it, because that
creates  human  dignity,  that  sweeps  away  mediocrity,  the  petty  bourgeois
mentality.  That  is  why  it  is  very  important  to  have  the  right  teachers,  the  right
atmosphere so that you will grow up with the love which expresses itself in what
you  are  doing.  Without  this  love  your  examinations,  your  knowledge,  your
capacities your position and possessions are just ashes, they have no meaning;
without this love your actions are going to bring more wars, more hatred, more
mischief and destruction.
All this may mean nothing to you, because outwardly you are still very young,
but I hope it will mean something to your teachers – and also to you, somewhere
Questioner: Why do you feel shy?
Krishnamurti: You know, it is an extraordinary thing in life to be anonymous –
not  to  be  famous  or  great,  not  to  be  very  learned,  not  to  be  a  tremendous
reformer or revolutionary, just to be nobody; and when one really feels that way,
to  be  suddenly  surrounded  by  a  lot  of  curious  people  creates  a  sense  of
withdrawal. That is all.
Questioner: How can we realize truth in our daily life?
Krishnamurti: You think that truth is one thing and your daily life is something
else, and in your daily life you want to realize what you call truth. But is truth apart
from daily life? When you grow up you will have to earn a livelihood, will you not?
After all, that is what you are passing your examinations for: to prepare yourself
to earn a livelihood. But many people don’t care what field of work they enter as
long  as  they  are  earning  some  money.  As  long  as  they  get  a  job  it  does  not
matter to them if it means being a soldier, a policeman, a lawyer, or some kind of
crooked business man.    53
Now,  to  find  the  truth  of  what  constitutes  a  right  means  of  livelihood  is
important, is it not? Because truth is in your life, not away from it. How you talk,
what you say, how you smile, whether you are deceitful, playing up to people – all
that is the truth in your daily life. So, before you become a soldier, a policeman, a
lawyer  or  a  sharp  business  man,  must  you  not  perceive  the  truth  of  these
professions? Surely, unless you see the truth of what you do and are guided by
that truth, your life becomes a hideous mess.
Let us look at the question of whether you should become a soldier, because
the other professions are a little more complex. Apart from propaganda and what
other  people  say,  what  is  the  truth  concerning  the  profession  of  a  soldier?  If  a
man becomes a soldier it means that he must fight to protect his country, he must
discipline his mind not to think but to obey. He must be prepared to kill or be killed
– for what? For an idea that certain people, great or petty, have said is right. So
you become a soldier in order to sacrifice yourself and to kill others. Is that a right
profession?  Don’t  ask  somebody  else,  but  find  out  for  yourself  the  truth  of  the
matter. You are told to kill for the sake of a marvellous Utopia in the future – as if
the man who tells you knew all about the future! Do you think that killing is a right
profession, whether it be for your country or for some organized religion? Is killing
ever right at all?
So, if you want to discover the truth in that vital process which is your own life,
you  will  have  to  inquire  deeply  into  all  these  things;  you  will  have  to  give  your
mind  and  heart  to  it.  You  will  have  to  think  independently,  clearly,  without
prejudice; for truth is not away from life, it is in the very movement of your daily
Questioner: Don’t images, Masters and saints help us to meditate rightly?
Krishnamurti:  Do  you  know  what  right  meditation  is?  Don’t  you  want  to
discover for yourself the truth of the matter? And will you ever discover that truth
if you accept on authority what right meditation is?    54
This is an immense question. To discover the art of meditation you must know
the whole depth and breadth of this extraordinary process called thinking. If you
accept some authority who says, «Meditate along these lines», you are merely a
follower, the blind servant of a system or an idea. Your acceptance of authority is
based  on  the  hope  of  gaining  a  result,  and  that  is  not  meditation.  Questioner:
What are the duties of a student?
Krishnamurti: What does the word `duty’ mean? Duty to what? Duty to your
country  according  to  a  politician?  Duty  to  your  father  and  mother  according  to
their wishes? They will say it is your duty to do as they tell you; and what they tell
you is conditioned by their background, their tradition, and so on. And what is a
student? Is it a boy or a girl who goes to school and reads a few books in order to
pass some examination? Or is only he a student who is learning all the time and
for whom there is therefore no end to learning? Surely, the person who merely
reads up on a subject, passes an examination, and then drops it, is not a student.
The  real  student  is  studying,  learning,  inquiring,  exploring,  not  just  until  he  is
twenty or twenty-five, but throughout life.
To be a student is to learn all the time; and as long as you are learning, there
is  no  teacher,  is  there?  The  moment  you  are  a  student  there  is  no  one  in
particular to teach you, because you are learning from everything. The leaf that is
blown by the wind, the murmur of the waters on the banks of a river, the flight of a
bird high in the air, the poor man as he walks by with a heavy load, the people
who  think  they  know  everything  about  life  –  you  are  learning  from  them  all,
therefore there is no teacher and you are not a follower.
So the duty of a student is just to learn. There was once a famous painter in
Spain whose name was Goya. He was one of the greatest, and when he was a
very old man he wrote under one of his paintings, «I am still learning». You can
learn from books, but that does not take you very far. A book can give you only
what the author has to tell. But the learning that comes through self-knowledge   55
has no limit, because to learn through your own self-knowledge is to know how to
listen, how to observe, and therefore you learn from everything: from music, from
what people say and the way they say it, from anger, greed, ambition.
This earth is ours, it does not belong to the communists, the socialists, or the
capitalists; it is yours and mine, to be lived on happily, richly, without conflict. But
that richness of life, that happiness, that feeling, «This earth is ours», cannot be
brought about by enforcement, by law. It must come from within because we love
the earth and all the things thereof; and that is the state of learning.
Questioner: What is the difference between respect and love?
Krishnamurti: You can look up `respect’ and `love’ in a dictionary and find the
answer.  Is  that  what  you  want  to  know?  Do  you  want  to  know  the  superficial
meaning of those words, or the significance behind them?
When  a  prominent  man  comes  around,  a  minister  or  a  governor,  have  you
noticed how everybody salutes him? You call that respect, don’t you? But such
respect is phony, because behind it there is fear, greed. You want something out
of the poor devil, so you put a garland around his neck. That is not respect, it is
merely the coin with which you buy and sell in the market. You don’t feel respect
for  your  servant  or  the  villager,  but  only  for  those  from  whom  you  hope  to  get
something.  That  kind  of  respect  is  really  fear;  it  is  not  respect  at  all,  it  has  no
meaning. But if you really have love in your heart, then to you the governor, the
teacher, your servant and the villager are all the same; then you have respect, a
feeling for them all, because love does not ask anything in return.    56
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 8
AMONG SO MANY other things in life, have you ever considered why it is that
most  of  us  are  rather  sloppy  –  sloppy  in  our  dress,  in  our  manners,  in  our
thoughts, in the way we do things? Why are we unpunctual and, so inconsiderate
of others? And what is it that brings about order in everything, order in our dress,
in our thoughts, in our speech, in the way we walk, in the way we treat those who
are  less  fortunate  than  ourselves?  What  brings  about  this  curious  order  that
comes without compulsion, without planning, without deliberate mentation? Have
you ever considered it? Do you know what I mean by order? It is to sit quietly
without pressure, to eat elegantly without rush, to be leisurely and yet precise, to
be clear in one’s thinking and yet expansive. What brings about this order in life?
It  is  really  a  very  important  point,  and  I  think  that,  if  one  could  be  educated  to
discover the factor that produces order, it would have great significance.
Surely, order comes into being only through virtue; for unless you are virtuous,
not merely in the little things, but in all things, your life becomes chaotic, does it
not? Being virtuous has very little meaning in itself; but because you are virtuous
there  is  precision  in  your  thought,  order  in  your  whole  being,  and  that  is  the
function of virtue.
But what happens when a man tries to become virtuous, when he disciplines
himself to be kind, efficient, thoughtful, considerate, when he attempts not to hurt
people, when he spends his energies in trying to establish order, in struggling to
be good? His efforts only lead to respectability, which brings about mediocrity of
mind; therefore he is not virtuous.
Have you ever looked very closely at a flower? How astonish- ingly precise it
is,  with  all  its  petals;  yet  there  is  an  extraordinary  tenderness  a  perfume  a   57
loveliness  about  it.  Now,  when  a  man  tries  to  be  orderly,  his  life  may  be  very
precise,  but  it  has  lost  that  quality  of  gentleness  which  comes  into  being  only
when, like with the flower, there is no effort. So our difficulty is to be precise, clear
and expansive without effort.
You see, the effort to be orderly or tidy has such a narrowing influence. If I
deliberately try to be orderly in my room, if I am careful to put everything in its
place,  if  I  am  always  watching  myself,  where  I  put  my  feet,  and  so  on,  what
happens? I become an intolerable bore to myself and to others. It is a tiresome
person who is always trying to be something, whose thoughts are very carefully
arranged, who chooses one thought in preference to another. Such a person may
be  very  tidy,  clear,  he  may  use  words  precisely,  he  may  be  very  attentive  and
considerate, but he has lost the creative joy of living.
So,  what  is  the  problem?  How  can  one  have  this  creative  joy  of  living,  be
expansive  in  one’s  feeling,  wide  in  one’s  thinking,  and  yet  be  precise,  clear,
orderly in one’s life? I think most of us are not like that because we never feel
anything intensely, we never give our hearts and minds to anything completely. I
remember watching two red squirrels, with long bushy tails and lovely fur, chase
each other up and down a tall tree for about ten minutes without stopping – just
for the joy of living. But you and I cannot know that joy if we do not feel things
deeply, if there is no passion in our lives – passion, not for doing good or bringing
about some reform, but passion in the sense of feeling things very strongly; and
we can have that vital passion only when there is a total revolution in our thinking,
in our whole being.
Have you noticed how few of us have deep feeling about anything? Do you
ever rebel against your teachers, against your parents, not just because you don’t
like something, but because you have a deep, ardent feeling that you don’t want
to do certain things? If you feel deeply and ardently about something, you will find
that this very feeling in a curious way brings a new order into your life.    58
Orderliness, tidiness, clarity of thinking are not very important in themselves,
but they become important to a man who is sensitive, who feels deeply who is in
a state of perpetual inward revolution. if you feel very strongly about the lot of the
poor man, about the beggar who receives dust in his face as the rich man’s car
goes by, if you are extraordinarily receptive, sensitive to everything, then that very
sensitivity brings orderliness, virtue; and I think this is very important for both the
educator and the student to understand
In this country, unfortunately, as all over the world, we care so little, we have
no deep feeling about anything. Most of us are intellectuals – intellectuals in the
superficial  sense  of  being  very  clever,  full  of  words  and  theories  about  what  is
right and what is wrong, about how we should think, what we should do. Mentally
we  are  highly  developed,  but  inwardly  there  is  very  little  substance  or
significance; and it is this inward substance that brings about true action, which is
not action according to an idea.
That is why you should have very strong feelings – feelings of passion, anger –
and  watch  them,  play  with  them,  find  out  the  truth  of  them;  for  if  you  merely
suppress  them,  if  you  say,  «I  must  not  get  angry,  I  must  not  feel  passionate,
because it is wrong», you will find that your mind is gradually being encased in an
idea and thereby becomes very shallow. You may be immensely clever, you may
have encyclopaedic knowledge, but, if there is not the vitality of strong and deep
feeling,  your  comprehension  is  like  a  flower  that  has  no  perfume.  It  is  very
important  for  you  to  understand  all  these  things  while  you  are  young,  because
then,  when  you  grow  up,  you  will  be  real  revolutionaries  –  revolutionaries,  not
according to some ideology, theory or book, but revolutionaries in the total sense
of the word, right through as integrated human beings, so that there is not a spot
left in you which is contaminated by the old. Then your mind is fresh, innocent,
and  is  therefore  capable  of  extraordinary  creativeness.  But  if  you  miss  the
significance  of  all  this,  your  life  will  become  very  drab,  for  you  will  be
overwhelmed by society, by your family, by your wife or husband, by theories, by   59
religious or political organizations. That is why it is so urgent for you to be rightly
educated – which means that you must have teachers who can help you to break
through  the  crust  of  so-called  civilization  and  be,  not  repetitive  machines,  but
individuals who really have a song inside them and are therefore happy, creative
human beings.
Questioner: What is anger and why does one get angry?
Krishnamurti:  If  I  tread  on  your  toes,  or  pinch  you,  or  take  something  away
from you, won’t you be angry? And why should you not be angry? Why do you
think anger is wrong? Because somebody has told you? So,it is very important to
find out why one is angry, to see the truth of anger, and not merely say it is wrong
to be angry.
Now, why do you get angry? Because you don’t want to be hurt – which is the
normal  human  demand  for  survival.  You  feel  that  you  should  not  be  used,
crushed, destroyed or exploited by an individual a government or society. When
somebody slaps you, you feel hurt, humiliated, and you don’t like that feeling. If
the person who hurts you is big and powerful so that you can’t hit back, you in
turn  hurt  somebody  else,  you  take  it  out  on  your  brother,  your  sister,  or  your
servant if you have one. So the play of anger is kept going.
First of all, it is a natural response to avoid being hurt. Why should anybody
exploit you? So, in order not to be hurt, you protect yourself, you begin to develop
a defence, a barrier. Inwardly you build a wall around yourself by not being open,
receptive; therefore you are incapable of exploration, of expansive feeling. You
say  anger  is  very  bad  and  you  condemn  it,  as  you  condemn  various  other
feelings; so gradually you become arid, empty, you have no strong feelings at all.
Do you understand?
Questioner: Why do we love our mothers so much?    60
Krishnamurti:  Do  you  love  your  mother  if  you  hate  your  father?  Listen
carefully. When you love somebody very much, do you exclude others from that
love? If you really love your mother, don’t you also love your father, your aunt,
your neighbour, your servant? Don’t you have the feeling of love first, and then
the love of someone in particular? When you say, «I love my mother very much»,
are you not being considerate of her? Can you then give her a lot of meaningless
trouble? And if you are considerate of your mother, are you not also considerate
of your brother, your sister, your neighbour? Otherwise you don’t really love your
mother; it is just a word, a convenience.
Questioner: I am full of hate. Will you please teach me how to love?
Krishnamurti:  No  one  can  teach  you  how  to  love.  If  people  could  be  taught
how to love the world problem would be very simple, would it not? If we could
learn  how  to  love  from  a  book  as  we  learn  mathematics,  this  would  be  a
marvellous world; there would be no hate, no exploitation, no wars, no division of
rich and poor, and we would all be really friendly with each other. But love is not
so  easily  come  by.  It  is  easy  to  hate,  and  hate  brings  people  together  after  a
fashion;  it  creates  all  kinds  of  fantasies,  it  brings  about  various  types  of  co-
operation,  as  in  war.  But  love  is  much  more  difficult.  You  cannot  learn  how  to
love, but what you can do is to observe hate and put it gently aside. Don’t battle
against hate, don’t say how terrible it is to hate people, but see hate for what it is
and let it drop away; brush it aside, it is not important. What is important is not to
let hate take root in your mind. Do you understand? Your mind is like rich soil,
and if given sufficient time any problem that comes along takes root like a weed,
and then you have the trouble of pulling it out; but if you do not give the problem
sufficient time to take root then it has no place to grow and it will wither away. If
you encourage hate, give it time to take root, to grow, to mature, it becomes an
enormous problem. But if each time hate arises you let it go by, then you will find
that your mind becomes very sensitive without being sentimental; therefore it will
know love.    61
The mind can pursue sensations, desires, but it cannot love. Love must come
to  the  mind.  And,  when  once  love  is  there  it  has  no  division  as  sensuous  and
divine: it is love. That is the extraordinary thing about love: it is the only quality
that brings a total comprehension of the whole of existence.
Questioner: What is happiness in life?
Krishnamurti: If you want to do something pleasurable, you think you will be
happy  when  you  do  it.  You  may  want  to  marry  the  richest  man,  or  the  most
beautiful  girl,  or  pass  some  examination,  or  be  praised  by  somebody,  and  you
think  that  by  getting  what  you  want  you  will  be  happy.  But  is  that  happiness?
Does  it  not  soon  fade  away,  like  the  flower  that  blossoms  in  the  morning  and
withers  in  the  evening?  Yet  that  is  our  life,  and  that  is  all  we  want.  We  are
satisfied  with  such  superficialities:  with  having  a  car  or  a  secure  position,  with
feeling a little emotion over some futile thing, like a boy who is happy flying a kite
in a strong wind and a few minutes later is in tears. That is our life, and with that
we are satisfied. We never say, «I will give my heart, my energy, my whole being
to  find  out  what  happiness  is».  We  are  not  very  serious,  we  don’t  feel  very
strongly about it, so we are gratified with little things.
But happiness is not something that you can seek; it is a result, a by-product.
If  you  pursue  happiness  for  itself  it  will  have  no  meaning.  Happiness  comes
uninvited;  and  the  moment  you  are  conscious  that  you  are  happy,  you  are  no
longer happy. I wonder if you have noticed this? When you are suddenly joyous
about nothing in particular, there is just the freedom of smiling, of being happy;
but, the moment you are conscious of it, you have lost it, have you not? Being
self-consciously happy, or pursuing happiness, is the very ending of happiness.
There is happiness only when the self and its demands are put aside.
You  are  taught  a  great  deal  about  mathematics,  you  give  your  days  to
studying history, geography, science, physics, biology, and so on; but do you and
your  teachers  spend  any  time  at  all  thinking  about  these  far  more  serious   62
matters? Do you ever sit quietly, with your back very straight, without movement,
and know the beauty of silence? Do you ever let your mind wander, not about
petty things, but expansively, widely, deeply, and thereby explore, discover? And
do you know what is happening in the world? What is happening in the world is a
projection of what is happening inside each one of us; what we are, the world is.
Most  of  us  are  in  turmoil,  we  are  acquisitive,  possessive,  we  are  jealous  and
condemn people; and that is exactly what is happening in the world, only more
dramatically,  ruthlessly.  But  neither  you  nor  your  teachers  spend  any  time
thinking  about  all  this;  and  it  is  only  when  you  spend  some  time  every  day
earnestly thinking about these matters that there is a possibility of bringing about
a total revolution and creating a new world. And I assure you, a new world has to
be created, a world which will not be a continuation of the same rotten society in
a  different  form.  But  you  cannot  create  a  new  world  if  your  mind  is  not  alert,
watchful,  expansively  aware;  and  that  is  why  it  is  so  important,  while  you  are
young, to spend some time reflecting over these very serious matters and not just
pass your days in the study of a few subjects, which leads nowhere except to a
job  and  death.  So  do  consider  seriously  all  these  things,  for  out  of  that
consideration there comes an extraordinary feeling of joy, of happiness.
Questioner: What is real life?
Krishnamurti: «What is real life?» A little boy has asked this question. Playing
games, eating good food, running jumping pushing – that is real life for him. You
see, we divide life into the real and the false. Real life is doing something which
you love to do with your whole being so that there is no inner contradiction, no
war between what you are doing and what you think you should do. Life is then a
completely  integrated  process  in  which  there  is  tremendous  joy.  But  that  can
happen only when you are not psychologically depending on anybody, or on any
society,  when  there  is  complete  detachment  inwardly,  for  only  then  is  there  a
possibility of really loving what you do. If you are in a state of total revolution, it
does  not  matter  whether  you  garden,  or  become  a  prime  minister,  or  do   63
something else; you will love what you do, and out of that love there comes an
extraordinary feeling of creativeness.    64
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 9
YOU KNOW, IT is very interesting to find out what learning is. We learn from a
book or from a teacher about mathematics, geography, history; we learn where
London is, or Moscow, or New York; we learn how a machine works, or how the
birds build their nests, care for their young, and so on. By observation and study
we learn. That is one kind of learning.
But is there not also another kind of learning – the learning that comes through
experience? When we see a boat on the river with its sails reflected on the quiet
waters,  is  that  not  an  extraordinary  experience?  And  then  what  happens?  The
mind stores up an experience of that kind, just as it stores up knowledge, and the
next evening we go out there to watch the boat, hoping to have the same kind of
feeling – an experience of joy, that sense of peace which comes so rarely in our
lives. So the mind is sedulously storing up experience; and it is this storing up of
experience as memory that makes us think, is it not? What we call thinking is the
response of memory. Having watched that boat on the river and felt a sense of
joy,  we  store  up  the  experience  as  memory  and  then  want  to  repeat  it;  so  the
process of thinking is set going, is it not?
You see, very few of us really know how to think. Most of us merely repeat
what we have read in a book, or what somebody has told us, or our thinking is the
outcome of our own very limited experience. Even if we travel all over the world
and have innumerable experiences, meet many different people and hear what
they have to say, observe their customs, their religions, their manners, we retain
the  remembrance  of  all  that,  from  which  there  is  what  we  call  thinking.  We
compare,  judge,  choose,  and  through  this  process  we  hope  to  find  some
reasonable attitude towards life. But that kind of thinking is very limited, it is con-
fined to a very small area. We have an experience like seeing the boat on the   65
river, or a corpse being carried to the burning ghats, or a village woman carrying
a heavy burden – all these impressions are there, but we are so insensitive that
they don’t sink into us and ripen; and it is only through sensitivity to everything
around us that there is the beginning of a different kind of thinking which is not
limited by our conditioning.
If you hold firmly to some set of beliefs or other, you look at everything through
that particular prejudice or tradition; you don’t have any contact with reality. Have
you ever noticed the village women carrying heavy burdens to the town? When
you do notice it, what happens to you, what do you feel? Or is it that you have
seen these women going by so often that you have no feeling at all because you
have become used to it and, so, hardly notice them? And even when you observe
something for the first time, what happens? You automatically translate what you
see according to your prejudices, don’t you? You experience it according to your
conditioning  as  a  communist,  a  socialist,  a  capitalist,  or  some  other  `ist’.
Whereas, if you are none of these things and therefore do not look through the
screen  of  any  idea  or  belief,  but  actually  have  the  direct  contact,  then  you  will
notice  what  an  extraordinary  relationship  there  is  between  you  and  what  you
observe.  If  you  have  no  prejudice,  no  bias,  if  you  are  open,  then  everything
around you becomes extraordinarily interesting, tremendously alive.
That is why it is very important, while you are young, to notice all these things.
Be aware of the boat on the river, watch the train go by, see the peasant carrying
a heavy burden, observe the insolence of the rich, the pride of the ministers, of
the  big  people,  of  those  who  think  they  know  a  lot  –  just  watch  them,  don’t
criticize. The moment you criticize, you are not in relationship, you already have a
barrier between yourself and them, but if you merely observe, then you will have
a  direct  relationship  with  people  and  with  things.  If  you  can  observe  alertly,
keenly,  but  without  judging,  without  concluding,  you  will  find  that  your  thinking
becomes astonishingly acute. Then you are learning all the time.    66
Everywhere  around  you  there  is  birth  and  death,  the  struggle  for  money,
position,  power,  the  unending  process  of  what  we  call  life;  and  don’t  you
sometimes wonder, even while you are very young, what it is all about? You see,
most of us want an answer, we want to be told what it is all about, so we pick up
a political or religious book, or we ask somebody to tell us; but no one can tell us,
because life is not something which can be understood from a book, nor can its
significance be gathered by  following  another,  or  through  some  form  of  prayer.
You and I must understand it for ourselves – which we can do only when we are
fully alive, very alert, watchful, observant, taking interest in everything around us;
and then we shall discover what it is to be really happy.
Most people are unhappy; and they are unhappy because there is no love in
their  hearts.  Love  will  arise  in  your  heart  when  you  have  no  barrier  between
yourself and another, when you meet and observe people without judging them,
when you just see the sailboat on the river and enjoy the beauty of it. Don’t let
your prejudices cloud your observation of things as they are; just observe, and
you  will  discover  that  out  of  this  simple  observation,  out  of  this  awareness  of
trees,  of  birds,  of  people  walking,  working,  smiling,  something  happens  to  you
inside. Without this extraordinary thing happening to you, without the arising of
love in your heart, life has very little meaning; and that is why it is so important
that the educator should be educated to help you understand the significance of
all these things.
Questioner: Why do we want to live in luxury?
Krishnamurti:  What  do  you  mean  by  luxury?  Having  clean  clothes,  keeping
your body clean, eating good food – do you call that luxury? It may seem to be
luxury  to  the  man  who  is  starving,  clothed  in  rags,  and  who  can’t  take  a  bath
every day. So luxury varies according to one’s desires; it is a matter of degree.
Now, do you know what happens to you if you are fond of luxury if you are
attached to comfort and always want to sit on a sofa or in an overstuffed chair?   67
Your  mind  goes  to  sleep.  It  is  good  to  have  a  little  bodily  comfort;  but  to
emphasize comfort, to give it great importance, is to have a sleepy mind. Have
you  noticed  how  happy  most  fat  people  are?  Nothing  seems  to  disturb  them
through their many layers of fat. That is a physical condition, but the mind also
puts on layers of fat; it does not want to be questioned or otherwise disturbed,
and such a mind gradually goes to sleep. What we now call education generally
puts the student to sleep, because if he asks really sharp, penetrating questions
the teacher gets very disturbed and says, «Let us get on with our lesson».
So, when the mind is attached to any form of comfort, when it is attached to a
habit, to a belief, or to a particular spot which it calls `my home’, it begins to go to
sleep; and to understand this fact is more important than to ask whether or not we
live luxuriously. The mind which is very active, alert, watchful, is never attached to
comfort; luxury means nothing to it. But merely having very few clothes does not
mean that one has an alert mind. The sannyasi who outwardly lives very simply
may  be  inwardly  very  complex,  cultivating  virtue,  wanting  to  attain  truth,  God.
What is important is to be inwardly very simple, very austere, which is to have a
mind not clogged with beliefs, with fears, with innumerable wants, for only such a
mind is capable of real thinking, of exploration and discovery.
Questioner: Can there be peace in our life as long as we are struggling with
our environment?
Krishnamurti:  Must  you  not  struggle  with  your  environment?  Must  you  not
break  through  it?  What  your  parents  believe,  your  social  background,  your
traditions, the kind of food you eat, and the things around you like religion, the
priest, the rich man the poor man – all that is your environment. And must you not
break through that environment by questioning it, by being in revolt against it? If
you are not in revolt, if you merely accept your environment, there is a kind of
peace, but it is the peace of death; whereas, if you struggle to break through the
environment  and  find  out  for  yourself  what  is  true,  then  you  will  discover  a   68
different kind of peace which is not mere stagnation. it is essential to struggle with
your environment. You must. Therefore peace is not important. What is important
is  to  understand  and  break  through  your  environment;  and  from  that  comes
peace. But, if you seek peace by merely accepting your environment, you will be
put to sleep, and then you may as well die. That is why from the tenderest age
there should be in you a sense of revolt. Otherwise you will just decay, won’t you?
Questioner: Are you happy or not?
Krishnamurti:  I  don’t  know.  I  have  never  thought  about  it.  The  moment  you
think you are happy, you cease to be happy, don’t you? When you are playing
and shouting with joy, what happens the moment you become conscious that you
are  joyous?  You  stop  being  joyous.  Have  you  noticed  it?  So  happiness  is
something which is not within the field of self-consciousness.
When you try to be good, are you good? Can goodness be practised? Or is
goodness  something  that  comes  naturally  because  you  see,  observe,
understand?  Similarly,  when  you  are  conscious  that  you  are  happy,  happiness
goes  out  of  the  window.  To  seek  happiness  is  absurd,  because  there  is
happiness only when you don’t seek it.
Do you know what the word `humility’ means? And can you cultivate humility?
If you repeat every morning, «I am going to be humble», is that humility? Or does
humility arise of itself when you no longer have pride, vanity? In the same way,
when the things that prevent happiness are gone, when anxiety, frustration, the
search  for  one’s  own  security  have  ceased,  then  happiness  is  there,  you  don’t
have to seek it.
Why are most of you so silent? Why don’t you discuss with me? You know, it
is important to express your thoughts and feelings, however badly, because it will
mean a great deal to you, and I will tell you why. If you begin to express your
thoughts and feelings now, however hesitantly, as you grow up you will not be   69
smothered  by  your  environment,  by  your  parents  by  society,  tradition.  But
unfortunately your teachers don’t encourage you to question, they don’t ask you
what you think. Questioner: Why do we cry, and what is sorrow?
Krishnamurti: A little boy wants to know why we cry and what is sorrow. When
do you cry? You cry when somebody takes away your toy, or when you get hurt,
or when you don’t win a game, or when your teacher or your parents scold you, or
when somebody hits you. As you grow older you cry less and less, because you
harden yourself against life. Very few of us cry when we are older because we
have lost the extraordinary sensitivity of childhood. But sorrow is not merely the
loss of something, it is not just the feeling of being stopped, frustrated; sorrow is
something  much  deeper.  You  see,  there  is  such  a  thing  as  having  no
understanding.  If  there  is  no  understanding,  there  is  great  sorrow.  If  the  mind
does not penetrate beyond its own barriers, there is misery.
Questioner: How can we become integrated without conflict?
Krishnamurti: Why do you object to conflict? You all seem to think conflict is a
dreadful thing. At present you and I are in conflict, are we not? I am trying to tell
you something and you don’t understand; so there is a sense of friction, conflict.
And what is wrong with friction, conflict, disturbance? Must you not be disturbed?
Integration does not come when you seek it by avoiding conflict. It is only through
conflict, and the understanding of conflict, that there is integration.
Integration is one of the most difficult things to come by, because it means a
complete unification of your whole being in all that you do, in all that you say, in
all that you think. You cannot have integration without understanding relationship
– your relationship with society, your relationship with the poor man, the villager,
the beggar, with the millionaire and the governor. To understand relationship you
must  struggle  with  it,  you  must  question  and  not  merely  accept  the  values
established  by  tradition,  by  your  parents,  by  the  priest,  by  the  religion  and  the   70
economic system of the society about you. That is why it is essential for you to be
in revolt, otherwise you will never have integration.    71
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 10
I  AM  SURE  we  all  have  sometime  or  other  experienced  a  great  sense  of
tranquillity and beauty coming to us from the green fields, the setting sun, the still
waters,  or  the  snowcapped  peaks.  But  what  is  beauty?  Is  it  merely  the
appreciation that we feel, or is beauty a thing apart from perception? If you have
good  taste  in  clothes,  if  you  use  colours  that  harmonize,  if  you  have  dignified
manners, if you speak quietly and hold yourself erect, all that makes for beauty,
does it not? But that is merely the outward expression of an inward state, like a
poem you write or a picture you paint. You can look at the green field reflected in
the river and experience no sense of beauty, just pass it by. If, like the fisherman,
you see every day the swallows flying low over the water, it probably means very
little  to  you;  but  if  you  are  aware  of  the  extraordinary  beauty  of  something  like
that, what is it that happens within you and makes you say, «How very beautiful»?
What  goes  to  make  up  this  inward  sense  of  beauty?  There  is  the  beauty  of
outward form: tasteful clothes, nice pictures, attractive furniture, or no furniture at
all with bare, well-proportioned walls, windows that are perfect in shape, and so
on.  I  am  not  talking  merely  of  that,  but  of  what  goes  to  make  up  this  inward
Surely, to have this inward beauty, there must be complete abandonment; the
sense  of  not  being  held,  of  no  restraint,  no  defence,  no  resistance;  but
abandonment becomes chaotic  if there is no austerity with it. And do we know
what it means to be austere, to be satisfied with little and not to think in terms of
‘the  more’?  There  must  be  this  abandonment  with  deep  inward  austerity  –  the
austerity that is extraordinarily simple because the mind is not acquiring, gaining,
not thinking in terms of `the more’. It is the simplicity born of abandonment with
austerity that brings about the state of creative beauty. But if there is no love you   72
cannot  be  simple,  you  cannot  be  austere.  You  may  talk  about  simplicity  and
austerity, but without love they are merely a form of compulsion, and therefore
there  is  no  abandonment.  Only  he  has  love  who  abandons  himself,  forgets
himself completely, and thereby brings about the state of creative beauty.
Beauty obviously includes beauty of form; but without inward beauty, the mere
sensual appreciation of beauty of form leads to degradation, disintegration. There
is inward beauty only when you feel real love for people and for all the things of
the earth; and with that love there comes a tremendous sense of consideration,
watchfulness, patience. You may have prefect technique, as a singer or a poet,
you may know how to paint or put words together, but without this creative beauty
inside, your talent will have very little significance.
Unfortunately,  most  of  us  are  becoming  mere  technicians.  We  pass
examinations, acquire this or that technique in order to earn a livelihood; but to
acquire technique or develop capacity without paying attention to the inner state,
brings  about  ugliness  and  chaos  in  the  world.  If  we  awaken  creative  beauty
inwardly, it expresses itself outwardly, and then there is order. But that is much
more difficult than acquiring a technique, because it means abandoning ourselves
completely,  being  without  fear,  without  restraint,  without  resistance,  without
defence;  and  we  can  thus  abandon  ourselves  only  when  there  is  austerity,  a
sense of great inward simplicity. Outwardly we may be simple, we may have but
few clothes and be satisfied with one meal a day; but that is not austerity. There
is  austerity  when  the  mind  is  capable  of  infinite  experience  –  when  it  has
experience, and yet remains very simple. But that state can come into being only
when the mind is no longer thinking in terms of `the more’, in terms of having or
becoming something through time.
What I am talking about may be difficult for you to understand, but it is really
quite important. You see, technicians are not creators; and there are more and
more technicians in the world, people who know what to do and how to do it, but   73
who  are  not  creators.  In  America  there  are  calculating  machines  capable  of
solving  in  a  few  minutes  mathematical  problems  which  would  take  a  man,
working  ten  hours  every  day,  a  hundred  years  to  solve.  These  extraordinary
machines are being developed. But machines can never be creators – and human
beings are becoming more and more like machines. Even when they rebel, their
rebellion is within the limits of the machine and is therefore no rebellion at all.
So it is very important to find out what it is to be creative. You can be creative
only when there is abandonment – which means, really, when there is no sense of
compulsion,  no  fear  of  not  being,  of  not  gaining,  of  not  arriving.  Then  there  is
great austerity, simplicity, and with it there is love. The whole of that is beauty, the
state of creativeness.
Questioner: Does the soul survive after death?
Krishnamurti: If you really want to know, how are you going to find out? By
reading what Shankara, Buddha or Christ has said about it? By listening to your
own particular leader or saint? They may all be totally wrong. Are you prepared to
admit this – which means that your mind is in a position to inquire?
You must first find out, surely, whether there is a soul to survive. What is the
soul? Do you know what it is? Or have you merely been told that there is a soul –
told  by  your  parents,  by  the  priest  by  a  particular  book,  by  your  cultural
environment – and accepted it?
The  word  `soul’  implies  something  beyond  mere  physical  existence,  does  it
not? There is your physical body, and also your character, your tendencies, your
virtues; and transcending all this you say there is the soul. If that state exists at
all, it must be spiritual, something which has the quality of timelessness; and you
are asking whether that spiritual something survives death. That is one part of the
question.    74
The other part is: what is death? Do you know what death is? You want to
know if there is survival after death; but, you see, that question is not important.
The  important  question  is:  can  you  know  death  while  you  are  living?  What
significance has it if someone tells you that there is or is not survival after death?
You still do not know. But you can find out for your- self what death is not after
you are dead, but while you are living, healthy vigorous while you are thinking,
This is also part of education. To be educated is not only to be proficient in
mathematics, history or geography, it is also to have the ability to understand this
extraordinary  thing  called  death  –  not  when  you  are  physically  dying,  but  while
you are living, while you are laughing, while you are climbing a tree, while you are
sailing a boat or swimming. Death is the unknown, and what matters is to know of
the unknown while you are living.
Questioner: When we become ill, why do our parents worry and worry about
Krishnamurti:  Most  parents  are  at  least  partly  concerned  to  look  after  their
children, care for them, but when they worry and worry it indicates that they are
more concerned about themselves than about their children. They don’t want you
to die, because they say, «If our son or daughter dies, what is going to become of
us?»  If  parents  loved  their  children,  do  you  know  what  would  happen?  If  your
parents really loved you, they would see to it that you had no cause for fear, that
you were healthy and happy human beings; they would see to it that there was no
war, no poverty in the world, that society did not destroy you or anyone around
you,  whether  the  villagers,  or  the  people  in  the  towns,  or  the  animals.  It  is
because parents do not truly love their children that there are wars, that there are
the rich and the poor. They have invested their own beings in their children and
through their children they hope to continue, and if you become seriously ill they
worry; so they are concerned with their own sorrow. But they will not admit that.    75
You see, property, land, name, wealth and family are the means of one’s own
continuity, which is also called immortality; and when something happens to their
children, parents are horrified, driven to great sorrow, because they are primarily
concerned  about  themselves.  If  parents  were  really  concerned  about  their
children society would be transformed overnight; we would have a different kind
of  education,  different  homes,  a  world  without  war.  Questioner:  Should  the
temples be open to all for worship.
Krishnamurti: What is the temple? It is a place of worship in which there is a
symbol of God, the symbol being an image conceived by the mind and carved out
of stone by the hand. That stone, that image, is not God is it? It is only a symbol,
and a symbol is like your shadow as you walk in the sun. The shadow is not you;
and these images, these symbols in the temple, are not God, not truth. So what
does it matter who enters or who does not enter the temple? Why make such a
fuss  about  it?  Truth  may  be  under  a  dead  leaf,  it  may  be  in  a  stone  by  the
wayside, in the waters that reflect the loveliness of an evening, in the clouds, in
the smile of the woman who carries a burden. In this whole world there is reality,
not necessarily in the temple; and generally it is not in the temple, because that
temple  is  made  out  of  man’s  fear,  it  is  based on his desire  for  security,  on  his
divisions  of  creed  and  caste.  This  world  is  ours,  we  are  human  beings  living
together,  and  if  a  man  is  seeking  God  he  shuns  temples  because  they  divide
people. The Christian church, the Mohammedan mosque, your own Hindu temple
– they all divide people, and a man who is seeking God will have none of these
things.  So  the  question  of  whether  or  not  someone  or  other  should  enter  the
temple becomes merely a political issue; it has no reality.
Questioner: What part does discipline play in our lives?
Krishnamurti: Unfortunately it plays a great part, does it not? A great part of
your life is disciplined: do this and don t do that. You are told when to get up,
what to eat and what not to eat, what you must know and not know; you are told   76
that you must read, go to classes, pass examinations, and so on. Your parents,
your teachers, your society, your tradition, your sacred books all tell you what to
do; so your life is bound, hedged about by discipline, is it not? You are a prisoner
of do’s and don’ts, they are the bars of your cage.
Now, what happens to a mind that is bound by discipline? Surely, it is only
when you are afraid of something, when you are resisting something, that there
has to be discipline; then you have to control, hold yourself together. Either you
do  this  out  of  your  own  volition,  or  society  does  it  for  you  –  society  being  your
parents,  your  teachers,  your  tradition,  your  sacred  books.  But  if  you  begin  to
inquire, to search out, if you learn and understand without fear, then is discipline
necessary? Then that very understanding brings about its own true rder, which is
not born of imposition or compulsion.
Do think about this; because when you are disciplined through fear, crushed
by the compulsion of society, dominated by what your parents and teachers say,
there is for you no freedom, no joy, and all initiative is gone. The older the culture,
the  greater  is  the  weight  of  tradition  which  disciplines  you,  tells  you  what  you
must and must not do; and so you are weighed down, psychologically flattened
as if a steam-roller had gone over you. That is what has happened in India. The
weight of tradition is so enormous that all initiative has been destroyed, and you
have ceased to be an individual; you are merely part of a social machine, and
with that you are content. Do you understand? You don’t revolt, explode, break
away.  Your  parents  don’t  want  you  to  revolt,  your  teachers  don’t  want  you  to
break  away,  therefore  your  education  is  aimed  at  making  you  conform  to  the
established  pattern.  Then  you  are  not  a  complete  human  being,  because  fear
gnaws at your heart; and as long as there is fear there is no joy, no creativity.
Questioner: Just now, when you were talking about the temple, you referred to
the symbol of God as merely a shadow.  We  cannot  see  the shadow of a man
without the real man to cast it.    77
Krishnamurti: Are you satisfied with the shadow? If you are hungry, will you be
satisfied  merely  to  look  at  food?  Then  why be satisfied with the shadow in the
temple?  If  you  deeply  want  to  understand  the  real,  you  will  let  the  shadow  go.
But, you see, you are mesmerized by the shadow, by the symbol, by the image of
stone. Look what has happened in the world. People are divided because they
worship a particular shadow in the mosque, in the temple, in the church. There
can be the multiplica- tion of shadows, but there is only one reality, which cannot
be divided; and to reality there is no path, neither Christian, Moslem, Hindu, nor
any other.
Questioner: Examinations may be unnecessary for the rich boy or girl whose
future  is  assured,  but  are  they  not  a  necessity  for  poor  students  who  must  be
prepared to earn a livelihood? And is their need less urgent, especially if we take
society as it is?
Krishnamurti: You take society as it is for granted. Why? You who don’t belong
to  the  poor  class,  who  are  fairly  well-to-do,  why  don’t  you  revolt  –  not  as  a
communist  or  a  socialist,  but  revolt  against  the  whole  social  system?  You  can
afford to do it, so why don’t you use your intelligence to find out what is true and
create a new society? The poor man is not going to revolt, because he hasn’t the
energy or the time to think; he is wholly occupied, he wants food, work. But you
who have leisure, a little free time to use your intelligence, why don’t you revolt?
Why  don’t  you  find  out  what  is  a  right  society,  a  true  society,  and  build  a  new
civilization? If it does not begin with you, it will obviously not begin with the poor.
Questioner: Will the rich ever be prepared to give up much of what they have
for the sake of the poor?
Krishnamurti:  We  are not talking  about what the rich should give up for the
sake of the poor. Whatever they give up, it will still not satisfy the poor – but that is
not the problem. You who are well-to-do, and who therefore have the opportunity
to  cultivate  intelligence,  can  you  not  through  revolt  create  a  new  society?  it   78
depends on you, not on anybody else; it depends on each one of us, not on the
rich or the poor, or on the communists. You see, most of us have not this spirit of
revolt this urge to break through, to find out; and it is this spirit that is important.    79
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 11
HAVE  YOU  EVER  sat  very  quietly  with  closed  eyes  and  watched  the
movement  of  your  own  thinking?  Have  you  watched  your  mind  working  –  or
rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts
are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds,
at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you
ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one’s
mind  works  is  a  basic  purpose  of  education.  If  you  don’t  know  how  your  mind
reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what
society  is.  You  may  read  books  on  sociology,  study  social  sciences,  but  if  you
don’t  know  how  your  own  mind  works  you  cannot  actually  understand  what
society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your
beliefs,  your  going  to  the  temple,  the  clothes  you  wear,  the  things  you  do  and
don’t do and what you think – society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what
is  going  on  in  your  own  mind.  So  your  mind  is  not  apart  from  society,  it  is  not
distinct  from  your  culture,  from  your  religion,  from  your  various  class  divisions,
from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part
of it. There is no `you’ separate from society.
Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mould the thinking of the
young.  From  the  moment  you  are  born  and  begin  to  receive impressions, your
father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what
to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is
no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these
things are poured into you, which means that your mind – which is very young,
impressionable,  inquisitive,  curious  to  know,  wanting  to  find  out  –  is  gradually
being  encased,  conditioned,  shaped  so  that  you  will  fit  into  the  pattern  of  a   80
particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking
has already been established in you, even if you do `revolt’ it is within the pattern.
It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences – but
always  within  the  prison.  When  you  seek  God,  or  try  to  find  out  what  is  right
government,  it  is  always  within  the  pattern  of  society,  which  says,  «This  is  true
and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are
the  saints».  So  your  revolt,  like  the  so-called  revolution  brought  about  by
ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt,
that  is  not  revolution:  it  is  merely  heightened  activity,  a  more  valiant  struggle
within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern
and to inquire outside of it.
You  see,  all  reformers  –  it  does  not  matter  who  they  are  –  are  merely
concerned with bettering the conditions within the prison. They never tell you not
to  conform,  they  never  say,  «Break  through  the  walls  of  tradition  and  authority,
shake  off  the  conditioning  that  holds  the  mind».  And  that  is  real  education:  not
merely to require you to pass examinations for which you have crammed up, or to
write out something which you have learnt by heart, but to help you to see the
walls  of  this  prison  in  which  the  mind  is  held.  Society  influences  all  of  us,  it
constantly shapes our thinking, and this pressure of society from the outside is
gradually translated as the inner; but, however deeply it penetrates, it is still from
the outside, and there is no such thing as the inner as long as you do not break
through this conditioning. You must know what you are thinking, and whether you
are thinking as a Hindu, or a Moslem, or a Christian; that is, in terns of the religion
you happen to belong to. You must be conscious of what you believe or do not
believe. All this is the pattern of society and, unless you are aware of the pattern
and break away from it, you are still a prisoner though you may think you are free.
But you see, most of us are concerned with revolt within the prison; we want
better food, a little more light, a larger window so that we can see a little more of
the sky. We are concerned with whether the outcaste should enter the temple or   81
not; we want to break down this particular caste, and in the very breaking down of
one  caste  we  create  another,  a  `superior’  caste;  so  we  remain  prisoners,  and
there is no freedom in prison. Freedom lies outside the walls, outside the pattern
of society; but to be free of that pattern you have to understand the whole content
of it, which is to understand your own mind. It is the mind that has created the
present  civilization,  this  tradition-bound  culture  or  society  and,  without
understanding your own mind, merely to revolt as a communist, a socialist, this or
that,  has  very  little  meaning.  That  is  why  it  is  very  important  to  have  self-
knowledge, to be aware of all your activities, your thoughts and feelings; and this
is education, is it not? Because when you are fully aware of yourself your mind
becomes very sensitive, very alert.
You  try  this  –  not  someday  in  the  faraway  future,  but  tomorrow  or  this
afternoon. If there are too many people in your room, if your home is crowded,
then go away by yourself, sit under a tree or on the river bank and quietly observe
how your mind works. Don’t correct it, don’t say, «This is right, that is wrong», but
just watch it as you would a film. When you go to the cinema you are not taking
part  in  the  film;  the  actors  and  actresses  are  taking  part,  but  you  are  only
watching.  In  the  same  way,  watch  how  your  mind  works.  It  is  really  very
interesting, far more interesting than any film, because your mind is the residue of
the whole world and it contains all that human beings have experienced. Do you
understand? Your mind is humanity, and when you perceive this, you will have
immense compassion. Out of this understanding comes great love; and then you
will know, when you see lovely things, what beauty is.
Questioner: How did you learn all that you are talking about, and how can we
come to know it?
Krishnamurti: That is a good question, is it not?
Now, if I may talk about myself a little, I have not read any books about these
things, neither the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, nor any psychological books;   82
but as I told you, if you watch your own mind, it is all there. So when once you set
out on the journey of self-knowledge, books are not important. It is like entering a
strange  land  where  you  begin  to  find  out  new  things  and  make  astonishing
discoveries; but, you see, that is all destroyed if you give importance to yourself.
The moment you say, «I have discovered, I know, I am a great man because I
have found out this and that», you are lost. If you have to take a long journey, you
must carry very little; if you want to climb to a great height, you must travel light.
So  this  question  is  really  important,  because  discovery  and  understanding
come through self-knowledge, through observing the ways of the mind. What you
say of your neighbour, how you talk, how you walk, how you look at the skies, at
the  birds,  how  you  treat  people,  how  you  cut  a  branch  –  all  these  things  are
important, because they act like mirrors that show you as you are and, if you are
alert, you discover everything anew from moment to moment.
Questioner: Should we form an idea about someone, or not?
Krishnamurti:  Should  you  have  ideas  about  people?  Should  you  form  an
opinion,  make  a  judgment  about  someone?  When  you  have  ideas  about  your
teacher, what is important to you? Not your teacher, but your ideas about him.
And that is what happens in life, is it not? We all have opinions about people; we
say, «He is good», «He is vain», «He is superstitious», «He does this or that». We
have  a  screen  of  ideas  between  ourselves  and  another  person,  so  we  never
really meet that person. Hawing seen someone do something, we say, «He has
done this thing; so it becomes important to date events. Do you understand? If
you see someone do something which you consider to be good or bad, you then
have an opinion of him which  tends  to  become  fixed  and, when you meet that
person ten days or a year later, you still think of him in terms of your opinion. But
during this period he may have changed; therefore it is very important not to say,
«He is like that», but to say, «He was like that in February», because by the end of
the year he may be entirely different. If you say of anyone, «I know that person»,   83
you may be totally wrong, because you know him only up to a certain point, or by
the events which took place on a particular date, and beyond that you don’t know
him at all. So what is important is to meet another human being always with a
fresh mind, and not with your prejudices, with your fixed ideas, with your opinions.
Questioner: What is feeling and how do we feel?
Krishnamurti:  If  you  have  lessons  in  physiology,  your  teacher  has  probably
explained  to  you  how  the  whole  human  nervous  system  is  built  up.  When
somebody pinches you, you feel pain. What does that mean? Your nerves carry a
sensation  to  the  brain,  the  brain  translates  it  as  pain,  and  then  you  say,  «You
have hurt me». Now, that is the physical part of feeling.
Similarly,  there  is  psychological  feeling,  is  there  not?  If  you  think  you  are
marvellously  beautiful  and  somebody  says,  «You  are  an  ugly  person»,  you  feel
hurt. Which means what? You hear certain words which the brain translates as
unpleasant or insulting, and you are disturbed; or somebody flatters you and you
say,  «How  pleasurable  it  is  to  hear  this».  So  feeling-thinking  is  a  reaction  –  a
reaction to a pinprick, to an insult, to flattery, and so on. The whole of this is the
process of feeling-thinking but it is much more complex than this, and you can go
deeper and deeper into it.
You see, when we have a feeling, we always name it, don’t we? We say it is
pleasurable or painful. When we are angry we give that feeling a name, we call it
anger;  but  have  you  ever  thought  what  would  happen  if  you  did  not  name  a
feeling? You try it. The next time you get angry, don’t name it, don’t call it anger;
just be aware of the feeling without giving it a name, and see what happens.
Questioner:  What  is  the  difference  between  Indian  culture  and  American
Krishnamurti:  When  we  talk  about  American  culture  we  generally  mean  the
European culture which was transplanted in America, a culture which has since   84
become  modified  and  extended  in  meeting  new  frontiers,  physical  as  well  as
And what is Indian culture? What is the culture which you have here? What do
you mean by the word `culture’? If you have ever done any gardening you know
how you cultivate and prepare the soil. You dig, remove rocks, and if necessary
you add compost, a decomposed mixture of leaves, hay, manure, and other kinds
of organic matter, to make the soil rich, and then you plant. The rich soil gives
nourishment  to  the  plant,  and  the  plant  gradually  produces  that  marvellously
lovely thing called a rose.
Now, the Indian culture is like that. Millions of people have produced it by their
struggles,  by  exercising  their  will,  by  wanting  this  and  resisting  that,  constantly
thinking,  suffering,  fearing,  avoiding,  enjoying;  also  climate,  food  and  clothing
have  had  their  influence  on  it.  So  we  have  here  an  extraordinary  soil,  the  soil
being  the  mind;  and  before  it  was  completely  moulded,  there  were  a  few  vital,
creative people who exploded all over Asia. They did not say, as you do, «I must
accept the edicts of society. What will my father think if I do not?» On the contrary,
they were people who had found something and they were not lukewarm, they
were hot about it. Now, the whole of that is the Indian culture. What you think, the
food you eat, the clothes you put on, your manners, your traditions, your speech,
your paintings and statues, your gods, your priests and your sacred books – all
that is the Indian culture, is it not?
So  the  Indian  culture  is  somewhat  different  from  the  European  culture,  but
underneath  the  movement  is  the  same.  This  movement  may  express  itself
differently  in  America,  because  the  demands  are  different  there;  there  is  less
tradition  and  they  have  more  refrigerators,  cars,  and  so  on.  But  it  is  the  same
movement underneath – the movement to find happiness, to find out what God,
what truth is; and when this movement stops, culture declines, as it has done in   85
this country. When this movement is blocked by authority, by tradition, by fear,
there is decay, deterioration.
The urge to find out what truth is, what God is, is the only real urge, and all
other  urges  are  subsidiary.  When  you  throw  a  stone  into  still  water,  it  makes
expanding  circles.  The  expand-  ing  circles  are  the  subsidiary  movements,  the
social reactions, but the real movement is at the centre, which is the movement to
find happiness, God, truth; and you cannot find it as long as you are caught in
fear, held by a threat. From the moment there is the arising of threat and fear,
culture declines.
That  is  why  it  is  very  important,  while  you  are  young,  not  to  become
conditioned, not to be held in by fear of your parents, of society, so that there is in
you  this  timeless  movement  to  discover  what  is  truth.  The  men  who  seek  out
what is truth, what is God – only such men can create a new civilization, a new
culture; not the people who conform, or who merely revolt within the prison of the
old conditioning. You may put on the robes of an ascetic, join this society or that,
leave one religion for another, try in various ways to be free; but unless there is
within you this movement to find out what is the real, what is truth, what is love
your  efforts  will  be  without  significance.  You  may  be  very  learned  and  do  the
things which society calls good, but they are all within the prison walls of tradition
and therefore of no revolutionary value at all.
Questioner: What do you think of Indians?
Krishnamurti:  That  is  really  an  innocent  question,  is  it  not?  To  see  facts
without opinion is one thing, but to have opinions about facts is totally another. It
is one thing just to see the fact that a whole people are caught in superstition, but
quite  another  to  see  that  fact  and  condemn  it.  Opinions  are  not  important,
because  I  will  have  one  opinion,  you  will  have  another,  and  a  third  person  will
have  still  another.  To  be  concerned  with  opinions  is  a  stupid  form  of  thinking.   86
What  is  important  is  to  see  facts  as  they  are  without  opinion,  without  judging,
without comparing.
To feel beauty without opinion is the only real perception of beauty. Similarly, if
you can see the people of India just as they are, see them very clearly without
fixed opinions, without judging, then what you see will be real.
The  Indians  have  certain  manners,  certain  customs  of  their  own,  but
fundamentally they are like any other people. They get bored, they are cruel, they
are afraid, they revolt within the prison of society, just as people do everywhere
else.  Like  the  Americans,  they  also  want  comfort,  only  at  present  they  do  not
have  it  to  the  same  extent.  They  have  a  heavy  tradition  about  renouncing  the
world  and  trying  to  be  saintly;  but  they  also  have  deep-rooted  ambitions,
hypocrisy, greed, envy, and they are broken up by castes, as human beings are
everywhere  else,  only  here  it  is  much  more  brutal.  Here  in  India  you  can  see
more closely the whole phenomenon of what is happening in the world. We want
to  be  loved,  but  we  don’t  know  what  love  is;  we  are  unhappy,  thirsting  for
something real, and we turn to books, to the Upanishads, the Gita, or the Bible,
so we get lost in words, in speculations. Whether it is here, or in Russia, or in
America,  the  human  mind  is  similar,  only  it  expresses  itself  in  different  ways
under different skies and different governments.    87
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 12
WE HAVE BEEN discussing the question of revolt within the prison: how all
reformers,  idealists,  and  others  who  are  incessantly  active  in  producing  certain
results, are always revolting within the walls of their own conditioning, within the
walls of their own social structure, within the cultural pattern of civilization which is
an  expression  of  the  collective  will  of  the  many.  I  think  it  would  now  be  worth
while if we could see what confidence is and how it comes about.
Through  initiative  there  comes  about  confidence;  but  initiative  within  the
pattern  only  brings  self-confidence,  which  is  entirely  different  from  confidence
without  the  self.  Do  you  know  what  it  means  to  have  confidence?  If  you  do
something with your own hands, if you plant a tree and see it grow, if you paint a
picture,  or  write  a  poem,  or,  when  you  are  older,  build  a  bridge  or  run  some
administrative job extremely well, it gives you confidence that you are able to do
something.  But,  you  see,  confidence  as  we  know  it  now  is  always  within  the
prison, the prison which society – whether communist, Hindu, or Christian – has
built  around  us.  Initiative  within  the  prison  does  create  a  certain  confidence,
because  you  feel  you  can  do  things:  you  can  design  a  motor,  be  a  very  good
doctor,  an  excellent  scientist,  and  so  on.  But  this  feeling  of  confidence  which
comes with the capacity to  succeed  within  the  social  structure,  or  to  reform,  to
give more light, to decorate the interior of the prison is really self-confidence; you
know you can do something, and you feel important in doing it, Whereas, when
through  investigating,  through  understanding,  you  break  away  from  the  social
structure  of  which  you  are  a  part,  there  comes  an  entirely  different  kind  of
confidence  which  is  without  the  sense  of  self-importance;  and  if  we  can
understand  the  difference  between  these  two  –  between  self-confidence,  and
confidence without the self – I think it will have great significance in our life.    88
When you play a game very well, like badminton, cricket, or football, you have
a certain sense of confidence, have you not? It gives you the feeling that you are
pretty  good  at  it.  If  you  are  quick  at  solving  mathematical  problems,  that  also
breeds a sense of self-assurance. When confidence is born of action within the
social structure, there always goes with it a strange arrogance, does there not?
The confidence of a man who can do things, who is capable of achieving results,
is always coloured by this arrogance of the self, the feeling, «It is I who do it». So,
in the very act of achieving a result, of bringing about a social reform within the
prison, there is the arrogance of the self, the feeling that I have done it, that my
ideal is important, that my group has succeeded. This sense of the `me’ and the
`mine’  always  goes  with  the  confidence  that  expresses  itself  within  the  social
Have  you  not  noticed  how  arrogant  idealists  are?  The  political  leaders  who
bring about certain results, who achieve great reforms – have you not noticed that
they are full of themselves, puffed up with their ideals and their achievements? In
their  own  estimation  they  are  very  important.  Read  a  few  of  the  political
speeches, watch some of these people who call themselves reformers, and you
will see that in the very process of reformation they are cultivating their own ego;
their  reforms,  however  extensive,  are  still  within  the  prison,  therefore  they  are
destructive and ultimately bring more misery and conflict to man.
Now, if you can see through this whole social structure, the cultural pattern of
the  collective  will  which  we  call  civilization  –  if  you  can  understand  all  that  and
break  away  from  it,  break  through  the  prison  walls  of  your  particular  society,
whether  Hindu,  communist,  or  Christian,  then  you  will  find  that  there  comes  a
confidence which is not tainted with the sense of arrogance. It is the confidence
of innocence. It is like the confidence of a child who is so completely innocent he
will  try  anything.  It  is  this  innocent  confidence  that  will  bring  about  a  new
civilization; but this innocent confidence cannot come into being as long as you
remain within the social pattern.    89
Please do listen to this carefully. The speaker is not in the least important, but
it is very important for you to understand the truth of what is being said. After all,
that is education, is it not? The function of education is not to make you fit into the
social pattern; on the contrary, it is to help you to understand completely, deeply,
fully and thereby break away from the social pattern, so that you are an individual
without  that  arrogance  of  the  self,  but  you  have  confidence  because  you  are
really innocent.
Is it not a great tragedy that almost all of us are only concerned either with
how  to  fit  into  society,  or  how  to  reform  it?  Have  you  noticed  that  most  of  the
questions  you  have  asked  reflect  this  attitude?  You  are  saying,  in  effect,  «How
can I fit into society? What will my father and mother say, and what will happen to
me if I don’t?» Such an attitude destroys whatever confidence, whatever initiative
you  have.  And  you  leave  school  and  college  like  so  many  automatons,  highly
efficient perhaps, but without any creative flame. That is why it is so important to
understand  the  society,  the  environment  in  which  one  lives,  and,  in  that  very
process of understanding, break away from it.
You see, this is a problem all over the world. Man is seeking a new response,
a new approach to life, because the old ways are decaying, whether in Europe, in
Russia, or here. Life is a continual challenge, and merely to try to bring about a
better economic order is not a total response to that challenge, which is always
new; and when cultures, peoples, civilizations are incapable of responding totally
to the challenge of the new, they are destroyed.
Unless  you  are  properly  educated,  unless  you  have  this  extraordinary
confidence  of  innocence,  you  are  inevitably  going  to  be  absorbed  by  the
collective and lost in mediocrity. You will put some letters after your name, you
will be married, have children, and that will be the end of you.
You  see,  most  of  us  are  frightened.  Your  parents  are  frightened,  your
educators  are  frightened,  the  governments  and  religions  are  frightened  of  your   90
becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the
prison of environmental and cultural influences. But it is only the individuals who
break through the social pattern by understanding it, and who are therefore not
bound  by  the  conditioning  of  their  own  minds  –  it  is  only  such  people  who  can
bring about a new civilization, not the people who merely conform, or who resist
one particular pattern because they are shaped by another. The search for God
or truth does not lie within the prison, but rather in understanding the prison and
breaking through its walls – and this very movement towards freedom creates a
new culture, a different world.
Questioner: Sir, why do we want to have a companion?
Krishnamurti: A girl asks why we want a companion. Why does one want a
companion? Can you live alone in this world without a husband or a wife, without
children,  without  friends?  Most  people  cannot  live  alone,  therefore  they  need
companions.  It  requires  enormous  intelligence  to  be  alone;  and  you  must  be
alone to find God, truth. It is nice to have a companion, a husband or a wife, and
also to have babies; but you see, we get lost in all that, we get lost in the family,
in the job, in the dull, monotonous routine of a decaying existence. We get used
to  it,  and  then  the  thought  of  living  alone  becomes  dreadful,  something  to  be
afraid of. Most of us have put all our faith in one thing, all our eggs in one basket,
and  our  lives  have  no  richness  apart  from  our  companions,  apart  from  our
families and our jobs. But if there is a richness in one’s life – not the richness of
money or knowledge, which anyone can acquire, but that richness which is the
movement  of  reality  with  no  beginning  and  no  ending  –  then  companionship
becomes a secondary matter.
But, you see, you are not educated to be alone. Do you ever go out for a walk
by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree – not with a
book, not with a companion, but by yourself – and observe the falling of a leaf,
hear the lapping of the water, the fisherman’s song, watch the flight of a bird, and   91
of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind. If
you  are  able  to  be  alone  and  watch  these  things,  then  you  will  discover
extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt,
and which can never be destroyed. Questioner: Is it your hobby to give lectures?
Don’t you get tired of talking? Why are you doing it?
Krishnamurti:  I  am  glad  you  asked  that  question.  You  know,  if  you  love
something, you never get tired of it – I mean love in which there is no seeking of a
result, no wanting something out of it. When you love something, it is not self-
fulfilment, therefore there is no disappointment, there is no end. Why am I doing
this? You might as well ask why the rose blooms, why the jasmine gives its scent,
or why the bird flies.
You see, I have tried not talking, to find out what happens if I don’t talk. That is
all  right  too.  Do  you  understand?  If  you  are  talking  because  you  are  getting
something  out  of  it  –  money, a reward, a sense of your  own  importance  –  then
there is weariness, then your talking is destructive, it has no meaning because it
is only self-fulfilment; but if there is love in your heart, and your heart is not filled
with the things of the mind, then it is like a fountain, like a spring that is timelessly
giving fresh water.
Questioner:  When  I  love  a  person  and  he  gets  angry,  why  is  his  anger  so
Krishnamurti:  First  of  all,  do  you  love  anybody?  Do  you  know  what  it  is  to
love? It is to give completely your mind your heart, your whole being and not ask
a thing in return not put out a begging bowl to receive love. Do you understand?
When there is that kind of love, is there anger? And why do we get angry when
we  love  somebody  with  the  ordinary,  so-called  love?  It  is  because  we  are  not
getting  something  we  expect  from  that  person,  is  it  not?  I  love  my  wife  or
husband, my son or daughter, but the moment they do something `wrong’ I get
angry. Why?    92
Why does the father get angry with his son or daughter? Because he wants
the child to be or do something, to fit into a certain pattern, and the child rebels.
Parents try to fulfil, to immortalize themselves through their property, through their
children and, when the child does something of which they disapprove, they get
violently angry. They have an ideal of what the child should be, and through that
ideal they are ful- filling themselves; and they get angry when the child does not
fit into the pattern which is their fulfilment.
Have you noticed how angry you sometimes get with a friend of yours? It is
the same process going on. You are expecting something from him, and when
that expectation is not fulfilled you are disappointed – which means, really, that
inwardly, psychologically you are depending on that person. So wherever there is
psychological  dependence,  there  must  be  frustration;  and  frustration  inevitably
breeds  anger,  bitterness,  jealousy,  and  various  other  forms  of  conflict.  That  is
why it is very important, especially while you are young, to love something with
your whole being – a tree, an animal, your teacher, your parent – for then you will
find out for yourself what it is to be without conflict, without fear.
But you see, the educator is generally concerned about himself, he is caught
up in his personal worries about his family, his money, his position. He has no
love in his heart, and this is one of the difficulties in education. You may have
love in your heart, because to love is a natural thing when one is young; but it is
soon destroyed by the parents, by the educator, by the social environment. To
maintain that innocence, that love which is the perfume of life, is extraordinarily
arduous; it requires a great deal of intelligence, insight.
Questioner: How can the mind go beyond its hindrances?
Krishnamurti:  To  go  beyond  its  hindrances,  the  mind  must  first  be  aware  of
them, must it not? You must know the limitations, the boundaries, the frontiers of
your own mind; but very few of us know them. We say that we do, but it is merely
a verbal assertion. We never say, «Here is a barrier, a bondage within me, and I   93
want to understand it; therefore I am going to be cognizant of it, see how it came
into being and the whole nature of it». If one knows what the disease is, there is a
possibility of curing it. But to know the disease, to know the particular limitation,
bondage or hindrance of the mind, and to understand it, one must not condemn it,
one  must  not  say  it  is  right  or  wrong.  One  must  observe  it  without  having  an
opinion,  a  prejudice  about  it  –  which  is  extraordinarily  difficult,  because  we  are
brought up to condemn.
To understand a child, there must be no condemnation. To condemn him has
no meaning. You have to watch him when he is playing, crying, eating, you have
to observe him in all his moods; but you cannot do this if you say he is ugly, he is
stupid, he is this or that. Similarly, if one can watch the hindrances of the mind,
not  only  the  superficial  hindrances  but  also  the  deeper  hindrances  in  the
unconscious – watch them without condemnation – then the mind can go beyond
them; and that very going beyond is a movement towards truth.
Questioner: Why has God created so many men and women in the world?
Krishnamurti: Why do you take it for granted that God has created us? There
is a very simple explanation: the biological instinct. Instinct, desire, passion, lust
are all part of life. If you say, «Life is God», then that is a different matter. Then
God is everything, including passion, lust, envy, fear. All these factors have gone
to produce in the world an overwhelming number of men and women, so there is
the problem of overpopulation, which is one of the curses of this land. But you
see,  this  problem  is  not  so  easily  solved.  There  are  various  urges  and
compulsions which man is heir to and, without understanding that whole complex
process,  merely  to  try  to  regulate  the  birth  rate  has  not  much  significance.  We
have made a mess of this world, each one of us, because we don’t know what
living is. Living is not this tawdry, mediocre, disciplined thing which we call our
existence. Living is something entirely different;  it  is  abundantly  rich,  timelessly   94
changing, and as long as we don’t understand that eternal movement, our lives
are bound to have very little meaning.    95
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 13
RAIN ON DRY land is an extraordinary thing, is it not? It washes the leaves
clean,  the  earth  is  refreshed.  And  I  think  we  all  ought  to  wash  our  minds
completely  clean,  as  the  trees  are  washed  by  the  rain,  because  they  are  so
heavily  laden  with  the  dust  of  many  centuries,  the  dust  of  what  we  call
knowledge, experience. If you and I would cleanse the mind every day, free it of
yesterday’s reminiscences, each one of us would then have a fresh mind, a mind
capable of dealing with the many problems of existence.
Now, one of the great problems that is disturbing the world is what is called
equality.  In  one  sense  there  is  no  such thing as equality, because we all have
many  different  capacities;  but  we  are  discussing  equality  in  the  sense  that  all
people  should  be  treated  alike.  In  a  school,  for  example,  the  positions  of  the
principal, the teachers and the house parents are merely jobs, functions; but, you
see,  with  certain  jobs  or  functions  goes  what  is  called  status,  and  status  is
respected because it implies power, prestige, it means being in a position to tell
people off, to order people about, to give jobs to one’s friends and the members
of one’s family. So with function goes status; but if we could remove this whole
idea  of  status,  of  power,  of  position,  prestige,  of  giving  benefits  to  others,  then
function  would  have  quite  a  different  and  simple  meaning,  would  it  not?  Then,
whether people were governors, prime ministers, cooks, or poor teachers, they
would  all  be  treated  with  the  same  respect  because  they  are  all  performing  a
different but necessary function in society.
Do  you  know  what  would  happen,  especially  in  a  school,  if  we  could  really
remove from function the whole sense of power, of position, prestige; the feeling,
«I  am  the  Head,  I  am  important»?  We  would  all  be  living  in  quite  a  different
atmosphere, would we not? There would be no authority in the sense of the high   96
and  the  low,  the  big  man  and  the  little  man,  and  therefore  there  would  be
freedom.  And  it  is  very  important  that  we  create  such  an  atmosphere  in  the
school, an atmosphere of freedom in which there is love, in which each one feels
a tremendous sense of confidence; because, you see, confidence comes when
you feel completely at home, secure. Do you feel at ease in your own home if
your father, your mother and your grandmother are constantly telling you what to
do so that you gradually lose all confidence in doing anything by yourself? As you
grow up you must be able to discuss, to find out what you think is true and stick to
it. You must be able to stand by something which you feel is right, even though it
brings pain, suffering, loss of money, and all the rest of it; and for that you must
feel, while you are young, completely secure and at ease.
Most young people don’t feel secure because they are frightened. They are
afraid of their elders, of their teachers, of their mothers and fathers, so they never
really feel at home. But when you do feel at home, there happens a very strange
thing.  When  you  can  go  to  your  room,  lock  the  door  and  be  there  by  yourself
unnoticed,  with  no  one  telling you  what  to  do,  you  feel  completely  secure;  and
then  you  begin  to  flower,  to  understand,  to  unfold.  To  help  you  unfold  is  the
function of a school; and if it does not help you to unfold, it is no school at all.
When  you  feel  at  home  in  a  place  in  the  sense  that  you  feel  secure,  not
beaten  down,  not  compelled  to  do  this  or  that,  when  you  feel  very  happy,
completely  at  ease,  then  you  are  not  naughty,  are  you?  When  you  are  really
happy, you don’t want to hurt anybody, you don’t want to destroy anything. But to
make  the  student  feel  completely  happy  is  extraordinarily  difficult,  because  he
comes to the school with an idea that the principal, the teachers and the house
parents are going to tell him what to do and push him around, and hence there is
Most  of  you  come  from  homes  or  from  schools  in  which  you  have  been
educated to respect status. Your father and mother have status, the principal has   97
status, so you come here with fear, respecting status. But we must create in the
school a real atmo- sphere of freedom, and that can come about only when there
is function without status, and therefore a feeling of equality. The real concern of
right education is to help you to be a vital, sensitive human being, one who is not
afraid and who has no false sense of respect because of status.
Questioner: Why do we find pleasure in our games and not in our studies?
Krishnamurti: For the very simple reason that your teachers do not know how
to  teach.  That  is  all,  there  is  no  very complicated  reason  for  it.  You  know,  if  a
teacher loves mathematics, or history, or whatever it is he teaches, then you also
will love that subject, because love of something communicates itself. Don’t you
know that? If a musician loves to sing and his whole being is in it, doesn’t that
feeling communicate itself to you who are listening? You feel that you too would
like  to  learn  how  to  sing.  But  most  educators  don’t  love  their  subject;  it  has
become a bore to them, a routine through which they have to go in order to earn
a living. If your teachers really loved to teach, do you know what would happen to
you? You would be extraordinary human beings. You would love not only your
games  and  your  studies,  but  also  the  flowers,  the  river,  the  birds,  the  earth,
because you would have this thing vibrating in your hearts; and you would learn
much more quickly, your minds would be excellent and not mediocre.
That is why it is very important to educate the educator – which is very difficult,
because most educators are already well settled in their habits. But habit does
not rest so heavily on the young; and if you love even one thing for itself – if you
really love your games, or mathematics, or history, or painting, or singing – then
you will find that intellectually you are alert, vital, and you will be very good in all
your studies. After all, the mind wants to inquire, to know, because it is curious;
but that curiosity is destroyed by the wrong kind of education. Therefore it is not
only  the  student  who  must  be  educated,  but  also  the  teacher.  Living  is  itself  a
process of education, a process of learning. There is an end to examinations, but   98
there  is  no  end  to  learning  and  you  can  learn  from  everything  if  your  mind  is
curious, alert.
Questioner:  You  have  said  that  when  one  sees  something  to  be  false,  that
false  thing  drops  away.  I  daily  see  that  smoking  is  false,  but  it  does  not  drop
Krishnamurti: Have you ever watched grown-up people smoking, either your
parents,  your  teachers,  your  neighbours,  or  somebody  else?  It  has  become  a
habit with them, has it not? They go on smoking day after day, year in and year
out, and they have become slaves to the habit. Many of them realize how stupid it
is to be a slave to something, and they fight the habit, they discipline themselves
against it, they resist it, they try in all kinds of ways to get rid of it. But, you see,
habit is a dead thing, it is an action which has become automatic, and the more
one  fights  it  the  more  strength  one  gives  to  it.  But  if  the  person  who  smokes
becomes conscious of his habit, if he becomes aware of putting his hand into his
pocket, bringing out the cigarette, tapping it, putting it in his mouth, lighting it and
taking the first puff – if each time he goes through this routine he simply watches it
without condemnation, without saying how terrible it is to smoke, then he is not
giving new vitality to that particular habit. But really to drop something which has
become a habit, you have to investigate it much more, which means going into
the  whole  problem  of  why  the  mind  cultivates  habit  –  that  is,  why  the  mind  is
inattentive. If you clean your teeth every day while looking out of the window, the
cleaning of your teeth becomes a habit; but if you always clean your teeth very
carefully,  giving  your  whole  attention  to  it,  then  it  does  not  become  a  habit,  a
routine that is thoughtlessly repeated.
Experiment with this, observe how the mind wants to go to sleep through habit
and then remain undisturbed. Most people’s minds are always functioning in the
groove of habit, and as we grow older it gets worse. Probably you have already
acquired dozens of habits. You are afraid of what will happen if you don’t do as   99
your parents say, if you don’t marry as your father wants you to, so your mind is
already functioning in a groove; and when you function in a groove, though you
may be only ten or fifteen, you are already old, inwardly decaying. You may have
a good body, but nothing else. Your body may be young and straight, but your
mind is burdened with its own weight.
So  it  is  very  important  to  understand  the  whole  problem  of  why  the  mind
always dwells in habits, runs in grooves, why it moves along a particular set of
rails like a streetcar and is afraid to question, to inquire. If you say, «My father is a
Sikh, therefore I am a Sikh and I am going to grow my hair, wear a turban» – If you
say  that  without  inquiring,  without  questioning,  without  any  thought  of  breaking
away, then you are like a machine. Smoking also makes you like a machine, a
slave to habit, and it is only when you understand all this that the mind becomes
fresh, young, active, alive, so that every day is a new day, every dawn reflected
on the river is a joyous thing to behold.
Questioner:  Why  are  we  afraid  when  some  of  our  elders  are  serious?  And
what makes them so serious?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever thought about what it means to be serious? Are
you  ever  serious?  Are  you  always  gay,  always  cheerful,  laughing,  or  are  there
moments  when  you  are  quiet,  serious  –  not  serious  about  something,  but  just
serious? And why should one be afraid when older people are serious? What is
there to be afraid of? Are you afraid they may see something in you which you
don’t like in yourself? You see, most of us don’t think about these matters; if we
are afraid in the presence of a grave or serious older person, we don’t inquire into
it, we don’t ask ourselves, «Why am I afraid?»
Now, what is it to be serious? Let us find out. You may be serious about very
superficial  things.  When  buying  a  sari,  for  example,  you  may  give  your  whole
attention  to  it,  worry  about  it,  go  to  ten  different  shops  and  spend  all  morning
looking at various patterns. That is also called being serious; but such a person is   100
serious  only  superficially.  Then  you  can  be  serious  about  going  to  the  temple
every day, placing a garland there, giving money to the priests; but all that is a
very false thing, is it not? Because truth or God is not in any temple. And you can
be very serious about nationalism, which is another false thing.
Do you know what nationalism is? It is the feeling, «My India, my country, right
or wrong», or the feeling that India has vast treasures of spiritual knowledge and
is  therefore  greater  than  any  other  nation.  When  we  identify  ourselves  with  a
particular  country  and  feel  proud  of  it,  we  bring about nationalism in the world.
Nationalism is a false god, but millions of people are very serious about it; they
will go to war, destroy, kill or be killed in the name of their country, and this kind of
seriousness is used and exploited by the politicians.
So you can be serious about false things. But if you really begin to inquire into
what it means to be serious, then you will find that there is a seriousness which is
not  measured  by  the  activity  of  the  false  or  shaped  by  a  particular  pattern  –  a
seriousness which comes into being when the mind is not pursuing a result, an
Questioner: What is destiny?
Krishnamurti: Do you really want to go into this problem? To ask a question is
the easiest thing in the world, but your question has meaning only if it affects you
directly so that you are very serious about it. Have you noticed how many people
lose interest once they have asked their question? The other day a man put a
question and then began to yawn, scratch his head and talk to his neighbour; he
had completely lost interest. So I suggest that you don’t ask a question unless
you are really serious about it.
This  problem  of  what  is  destiny  is  very  difficult  and  complex.  You  see,  if  a
cause is set going it must inevitably produce a result. If a vast number of people,
whether  Russians,  Americans,  or  Hindus,  prepare  for  war,  their  destiny  is  war;   101
though  they  may  say  they  want  peace  and  are  preparing  only  for  their  own
defence, they have set in motion causes which bring about war. Similarly, when
millions of people have for centuries taken part in the development of a certain
civilization or culture, they have set going a movement in which individual human
beings are caught up and swept along, whether they like it or not; and this whole
process of being caught up in and swept along by a particular stream of culture or
civilization may be called destiny.
After  all,  if  you  are  born  as  the  son  of  a  lawyer  who  insists  that  you  also
become  a  lawyer,  and  if  you  comply  with  his  wishes  even  though  you  would
prefer to do something else, then your destiny is obviously to become a lawyer.
But if you refuse to become a lawyer, if you insist upon doing that which you feel
to be the true thing for you which is what you really love to do – it may be writing,
painting,  or  having  no  money  and  begging  –  then  you  have  stepped  out  of  the
stream,  you  have  broken  away  from  the  destiny  which  your  father  intended  for
you. It is the same with a culture or civilization.
That is why it is very important that we should be rightly educated – educated
not to be smothered by tradition, not to fall into the destiny of a particular racial,
cultural  or  family  group,  educated  not  to  become  mechanical  beings  moving
towards  a  predetermined  end.  The  man  who  understands  this  whole  process,
who breaks away from it and stands alone, creates his own momentum; and if his
action is a breaking away from the false towards the truth, then that momentum
itself becomes the truth Such men are free of destiny.    102
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 14
HAVE  YOU  EVER  considered  why  we  are  disciplined,  or  why  we  discipline
ourselves?  Political  parties  all  over  the  world  insist  that  the  party  discipline  be
followed. Your parents, your teachers, the society around you – they all tell you
that you must be disciplined, controlled. Why? And is there really any necessity
for  discipline  at  all?  I  know  we  are  accustomed  to  think  that  discipline  is
necessary – the discipline imposed either by society, or by a religious teacher, or
by a particular moral code, or by our own experience. The ambitious man who
wants to achieve, who wants to make a lot of money, who wants to be a great
politician  –  his  very  ambition  becomes  the  means  of  his  own  discipline.  So
everyone around you says that discipline is necessary: you must go to bed and
get up at a certain hour, you must study, pass examinations, obey your father and
mother, and so on.
Now,  why  should  you  be  disciplined  at  all?  What  does  discipline  mean?  It
means  adjusting  yourself  to  something,  does  it  not?  To  adjust  your  thinking  to
what  other  people  say,  to  resist  some  forms  of  desire  and  accept  others,  to
comply with this practice and not with that, to conform, to suppress, to follow, not
only  on  the  surface  of  the  mind,  but  also  deep  down  –  all  this  is  implied  in
discipline. And for centuries, age after age, we have been told by teachers, gurus,
priests, politicians, kings, lawyers, by the society in which we live, that there must
be discipline.
So,  I  am  asking  myself  –  and  I  hope  you  too  are  asking  yourself  –  whether
discipline  is  necessary  at  all,  and  whether  there  is  not  an  entirely  different
approach to this problem? I think there is a different approach, and this is the real
issue which is confronting not only the schools but the whole world. You see, it is
generally accepted that, in order to be efficient, you must be disciplined, either by   103
a moral code, a political creed, or by being trained to work like a machine in a
factory;  but  this  very  process  of  discipline  is  making  the  mind  dull  through
Now,  does  discipline  set  you  free,  or  does  it  make  you  conform  to  an
ideological pattern, whether it be the utopian pattern of communism, or some kind
of moral or religious pattern? Can discipline ever set you free? Having bound you,
made you a prisoner, as all forms of discipline do, can it then let you go? How
can it? Or is there a different approach altogether – which is to awaken a really
deep insight into the whole problem of discipline? That is, can you, the individual,
have only one desire and not two or many conflicting desires? Do you understand
what  I  mean?  The  moment  you  have  two,  three,  or  ten  desires,  you  have  the
problem of discipline, have you not? You want to be rich, to have cars, houses,
and at the same time you want to renounce these things because you think that
to  possess  little  or  nothing  is  moral,  ethical,  religious.  And  is  it  possible  to  be
educated  in  the  right  way  so  that  one’s  whole  being  is  integrated,  without
contradiction,  and  therefore  without  the  need  of  discipline?  To  be  integrated
implies  a  sense  of  freedom,  and  when  this  integration  is  taking  place  there  is
surely  no  need  for  discipline.  Integration  means  being  one  thing  totally  on  all
levels at the same time.
You see, if we could have right education from the very tenderest age, it would
bring  about  a  state  in  which  there  is  no  contradiction  at  all,  either  within  or
without; and then there would be no need for discipline or compulsion because
you  would  be  doing  something  completely,  freely,  with  your  whole  being.
Discipline  arises  only  when  there  is  a  contradiction.  The  politicians,  the
governments, the organized religions want you to have only one way of thinking,
because  if  they  can  make  you  a  complete  communist,  a  complete  Catholic,  or
whatever  it  is,  then  you  are  not  a  problem, you simply believe and work like a
machine; then there is no contradiction because you just follow. But all following   104
is destructive because it is mechanical, it is mere conformity in which there is no
creative release.
Now,  can  we  bring  about,  from  the  tenderest  age,  a  sense  of  complete
security, a feeling of being at home, so that in you there is no struggle to be this
and  not  to  be  that?  Because  the  moment  there  is  an  inward  struggle  there  is
conflict, and to overcome that conflict there must be discipline. Whereas, if you
are rightly educated, then everything that you do is an integrated action; there is
no  contradiction  and  hence  no  compulsive  action.  As  long  as  there  is  no
integration there must be discipline, but discipline is destructive because it does
not lead to freedom.
To be integrated does not demand any form of discipline. That is, if I am doing
what is good, what is intrinsically true, what is really beautiful, doing it with my
whole being, then there is no contradiction in me and I am not merely conforming
to something. If what I am doing is totally good, right in itself – not right according
to  some  Hindu  tradition  or  communist  theory,  but  timelessly  right  under  all
circumstances  –  then  I  am  an  integrated  human  being  and  have  no  need  for
discipline. And is it not the function of a school to bring about in you this sense of
integrated confidence so that what you are doing is not merely what you wish to
do, but that which is fundamentally right and good, everlastingly true? you love
there  is  no  need  for  discipline,  is  there?  Love  brings  its  own  creative
understanding, therefore there is no resistance, no conflict; but to love with such
complete integration is possible only when you feel deeply secure, completely at
home, especially while you are young. This means, really, that the educator and
the student must have abounding confidence in each other, otherwise we shall
create a society which will be as ugly and destructive as the present one. If we
can understand the significance of completely integrated action in which there is
no contradiction, and therefore no need for discipline, then I think we shall bring
about a totally different kind of culture, a new civilization. But if we merely resist,   105
suppress, then what is suppressed will inevitably rebound in other directions and
set going various mischievous activities and destructive events.
So it is very important to understand this whole question of discipline. To me,
discipline  is  something  altogether  ugly;  it  is  not  creative,  it  is  destructive.  But
merely to stop there, with a statement of that kind, may seem to imply that you
can  do  whatever  you  like.  On  the  contrary,  a  man  who  loves  does  not  do
whatever he likes. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in
the world is to love and let love do what it will.
Questioner: Why do we hate the poor?
Krishnamurti: Do you really hate the poor? I am not condemning you; I am just
asking, do you really hate the poor? And if you do, why? Is it because you also
may be poor one day, and imagining your own plight then, you reject it? Or is it
that  you  dislike  the  sordid,  dirty,  unkempt  existence  of  the  poor?  Disliking
untidiness, disorder, squalor, filth, you say, «I don’t want to have anything to do
with the poor.» Is that it? But who has created poverty, squalor and disorder in the
world? You, your parents, your government – our whole society has created them;
because, you see, we have no love in our hearts. We love neither our children
nor our neighbours, neither the living nor the dead. We have no love for anything
at all. The politicians are not going to eradicate all this misery and ugliness in the
world, any more than the religions and the reformers will, because they are only
concerned with a little patchwork here and there; but if there were love, then all
these ugly things would disappear tomorrow.
Do you love anything? Do you know what it is to love? You know, when you
love something completely, with your whole being, that love is not sentimental, it
is not duty, it is not divided as physical or divine. Do you love anyone or anything
with your whole being – your parents, a friend, your dog, a tree? Do you? I am
afraid you don’t. That is why you have vast spaces in your being in which there is
ugliness, hate, envy. You see, the man who loves has no room for anything else.   106
We should really spend our time discussing all this and finding out how to remove
the things that are so cluttering our minds that we cannot love; for it is only when
we love that we can be free and happy. It is only people who are loving, vital,
happy, that can create a new world – not the politicians, not the reformers or the
few ideological saints. Questioner: You talk about truth goodness and integration,
which implies that on the other side there is untruth, evil and disintegration. So
how can one be true, good and integrated without discipline?
Krishnamurti:  In  other  words,  being  envious,  how  can  one  be  free  of  envy
without  discipline?  I  think  it  is  very  important  to  understand  the  question  itself;
because the answer is in the question, it is not apart from the question.
Do you know what envy means? You are nice looking, you are finely dressed,
or wear a beautiful turban or sari, and I also want to dress like that; but I cannot,
so  I  am  envious.  I  am  envious  because  I  want  what  you  have;  I  want  to  be
different from what I am.
I am envious because I want to be as beautiful as you are; I want to have the
fine clothes, the elegant house, the high position that you have. Being dissatisfied
with what I am, I want to be like you; but, if I understood my dissatisfaction and its
cause, then I would not want to be like you or long for the things that you have. In
other words, if once I begin to understand what I am, then I shall never compare
myself  with  another  or  be  envious  of  anyone.  Envy  arises  because  I  want  to
change myself and become like somebody else. But if I say, «Whatever I am, that
I want to understand», then envy is gone; then there is no need of discipline, and
out of the understanding of what I am comes integration.
Our  education,  our  environment,  our  whole  culture  insists  that  we  must
become something. Our philosophies, our religions and sacred books all say the
same thing. But now I see that the very process of becoming something implies
envy, which means that I am not satisfied with being what I am; and I want to
understand what I am, I want to find out why I am always comparing myself with   107
another, trying to become something; and in understanding what I am there is no
need for discipline. In the process of that understanding, integration comes into
being. The contradiction in me yields to the understanding of myself, and this in
turn brings an action which is integral, whole. Questioner: What is power?
Krishnamurti: There is mechanical power, the power produced by the internal
combustion engine, by steam, or by electricity. There is the power that dwells in a
tree, that causes the sap to flow, that creates the leaf. There is the power to think
very  clearly,  the  power  to  love,  the  power  to  hate,  the  power  of  a  dictator,  the
power to exploit people in the name of God, in the name of the Masters, in the
name of a country. These are all forms of power.
Now, power as electricity or light, atomic power, and so on – all such forms of
power are good in themselves, are they not? But the power of the mind that uses
them for the purposes of aggression  and  tyranny,  to  gain  something  for  itself  –
such power is evil under all circumstances. The head of any society, church or
religious group who has power over other people is an evil person, because he is
controlling,  shaping,  guiding  others  without  knowing  where  he  himself  is  going.
This is true not only of the big organizations, but of the little societies all over the
world. The moment a person is clear, unconfused, he ceases to be a leader and
therefore he has no power.
So it is very important to understand why the human mind demands to have
power over others. The parents have power over their children, the wife over the
husband,  or  the  husband  over  the  wife.  Beginning  in  the  small  family,  the  evil
extends  until  it  becomes  the  tyranny  of  governments,  of  political  leaders  and
religious  interpreters.  And  can  one  live  without  this  hunger  for  power,  without
wanting to influence or exploit people, without wanting power for oneself, or for a
group  or  a  nation,  or  for  a  Master  or  a  saint?  All  such  forms  of  power  are
destructive,  they  bring  misery  to  man.  Whereas,  to  be  really  kind,  to  be   108
considerate, to love – this is a strange thing, it has its own timeless effect. Love is
its own eternity, and where there is love there is no evil power.
Questioner: Why do we seek fame?
Krishnamurti:  Have  you  ever  thought  about  it?  We  want  to  be  famous  as  a
writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why?
Because we really don’t love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint,
or  to  write  poems  –  if  you  really  loved  it  –  you  would  not  be  concerned  with
whether you are famous or not. To want to be famous is tawdry, trivial, stupid, it
has  no  meaning;  but,  because  we  don’t  love  what  we  are  doing,  we  want  to
enrich ourselves with fame. Our present education is rotten because it teaches us
to  love  success  and  not  what  we  are  doing.  The  result  has  become  more
important than the action.
You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous,
to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a
name.  That  does  not  make  you  famous,  it  does  not  cause  your  photograph  to
appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a
creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great
beauty.    109
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 15
WE HAVE BEEN talking of so many things, of the many problems of life, have
we  not?  But  I  wonder  if  we  really  know  what  a  problem  is.  Problems  become
difficult to solve if they are allowed to take root in the mind. The mind creates the
problems, and then becomes the soil in which they take root; and once a problem
is well established in the mind it is very difficult to uproot it. What is essential is for
the mind itself to see the problem and not give it the soil to grow.
One  of  the  basic  problems  confronting  the  world  is  the  problem  of  co-
operation.  What  does  the  word  `co-operation’  mean?  To  co-operate  is  to  do
things together, to build together, to feel together, to have something in common
so  that  we  can  freely  work  together.  But  people  generally  don’t  feel  inclined  to
work  together  naturally,  easily,  happily;  and  so  they  are  compelled  to  work
together through various inducements: threat, fear, punishment, reward. This is
the  common  practice  throughout  the  world.  Under  tyrannical  governments  you
are brutally forced to work together; if you don’t `co-operate’ you are liquidated or
sent to a concentration camp. In the so-called civilized nations you are induced to
work together through the concept of `my country’, or for an ideology which has
been very carefully worked out and widely propagated so that you accept it; or
you work together to carry out a plan which somebody has drawn up, a blueprint
for Utopia.
So,  it  is  the  plan,  the  idea,  the  authority  which  induces  people  to  work
together.  This  is  generally  called  co-operation,  and  in  it  there  is  always  the
implication of reward or punishment, which means that behind such `co-operation’
there is fear. You are always working for something – for the country, for the king,
for  the  party,  for  God  or  the  Master,  for  peace,  or  to  bring  about  this  or  that
reform. Your idea of co-operation is to work together for a particular result. You   110
have an ideal – to build a perfect school, or what you will – towards which you are
working,  therefore  you  say  co-operation  is  necessary.  All  this  implies  authority,
does it not? There is always someone who is supposed to know what is the right
thing to do, and therefore you say, «We must co-operate in carrying it out».
Now, I don’t call that co-operation at all. That is not co-operation, it is a form of
greed, a form of fear, compulsion. Behind it there is the threat that if you don’t
`co-operate’ the government won’t recognize you or the Five Year plan will fail, or
you will be sent to a concentration camp, or your country will lose the war, or you
may  not  go  to  heaven.  There  is  always  some  form  of  inducement,  and  where
there is inducement there cannot be real co-operation.
Nor is it co-operation when you and I work together merely because we have
mutually agreed to do something. In any such agreement what is important is the
doing of that particular thing, not working together. You and I may agree to build a
bridge, or construct a road, or plant some trees together, but in that agreement
there is always the fear of disagreement, the fear that I may not do my share and
let you do the whole thing.
So  it  is  not  co-operation  when  we  work  together  through  any  form  of
inducement, or by mere agreement, because behind all such effort there is the
implication of gaining or avoiding something.
To me, co-operation is entirely different. Co-operation is the fun of being and
doing  together  –  not  necessarily  doing  something  in  particular.  Do  you
understand? Young children normally have a feeling for being and doing together.
Haven’t you noticed this? They will co-operate in anything. There is no question
of  agreement  or  disagreement,  reward  or  punishment;  they  just  want  to  help.
They co-operate instinctively, for the fun of being and doing together. But grown-
up people destroy this natural, spontaneous spirit of co-operation in children by
saying, «If you do this I will give you that; if you don’t do this I won’t let you go to
the cinema», which introduces the corruptive element.    111
So, real co-operation comes, not through merely agreeing to carry out some
project together, but with the joy, the feeling of togetherness, if one may use that
word;  because  in  that  feeling  there  is  not  the  obstinacy  of  personal  ideation,
personal opinion.
When you know such co-operation, you will also know when not to co-operate,
which  is  equally  important.  Do  you  understand?  It  is  necessary  for  all  of  us  to
awaken in ourselves this spirit of co-operation, for then it will not be a mere plan
or agreement which causes us to work together, but an extraordinary feeling of
togetherness, the sense of joy in being and doing together without any thought of
reward or punishment. That is very important. But it is equally important to know
when not to co-operate; because if we are not wise we may co-operate with the
unwise, with ambitious leaders who have grandiose schemes, fantastic ideas, like
Hitler and other tyrants down through the ages. So we must know when not to co-
operate; and we can know this only when we know the joy of real co-operation.
This is a very important question to talk over, because when it is suggested
that we work together, your immediate response is likely to be, «What for? What
shall  we  do  together?»  In  other  words,  the  thing  to  be  done  becomes  more
important than the feeling of being and doing together; and when the thing to be
done  –  the  plan,  the  concept,  the  ideological  Utopia  –  assumes  primary
importance,  then  there  is  no  real  co-operation.  Then  it  is  only  the  idea  that  is
binding us together; and if one idea can bind us together, another idea can divide
us.  So,  what  matters  is  to  awaken  in  ourselves  this  spirit  of  co-operation,  this
feeling  of  joy  in  being  and  doing  together,  without  any  thought  of  reward  or
punishment. Most young people have it spontaneously, freely, if it is not corrupted
by their elders.
Questioner:  How  can  we  get  rid  of  our  mental  worries  if  we  can’t  avoid  the
situations which cause them?    112
Krishnamurti: Then you have to face them, have you not? To get rid of worry
you generally try to escape from the problem; you go to the temple or the cinema,
you read a magazine, turn on the radio, or seek some other form of distrac- tion.
But escape does not solve the problem, because when you come back it is still
there; so why not face it from the very beginning?
Now,  what  is  worry?  You  worry  about  whether  you  will  pass  your
examinations,  and  you  are  afraid  that  you  won’t;  so  you  sweat  over  it,  spend
sleepless  nights.  If  you  don’t  pass,  your  parents  will  be  disappointed;  and  also
you would like to be able to say, «I have done it, I have passed my examinations».
You go on worrying right up to examination day and until you know the results.
Can you escape, run away from the situation? Actually, you can’t, can you? So
you have to face it. But why worry about it? You have studied, you have done
your best, and you will pass or not pass. The more you worry about it the more
frightened  and  nervous  you become,  and  the  less  you are  capable  of  thinking;
and when the day arrives you cannot write a thing, you can only look at the clock
– which is what happened to me!
When the mind goes over and over a problem and is ceaselessly concerned
with it, that is what we call worry, is it not? Now, how is one to get rid of worry?
First of all, it is important for the mind not to give soil for the problem to take root.
Do you know what the mind is? Great philosophers have spent many years in
examining the nature of the mind, and books have been written about it; but, if
one really gives one’s whole attention to it, I think it is fairly simple to find out what
the mind is. Have you ever observed your own mind? All that you have learnt up
to now, the memory of all your little experiences, what you have been told by your
parents, by your teachers, the things that you have read in books or observed in
the  world  around  you  –  all  this  is  the  mind.  It  is  the  mind  that  observes,  that
discerns, that learns, that cultivates so-called virtues, that communicates ideas,
that has desires and fears. It is not only what you see on the surface, but also the   113
deep layers of the unconscious in which are hidden the racial ambitions, motives,
urges, conflicts. All this is the mind, which is called consciousness.
Now, the mind wants to be occupied with something, like a mother worrying
about  her  children,  or  a  housewife  about  her  kitchen,  or  a  politician  about  his
popularity or his position in parliament; and a mind that is occupied is incapable
of solving any problem. Do you see that? It is only the unoccupied mind that can
be fresh to understand a problem.
Observe your own mind and you will see how restless it is, always occupied
with  something:  with  what  somebody  said  yesterday,  with  something  you  have
just  learned,  with  what  you  are  going  to  do  tomorrow,  and  so  on.  It  is  never
unoccupied – which does not mean a stagnant mind, or a kind of mental vacuum.
As  long  as  it  is  occupied,  whether  with  the  highest  or  the  lowest,  the  mind  is
small,  petty;  and  a  petty  mind  can  never  resolve  any  problem,  it  can  only  be
occupied  with  it.  However  big  a  problem  may  be,  in  being  occupied  with  it  the
mind  makes  it  petty.  Only  a  mind  that  is  unoccupied  and  therefore  fresh  can
tackle and resolve the problem.
But it is very difficult to have an unoccupied mind. Sometime when you are
sitting quietly by the river, or in your room, observe yourself and you will see how
constantly  that  little  space  of  which  we  are  conscious,  and  which  we  call  the
mind, is filled with the many thoughts that come precipitately into it. As long as
the mind is filled, occupied with something – whether it be the mind of a housewife
or of the greatest scientist – it is small, petty, and whatever problem it tackles, it
cannot resolve that problem. Whereas, a mind that is unoccupied, that has space,
can  tackle  the  problem  and  resolve  it,  because  such  a  mind  is  fresh,  it
approaches the problem anew, not with the ancient heritage of its own memories
and traditions.
Questioner: How can we know ourselves?    114
Krishnamurti:  You  know  your  face  because  you  have  often  looked  at  it
reflected  in  the  mirror.  Now,  there  is  a  mirror  in  which  you  can  see  yourself
entirely – not your face, but all that you think, all that you feel, your motives, your
appetites,  your  urges  and  fears.  That  mirror  is  the  mirror  of  relationship:  the
relationship  between  you  and  your  parents,  between  you  and  your  teachers,
between you and the river, the trees, the earth, between you and your thoughts.
Relationship is a mirror in which you can see yourself, not as you would wish to
be, but as you are. I may wish, when looking in an ordinary mirror, that it would
show me to be beautiful, but that does not happen because the mirror reflects my
face  exactly  as  it  is  and  I  cannot  deceive  myself.  Similarly,  I  can  see  myself
exactly as I am in the mirror of my relationship with others. I can observe how I
talk  to  people:  most  politely  to  those  who  I  think  can  give  me  something,  and
rudely or contemptuously to those who cannot. I am attentive to those I am afraid
of. I get up when important people come in, but when the servant enters I pay no
attention. So, by observing myself in relationship, I have found out how falsely I
respect  people,  have  I  not?  And  I  can  also  discover  myself  as  I  am  in  my
relationship with the trees and the birds, with ideas and books.
You may have all the academic degrees in the world, but if you don’t know
yourself you are a most stupid person. To know oneself is the very purpose of all
education. Without self-knowledge, merely to gather facts or take notes so that
you  can  pass  examinations  is  a  stupid  way  of  existence.  You  may  be  able  to
quote the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Koran and the Bible, but unless
you know yourself you are like a parrot repeating words. Whereas, the moment
you  begin  to  know  yourself,  however  little,  there  is  already  set  going  an
extraordinary process of creativeness. It is a discovery to suddenly see yourself
as you actually are: greedy, quarrelsome, angry, envious, stupid. To see the fact
without  trying  to  alter  it,  just  to  see  exactly  what  you  are  is  an  astonishing
revelation. From there you can go deeper and deeper, infinitely, because there is
no end to self-knowledge.    115
Through self-knowledge you begin to find out what is God, what is truth, what
is that state which is timeless. Your teacher may pass on to you the knowledge
which he received from his teacher, and you may do well in your examinations,
get a degree and all the rest of it; but, without knowing yourself as you know your
own  face  in  the  mirror,  all  other  knowledge  has  very  little  meaning.  Learned
people who don’t know themselves are really unintelligent; they don’t know what
thinking is, what life is. That is why it is important for the educator to be educated
in the true sense of the word, which means that he must know the workings of his
own  mind  and  heart,  see  himself  exactly  as  he  is  in  the  mirror  of  relationship.
Self-knowledge  is  the  beginning  of  wisdom.  in  self-knowledge  is  the  whole
universe; it embraces all the struggles of humanity.
Questioner: Can we know ourselves without an inspirer?
Krishnamurti: To know yourself must you have an inspirer, somebody to urge,
stimulate, push you on? Listen to the question very carefully and you will discover
the true answer. You know, half the problem is solved if you study it, is it not? But
you  cannot  study  the  problem  fully  if  your  mind  is  occupied  too  eagerly  with
finding an answer.
The question is: in order to have self-knowledge must there not be someone
to inspire us?
Now, if you must have a guru, somebody to inspire you, to encourage you, to
tell you that you are doing well, it means that you are relying on that person, and
inevitably you are lost when he goes away someday. The moment you depend on
a person or an idea for inspiration there is bound to be fear, therefore it is not true
inspiration  at  all.  Whereas,  if  you  watch  a  dead  body  being  carried  away,  or
observe  two  people  quarrelling,  does  it  not  make  you  think?  When  you  see
somebody  being  very  ambitious,  or  notice  how  you  all  fall  at  the  feet  of  your
governor when he comes in, does it not make you reflect? So there is inspiration
in  everything,  from  the  falling  of  a  leaf  or  the  death  of  a  bird  to  man’s  own   116
behaviour. If you watch all these things you are learning all the time; but if you
look to one person as your teacher, then you are lost and that person becomes
your nightmare. That is why it is very important not to follow anybody, not to have
one particular teacher, but to learn from the river, the flowers, the trees, from the
woman  who  carries  a  burden,  from  the  members  of  your  family  and  from  your
own thoughts. This is an education which nobody can give you but yourself, and
that is the beauty of it. It demands ceaseless watchfulness, a constantly inquiring
mind. You have to learn by observing, by struggling, by being happy and tearful.
Questioner: With all the contradictions in oneself, how is it possible to be and to
do simultaneously?
Krishnamurti:  Do  you  know  what  self-contradiction  is?  If  I  want  to  do  a
particular  thing  in  life  and  at  the  same  time  I  want  to  please  my  parents,  who
would  like  me  to  do  something  else,  there  is  in  me  a  conflict,  a  contradiction.
Now, how am I to resolve it? If I cannot resolve this contradiction in myself, there
can obviously be no integration of being and doing. So the first thing is to be free
of self-contradiction.
Suppose you want to study painting because to paint is the joy of your life, and
your father says that you must become a lawyer or a business man, otherwise he
will cut you off and not pay for your education, there is then a contradiction in you,
is there not? Now, how are you to remove that inner contradiction, to be free of
the struggle and the pain of it? As long as you are caught in self-contradiction you
cannot think; so you must remove the contradiction, you must do one thing or the
other. Which will it be? Will you yield to your father? If you do, it means that you
have put away your joy, you have wed something which you do not love; and will
that resolve the contradiction? Whereas, if you withstand your father, if you say,
«Sorry, I don’t care if I have to beg, starve, I am going to paint», then there is no
contradiction;  then  being  and  doing  are  simultaneous,  because  you  know  what
you want to do and you do it with your whole heart. But if you become a lawyer or
a business man while inside you are burning to be a painter, then for the rest of   117
your life you will be a dull, weary human being living in torment, in frustration, in
misery, being destroyed and destroying others.
This is a very important problem for you to think out, because as you grow up
your parents are going to want you to do certain things, and if you are not very
clear in yourself about what you really want to do you will be led like a sheep to
the slaughter. But if you find out what it is you love to do and give your whole life
to  it,  then  there  is  no  contradiction,  and  in  that  state  your  being  is  your  doing.
Questioner: For the sake of what we love to do should we forget our duty to our
Krishnamurti:  What do you  mean by that extraordinary word `duty’? Duty to
whom? To your parents, to the government, to society? If your parents say it is
your duty to become a lawyer and properly support them, and you really want to
be  a  sannyasi,  what  will  you  do?  In  India  to  be  a  sannyasi  is  safe  and
respectable, so your father may agree. When you put on the ascetic’s robe you
have  already  become  a  great  man,  and  your  father  can  trade  on  it.  But  if  you
want to work with your hands, if you want to be a simple carpenter or a maker of
beautiful  things  of  clay,  then  where  does  your  duty  lie?  Can  anyone  tell  you?
Must  you  not  think  it  out  very  carefully  for  yourself  seeing  all  the  implications
involved, so that you can say, «This I feel is the right thing for me to do and I shall
stick to it whether my parents agree or not»? Not merely to comply with what your
parents and society want you to do, but really to think out the implications of duty;
to see very clearly what is true and stick to it right through life, even though it may
mean starvation, misery, death – to do that requires a great deal of intelligence,
perception, insight, and also a great deal of love. You see, if you support your
parents merely because you think it is your duty, then your support is a thing of
the market place, without deep significance, because in it there is no love.
Questioner:  However  much  I  may  want  to  be  an  engineer,  if  my  father  is
against it and won’t help me, how can I study engineering?    118
Krishnamurti:  If  you  persist  in  wanting  to  be  an  engineer  even  though  your
father turns you out of the house, do you mean to say that you won’t find ways
and  means  to  study  engineering?  You  will  beg,  go  to  friends.  Sir,  life  is  very
strange.  The  moment  you  are  very  clear  about  what  you  want  to  do,  things
happen. Life comes to your aid – a friend, a relation, a teacher, a grandmother,
somebody helps you. But if you are afraid to try because your father may turn you
out, then you are lost. Life never comes to the aid of those who merely yield to
some demand out of fear. But if you say, «This is what I really want to do and I am
going to pursue it», then you will find that something miraculous takes place. You
may  have  to  go  hungry,  struggle  to  get  through,  but  you  will  be  a  worthwhile
human being, not a mere copy, and that is the miracle of it.
You see, most of us are frightened to stand alone; and I know this is especially
difficult  for  you  who  are  young,  because  there  is  no  economic  freedom  in  this
country as there is in America or Europe. Here the country is overpopulated, so
everybody gives in. You say, «What will happen to me?» But if you hold on, you
will find that something or somebody helps you. When you really stand against
the popular demand then you are an individual and life comes to your aid.
You  know,  in  biology  there  is  a  phenomenon  called  the  sport,  which  is  a
sudden and spontaneous deviation from the type. If you have a garden and have
cultivated a particular species of flower, one morning you may find that something
totally new has come out of that species. That new thing is called the sport. Being
new it stands out, and the gardener takes a special interest in it. And life is like
that. The moment you venture out, something takes place in you and about you.
Life  comes  to  your  aid  in  various  ways.  You  may  not  like  the  form  in  which  it
comes to you – it may be misery, struggle, starvation – but when you invite life,
things begin to happen. But you see, we don’t want to invite life, we want to play a
safe game; and those who play a safe game die very safely. Is that not so?    119
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 16
THE OTHER MORN1NG I saw a dead body being carried away to be burnt. It
was wrapped in bright magenta cloth and it swayed with the rhythm of the four
mortals  who  were  carrying  it.  I  wonder  what  kind  of  impression  a  dead  body
makes  on  one.  Don’t  you  wonder  why  there  is  deterioration?  You  buy  a  brand
new motor, and within a few years it is worn out. The body also wears out; but
don’t you inquire a little further to find out why the mind deteriorates? Sooner or
later there is the death of the body, but most of us have minds which are already
dead. Deterioration has already taken place; and why does the mind deteriorate?
The  body  deteriorates  because  we  are  constantly  using  it  and  the  physical
organism wears out. Disease, accident, old age, bad food, poor heredity – these
are  the  factors  which  cause  the  deterioration  and  death  of  the  body.  But  why
should the mind deteriorate, become old, heavy, dull?
When you see a dead body, have you never wondered about this? Though
our  bodies  must  die,  why  should  the  mind  ever  deteriorate?  Has  this  question
never occurred to you? For the mind does deteriorate – we see it not only in old
people,  but  also  in  the  young.  We  see  in  the  young  how  the  mind  is  already
becoming  dull,  heavy,  insensitive;  and  if  we  can  find  out  why  the  mind
deteriorates, then perhaps we shall discover something really indestructible. We
may understand what is eternal life, the life that is unending, that is not of time,
the life that is incorruptible, that does not decay like the body which is carried to
the ghats, burnt and the remains thrown into the river.
Now, why does the mind deteriorate? Have you ever thought about it? Being
still very young – and if you have not already been made dull by society, by your
parents, by circumstances – you have a fresh, eager, curious mind. You want to
know why the stars exist, why the birds die, why the leaves fall, how the jet plane   120
flies; you want to know so many things. But that vital urge to inquire, to find out, is
soon smothered, is it not? It is smothered by fear, by the weight of tradition, by
our own incapacity to face this extraordinary thing called life. Haven’t you noticed
how  quickly  your  eagerness  is  destroyed  by  a  sharp  word,  by  a  disparaging
gesture, by the fear of an examination or the threat of a parent – which means
that sensitivity is already being pushed aside and the mind made dull?
Another cause of dullness is imitation. You are made to imitate by tradition.
The weight of the past drives you to conform, toe the line, and through conformity
the mind feels safe, secure; it establishes itself in a well-oiled groove so that it
can  run  smoothly  without  disturbance,  without  a  quiver  of  doubt.  Watch  the
grown-up people about you and you will see that their minds do not want to be
disturbed. They want peace, even though it is the peace of death; but real peace
is something entirely different.
When the mind establishes itself in a groove, in a pattern, haven’t you noticed
that it is always prompted by the desire to be secure? That is why it follows an
ideal, an example, a guru. It wants to be safe, undisturbed, therefore it imitates.
When you read in your history books about great leaders, saints, warriors, don’t
you find yourself wanting to copy them? Not that there aren’t great people in the
world; but the instinct is to imitate great people, to try to become like them, and
that is one of the factors of deterioration because the mind then sets itself in a
Furthermore,  society  does  not  want  individuals  who  are  alert,  keen,
revolutionary,  because  such  individuals  will  not  fit  into  the  established  social
pattern and they may break it up. That is why society seeks to hold your mind in
its pattern, and why your so-called education encourages you to imitate, to follow,
to conform.
Now, can the mind stop imitating? That is, can it cease to form habits? And
can the mind, which is already caught in habit, be free of habit?    121
The mind is the result of habit, is it not? It is the result of tradition, the result of
time – time being repetition, a continuity of the past. And can the mind, your mind,
stop thinking in terms of what has been – and of what will be, which is really a
projection of what has been? Can your mind be free from habit and from creating
habits? If you go into this problem very deeply you will find that it can; and when
the mind renews itself without forming new patterns, habits, without again falling
into  the  groove  of  imitation,  then  it  remains  fresh,  young,  innocent,  and  is
therefore capable of infinite understanding.
For such a mind there is no death because there is no longer a process of
accumulation. It is the process of accumulation that creates habit, imitation, and
for the mind that accumulates there is deterioration, death. But a mind that is not
accumulating,  not  gathering,  that  is  dying  each  day,  each  minute  –  for  such  a
mind there is no death. It is in a state of infinite space.
So  the  mind  must  die  to  everything  it  has  gathered  –  to  all  the  habits,  the
imitated virtues, to all the things it has relied upon for its sense of security. Then it
is  no  longer  caught  in  the  net  of  its  own  thinking.  In  dying  to  the  past  from
moment to moment the mind is made fresh, therefore it can never deteriorate or
set in motion the wave of darkness.
Questioner: How can we put into practice what you are telling us?
Krishnamurti:  You  hear  something  which  you  think  is  right  and  you  want  to
carry it out in your everyday life; so there is a gap between what you think and
what you do, is there not? You think one thing, and you are doing something else.
But  you  want  to  put  into  practice  what  you  think,  so  there  is  this  gap  between
action  and  thought;  and  then  you  ask  how  to  bridge  the  gap,  how  to  link  your
thinking to your action.
Now, when you want to do something very much, you do it, don’t you? When
you want to go and play cricket, or do some other thing in which you are really   122
interested, you find ways and means of doing it; you never ask how to put it into
practice. You do it because you are eager, because your whole being, your mind
and heart are in it.
But in this other matter you have become very cunning, you think one thing
and do another. You say,’`That is an excellent idea and intellectually I approve,
but I don’t know what to do about it, so please tell me how to put it into practice» –
which  means  that  you  don’t  want  to  do  it  at  all.  What  you  really  want  is  to
postpone action, because you like to be a little bit envious, or whatever it is. You
say, «Everybody else is envious, so why not I?», and you just go on as before. But
if you really don’t want to be envious and you see the truth of envy as you see the
truth of a cobra, then you cease to be envious and that is the end of it; you never
ask how to be free of envy.
So what is important is to see the truth of something, and not ask how to carry
it out – which really means that you don’t see the truth of it. When you meet a
cobra on the road you don’t ask, «What am I to do?» You understand very well the
danger of a cobra and you stay away from it. But you have never really examined
all the implications of envy; nobody has ever talked to you about it, gone into it
very deeply with you. You have been told that you must not be envious, but you
have never looked into the nature of envy; you have never observed how society
and all the organized religions are built on it, on the desire to become something.
But the moment you go into envy and really see the truth of it, envy drops away.
To ask, «How am I to do it?» is a thoughtless question, because when you are
really interested in something which you don’t know how to do, you go at it and
soon begin to find out. If you sit back and say, «Please tell me a practical way to
get rid of greed,» you will continue to be greedy. But if you inquire into greed with
an alert mind, without any prejudice, and if you put your whole being into it, you
will discover for yourself the truth of greed; and it is the truth that frees you, not
your looking for a way to be free.    123
Questioner: Why are our desires never fully realized? Why are there always
hindrances that prevent us from doing completely as we wish?
Krishnamurti: If your desire to do something is complete, if your whole being is
in it without seeking a result, without wanting to fulfil – which means without fear –
then there is no hindrance. There is a hindrance, a contradiction only when your
desire is incomplete, broken up: you want to do something and at the same time
you are afraid to do it, or you half want to do something else. Besides, can you
ever fully realize your desires? Do you understand? I will explain.
Society, which is the collective relationship between man and man, does not
want you to have a complete desire, because if you did you would be a nuisance,
a danger to society. You are permitted to have respectable desires like ambition,
envy – that is perfectly all right. Being made up of human beings who are envious,
ambitious,  who  believe  and  imitate,  society  accepts  envy,  ambition,  belief,
imitation, even though these are all intimations of fear. As long as your desires fit
into the established pattern, you are a respectable citizen. But the moment you
have  a  complete  desire,  which  is  not  of  the  pattern,  you  become  a  danger;  so
society is always watching to prevent you from having a complete desire, a desire
which  would  be  the  expression  of  your  total  being  and  therefore  bring  about  a
revolutionary action.
The action of being is entirely different from the action of becoming. The action
of being is so revolutionary that society rejects it and concerns itself exclusively
with the action of becoming, which is respectable because it fits into the pattern.
But any desire that expresses itself in the action of becoming, which is a form of
ambition, has no fulfilment. Sooner or later it is thwarted, impeded, frustrated, and
we revolt against that frustration in mischievous ways.
This is a very important question to go into, because as you grow older you
will find that your desires are never really fulfilled. In fulfilment there is always the
shadow of frustration, and in your heart there is not a song but a cry. The desire   124
to become to become a great man, a great saint, a great this or that – has no end
and  therefore  no  fulfilment;  its  demand  is  ever  for  the  ‘more’,  and  such  desire
always breeds agony, misery, wars. But when one is free of all desire to become
there is a state of being whose action is totally different. It is. That which is has no
time.  it  does  not  think  in  terms  of  fulfilment.  Its  very  being  is  its  fulfilment.
Questioner:  I  see  that  I  am  dull,  but  others  say  I  am  intelligent.  Which  should
affect me: my seeing or their saying?
Krishnamurti: Now listen to the question very carefully, very quietly, don’t try to
find an answer. If you say that I am an intelligent man, and I know very well that I
am dull, will what you say affect me? It will if I am trying to be intelligent, will it
not? Then I shall be flattered, influenced by your remark. But if I see that a dull
person can never cease to be dull by trying to be intelligent, then what happens?
Surely,  if  I  am  stupid  and  I  try  to  be  intelligent,  I  shall  go  on  being  stupid
because trying to be or to become something is part of stupidity. A stupid person
may acquire the trimmings of cleverness, he may pass a few examinations, get a
job, but he does not thereby cease to be stupid. (Please follow this, it is not a
cynical statement.) But the moment a person is aware that he is dull, stupid, and
instead  of  trying  to  be  intelligent  he  begins  to  examine  and  understand  his
stupidity – in that moment there is the awakening of intelligence.
Take greed. Do you know what greed is? It is eating more food than you need,
wanting to outshine others at games, wanting to have more property, a bigger car
than someone else. Then you say that you must not be greedy, so you practise
non-greed  which  is  really  silly,  because  greed  can  never  cease  by  trying  to
become non-greed. But if you begin to understand all the implications of greed, if
you  give  your  mind  and  heart  to  finding  the  truth  of  it,  then  you  are  free  from
greed as well as from its opposite. Then you are a really intelligent human being,
because you are tackling what is and not imitating what should be.    125
So, if you are dull, don’t try to be intelligent or clever, but understand what it is
that is making you dull. Imitation, fear, copying somebody, following an example
or  an  ideal  –  all  this  makes  the  mind  dull.  When  you  stop  following,  when  you
have no fear, when you are capable of thinking clearly for yourself – are you not
then the brightest of human beings? But if you are dull and try to be clever you
will  join  the  ranks  of  those  who  are  pretty  dull  in  their  cleverness.  Questioner:
Why are we naughty?
Krishnamurti: If you ask yourself this question when you are naughty, then it
has significance, it has meaning. But when you are angry, for example, you never
ask why you are angry, do you? It is only afterwards that you ask this question.
Having  been  angry,  you  say,  «How  stupid,  I  should  not  have  been  angry».
Whereas,  if  you  are  aware,  thoughtful  at  the  moment  of  anger  without
condemning it, if you are `all there’ when the turmoil comes up in your mind, then
you will see how quickly it fades away.
Children are naughty at a certain age, and they should be, because they are
full of beans, life, ginger, and it has to break out in some form or other. But you
see, this is really a complex question, because naughtiness may be due to wrong
food,  a  lack  of  sleep,  or  a  feeling  of  insecurity,  and  so  on.  If  all  the  factors
involved  are  not  properly  understood,  then  naughtiness  on  the  part  of  children
becomes a revolt within society, in which there is no release for them.
Do  you  know  what  `delinquent’  children  are?  They  are  children  who  do  all
kinds of terrible things; they are in revolt within the prison of society because they
have never been helped to understand the whole problem of existence. They are
so vital, and some of them are extraordinarily intelligent, and their revolt is a way
of saying, «Help us to understand, to break through this compulsion, this terrible
conformity».  That  is  why  this  question  is  very  important  for  the  educator,  who
needs educating more than the children.    126
Questioner: I am used to drinking tea. One teacher says it is a bad habit, and
another says it is all right.
Krishnamurti: What do you think? Put aside for the moment what other people
say, it may be their prejudice, and listen to the question. What do you think of a
young boy being `used’ to something already – drinking tea, smoking, competitive
eating, or whatever it is? It may be all right to have fallen into a habit of doing
something when you are seventy or eighty, with one foot in the grave; but you are
just beginning your life, and already to be used to something is a terrible thing, is
it not? That is the important question, not whether you should drink tea.
You see, when you have become used to something, your mind is already on
its  way  to  the  graveyard.  If  you  think  as  a  Hindu,  a  communist,  a  Catholic,  a
Protestant, then your mind is already going down, deteriorating. But if your mind
is alert, inquiring to find out why you are caught in a certain habit, why you think
in a particular way, then the secondary question of whether you should smoke or
drink tea can be dealt with.    127
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 17
I DON’T KNOW IF on your walks you have noticed a long, narrow pool beside
the river. Some fishermen must have dug it, and it is not connected with the river.
The  river  is  flowing  steadily,  deep  and  wide,  but  this  pool  is  heavy  with  scum
because it is not connected with the life of the river, and there are no fish in it. It is
a stagnant pool, and the deep river, full of life and vitality, flows swiftly along.
Now,  don’t  you  think  human  beings  are  like  that?  They  dig  a  little  pool  for
themselves away from the swift current of life, and in that little pool they stagnate,
die; and this stagnation, this decay we call existence. That is, we all want a state
of  permanency;  we  want  certain  desires  to  last  for  ever,  we  want  pleasures  to
have no end. We dig a little hole and barricade ourselves in it with our families,
with  our  ambitions,  our  cultures,  our  fears,  our  gods,  our  various  forms  of
worship,  and  there  we  die,  letting  life  go  by  –  that  life  which  is  impermanent,
constantly  changing,  which  is  so  swift,  which has such enormous depths, such
extraordinary vitality and beauty.
Have you not noticed that if you sit quietly on the banks of the river you hear
its song – the lapping of the water, the sound of the current going by? There is
always a sense of movement, an extraordinary movement towards the wider and
the deeper. But in the little pool there is no movement at all, its water is stagnant.
And if you observe you will see that this is what most of us want: little stagnant
pools of existence away from life. We say that our pool-existence is right, and we
have  invented  a  philosophy  to  justify  it;  we  have  developed  social,  political,
economic and religious theories in support of it, and we don’t want to be disturbed
because,  you  see,  what  we  are  after  is  a  sense  of  permanency.  Do  you  know
what it means to seek permanency? It means wanting the pleasurable to continue
indefinitely  and  wanting  that  which  is  not  pleasurable  to  end  as  quickly  as   128
possible. We want the name that we bear to be known and to continue through
family through property. We want a sense of permanency in our relationships, in
our activities, which means that we are seeking a lasting, continuous life in the
stagnant pool; we don’t want any real changes there, so we have built a society
which guarantees us the permanency of property, of name, of fame.
But you see, life is not like that at all; life is not permanent. Like the leaves that
fall  from  a  tree,  all  things  are  impermanent,  nothing  endures;  there  is  always
change and death. Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
how beautiful it is? All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness there is a
poem, there is a song. Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring. When
the spring comes it again fills the tree with the music of many leaves, which in
due season fall and are blown away; and that is the way of life.
But  we  don’t  want  anything  of  that  kind.  We  cling  to  our  children,  to  our
traditions,  to  our  society,  to  our  names  and  our  little  virtues,  because  we  want
permanency; and that is why we are afraid to die. We are afraid to lose the things
we know. But life is not what we would like it to be; life is not permanent at all.
Birds die, snow melts away, trees are cut down or destroyed by storms, and so
on. But we want everything that gives us satisfaction to be permanent; we want
our position, the authority we have over people, to endure. We refuse to accept
life as it is in fact.
The  fact  is  that  life  is  like  the  river:  endlessly  moving  on,  ever  seeking,
exploring, pushing, overflowing its banks, penetrating every crevice with its water.
But, you see, the mind won’t allow that to happen to itself. The mind sees that it is
dangerous, risky to live in a state of impermanency, insecurity, so it builds a wall
around  itself:  the  wall  of  tradition,  of  organized  religion,  of  political  and  social
theories. Family, name, property, the little virtues that we have cultivated – these
are  all  within  the  walls,  away  from  life.  Life  is  moving,  impermanent,  and  it
ceaselessly tries to penetrate, to break down these walls, behind which there is   129
confusion  and  misery.  The  gods  within  the  walls  are  all  false  gods,  and  their
writings and philosophies have no meaning because life is beyond them.
Now, a mind that has no walls, that is not burdened with its own acquisitions,
accumulations, with its own knowledge, a mind that lives timelessly, insecurely –
to such a mind, life is an extraordinary thing. Such a mind is life itself, because
life  has  no  resting  place.  But  most  of  us  want  a  resting  place;  we  want  a  little
house,  a  name,  a  position,  and  we  say  these  things  are  very  important.  We
demand permanency and create a culture based on this demand, inventing gods
which are not gods at all but merely a projection of our own desires.
A mind which is seeking permanency soon stagnates; like that pool along the
river, it is soon full of  corruption, decay. Only the  mind which has no walls, no
foothold,  no  barrier,  no  resting  place,  which  is  moving  completely  with  life,
timelessly  pushing  on,  exploring,  exploding  –  only  such  a  mind  can  be  happy,
eternally new, because it is creative in itself.
Do you understand what I am talking about? You should, because all this is
part  of  real  education  and,  when  you  understand  it,  your  whole  life  will  be
transformed, your relationship with the world, with your neighbour, with your wife
or  husband,  will  have  a  totally  different  meaning.  Then  you  won’t  try  to  fulfil
yourself through anything, seeing that the pursuit of fulfilment only invites sorrow
and misery. That is why you should ask your teachers about all this and discuss it
among yourselves. If you understand it, you will have begun to understand the
extraordinary truth of what life is, and in that understanding there is great beauty
and love, the flowering of goodness. But the efforts of a mind that is seeking a
pool of security, of permanency, can only lead to darkness and corruption. Once
established in the pool, such a mind is afraid to venture out, to seek, to explore;
but truth, God, reality or what you will, lies beyond the pool.
Do you know what religion is? It is not the chant, it is not in the performance of
puja, or any other ritual, it is not in the worship of tin gods or stone images, it is   130
not in the temples and churches, it is not in the reading of the Bible or the Gita, it
is  not  in  the  repeating  of  a  sacred  name  or  in  the  following  of  some  other
superstition invented by men. None of this is religion,
Religion  is  the  feeling  of  goodness  that  love  which  is  like  the  river  living
moving everlastingly. In that state you will find there comes a moment when there
is  no  longer  any  search  at  all;  and  this  ending  of  search  is  the  beginning  of
something  totally  different.  The  search  for  God,  for  truth,  the  feeling  of  being
completely good – not the cultivation of goodness, of humility, but the seeking out
of something beyond the inventions and tricks of the mind, which means having a
feeling for that something, living in it, being it – that is true religion. But you can do
that only when you leave the pool you have dug for yourself and go out into the
river of life. Then life has an astonishing way of taking care of you, because then
there is no taking care on your part. Life carries you where it will because you are
part of itself; then there is no problem of security, of what people say or don’t say,
and that is the beauty of life.
Questioner: What makes us fear death?
Krishnamurti: Do you think a leaf that falls to the ground is afraid of death? Do
you think a bird lives in fear of dying? It meets death when death comes; but it is
not  concerned  about  death,  it  is  much  too  occupied  with  living,  with  catching
insects, building a nest, singing a song, flying for the very joy of flying. Have you
ever watched birds soaring high up in the air without a beat of their wings, being
carried along by the wind? How endlessly they seem to enjoy themselves! They
are not concerned about death. If death comes, it is all right, they are finished.
There is no concern about what is going to happen; they are living from moment
to moment, are they not? It is we human beings who are always concerned about
death – because we are not living. That is the trouble: we are dying, we are not
living. The old people are near the grave, and the young ones are not far behind.    131
You see, there is this preoccupation with death because we are afraid to lose
the  known,  the  things  that  we  have  gathered.  We  are  afraid  to  lose  a  wife  or
husband,  a  child  or  a  friend;  we  are  afraid  to  lose  what  we  have  learnt,
accumulated.  If  we  could  carry  over  all  the  things  that  we  have  gathered  –  our
friends our possessions, our virtues, our character – then we would not be afraid
of  death,  would  we?  That  is  why  we  invent  theories  about  death  and  the
hereafter. But the fact is that death is an ending, and most of us are unwilling to
face this fact. We don’t want to leave the known; so it is our clinging to the known
that creates fear in us, not the unknown. The unknown cannot be perceived by
the known. But the mind, being made up of the known, says, «I am going to end»,
and therefore it is frightened.
Now, if you can live from moment to moment and not be concerned about the
future, if you can live without the thought of tomorrow – which does not mean the
superficiality  of  merely  being  occupied  with  today;  if,  being  aware  of  the  whole
process of the known, you can, relinquish the known, let it go completely, then
you  will  find  that  an  astonishing  thing  takes  place.  Try  it  for  a  day  –  put  aside
everything you know, forget it, and just see what happens. Don’t carry over your
worries from day to day, from hour to hour, from moment to moment; let them all
go, and you will see that out of this freedom there comes an extraordinary life that
includes both living and dying. Death is only the ending of something, and in that
very ending there is a renewing.
Questioner: It is said that in each one of us truth is permanent and timeless,
but, since our life is transitory, how can there be truth in us?
Krishnamurti: You see, we have made of truth something permanent. And is
truth permanent? If it is, then it is within the field of time. To say that something is
permanent implies that it is continuous; and what is continuous is not truth. That
is  the  beauty  of  truth:  it  must  be  discovered  from  moment  to  moment,  not
remembered. A remembered truth is a dead thing. Truth must be discovered from   132
moment to moment because it is living, it is never the same; and yet each time
you discover it, it is the same.
What  is  important  is  not  to  make  a  theory  of  truth,  not  to  say  that  truth  is
permanent  in  us  and  all  the  rest  of  it  –  that  is  an  invention  of  the  old  who  are
frightened  both  of  death  and  of  life.  These  marvellous  theories  –  that  truth  is
permanent, that you need not be afraid because you are an immortal soul, and so
on  –  have  been  invented  by  frightened  people  whose  minds  are  decaying  and
whose philosophies have no validity. The fact is that truth is life, and life has no
permanency. Life has to be discovered from moment to moment, from day to day;
it has to be discovered, it cannot be taken for granted. If you take it for granted
that you know life, you are not living. Three meals a day, clothing, shelter, sex,
your job, your amusement and your thinking process – that dull, repetitive process
is not life. Life is something to be discovered; and you cannot discover it if you
have  not  lost,  if  you  have  not  put  aside  the  things  that  you  have  found.  Do
experiment  with  what  I  am  saying.  Put  aside  your  philosophies,  your  religions,
your customs, your racial taboos and all the rest of it, for they are not life. If you
are  caught  in  those  things  you  will  never  discover  life;  and  the  function  of
education, surely, is to help you to discover life all the time.
A man who says he knows is already dead. But the man who thinks, «I don’t
know», who is discovering, finding out, who is not seeking an end, not thinking in
terms of arriving or becoming – such a man is living, and that living is truth.
Questioner: Can I get an idea of perfection?
Krishnamurti:  Probably  you  can.  By  speculating,  inventing,  projecting,  by
saying, «This is ugly and that is perfect», you will have an idea of perfection. But
your  idea  of  perfection,  like  your  belief  in  God,  has  no  meaning.  Perfection  is
something that is lived in an unpremeditated moment, and that moment has no
continuity; therefore perfection cannot be thought out, nor can a way be found to
make  it  permanent.  Only  the  mind  that  is  very  quiet,  that  is  not  premeditating,   133
inventing,  projecting,  can  know  a  moment  of  perfection,  a  moment  that  is
Questioner: Why do we want to take revenge by hurting another who has hurt
Krishnamurti:  It  is  the  instinctive,  survival  response,  is  it  not?  Whereas,  the
intelligent  mind,  the  mind  that  is  awake,  that  has  thought  about  it  very  deeply,
feels no desire to strike back – not because it is trying to be virtuous or to cultivate
forgiveness, but because it perceives that to strike back is silly, it has no meaning
at all. But you see, that requires meditation.
Questioner: I have fun in teasing others, but I myself get angry when teased.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid it is the same with older people. Most of us like to
exploit others, but we don’t like it when we in our turn are exploited. Wanting to
hurt or to annoy others is a most thoughtless state, is it not? It arises from a life of
self-centredness. Neither you nor the other fellow likes being teased, so why don’t
you both stop teasing? That means being thoughtful.
Questioner: What is the work of man?
Krishnamurti: What do you think it is? Is it to study, pass examinations, get a
job and do it for the rest of your life? Is it to go to the temple, join groups, launch
various reforms? Is it man’s work to kill animals for his own food? Is it man’s work
to build a bridge for the train to cross, to dig wells in a dry land, to find oil, to climb
mountains, to conquer the earth and the air, to write poems, to paint, to love, to
hate? Is all this the work of man? Building civilizations that come toppling down in
a  few  centuries,  bringing  about  wars,  creating  God  in  one’s  own  image,  killing
people  in  the  name  of  religion  or  the  State,  talking  of  peace  and  brotherhood
while usurping power and being ruthless to others – this is what man is doing all
around you, is it not? And is this the true work of man?    134
You can see that all this work leads to destruction and misery, to chaos and
despair.  Great  luxuries  exist  side  by  side  with  extreme  poverty;  disease  and
starvation, with refrigerators and jet planes. All this is the work of man; and when
you see it don’t you ask yourself, «Is that all? Is there not something else which is
the true work of man?» If we can find out what is the true work of man, then jet
planes,  washing  machines,  bridges,  hostels  will  all  have  an  entirely  different
meaning; but without finding out what is the true work of man merely to indulge in
reforms, in reshaping what man has already done, will lead nowhere.
So, what is the true work of man? Surely, the true work of man is to discover
truth, God; it is to love and not to be caught in his own self-enclosing activities. In
the very discovery of what is true there is love, and that love in man’s relationship
with man will create a different civilization, a new world.
Questioner: Why do we worship God?
Krishnamurti:  I  am  afraid  we  don’t  worship  God.  Don’t  laugh.  You  see,  we
don’t love God; if we did love God, there would not be this thing we call worship.
We worship God because we are frightened of him; there is fear in our hearts, not
love. The temple, the puja, the sacred thread – these things are not of God, they
are the creations of man’s vanity and fear. It is only the unhappy, the frightened
who worship God. Those who have wealth, position and authority are not happy
people.  An  ambitious  man  is  a  most  unhappy  human  being.  Happiness  comes
only when you are free of all that – and then you do not worship God. It is the
miserable, the tortured, those who are in despair that crawl to a temple; but if they
put  aside  this  so-called  worship  and  understand  their  misery,  then  they  will  be
happy men and women, for they will discover what truth is, what God is.    135
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 18
HAVE YOU EVER paid any attention to the ringing of the temple bells? Now,
what do you listen to? To the notes, or to the silence between the notes? If there
were no silence, would there be notes? And if you listened to the silence, would
not the notes be more penetrating, of a different quality? But you see, we rarely
pay real attention to anything; and I think it is important to find out what it means
to pay attention. When your teacher is explaining a problem in mathematics, or
when you are reading history, or when a friend is talking, telling you a story, or
when you are near the river and hear the lapping of the water on the bank, you
generally pay very little attention; and if we could find out what it means to pay
attention,  perhaps  learning  would  then  have  quite  a  different  significance  and
become much easier.
When your teacher tells you to pay attention in class, what does he mean? He
means  that  you  must  not  look  out  of  the  window,  that  you  must  withdraw  your
attention from everything else and concentrate wholly on what you are supposed
to  be  studying.  Or,  when  you  are  absorbed  in  a  novel,  your  whole  mind  is  so
concentrated on it that for the moment you have lost interest in everything else.
That is another form of attention. So, in the ordinary sense, paying attention is a
narrowing-down process, is it not?
Now,  I  think  there  is  a  different  kind  of  attention  altogether.  The  attention
which is generally advocated, practised or indulged in is a narrowing-down of the
mind to a point, which is a process of exclusion. When you make an effort to pay
attention, you are really resisting something – the desire to look out of the window,
to  see  who  is  coming  in,  and  so  on.  part  of  your  energy  has  already  gone  in
resistance. You build a wall around your mind to make it concentrate completely
on a particular thing, and you call this the disciplining of the mind to pay attention.   136
You try to exclude from the mind every thought but the one on which you want it
to be wholly concentrated. That is what most people mean by paying attention.
But  I  think  there  is  a  different  kind  of  attention,  a  state  of  mind  which  is  not
exclusive, which does not shut out anything; and because there is no resistance,
the  mind  is  capable  of  much  greater  attention.  But  attention  without  resistance
does not mean the attention of absorption.
The  kind  of  attention  which  I  would  like  to  discuss  is  entirely  different  from
what we usually mean by attention, and it has immense possibilities because it is
not exclusive. When you concentrate on a subject, on a talk, on a conversation,
consciously or unconsciously you build a wall of resistance against the intrusion
of other thoughts, and so your mind is not wholly there; it is only partially there,
however  much  attention  you  pay,  because  part  of  your  mind  is  resisting  any
intrusion, any deviation or distraction.
Let us begin the other way round. Do you know what distraction is? You want
to  pay  attention  to  what  you  are  reading,  but  your  mind  is  distracted  by  some
noise outside and you look out of the window. When you want to concentrate on
something and your mind wanders off, the wandering off is called distraction, then
part of your mind resists the so-called distraction, and there is a waste of energy
in that resistance. Whereas, if you are aware of every movement of the mind from
moment to moment, then there is no such thing as distraction at any time and the
energy of the mind is not wasted in resisting something. So it is important to find
out what attention really is.
If  you  listen  both  to  the  sound  of  the  bell  and  to  the  silence  between  its
strokes,  the  whole  of  that  listening  is  attention.  Similarly,  when  someone  is
speaking, attention is the giving of your mind not only to the words but also to the
silence between the words. If you experiment with this you will find that your mind
can pay complete attention without distraction and without resistance. When you
discipline  your  mind  by  saying,  «I  must  not  look  out  of  the  window,  I  must  not   137
watch  the  people  coming  in,  I  must  pay  attention  even  though  I  want  to  do
something  else»,  it  creates  a  division  which  is  very  destructive  because  it
dissipates the energy of the mind. But if you listen comprehensively so that there
is no division and therefore no form of resistance then you will find that the mind
can pay complete attention to anything without effort. Do you see it? Am I making
myself clear?
Surely, to discipline the mind to pay attention is to bring about its deterioration
– which does not mean that the mind must restlessly wander all over the place
like a monkey. But, apart from the attention of absorption, these two states are all
we know. Either we try to discipline the mind so tightly that it cannot deviate, or
we just let it wander from one thing to another. Now, what I am describing is not a
compromise between the two; on the contrary, it has nothing to do with either. It
is an entirely different approach; it is to be totally aware so that your mind is all
the time attentive without being caught in the process of exclusion.
Try what I am saying, and you will see how quickly your mind can learn. You
can hear a song or a sound and let the mind be so completely full of it that there
is  not  the  effort  of  learning.  After  all,  if  you  know  how  to  listen  to  what  your
teacher  is  telling  you  about  some  historical  fact,  if  you  can  listen  without  any
resistance  because  your  mind  has  space  and  silence  and  is  therefore  not
distracted, you will be aware not only of the historical fact but also of the prejudice
with which he may be translating it, and of your own inward response.
I will tell you something. You know what space is. There is space in this room.
The distance between here and your hostel, between the bridge and your home,
between this bank of the river and the other – all that is space. Now, is there also
space in your mind? Or is it so crowded that there is no space in it at all? If your
mind  has  space,  then  in  that  space  there  is  silence  –  and  from  that  silence
everything  else  comes,  for  then  you  can  listen,  you  can  pay  attention  without
resistance. That is why it is very important to have space in the mind. If the mind   138
is  not  overcrowded,  not  ceaselessly  occupied,  then  it  can  listen  to  that  dog
barking,  to  the  sound  of  a  train  crossing  the  distant  bridge,  and  also  be  fully
aware of what is being said by a person talking here. Then the mind is a living
thing, it is not dead.
Questioner:  Yesterday  after  the  meeting  we  saw  you  watching  two  peasant
children,  typically  poor,  playing  by  the  roadside.  We  would  like  to  know  what
sentiments arose in your mind while you were looking at them.
Krishnamurti: Yesterday afternoon several of the students met me on the road,
and  soon  after  I  left  them  I  saw  the  gardener’s  two  children  playing.  The
questioner  wants  to  know  what  feelings  I  had  while  I  was  watching  those  two
Now,  what  feelings  do  you  have  when  you  observe  poor  children?  That  is
more important to find out than what I may have felt. Or are you always so busy
going to your hostel or to your class that you never observe them at all?
Now,  when  you  observe  those  poor  women  carrying  a  heavy  load  to  the
market, or watch the peasant children playing in the mud with very little else to
play  with,  who  will  not  have  the  education  that  you  are  getting,  who  have  no
proper  home,  no  cleanliness,  insufficient  clothing,  inadequate  food  –  when  you
observe all that, what is your reaction? It is very important to find out for yourself
what your reaction is. I will tell you what mine was.
Those children have no proper place to sleep; the father and the mother are
occupied all day long, with never a holiday; the children never know what it is to
be  loved,  to  be  cared  for;  the  parents  never  sit  down  with  them  and  tell  them
stories about the beauty of the earth and the heavens. And what kind of society is
it  that  has  produced  these  circumstances  –  where  there  are  immensely  rich
people who have everything on earth they want, and at the same time there are
boys and girls who have nothing? What kind of society is it, and how has it come   139
into  being?  You  may  revolutionize,  break  the  pattern  of  this  society,  but  in  the
very breaking of it a new one is born which is again the same thing in another
form – the commissars with their special houses in the country, the privileges, the
uniforms, and so on down the line. This has happened after every revolution, the
French,  the  Russian  and  the  Chinese.  And  is  it  possible  to  create  a  society  in
which all this corruption and misery does not exist? It can be created only when
you  and  I  as  individuals  break  away  from  the  collective,  when  we  are  free  of
ambition and know what it means to love. That was my whole reaction, in a flash.
But did you listen to what I said?
Questioner: How can the mind listen to several things at the same time?
Krishnamurti: That is not what I was talking about. There are people who can
concentrate  on  many  things  at  the  same  time  –  which  is  merely  a  matter  of
training the mind. I am not talking about that at all. I am talking about a mind that
has  no  resistance,  that  can  listen  because  it  has  the  space,  the  silence  from
which all thought can spring.
Questioner: Why do we like to be lazy?
Krishnamurti: What is wrong with laziness? What is wrong with just sitting still
and listening to a distant sound come nearer  and  nearer?  Or  lying  in  bed  of  a
morning and watching the birds in a nearby tree, or a single leaf dancing in the
breeze  when  all  the  other  leaves  are  very  still?  What  is  wrong  with  that?  We
condemn laziness because we think it is wrong to be lazy; so let us find out what
we mean by laziness. If you are feeling well and yet stay in bed after a certain
hour, some people may call you lazy. If you don’t want to play or study because
you lack energy, or for other health reasons, that again may be called laziness by
somebody. But what really is laziness?
When the mind is unaware of its reactions, of its own subtle movements, such
a mind is lazy, ignorant. If you can’t pass examinations, if you haven’t read many   140
books  and  have  very  little  information,  that  is  not  ignorance.  Real  ignorance  is
having no knowledge of yourself, no perception of how your mind works, of what
your motives, your responses are. Similarly, there is laziness when the mind is
asleep. And most people’s minds are asleep. They are drugged by knowledge, by
the  Scriptures,  by  what  Shankara  or  somebody  else  has  said.  They  follow  a
philosophy,  practise  a  discipline,  so  their  minds  –  which  should  be  rich,  full,
overflowing like the river – are made narrow, dull, weary. Such a mind is lazy. And
a mind that is ambitious, that pursues a result, is not active in the true sense of
the  word;  though  it  may  be  superficially  active,  pushing,  working  all  day  to  get
what it wants, underneath it is heavy with despair, with frustration.
So one must be very watchful to find out if one is really lazy, Don’t just accept
it if people tell you that you are lazy. Find out for yourself what laziness is. The
man who merely accepts, rejects or imitates, the man who, being afraid, digs a
little rut for himself – such a man is lazy and therefore his mind deteriorates, goes
to pieces. But a man who is watchful is not lazy, even though he may often sit
very quietly and observe the trees, the birds, the people, the stars and the silent
Questioner: You say that we should revolt against society, and at the same
time  you  say  that  we  should  not  have  ambition.  Is  not  the  desire  to  improve
society an ambition?
Krishnamurti: I have very carefully explained what I mean by revolt, but I shall
use two different words to make it much clearer. To revolt within society in order
to  make  it  a  little  better,  to  bring  about  certain  reforms,  is  like  the  revolt  of
prisoners to improve their life within the prison walls; and such revolt is no revolt
at all, it is just mutiny. Do you see the difference? Revolt within society is like the
mutiny of prisoners who want better food, better treatment within the prison; but
revolt born of understanding is an individual breaking away from society, and that
is creative revolution.    141
Now, if you as an individual break away from society, is that action motivated
by ambition? If it is, then you have not broken away at all, you are still within the
prison, because the very basis of society is ambition, acquisitiveness, greed. But
if  you  understand  all  that  and  bring  about  a  revolution  in  your  own  heart  and
mind,  then  you  are  no  longer  ambitious,  you  are  no  longer  motivated  by  envy,
greed,  acquisitiveness,  and  therefore  you  will  be  entirely  outside  of  a  society
which is based on those things. Then you are a creative individual and in your
action there will be the seed of a different culture.
So there is a vast difference between the action of creative revolution, and the
action of revolt or mutiny within society. As long as you are concerned with mere
reform,  with  decorating  the  bars  and  walls  of  the  prison,  you  are  not  creative.
Reformation  always  needs  further  reform,  it  only  brings  more  misery,  more
destruction.  Whereas,  the  mind  that  understands  this  whole  structure  of
acquisitiveness, of greed, of ambition and breaks away from it – such a mind is in
constant  revolution.  It  is  an  expansive,  a  creative  mind;  therefore,  like  a  stone
thrown into a pool of still water, its action produces waves, and those waves will
form a different civilization altogether.
Questioner: Why do I hate myself when I don’t study?
Krishnamurti: Listen to the question. Why do I hate myself when I don’t study
as I am supposed to? Why do I hate myself when I am not nice, as I should be?
In other words, why don’t I live up to my ideals?
Now,  would  it  not  be  much  simpler not  to  have  ideals  at  all?  If  you  had  no
ideals, would you then have any reason to hate yourself? So why do you say, «I
must be kind, I must be generous, I must pay attention, I must study»? If you can
find out why, and be free of ideals, then perhaps you will act quite differently –
which I shall presently go into.    142
So, why do you have ideals? First of all, because people have always told you
that  if  you  don’t  have  ideals  you  are  a  worthless  boy.  Society,  whether  it  is
according  to  the  communist  pattern  or  the  capitalist  pattern,  says,  «This  is  the
ideal», and you accept it, you try to live up to it, do you not? Now, before you try to
live up to any ideal, should you not find out whether it is necessary to have ideals
at all? Surely, that would make far more sense. You have the ideal of Rama and
Sita, and so many other ideals which society has given you or which you have
invented for yourself. Do you know why you have them? Because you are afraid
to be what you are. Let us keep it simple, don’t let us complicate it. You are afraid
to be what you are – which means that you have no confidence in yourself. That is
why you try to be what society, what your parents and your religion tell you that
you should be.
Now, why are you afraid to be what you are? Why don’t you start with what
you are and not with what you should be? Without understanding what you are,
merely  to  try  to  change  it  into  what  you  think  you  should  be  has  no  meaning.
Therefore scrap all ideals. I know the older people won’t like this, but it doesn’t
matter. Scrap all ideals, drown them in the river, throw them into the wastepaper
basket, and start with what you are – which is what?
You are lazy, you don’t want to study, you want to play games, you want to
have  a  good  time,  like  all  young  people.  Start  with,  that.  Use  your  mind  to
examine what you mean when you talk about having a good time – find out what
is actually involved in it, don’t go by what your parents or your ideals say. Use
your mind to discover why you don’t want to study. Use your mind to find out what
you want to do in life – what you want to do, not what society or some ideal tells
you  to  do.  If  you  give  your  whole  being  to  this  inquiry,  then  you  are  a
revolutionary; then you have the confidence to create, to be what you are, and in
that there is an everrenewing vitality. But the other way you are dissipating your
energy in trying to be like somebody else.    143
Don’t you see, it is really an extraordinary thing that you are so afraid to be
what you are; because beauty lies in being what you are. If you see that you are
lazy, that you are stupid, and if you understand laziness and come face to face
with stupidity without trying to change it into something else, then in that state you
will find there is an enormous release, there is great beauty, great intelligence.
Questioner:  Even  if  we  do  create  a  new  society  by  revolting  against  the
present one, isn’t this creation of a new society still another form of ambition.J
Krishnamurti:  I  am  afraid  you  did  not  listen  to  what  I  said.  When  the  mind
revolts within the pattern of society, such a revolt is like a mutiny in a prison, and
it is merely another form of ambition. But when the mind understands this whole
destructive process of the present society and steps out of it, then its action is not
ambitious. Such action may create a new culture, a better social order, a different
world,  but  the  mind  is  not  concerned  with  that  creation.  Its  only  concern  is  to
discover what is true; and it is the movement of truth that creates a new world,
not the mind which is in revolt against society.    144
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 19
I WONDER HOW MANY of you noticed the rainbow last evening? It was just
over the water, and one came upon it suddenly. It was a beautiful thing to behold,
and it gave one a great sense of joy, an awareness of the vastness and beauty of
the earth. To communicate such joy one must have a knowledge of words, the
rhythm and beauty of right language, mustn’t one? But what is far more important
is  the  feeling  itself,  the  ecstasy  that  comes  with  the  deep  appreciation  of
something  lovely;  and  this  feeling  cannot  be  awakened  through  the  mere
cultivation of knowledge or memory.
You see, we must have knowledge to communicate, to tell each other about
something;  and  to  cultivate  knowledge  there  must  be  memory.  Without
knowledge  you  cannot  fly  an  airplane,  you  cannot  build  a  bridge  or  a  lovely
house, you cannot construct great roads, look after trees, care for animals and do
the  many  other  things  that  a  civilized  man  must  do.  To  generate  electricity,  to
work in the various sciences, to help man through medicine, and so on – for all
this  you  must  have  knowledge,  information,  memory,  and  in  these matters it is
necessary to receive the best possible instruction. That is why it is very important
that you should have technically first-class teachers to give you right information
and help you to cultivate a thorough knowledge of various subjects.
But, you see, while knowledge is necessary at one level, at another level it
becomes  a  hindrance.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  knowledge  available  about
physical existence, and it is being added to, all the time. It is essential to have
such knowledge and to utilize it for the benefit of man. But is there not another
kind of knowledge which, at the psychological level becomes a hindrance to the
discovery of what is true? After all, knowledge is a form of tradition, is it not? And
tradition is the cultivation of memory. Tradition in mechanical affairs is essential,   145
but  when  tradition  is  used  as  a  means  of  guiding  man  inwardly,  it  becomes  a
hindrance to the discovery of greater things.
We rely on knowledge, on memory in mechanical things and in our everyday
living.  Without  knowledge  we  would  not  be  able  drive  a  car,  we  would  be
incapable of doing many things. But knowledge is a hindrance when it becomes a
tradition, a belief which guides the mind, the psyche, the inward being; and it also
divides people. Have you noticed how people all over the world are divided into
groups, calling themselves Hindus, Moslems, Buddhists, Christians, and so on?
What  divides  them?  Not  the  investigations  of  science,  not  the  knowledge  of
agriculture,  of  how  to  build  bridges  or  fly  jet  planes.  What  divides  people  is
tradition, beliefs which condition the mind in a certain way.
So knowledge is a hindrance when it has become a tradition which shapes or
conditions the mind to a particular pattern, because then it not only divides people
and creates enmity between them, but it also prevents the deep discovery of what
is truth, what is life, what is God. To discover what is God, the mind must be free
of  all  tradition,  of  all  accumulation,  of  all  knowledge  which  it  uses  as  a
psychological safeguard.
The  function  of  education  is  to  give  the  student  abundant  knowledge  in  the
various fields of human endeavour and at the same time to free his mind from all
tradition so that he is able to investigate, to find out, to discover. Otherwise the
mind becomes mechanical, burdened with the machinery of knowledge. Unless it
is  constantly  freeing  itself  from  the  accumulations  of  tradition,  the  mind  is
incapable of discovering the Supreme, that which is eternal; but it must obviously
acquire expanding knowledge and information so that it is capable of dealing with
the things that man needs and must produce.
So knowledge, which is the cultivation of memory, is useful and necessary at a
certain  level,  but  at  another  level  it  becomes  a  detriment.  To  recognize  the
distinction – to see where know- ledge is destructive and has to be put aside, and   146
where  it  is  essential  and  to  be  allowed  to  function  with  as  much  amplitude  as
possible – is the beginning of intelligence.
Now, what is happening in education at the present time? You are being given
various  kinds  of  knowledge,  are  you  not?  When  you  go  to  college  you  may
become an engineer, a doctor, or a lawyer, you may take a Ph.D. in mathematics
or in some other branch of knowledge, you may study domestic science and learn
how to keep house, how to cook, and so on; but nobody helps you to be free of
all  traditions  so  that  from  the  very  beginning  your  mind  is  fresh,  eager  and
therefore  capable  of  discovering  something  totally  new  all  the  time.  The
philosophies,  theories  and  beliefs  which  you  acquire  from  books,  and  which
become your tradition, are really a hindrance to the mind, because the mind uses
these  things  as  a  means  of  its  own  psychological  security  and  is  therefore
conditioned by them. So it is necessary both to free the mind from all tradition,
and at the same time to cultivate knowledge, technique; and this is the function of
The difficulty is to free the mind from the known so that it can discover what is
new all the time. A great mathematician once told of how he had been working on
a problem for a number of days and could not find the solution. One morning, as
he  was  taking  a  walk  as  usual,  he  suddenly  saw  the  answer.  What  had
happened?  His  mind,  being  quiet,  was  free  to  look  at  the  problem,  and  the
problem itself revealed the answer. One must have information about a problem,
but the mind must be free of that information to find the answer.
Most of us learn facts, gather information or knowledge, but the mind never
learns how to be quiet, how to be free from all the turmoils of life, from the soil in
which  problems  take  root.  We  join  societies,  adhere  to  some  philosophy,  give
ourselves over to a belief, but all this is utterly useless because it does not solve
our  human  problems.  On  the  contrary,  it  brings  greater  misery,  greater  sorrow.
What  is  needed  is  not  philosophy  or  belief,  but  for  the  mind  to  be  free  to   147
investigate, to discover and to be creative. You cram up to pass examinations,
you gather a lot of information and write it all out to get a degree, hoping to find a
job and get married; and is that all? You have acquired knowledge, technique, but
your mind is not free, so you become a slave to the existing system – which really
means that you are not a creative human being. You may have children, you may
paint  a  few  pictures  or  write  an  occasional  poem,  but  surely  that  is  not
creativeness.  There  must  first  be  freedom  of  the  mind  for  creativeness  to  take
place, and then technique can be used to express that creativeness. But to have
the technique is meaningless without a creative mind, without the extraordinary
creativeness which comes with the discovery of what is true. Unfortunately most
of us do not know this creativeness because we have burdened our minds with
knowledge, tradition, memory, with what Shankara, Buddha, Mao or some other
person has said. Whereas, if your mind is free to discover what is true, then you
will find that there comes an abundant and incorruptible richness in which there is
great joy. Then all one’s relationships – with people, with ideas and with things –
have quite a different meaning.
Questioner: Will the naughty boy change through punishment or through love?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? Listen very carefully to the question; think it
out, feel it out. Will a naughty boy change through punishment or through love? If
he changes through punishment, which is a form of compulsion, is that change?
You are a bigger person, you have authority as the teacher or the parent, and if
you  threaten  him,  frighten  him,  the  poor  chap  may  do  as  you  say;  but  is  that
change?  Is  there  change  through  any  form  of  compulsion?  Can  there  ever  be
change through legislation, through any form of fear?
And, when you ask if love will bring about a change in the naughty boy, what
do  you  mean  by  that  word  `love’?  If  to  love  is  to  understand  the  boy  –  not  to
change him, but to understand the causes that are producing naughtiness – then
that very understanding will bring about in him the cessation of naughtiness.    148
If I want to change the boy so that he will stop being naughty, my very desire
to change him is a form of compulsion, is it not? But if I begin to understand why
he  is  naughty,  if  I  can  discover  and  eradicate  the  causes  that  are  producing
naughtiness in him – it may be wrong food, a lack of sleep, want of affection, the
fact that he is being teased by another boy and so on – then the boy will not be
naughty. But if my desire is merely to change the boy, which is wanting him to fit
into a particular pattern, then I cannot understand him.
You see, this brings up the problem of what we mean by change. Even if the
boy  ceases  to  be  naughty  because  of  your  love  for  him,  which  is  a  kind  of
influence, is that a real change It may be love, but it is still a form of pressure on
him to do or be something. And when you say a boy must change, what do you
mean by that? Change from what to what? From what he is to what he should
be? If he changes to what he should be, has he not merely modified what he was,
and therefore it is no change at all?
To put it differently, if I am greedy and I become non-greedy because you and
society and the sacred books all tell me that I must do so, have I changed, or am
I  merely  calling  greed  by  a  different  name?  Whereas,  if  I  am  capable  of
investigating and understanding the whole problem of my greed, then I shall be
free of it – which is entirely different from becoming greedy.
Questioner: How is one to become intelligent?
Krishnamurti:  The  moment  you  try  to  become  intelligent,  you  cease  to  be
intelligent. This is really important, so give your mind to it a little bit. If I am stupid
and everybody tells me that I must become intelligent, what generally happens? I
struggle to become intelligent, I study more, I try to get better marks. Then people
say, «He is working harder,» and pat me on the back; but I continue to be stupid
because I have only acquired the trimmings of intelligence. So the problem is not
how to become intelligent, but how to be free of stupidity. If, being stupid, I try to
become intelligent, I am still functioning stupidly.    149
You  see,  the  basic  problem  is  that  of  change.  When  you  ask,  «What  is
intelligence and how is one to become intelligent?» it implies a concept of what
intelligence  is,  and  then  you  try  to  become  like  that  concept.  Now,  to  have  a
formula, a theory or concept of what intelligence is, and to try to mould yourself
according to that pattern, is foolish, is it not? Whereas, if one is dull and begins to
find  out  what  dullness  is  without  any  desire  to  change  it  into  something  else,
without  saying,  «I  am  dull,  stupid,  how  terrible!»,  then  one  will  find  that  in
unravelling the problem there comes an intelligence freed of stupidity, and without
Questioner: I am a Moslem. If I don’t follow daily the traditions of my religion,
my parents threaten to turn me out of the house. What should I do?
Krishnamurti: You who are not Moslems will probably advise the questioner to
leave  home,  will  you  not?  But  regardless  of  the  label  you  wear  –  Hindu,  Parsi,
communist Christian, or what you will – the same thing applies to you, so don’t
feel superior and ride the high horse. If you tell your parents that their traditions
are really old superstitions, they also may turn you out of the house.
Now, if you were raised in a particular religion and your father says that you
must leave home unless you observe certain practices which you now see to be
old superstitions, what are you going to do? It depends on how vitally you don’t
want  to  follow  the  old  superstitions,  does  it  not?  Will  you  say,  «I  have  thought
about the matter a great deal, and I think that to call oneself a Moslem, a Hindu, a
Buddhist, a Christian, or any of these things, is nonsense. If for this reason I must
leave home, I will. I am ready to face whatever life brings, even misery and death,
because this is what I feel to be right and I am going to stand by it» – will you say
that?  If  you  don’t,  you  will  just  be  swallowed by tradition, by  the collective. So,
what are you going to do? If education does not give you that kind of confidence,
then what is the purpose of education. Is it merely to prepare you to get a job and
fit into a society which is obviously destructive? Don’t say, «Only a few can break   150
away, and I am not strong enough». Anyone can break away who puts his mind to
it.  To  understand  and  withstand  the  pressure  of  tradition  you  must  have,  not
strength,  but  confidence  –  the  tremendous  confidence  which  comes  when  you
know how to think things out for yourself. But you see, your education does not
teach  you  how  to  think;  it  tells  you  what  to  think.  You  are  told  that  you  are  a
Moslem, a Hindu, a Christian, this or that. But it is the function of right education
to help you to think for yourself, so that out of your own thinking you feel immense
confidence. Then you are a creative human being and not a slavish machine.
Questioner: You tell us that there should be no resistance in paying attention.
How can this be?
Krishnamurti: I have said that any form of resistance is inattention, distraction.
Don’t accept it, think it over. Don’t accept anything, it does not matter who says it,
but  investigate  the  matter  for  yourself.  If  you  merely  accept,  you  become
mechanical dull, you are already dead; but if you investigate, if you think things
out for yourself, then you are alive, vital, a creative human being.
Now,  can  you  pay  attention  to  what  is  being  said  and  at  the  same  time  be
aware that somebody is coming in, without turning your head to see who it is and
without any resistance against turning your head? If you resist turning your head
to look, your attention has already gone and you are wasting your mental energy
in that resistance. So, can there be a state of total attention in which there is no
distraction  and  therefore  no  resistance?  That  is,  can  you  pay  attention  to
something with your whole being and yet keep the outside of your consciousness
sensitive  to  all  that  is  happening  about  you  and  within  yourself?  You  see,  the
mind  is  an  extraordinary  instrument,  it  is  constantly  absorbing  –  seeing  various
forms and colours, receiving innumerable impressions, catching the meaning of
words,  the  significance  of  a  glance,  and  so  on;  and  our  problem  is  to  pay
attention to something while at the same time keeping the mind really sensitive to   151
everything  that  is  going  on,  including  all  the  unconscious  impressions  and
What I am saying really involves the whole problem of meditation. We cannot
enter into that now; but if one doesn’t know how to meditate, one is not a mature
human  being.  Meditation  is  one  of  the  most  important  things  in  life  –  far  more
important than passing examinations to get a degree. To understand what is right
meditation  is  not  to  practise  meditation.  The  `practice’  of  anything  in  spiritual
matters  is  deadly.  To  understand  what  is  right  meditation  there  must  be  an
awareness  of  the  operations  of  one’s  own  consciousness,  and  then  there  is
complete attention. But complete attention is not possible when there is any form
of  resistance.  You  see,  most  of  us  are  educated  to  pay  attention  through
resistance,  and  so  our  attention  is  always  partial,  never  complete  –  and  that  is
why  learning  becomes  tedious,  boring,  a  fearful  thing.  Therefore  it  is  very
important to pay attention in the deep sense of the word, which is to be aware of
the  workings  of  one’s  own  mind.  Without  self-knowledge  you  cannot  pay
complete attention. That is why, in a real school, the  student  must  not  only  be
taught  various  subjects  but  also  helped  to  be  aware  of  the  process  of  his  own
thinking. In understanding himself he will know what it is to pay attention without
resistance, for the understanding of oneself is the way of meditation.
Questioner: Why are we interested in asking questions?
Krishnamurti:  Very  simple:  because  one  is  curious.  Don’t  you  want  to  know
how to play cricket or football, or how to fly a kite? The moment you stop asking
questions you are already dead – which is generally what has happened to older
people.  They  have  ceased  to  inquire  because  their  minds  are  burdened  with
information,  with  what  others  have  said;  they  have  accepted  and  are  fixed  in
tradition. As long as you ask questions you are breaking through, but the moment
you  begin  to  accept,  you  are  psychologically  dead.  So  right  through  life  don’t
accept  a  thing,  but  inquire,  investigate.  Then  you  will  find  that  your  mind  is   152
something  really  extraordinary,  it  has  no  end,  and  to  such  a  mind  there  is  no
death.    153
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 20
THAT  GREEN  FIELD  with  mustard-yellow  flowers  and  a  stream  running
through  it  is  a  lovely  thing  to  look  upon,  is  it  not?  Yesterday  evening  I  was
watching  it,  and  in  seeing  the  extraordinary  beauty  and  quietness  of  the
countryside  one  invariably  asks  oneself  what  is  beauty.  There  is  an  immediate
response to that which is lovely and also to that which is ugly, the response of
pleasure or of pain, and we put that feeling into words saying, «This is beautiful»
or «This is ugly». But what matters is not the pleasure or the pain; rather, it is to be
in communion with everything, to be sensitive both to the ugly and the beautiful.
Now, what is beauty? This is one of the most fundamental questions, it is not
superficial,  so  don’t  brush  it  aside.  To  understand  what  beauty  is,  to  have  that
sense of goodness which comes when the mind and heart are in communion with
something  lovely  without  any  hindrance  so  that  one  feels  completely  at  ease  –
surely,  this  has  great  significance  in  life;  and  until  we  know  this  response  to
beauty our lives will be very shallow. One may be surrounded by great beauty, by
mountains and fields and rivers, but unless one is alive to it all one might just as
well be dead.
You girls and boys and older people just put to yourselves this question: what
is beauty? Cleanliness, tidiness of dress, a smile, a graceful gesture, the rhythm
of walking, a flower in your hair, good manners, clarity of speech, thoughtfulness,
being considerate of others, which includes punctuality – all this is part of beauty;
but it is only on the surface, is it not? And is that all there is to beauty, or is there
something much deeper?
There is beauty of form, beauty of design, beauty of life. Have you observed
the lovely shape of a tree when it is in full foliage, or the extraordinary delicacy of   154
a tree naked against the sky? Such things are beautiful to behold, but they are all
the superficial expressions of something much deeper. So what is it that we call
You may have a beautiful face, clean-cut features, you may dress with good
taste and have polished manners, you may paint well or write about the beauty of
the  landscape,  but  without  this  inward  sense  of  goodness  all  the  external
appurtenances  lead  to  a  very  superficial,  sophisticated  life,  life  without  much
So we must find out what beauty really is, must we not? Mind you, I am not
saying that we should avoid the outward expressions of beauty. We must all have
good  manners,  we  must  be  physically  clean  and  dress  tastefully,  without
ostentation, we must be punctual, clear in our speech, and all the rest of it. These
things are necessary and they create a pleasant atmosphere; but by themselves
they have not much significance.
It is inward beauty that gives grace, an exquisite gentleness to outward form
and  movement.  And  what  is  this  inward  beauty without which one’s life is very
shallow? Have you ever thought about it? Probably not. You are too busy, your
minds are too occupied with study, with play, with talking, laughing and teasing
each  other.  But  to  help  you  to  discover  what  is  inward  beauty,  without  which
outward form and movement have very little meaning, is one of the functions of
right education; and the deep appreciation of beauty is an essential part of your
own life.
Can a shallow mind appreciate beauty? It may talk about beauty; but can it
experience this welling up of immense joy upon looking at something that is really
lovely? When the mind is merely concerned with itself and its own activities, it is
not beautiful; whatever it does, it remains ugly, limited, therefore it is incapable of
knowing what beauty is. Whereas, a mind that is not concerned with itself, that is
free of ambition, a mind that not caught up in its own desires or driven by its own   155
pursuit of success – such a mind is not shallow, and it flowers in goodness. Do
you understand? It is this inward goodness that gives beauty even to a so-called
ugly face. When there is inward goodness the ugly face is transformed, for inward
goodness  is  really  a  deeply  religious  feeling.  Do  you  know  what  it  is  to  be
religious? It has nothing to do with temple bells, though they sound nice in the
distance, nor with pujas, nor with the ceremonies of the priests and all the rest of
the  ritualistic  nonsense.  To  be  religious  is  to  be  sensitive  to  reality.  Your  total
being  –  body,  mind  and  heart  –  is  sensitive  to  beauty  and  to  ugliness,  to  the
donkey tied to a post, to the poverty and filth in this town, to laughter and tears, to
everything  about  you.  From  this  sensitivity  for  the  whole  of  existence  springs
goodness, love; and without this sensitivity there is no beauty, though you may
have talent, be very well dressed, ride in an expensive car and be scrupulously
Love is something extraordinary, is it not? You cannot love if you are thinking
about yourself – which does not mean that you must think about somebody else.
Love is, it has no object. The mind that loves is really a religious mind because it
is in the movement of reality, of truth, of God, and it is only such a mind that can
know what beauty is. The mind that is not caught in any philosophy, that is not
enclosed  in  any  system  or  belief,  that  is  not  driven  by  its  own  ambition  and  is
therefore sensitive, alert, watchful – such a mind has beauty.
It is very important while you are young to learn to be tidy and clean, to sit well
without restless movement, to have good table manners and to be considerate,
punctual;  but  all  these  things,  however  necessary,  are  superficial,  and  if  you
merely cultivate the superficial without understanding the deeper thing, you will
never know the real significance of beauty. A mind that does not belong to any
nation, group or society, that has no authority, that is not motivated by ambition or
held by fear – such a mind is always flowering in love and goodness. Because it is
in the movement of reality, it knows what beauty is; being sensitive to both the
ugly and the beautiful, it is a creative mind, it has limitless understanding.    156
Questioner: If I have an ambition in childhood, will I be able to fulfil it as I grow
Krishnamurti: A childhood ambition is generally not very enduring, is it? A little
boy wants to be an engine driver; or he sees a jet plane go flashing across the
sky and he wants to be a pilot; or he hears some political orator and wants to be
like him, or sees a sannyasi and decides to become one too. A girl may want to
have many children, or be the wife of a rich man and live in a big house, or she
may aspire to paint or to write poems.
Now, will childhood dreams be fulfilled? And are dreams worth fulfilling? To
seek  the  fulfilment  of  any  desire,  no  matter  what  it  is,  always  brings  sorrow.
Perhaps you have not yet noticed this, but you will as you grow up. Sorrow is the
shadow  of  desire.  If  I  want  to  be  rich  or  famous,  I  struggle  to  reach  my  goal,
pushing  others  aside  and  creating  enmity;  and,  even  though  I  may  get  what  I
want, sooner or later something invariably happens. I fall ill, or in the very fulfilling
of my desire I long for something more; and there is always death lurking around
the  corner.  Ambition,  desire  and  fulfilment  lead  inevitably  to  frustration,  sorrow.
You can watch this process for yourself Study the older people around you, the
men who are famous, who are great in the land, those who have made names for
themselves and have power. Look at their faces; see how sad, or how fat and
pompous  they  are.  Their  faces  have  ugly  lines.  They  don’t  flower  in  goodness
because in their hearts there sorrow.
Is it not possible to live in this world without ambition just being what you are?
If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you
are undergoes a transformation. I think one can live in this world anonymously,
completely unknown, without being famous, ambitious, cruel. One can live very
happily  when  no  importance  is  given  to  the  self;  and  this  also  is  part  of  right
education.    157
The whole world is worshipping success. You hear stories of how the poor boy
studied  at  night  and  eventually  became  a  judge,  or  how  he  began  by  selling
newspapers and ended up a multimillionaire. You are fed on the glorification of
success. With the achievement of great success there is also great sorrow; but
most  of  us  are  caught  up  in  the  desire  to  achieve,  and  success  is  much  more
important to us than the understanding and dissolution of sorrow. Questioner: In
the  present  social  system  is  it  not  very  difficult  to  put  into  action  what  you  are
talking about?
Krishnamurti: When you feel very strongly about something, do you consider it
difficult to put it into action? When you are keen to play cricket, you play it with
your whole being, don’t you? And do you call it difficult? It is only when you don’t
totally feel the truth of something that you say it is difficult to put it into action. You
don’t love it. That which you love you do with ardour, there is joy in it, and then
what society or what your parents may say does not matter. But if you are not
deeply  convinced,  if  you  do  not  feel  free  and  happy  in  doing  what  you  think  is
right, surely your interest in it is false, unreal; therefore it becomes mountainous
and you say it is difficult to put it into action.
In doing what you love to do there will of course be difficulties, but that won’t
matter to you, it is part of life. You see, we have made a philosophy of difficulty,
we consider it a virtue to make effort, to struggle, to oppose.
I am not talking of proficiency through effort and struggle, but of the love of
doing  something.  But  don’t  battle  against  society,  don’t  tackle  dead  tradition,
unless you have this love in you, for your struggle will be meaningless, and you
will merely create more mischief. Whereas, if you deeply feel what is right and
can therefore stand alone, then your action born of love will have extraordinary
significance, it will have vitality, beauty.
You know, it is only in a very quiet mind that great things are born; and a quiet
mind does not come about through effort, through control, through discipline.    158
Questioner: What do you mean by a total change, and how can it be realized
in one’s own being?
Krishnamurti: Do you think there can be a total change if you try to bring it
about? Do you know what change is? Suppose you are ambitious and you have
begun  to  see  all  that  is  involved  in  ambition:  hope,  satisfaction,  frustration,
cruelty, sorrow, inconsideration, greed, envy, an utter lack of love. Seeing all this,
what are you to do? To make an effort to change or transform ambition is another
form  of  ambition,  is  it  not?  It  implies  a  desire  to  be  something  else.  You  may
reject one desire, but in that very process you cultivate another desire which also
brings sorrow.
Now, if you see that ambition brings sorrow, and that the desire to put an end
to ambition also brings sorrow, if you see the truth of this very clearly for yourself
and  do  not  act,  but  allow  the  truth  to  act,  then  that  truth  brings  about  a
fundamental change in the mind, a total revolution. But this requires a great deal
of attention, penetration, insight.
When you are told, as you all are, that you should be good, that you should
love, what generally happens? You say, «I must practise being good, I must show
love to my parents, to the servant, to the donkey, to everything». That means you
are making an effort to show love – and then `love’ becomes very shoddy, very
petty, as it does with those nationalistic people who are everlastingly practising
brotherhood, which is silly, stupid. It is greed that causes these practices. But if
you see the truth of nationalism, of greed, and let that truth work upon you, let
that truth act, then you will be brotherly without making  any  effort.  A  mind  that
practises love cannot love. But if you love and do not interfere with it, then love
will operate.
Questioner: Sir, what is self-expansion?    159
Krishnamurti:  If  you  want  to  become  the  governor  or  a  famous  professor,  if
you imitate some big man or hero, if you try to follow your guru or a saint, then
that process of becoming, imitating, following is a form of self-expansion, is it not?
An ambitious man, a man who wants to be great, who wants to fulfil himself may
say, «I am doing this in the name of peace and for the sake of my country; but his
action is still the expansion of himself.
Questioner: Why is the rich man proud?
Krishnamurti:  A  little  boy  asks  why  the  rich  man  is  proud.  Have  you  really
noticed that the rich man is proud? And do not the poor also have pride? We all
have our own peculiar arrogance which we show in different ways. The rich man,
the poor man the learned man, the man of capacity, the saint, the leader – each in
his own way has the feeling that he has arrived, that he is a success, that he is
somebody or can do something. But the man who is nobody, who does not want
to be a somebody, who is just himself and understands himself – such a man is
free of arrogance, of pride.
Questioner: Why are we always caught in the `me’ and the ‘mine’, and why do
we keep bringing up in our meetings with you the problems which this state of
mind produces?
Krishnamurti: Do you really want to know, or has somebody prompted you to
ask this question? The problem of the `me’ and the `mine’ is one in which we are
all involved. It is really the only problem we have, and we are everlastingly talking
about  it  in  different  ways,  sometimes  in  terms  of  fulfilment  and  sometimes  in
terms  of  frustration,  sorrow.  The  desire  to  have  lasting  happiness,  the  fear  of
dying  or  of  losing  property,  the  pleasure  of  being  flattered,  the  resentment  of
being insulted, the quarrelling over your god and my god, your way and my way –
the mind is ceaselessly occupied with all this and nothing else. It may pretend to
seek peace, to feel brotherly, to be good, to love, but behind this screen of words   160
it continues to be caught up in the conflict of the `me’ and the `mine’, and that is
why it creates the problems which you bring up every morning in different words.
Questioner: Why do women dress themselves up?
Krishnamurti:  Have  you  not  asked  them?  And  have  you  never  watched  the
birds? Often it is the male bird that has more colour, more sprightliness. To be
physically attractive is part of the sexual relationship to produce young. That is
life.  And  the  boys  also  do  it.  As  they  grow  up  they  like  to  comb  their  hair  in  a
particular  way,  wear  a  nice  cap,  put  on  attractive  clothes  –  which  is  the  same
thing. We all want to show off. The rich man in his expensive car, the girl who
makes herself more beautiful, the boy who tries to be very smart – they all want to
show that they have something. It is a strange world, is it not? You see, a lily or a
rose never pretends, and its beauty is that it is what it is.    161
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 21
ARE  YOU  INTERESTED  in  trying  to  find  out  what  is  learning?  You  go  to
school to learn, don’t you? And what is learning? Have you ever thought about it?
How do you learn, why do you learn, and what is it that you are learning? What is
the meaning, the deeper significance of learning? You have to learn to read and
write,  to  study  various  subjects,  and  also  to  acquire  a  technique,  to  prepare
yourself for a profession by which to earn a livelihood. We mean all of that when
we  talk  about  learning  –  and  then  most  of  us  stop  there.  As  soon  as  we  pass
certain examinations and have a job, a profession, we seem to forget all about
But is there an end to learning? We say that learning from books and learning
from  experience  are  two  different  things;  and  are  they?  From  books  we  learn
what other people have written about sciences, for example. Then we make our
own experiments and continue to learn through those experiments. And we also
learn through experience – at least that is what we say. But after all to fathom the
extraordinary  depths  of  life,  to  find  out  what  God  or  truth  is,  there  must  be
freedom; and, through experience, is there freedom to find out,to learn?
Have you thought about what experience is? It is the feeling in response to a
challenge, is it not? To respond to a challenge is experience. And do you learn
through  experience?  When  you  respond  to  a  challenge,  to  a  stimulus,  your
response is based on your conditioning, on the education you have received, on
your  cultural,  religious,  social  and  economic  background.  You  respond  to  a
challenge conditioned by your background as a Hindu, a Christian, a communist,
or  whatever  you  are.  If  you  do  not  break  away  from  your  background,  your
response to any challenge only strengthens or modifies that background. Hence   162
you are really never free to explore, to discover, to understand what is truth, what
is God,
So,  experience  does  not  free  the  mind,  and  learning  through  experience  is
only a process of forming new patterns based on one’s old conditioning. I think it
is very important to understand this, because as we grow older we get more and
more entrenched in our experience, hoping thereby to learn; but what we learn is
dictated by the background, which means that through the experience by which
we learn there is never freedom but only the modification of conditioning.
Now, what is learning? You begin by learning how to read and write, how to sit
quietly, how to obey or not to obey; you learn the history of this or that country,
you learn languages which are necessary for communication; you learn how to
earn  a  livelihood,  how  to  enrich  the  fields,  and  so  on.  But  is  there  a  state  of
learning in which the mind is free of the background, a state in which there is no
search? Do you understand the question?
What  we  call  learning  is  a  continuous  process  of  adjusting,  resisting,
subjugating; we learn either to avoid or to gain something. Now, is there a state in
which  the  mind  is  not  the  instrument  of  learning  but  of  being?  Do  you  see  the
difference? As long as we are acquiring, getting, avoiding, the mind must learn,
and in such learning there is always a great deal of tension, resistance. To learn
you must concentrate, must you not? And what is concentration?
Have you ever noticed what happens when you concentrate on something?
When you are required to study a book which you don`t want to study, or even if
you do want to study, you have to resist and put aside other things. You resist the
inclination  to  look  out  of  the  window,  or  to  talk  to  somebody,  in  order  to
concentrate.  So  in  concentration  there  is  always  effort,  is  there  not?  In
concentration there is a motive, an incentive, an effort to learn in order to acquire
something; and our life is a series of such efforts, a state of tension in which we
are trying to learn. But if there is no tension at all, no acquiring, no laying up of   163
knowledge,  is  not  the  mind  then  capable  of  learning  much  more  deeply  and
swiftly? Then it becomes an instrument of inquiry to find out what is truth, what is
beauty,  what  is  God  –  which  means,  really,  that  it  does  not  submit  to  any
authority, whether it be the authority of knowledge or society, of religion, culture
or conditioning.
You see, it is only when the mind is free from the burden of knowledge that it
can  find  out  what  is  true;  and  in  the  process  of  finding  out,  there  is  no
accumulation,  is  there?  The  moment  you  begin  to  accumulate  what  you  have
experienced  or  learnt,  it  becomes  an  anchorage  which  holds  your  mind  and
prevents it from going further. In the process of inquiry the mind sheds from day
to day what it has learnt so that it is always fresh, uncontaminated by yesterday’s
experience. Truth is living, it is not static, and the mind that would discover truth
must  also  be  living,  not  burdened  with  knowledge  or  experience.  Then  only  is
there that state in which truth can come into being.
All this may be difficult in the verbal sense, but the meaning is not difficult if
you apply your mind to it. To inquire into the deeper things of life, the mind must
be  free;  but  the  moment  you  learn  and  make  that  learning  the  basis  of  further
inquiry, your mind is not free and you are no longer inquiring.
Questioner: Why do we so easily forget what we find difficult to learn?
Krishnamurti:  Are  you  learning  merely  because  circumstances  force  you  to
learn? After all, if you are studying physics and mathematics but you really want
to become a lawyer, you soon forget the physics and mathematics. Do you really
learn if you have an incentive to learn? If you want to pass certain examinations
merely  in  order  to  find  a  job  and  get  married,  you  may  make  an  effort  to
concentrate, to learn; but once you pass the examinations you soon forget what
you have learned, do you not? When learning is only a means to get somewhere,
the  moment  you  have  got  where  you  want  to  go,  you  forget  the  means  –  and   164
surely that is not learning at all. So there may be the state of learning only when
there is no motive no incentive when you do the thing for the love of itself.
Questioner: What is the significance of the word `progress`?
Krishnamurti: Like most people, you have ideals, have you not? And the ideal
is  not  real,  not  factual;  it  is  what  should  be,  it  is  something  in  the  future.  Now,
what I say is this; forget the ideal, and be aware of what you are. Do not pursue
what should be, but understand what is. The understanding of what you actually
are is far more important than the pursuit of what you should be. Why? Because
in  understanding  what  you  are  there  begins  a  spontaneous  process  of
transformation, whereas in becoming what you think you should be there is no
change at all, but only a continuation of the same old thing in a different form. If
the  mind,  seeing  that  it  is  stupid,  tries  to  change  its  stupidity  into  intelligence,
which is what should be, that is silly, it has no meaning, no reality; it is only the
pursuit of a self-projection, a postponement of the understanding of what is. As
long  as  the  mind  tries  to  change  its  stupidity  into  something  else,  it  remains
stupid. But if the mind says, «I realize that I am stupid and I want to understand
what  stupidity  is,  therefore  I  shall  go  into  it,  I  shall  observe  how  it  comes  into
being»,  then  that  very  process  of  inquiry  brings  about  a  fundamental
«What  is  the  significance  of  the  word  `progress’?»  Is  there  such  a  thing  as
progress?  You  see  the  bullock  cart  moving  at  two  miles  an  hour,  and  that
extraordinary thing called the jet plane travelling at 6oo or more miles per hour.
That  is  progress,  is  it  not?  There  is  technological  progress:  better  means  of
communication, better health and so on. But is there any other form of progress?
Is  there  psychological  progress  in  the  sense  of  spiritual  advancement  through
time? Is the idea of progress in spirituality really spiritual, or merely an invention
of the mind?    165
You know, it is very important to ask fundamental questions; but unfortunately
we find very easy answers to funda- mental questions. We think the easy answer
is  a  solution,  but  it  is  not.  We  must  ask  a  fundamental  question  and  let  that
question operate, let it work in us to find out what is the truth of it.
Progress implies time, does it not? After all, it has taken us centuries to come
from the bullock cart to the jet plane. Now, we think that we can find reality or
God in the same way, through time. We are here, and we think of God as being
over there, or somewhere far away, and to cover that distance, that intervening
space, we say we need time. But God or reality is not fixed, and neither are we
fixed; there is no fixed point from which to start and no fixed point towards which
to move. For reasons of psychological security we cling to the idea that there is a
fixed point in each of us, and that reality is also fixed; but this is an illusion, it is
not  true.  The  moment  we  want  time  in  which  to  evolve  or  progress  inwardly,
spiritually, what we are doing is no longer spiritual, because truth is not of time. A
mind which is caught up in time demands time to find reality. But reality is beyond
time,  it  has  no  fixed  point.  The  mind  must  be  free  of  all  its  accumulations,
conscious as well as unconscious, and only then is it capable of finding out what
is truth, what is God.
Questioner: Why do birds fly away when I come near?
Krishnamurti: How nice it would be if the birds did not fly away when you came
near! If you could touch them, be friendly with them, how lovely it would be! But
you see, we human beings are cruel people. We kill the birds, torture them, we
catch  them  in  nets  and  put  them  in  cages.  Think  of  a  lovely  parrot  in  a  cage!
Every evening it calls to its mate and sees the other birds flying across the open
sky.  When  we  do  all  these  things  to  the  birds,  do  you  think  they  will  not  be
frightened when we come near them? But if you sit quietly in an isolated spot and
are  very  still,  really  gentle,  you  will  soon  find  that  the  birds  come  to  you;  they
hover  quite  close  and  you  can  observe  their  alert  movements,  their  delicate   166
claws, the extraordinary strength and beauty of their feathers. But to do that you
must have immense patience, which means you must have a great deal of love,
and also there must be no fear. Animals seem to sense fear in us, and they in
turn get frightened and run away. That is why it is very important to understand
You  try  sitting  very  still  under  a  tree,  but  not  just  for  two  or  three  minutes,
because  the  birds  won’t  get  used  to  you  in  so  short  a  time.  Go  and  sit  quietly
under  the  same  tree  every  day,  and  you  will  soon  begin  to  be  aware  that
everything around you is living. You will see the blades of grass sparkling in the
sunshine,  the  ceaseless  activity  of  the  little  birds,  the  extraordinary  sheen  of  a
snake, or a kite flying high in the skies enjoying the breeze without a movement
of  its  wings.  But  to  see  all  this  and  to  feel  the  joy  of  it  you  must  have  real
quietness inside you.
Questioner: What is the difference between you and me?
Krishnamurti: Is there any fundamental difference between us? You may have
a fair skin and I may be quite dark; you may be very clever and know a lot more
than I; or I may live in a village while you travel all over the world, and so on.
Obviously there are differences in form, in speech, in knowledge, in manners in
tradition and culture; but whether we are Brahmins or non-Brahmins, whether we
are  Americans,  Russians,  Japanese,  Chinese,  or  what  you  will,  is  there  not  a
great similarity between us all? We are all afraid, we all want security, we all want
to  be  loved,  we  all  want  to  eat  and  to  be  happy.  But  you  see,  the  superficial
differences destroy our awareness of the fundamental similarity between us as
human beings. To understand and to be free of that similarity brings about great
love,  great  thoughtfulness.  Unfortunately,  most  of  us  are  caught  up  in,  and
therefore  divided  by,  the  superficial  differences  of  race,  of  culture,  of  belief.
Beliefs are a curse, they divide people and create antagonism. It is only by going
beyond all beliefs, beyond all differences and similarities, that the mind can be   167
free to find out what is true. Questioner: Why does the teacher get cross with me
when I smoke?
Krishnamurti: Probably he has told you many times not to smoke because it is
not very good for little boys; but you keep on smoking because you like the taste,
so he gets cross with you. Now, what do you think? Do you think one should get
used  to  smoking,  or  acquire  any  other  habit,  while  one  is  so  very  young?  If  at
your  age  your  body  gets  accustomed  to  smoking,  it  means  you  are  already  a
slave to something; and is that not a terrible thing? Smoking may be all right for
older people, but even that is extremely doubtful. Unfortunately, they have their
excuses  for  being  slaves  to  various  habits.  But  you  who  are  very  young,
immature,  adolescent,  you  who  are  still  growing  –  why  should  you  get  used  to
anything, or fall into any habit, which only makes you insensitive? The moment
the  mind  gets  used  to  something  it  begins  to  function  in  the  groove  of  habit,
therefore it becomes dull, it is no longer vulnerable; it loses that sensibility which
is necessary to find out what is God, what is beauty, what is love.
Questioner: Why do men hunt tigers?
Krishnamurti: Because they want to kill for the excitement of killing. We all do
lots  of  thoughtless  things  –  like  tearing  the  wings  from  a  fly  to  see  what  will
happen. We gossip and say harsh things about others; we kill to eat; we kill for
so-called peace; we kill for our country or for our ideas. So there is a great streak
of cruelty in us, is there not? But if one can understand and put that aside, then it
is great fun just to watch the tiger go by – as several of us did one evening near
Bombay.  A  friend  took  us  into  the  forest  in  his  car  to  look  for  a  tiger  which
somebody had seen nearby. We were returning and had just rounded a curve,
when suddenly there was the tiger in the middle of the road. Yellow and black,
sleek and lean, with a long tail, he was a lovely thing to watch, full of grace and
power. We switched off the headlights and he came growling towards us, passing
so  close  that  he  almost  touched  the  car.  It  was  a  marvellous  sight.  If  one  can   168
watch  a  thing  like  that  without  a  gun  it  is  much  more  fun,  and  there  is  great
beauty in it.
Questioner: Why are we burdened with sorrow?
Krishnamurti:  We  accept  sorrow  as  an  inevitable  part  of  life  and  we  build
philosophies around it; we justify sorrow, and we say that sorrow is necessary in
order to find God. I say, on the contrary, there is sorrow because man is cruel to
man. Also we don’t understand a great many things in life which therefore bring
sorrow  –  things  like  death,  like  not  having  a  job,  like  seeing  the  poor  in  their
misery. We don’t understand all this, so we are tortured; and the more sensitive
one  is,  the  more  one  suffers.  Instead  of  understanding  these  things,  we  justify
sorrow;  instead  of  revolting  against  this  whole  rotten  system  and  breaking
through it, we merely adjust ourselves to it. To be free of sorrow one must be free
of the desire to do harm – and also of the desire to do `good’, the so-called good
that is equally the result of our conditioning.    169
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 22
A MAN IN sannyasi robes used to come every morning to gather flowers from
the trees in a nearby garden. His hands and his eyes were greedy for the flowers,
and he picked every flower within reach. He was evidently going to offer them to
some dead image, a thing made of stone. The flowers were lovely, tender things
just opening to the morning sun, and he did not pick them gently, but tore them
off, viciously stripping the garden of whatever it held. His god demanded lots of
flowers – lots of living things for a dead stone image.
Another day I watched some young boys picking flowers. They were not going
to offer the flowers to any god; they were talking and thoughtlessly tearing off the
flowers, and throwing them away. Have you ever observed yourself doing this? I
wonder why you do it? As you walk along you will break off a twig, strip away the
leaves  and  drop  it.  Have  you  not  noticed  this  thoughtless  action  on  your  part?
The grown-up people do it too, they have their own way of expressing their inner
brutality, this appalling disrespect for living things. They talk about harmlessness,
yet everything they do is destructive.
One can understand your picking a flower or two to put in your hair, or to give
to somebody with love; but why do you just tear at the flowers? The grown-ups
are ugly in their ambition, they butcher each other in their wars and corrupt each
other with money. They have their own forms of hideous action; and apparently
the young people here as elsewhere are following in their footsteps.
The other day I was out walking with one of the boys and we came upon a
stone  lying  on  the  road.  When  I  removed it, he asked, «Why did  you  do  that?»
What  does  this  indicate.  Is  it  not  a  lack  of  consideration,  respect?  You  show
respect out of fear, do you not? You promptly jump up when an elder comes into   170
the room, but that is not respect, it is fear; because if you really felt respect you
would  not  destroy  the  flowers,  you  would  remove  a  stone  from  the  road,  you
would tend the trees and help to take care of the garden. But, whether we are old
or young, we have no real feeling of consideration. Why? Is it that we don’t know
what love is?
Do you understand what simple love is? Not the complexity of sexual love nor
the love of God, but just love, being tender, really gentle in one’s whole approach
to all things. At home you don’t always get this simple love, your parents are too
busy; at home there may be no real affection, no tenderness, so you come here
with  that  background  of  insensitivity  and  you  behave  like  everybody  else.  And
how is one to bring about sensitivity? Not that you must have regulations against
picking the flowers, for when you are merely restrained by regulations, there is
fear. But how is there to come into being this sensitivity which makes you alert
not to do any harm to people, to animals, to flowers?
Are you interested in all this? You should be. If you are not interested in being
sensitive,  you  might  as  well  be  dead  –  and  most  people  are.  Though  they  eat
three meals a day, have jobs, procreate children, drive cars, wear fine clothes,
most people are as good as dead.
Do you know what it means to be sensitive? It means, surely, to have a tender
feeling for things: to see an animal suffering and do something about it, to remove
a stone from the path because so many bare feet walk there, to pick up a nail on
the road because somebody’s car might get a puncture. To be sensitive is to feel
for people, for birds, for flowers, for trees – not because they are yours, but just
because  you  are  awake  to  the  extraordinary  beauty  of  things.  And  how  is  this
sensitivity to be brought about?
The moment you are deeply sensitive you naturally do not pluck the flowers;
there  is  a  spontaneous  desire  not  to  destroy  things,  not  to  hurt  people,  which
means  having  real  respect,love.  To  love  is  the  most  important  thing  in  life.  But   171
what do I mean by love? When you love someone because that person loves you
in return, surely that is not love. To love is to have this extraordinary feeling of
affection without asking anything in return. You may be very clever, you may pass
all your examinations, get a doctorate and achieve a high position, but if you have
not this sensitivity, this feeling of simple love, your heart will be empty and you
will be miserable for the rest of your life.
So it is very important for the heart to be filled with this sense of affection, for
then you won’t destroy, you won’t be ruthless, and there won’t be wars any more.
Then  you  will  be  happy  human  beings;  and  because  you  are  happy  you  won’t
pray, you won’t seek God, for that happiness itself is God.
Now, how is this love to come into being? Surely, love must begin with the
educator,  the  teacher.  If,  besides  giving  you  information  about  mathematics,
geography, or history, the teacher has this feeling of love in his heart and talks
about it, if he spontaneously removes the stone from the road and does not allow
the servant to do all the dirty jobs; if in his conversation, in his work, in his play,
when he eats, when he is with you or by himself, he feels this strange thing and
points it out to you often, then you also will know what it is to love.
You may have a clear skin, a nice face, you may wear a lovely sari or be a
great athlete, but without love in your heart you are an ugly human being, ugly
beyond measure; and when you love, whether your face is homely or beautiful, it
has a radiance. To love is the greatest thing in life; and it is very important to talk
about love, to feel it, to nourish it, to treasure it, otherwise it is soon dissipated, for
the world is very brutal. If while you are young you don’t feel love, if you don’t look
with love at people, at animals, at flowers, when you grow up you will find that
your life is empty; you will be very lonely, and the dark shadows of fear will follow
you always. But the moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called
love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you
the world is transformed.    172
Questioner:  Why  is  it  that  always  so  many  rich  and  important  people  are
invited to school functions?
Krishnamurti:  What  do  you  think?  Don’t  you  want  your  father  to  be  an
important man? Are you not proud if he becomes a member of parliament and is
mentioned in the newspaper. If he takes you to live in a big house or if he goes to
Europe and comes back puffing a cigar, are you not pleased?
You see, the wealthy and those in power are very useful to institutions. The
institution flatters them and they do something for the institution, so it works both
ways. But the question is not just why the school invites the important people to
its functions; it is why you also want to be an important person or why you want to
marry the richest, the best known, or the most handsome man. Don’t you all want
to be a big something or other? And when you have those desires, you have in
you already the seed of corruption. Do you understand what I am saying?
Put aside for the moment the question of why the school invites the wealthy
because there are also poor people at these functions. But do any of you sit near
the  poor  people,  near  the  villagers?  Do  you?  And  have  you  noticed  another
extrao1dinary thing: how the sannyasis want to be seated prominently, how they
push  their  way  to  the  front?  We  all  want  to  have  prominence,  recognition.  The
true Brahmin is one who does not ask anything from anyone, not because he is
proud, but because he is a light unto himself; but we have lost all that.
You  know,  there  is  a  marvellous  story  about  Alexander  when  he  came  to
India. Having conquered the country, he wanted to meet the prime minister who
had created such order in the land and had brought about such honesty, such
incorruptibility among the people. When the king explained that the prime minister
a Brahmin who had returned to his village, Alexander asked that he come to see
him. The king sent for the prime minister, but he would not come because he did
not  care  to  show  himself  off  to  anyone.  Unfortunately  we  have  lost  that  spirit.
Being in ourselves empty, dull, sorrowful, we are psychological beggars, seeking   173
someone or something to nourish us, to give us hope, to sustain us, and that is
why we make normal things ugly.
It is all right for some prominent official to come to lay the corner stone of a
building;  what  harm  is  there  in  that?  But  what  is  corrupting  is  the  whole  spirit
behind it. You never go to visit the villagers, do you? You never talk to them, feel
with them, see for yourself how little they have to eat, how endlessly they work
day  after  day  without  rest;  but  because  I  happen  to  have  pointed  out  to  you
certain things, you are ready to criticize others. Don’t sit around and criticize, that
is empty, but go and find out for yourself what the conditions are in the villages
and do something there: plant a tree, talk to the villagers, invite them here, play
with their children. Then you will find that a different kind of society comes into
being, because there will be love in the land. A society without love is like a land
without rivers, it is as a desert; but where there are rivers the land is rich, it has
abundance, it has beauty. Most of us grow up without love, and that is why we
have created a society as hideous as the people who live in it.
Questioner: You say that God is not in the graven image, but others say that
he is indeed there, and that if we have faith in our hearts his power will manifest
itself. What is the truth of worship?
Krishnamurti: The world is as full of opinions as it is of people. And you know
what an opinion is. You say this, and somebody else says that. Each one has an
opinion, but opinion is not truth; therefore do not listen to mere opinion, it does
not  matter  whose  it  is,  but  find  out  for  yourself  what  is  true.  Opinion  can  be
changed overnight, but truth cannot be changed.
Now, you want to find out for yourself whether God or truth is in the graven
image, do you not? What is a graven image? It is a thing conceived by the mind
and fashioned of wood or of stone by the hand. The mind projects the image; and
do  you  think  an  image  projected  by  the  mind  is  God,  though  a  million  people
assert that it is?    174
You say that if the mind has faith in the image, then the image will give power
to the mind. Obviously; the mind creates the image and then derives power from
its own creation. That is what the mind is everlastingly doing: producing images
and drawing strength, happiness, benefit from those images, thereby remaining
empty, inwardly poverty-stricken. So what is important is not the image, or what
the millions say about it, but to understand the operation of your own mind.
The mind makes and unmakes gods, it can be cruel or kind. The mind has the
power  to  do  the  most  extraordinary  things.  It  can  hold  opinions,  it  can  create
illusions,  it  can  invent  jet  planes  that  travel  at  tremendous  speed;  it  can  build
beautiful  bridges,  lay  vast  railways,  devise  machines  that  calculate  beyond  the
capacity of man. But the mind cannot create truth. What it creates is not truth, it is
merely an opinion, a judgment. So it is important to find out for yourself what is
To find out what is true, the mind must be without any movement, completely
still.  That  stillness  is  the  act  of  worship,  not  your  going  to  the  temple  to  offer
flowers  and  pushing  aside  the  beggar  on  the  way.  You  propitiate  the  gods
because you are afraid of them, but that is not worship. When you understand the
mind and the mind is completely still, not made still, then that stillness is the act of
worship; and in that stillness there comes into being that which is true, that which
is beautiful, that which is God.
Questioner: You said one day that we should sit quietly and watch the activity
of our own mind, but our thoughts disappear as soon as we begin consciously to
observe  them.  How  can  we  perceive  our  own  mind  when  the  mind  is  the
perceiver as well as that which it perceives?
Krishnamurti: This is a very complex question, and many things are involved in
it.    175
Now,  is  there  a  perceiver,  or  only  perception?  Please  follow  this  closely.  Is
there a thinker, or only thinking? Surely, the thinker does not exist first. First there
is thinking, and then thinking creates the thinker – which means that a separation
in  thinking  has  taken  place.  It  is  when  this  separation  takes  place  that  there
comes into being the watcher and the watched, the perceiver and the object of
perception.  As  the  questioner  says,  if  you  watch  your  mind,  if  you  observe  a
thought,  that  thought  disappears,  it  fades  away;  but  there  is  actually  only
perception, not a perceiver. When you look at a flower, when you just see it, at
the  moment  is  there  an  entity  who  sees?  Or  is  there  only  seeing?  Seeing  the
flower makes you say, «How nice it is, I want it; so the ‘I’ comes into being through
desire, fear, greed, ambition, which follow in the wake of seeing. It is these that
create the `I’, and the `I’ is non-existent without them.
If you go deeper into this whole question you will discover that when the mind
is  very  quiet,  completely  still,  when  there  is  not  a  movement  of  thought  and
therefore  no  experiencer,  no  observer,  then  that  very  stillness  has  its  own
creative understanding. In that stillness the mind is transformed into something
else.  But  the  mind  cannot  find  that  stillness  through  any  means,  through  any
discipline, through any practice; it does not come about through sitting in a corner
and trying to concentrate. That stillness comes when you understand the ways of
the mind. It is the mind that has created the stone image which people worship; it
is  the  mind  that  has  created  the  Gita,  the  organized  religions,  the  innumerable
beliefs;  and,  to  find  out  what  is  real,  you  must  go  beyond  the  creations  of  the
Questioner: Is man only mind and brain, or something more than this?
Krishnamurti: How are you going to find out? If you merely believe, speculate,
or  accept  what  Shankara,  Buddha,  or  somebody  else  has  said,  you  are  not
investigating, you are not trying to find out what is true.    176
You have only one instrument, which is the mind; and the mind is the brain
also. Therefore, to find out the truth of this matter, you must understand the ways
of the mind, must you not? If the mind is crooked you will never see straight; if the
mind is very limited you cannot perceive the illimitable. The mind is the instrument
of perception and, to perceive truly, the mind must be made straight, it must be
cleansed of all conditioning, of all fear. The mind must also be free of knowledge,
because  knowledge  diverts  the  mind  and  makes  things  twisted.  The  enormous
capacity of the mind to invent, to imagine, to speculate, to think – must not this
capacity be put aside so that the mind is very clear and very simple? Because it
is only the innocent mind, the mind that has experienced vastly and yet is free of
knowledge and experience – it is only such a mind that can discover that which is
more than brain and mind. Otherwise what you discover will be coloured by what
you  have  already  experienced,  and  your  experience  is  the  result  of  your
Questioner: What is the difference between need and greed?
Krishnamurti:  Don’t  you  know?  Don’t  you  know  when  you  have  what  you
need?  And  does  not  something  tell  you  when  you  are  greedy?  Begin  at  the
lowest  level,  and  you  will  see  it  is  so.  You  know  that  when  you  have  enough
clothes, jewels, or whatever it is, you don’t have to philosophize about it. But the
moment  need  moves  into  the  field  of  greed,  it  is  then  that  you  begin  to
philosophize  to  rationalize,  to  explain  away  your  greed.  A  good  hospital,  for
example,  requires  so  many  beds,  a  certain  standard  of  cleanliness,  certain
antiseptics, this and that. A travelling man must perhaps have a car, an overcoat,
and so on. That is need. You need a certain knowledge and skill to carry on your
craft. If you are an engineer you must know certain things – but that knowledge
can become an instrument of greed. Through greed the mind uses the objects of
need as a means of self-advancement. It is a very simple process if you observe
it. If, being aware of your actual needs, you also see how greed comes in, how   177
the mind uses the objects of need for its own aggrandizement, then it is not very
difficult to distinguish between need and greed.
Questioner:  If  the  mind  and  the  brain  are  one,  then  why  is  it  that  when  a
thought or an urge arises which the brain tells us is ugly the mind so often goes
on with it?
Krishnamurti: Actually what takes place? If a pin pricks your arm, the nerves
carry the sensation to your brain, the brain translates it as pain, then the mind
rebels  against  the  pain,  and  you  take  away  the  pin  or  otherwise  do  something
about it. But there are some things which the mind goes on with, even though it
knows them to be ugly or stupid. It knows how essentially stupid it is to smoke,
and yet one goes on smoking. Why? Because it likes the sensations of smoking,
and that is all. If the mind were as keenly aware of the stupidity of smoking as it is
of the pain of a pinprick, it would stop smoking immediately. But it doesn’t want to
see  it  that  clearly  because  smoking  has  become  a  pleasurable  habit.  It  is  the
same with greed or violence. If greed were as painful to you as the pinprick in
your arm, you would instantly stop being greedy, you wouldn’t philosophize about
it; and if you were really awake to the full significance of violence, you wouldn’t
write volumes about non-violence – which is all nonsense, because you don’t feel
it,  you  just  talk  about  it.  If  you  eat  something  which  gives  you  a  violent
tummyache,  you  don’t  go  on  eating  it,  do  you?  You  put  it  aside  immediately.
Similarly,  if  you  once  realized  that  envy  and  ambition  are  poisonous,  vicious,
cruel, as deadly as the sting of a cobra, you would awaken to them. But, you see,
the  mind  does  not  want  to  look  at  these  things  too  closely;  in  this  area  it  has
vested  interests,  and  it  refuses  to  admit  that  ambition,  envy,  greed,  lust  are
poisonous.  Therefore  it  says,  «Let  us  discuss  non-greed,  non-violence,  let  us
have ideals» – and in the meantime it carries on with its poisons. So find out for
yourself how corrupting, how destructive and poisonous these things are, and you
will soon drop them; but if you merely say, «I must not» and go on as before, you
are playing the hypocrite. Be one thing or the other, hot or cold.    178  179
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 23
IS  IT  NOT  a  very  strange  thing  in  this  world,  where  there  is  so  much
distraction, entertainment, that almost everybody is a spectator and very few are
players?  Whenever  we  have  a  little  free  time,  most  of  us  seek  some  form  of
amusement.  We  pick  up  a  serious  book,  a  novel,  or  a  magazine.  If  we  are  in
America we turn on the radio or the television, or we indulge in incessant talk.
There is a constant demand to be amused, to be entertained, to be taken away
from  ourselves.  We  are  afraid  to  be  alone,  afraid  to  be  without  a  companion,
without a distraction of some sort. Very few of us ever walk in the fields and the
woods, not talking or singing songs, but just walking quietly and observing things
about us and within ourselves. We almost never do that because, you see, most
of us are very bored; we are caught in a dull routine of learning or teaching, of
household duties or a job, and so in our free time we want to be amused, either
lightly or seriously. We read, or go to the cinema – or we turn to a religion, which
is the same thing. Religion too has become a form of distraction, a kind of serious
escape from boredom, from routine.
I don’t know if you have noticed all this. Most people are constantly occupied
with something – with puja, with the repetition of certain words, with worrying over
this or that – because they are frightened to be alone with themselves. You try
being  alone,  without  any  form  of  distraction,  and  you  will  see  how  quickly  you
want  to  get  away  from  yourself  and  forget  what  you  are.  That  is  why  this
enormous  structure  of  professional  amusement,  of  automated  distraction,  is  so
prominent  a  part  of  what  we  call  civilization.  If  you  observe  you  will  see  that
people  the  world  over  are  becoming  more  and  more  distracted,  increasingly
sophisticated and worldly. The multiplication of pleasures, the innumerable books
that are being published, the newspaper pages filled with sporting events – surely,   180
all these indicate that we constantly want to be amused. Because we are inwardly
empty,  dull,  mediocre,  we  use  our  relationships  and  our  social  reforms  as  a
means of escaping from ourselves. I wonder if you have noticed how lonely most
people  are?  And  to  escape  from  loneliness  we  run  to  temples,  churches,  or
mosques, we dress up and attend social functions, we watch television, listen to
the radio, read, and so on.
Do  you  know  what  loneliness  means?  Some  of  you  may  be  unfamiliar  with
that word, but you know the feeling very well. You try going out for a walk alone,
or being without a book, without someone to talk to, and you will see how quickly
you get bored. You know that feeling well enough, but you don’t know why you
get bored, you have never inquired into it. If you inquire a little into boredom you
will find that the cause of it is loneliness. It is in order to escape from loneliness
that we want to be together, we want to be entertained, to have distractions of
every  kind:  gurus,  religious  ceremonies,  prayers,  or  the  latest  novels.  Being
inwardly  lonely  we  become  mere  spectators  in  life;  and  we  can  be  the  players
only when we understand loneliness and go beyond it.
After all, most people marry ad seek other social relationships because they
don’t  know  how  to  live  alone.  Not  that  one  must  live  alone;  but,  if  you  marry
because you want to be loved, or if you are bored and use your job as a means of
forgetting yourself, then you will find that your whole life is nothing but an endless
search for distractions. Very few go beyond this extraordinary fear of loneliness;
but one must go beyond it, because beyond it lies the real treasure.
You know, there is a vast difference between loneliness and aloneness. Some
of the younger students may still be unaware of loneliness, but the older people
know  it:  the  feeling  of  being  utterly  cut  off,  of  suddenly  being  afraid  without
apparent cause. The mind knows this fear when for a moment it realizes that it
can rely on nothing, that no distraction can take away the sense of self-enclosing
emptiness. That is loneliness. But aloneness is something entirely different; it is a   181
state of freedom which comes into being when you have gone through loneliness
and  understand  it.  In  that  state  of  aloneness  you  don’t  rely  on  anyone
psychologically  because  you  are  no  longer  seeking  pleasure,  comfort,
gratification.  It  is  only  then  that  the  mind  is  completely  alone,  and  only  such  a
mind is creative.
All this is part of education: to face the ache of loneliness, that extraordinary
feeling of emptiness which all of us know, and not be frightened when it comes;
not to turn on the radio, lose oneself in work, or run to the cinema, but to look at
it, go into it, understand it. There is no human being who has not felt or will not
feel that quivering anxiety. It is because we try to run away from it through every
form  of  distraction  and  gratification  –  through  sex,  through  God,  through  work,
through drink, through writing poems or repeating certain words which we have
learnt by heart – that we never understand that anxiety when it comes upon us.
So, when the pain of loneliness comes upon you, confront it, look at it without
any thought of running away. If you run away you will never understand it, and it
will  always  be  there  waiting  for  you  around  the  corner.  Whereas,  if  you  can
understand  loneliness  and  go  beyond  it,  then  you  will  find  there  is  no  need  to
escape, no urge to be gratified or entertained, for your mind will know a richness
that is incorruptible and cannot be destroyed.
All this is part of education. If at school you merely learn subjects in order to
pass  examinations,  then  learning  itself  becomes  a  means  of  escape  from
loneliness. Think about it a little and you will see. Talk it over with your educators
and you will soon find out how lonely they are, and how lonely you are. But those
who  are  inwardly  alone,  whose  minds  and  hearts  are  free  from  the  ache  of
loneliness – they are real people, for they can discover for themselves what reality
is, they can receive that which is timeless.
Questioner: What is the difference between awareness and sensitivity?    182
Krishnamurti:I wonder if there is any difference? You know, when you ask a
question, what is important is to find out for yourself the truth of the matter and
not merely accept what someone else says. So let us find out together what it is
to be aware.
You  see  a  lovely  tree  with  its  leaves  sparkling  after  the  rain;  you  see  the
sunlight shining on the water and on the gay-hued feathers of the birds; you see
the villagers walking to town carrying heavy burdens, and hear their laughter; you
hear the bark of a dog, or a calf calling to its mother. All this is part of awareness,
the awareness of what is around you, is it not? Coming a little closer, you notice
your  relationship  to  people,  to  ideas  and  to  things;  you  are  aware  of  how  you
regard  the  house,  the  road;  you  observe  your  reactions  to  what  people  say  to
you, and how your mind is always evaluating, judging, comparing or condemning.
This is all part of awareness, which begins on the surface and then goes deeper
and deeper; but for most of us awareness stops at a certain point. We take in the
noises,  the  songs,  the  beautiful  and  ugly  sights,  but  we  are  not  aware  of  our
reactions to them. We say, «That is beautiful» or «That is ugly» and pass by; we
don’t  inquire  into  what  beauty  is,  what  ugliness  is.  Surely,  to  see  what  your
reactions are, to be more and more alert to every movement of your own thought,
to observe that your mind is conditioned by the influence of your parents, of your
teachers, of your race and culture – all this is part of awareness, is it not?
The deeper the mind penetrates its own thought processes, the more clearly it
understands  that  all  forms  of  thinking  are  conditioned;  therefore  the  mind  is
spontaneously very still – which does not mean that it is asleep. On the contrary,
the mind is then extraordinarily alert, no longer being drugged by mantrams, by
the repetition of words, or shaped by discipline. This state of silent alertness is
also  part  of  awareness;  and  if  you  go  into  it  still  more  deeply  you  will  find  that
there is no division between the person who is aware and the object of which he
is aware.    183
Now, what does it mean to be sensitive? To be cognizant of colour and form,
of what people say and of your response to it; to be considerate, to have good
taste,  good  manners;  not  to  be  rough,  not  to  hurt  people  either  physically  or
inwardly and be unaware of it; to see a beautiful thing and linger with it; to listen
tentatively  without  being  bored  to  everything  that  is  said,  so  that  the  mind
becomes acute, sharp – all this is sensitivity, is it not? So is there much difference
between sensitivity and awareness? I don’t think so.
You  see,  as  long  as  your  mind  is  condemning,  judging,  forming  opinions,
concluding, it is neither aware nor sensitive. When you are rude to people, when
you  pick  flowers  and  throw  them  away,  when  you  ill-treat  animals,  when  you
scratch  your  name  on  the  furniture  or  break  the  leg  of  a  chair,  when  you  are
unpunctual  to  meals  and  have  bad  manners  in  general,  it  all  indicates
insensitivity,  does  it  not?  It  indicates  a  mind  that  is  not  capable  of  alert
adjustment. And surely it is part of education to help the student to be sensitive,
so  that  he  will  not  merely  conform  or  resist,  but  will  be  awake  to  the  whole
movement of life. The people who are sensitive in life may suffer much more than
those who are insensitive; but if they understand and go beyond their suffering
they will discover extraordinary things.
Questioner: Why do we laugh when somebody trips and falls?
Krishnamurti: It is a form of insensitivity, is it not? Also there is such a thing as
sadism. Do you know what that word means? An author called the Marquis de
Sade  once  wrote  a  book  about  a  man  who  enjoyed  hurting  people  and  seeing
them suffer. From that comes the word `sadism’, which means deriving pleasure
from the suffering of others. For certain people there is a peculiar satisfaction in
seeing others suffer. Watch yourself and see if you have this feeling. It may not
be obvious, but if it is there you will find that it expresses itself in the impulse to
laugh when somebody falls. You want those who are high to be pulled down; you
criticize,  gossip  thoughtlessly  about  others,  all  of  which  is  an  expression  of   184
insensitivity,  a  form  of  wanting  to  hurt  people.  One  may  injure  another
deliberately, with vengeance, or one may do it unconsciously with a word, with a
gesture with a look; but in either case the urge is to hurt somebody, and there are
very few who radically set aside this perverted form of pleasure.
Questioner: One of our professors says that what you are telling us is quite
impractical. He challenges you to bring up six boys and six girls on a salary of
120 rupees. What is your answer to this criticism?
Krishnamurti: If I had only a salary of 12 rupees I would not attempt to raise six
boys and six girls; that is the first thing. Secondly, if I were a professor it would be
a dedication and not a job. Do you see the difference? Teaching at any level is
not a profession, it is not a mere job; it is an act of dedication. Do you understand
the  meaning  of  that  word  `dedication’?  To  be  dedicated  is  to  give  oneself  to
something completely, without asking anything in return; to be like a monk, like a
hermit,  like  the  great  teachers  and  scientists  –  not  like  those  who  pass  a  few
examinations  and  call  themselves  professors.  I  am  talking  of  those  who  have
dedicated themselves to teaching, not for money, but because it is their vocation,
it is their love. If there are such teachers, they will find that boys and girls can be
taught  most  practically  all  the  things  I  am  talking  about.  But  the  teacher,  the
educator, the professor to whom teaching is only a job for earning a living – it is
he who will tell you that these things are not practical.
After all, what is practical? Think it out. The way we are living now, the way we
are  teaching,  the  way  our  governments  are  being  run with  their  corruption  and
incessant  wars  –  do  you  call  that  practical?  Is  ambition  practical,  is  greed
practical? Ambition breeds competition and therefore destroys people. A society
based on greed and acquisition has always within it the spectre of war, conflict,
suffering; and is that practical? Obviously it is not. That is what I am trying to tell
you in all the various talks.    185
Love  is  the  most  practical  thing  in  the  world.  To  love,  to  be  kind,  not  to  be
greedy,  not  to  be  ambitious,  not  to  be  influenced  by  people  but  to  think  for
yourself – these are all very practical things, and they will bring about a practical,
happy society. But the teacher who is not dedicated, who does not love, who may
have a few letters after his name but is merely a purveyor of information which he
has picked up from books – he will tell you that all this is not practical, because he
has not really thought about it. To love is to be practical – far more so than the
absurd  practicality  of  this  so-called  education  which  produces  citizens  who  are
utterly incapable of standing alone and thinking out any problem for themselves.
You see, this is part of awareness: to be cognizant of the fact that they are
giggling over there in the corner, and at the same time to continue with one’s own
The  difficulty  with  most  grown-up  people  is  that  they  have  not  solved  the
problem of their own living, and yet they say to you, «I will tell you what is practical
and what is not». Teaching is the greatest vocation in life, though now it is the
most despised; it is the highest, the noblest of callings. But the teacher must be
utterly dedicated, he must give himself to it completely, he must teach with his
heart and mind, with his whole being; and out of that dedication things are made
Questioner: What is the good of education if while being educated we are also
being destroyed by the luxuries of the modern world?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid you are using wrong words. One must have a certain
amount of comfort, must one not? When one sits quietly in a room, it is well that
the room be clean and tidy, though it may be utterly empty of all furniture but a
mat; it should also be of good proportions and have windows of the right size. If
there is a picture in the room it should be of something lovely, and if there is a
flower  in  a  vase  it  should  have  behind  it  the  spirit  of  the  person  who  placed  it
there. One also needs good food and a quiet place to sleep. All this is part of the   186
comfort which is offered by the modern world; and is this comfort destroying the
so-called educated man? Or is the so-called educated man, through his ambition
and greed, destroying ordinary comfort for every human being? In the prosperous
countries modern education is making people more and more materialistic, and
therefore luxury in every form is perverting and destroying the mind; and in the
poor countries, like India, education is not encouraging you to create a radically
new kind of culture, it is not helping you to be a revolutionary. I have explained
what I mean by a revolutionary – not the bomb-throwing, murderous kind. Such
people  are  not  revolutionaries.  A  true  revolutionary  is  a  man  who  is  free  of  all
inducement,  free  of  ideologies  and  the  entanglements  of  society  which  is  an
expression of the collective will of the many; and your education is not helping
you  to  be  a  revolutionary  of  that  kind.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  teaching  you  to
conform, or merely to reform what is already there.
So it is your so-called education that is destroying you, not the luxury which
the modern world provides. Why should you not have cars and good roads? But,
you see, all the modern techniques and inventions are being used either for war,
or merely for amusement, as a means of escape from oneself, and so the mind
gets  lost  in  gadgets.  Modern  education  has  become  the  cultivation  of  gadgets,
the mechanical devices or machines which help you to cook, to clean, to iron, to
calculate and do various other  essential  things,  so  that  you  don’t  have  to  think
about them all the time. And you should have these gadgets, not to get lost in
gadgetry, but to free your mind to do something totally different.
Questioner:  I  have  a  very  black  skin,  and  most  people  admire  a  lighter
complexion. How can I win their admiration?
Krishnamurti:  I  believe  there  are  special  cosmetics  which  are  supposed  to
make your skin lighter; but will that solve your problem? You will still want to be
admired, to be socially prominent, you will still long for position, prestige; and in
the very demand for admiration, in the struggle for prominence, there is always   187
the sting of sorrow. As long as you want to be admired, to be prominent, your
education is going to destroy you, because it will help you to become somebody
in  this  society,  and  this  society  is  pretty  rotten.  We  have  built  this  destructive
society through our greed, through our envy, through our fear, and it is not going
to  be  transformed  by  ignoring  it  or  calling  it  an  illusion.  Only  the  right  kind  of
education  will  wipe  away  greed,  fear,  acquisitiveness,  so  that  we  can  build  a
radically new culture, a different world altogether; and there can be the right kind
of education only when the mind really wants to understand itself and be free of
sorrow.    188
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 24
ONE OF OUR most difficult problems is what we call discipline, and it is really
very complex. You see, society feels that it must control or discipline the citizen,
shape  his  mind  according  to  certain  religious,  social,  moral  and  economic
Now, is discipline necessary at all? Please listen carefully, don’t immediately
say `yes’ or `no’. Most of us feel, especially while we are young, that there should
be no discipline, that we should be allowed to do whatever we like, and we think
that is freedom. But merely to say that we should or should not have discipline,
that we should be free, and so on, has very little meaning without understanding
the whole problem of discipline.
The  keen  athlete  is  disciplining  himself  all  the  time,  is  he  not?  His  joy  in
playing  games  and  the  very  necessity  to  keep  fit  makes  him  go  to  bed  early,
refrain from smoking, eat the right food and generally observe the rules of good
health. His discipline is not an imposition or a conflict, but a natural outcome of
his enjoyment of athletics.
Now,  does  discipline  increase  or  decrease  human  energy.  Human  beings
throughout  the  world,  in  every  religion,  in  every  school  of  philosophy,  impose
discipline  on  the  mind,  which  implies  control,  resistance,  adjustment,
suppression; and is all this necessary? If discipline brings about a greater output
of  human  energy,  then  it  is  worth  while,  then  it  has  meaning;  but  if  it  merely
suppresses human energy, it is very harmful, destructive. All of us have energy,
and the question is whether that energy through discipline can be made vital, rich
and abundant, or whether discipline destroys whatever energy we have. I think
this is the central issue. Many human beings do not have a great deal of energy,   189
and  what  little  energy  they  have  is  soon  smothered  and  destroyed  by  the
controls, threats and taboos of their particular society with its so-called education;
so they become imitative, lifeless citizens of that society. And does discipline give
increased  energy  to  the  individual  who  has  a  little  more  to  begin  with?  Does  it
make his life rich and full of vitality?
When you are very young, as you all are, you are full of energy, are you not?
You want to play, to rush about, to talk; you can’t sit still, you are full of life. Then
what  happens?  As  you  grow  up  your  teachers  begin  to  curtail  that  energy  by
shaping it, directing it into various moulds; and when at last you become men and
women the little energy you have left is soon smothered by society, which says
that you must be proper citizens, you must behave in a certain way. Through so-
called education and the compulsion of society this abounding energy you have
when you are young is gradually destroyed.
Now,  can  the  energy  you  have  at  present  be  made  more  vital  through
discipline? If you have only a little energy, can discipline increase it? If it can, then
discipline  has  meaning;  but  if  discipline  really  destroys  one’s  energy,  then
discipline must obviously be put aside.
What is this energy which we all have? This energy is thinking, feeling; it is
interest,  enthusiasm,  greed,  passion,  lust,  ambition,  hate.  Painting  pictures,
inventing machines, building bridges, making roads, cultivating the fields, playing
games writing poems, singing, dancing, going to the temple, worshipping – these
are all expressions of energy; and energy also creates illusion, mischief, misery.
The very finest and the most destructive qualities are equally the expressions of
human energy. But, you see, the process of controlling or disciplining this energy
letting it out in one direction and restricting it in another becomes merely a social
convenience; the mind is shaped according to the pattern of a particular culture,
and thereby its energy is gradually dissipated.    190
So,  our  problem  is,  can  this  energy,  which  in  one  degree  or  another  we  all
possess,  be  increased,  given  greater  vitality  –  and  if  so,  to  do  what?  What  is
energy for? Is it the purpose of energy to make war? Is it to invent jet planes and
innumerable other machines, to pursue some guru, to pass examinations, to have
children, to worry endlessly over this problem and that? Or can energy be used in
a different way so that all our activities have significance in relation to something
which transcends them all? Surely, if the human mind, which is capable of such
astonishing  energy,  is  not  seeking  reality  or  God,  then  every  expression  of  its
energy  becomes  a  means  of  destruction  and  misery.  To  seek  reality  requires
immense energy; and, if man is not doing that, he dissipates his energy in ways
which  create  mischief,  and  therefore  society  has  to  control  him.  Now,  is  it
possible  to  liberate  energy  in  seeking  God  or  truth  and,  in  the  process  of
discovering what is true, to be a citizen who understands the fundamental issues
of life and whom society cannot destroy? Are you following this, or is it a little bit
too complex?
You see, man is energy, and if man does not seek truth, this energy becomes
destructive; therefore society controls and shapes the individual, which smothers
this  energy.  That  is  what  has  happened  to  the  majority  of  grown-up  people  all
over  the  world.  And  perhaps  you  have  noticed  another  interesting  and  very
simple  fact:  that  the  moment  you  really  want  to  do  something,  you  have  the
energy  to  do  it.  What  happens  when  you  are  keen  to  play  a  game?  You
immediately  have  energy,  have  you  not?  And  that  very  energy  becomes  the
means of controlling itself, so you don’t need outside discipline. In the search for
reality,  energy  creates  its  own  discipline.  The  man  who  is  seeking  reality
spontaneously  becomes  the  right  kind  of  citizen,  which  is  not  according  to  the
pattern of any particular society or government.
So, students as well as teachers must work together to bring about the release
of  this  tremendous  energy  to  find  reality,  God  or  truth.  In  your  very  seeking  of
truth there will be discipline, and then you will be a real human being, a complete   191
individual, and not merely a Hindu or a Parsi limited by his particular society and
culture. If, instead of curtailing his energy as it is doing now, the school can help
the  student  to  awaken  his  energy  in  the  pursuit  of  truth,  then  you  will  find  that
discipline has quite a different meaning.
Why is it that in the home, in the classroom and in the hostel you are always
being  told  what  you  must  do  and  what  you  must  not  do?  Surely,  it  is  because
your parents and teachers, like the rest of society, have not perceived that man
exists for only one purpose, which is to find reality or God. If even a small group
of  educators  were  to  understand  and  give  their  whole  attention  to  that  search,
they would create a new kind of education and a different society altogether.
Don’t  you  notice  how  little  energy  most  of  the  people  around  you  have,
including  your  parents  and  teachers?  They  are  slowly  dying,  even  when  their
bodies are not yet old. Why? Because they have been beaten into submission by
society. You see, without understanding its fundamental purpose which is to find
extraordinary  thing  called  the  mind,  which  has  the  capacity  to  create  atomic
submarines and jet planes, which can write the most amazing poetry and prose,
which  can  make  the  world  so  beautiful  and  also  destroy  the  world  –  without
understanding its fundamental purpose, which is to find truth or God, this energy
becomes  destructive;  and  then  society  says,  «We  must  shape  and  control  the
energy of the individual.»
So, it seems to me that the function of education is to bring about a release of
energy  in  the  pursuit  of  goodness,  truth,  or  God,  which  in  turn  makes  the
individual  a  true  human  being  and  therefore  the  right  kind  of  citizen.  But  mere
discipline,  without  full  comprehension  of  all  this,  has  no  meaning,  it  is  a  most
destructive thing. Unless each one of you is so educated that, when you leave
school  and  go  out  into  the  world,  you  are  full  of  vitality  and  intelligence,  full  of
abounding energy to find out what is true, you will merely be absorbed by society;
you will be smothered, destroyed, miserably unhappy for the rest of your life. As a   192
river creates the banks which hold it, so the energy which seeks truth creates its
own discipline without any form of imposition; and as the river finds the sea, so
that energy finds its own freedom.
Questioner: Why did the British come to rule India?
Krishnamurti: You see, the people who have more energy, more vitality, more
capacity,  more  spirit,  bring  either  misery  or  well-being  to  their  less  energetic
neighbours.  At  one  time  India  exploded  all  over  Asia;  her  people  were  full  of
creative  zeal,  and  they  brought  religion  to  China,  to  Japan,  to  Indonesia,  to
Burma. Other nations were commercial, which may have also been necessary,
and which had its miseries – but that is the way of life. The strange part of it is that
those  who  are  seeking  truth  or  God  are  much  more  explosive,  they  release
extraordinary energy, not only in themselves but in others; and it is they who are
the real revolutionaries, not the communists, the socialists, or those who merely
reform. Conquerors and rulers come and go, but the human problem is ever the
same. We all want to dominate, to submit or resist; but the man who is seeking
truth is free of all societies and of all cultures.
Questioner: Even at the time of meditation one doesn’t seem able to perceive
what is true; so will you please tell us what is true?
Krishnamurti:  Let  us  leave  for  the  moment  the  question  of  what  is  true  and
consider first what is meditation. To me, meditation is something entirely different
from what your books and your gurus have taught you. Meditation is the process
of understanding your own mind. If you don’t understand your own thinking, which
is  self-knowledge,  whatever  you  think  has  very  little  meaning.  Without  the
foundation  of  self-knowledge,  thinking  leads  to  mischief.  Every  thought  has  a
significance;  and  if  the  mind  is  incapable of  seeing  the  significance,  not  just  of
one or two thoughts, but of each thought as it arises then merely to concentrate
on a particular idea, image, or set of words – which is generally called meditation –
is a form of self-hypnosis. So, whether you are sitting quietly, talking, or playing,   193
are  you  aware  of  the  significance  of  every  thought,  of  every  reaction  that  you
happen to have? Try it and you will see how difficult it is to be aware of every
movement of your own thought, because thoughts pile up so quickly one on top
of another. But if you want to examine every thought, if you really want to see the
content of it, then you will find that your thoughts slow down and you can watch
them. This slowing down of  thinking  and  the  examining of every thought is the
process of meditation; and if you go into it you will find that, by being aware of
every thought, your mind – which is now a vast storehouse of restless thoughts all
battling against each other – becomes very quiet, completely still. There is then no
urge, no compulsion, no fear in any form; and, in this stillness, that which is true
comes into being. There is no `you’ who experiences  truth, but the mind being
still, truth comes into it. The moment there is a `you’ there is the experiencer, and
the experiencer is merely the result of thought, he has no basis without thinking.
Questioner: If we make a mistake and somebody points it out to us, why do
we commit the same error again?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? Why do you pick at the flowers, or tear up
plants,  or  destroy  furniture,  or  throw  paper  about,  though  I  am  sure  you  have
been told a dozen times that you should not do it? Listen carefully and you will
see. When you do such things you are in a state of thoughtlessness, are you not?
You are not aware, you are not thinking, your mind has gone to sleep, and so you
do things which are obviously stupid. As long as you are not fully conscious, not
completely there, it is no good merely telling you not to do certain things. But, if
the educator can help you to be thoughtful, to be really aware, to observe with
delight the trees, the birds, the river, the extraordinary richness of the earth, then
one hint will be enough, because then you will be sensitive, alive to everything
about you and within yourself.
Unfortunately,  your  sensitivity  is  destroyed  because,  from  the  time  you  are
born  till  you  die,  you  are  everlastingly  being  told  to  do  this  and  not  to  do  that.   194
Parents, teachers, society, religion, the priest, and also your own ambitions, your
own greeds and envies – they all say `do’ and `don’t’. To be free of all these do’s
and don’ts and yet to be sensitive so that you are spontaneously kind and do not
hurt  people,  do  not  throw  paper  about  or  pass  by  a  rock  on  the  road  without
removing  it  –  this  requires  great  thoughtfulness.  And  the  purpose  of  education,
surely, is not just to give you a few letters of the alphabet after your name, but to
awaken  in  you  this  spirit  of  thoughtfulness  so  that  you  are  sensitive,  alert,
watchful, kind.
Questioner: What is life, and how can we be happy?
Krishnamurti: A very good question from a little boy. What is life? If you ask
the  business  man,  he  will  tell  you  that  life  is  a  matter  of  selling  things,  making
money, because that is his life from morning till night. The man of ambition will tell
you  that  life  is  a  struggle  to  achieve,  to  fulfil.  For  the  man  who  has  attained
position and power, who is the head of an organization or a country, life is full of
activity of his own making. And for the labourer, especially in this country, life is
endless work without a day of rest; it is to be dirty, miserable, without sufficient
Now, can man be happy  through  all  this  strife, this struggle,  this  stagnation
and misery? Obviously not. So what does he do? He does not question, he does
not  ask  what  life  is,  but  philosophizes  about  happiness.  He  talks  about
brotherhood  while  exploiting  others.  He  invents  the  higher  self,  the  super-soul,
something  which  eventually  is  going  to  make  him  permanently  happy.  But
happiness does not come into being when you seek it; it is a by-product, it comes
into being when there is goodness, when there is love, when there is no ambition,
when the mind is quietly seeking out what is true.
Questioner: Why do we fight among ourselves?    195
Krishnamurti: I think the older people also ask this question, don’t they? Why
do we fight? America is opposed to Russia, China stands against the West. Why?
We talk about peace and prepare for war. Why? Because I think the majority of
human beings love to compete, to fight, that is the plain fact, otherwise we would
stop it. In fighting there is a heightened sense of being alive, that also is a fact.
We think struggle in every form is necessary to keep us alive; but, you see, that
kind of living is very destructive. There is a way of living without struggle. It is like
the lily, like the flower that grows; it does not struggle, it is. The being of anything
is the goodness of it. But we are not educated for that at all. We are educated to
compete,  to  fight,  to  be  soldiers,  lawyers,  policemen,  professors,  principals,
business men, all wanting to ride on top. We all want success. There are many
who have the outward pretensions of humility, but only those are happy who are
really humble inwardly, and it is they who do not fight.
Questioner: Why does the mind misuse other human beings and also misuse
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by misuse? A mind that is ambitious, greedy,
envious, a mind that is burdened with belief and tradition a mind that is ruthless,
that  exploits  people  –  such  a  mind  in  its  action  obviously  creates  mischief  and
brings  about  a  society  which  is  full  of  conflict.  As  long  as  the  mind  does  not
understand itself, its action is bound to be destructive; as long as the mind has no
self-knowledge, it must breed enmity. That is why it is essential that you should
come to know yourself and not merely learn from books. No book can teach you
self-knowledge. A book may give you information about self-knowledge, but that
is not the same thing as knowing yourself in action. When the mind sees itself in
the  mirror  of  relationship,  from  that  perception  there  is  self-knowledge;  and
without self-knowledge we cannot clear up this mess, this terrible misery which
we  have  created  in  the  world.  Questioner:  Is  the  mind  that  seeks  success
different from that which seeks truth?    196
Krishnamurti: It is the same mind, whether it is seeking success or truth; but,
as  long  as  the  mind  is  seeking  success,  it  cannot  find  out  what  is  true.  To
understand the truth is to see the truth in the false, and to see what is true as
true.    197
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 25
HAVE YOU EVER wondered why it is that as people grow older they seem to
lose all joy in life? At present most of you who are young are fairly happy; you
have your little problems, there are examinations to worry about, but in spite of
these  troubles  there  is  in  your  life  a  certain  joy,  is  there  not?  There  is  a
spontaneous, easy acceptance of life, a looking at things lightly and happily. And
why  is  it  that  as  we  grow  older  we  seem  to  lose  that  joyous  intimation  of
something beyond, something of greater significance? Why do so many of us, as
we grow into so-called maturity, become dull, insensitive to joy, to beauty, to the
open skies and the marvellous earth?
You know, when one asks oneself this question, many explanations spring up
in the mind. We are so concerned with ourselves – that is one explanation. We
struggle  to  become  somebody,  to  achieve  and  maintain  a  certain  position;  we
have children and other responsibilities, and we have to earn money. All these
external things soon weigh us down, and thereby we lose the joy of living. Look at
the older faces around you, see how sad most of them are, how careworn and
rather  ill,  how  withdrawn,  aloof  and  sometimes  neurotic,  without  a  smile.  Don’t
you ask yourself why? And even when we do ask why, most of us seem to be
satisfied with mere explanations.
Yesterday evening I saw a boat going up the river at full sail, driven by the
west wind. It was a large boat, heavily laden with firewood for the town. The sun
was  setting,  and  this  boat  against  the  sky  was  astonishingly  beautiful.  The
boatman was just guiding it, there was no effort, for the wind was doing all the
work. Similarly, if each one of us could understand the problem of struggle and
conflict, then I think we would be able to live effortlessly, happily, with a smile on
our  face.  I  think  it  is  effort  that  destroys  us,  this  struggling  in  which  we  spend   198
almost every moment of our lives. If you watch the older people around you, you
will see that for most of them life is a series of battles with themselves, with their
wives or husbands, with their neighbours, with society; and this ceaseless strife
dissipates energy. The man who is joyous, really happy, is not caught up in effort.
To be without effort does not mean that you stagnate, that you are dull, stupid; on
the contrary, it is only the wise, the extraordinarily intelligent who are really free of
effort, of struggle.
But, you see, when we hear of effortlessness we want to be like that, we want
to achieve a state in which we will have no strife, no conflict; so we make that our
goal, our ideal, and strive after it; and the moment we do this, we have lost the joy
of living. We are again caught up in effort, struggle. The object of struggle varies,
but all struggle is essentially the same. One may struggle to bring about social
reforms,  or  to  find  God,  or  to  create  a  better  relationship  between  oneself  and
one’s  wife  or  husband,  or  with  one’s  neighbour;  one  may  sit  on  the  banks  of
Ganga, worship at the feet of some guru, and so on. All this is effort, struggle. So
what is important is not the object of struggle, but to understand struggle itself.
Now,  is  it  possible  for  the  mind  to  be  not  just  casually  aware  that  for  the
moment it is not struggling, but completely free of struggle all the time so that it
discovers a state of joy in which there is no sense of the superior and the inferior?
Our difficulty is that the mind feels inferior, and that is why it struggles to be or
become something, or to bridge over its various contradictory desires. But don’t
let us give explanations of why the mind is full of struggle. Every thinking man
knows why there is struggle both within and without. Our envy, greed, ambition,
our  competitiveness  leading  to  ruthless  efficiency  –  these  are  obviously  the
factors which cause us to struggle, whether in this world or in the world to come.
So  we  don’t  have  to  study  psychological  books  to  know  why  we  struggle;  and
what is important, surely, is to find out if the mind can be totally free of struggle.    199
After all, when we struggle, the conflict is between what we are and what we
should be or want to be. Now, without giving explanations, can one understand
this whole process of struggle so that it comes to an end? Like that boat which
was moving with the wind, can the mind be without struggle? Surely, this is the
question, and not how to achieve a state in which there is no struggle. The very
effort to achieve such a state is itself a process of struggle, therefore that state is
never achieved. But if you observe from moment to moment how the mind gets
caught in everlasting struggle – if you just observe the fact without trying to alter it,
without trying to force upon the mind a certain state which you call peace – then
you will find that the mind spontaneously ceases to struggle; and in that state it
can  learn  enormously.  Learning  is  then  not  merely  the  process  of  gathering
information, but a discovery of the extraordinary riches that lie beyond the hope of
the mind; and for the mind that makes this discovery there is joy.
Watch yourself and you will see how you struggle from morning till night, and
how  your  energy  is  wasted  in  this  struggle.  If  you  merely  explain  why  you
struggle, you get lost in explanations and the struggle continues; whereas, if you
observe your mind very quietly without giving explanations, if you just let the mind
be aware of its own struggle, you will soon find that there comes a state in which
there  is  no  struggle  at  all,  but  an  astonishing  watchfulness.  In  that  state  of
watchfulness  there  is  no  sense  of  the  superior  and  the  inferior,  there  is  no  big
man or little man, there is no guru. All those absurdities are gone because the
mind is fully awake; and the mind that is fully awake is joyous.
Questioner: I want to do a certain thing, and though I have tried many times I
have not been successful in doing it. Should I give up striving, or should I persist
in this effort?
Krishnamurti: To be successful is to arrive, to get somewhere; and we worship
success, do we not? When a poor boy grows up and becomes a multimillionaire,
or an ordinary student becomes the prime minister, he is applauded, made much   200
of; so every boy and girl wants in one way or another to succeed. Now, is there
such a thing as success, or is it only an idea which man pursues? Because the
moment you arrive there is always a point further ahead at which you have yet to
arrive. As long as you pursue success in any direction you are bound to be in
strife, in conflict, are you not? Even when you have arrived, there is no rest for
you,  because  you  want  to  go  still  higher,  you  want  to  have  more.  Do  you
understand? The pursuit of success is the desire for the `more’, and a mind that is
constantly demanding the `more’ is not an intelligent mind; on the contrary, it is a
mediocre,  stupid  mind,  because  its  demand  for  the  `more’  implies  a  constant
struggle in terms of the pattern which society has set for it.
After  all,  what  is  contentment,  and  what  is  discontent?  Discontent  is  the
striving after the `more’, and contentment is the cessation of that struggle; but you
cannot  come  to  contentment  without  understanding  the  whole  process  of  the
`more’, and why the mind demands it.
If you fail in an examination, for example, you have to take it again, do you
not? Examinations in any case are most unfortunate, because they don’t indicate
anything significant, they don’t reveal the true worth of your intelligence. Passing
an examination is largely a trick of memory, or it may be a matter of chance; but
you  strive  to  pass  your  examinations,  and  if  you  don’t  succeed  you  keep  at  it.
With most of us it is the same process in everyday life. We are struggling after
something, and we have newer paused to inquire if the thing we are after is worth
struggling  for.  We  have  never  asked  ourselves  if  it’s  worth  the  effort,  so  we
haven’t yet discovered that it’s not and withstood the opinion of our parents, of
society,  of  all  the  Masters  and  gurus.  It  is  only  when  we  have  understood  the
whole  significance  of  the  `more’  that  we  cease  to  think  in  terms  of  failure  and
You see, we are so afraid to fail, to make mistakes, not only in examinations
but in life. To make a mistake is considered terrible because we will be criticized   201
for it, somebody will scold us. But, after all, why should you not make a mistake?
Are not all the people in the world making mistakes? And would the world cease
to be in this horrible mess if you were never to make a mistake? If you are afraid
of making mistakes you will never learn. The older people are making mistakes
all the time, but they don’t want you to make mistakes, and thereby they smother
your initiative. Why? Because they are afraid that by observing and questioning
everything, by experimenting and making mistakes you may find out something
for  yourself  and  break  away  from  the  authority  of  your  parents,  of  society,  of
tradition.  That  is  why  the  ideal  of  success  is  held  up  for  you  to  follow;  and
success, you will notice, is always in terms of respectability. Even the saint in his
so-called spiritual achievements must become respectable, otherwise he has no
recognition, no following.
So we are always thinking in terms of success, in terms of the `more’ and the
`more’ is evaluated by the respectable society. In other words, society has very
carefully  established  a  certain  pattern  according  to  which  it  pronounces  you  a
success or a failure. But if you love to do something with all your being you are
then  not  concerned  with  success  and  failure.  No  intelligent  person  is.  But
unfortunately there are very few intelligent people, and nobody tells you about all
this.  The  whole  concern  of  an  intelligent  person  is  to  see  the  facts  and
understand the problem – which is not to think in terms of succeeding or failing. It
is only when we don’t really love what we are doing that we think in those terms.
Questioner:  Why  are  we  fundamentally  selfish?  We  may  try  our  best  to  be
unselfish in our behaviour, but when our own interests are involved we become
self-absorbed and indifferent to the interests of others.
Krishnamurti:  I  think  it  is  very  important  not  to  call  oneself  either  selfish  or
unselfish,  because  words  have  an  extraordinary  influence  on  the  mind.  Call  a
man selfish, and he is doomed; call him a professor, and something happens in
your  approach  to  him;  call  him  a  Mahatma,  and  immediately  there  is  a  halo   202
around him. Watch your own responses and you will see that words like `lawyer’,
`business man’, `governor’, `servant’, `love’, `God’, have a strange effect on your
nerves  as  well  as  on  your  mind.  The  word  which  denotes  a  particular  function
evokes  the  feeling  of  status;  so  the  first thing  is  to  be  free  of  this  unconscious
habit of associating certain feelings with certain words, is it not? Your mind has
been conditioned to think that the term `selfish’ represents something very wrong,
unspiritual, and the moment you apply that term to anything your mind condemns
it.  So  when  you  ask  this  question,  «Why  are  we  fundamentally  selfish?»,  it  has
already a condemnatory significance.
It  is  very  important  to  be  aware  that certain words cause in you a nervous,
emotional, or intellectual response of approval or condemnation. When you call
yourself  a  jealous  person,  for  example,  immediately  you  have  blocked  further
inquiry,  you  have  stopped  penetrating  into  the  whole  problem  of  jealousy.
Similarly, there are many people who say they are working for brotherhood, yet
everything they do is against brotherhood; but they don’t see this fact because
the  word  `brotherhood’  means  something  to  them  and  they  are  already
persuaded by it; they don’t inquire any further and so they never find out what are
the facts irrespective of the neurological or emotional response which that word
So  this  is  the  first  thing:  to  experiment  and  find  out  if  you  can  look  at  facts
without the condemnatory or laudatory implications associated with certain words.
If you can look at the facts without feelings of condemnation or approval, you will
find  that  in  the  very  process  of  looking  there  is  a  dissolution  of  all  the  barriers
which the mind has erected between itself and the facts.
Just observe how you approach a person whom people call a great man. The
words `great man’ have influenced you; the newspapers, the books, the followers
all say he is a great man, and your mind has accepted it. Or else you take the
opposite view and say, «How stupid, he is not a great man». Whereas, if you can   203
dissociate your mind from all influence and simply look at the facts, then you will
find that your approach is entirely different. In the same way, the word «villager’,
with  its  associations  of  poverty,  dirt,  squalor,  or  whatever  it  is,  influences  your
thinking.  But  when  the  mind  is  free  of  influence,  when  it neither condemns nor
approves but merely looks, observes, then it is not self-absorbed and there is no
longer the problem of selfishness trying to be unselfish. Questioner: Why is it that,
from birth to death, the individual always wants to be loved, and that if he doesn’t
get this love he is not as composed and full of confidence as his fellow beings?
Krishnamurti: Do you think that his fellow beings are full of confidence? They
may strut about, they may put on airs, but you will find that behind the show of
confidence most people are empty, dull, mediocre, they have no real confidence
at  all.  And  why  do  we  want  to  be  loved?  Don’t  you  want  to  be  loved  by  your
parents, by your teachers, by your friends? And, if you are a grown-up, you want
to be loved by your wife, by your husband, by your children – or by your guru.
Why is there this everlasting craving to be loved? Listen carefully. You want to be
loved because you do not love; but the moment you love, it is finished, you are no
longer inquiring whether or not somebody loves you. As long as you demand to
be loved, there is no love in you; and if you feel no love, you are ugly, brutish, so
why should you be loved? Without love you are a dead thing; and when the dead
thing asks for love, it is still dead. Whereas, if your heart is full of love, then you
never ask to be loved, you never put out your begging bowl for someone to fill it.
It is only the empty who ask to be filled, and an empty heart can never be filled by
running after gurus or seeking love in a hundred other ways.
Questioner: Why do grown-up people steal?
Krishnamurti:  Don’t  you  sometimes  steal?  Haven’t  you  known  of  a  little  boy
stealing something he wants from another boy? It is exactly the same throughout
life, whether we are young or old, only the older people do it more cunningly, with
a lot of fine-sounding words; they want wealth, power, position, and they connive,   204
contrive, philosophize to get it. They steal, but it is not called stealing, it is called
by some respectable word. And why do we steal? First of all, because, as society
is  now  constituted,  it  deprives  many  people  of  the  necessities  of  life;  certain
sections  of  the  populace  have  insufficient  food,  clothing  and  shelter,  therefore
they  do  something  about  it.  There  are  also  those  who  steal,  not  because  they
have insufficient food, but because they are what is called antisocial. For them
stealing has become a game, a form of excitement – which means that they have
had  no  real  education.  Real  education  is  understanding  the  significance  of  life,
not just cramming to pass examinations. There is also stealing at a higher level
the stealing of other people’s ideas, the stealing of knowledge. When we are after
the `more’ in any form, we are obviously stealing.
Why is it that we are always asking, begging, wanting, stealing? Because in
ourselves there is nothing; inwardly, psychologically we are like an empty drum.
Being empty, we try to fill ourselves not only by stealing things, but by imitating
others. Imitation is a form of stealing: you are nothing but he is somebody, so you
are  going  to  get  some  of  his  glory  by  copying  him.  This  corruption  runs  right
through human life, and very few are free of it. So what is important is to find out
whether the inward emptiness can ever be filled. As long as the mind is seeking
to fill itself it will always be empty. When the mind is no longer concerned with
filling its own emptiness, then only does that emptiness cease to be.    205
This Matter Of Culture
Chapter 26
You know it is so nice just to be very quiet, to sit up straight with dignity, with
poise – and that is as important as it is to look at those leafless trees. Have you
noticed how lovely those trees are against the pale blue of the morning sky? The
naked branches of a tree reveal its beauty; and trees also have an extraordinary
beauty about them in the spring, in the summer and in the autumn. Their beauty
changes with the seasons, and to notice this is as important as it is to consider
the ways of our own life.
Whether we live in Russia, in America, or in India, we are all human beings; as
human beings we have common problems, and it is absurd to think of ourselves
as  Hindus,  Americans,  Russians,  Chinese,  and  so  on.  There  are  political,
geographic,  racial  and  economic  divisions,  but  to  emphasize  the  divisions  only
breeds  antagonism  and  hatred.  Americans  may  be  for  the  moment  far  more
prosperous,  which  means  that  they  have  more  gadgets,  more  radios,  more
television  sets,  more  of  everything  including  a  surplus  of  food,  while  in  this
country there is so much starvation, squalor overpopulation and unemployment.
But wherever we live we are all human beings, and as human beings we create
our own human problems; and it is very important to understand that in thinking of
ourselves  as  Hindus,  Americans,  or  Englishmen,  or  as  white,  brown,  black,  or
yellow, we are creating needless barriers between ourselves.
One  of  our  main  difficulties  is  that  modern  education  all  over  the  world  is
chiefly concerned with making us mere technicians. We learn how to design jet
planes, how to construct paved roads, how to build cars or run the latest nuclear
submarines, and in the midst of all this technology we forget that we are human
beings – which means that we are filling our hearts with the things of the mind. In
America automation is releasing more and people from long hours of labour, as it   206
will  presently  be  doing  in  this  country,  and  then  we  shall  have  the  immense
problem  of  how  to  utilize  our  time.  Huge  factories  now  employing  many
thousands will probably be run by a few technicians; and what is to become of all
the other human beings who used to work there and who will have so much time
on their hands?
Until education begins to take this and other human problems into account,
our lives will be very empty.
Our lives are very empty now, are they not? You may have a college degree,
you may get married and be well off, you may be very clever, have a great deal of
information,  know  the  latest  books;  but  as  long  as  you  fill  your  heart  with  the
things of the mind, your life is bound to be empty, ugly, and it will have very little
meaning. There is beauty and meaning in life only when the heart is cleansed of
the things of the mind.
You  see,  all  this  is  our  own  individual  problem,  it  is  not  some  speculative
problem that doesn’t concern us. If as human beings we don’t know how to care
for the earth and the things of the earth, if we don’t know how to love our children
and  are  merely  concerned  with  ourselves,  with  our  personal  or  national
advancement and success, we shall make our world hideous – which is what we
are already doing. One country may become very rich, but its riches are a poison
as long as there is another country which is starving. We are one humanity, the
earth  is  ours  to  share,  and  with  loving  care  it  will  produce  food,  clothing  and
shelter for us all.
So,  the  function  of  education  is  not  merely  to  prepare  you  to  pass  a  few
examinations, but to help you understand this whole problem of living – in which is
included sex, earning a livelihood, laughter, having initiative, being earnest and
knowing  how  to  think  deeply.  It  is  also  our  problem  to  find  out  what  God  is,
because  that  is  the  very  foundation  of  our  life.  A  house  cannot  stand  for  long   207
without  a  proper  foundation,  and  all  the  cunning  inventions  of  man  will  be
meaningless if we are not seeking out what is God or truth.
The educator must be capable of helping you to understand this, for you have
to begin in childhood, not when you are sixty. You will never find God at sixty, for
at  that  age  most  people  are  worn  out,  finished.  You  must  begin  when  you  are
very young because then you can lay the right foundation so that your house will
stand through all the storms that human beings create for themselves. Then you
can live happily because your happiness is not dependent on anything, it is not
dependent on saris and jewels, on cars and radios, on whether somebody loves
or rejects you. You are happy not because you possess something, not because
you have position, wealth, or learning, but because your life has meaning in itself.
But  that  meaning  is  discovered  only  when  you  are  seeking  out  reality  from
moment  to  moment  –  and  reality  is  in  everything,  it  is  not  to  be  found  in  the
church, in the temple, in the mosque, or in some ritual.
To  seek  out  reality  we  must  know  how  to  go  about  removing  the  dust  of
centuries that has settled upon it; and please believe me, that search for reality is
true  education.  Any  clever  man  can  read  books  and  accumulate  information,
achieve  a  position  and  exploit  others,  but  that  is  not  education.  The  study  of
certain subjects is merely a very small part of education; but there is a vast area
of our life for which we are not educated at all, and to which we have no right
To find out how to approach life so that our daily living, our radios, cars and
airplanes have a meaning in relationship to something else which includes and
transcends them all – that is education. In other words, education must begin with
religion. But religion has nothing to do with the priest, with the church, with any
dogma or belief. Religion is to love without motive, to be generous, to be good,
for only then are we real human beings; but goodness, generosity, or love does
not come into being save through the search for reality.    208
Unfortunately, this whole vast field of life is ignored by the so-called education
of today. You are constantly occupied with books which have very little meaning,
and with passing examinations which have still less meaning. They may get you a
job, and that does have some meaning. But presently many factories will be run
almost entirely by machines, and that is why we must begin now to be educated
to  use  our  leisure  rightly  –  not  in  the  pursuit  of  ideals,  but  to  discover  and
understand the vast areas of our existence of which we are now unconscious and
know nothing. The mind, with its cunning arguments, is not everything. There is
something vast and immeasurable beyond the mind, a loveliness which the mind
cannot understand. In that immensity there is an ecstasy, a glory; and the living in
that, the experiencing of that is the way of education. Unless you have that kind
of  education,  when  you  go  out  into  the  world  you  will  perpetuate  this  hideous
mess which past generations have created.
So, teachers and students, do think about all this. Don’t complain, but put your
shoulder to the wheel and help to create an institution where religion, in the right
sense,  is  investigated,  loved,  worked  out  and  lived.  Then  you  will  find  that  life
becomes astonishingly rich – far richer than all the bank accounts in the world.
Questioner:  How  did  man  come  to  have  so  much  knowledge?  How  did  he
evolve materially? Whence does he draw such vast energies?
Krishnamurti: «How did man come to have so much knowledge?» That is fairly
simple.  You  know  something  and  pass  it  on  to  your  children;  they  add  a  little
more  and  pass  it  on  to  their  children,  and  so  on  down  through  the  ages.  We
gather knowledge little by little. Our great grandfathers did not know a thing about
jet planes and the electronic marvels of today; but curiosity, necessity, war, fear
and greed have brought about all this knowledge by degrees.
Now, there is a peculiar thing about knowledge. You may know a great deal,
gather  vast  stores  of  information;  but  a  mind  that  is  clouded  by  knowledge,
burdened  with  information,  is  incapable  of  discovery.  It  may  use  a  discovery   209
through knowledge and technique, but the discovery itself is something original
which  suddenly  bursts  upon  the  mind  irrespective  of  knowledge;  and  it  is  this
explosion of discovery that is essential. Most people, especially in this country,
are  so  smothered  by  knowledge,  by  tradition  by  opinion,  by  fear  of  what  their
parents or neighbours will say, that they have no confidence. They are like dead
people – and that is what the burden of knowledge does to the mind. Knowledge
is useful, but without something else it is also most destructive, and this is being
shown by world events at the present time.
Look  at  what  is  happening  in  the  world.  There  are  all  these  marvellous
inventions: radar which detects the approach of an airplane while still many miles
away; submarines which can go submerged right around the world without once
coming  up;  the  miracle  of  being  able  to  talk  from  Bombay  to  Benaras  or  New
York,  and  so  on.  All  this  is  the  outcome  of  knowledge.  But  something  else  is
missing, and therefore knowledge is misused; there is war, destruction, misery,
and countless millions of people go hungry. They have only one meal a day, or
even less – and you know nothing about all this. You only know your books and
your own petty problems and pleasures in a particular corner of Benaras, Delhi,
or Bombay. You see, we may have a great deal of knowledge, but without that
something else by which man lives and in which there is joy, glory, ecstasy, we
are going to destroy ourselves.
Materially it is the same thing : man has evolved materially through a gradual
process. And whence does he draw such vast energies? The great inventors, the
explorers  and  discoverers  in  every  field  must  have  had  enormous  energy,  but
most  of  us  have  very  little  energy,  have  we  not?  While  we  are  young  we  play
games  we  have  fun,  we  dance  and  sing;  but  when  we  grow  up  that  energy  is
soon destroyed. Have you not noticed it? We become weary housewives, or we
go to an office for endless hours day after day, month in and month out, merely to
earn a livelihood; so naturally we have little or no energy. If we had energy we
might  destroy  this  rotten  society,  we  might  do  the  most  disturbing  things;   210
therefore society sees to it that we don’t have energy, it gradually smothers us
through `education’, through tradition, through so-called religion and culture. You
see, the function of real education is to awaken our energy and make it explode,
make it continuous, strong, passionate, and yet have spontaneous restraint and
employ  itself  in  the  discovery  of  reality.  Then  that  energy  becomes  immense,
boundless, and it does not cause further misery but is in itself creator of a new
Do  listen  to  what  I  am  saying,  don’t  brush  it  aside,  because  it  is  really
important. Don’t just agree or disagree, but find out for yourself if there is truth in
what is being said. Don’t be indifferent : be either hot or cold. If you see the truth
of all this and are really hot about it, that heat, that energy will grow and bring
about  a  new  society.  It  will  not  dissipate  itself  by  merely  revolting  within  the
present society, which is like decorating the walls of a prison.
So our problem, especially in education, is how to maintain whatever energy
we  have  and  give  it  more  vitality,  a  greater  exploding  force.  This  is  going  to
require  a  great  deal  of  understanding,  because  the  teachers  themselves
generally  have  very  little  energy; they are smothered with mere information, all
but  drowned  in  their  own  problems,  therefore  they  cannot  help  the  student  to
awaken this creative energy. That is why the understanding of these things is as
much the teacher’s concern as it is the student’s.
Questioner:  Why  do  my  parents  get  angry  when  I  say  that  I  want  to  follow
another religion?
Krishnamurti : First of all, they are attached to their own religion, they think it is
the best if not the only religion in the world, so naturally they want you also to
follow  it.  Furthermore,  they  want  you  to  adhere  to  their  particular  manner  of
thinking,  to  their  group,  their  race,  their  class.  These  are  some  of  the  reasons;
and also, you see, if you follow other religion you would become a nuisance, a
trouble to the family.    211
But  what  has  happened  even  when  you  do  leave  one  organized  religion  to
follow another? Have you not merely moved to another prison? You see, as long
as the mind clings to a belief, it is held in a prison. If you are born a Hindu and
become a Christian your parents may get angry, but that is a minor point. What is
important is to see that when you join another religion you have merely taken on
a new set of dogmas in place of the old. You may be a little more active, a little
more this or that, but you are still within the prison of belief and dogma.
So  don’t  exchange  religions,  which  is  merely  to  revolt  within  the  prison,  but
break through the prison walls and find out for yourself what is God, what is truth.
That has meaning, and it will give you enormous vitality, energy. But merely to go
from  one  prison  to  another  and  quarrel  about  which  prison  is  better  –  this  is  a
child’s game.
To break out of the prison of belief requires a mature mind, a thoughtful mind,
a mind that perceives the nature of the prison itself and does not compare one
prison  with  another.  To  understand  something  you  cannot  compare  it  with
something else. Understanding does not come through comparison, it comes only
when you examine the thing itself. If you examine the nature of organized religion
you will see that all religions are essentially alike, whether Hinduism, Buddhism,
Mohammedanism, Christianity – or communism, which is another form of religion,
the very latest. The moment you understand the prison, which is to perceive all
the implications of belief, of rituals and priests, you will never again belong to any
religion; &cause only the man who is free of belief can discover that which lies
beyond all belief, that which is immeasurable.
Questioner: What is the real way to build up character?
Krishnamurti:  To  have  character  means,  surely,  to  be  able  to  withstand  the
false and hold on to the true; but to build character is difficult, because for most of
us what is said by the book, by the teacher, by the parent, by the government is
more important than to find out what we ourselves think. To think for oneself, to   212
find out what is true and stand by it, without being influenced, whatever life may
bring of misery or happiness – that is what builds character.
Say,  for  instance,  you  do  not  believe  in  war,  not  because  of  what  some
reformer or religious teacher has said, but because you have thought it out for
yourself. You have investigated, gone into the question, meditated upon it, and
for you all killing is wrong, whether it is killing to eat, killing out of hatred, or killing
for the so-called love of one’s country. Now, if you feel this very strongly and stick
to it in spite of everything, regardless of whether you go to prison or are shot for
it,  as  you  may  be  in  certain  countries,  then  you  will  have  character.  Then
character  has  quite  a  different  meaning,  it  is  not  the  character  which  society
But, you see, we are not encouraged in this direction; and neither the educator
nor the student has the vitality, the energy to think out and see what is true, and
hold  to  it,  letting  the  false  go.  But  if  you  can  do  this  then you  won’t  follow  any
political  or  religious  leader,  because  you  will  be  a  light  unto  yourself;  and  the
discovery and cultivation of that light, not only while you are young but throughout
life, is education.
Questioner: How does age stand in the way of realizing God?
Krishnamurti: What is age? Is it the number of years you have lived? That is
part of age; you were born in such and such a year, and now you are fifteen, forty
or  sixty  years  old.  Your  body  grows  old  –  and  so  does  your  mind  when  it  is
burdened  with  all  the  experiences,  miseries  and  weariness  of  life;  and  such  a
mind  can  never  discover  what  is  truth.  The  mind  can  discover  only  when  it  is
young,  fresh,  innocent;  but  innocence  is  not  a  matter  of  age.  It  is  not  only  the
child  that  is  innocent  –  he  may  not  be  –  but  the  mind  that  is  capable  of
experiencing  without  accumulating  the  residue  of  experience.  The  mind  must
experience, that is inevitable. It must respond to everything – to the river, to the
diseased animal, to the dead body being carried away to be burnt, to the poor villagers carrying their burdens along the road, to the tortures and miseries of life
– otherwise it is already dead; but it must be capable of responding without being
held by the experience. It is tradition, the accumulation of experience, the ashes
of  memory,  that  make  the  mind  old.  The  mind  that  dies  every  day  to  the
memories of yesterday, to all the joys and sorrows of the past – such a mind is
fresh, innocent, it has no age; and without that innocence, whether you are ten or
sixty, you will not find God.



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