Jiddu Krihsnamurti On Love

THE DEMAND TO be safe in relationship inevitably breeds sorrow and fear.
This seeking for security is inviting insecurity. Have you ever found security in any
of your relationships? Have you? Most of us want the security of loving and being
loved, but is there love when each one of us is seeking his own security, his own
particular path? We are not loved because we don’t know how to love.
What is love? The word is so loaded and corrupted that I hardly like to use it.
Everybody talks of love – every magazine and newspaper and every missionary
talks everlastingly of love. I love my country, I love my king, I love some book, I
love that mountain, I love pleasure, I love my wife, I love God. Is love an idea? If it
is, it can be cultivated, nourished, cherished, pushed around, twisted in any way
you like. When you say you love God what does it mean? It means that you love
a  projection  of  your  own  imagination,  a  projection of yourself clothed in certain
forms of respectability according to what you think is noble and holy; so to say, `I
love  God’,  is  absolute  nonsense.  When  you  worship  God  you  are  worshipping
yourself – and that is not love.
Because  we  cannot  solve  this  human  thing  called  love  we  run  away  into
abstractions. Love may be the ultimate solution to all man’s difficulties, problems
and travails, so how are we going to find out what love is? By merely defining it?
The  church  has  defined  it  one  way,  society  another,  and  there  are  all  sorts  of
deviations  and  perversions.  Adoring  someone,  sleeping  with  someone,  the
emotional exchange, the companionship  –  is  that  what  we  mean  by  love?  That
has  been  the  norm,  the  pattern,  and  it  has  become  so  tremendously  personal,
sensuous, and limited that religions have declared that love is something much
more  than  this.  In  what  they  call  human  love  they  see  there  is  pleasure,
competition, jealousy, the desire to possess, to hold, to control and to interfere
with another’s thinking, and knowing the complexity of all this they say there must
be another kind of love, divine, beautiful, untouched, uncorrupted.    3
Throughout the world, so-called holy men have maintained that to look at a
woman is something totally wrong: they say you cannot come near to God if you
indulge in sex, therefore they push it aside although they are eaten up with it. But
by  denying  sexuality  they  put  out  their  eyes  and  cut  out  their  tongues  for  they
deny the whole beauty of the earth. They have starved their hearts and minds;
they are dehydrated human beings; they have banished beauty because beauty
is associated with woman.
Can  love  be  divided  into  the  sacred  and  the  profane,  the  human  and  the
divine, or is there only love? Is love of the one and not of the many? If I say,`I
love you’, does that exclude the love of the other? Is love personal or impersonal?
Moral or immoral? Family or non-family? If you love mankind can you love the
particular? Is love sentiment? Is love emotion? Is love pleasure and desire? All
these questions indicate, don’t they, that we have ideas about love, ideas about
what it should or should not be, a pattern or a code developed by the culture in
which we live.
So to go into the question of what love is we must first ideals and ideologies of
what it should or should not be. To divide anything into what should be and what
is, is the most deceptive way of dealing with life.
Now how am I going to find out what this flame is which we call love – not how
to  express  it  to  another  but  what  it  means  in  itself?  I  will  first  reject  what  the
church, what society, what my parents and friends, what every person and every
book has said about it because I want to find out for myself what it is. Here is an
enormous  problem  that  involves  the  whole  of  mankind,  there  have  been  a
thousand  ways  of  defining  it  and  I  myself  am  caught  in  some  pattern  or  other
according  to  what  I  like  or  enjoy  at  the  moment  –  so  shouldn’t  I,  in  order  to
understand  it,  first  free  myself  from  my  own  inclinations  and  prejudices?  I  am
confused, torn by my own desires, so I say to myself, `First clear up your own   4
confusion. Perhaps you may be able to discover what love is through what it is
The government says, `Go and kill for the love of your country’. Is that love?
Religion says, `Give up sex for the love of God’. Is that love? Is love desire? Don’t
say no. For most of us it is – desire with pleasure, the pleasure that is derived
through the senses, through sexual attachment and fulfilment. I am not against
sex, but see what is involved in it. What sex gives you momentarily is the total
abandonment of yourself, then you are back again with your turmoil, so you want
a  repetition  over  and  over  again  of  that  state  in  which  there  is  no  worry,  no
problem,  no  self.  You  say  you  love  your  wife.  In  that  love  is  involved  sexual
pleasure, the pleasure of having someone in the house to look after your children,
to  cook.  You  depend  on  her;  she  has  given  you  her  body,  her  emotions,  her
encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away
from  you;  she  gets  bored  or  goes  off  with  someone  else,  and  your  whole
emotional  balance  is  destroyed,  and  this  disturbance,  which  you  don’t  like,  is
called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are
really saying is, `As long as you belong to me I love you but the moment you don’t
I begin to hate you. As long as I can rely on you to satisfy my demands, sexual
and otherwise, I love you, but the moment you cease to supply what I want I don’t
like you.’ So there is antagonism between you, there is separation, and when you
feel  separate  from  another  there  is  no  love.  But  if  you  can  live  with  your  wife
without thought creating all these contradictory states, these endless quarrels in
yourself,  then  perhaps  –  perhaps  –  you  will  know  what  love  is.  Then  you  are
completely free and so is she, whereas if you depend on her for all your pleasure
you are a slave to her. So when one loves there must be freedom, not only from
the other person but from oneself.
This  belonging  to  another,  being  psychologically  nourished  by  another,
depending on another – in all this there must always be anxiety, fear, jealousy,   5
guilt, and so long as there is fear there is no love; a mind ridden with sorrow will
never  know  what  love  is;  sentimentality  and  emotionalism  have  nothing
whatsoever to do with love. And so love is not to do with pleasure and desire.
Love is not the product of thought which is the past. Thought cannot possibly
cultivate love. Love is not hedged about and caught in jealousy, for jealousy is of
the past. Love is always active present. It is not `I will love’ or `I have loved’. If you
know love you will not follow anybody. Love does not obey. When you love there
is neither respect nor disrespect.
Don’t you know what it means really to love somebody – to love without hate,
without jealousy, without anger, without wanting to interfere with what he is doing
or  thinking,  without  condemning,  without  comparing  –  don’t  you  know  what  it
means? Where there is love is there comparison? When you love someone with
all  your  heart,  with  all  your  mind,  with  all  your  body,  with  your  entire  being,  is
there comparison? When you totally abandon yourself to that love there is not the
Does love have responsibility and duty, and will it use those words? When you
do  something  out  of  duty  is  there  any  love  in  it?  In  duty  there  is  no  love.  The
structure of duty in which the human being is caught is destroying him. So long as
you are compelled to do something because it is your duty you don’t love what
you are doing. When there is love there is no duty and no responsibility.
Most  parents  unfortunately  think  they  are  responsible  for  their  children  and
their sense of responsibility  takes  the  form  of  telling them what they should do
and what they should not do, what they should become and what they should not
become.  The  parents  want  their  children  to  have  a  secure  position  in  society.
What  they  call  responsibility  is  part  of  that  respectability  they  worship;  and  it
seems  to  me  that  where  there  is  respectability  there  is  no  order;  they  are
concerned  only  with  becoming  a  perfect  bourgeois.  When  they  prepare  their   6
children to fit into society they are perpetuating war, conflict and brutality. Do you
call that care and love?
Really to care is to care as you would for a tree or a plant, watering it, studying
its needs, the best soil for it, looking after it with gentleness and tenderness – but
when you prepare your children to fit into society you are preparing them to be
killed. If you loved your children you would have no war.
When you lose someone you love you shed tears – are your tears for yourself
or for the one who is dead? Are you crying for yourself or for another? Have you
ever  cried  for  another?  Have  you  ever  cried  for  your  son  who  is  killed  on  the
battlefield? You have cried, but do those tears come out of self-pity or have you
cried  because  a  human  being  has  been  killed?  If  you  cry  out  of  self-pity  your
tears  have  no  meaning  because  you  are  concerned  about  yourself.  If  you  are
crying because you are bereft of one in whom you have invested a great deal of
affection, it was not really affection. When you cry for your brother who dies cry
for him. It is very easy to cry for yourself because he is gone. Apparently you are
crying  because  your  heart  is  touched,  but  it  is  not  touched  for  him,  it  is  only
touched by self-pity and self-pity makes you hard, encloses you, makes you dull
and stupid.
When you cry for yourself, is it love – crying because you are lonely, because
you have been left, because you are no longer powerful – complaining of your lot,
your environment – always you in tears? If you understand this, which means to
come in contact with it as directly as you would touch a tree or a pillar or a hand,
then you will see that sorrow is self-created, sorrow is created by thought, sorrow
is the outcome of time. I had my brother three years ago, now he is dead, now I
am  lonely,  aching,  there  is  no  one  to  whom  I  can  look  for  comfort  or
companionship, and it brings tears to my eyes.    7
You can see all this happening inside yourself if you watch it. You can see it
fully, completely, in one glance, not take analytical time over it. You can see in a
moment the whole structure and nature of this shoddy little thing called `me’, my
tears, my family, my nation, my belief, my religion – all that ugliness, it is all inside
you. When you see it with your heart, not with your mind, when you see it from
the very bottom of your heart, then you have the key that will end sorrow. Sorrow
and  love  cannot  go  together,  but  in  the  Christian  world  they  have  idealized
suffering, put it on a cross and worshipped it, implying that you can never escape
from  suffering  except  through  that  one  particular  door,  and  this  is  the  whole
structure of an exploiting religious society.
So when you ask what love is, you may be too frightened to see the answer. It
may mean complete upheaval; it may break up the family; you may discover that
you do not love your wife or husband or children – do you? – you may have to
shatter the house you have built, you may never go back to the temple.
But if you still want to find out, you will see that fear is not love, dependence is
not  love,  jealousy  is  not  love,  possessiveness  and  domination  are  not  love,
responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being
loved is not love, love is not the opposite of hate any more than humility is the
opposite of vanity. So if you can eliminate all these, not by forcing them but by
washing them away as the rain washes the dust of many days from a leaf, then
perhaps you will come upon this strange flower which man always hungers after.
If you have not got love – not just in little drops but in abundance – if you are
not filled with it – the world will go to disaster. You know intellectually that the unity
of mankind is essential and that love is the only way, but who is going to teach
you  how  to  love?  Will  any  authority,  any  method,  any  system,  tell  you  how  to
love? If anyone tells you, it is not love. Can you say, `I will practise love. I will sit
down day after day and think about it. I will practise being kind and gentle and
force  myself  to  pay  attention  to  others?’  Do  you  mean  to  say  that  you  can   8
discipline yourself to love, exercise the will to love? When you exercise discipline
and  will  to  love,  love  goes  out  of  the  window.  By  practising  some  method  or
system of loving you may become extraordinarily clever or more kindly or get into
a state of non-violence, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with love.
In this torn desert world there is no love because pleasure and desire play the
greatest roles, yet without love your daily life has no meaning. And you cannot
have love if there is no beauty. Beauty is not something you see – not a beautiful
tree, a beautiful picture, a beautiful building or a beautiful woman. There is beauty
only when your heart and mind know what love is. Without love and that sense of
beauty there is no virtue, and you know very well that, do what you will, improve
society, feed the poor, you will only be creating more mischief, for without love
there is only ugliness and poverty in your own heart and mind. But when there is
love  and  beauty,  whatever  you  do  is  right,  whatever  you  do  is  in  order.  If  you
know how to love, then you can do what you like because it will solve all other
So  we  reach  the  point:  can  the  mind  come  upon  love  without  discipline,
without thought, without enforcement, without any book, any teacher or leader –
come upon it as one comes upon a lovely sunset?
It  seems  to  me  that  one  thing  is  absolutely  necessary  and  that  is  passion
without motive – passion that is not the result of some commitment or attachment,
passion  that  is  not  lust.  A  man  who  does  not  know  what  passion  is  will  never
know  love  because  love  can  come  into  being  only  when  there  is  total  self-
A mind that is seeking is not a passionate mind and to come upon love without
seeking it is the only way to find it – to come upon it unknowingly and not as the
result of any effort or experience. Such a love, you will find, is not of time; such a
love is both personal and impersonal, is both the one and the many. Like a flower that has perfume you can smell it or pass it by. That flower is for everybody and
for  the  one  who  takes  trouble  to  breathe  it  deeply  and  look  at  it  with  delight.
Whether one is very near in the garden, or very far away, it is the same to the
flower because it is full of that perfume and therefore it is sharing with everybody.
Love  is  something  that  is  new,  fresh,  alive.  It  has  no  yesterday  and  no
tomorrow. It is beyond the turmoil of thought. It is only the innocent mind which
knows  what  love  is,  and  the  innocent  mind  can  live  in  the  world  which  is  not
innocent. To find this extraordinary thing which man has sought endlessly through
sacrifice, through worship, through relationship, through sex, through every form
of pleasure and pain, is only possible when thought comes to understand itself
and  comes  naturally  to  an  end.  Then  love  has  no  opposite,  then  love  has  no
You may ask, `If I find such a love, what happens to my wife, my children, my
family? They must have security.’ When you put such a question you have never
been  outside  the  field  of  thought,  the  field  of  consciousness.  When  once  you
have been outside that field you will never ask such a question because then you
will  know  what  love  is  in which  there  is  no  thought and  therefore  no  time.  You
may read this mesmerized and enchanted, but actually to go beyond thought and
time – which means going beyond sorrow – is to be aware that there is a different
dimension called love.
But you don’t know how to come to this extraordinary fount – so what do you
do? If you don’t know what to do, you do nothing, don’t you? Absolutely nothing.
Then inwardly you are completely silent. Do you understand what that means? It
means that you are not seeking, not wanting, not pursuing; there is no centre at
all. Then there is love.



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