Eerde, Holland, 1928
INTERVIEWER: I should like to ask you about certain ideas that I have had for long in the back of my mind. How are the ideals which you are giving out going to reach people?
KRISHNAJI: They may for the time being be limited to the few.
INTERVIEWER:How are they going to reach the masses of people throughout the world?
KRISHNAJI: That depends on the few.
INTERVIEWER: Is it not possible that your ideals, just as a river is sometimes swallowed up by a desert, may be lost in the desert of ignorance and apathy?
KRISHNAJI: I do not think so. I do not think that ideas can ever be killed.
INTERVIEWER:Take America, just as an example of a country of which it may be said that things, possessions, have multiplied quicker than culture. Do you find that your ideas are "going across" in America?
KRISHNAJI: I do not know.
INTERVIEWER: I can picture the ideas going across but will they take root or will they
KRISHNAJI: -die out, you mean?
INTERVIEWER: Yes, may not the stream be absorbed by the desert?
KRISHNAJI: What is it exactly that you want to find out, where is your question leading?
INTERVIEWER: How are those ideas, which I admit are absolutely vital -how are we going to arrange
KRISHNAJI: -that they reach the people?
INTERVIEWER: Yes, that we get them across to the people and that they continue to get across to the people in the future?
KRISHNAJI: That is the whole point. I feel if people really understand what I am talking about to them, it will be a matter of life and death.
KRISHNAJI: And hence, if it is so important, they will transmit it to others.
INTERVIEWER: Good. Then it comes really to this: each individual must make it a question of life and death -not in the narrow sense.
KRISHNAJI: No, no.
INTERVIEWER: -but deep and vital. Now the next point. It was said, somewhere, of the Lord Buddha that he was willing to wander forth as a lonely elephant, as one who could beat a path through the jungle for others to follow
KRISHNAJI: -other people can follow, sure.
INTERVIEWER: -but we want to get a number of people.
KRISHNAJI: -a number of elephants, that is just the point.
INTERVIEWER: Does not that point to the tremendous value of combination?
KRISHNAJI: And that is why there is need of people who really understand. It is more necessary to have people who really understand than mere followers. Because followers can go away from the path of the lonely elephant, as has happened right through the ages. But if people understand, they will make the path of the lonely elephant wider.
INTERVIEWER: Exactly. Now there is this point: You keep saying that you have attained, that you have found the Truth, but
KRISHNAJI: -go ahead, sir.
INTERVIEWER: -but the Truth which you have attained hardly seems to have become sufficiently clear and defined for the majority of people to grasp. I cannot quite see it. Sometimes I get a glimpse. You say every individual person in the world can himself contact life direct. Now is that the Truth, or just part of the Truth?
KRISHNAJI: You cannot say, "This is the Truth, and the entire Truth." The more you investigate the more it develops. And as we are concerned for the moment with merely explaining one facet of it; everybody thinks that the particular facet of the moment is the only facet. On the contrary, the moment you have understood you will get more and more. It is like the water of a well
INTERVIEWER: -the more you take, the more remains, but there is a continual demand on the part of the people throughout the world for definitions, definitions, definitions.
KRISHNAJI: Yes, that is the first difficulty; to realise that you cannot limit Truth. And it is because they have been limiting Truth for so long that they want this limitation to continue.
INTERVIEWER: Dealing with that, is it not a justifiable criticism of life to say that the majority of artists are doing just that thing which most people are trying to do, defining it, defining Truth, only doing it more perfectly
KRISHNAJI: -expressing it in their particular mood
INTERVIEWER: -trying to catch the Truth and express it and almost inevitably feeling uncomfortable.
KRISHNAJI: Of course.
INTERVIEWER: Could one go a stage further and say that the supreme artist is the individual who has given up the attempt to express the Truth, who contains it rather?
KRISHNAJI: Of course, but he must express it.
INTERVIEWER: Could he do that in complete calm as the Taoist?
KRISHNAJI: Yes, but that is one expression.
INTERVIEWER: A completely simple one.
KRISHNAJI: But already a limitation.
INTERVIEWER: You sometimes get, as in the Eastern method of approach to Truth, specialisation, as in some systems of yoga, but is it not possible that some part of the new expression of things is in dealing with all sides of life equally?
KRISHNAJI: That, is right, sir. That is the harmony of life.
INTERVIEWER: You would not over-specialise then?
KRISHNAJI: Of course not. What is the good? It is like a man that has a very good intellect with dried up emotions. He is specialised in intellect; but that is like having a lovely tree without any flowers. A lovely flower without any scent.
INTERVIEWER: Leading on from that, is it not possible to say that the thing that is binding most people today is the mind?
KRISHNAJI: But I think we ought to develop the mind as well as the emotions.
INTERVIEWER: Put it another way. Would it be true to say that the mind is the only instrument that the majority of us are using today?
KRISHNAJI: I am not sure. I do not think so. I do not think any person can ever judge anything by pure intelligence, by pure intellect. On the contrary, the vast majority use what is a mixture of emotions and thought.
INTERVIEWER: But you can get a person with mind only and everything else left out. Pure mind.
KRISHNAJI: With emotion killed out?
KRISHNAJI: They are very few.
INTERVIEWER: Going back to the idea of combining to alter the future -do you see a number combining to simplify life, to bring about a definite simplification of daily life?
KRISHNAJI: To simplify, yes. But simplicity does not mean getting rid of useful things that have been invented for helping the world. See, a vacuum cleaner is simple and should be used. Think of the time spent in cleaning a room. You can go around on your knees and clean it but it takes a long time. A vacuum cleaner does it in half the time and does it better. We must learn to use useful things.
INTERVIEWER: All the same it seems as if the world were in a sort of mad rush to get hold of these things.
KRISHNAJI: That is just the point, because they think that things are an end in themselves and that things are going to give them happiness and peace and tranquillity; on the contrary, they do not.
INTERVIEWER: And we have to substitute somehow the idea that they are useful, and not the end?
KRISHNAJI: People are realising that.
INTERVIEWER: There is another point that I would like to hear more about. There is a definite school of thought in each country that thinks that all the trend in life today towards internationalism is fundamentally against the best interests of the race.
KRISHNAJI: Yes, yes?
INTERVIEWER: These Nationalists feel that the purity of the human races should be kept.
KRISHNAJI: Sir, it is only the purity of the body that you are looking at, is it not?
INTERVIEWER: Partly, and the implications which arise.
KRISHNAJI: You cannot keep ideas from passing from country to country. Ideas are like the air.
INTERVIEWER: Ideas are international, yes, but
KRISHNAJI: Some people may object, but you cannot live without air and you cannot live without ideas; and ideas have no nationality.
INTERVIEWER: So long as ideas remain innocuous and do not really affect humanity, they circulate without hindrance.
KRISHNAJI: Ideas gradually change all things.
INTERVIEWER: That is my point: are these ideas going to result in great ultimate changes -
INTERVIEWER: -or are the strong individuals going to succeed in keeping people where they are?
KRISHNAJI: Sir, just a minute. Take the Labour Party in England. Ten years ago everyone laughed at it. Now it is coming up, they are quite afraid of it now. In exactly the same manner.
INTERVIEWER: These ideas of yours will grow and grow.
KRISHNAJI: Of course. Like the idea of the League of Nations. Everybody laughed at that at first.
INTERVIEWER: But take the early beginnings of Christianity. What was it that kept the vital ideas of early Christianity alive? Was is not the persecution to which the Christians were subjected? Can your ideas go forward and spread and affect the world, without the necessity of a tremendous struggle of some kind?
KRISHNAJI: Of course, that is just the point.
INTERVIEWER: Suppose I go back to my own country and that I and those who share your views just live quietly and naturally, these ideas of yours will just remain
KRISHNAJI: -be merely intellectual. I quite agree.
INTERVIEWER: We have got to do something. Have we to go out and talk, or have we to do something new?
KRISHNAJI: The first thing to do is to change oneself. Practise is the first thing, not precept. Change yourselves inside and then go out and talk.
INTERVIEWER: Get hold of the ideas first and then go out -
KRISHNAJI: How did Peter and Paul and all those people do? First they got enthusiastic about it and then they went out with the fire of enthusiasm, saying: I will go out and tell of this thing that I have known.
INTERVIEWER: It is my feeling, I quite admit, that we cannot divorce ourselves from the old idea of propaganda.
KRISHNAJI: But propaganda in the old style is hopeless. Propaganda with practice and definite example has much greater power. You are lying it. It is your own fire that is making you do it, not because somebody tells you.
The discussion then turned to Mr. Krishnamurti's views on war.
INTERVIEWER: I have heard you refer several times in your talks to war. It seems to me that much of the best that humanity has ever got has come through war. Religious wars have often liberated men from petty tyrannies of ceremonialism; have to a great extent established freedom of thought. Could these good results have been obtained otherwise?
KRISHNAJI: Otherwise than by war, you mean, sir? Otherwise than by war?
INTERVIEWER: Yes, exactly, war. Otherwise than by fighting.
KRISHNAJI: It is like saying, "I have grown strong through disease". Your strength is not caused by disease, is not the outcome of disease.
INTERVIEWER: No. But I would put it this way: War is the outcome of intelligent revolt -on a big scale.
KRISHNAJI: I do not agree. It is unintelligent revolt. I consider war to be the revolt of the stupid.
KRISHNAJI: Look at the result. War is like a river that has burst its banks. There is tremendous overflowing waste. Useless, stupid waste of intelligence. A waste that breeds contention and more contention. It all arises, I think, because the purpose of life has been lost; hence all these things are the result of a vain life.
INTERVIEWER: Quite so. But that vanity.
KRISHNAJI: Not the true sense of vanity, rather the uselessness of life, not the vanity of life.
INTERVIEWER: Well, the uselessness of life. You have that in the world today and it is resulting in a condition of things where the overflow, the bursting of the banks may take place any time.
KRISHNAJI: Yes, yes. What is your question?
INTERVIEWER: Although you have said again and again that we can escape from the necessity of war I cannot quite see that we have yet reached the stage where that is possible.
KRISHNAJI: But that is like saying that we have not reached the stage where we can progress, can do good, without doing evil. It is no good saying to a man that he cannot keep well unless he becomes diseased. Just think it out.
INTERVIEWER: It may be that efforts will again be made to enchain mankind physically, to do away with small nationalities -and unless the individual revolts against the oppressor greater evil will come.
KRISHNAJI: No, how do you know?
INTERVIEWER: I do not know. I am just wondering. Have we rather to remove causes?
KRISHNAJI: But of course. I do not deny that good has and does ultimately come out of evil. But that is no reason to pursue evil that you may get good out of it. Why not go to it directly and get good out of everything -remove the causes? Sir, you would not say -I put it this way- in order to appreciate freedom we should put people in prison.
INTERVIEWER: No, I see that. I see that argument applied plainly, even to war...
KRISHNAJI: To anything.
INTERVIEWER: There is only one other thing I want to ask about, and it is about things that you have already dealt with in your talks. Is not the great ritualist, cannot a great ritualist be simply a great artist working in that particular medium? Otherwise I cannot see how you can get away from decrying all the great churches, magnificent cathedrals in Europe and elsewhere.
KRISHNAJI: Now you are again saying: Must we go through evil to get good. You mean, sir, you cannot create churches, temples, and these wonderful structures for the sheer love of beauty?
INTERVIEWER: Of course you can.
KRISHNAJI: Your idea is: Let us have ceremony first, out of ceremony will develop a system which will give us powers to create a church of perfection. Why go through this complicated way?
INTERVIEWER: The temple comes as an expression of life.
KRISHNAJI: But after all, a church is only a house, a temple.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, but a house is created for people to live in and it is the idea for which a cathedral is to exist that produces the cathedral. And it seems to me that a great ritualist may be regarded as an artist using the cathedral as his background.
KRISHNAJI: I quite agree. He can be the artist but he goes beyond that when he says, "This is a help to humanity". No artist says "This is a help to humanity".
KRISHNAJI: He just creates. He does not say as does the ritualist, "This is a stage through which you must go".
INTERVIEWER: I can see the possibility of your ideals working out in the individual in a way that will not result in the appearance of people with a blazing flame of enthusiasm within them. Might it not be that you get a number of people who are completely simple and gentle, of a type that the world will pass by?
KRISHNAJI: I do not think so. After all, evolution is attending to that. It may take a long or a short time. Do you not see sir; it is like a man sowing a field. Some seeds will mature while others will die.
INTERVIEWER: And applying that to what I was saying you would hold that the simple people are those who have died out?
KRISHNAJI: No. They will be the people who will fructify, who will give. It must be so, otherwise it would be hopeless. Please, let us take the example of Peter, Paul and all the rest of the apostles of Jesus. Why did not their ideas just die off? Because they were strong within them, because circumstances were such that they were able to do things.
INTERVIEWER: Was it not that the church of the time gripped hold of the ideas, gripped them and kept them before the people? Or was it the martyrdoms that did it?
KRISHNAJI: It was not the church of the time. It was the tortures, the martyrdoms. About what I say nobody cares, everybody laughs, even our own friends do not know, for I have only just begun. They say, "I wonder if it is right or wrong, if it is plausible, if that is the end, if this is the way to attain, if he is telling us the Truth or is just hypnotising himself and deceiving himself." They are uncertain, and what I have to do is to clear up their uncertainty at present. So it is like clearing out a wood for building a house, which will protect the forest from fires. But you must clear the wood, get a space where there will be no trees.
INTERVIEWER: We are at this stage.
KRISHNAJI: Of course.
INTERVIEWER: The final question; You talk of attaining and of people not being sure as to whether this is the method, the way of attaining. Is it possible for an individual to attain, having a real simplicity in his interior life, a perfect calm and peace, or does something have to be added to that
KRISHNAJI: Of course, sir, absolutely.
INTERVIEWER: -some great mystical experience?
KRISHNAJI: That will come. After all, a great many people are very simple, charming, gentle, smooth and still waters and all that, but they have not got the depth. And what gives them depth is experience, suffering, great joys, great enticements, rejections.
Eerde, Holland, 1928
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