THE TEACHER AND THE ORDER
Eerde, Holland, 1928
QUESTION I: Will Krishnaji state to us definitely:
If the order of the Star is a limitation to him?
If the order is a barrier between him and the world?
If the order has no usefulness to him?
Is it his desire to abolish the order?
KRISHNAJI 1. The Order is not a limitation to me, but probably it is to you. Either you can make of the Order a limitation, which will act as a barrier between yourselves and others, or you can make of it a bridge. And whether it is a bridge or a barrier does not depend on me. When I go and talk to people, they do not consider me and my attitude to life from the point of view of any sect or any narrow exclusive body. Hence the Order as such is not a limitation to me.
2. Again, it depends on you, not on me. After all, ideas, thoughts and feelings have no nationality, have no individuality, or at least they should not have. And if individuals who belong to the Order do not understand that, they will create a barrier. If you do not wish to exclude the world from your heart, it does not matter if the world excludes you. If you wish to give affection to every passer-by, though he may refuse it, there cannot be a barrier between you and him. If in your mind there is a division of people as belonging to groups, types and movements, to definite classes, to particular religions, to definite sets of beliefs, then there will be a barrier. Barriers are created, not by organizations, but by the limitation of life itself, by the strangling of life by narrow ideas and narrow conceptions.
3. The Order is of use in the sense that it creates a nucleus of people who are willing to treat the subjects I put forward earnestly and seriously, with a greater consideration than those who have not yet studied the useful to have such a flexible organization, not merely question. I think that for some time at least it will be to gather in members, but to put forward the new ideas; not to convert, but to help others to realize those ideas in their own way; not to preach so much as to act as an example; not to hold innumerable meetings but to show the way of attainment by one's own personal life; not to impose beliefs but to create understanding, which is beyond all belief.
And if you look at it in that way, the Order can never become a barrier between those who are members and those who are not. On the contrary, it will be a bridge by which people will come to understand the new conception of life.
4. As I said, if the Order is a bridge that will help people to cross the difficult stream of life, then it is useful; if it is not, we will abolish it. You will be the first to abolish it, I hope. I am not very interested in movements as such -and please do not think that I am standing up especially for this movement because it belongs to us. The Order has served so far to collect people who are perhaps a little more earnest, but it does not necessarily mean that they understand any more than others or that they have any peculiar privileges. So long as the Order is a bridge that will help the world to cross, I think it might be useful to keep it; but the moment it has ceased its usefulness -and that must be judged not by me but by each one of you- then it must go. One person can never constitute a barrier -you can break his ideas- but the majority of people who belong to the Order, the members as a whole, can create a barrier if they usurp the Truth, and misuse that understanding which they have gained.
QUESTION II: In what way do organizations become limitations?
KRISHNAJI: If you are an impartial observer you will notice that most organizations tend to monopolize, to usurp Truth, which can never be usurped, which can never be monopolized. Truth is arbitrary, Truth cannot be discussed, nor can anyone have an opinion about Truth, Truth is, and a wise person will try to understand by much consideration rather than by mere discussion -not that we should not discuss, but we do not arrive at Truth by contention. Truth is beyond thought, beyond feeling, beyond the artist, beyond the ruler, beyond all things. Hence, to the limited mind Truth, as such, in its purity cannot be understood. And if organizations tend to step down Truth for the purpose of their own understanding or for giving understanding to others, those organizations will inevitably deteriorate and become barriers. For this reason, I am always rather chary of organizations; because they lead to a desire to proselytize and to convert others and to gather them into our particular narrow fold.
QUESTION III: You have said much to discourage us from "works", "creeds" and active service...
KRISHNAJI: If you are so easily discouraged, that which you are doing cannot be of real value. The world is only concerned if you are building that bridge to help men and women to cross the gulf.
QUESTION IV: We serve in order to forget ourselves -so I understand you to say. Is it your meaning that activity is unimportant, and service an illusion? Can no one really help another?
KRISHNAJI: The vast majority of people are trying to forget themselves in "works". Work is a kind of drug. I am not discouraging anybody from working, life would be dull without work, and if you only had ideas but never gave expression to those ideas. But, as I said, most people work or serve in order to forget themselves and their problems. If you look into your hearts and examine this vast energy created by the idea of service, you will find that most of it is a way of putting aside your own understanding. And I hold that as long as you have not solved your own problems, as long as the individual is still confused, and is not at peace, as long as there is no serenity within himself, he cannot really serve another. He may think he is serving, but by real service I mean quite a different thing from ordinary service.
If you go to a doctor who is really great, he will tell you that certain things are necessary to effect a fundamental cure. But if you go to an inexperienced doctor, he will only tell you how to treat the symptoms and not get down to the cause of your disease. Now you have to choose, between that thing which in service will be eternal and that which will be fleeting. And I hold that service which is eternal can only come if the person who is wanting to serve has solved his own problem, has found peace within himself.
As regards the question whether activity is unimportant, my answer is: Activity in the ordinary sense, creating great works that endure for a day, is unimportant. But activity that is concerned with eternal things is essential. And you must decide what is eternal and what is fleeting.
Service which is not permanent, which does not heal the wounds or empty the weariness of the heart, is an illusion; but service which fills that emptiness in the heart and in the mind is eternal.
As to whether one can really help another, I say that you can truly help another, and not merely momentarily, if you yourself are a great surgeon, if you yourself are beyond needing help.
Please do not think that it is a matter of discouragement or encouragement or of giving comfort or hope. It is none of these things; it is much nobler, more beautiful, and more gracious than all these things.
QUESTION V: Krishnaji says we twist his message to suit our beliefs. What does he mean by "our beliefs"? Does he mean our own deep convictions that spring out of our own experience or the findings of our sincere reasoning or our gathered knowledge?
KRISHNAJI: I mean all. I will explain what I mean. Truth, I hold, does not belong to a condition of life. Truth cannot belong to one particular expression or to one kind of knowledge or reasoning. It is beyond all these things. Beliefs, experiences, reasonings, and knowledge are conditioned but Truth cannot be conditioned or limited. And because you desire to use that Truth without understanding, you are twisting that Truth to suit your own particular experiences, your own particular beliefs, your own reasoning and knowledge. You may say: How am I to prevent this twisting? By continually examining beliefs, experiences, reasoning and knowledge. You grow more and more as you gather and throw away. You do not grow if you only gather and retain that gathering within yourself. After all, when you eat a grape, you take the juice and throw away the skin. Likewise is true experience; you throw away the incident, and keep the experience. But experience must not condition Truth.
Everyone believes in this or that, and does not believe in this or that, and he expects Truth to condition itself, to limit itself, to his belief or non-belief. And because it will not, there is mystery, there is trouble, and there is strife. You cannot reduce or step down Truth. I can show to people the glory of a mountaintop, in its purity, in its serenity, but I cannot bring that great height to the conditioned mind of the people. Therefore, what I have to do is to urge, enthuse, and create desire in people to come towards the eternal. But look what is happening throughout the world. They say: The poor, the ignorant, the inexperienced will not understand the Truth, therefore I, who understand it a little more, will translate it to the measure of their understanding. And hence all the paraphernalia of religions. If you want a child to grow, the moment he is able to stand and walk on his own feet, you leave him alone; you do not help him all the day. You help him to grow strong, instead of giving him crutches, which will perpetuate his weakness. Because most people in the world have the fallacious idea that they cannot understand Truth in its fullness they must reduce, condition, step down the Truth.
The Buddha showed that Truth couldn't be translated, conditioned, limited, for the understanding of the inexperienced. But when he passed away, his disciples tried to do it and so created a religion. Likewise with the Christ, and probably it will be the same today.
I have as much desire, longing, aching in my heart to help people as you have but I say that there is only one way to help and that is to make them strong, and dependent on themselves and not on others, and to urge them to that eternal Truth which cannot be conditioned.
Never reduce or step down Truth, but rather incite the intense desire to attain the illimitable. Life then will be far more worth living than when you are content to dwell in the easy comfort of conditioned Truth. You have around you so much Truth that is conditioned, stepped down for the understanding of the inexperienced, but I speak all the time of the Truth in its unconditioned state -though words again create a limitation- I must not step it down, because to me that would be a betrayal of the Truth. Can you not see that by stepping it down, it loses its simplicity, its pristine nobleness, and thus you create complications? When you once condition Truth, you are creating those shelters of comfort where there is stagnation of the mind and of the heart. I have often heard people say: Oh, I do there things not for myself but because it helps another. That means that what you have attained, you are stepping down for others to conquer, instead of helping them to conquer in their own way, which is the only way to attain. That is how all the religions in the world are founded. And hence the very altar at which they worship Truth is the betrayal of Truth. But mere repetition that that religion is a betrayal of Truth does not mean true understanding or true conviction. I think it was Lao Tse who, when he found enlightenment, never talked about it but went away leaving a book behind him. When the Buddha was asked by his disciples to describe Nirvana, he said that he who says that it is, errs, and he who says that it is not, lies.
QUESTION VI: Does the term "World-Teacher" have any significance to Krishnaji?
KRISHNAJI: I hold that there can be only one World-Teacher at any time. There is only one life and the moment a person enters into the fulfilment of that life, he is the World-Teacher, as the Buddha was the Enlightened One, as Christ was the Son of God.
So if you really understand the term 'World-Teacher', not from a limited point of view, it is equivalent to `the Enlightened One'. What I mean to convey is that each one feels life as a separate thing within himself, apart from others. Life is one, though its expressions are many. The moment an individual feels and knows and is conscious of the eternal life, which cannot be divided, and attains to the understanding of that life, not merely intellectually, he is the World-Teacher. The term has certain significance and is of value as an idea round which other ideas can gather but that is all. Do you think that it mattered to the Buddha whether he was called the Enlightened One or not? But it helped to create and set in motion a certain train of thought, which gathered round it other ideas, other conceptions.
If you merely adore, worship a label, Truth will never come near to your heart nor an understanding of that for which the label stands. What I say is for the world at large and not for a particular nation, class, or organization. Truth and hence the giver of Truth is for the whole world and not for any particular group. You can look at the World-Teacher from any point of view you like, but people will not find any difficulty in understanding if you explain with simplicity and not in complicated words, in sets of beliefs. Then of course it becomes confusing, something mysterious and difficult to grasp. The scent, which Truth gives, is of importance and not the substance of the flower. And most people are more concerned with the substance, the shape and the size of the flower, than with its scent.
When the plant puts forth its flower, the wise will stop and look at it and will enjoy its perfume, and the unwise will pass by.
I was asked by a newspaper reporter who represented the world at large: "Must I believe that you are the World-Teacher in order to understand your message?" I said: "Do you look at the wrong end of the telescope in order to find out the size, the beauty of anything you are examining?" After all, the thing that matters is the purity of the food and not the decoration of the vessel in which it is brought. But you will find that if the food is to be kept pure and clean, the vessel must also be clean. Do not concern yourself so much with the vessel as with what it holds, whether that food is sufficient or whether it has value to nourish you.
QUESTION VII: Why is there only one World-Teacher?
KRISHNAJI: As I have said, there is only one life and the man who attains that one life is the one World-Teacher. The individual who attains that life has united the beginning and the end -and yet there is no beginning and no end- he has consciously built a bridge between the source and the ultimate goal. By the source, I mean the coming into being of that life which is condition by a multitude of things. A savage evolves and gathers to himself more and more experience, till he ultimately joins that life which is eternal. Then he has built the bridge over the gap that exists between the beginning and the end, between the source and the goal where there is one life.
That is my conception of the World-Teacher -and much more, which I cannot express in words. The term 'World-Teacher' is only a name and as a label it has no value. But it has great value to those who are held in bondage by labels, by the maya, the illusion of words. For the creating or the coming into being of the flower of humanity, for the attainment of that fullness of life everyone is responsible. By that I mean that for the creation of the individual who attains the life eternal, without beginning or end, in which the source and the goal have their being, all conditioned life has helped. By its longing to be free, conditioned life has helped to produce this Flower. As the lotus makes the waters beautiful and as the waters are necessary for the beauty of the lotus, so the bondage of every individual and the cry of every individual in bondage help to create the one who is eternally free. Hence when that being, individual or life -do not make it concrete and personal when that life which has been separate, held in bondage, attains to that life which is as the ocean without limitation, then that conditioned life becomes the World-Teacher. I am using words that you can twist and utilize according to your belief or non-belief, but Truth has nothing to do with belief or with non-belief. The fragrance of the flower of the lotus does not depend upon the passer-by. The beauty of the Flower is created by the tears of the world.
Life is eternal and when after many centuries there is a being who attains and fulfils that life, it is his delight and glory to make that unconditioned life understood by those who have not yet attained.
Whether you call that being the World-Teacher, the Buddha, the Christ or anything else, is not of importance. To give water to the thirsty, to open the eyes of the blind, to call out the prisoners from their prison and to give light to those who sit in the shadow of their own creation, is the delight of the one who has attained. And whether the waters that shall quench that thirst are contained in a particular vessel or the voice of him who calls is sweet or musical, is of very little importance. So long as there is the awakening desire within each one to answer, to take to their lips the waters that shall quench their thirst, to tear away the covering from their eyes, and to hear the cry in their prison -that is of value. And the limitation put upon life by the illusion of words is the very thing that destroys the voice of the Mastersinger.
QUESTION VIII: If he is everlasting, then how is he related to those who have preceded him, and to those who may come after him?
KRISHNAJI: When one has entered that vast, life, there is no going back, or coming forward, no question of what happens to those who have preceded or what happens to those who come after. You are only looking at the labels; you are only looking at the personalities and that is it why these questions arise. You ask: What happens to those who have preceded? -They have entered that life! And what will happen to those who come after? -They will also enter that life! It is so infinitely simple, without complication. Life is the fulfilment of all things, and in the freedom of that life is the attainment of Truth. And the individuals who have attained that life are life themselves. It is humanity that places a limitation on that life, and looks at that life through its limitations.
This life, which is the flower of humanity, which is the freedom of humanity, which is the attainment of humanity, which is the beginning and the end of humanity, this life, which is the eternal Truth, cannot be described in words. This world has no words, it is and it is not. And from the point of view of limitation from which every one of you is looking, there cannot be an understanding of the immensity, which is without limitation. When a being enters into that life, he is the flower of humanity. When you see in a garden a rose more beautiful than the others, if you could ask the rose: Why is it you are more beautiful than the others? Are you the production of the tears of the heavens? Has life given you more beauty? It would be unable to explain, but it would maintain: I am. And if you are wise, you will not tear the petals apart and examine them in order to catch the scent. I hope I have made it as vague as possible, because if I made it clear for you I should have placed a limitation on the Truth, I should have betrayed the Truth.
THE TEACHER AND THE ORDER
Eerde, Holland, 1928
Jiddu Krishnamurti Eearly Writings teachings writings gathering Eerde works hapiness