EERDE GATHERING 1929
Eerde, Holland, 1929
I FEEL very strongly that a time has come when each one of us must change drastically; that is, entirely disassociate ourselves from everything of the past because we have understood. There is not sufficient disruption in each one, there is not sufficient cleavage from the past, and that cleavage can only come when you are really anxious to find something which will give everlasting satisfaction, understanding and consolation, to replace what has been taken away.
Without this absolute cleavage from the past you will never create anything, either in yourselves or in the outside world.
You have gathered here in order to hear me, in order to understand what I am saying. The first requisite, the first essential for this understanding, is that you destroy all barriers created by the past, all superstitions, all preconceived ideas, everything that stands in the way of clear examination and clear thought. It is absolutely necessary that there should be disruption and revolt. If you understand what I am saying, you will understand yourselves, your make-up and your growth towards that perfection which is freedom, and hence you will control that growth. When you understand that, you will automatically understand me and everyone else. But to understand yourselves, you must all the time detach yourselves from your environments, from your traditions, from what you believe to be true, from what you think is essential to the goal, from what you have been told, from what you have read. Everything must go. When you are once absolutely detached -physically, emotionally, mentally- you will be able to understand the whole structure of human evolution.
You must be strong, because otherwise this new dawn, this freshness of understanding, will be corrupted, will fade, and will be lost.
I do not know why people fear to destroy spiritual values, mental and moral values. After all, the moment you destroy something mentally and emotionally, you are building something else in its place. Please think it over and you will see what I mean. When you cease to be bound by any outside morality, and you are no longer a slave to any religious superstition -either of the past or of the present- you are automatically building something that is an integral part of yourself.
I want to have people who understand this and who are living it, physically, emotionally, and mentally -synthetically, as a whole. It does not matter if there are two thousand or only two. I am not concerned at all with numbers, or with what work we should do, or whether we should own this land or the Castle or innumerable properties throughout the world: all that is of little importance. What we have to do -at least what I want to do and I am going to do it- is to destroy all the old traditions, the old ideas, the old gods, the old superstitions, created by men, which are unreal, false. And, by the very process of destruction, to create in each one a new tradition, which will uphold, which will create self-government in men, a new attitude of mind, which, by continuous process of thought, becomes a tradition, never departing from the eternal. I want to establish a new kind of thought, a new kind of life, which will automatically translate itself into action, into the way you live the way you treat others.
To create this disruption within yourself needs courage, needs determination, and you have not got it. You only go as far as is convenient, and not to the ultimate end.
There are two kinds of intelligence: one of this world, the other belonging to the world of the real. I am not talking about the intelligence of this world; I am talking about the intelligence of reality, that is, intelligence which has the capacity to choose, with cultured discernment, between what is real and essential and what is false and futile. That is the true intelligence.
To revolt with intelligence, you must be concentrated. Not through meditation and such practices, but through singleness of purpose -not in the state of mind of weaklings, but with the concentration of the strong.
You are afraid of innumerable things, of convention and of what others may say. You want to reconcile the present moment with everything around you; you want to reconcile all that has been said in the past with the present; you want to go along in the same old way, to have your Masters, your gurus, your worships, your rites, your ceremonies, and to reconcile all these with what I am saying. You cannot by any means live both with the past and with the future. You may say, "I am weak and so I need this support, I need someone to encourage me." But that is not true encouragement. If you rely on someone for your happiness, for your growth, you are becoming weaker, not stronger.
Do not look for salvation from outside in any force, or you will have new conventions instead of the old. What we have to create is men who are certain of their salvation in themselves, who are strong, certain of their purpose and not looking for external comfort, external authority, external encouragement. To be so concentrated requires constant thoughtfulness. To be unaware, not to think clearly, is the greatest misfortune that you could possibly have. Unawareness creates comfort. You have to think constantly of your true purpose in life -not artificially, you understand, but you must be full of balanced self-recollectedness.
And so, what are you going to do about it? It is no good your coming to these meetings, listening to me every day, if there is not at the same time true living born of clear understanding.
I am not concerned with the invention of new theories, new philosophies, new systems, or with new combinations of these -but entirely with ideas, thoughts and feelings that can be lived, that must be lived. I have found what to me is absolute certainty, what to me is absolute reality -not relative but absolute. I want therefore to show that those ideas which I have found can be lived by everyone, and must be lived by everyone. They are not for the specially privileged. Perfection is not a freak but a natural thing. It is the result of constant effort, constant watchfulness, awareness, self-recollection. It is the result of the continual focussing of one's efforts towards that reality which cannot be affected by any outside circumstances, by any outside authorities, by any outside influences, sorrows or pleasures.
If you agree with what I am saying you should make an effort to disentangle yourselves from all outward conditions.
What I have attained must be attained by everyone. It is not the privilege of the few; it is the flower of all humanity, of the world of men. As everyone in the world is caught in the wheel of time, space, suffering, sorrow, pain, pleasure, I want them to break away from that wheel, the wheel of the fleeting, the unessential, the unreal, the illusory, and by that breaking away, to establish for themselves an absolute certainty which cannot be questioned.
The majority of you have been listening to me for three years and yet you cannot maintain your certainty against anybody: you are uncertain; you do not know that what I say is the real. You will quote me -misquote, or quote rightly- that is of no value. You cannot stand before others without a quiver until you have certainty, until you feel you have succeeded, until you know what I say to be real, because you are strong. But that is what I want you to do. I don't want people who merely agree. But if you agree, you must agree so entirely that you will oppose everything else, be a flame that will destroy everything else. You must be one thing or the other, you cannot be neutral. If you are this flame, then your whole being, your countenance, your attitude, your affection, your thoughts, your physical environment, everything must be the expression of that. If you are not in agreement, go away; be against it as violently as you would be for it. I mean this, please; because the way you are going on is not productive of anything. What is your agreement worth? Nothing! In what way have you changed the people outside, in what way have you changed your own circumstances, your own lives? Your agreement has not produced a change, so you do not really agree. You are just as afraid as ordinary people; you are just as weak, as fearful of superstitions, authorities, and conventions. Your agreement has not produced strong men, men who are indifferent to everything but certain of their own strength.
Don't you see? You can't have both, you can't be worshippers of an image and yet speak of freedom; you can't be worshippers of pictures and yet talk of reality. You can't be slaves and at the same time talk of the emancipation that comes from the inward certainty of true understanding which is born of search. You can't be adherents to systems and at the same time talk about the freedom of the whole life. You must be either one thing or the other; be hot or cold. If you are hot, then you must burn out all external things, destroy all the weeds, the superstitions, fears, gods, unrealities, and the unessential things of life. If you are cold, then leave aside what I am saying; be selfish, narrow, fearful. Don't, please, be afraid. Be certain of one thing or the other. It is no good all the time trying to grasp one thing and after grasping it twisting it to suit the other. You can't twist it, you can't reconcile the two, the old and the new. You will thereby only create greater sorrows, greater misunderstanding, and greater struggles.
I am not trying to entice you to one thing or other. It does not matter to me whether you agree with me or not. Eventually I am going to find a few who will -one, two, half-a-dozen, will be enough- who will be so whole-hearted in this matter that they will fight the whole world. So it does not mater whether you agree with me or not -you will, eventually. If you don't now, you will agree in a hundred million years. Because I speak of that which is the flower of the world, the fragrance, the loveliness of the whole of humanity.
I don't want to mesmerise you, I want you to see clearly for yourselves. You cannot belong both to light and to darkness, to certainty and to uncertainty, to the essential and to the unessential.
If your thoughts, your emotions, your ideas, belong to the fleeting, then you will never find that about which I am talking. In order to discover whether they are the seeds which will produce the flower of the eternal, you must go through a process of elimination, of complete detachment from all those things which you have acquired.
Your ideas have not their roots in the eternal because you have not yet discovered what is the eternal. Once you have found that out, your ideal will naturally take the shape of that immortality, of that certainty.
I am talking about this life, which is the life of every one, which is changing yet unchangeable, constant yet variable, to which every human being, all the individual lives in the world, must come. For imperfection creates individuality; and perfection, which is freedom, is the flower of every human being. Before you can attain perfection, which is Life, which is Truth -absolute, not relative, not conditioned- you must realise that there is no path to it. There cannot be a path to it -Truth is pathless. The ocean receives all rivers. One river may go through one country, another river through another country, experiencing different climes, nourishing different trees, races, types of people, or flowing through desert sands: yet they all go to the same sea. Like the ocean, without paths, pathless, is this Truth.
Life is free, unconditioned, illimitable, and to attain that, you must not tread any path that is bound, that is limited. For Truth is the whole and not the part. You cannot arrive at it with uneven, half-developed minds and half-developed emotions, for it is the perfect harmony, the perfect poise of mind and heart, which is Life. Every man, every woman, every thing in life is seeking, groping, struggling, in sorrow, in pain, in ecstasy for this freedom which cannot be disturbed, which is the perfection, the fulfilment of all life.
You must be free. You must be of no god, of no religion, of no sect; bowed down to no authority, past or present, for all authority is unproductive.
If your mind and your heart are strangled by worship, by prayer, by fear, by uncertainty, then your ideas cannot have their root in the eternal, in that immortality which is perfection. Be detached from all these things. Please, I mean everything I say, don't go away afterwards and say: "He does not quite mean that; he means us to work for this particular church or for that particular religion or for these particular things". Those are excuses because you cannot find the real. You are a slave to all these things, you are living in their shadow; how can you understand the sunlight? No one can drive you out into the sun except yourself. It is so childish to talk of salvation for another. No one can save you. You yourself must make the tremendous effort and step out of shadow. If you remain in darkness, then say: "I revel in darkness and enjoy it". You have a perfect right to do that. But if you want to enjoy the light, its clearness, its purity, its serenity, you must come out of the darkness.
There is a large heron just outside who waits hour upon hour absolutely concentrated, single-minded, one pointed, to catch a fish. He does not move an inch. Likewise, to have true self-recollectedness, you need to be concentrated -not only during this period of an hour but during the whole day, which is much more difficult.
You cannot find yourself if you dissipate all your energy in talking, talking, talking -gossiping.
What I am talking about is nothing extraordinary; it is the consummation of the individual and the universal life. To understand this, and to bring theory into practice in daily action, you must be free from all external, objective influences. Up to now you have had certain standards, which you have followed, but by revolt, by the destruction of authority, by your own inclination, those standards have all been destroyed. Now each one must establish a new value for himself, a true standard which will act as a guide.
In order to find the right values, the right standards, you must go through the process of elimination. It is not merely a question of doing it mentally or emotionally; there must be a physical result of your renunciation, of your putting aside. Mind you, there is no such thing as renunciation or self-sacrifice for a man who really understands. How can there be? You are trying to put aside all those things that have been imposed upon you, that you have acquired, in order to find out what is the core of your whole substance; to find that out, naturally you must put those things aside. That is not renunciation; that is purification.
To have that freedom from all external things, in order to discover your true substance, you must be free from fear.
First of all, from the fear of salvation, because no one is going to save you except yourself. No erection of churches, creation of gods or images, no prayers, no worship, no ceremonies, are going to give you that inward understanding and tranquillity. Please, understand this: I mean everything I say; do not afterwards say: "He does not quite mean that". I am concerned with this: to produce strong men in the world, men who are incorruptible, who have clear vision and will produce and create a generation with clear understanding.
Then you must be free from ancient gods and modern gods. What are you trying to do? To be free, or to be weak children -to be guided, helped along? Eventually a man must grow strong, he must be free of all gods, because he himself is potentially godlike. He is the only god and there is no other god. So why worship something external which has no value? It is curious that you always worship gods but never the man in the field, never yourself, never the labourers. Who is the god of your worship? Some far-away deity; while you do not know even how to be friendly with your neighbours!
Next, you must be free from traditional right and wrong. What are you doing at present? You are creating, in place of the old, new beliefs, new traditions, new fears, new gods, new Masters, new gurus. I am talking about something to which all Masters, all gods, and all humanity have to come. And you are worshipping only the intermediate steps, which are of no value. If you want to change the world,if you want to destroy the shadow that lies across it and make it healthy, pure and strong, you yourself must be strong; you yourself must be free from all fear of these things. That is what I want you to do. You must destroy those things which are false, unessential, which create superstition and chaos. And to do that, you yourself must be beyond the clutches of fear.
Then again, you must be free from the fear of punishment and the enticement of reward. I wonder why the majority of you are here. Do you think you are going to gain a special reward, a special heaven, by listening to me; or a punishment if you do not? By your own substance you are rewarded; by your own thought you are punished; and no one else can hamper or hinder, punish or reward you. So, you must be free of that bogey which exists in the world: "Do the right action and you will be rewarded; do the wrong action and you will go to hell". Your whole life is conducted on the idea of punishment and reward. You may have put aside the traditional heaven and hell of Hinduism, or Christianity, but you have invented others, equally disastrous, equally unreal, and equally false. If you would discover your own purity, your own understanding, your strength, you must be free from the idea of reward and punishment.
Again, you must be free from fear of convention, of what your neighbours say, which is rather difficult -much more difficult than freeing yourself from fear of gods. Conventions are made for weaklings and weaklings are produced by conventions. But freedom from fear of convention does not mean licentiousness. Conventions are made in order to keep the weak person by force along the straight path. But if you are free from the fear of convention, that means that you must make a greater demand upon yourself for true action. You are all troubling about what would happen if we removed conventional restriction from the man in the street who wants to commit murder. That is a question which immediately arises in everyone's mind. Do not trouble about it. You created him, his weaknesses, his desires, because you yourself were afraid. So you have to change, you have to be free from conventional fears of what your neighbours think, of what your family thinks, of what society thinks, from fear of your guru -all these innumerable childish fears.
Then again, you must be free from the fear of loss and gain: financial, physical, emotional, and mental. You are responsible for yourself. Please realise that this is true in regard to everything changeable: loss and gain of money, power, love, all the innumerable things which include loss and gain. Please, think it over and you will see.
Again, there must be freedom from fear of life and death. In Life there is no life or death, it is all a continual process, never ceasing, ever changing. In Life there cannot be at one moment birth and at another moment death. It is only the physical expression that changes. And you are all pursuing death much more than Life, you are much more interested in what happens after death than what happens in Life, because to you there is life and death, which is birth and death. As there is night and day, darkness and light, so in existence there is birth and death. You must be free from the fear of that, because you want to discover your own purity, to set your own standard.
Then, there must be no fear of loneliness nor longing for companionship. You cannot stand alone, any one of you, you are afraid; you want someone to lean upon, you want to be encouraged, discouraged, or to be told: "You have done well". To be praised, flattered -your whole religion is that: reward and punishment, which is companionship and loneliness. As you cannot produce refined gold without fire, so you cannot produce strong men without adversity. You must weep and you must laugh in order to understand, and yet in Life there is neither laughter nor weeping. You must be able to stand alone, indifferent to companionship, indifferent to loneliness, because they do not exist. For, if you are in love with Life, Life has no loneliness, has no companionship. IT IS.
Then, also, you must be free from the fear of uncertainty. The majority of people who have come to listen here and in the Camp are all uncertain. A standard has been held up to them and it has been destroyed and now they are uncertain. They want the leaders to settle the matter and then tell them. The leaders are not going to settle it, because there are no leaders and there are no children. You are going to settle it for yourselves, you are going to be sure that certain things are right beyond the shadow of doubt, and when you are so assured, you will be free from that fear of uncertainty. Therefore, you must doubt everything, so that in your ecstasy of doubt you may become certain. Do not doubt when you are feeling tired, do not doubt when you are unhappy; any one can do that. You must only doubt in your moments of ecstasy, for then you will find out whether what remains is true or false.
Again, you must be free from authority, from my authority, from every authority. You cannot say: "We have been told in centuries past or in modern times". You are not children, to be told. Authority in spiritual matters cannot hold for a single instant. It is your personal experience that counts, not authority. You have been told, hundreds of times, in every religion of the world, that through your own understanding alone, through the rejection of everything, you will find. And yet you follow authority, because it is much more convenient. Be free from the fear of authority, which can be cut down as a tree and be entirely destroyed. Then, you must be free from the desire for comfort, physical as well emotional and mental. Comfort creates the desire for shelter and the shelter assumes the shape of a god. And that god is held in a tabernacle or church or a temple. That god is born of fear. So, be free from physical, emotional and mental comfort or encouragement. It is not a cold philosophy that I am giving. I am talking about Life, which is neither hot nor cold, which is not a philosophy nor a great system.
Then again, you must be free of love and hate; that is, free from caring whether you are liked or not. You must be indifferent as to whether you are hated or not. Your actions must be born, not out of love but out of your own intrinsic desire. Please, think it over. Neither love nor hate must be allowed to warp your judgement. If you do certain things or change in a certain manner because you love someone, that is not true love nor a true reason for action. Action should spring from impersonal motives. Why do you think I am doing all this? Because you all like me? I am doing it because I think it is right, not because of something else. I am doing it because I am in love with Life, that Life which has no variation, no end, no birth and no death, which is not bound in any cage of fear. But this does not mean that you must not love one another.
Then there is the fear of not expressing yourself. How can you express yourself if you do not know what you are? In order to find out what you are, you must first be free of all these things.
Fear of desire, fear of ambition, jealousy, envy, competition, and then the fear of pain and sorrow -you must be free from all these in order to discover what remains, which is eternal. Imagine that you are free, and translate that freedom into physical expression. If you are going to alter the world, you cannot belong to any one part.
It is no good changing a little. There must be a complete cleavage -that is the only way to advance. What remains after this process of elimination, of withdrawal, of destruction of all those unessential things? I will tell you what remains. A calm mind and a heart that cannot be disturbed, that is pliable, energetic, and enthusiastic. Balanced, strong, certain, ecstatic, clear and pure, resolute and determined is the mind and the heart of him who has rejected all these things.
And when you have achieved that, you can put on the garment of that which is eternal -not before. You cannot be made incorruptible if there is in your mind and in your heart a particle of corruptibility.
Man, being free, is limited. That is: man, having no outside authority to guide him, no divine control, is free to do exactly as he wishes. And in his lack of wisdom, in his limitation, in his freedom, which is a limitation to him, he is struggling through that limitation to free himself, though he is intrinsically free. By a process of acquisition, of rejection, because he is free, he is growing by limitation to freedom. Are you not all free? You are doing exactly what you want to do, no one is guiding you, no one is telling you what is right and wrong, you are absolutely free in your choice of action, in your choice of feelings, in your choice of thoughts. Because you are free, you are limited. If there were a superhuman being guiding you, controlling, dominating you -although that superhuman being was free, you would still be limited but not even free. As you are free to make your own choice, as your choice is limited, therefore your desires, your thoughts, are limited. Through being free you are limited; and through this limitation, by acquisition, by renunciation, by gathering and by rejecting, you grow towards that freedom which is Life itself, of which you are unconsciously a part. Being free, you gather experience through desire. Desire demands experience that is its outlet. And through experience you grow to that condition, to that state where you are beyond all desire, hence beyond all experience, because you have been through all experience, through every desire.
Unless you know the substance of the 'I', the purity, the strength of the 'I', you are dead to the 'I'. To discover that resplendent 'I', to acquire that calmness, that undisturbable condition, that strength and certainty, you must go through this process of elimination. If the 'I' is to take on incorruptibility, which is perfection, it cannot in any minute detail be imperfect, because perfection rejects all imperfection. By a process of elimination, rejection, renunciation -or any other words you like to use- you must arrive at that state of mind and heart where the 'I' is calm, clear, pure, determined, energetic and enthusiastic. And when you arrive at that condition, then you can begin to educate the 'I'. In order to train the mind and the heart in the light of the eternal, you must get rid of all the unessential things. As I said yesterday, the unessential things are caused by fear, and by getting rid of them, you come to the essential, the lasting, which is the 'I'. It does not mean that you must leave the world, create a monastery, reject the world; but, living in the world, which is the expression of the 'I', you must understand the true substance of the 'I'. And to discover this 'I', you must strip it of everything. That is the only direct way.
If you understand what I mean, then your actions, your deeds -because you have found the true 'I'- will not bear the fruits of sorrow or create limitation, which is sorrow. From that cessation of all disturbance comes the freedom from illusion.
If at any time your mind and your heart are capable of being disturbed, then true comprehension, true understanding of the eternal, ceases. In order not to have the disturbance of the 'I' to have a mind and a heart that are pure, that are pliable, calm, strong, resolute, determined, balanced, you must eliminate all the unessential things that will at any period disturb their equilibrium. True understanding of the 'I', which is the 'I' of every one, comes through detachment from all unessentials. And the unessentials are the product of fear, of limitation, of desire that is binding. You can only free yourself from all illusion, and attain that state of certainty, by the process of elimination.
As long as there is the separation of the 'I' from the whole, there is limitation, pain, sorrow, life and death, time, space and illusion.
Because perfection rejects all imperfection, the 'I' must take on incorruptibility, to become part of that loveliness, part of the whole, which is freedom. And, as the bees await the spring, the delicious flowers, so this is the time for man to discover the 'I'. At least while you are here, you should concentrate on this one thing, so that you will for yourselves establish that certainty of the essential and reject all unessentials, for that is the pure intelligence which is the quality of the true 'I'.
If you do not know what you are discarding, then it is not worthwhile to discard. If you only discard because I tell you to do so, or through fear, then you are not discarding at all, you are but creating a new fear in place of an old one.
Truth -and I have carefully explained what I mean by Truth- is a danger to all societies, to all organised beliefs, to all systems of thought. If an individual, you or another, has this Truth, then he is automatically a powder magazine, which will blow up all the unessentials around him. But he cannot organise it. If you perceive that Truth and live that Truth and become part of that Truth, then you become as the sunshine that dispels all mist.
The Truth of which I speak is a danger to anything that is unessential. But you have to find out for yourself what is unessential and what is essential. I cannot tell you.
You cannot organise Life or Truth. If I want to go to London, I make use of an organisation, which will give me tickets. But if an organisation claimed that it could take me to heaven, I should not use it, because I know that heaven is not a place outside myself. Do you see what I mean?
All beliefs, all ideas of salvation, of being led to a particular heaven, are attempts to organise thought. But you cannot systematise thought and thereby enslave the mind.
It matters what you are, and not what you do or how you convert the world. You will do that if you are nice and kind, if your countenance shows your thought, your feeling, and if you are really joyous, for then everyone will come to you to see how you manage to be that in this chaotic world.
So, to come back to the main point: It is as individuals that you must become centres of that dynamic energy which sweeps aside all the unessentials -as individuals, not as an organised body. If you as an individual are adamant about something because you know it to be true, then you will change the world. But you cannot change the world if you are yourself uncertain. In order to become certain of the truth of what I am saying, what should you do?
You must first consider whether your construction of life is based on authority, whether your gods and your fears really exist, and then by a process of inward elimination you begin to think out the true values of life. The inward establishment of the essential is your primary, vital work.
When I spoke to you yesterday of the fear of salvation I meant clinging to worship, prayer, external gods, authorities, superstitions, rites, churches, temples, sanctuaries. To be afraid of all that shows that you still cling to the unessential. Be really honest, not hypocritical; then you will know how these things are affecting your life.
You are going out to tell the world what Krishnamurti is saying. If Krishnamurti says that certain things are unessential, and you yourselves are performing those unessentials, indulging in them, the people from outside will naturally ask: "If Krishnamurti has not altered your life, if you yourself have not changed, in your mind and heart, what is the good of your talking to me?" Not that you want to convince anyone, or that I want to convince you. But I want you to realise that the moment you are really certain of the essential things of which I speak, you will naturally alter yourselves. That is what matters.
You must be so certain for yourself of what is the essential thing that will give to the 'I' the garment of incorruptibility, that you -because you are wearing that garment- will be a danger to all that is corruptible.
It is as individuals that you create unessentials. They do not come into being of their own accord; you create them because you do not know how to distinguish between the essential and the unessential. Who created all the mosques and temples and churches of the world? The superstitious, the priests -you and I. Because of our lack of discernment of what is lasting and what is fleeting.
When you cease from outward expressions of the unessential, you will naturally create what is essential. And that creation is of the greatest importance: not merely the withdrawal from the old, but the creation of the new.
I do not know what you are thinking, in what way you are interpreting what I am saying. After all -please don't think I am conceited- I want you to understand what I am talking about in the way I understand it, not in the way you conceive it. What is going to be the result of my talks every morning, in what way does each one understand? That is important, and that is what we ought to discuss.
What I am talking about is the whole of life itself, and you are not going to understand it in half-an-hour, sitting about casually discussing what I say. You are very concentrated while I am talking, and the rest of the day there are a hundred and one other things in your minds. You are not going to understand anything in that way. Right comprehension does not come in a flash. It is the result of continual, ceaseless struggle, all day long. It is by continual readjustment, shifting, destroying, gathering, that you acquire true comprehension.
So far as I have been able to see, you only take a part of what I say and dissect that part, discuss that part. And that little part has no value detached from the whole. It is the whole that matters, the concrete unity of the whole of life. And its various struggles, strifes, pains, sorrows can only be understood when you have caught a glimpse of the whole.
As I was saying the other day, the true education of the 'I' -that is, the individual who is separated from the whole- consists in realising that there is the eternal 'I' and the progressive 'I' which is in constant struggle with everything. One element of that 'I' is eternal and the other element of that 'I' is progressive. That is: that 'I' which requires training and educating is ever progressing towards the eternal. And in unifying, in uniting the eternal and the progressive, lies freedom and the attainment of Truth. The 'I' which is progressive is neither intellectual nor emotional. Life is not purely intellectual nor purely emotional. You are not purely intellectual nor purely emotional, but a mixture of both.
The individual, who is all the time combating society, combating groups -because a group always tends to smother, to stifle the individual- that individual, the 'I' that is progressive, should have a standard, should have values that are wholly apart, that cannot be dominated, controlled, or suffocated by the group, by the mass. Not that this standard should be purely individualistic, for as your individualistic standard varies from time to time it is of no great importance. But the standard, which the 'I', the progressive 'I', establishes in itself after going through a process of elimination, is eternal. In order to discover for yourself, in order to be above all groups, above all individualistic desires, in order to unite that progressive 'I' to the 'I' which is eternal, you, as the progressive 'I' -the 'I' that is constantly seeking experience, the 'I' that is urged on by desires, dominated by fears, limited by external circumstances, controlled by corruptible love, by hate, passion, and the desire to seek comfort, trying to conform to outside authority, afraid of loneliness- must overcome all these things.
You cannot arrive at the eternal 'I', you cannot escape to that eternal 'I' -which is the universal 'I', which is yours and mine, which is the 'I' of everyone in the world, of all humanity, which is neither being nor non-being, which is neither wisdom nor non-wisdom, which is neither action nor non-action -before you have understood the progressive 'I'. You cannot evade the struggle of the progressive 'I' and thus arrive at that 'I' which has no beginning and no end, which is still, which is in front of every runner. In the unifying, the bringing about of harmony between that progressive 'I' and the eternal 'I', lies true bliss, true happiness, the cessation of strife, the destruction of time and space, of birth and death, of existence. And yet, please do not imagine that this is a negative condition: again, it is neither negative nor positive. In order to achieve, to possess this happiness, this Truth, this freedom for which every limited, progressive 'I' is continually seeking -by experience, by strife, by sorrow, by struggle, by ecstasy, by pain- you must bring about that harmony between the fleeting and the eternal, between the progressive and the everlasting.
That is wherein the greatness of man consists: that no one can save him, except himself. In man the universe potentially exists, and his purpose is to bring about that realisation. To arrive at that absolute, the progressive 'I' must, by experience, by consideration, by thoughtfulness, by the lack of fear, reject and eliminate those things that hinder unification. This is not a philosophy merely to be thought about, mere mental gymnastics: it is Life itself, the whole, which must be lived, which must express itself physically, in all your actions.
I want to point out and I have said this before -that what I am saying is not a new theory, to be added to the innumerable theories, philosophies and systems that already exist. It has nothing to do with that. It is what I consider to be life -the whole. And, as I am living that, I say that it is the quintessence of all life, the culmination of all life, the flower of all life. I am speaking of the fruition of my life, which is the life of everyone. So, please, do not treat what I am saying as an intellectual theory to be worked out, or an emotional upheaval to be enjoyed.
I am talking about something which to me is real, which I am living. But to you it is all foreign, because you are still indulging in theories, in beliefs, in systems through which to evolve. What I am saying has essentially, vitally to do with life, that everyday life which must be made perfect -for everyone, not merely for the few.
When I say "life" I use it with a special meaning: life -not of the part, yours or mine- but that life which is the whole, which includes yours and mine -which is the seed of all things, which is mobile and immobile, transient and eternal. It is everything. That life, which is the seed of everything, created man and god. God is but man ennobled, free; and that god, which is man, is in harmony with the eternal, with life. That is the function of man; to harmonise his "I", his self, with the eternal. It is not through meditation, through philosophy, that you establish this harmony, but through strife, control and again ceaseless strife -which you do not want. You do not want strife; you want an easy, smooth path. This harmony must be established between that which is fleeting, which is in each one of us, and that which is constant, which also is in each one of us.
Life creates man and leaves him absolutely independent, corruptible, limited, a slave to circumstances. Being independent, being free, he is able to choose for himself. But through his lack of capacity, his ignorance of the essential, he chooses those things around him which are trivial.
If you look at yourselves, you will see that this applies to each one of you. If you look within yourselves, you will see that there is the changeable "I" and the changeless "I". Don't translate these as the Ego and Monad, and feel happy about it. You don't know any more about them than you do about what I am saying. If you look within yourselves, you will see that there is the changeable, the never still, and the constantly varying self. Isn't that so? Then there is at the same time the self, which is constant, changeless, certain, calm, assured. Of that self you know nothing.
So, there are these two, and it is the concern of each one therefore to make the changeable "I", the changeable self, into the changeless, still, all-conserving Self. That is: you must make, or rather transmute, the changeable into the changeless, because you cannot bring down the changeless into the changeable, you cannot bring the eternal into the transient, but rather by purification, by struggle, by denials, by sacrifices, by continual strife, you must transmute the changeable and bring it into the changeless. As you cannot bring the eternal into the transient, as you cannot bring the eternal self into harmony with the changeable, progressive self, you must make that progressive, changeable self into the eternal. What everyone is trying to do, on the contrary, is to bring the eternal into the transient. Because you want to avoid all struggles, all pain, all sorrow, to evade instead of transmuting, you have all your shelters of comfort, your philosophies, your gods, your temples, your churches and your religions. You want to evade, you want to forget, and plunge yourself into the eternal. You cannot! For where there is corruptibility, incorruptibility cannot exist; where there is imperfection, perfection cannot hold its sway. So you must make that progressive, changeable, constantly varying "I" into the incorruptible, constant, all-preserving, all-conserving, changeless, eternal "I", which is neither being nor non-being, neither wisdom nor non-wisdom.
In the process of transmutation lies the truth and not in mere attainment. It is while you are progressing towards the eternal that there is truth, not in the final fulfilment. The final fulfilment is natural, is the result of the continual process. You must look to that truth, to that life, to that liberation, to that happiness, while in the process of transmuting the progressive into the changeless, the eternal. Therefore, you must concern yourself with the "I" which is progressive, and in the caring for that, in making it pure, strong, fearless, complete within itself, wholly delivered from all illusion, lies the harmony which is eternal.
QUESTION: How do you conceive the connection, the relation between the progressive "I" and the eternal "I"? Why does the progressive "I" want to become the eternal "I"?
KRISHNAMURTI: Why do you want to be happy? Why do you want to be free? Why do you want harmony in everything that you do? Why is the sorrowful, painful, struggling "I" always seeking that which is calm, serene, balanced, poised? You want to conquer sorrow and rain and establish within yourself that which is incorruptible and hence full of happiness, that which does not bind, which is free.
QUESTION: Is "the simple union" the fusion of the progressive "I" with the eternal "I"?
KRISHNAMURTI: You all like that expression "'the simple union", but it means nothing to you. It sounds so simple that everyone thinks he can achieve it. The simple union is very difficult, because it requires a genius to be simple -not childish, I don't mean that kind of simplicity, crudeness, but real simplicity of refinement, the outgrowing of all external things. That simplicity is the result of great sorrow, great pain, great understanding. The question is: Is progress the union between the progressive "I" and the eternal "I"? Of course. But you are wanting this union with the eternal before you are in harmony with your friends, before you are friendly with your neighbours, before you are tolerant of those who are either too intellectual or not intellectual enough. To accomplish this union with the eternal, you must first have harmony within yourself. You are all thinking of it as something far away, but it is neither far nor near.
QUESTION: Is the eternal "I" the same thing as 'life'?
KRISHNAMURTI: It is.
QUESTION: If Truth lies in the process, is perfection therefore progressive? Does perfection become more and more perfect?
KRISHNAMURTI: Not from my point of view. Perfection of character is not progressive; there is something else which is progressive. It is like this: The self -the mind and the emotions- must be progressive, until it is in perfect harmony with the eternal. While you are walking towards something, that is progress; but when you enter into that towards which you have been progressing, progress of one kind ceases and a different kind of progress, a different kind of perfection, begins. While you are walking towards the eternal, there is the desire to be perfect. But when you enter into harmony with the eternal, this progressive perfection to which you have been accustomed ceases. You are looking at this with a mind and a heart that are in limitation at the present moment; so to you everything, imperfect or perfect, good or evil, is progressive; your mind judges in limitation. When I talk about that eternal which is not in limitation, you apply the terms of progressive perfection, of limitation, to something which cannot be described in words. After all, what I describe to you can only be a kind of feeling to you; it is uncertain, you cannot argue about it, you cannot explain it. But when it becomes your own knowledge, your own certainty, you will not mind discussing it, talking about it, doubting it, and no one will make you uncertain.
QUESTION: The progressive "I", which is not in perfect harmony with the eternal, is in opposition to social conditions. After being harmonised with the eternal, it appears still to be in opposition, although it is expressing the most profound needs of society.
KRISHNAMURTI: That is, "As long as the "I" is not in harmony with the eternal, that "I" must be in conflict with social conditions; but when once that "I" has attained harmony, though it has an appearance of conflict with the social and economic conditions of the world, does it not express the most profound needs of society?" When you, as an individual, are as yet not in harmony with the eternal, you must naturally oppose, you must be in conflict with all external circumstances. You are in revolt with everything that is imposed upon you superficially, by authority, through fear, through ambition. If you are in revolt with those unessential things which society, social conditions, humanity, impose upon you, when that harmony with the eternal is established, you will be still more in revolt. But you are not even in revolt with ordinary things! You are afraid; you are not really in earnest. You are in earnest about the things that do not really matter in the least; you have grown wise in childish things. We have to create strong men who are in revolt because they are harmonised with the eternal, which is a much greater thing and more lovely than being in revolt because you are in disharmony. When you are harmonised, then you want to change people, to change everything, then you have the flame that is burning clear. I want to have a dozen who are in earnest about this thing, not about their particular little gods and candles, their particular little professions. In order to be truly in revolt, to have that ecstasy of purpose which is born out of harmony with the eternal, the progressive "I" must be in revolt with all external circumstances, which means constant awareness and self-recollectedness.
QUESTION: Is it not your opinion that if everyone knows and feels himself one with life, and lives life, directed by the inner voice, which is the voice of life, all limitations fall away and we experience that happiness of which you are speaking?
KRISHNAMURTI: Again, you are returning to the mystery. Life has no voice, that inner voice is the result of your experiences. Life leaves you alone to progress towards life -the whole. It does not concern itself with individuals. Do not think this is a cruel dogma. If life concerned itself with you, you would be quite different; you would be a perfect being, emotionally, mentally, and physically. The inner voice is the result, the outcome, of your own experience, which is intuition.
QUESTION:Does the vision of the substance of the "I", of the eternal, come in a flash or step by step?
KRISHNAMURTI: Does the sunlight come in a flash? Does the sun rise suddenly into mid-heaven? Does the spring come, with all its tender foliage, in a burst? Or does darkness come upon you suddenly? You want that vision to come suddenly -that is why this question is asked. You want it to be suddenly revealed to you. It cannot be done in that way. On the contrary, it is a continual, ceaseless process -the lifting of shadow upon shadow, light upon light, pain upon pain, and pleasure upon pleasure.
QUESTION: Is the "I" of which we are all conscious the progressive "I", irrespective of its degree of attainment?
KRISHNAMURTI: Surely, Of that "I" only you are conscious, not of the eternal "I".
QUESTION: Does real progress commence only after a complete cleavage from all unessentials?
KRISHNAMURTI: Real progress commences when the progressive "I" begins to withdraw into the "I" which is timeless. How do you withdraw from all unessentials? By recognizing the stupidity, the childishness, of all those things. But how do you come to that stage? By thought, by suffering, by enquiring, by studying, by feeling greatly.
QUESTION: Is it possible to educate the "I" before we attain liberation?
KRISHNAMURTI: It is possible. Afterwards there is no educating of the "I". Again, you are hoping for a way to avoid educating the "I" now. Oh, you are not in earnest!
EERDE GATHERING 1929
Eerde, Holland, 1929
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