ADYAR GATHERING 1929-30
Adyar, India, 1929-1930
During my talks this week, I am going to make certain statements, and if you will give to them your unprejudiced thought and not merely take a part of what I say and bludgeon me with that part, you will be better able to understand the whole significance of what I say. As it is my intention to convey to you the fullness of my thought, naturally I would beg of you to withhold your quick judgment till you have carefully, freely, without prejudice, thought and considered over the whole matter. I want you to concentrate on what is said rather than to be concerned with personalities. There is a great deal of difference between questioning, demanding, doubting, examining, analysing the sayings and interpreting the work of an individual. It is like being desirous to find out the substance of the light and merely being misled by the lamp. Do not take the lamp as the significant thing but rather try to understand the light. In other words, I would that you could grasp the full significance of what I say, not the mere superficial meaning of words. Do not be caught in the mere illusion, the maya of words, but look behind the words.
I want to point out that I am not here to create parties, either in the Theosophical Society or in the outside world. Parties denote a lack of understanding. What I say is wholly, entirely to do with the individual and hence if you form parties round what I say, it will have no value. You have innumerable parties in the world, under different names. They are all cages with different decorations, with different mouldings of silver, of gold, heavily jewelled. But they are all cages from my point of view, and if you merely interpret what I say to form pleasant parties to oppose one another, it will have no value. I would ask you to bear this in mind.
Nor do I wish to create followers. I mean this literally because, again, what I say has to do wholly, entirely with individuals. The moment you form a group to follow another, you are destroying your own particular growth, your own individual uniqueness, greatness. Do not follow anyone, least of all me, and I mean this, please.
Nor must a mass movement be created out of what I say. The mass, though it is composed of individuals, has nothing to do with the truth of which I speak. And I would beg of you not to form a religion or a sect around me, because that again has nothing to with individuals. Truth is a matter of individual perception, it is wholly an affair of the individual. It cannot be moulded by external things. Nor do I wish disciples, because the whole significance of what I say will be, if properly understood, contrary to all these things. If you wish to understand what I have to say -and that is why you are here- please do not translate that which you understand superficially into parties, cliques, groups, disciples, followers, religions.
Then, again, it is naturally in the mind of many to discover who is speaking through Krishnamurti. I have repeated this over and over again and I receive questions on that subject repeatedly. I do not mind answering them, but it becomes futile when one has repeated the answer a hundred times. It is of no value who is speaking. No one can tell you who is speaking. If anyone did tell you, it would be his authority, his impression. No one can know another wholly, completely. Please follow this and do not merely say superficially that it is such a vague general truth that it has no value. It has, if you give careful thought to it. I cannot know you, however much I may have made myself wholly, purely incorruptible. No one can judge, nor do I judge. Who is speaking therefore has no value, the value lies in the full significance of what is said. If you are capable of judging it on its own intrinsic merit and if, after full and careful thought, what I say has value for you, you must carry it out. If you wish to compromise, it is your affair, naturally, but compromise will not bring you to what you are seeking. So please do not concern yourself in denouncing or trying to discover who is, and who is not, speaking. You are so prejudiced, bound by authority, that you cannot judge a thing for its own beauty. You do not need anyone to tell you that a rose is beautiful, or that a picture is lovely, is a masterpiece. What is of value is how you appreciate the rose or the picture, what is its significance to you as an individual. It has its own beauty, if you have the greatness to appreciate it. If you merely listen to the individual who speaks, you will create authority, you will create shrines, you will create followers, parties, cliques, sects, religions; which have nothing whatsoever to do with the individual, which have nothing whatsoever to do with truth. I know many of you will disagree. Then disagree wholly, and if your disagreement is based on reason, it has value. Find out if your disagreement is reasonable, or merely prejudiced, due to the worship of authority.
I do not want to create disharmony, but as the rain, when it comes, pays no respect to the man who is building a house or to the man who is desirous of sunshine, so, if what I have to say creates disharmony, it is inevitable. Please see this point, as otherwise these meetings will have no value. If you will always throw back at me "We have been told so and so", it has no value. What you think as an individual is what matters and not what another man may think. Your own personal experience cannot be dominated by another, and that alone has value. If your experience is contrary to what I say, you are perfectly right in following what you think is right.
This is a grave matter to me. If you dislike it, I will go away, I will speak to anyone that will listen to me. But if you are desirous of understanding, then give your mind, your reason, your love, everything to that understanding. Do not merely judge superficially and then create misunderstandings without purpose. What I say is purely wholly and entirely a matter for the individual. That is, if you, as an individual, have solved your problems, your sorrows, your comforts, your pains, your enjoyments, then in the world -which is composed of individuals- there shall be happiness, order, rational thought and the clear enjoyment of freedom. Look at all my talks, all my questions and answers; from that point of view, not from the point of view of any society or religion or belief.
If you want to discover whether what I say is true, you must judge impersonally; that is, put aside your personal likes and dislikes, your personal beliefs, because you are trying to seek the understanding of the significance of the whole of life, not merely of your particular individual life. Everyone tries to seek truth -that is, the rich, full, harmonious life- according to his particular whims, according to his particular beliefs, dogmas and religions. The Hindu will seek truth -that fullness of life- through Hinduism, the Christian through Christianity, the Buddhist through Buddhism, and so on, taking for granted certain experiences of others and thereby forming a sect through which each thinks he will discover the truth. If you want to discover truth, you must put aside Hinduism, Buddhism, all religions and seek for yourself wholly, entirely, because truth is a pathless land, life is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it from any point of view, by any path whatever. Please do not agree or disagree, but examine this statement sanely, rationally. If you think it is wrong, leave it alone and go your own sweet way. There is no question of tolerance or intolerance. Truth, if I may give a crude example, is like a vulture that awaits a dying animal: it has infinite patience. What I say is, to me, absolute, unconditional, and I have patience. If you think it is right, then live by it, because that alone has value and not what you profess with your lips.
You take certain things for granted that have been handed down to you by authority. The purpose of authority is to treat all people as children, to keep them in nurseries. I am not speaking harshly. I am speaking of facts and if you do not like them, do not accept them. If you would understand truth, you must leave your nurseries and your toys. If you are treated as children, you will remain children, naturally. If I considered you all the time as weak people who must be nourished, who must be encouraged, guided, moulded, you would never grow to manhood, to your full strength. It is by falling, by experiencing, by suffering, by rejoicing that you learn. Therefore, if you would examine what I say impersonally, you must leave all your authorities, your second-hand knowledge, your nurseries, your various religions -aspects of truth though they may be- and try to understand the whole.
As every river must enter the sea, as every stream is seeking sedulously to enter the ocean because that is its purpose, as the sea cannot enter the river, so our imperfection must grow towards perfection, because perfection cannot enter into imperfection. I say, not as authority but as a fact to myself, that I have attained that eternal life which every human being must attain. Every human being is consciously or unconsciously experimenting, suffering, sorrowing, seeking through pain and happiness, the inevitable attainment which is liberation. I say that the goal of human life is to be beyond all experience of the self -not the experience of the relative. In the relative there is variety; the phenomenal world can never be eternal, though it can bear the stamp or the eternal. To make the self incorruptible is the purpose of life and nothing else, and in that incorruption lies freedom, truth, which is full, harmonious living. You have to judge every experience that you come across, having that in mind. Your guide must be the truth -not intermediaries, but the absolute. If all humanity is to culminate in that flower which I call liberation, then every individual -that is, you- must be guided by that one thing and by nothing else.
You must be your own sole authority; therefore, you must put aside all your preconceived ideas of spirituality. You have built up an idea of spirituality and you apply it automatically to anything which is put before you. That has no value. It is what you think that matters, and not what others think. It is the mass that invents these things to uphold itself in its integrity, but it has nothing to do with your individual perception, your individual understanding of the truth. For that reason, again, if you would understand truth, you must take all of it and not one aspect. Truth cannot have an aspect, it must be the whole. You cannot take a part of it and examine that; you must examine the whole. Therefore, if you would understand truth you must put aside all these things -what your neighbours say, what your friends say, what society says, what Christianity says, what Buddhism says, or what anyone says. What matters is what you think and say. I am not preaching selfishness. Do not translate it into that and then put it aside thinking that you are very noble in not being selfish. Please regard what I say so impersonally, with such detachment, that you can extract from it the essence, the full significance of it and live by it. For the full understanding of life, for the rich, harmonious living of the individual, he must be guided solely by himself and not by his gurus, nor by rites, nor by anything.
That is my point of view. This is not creating a party spirit. I am not interested in creating a party spirit in any society. I say that to me this is the truth, and you can take it or leave it. If you take it, then alter your lives, compete with kindness, be passionately in love with everything, and do not merely be theologians carrying on discussions under the cool trees, secluded from life. There cannot be compromise.
All depends on what you are seeking, on what you are desirous of finding in life. If you are seeking companionship, comfort, then you create shelters and take comfort therein. You have churches, temples to uphold you in your search because you are afraid, and you worship and pray for comforts, from outside. Again, you must ask yourself what you, as an individual, are seeking, what all this struggle, this sorrow, this pain, is for. Fear and the desire of comfort have nothing to do with truth. You cannot approach truth through these means. You must be free of all these things, and to be free, you must ask yourself what you are seeking. I say that man is seeking to free himself from limitation which is sorrow. All limitations are sorrow. Man is seeking to be happy, so that he shall not be disturbed at any time. Through limitation man is seeking freedom by the destruction of that limitation. Desire is ever seeking fulfilment in experience. If your desire is constantly bound by limitation, there is sorrow. If your desire is free, immense, infinite, without limitation, then there is happiness, then such a desire is no longer seeking experience.
What you perceive, you desire. What you desire, you seek. If your perception is infinite, vast, limitless, your desire will be likewise. If you desire a motor car, then this desire is moulding you, you compete, you struggle, you hurt another in acquiring a car. If your desire is for comfort, you build a structure through fear and you realise what you desire. But if your desire is to be free, rich, full and in harmony with life, then your desires will mould you towards that.
Therefore, you must first perceive the essential, and you can only perceive it by setting aside all the unessential things of life. Everyone in the world is seeking that, consciously or unconsciously, and in that search he gets entangled -you are all entangled in that search- and in that entanglement he builds a house of comfort and is held therein as a prisoner. If you are seeking truth, you must disentangle yourself from this prison and realise that you are a prisoner in your own creation, in your own entanglements, which have nothing whatever to do with truth. The moment you break down that house of limitation, you are beginning to perceive truth as a whole, life as a whole, with its richness, with its fullness. Be honest to yourself. If you think that you are not a prisoner, you will remain in that prison. But if you want to be free of these entanglements, sorrows, pains, rejoicings, then break down your house, leave all things uncompromisingly, and you will find happiness, you will no longer be a slave to the continual wheel of sorrow.
It is not an attitude of world-weariness. I am not preaching that you should leave the world or destroy what is called the form. If I had not a form, I should not be able to speak. There are unnecessary things to uphold you in the integrity of your thought, in the purity of your mind, and if you get rid of them, then you are seeking the full understanding of life, then you will be happy. Out of the heart are the issues of life and as long as your heart is weak, burdened with fear, you invent all these unnecessary things; then you must have religions, gurus to uphold you. But if you are desirous of seeking truth every moment of the day, then you are beginning to tread the path of freedom. You must be entirely your own master. You must be a stern law unto yourself. It does not matter what your neighbour says. It is your happiness you are concerned with, you are bound in your own sorrow and not in another's. If you solve your problems, then you can help everything. If you are in the process of solving that sorrow, you are giving light and understanding; but if you do not destroy that sorrow, you are only creating greater prisons with more elaborate decorations.
For the man who realises that out of his heart are the issues of life, there shall be happiness, there shall be liberation. This is not an enticement set before you; do not translate it into a reward for your virtuous actions. Such a man shall unite himself with that life which is in everything and in everyone, and the greatest spirituality is to create within oneself that harmonious, rich, full understanding of life.
BEFORE I answer questions, I should like to make an introductory remark or two. To understand completely anything which you desire to understand, you must give your whole mind to it. You must not have a certain part of the mind functioning in one way, and the other part trying to understand in another. One part of the mind is all the time unaware of what the other part desires, because your fears, your desires, keep you from carefully examining and analysing. This habitual unawareness of a certain division of the mind must disappear. A doctor who desires to cure a chronic disease goes to the very root of the disease and from there eradicates it. But if he leaves a certain part of the disease still in the body, it will crop up over and over again. Likewise, if you would understand, you must give your whole mind to that understanding. That means that your whole mind must be discontented with all the things that the mind has created. For, after all, everything is the creation of the mind. You cannot leave one corner of the mind unexplored, unexamined. If you would find out whether what I am saying is true or false -that again is a purely individual matter- you must give your mind entirely to that examination, not keeping one part reserved as a sanctuary in which you can take shelter. There should be no secret corners in your mind, no secret sanctuaries which you are afraid to analyse.
To me, the true suspension of judgement is to give your whole mind without reserving anything. If your mind is still in continual habitual unawareness in one direction and attempting to be aware in another direction, it will not discover the true harmony which is life. Your individual life must function richly, harmoniously in everything it does. You cannot divide life into darkness and light; nor the mind. Therefore, if you would understand anything, any subject, any idea, whether it is new or old, you must have no divisions of the mind. It sounds easy. But it requires strenuous courage to break down this barrier, on the one side of which is the desire to seek, the desire to be happy, the desire to fathom every experience; and on the other side, fear, which breeds comfort, sanctuaries and dark corners.
I do not want my talk to be theoretical. What I am saying, I am living personally, individually, and if you do not also want to live it, do not listen. What we have to do is to alter ourselves. A friend of mine said to me yesterday, "Do you think that all the people who listen to you are really wanting to be happy or liberated?" I said, "I am afraid they are not. There might be one or two, or three or four." Then he asked me, "Why do you talk at all?" I answered, "Because I may find one or two who will be like a flame that will burn, that will destroy all the unessential, ugly things around them."
It is no good, therefore, merely listening, keeping one part of the mind functioning in its habitual unawareness and with the other trying to seek. You will not succeed in running if one leg is carefully bandaged up and the other is free. If you would run, you must tear away the bandage, throw away your crutches and make the attempt. Happiness, liberation, the highest form of spirituality, is to be won by the fleetest; that is, by the man who is acting, who is functioning most richly and harmoniously in life.
What we are trying to do is to put theory into practice. Theories are no good by themselves, and the man who puts into practice one theory in which he is interested will be on a mountain top of understanding. The difficulty with the majority of people is that they want their minds to be filled by someone else. They do not struggle, grapple with ideas, and then translate those ideas into action for themselves and live them. If you want to learn music, you go to a musician and give your whole heart to understand and to learn from him. If you go to a violinist and ask him to teach you how to paint, you will not learn; you must go to a master painter. Likewise, if you would have spirituality, you must go to the man or the ideas that are spiritual; and spirituality, from my point of view, means setting man wholly and entirely free.
In answering these questions, naturally I cannot solve your problems. If I did, I should not be helping you. The solution of all problems lies within yourself. All that I can do is to help and encourage you to find out for yourself. Please do not expect a solution for the immediate problem. After all, a wise doctor does not deal with mere symptoms; he wants to know the cause of the disease, and if the patient insists on merely being cured of the symptoms a wise doctor will not deal with him. Likewise, I want to deal with the cause of sorrow, with the cause of limitation. Fundamentally, to me, spirituality is liberation, and from that point of view alone can I answer and not from the immediate. That is, if you would understand and take a true perspective view of life, you must withdraw impersonally from the whole and from there examine the whole. If you are living in a valley, and you want to see the mountain top, you must go away to a great distance in order to see properly. You cannot hope to see the mountain top while you are living in its shadow, and yet that is what everyone is trying to do: to solve the difficulties of life from the point of view of the immediate. To solve any problem, especially the problem of life, of sorrow, suffering, pain, limitation, you must see the ultimate and focus your point of view on that which is the fulfilment, the fruition of life, and from that point of view try to solve your problems.
QUESTION: You said yesterday that truth has no aspects. Do you think then that any formulation of the truth is only of the mind?
KRISHNAMURTI: I do. To me, truth is life; that life which is harmonious, rich and full and which functions without hindrance in this world. That is the whole. A circle has no aspect. If a man sits on only one side and does not desire to find the whole, that limited aspect appears to him as the whole; that narrow limitation, that strip of the circle becomes the whole aspect of truth. It is not the truth, it is only a limitation of the truth; and to understand the whole you must have the whole experience of the truth, which is the self. Truth is not hidden somewhere away from life. Truth, to me, is the life of every individual liberated and functioning to its full capacity, a mind that is free, a love which is not limited nor corrupted by personal affections.
QUESTION: Absolute freedom from fear necessitates freedom from every kind of external dependence, including material dependence. But, in the present condition of things, interdependence is found to be unavoidable for the securing of the material well-being of the individual. So, how to banish fear entirely?
KRISHNAMURTI: If you merely depend on your stomach, the happiness of life is not for you. In this modern civilisation the individual does not count. He merely becomes a part of a huge machine. If you are caught in that machine, there is fear, there is repression, and your individual greatness is annihilated. But if you would seek freedom from fear of your own individual growth and greatness, you must tear yourself away from the machine. You will ask me, "How am I to do it?" How does a man in prison desire freedom, desire fresh air? He does not question, he is all the time trying to tear down the walls and escape into the open. If you are afraid of starving, then you must become a cog in the machine, you must become a part attached to the whole. But if you say. "I do not mind if I starve, but I will do what I think is right", then you are no longer a mediocre person, you are stepping out of the ordinary rut. Many people do step out of this mechanical world, but in stepping out of this mechanism, they create their own particular form of mechanism and that again catches them.
What are you concerned with? To become a part of this gigantic machine, this modern civilisation, which crushes the individual and his happiness? Or are you trying to seek your own liberation and hence set people around you free? If you think that you should become a cog, then become a first-class cog. If you want to be free, destroy the mechanism around you.
You merely want to dodge the irksome, the fearsome struggle of life. Then all these doubts exist, which are not true doubts, but questions of intentional or subconscious misunderstanding. If you really want to find, you must give your whole heart, your whole mind to it and be willing to suffer for it. You are all so respectable! You are afraid of your family, of your wives, your husbands, your fathers, your neighbours, your gurus. Then how can you find truth, which has nothing to do with any persons, with any society, with the machine? You should all, if I may suggest it, have this question always in front of you: Will that which I do lead to freedom, will it give me that vital energy to distinguish the essential and to put aside everything unessential?
QUESTION: In Benares you said: "We do not know even how to like people", and you had promised to explain it, but it was dropped as you turned to other things. Will you kindly make the idea clear? We pretend to be good to people but put down a mental curtain which reacts painfully on ourselves.
KRISHNAMURTI: I think this question arose from another question which was put to me: "What is the good of asking me to love people, when I do not know how to love at all?" I think that is about the truth of the matter. For if there is love, it should translate itself into action. Respect for another and for moral laws -if you have laws at all- should, from my point of view, be based on the idea of freedom. If you do not know how to love people, to be affectionate to people, to like people, then you must suffer in order to learn. There is no other way. If you are cruel to other people, they will be cruel to you. To like people is life; to be affectionate to people is life; and through that process you gradually develop till you care for all people alike without differentiation.
You are always ready to show respect to some superior being. I have often noticed that when I come to speak, or pass by somebody who is sitting, they always get up. If you show respect to me, you should show respect to your servant. I have often noticed that people when they pass me salute very low, whereas they only salute a servant with a wave of the hand. True respect is not to one person, it is to everyone, including your wife and children. If you are kind to one person who is your superior, it is of no value. But if you have the capacity to be kind to everyone that you come into contact with, you will have a releasing power of creative energy; merely showing respect to someone whom you think superior to you is but a reflection of your own desire for power. A man who desires to be in love with life as a whole must have the capacity to respect and to love everyone. Respect yourself and then you will respect everyone, and all your class distinctions and your spiritual distinctions will cease. Do not be afraid, for fear makes you mediocre, a cog in the machine.
QUESTION: You mentioned the process of thought by which we create our own circumstances. Will you please speak to us about it?
KRISHNAMURTI: I have just been speaking about it. To use the same simile again, if you are merely a cog in the machine, you are caught in the circumstances of society, of environment created by others. But if by everyday thought, by consideration, by analysis, you step out and break away from these limitations, then you are creating your own circumstances, your own environment, of which you are master, and they will no longer be a limitation or a burden to you. By a mechanical process or system of thought, by habitual unawareness, you can never liberate yourself, and liberation to me is the richness, the fullness of the self which is harmonious. That can never be arrived at by being a slave to environment, but by the overcoming of environment. You need the courage of your convictions. It does not matter what the consequences may be, if you think that a certain thing is right you must translate it into daily action. That is why a sinner is vastly superior to a man who is afraid of action, who is always in a state of stagnation which is mediocrity. I am not speaking harshly; I am speaking of facts. A man who cannot step out of the rut, who has not experimented, who has not struggled, will never be happy.
QUESTION: One finds a loss of interest in books of all kinds, in dramas and cinemas, as they do not give expression to the longing for reality or for individual creation. Is this to be expected?
KRISHNAMURTI: I do not know why this should be expected. If you seclude yourself from all these things, you are blocking up channels of interest, and you must be interested in all the things that are happening around you. You should not be apart from man's progress, whether mechanical or spiritual. You must have your contacts with it because you want to help him to grow beyond all limitations. Do not be like the ascetic who withdraws from this world because he finds it terrible. Rather be like a tree which has its roots deep in the dark bowels of the earth while its topmost branches are dancing in the sky.
To walk a great distance, you must begin nearby, to climb greatly you must begin low. The great danger of belonging to any society is that you tend to withdraw gradually, by an unconscious process, from outside things and seclude yourself by the desire to be different from other people, and thereby block the channels through which alone life can function freely.
IT IS absolutely necessary to look at the various difficulties, problems and complexities that surround us, from a disinterested, impersonal point of view. It is so difficult to do this that it is well-nigh impossible, unless you have creative determination to watch that your mind is not caught in the old ruts of habitual thought. You may, for example, try when you are out by yourself to dissociate yourself from all systems of thought, from your religions, your previous ideas, your experience -everything- and look at life absolutely dispassionately, as though you were examining something which has nothing whatever to do with you, which is exterior to you, which is purely objective, without bringing in your emotions or your prejudices; and you will see how very difficult it is to arrive at a disinterested standard of thought which belongs to the realm of no country, of no nationality, of no religion, no sect. When once you arrive at the perception of that disinterested thought, as eventually you must, it will act as a standard, it will become a mirror which will reflect all your feelings, your thoughts, your deeds, without perversion.
If you would really try to understand what I am saying -and that is the reason why you are all here-you must arrive, by continual, ceaseless effort, at that impersonal point of view and from that alter your everyday thought, your everyday affections, struggles, jealousies, envies, worries. You will find that point of view infinitely simpler than all your complexities. I know you will say "It is not meant for us all; it is for some chosen few; it is for the people of the future", and so on. But you are the people of the future. If you do not understand this, if you do not live it, if it is not part of your being, of what good is it? When you are starving, you do not say "Other people are replete with nourishment and so I can remain in a state of contentment." You want to satisfy yourself if you are hungry; and those who seek spirituality must be hungry in like manner.
Those who would understand life must have the desire to be released from their prison, to be free, and then they must question, demand everything from every passer-by. We must concern ourselves with the removal of this prison which we call sorrow. Sorrow, contention, struggle, are ceaselessly going on in the world -and this continual and numbing pain perverts judgment and warps our balanced thought. The sorrow of man is a continual oppression. It is this that we must consider. Sorrow is caused by the limitation of life in each man, and the moment you destroy that limitation and release that life liberation begins. It is with this question that we must concern ourselves: not with what happens when you are liberated or what lies beyond, but to set free the life which is held in bondage.
In this civilisation -civilisation is only the expression of culture and culture in turn is the expression of the self- in this modern civilisation a standardised man is coming into being. As a motor is standardised, so man is being standardised. That is, you are forgetting sorrow, instead of eradicating it and thereby becoming ecstatic, creative in your energies. Sorrow which is merely pushed aside makes man into an automaton.
There are two types of human beings in the world at present. The one says "Let me have a good time at any cost, no matter what happens to me or to anyone else." He is a 'good-timer'. His life is neither creative nor profitable, but dull and mediocre; he only desires to be amused. When I speak like this, do not look at other men, at your neighbours, your friends: they are not the men of whom I speak. You are the man. If all that I say applies to you, then alter yourself. As I have been saying over and over again, I am concerned with the individual and not with the machine, because the individual can control the machine which is civilisation. If the self is seeking to liberate life, if there is education of the soul, of the self -which is culture and that culture expresses itself in civilisation- then civilisation, which is the phenomenon of the self, will create the circumstances, the environment which shall set man free, which shall free life in the individual. Please therefore apply what I say to yourself and not to another. If it is not applicable to you, then leave it. If it is applicable, then change, alter. That is one type of man, who says, "At any price let me have amusements which will enable me to forget myself, my struggle, my pain, my complexities. Let me leave them aside and wander through the land of amusement which is wholly mechanical."
Then there is the other type, which is the ascetic. This is another form of 'good-timer'. A true ascetic wants to leave the world, he wants to escape from this so-called maya, and through continual introspection he kills more and more of the self instead of enriching it. The ascetic, because he is subconsciously afraid -though he may not acknowledge it- of the conflict of manifestation, of the contact with and reactions of his neighbours, of the struggle of earning money, says "As I cannot achieve perfection in this world, I must withdraw and have my good time elsewhere." This is another form of trying to forget the conflict.
I am naturally putting this in a very exaggerated form so as to make it clear. Both the 'good-timer' and the ascetic are trying to find convenient, consoling substitutes in order to escape from the conflict.
To understand life, you must find the via media, the middle course. You must recognise that both extremes are means of escaping and thereby consciously and purposely avoiding a conflict with life itself. When the mind is afraid of conflict, it cannot solve its problems of sorrow, pain, struggle, binding affection and thought, because through fear it seeks and invents other realms of escape and consolation. Follow your own mind and you will see that there is always the desire for comfort. You want a shadowy comfort, a tabernacle into which you can withdraw, when there is the battling of sorrow going on around you that is in yourself. Such a mind naturally seeks consolation, either in amusement or in the extreme form of asceticism.
To understand life which is manifested here -which is in action here- you cannot withdraw to other realms. You must understand life where you are. You must make yourself perfect, consummate where you are. That means liberating life within you -not you attaining liberation. The moment you release life within you so that it functions according to life which is diverse, unified, whole, complete, then you are making yourself perfect and hence consummate. The purpose of existence is to liberate life in man and the moment you bring in fear, fear of conflict, the mind seeks naturally for its consolation, for its convenience, for its comforts, for gods, away from this struggle. Gods become as a drug to lull you to sleep. It is the same with gurus. I know you will all disagree, but it does not matter. I maintain that to be natural and healthy, to understand life naturally, healthily, not through complexities, is vital and gives you spontaneity of power. When the mind is afraid to come into conflict with all the struggles of life, then you have religious forms, worships, prayers and thereby avoid more and more the harmonious, rich understanding of life here.
To see this point of view, you must be, as I said at the beginning, honest with yourself, absolutely detached from all the creations of your mind. You do not really know your own mind, you are not honest, you have not gone to the full logical extreme of thought. You have got secret, unexplored corners in your mind in which you take rest, to which you do not bring the light of your understanding. You must have the capacity to detach yourself absolutely from all your dark corners, from your creations, from your fears, from your traditions, from the experience of others... You do not know how difficult it is to do this, but you must do it if you would understand life. I know that you will listen to me day after day, and when I come back you will be exactly the same, with the same habitual thought, like a machine that works to produce useless things which have nothing to do with life though they may be convenient.
To release creative power, you must find out the true purpose of life, which is not to become superhuman, but to become a perfect, harmonious, consummate human being. Each one of you is trying to become more and more superhuman, because super humanity is away from humanity. But it is greater to be human beings, living, perfecting and being consummate in perfection, than to be superhuman. I know many of you will disagree, but disagree with reason, with thought, with real understanding of the significance of what I am saying, not with mere superficial judgment of words. You must understand this world, you must perfect yourself in this world, be consummate in this world, be creative in this world. To do that you must liberate the life in you which is universal. Therefore it is not a question of flight from complexities and reactions, either by having a good time or by asceticism or by magic or by anything else, because such things are only an escape, a forgetfulness, not a full solution of the complexities of life.
It is not a flight from humanity that you need. The human being wants to be beyond sorrow, like the 'goodtimer' and the ascetic. He wants to be free and happy, undisturbed, pliable of mind. This can only be achieved by constant voluntary awareness, which means freeing the life which is a prisoner within you. So long as life is held in bondage, so long as there is a limitation on that life, it is struggling, hurling itself against that limitation, and this battle creates sorrow. That is your problem. If you become a wholly mechanical being, this problem does not exist, because you are all the time forgetting, you become a cog in a machine which has nothing to do with life, or you withdraw yourself from this world and become a cog in the wheel of spirituality, which is asceticism, which also has nothing to do with life. The problem is how to release the life within you and set it free. None can do this for you, no one from outside -it does not matter who it is- can do this. You may look to others, you may worship others, but you must eventually, forcibly, come back to yourself because you as an individual must free that life which none other can liberate. I know I am elaborating this point over and over again. But it has been so dinned into you throughout all these centuries, through tradition, by authority, through scriptures and so on, that you must look for aid from outside.
To free this life you must assimilate experience through the channels of sense and desire, through the channels of thought and feeling. To block up or obstruct any one of these channels is to injure and place a limitation on the life which you desire to set free. If you block up any channel of sense, desire, thought or feeling, you pervert the full functioning of life, and there results a routine of thought, a dull habitual unawareness, fear and uncertainty and the lack of deep affection. You must assimilate experience through these channels; they are the only means man has, and you must not block them if you would set life free.
You must ever be in contact with life. When you are so fully, voluntarily aware, from this grows spontaneity of thought, of feeling, of sense and desire -not moulded or usurped by someone else. You do not then become a cog in a machine but function voluntarily with a spontaneity which is natural, clean, healthy, which is the perfume of life. If you look at life in that way, you will be sensitive, observant, tactful and ready to adjust yourself.
To set life free you must have experience. To develop that voluntary awareness, to be free from vice, or virtue which is the other extreme, you must be in love with life. On the one side there is the rich, harmonious life fully functioning, and on the other side the following of others through fear. It is much easier to follow the majority, to obey, to become a slave to tradition, a machine that functions by the power of a narrow binding morality, to be bound by the experience of others, to be held in the religious dictates of supermen. Now you have these two: the one, through the lack of understanding of the purpose of life, creating fear; and the other through that understanding, living the rich, harmonious life, vital, energising, active, interested in everything.
If you look at it from that point of view, you will see that none can help you; you must come into intimate contact with everything that is taking place around you -you cannot withdraw, nor can you forget. The man who is seeking to liberate that life must be beyond the shadow of fear, he must understand every experience through desire, through thought and feeling. He must give his whole mind, with voluntary awareness, to the understanding of every impact of the waves of life, and thereby gradually destroy his limitations and release that life which is the highest form of spirituality. How much simpler life becomes when you think it out from this point of view! It gives you creative spontaneity of thought and emotion so that you are no longer merely a machine. But to accomplish this, you must detach yourself entirely, wholly, from all the barriers that you have created around you, and hence destroy these limitations and set life free.
I THINK that the difficulty with the majority of people is that they are very indifferent, and indifference generally breeds tolerance. Indifference is like a leaf which is blown about by every wind. A mind that is not clear, precise, that is not always judging, balancing, weighing everything, tends to become more and more indifferent and you admit to it every thought, it does not matter who writes or speaks it. It enters in and goes away without leaving a mark. Naturally such a mind is so indifferent that it accepts all things without examination and is benignly, sweetly, tolerant. That is what is happening with the more educated people. They accept everything without thought, without judging what they personally think about it. For example, if I put a thought before you, there is not the resistance to it of your own thought. It is like battling against a stone wall. But if there was an active, creative thought on your side, there would be a receptive quality which is essential to understanding. If you are indifferent to this thought and that kind of expression, the inference is that you are dominated, moulded, held in the authority of every passing thought. That is one of the most difficult things, I think, here in India. Hinduism admits all kinds of thought; you can be an agnostic, or the opposite, and yet you can be a Hindu. You admit everything, and hence you are like a house which lets in all the draughts. Your own mind is uncertain, you become indifferent, and indifference is sinful, if there is such a thing as sin. I would rather that you absolutely, categorically and violently deny all that I say than that you remain indifferent. You have become so tolerant that it is verging on indifference. We have in this country Christianity, Buddhism, all the religions, and we are not really spiritual, because we have become more and more indifferent. It were far better, from my point of view, to be really intolerant because you think your idea the best and that it is worth fighting for. I am not preaching intolerance; but to be indifferent to your ideas, to your own suffering, to your own drudgery, to your own dull life, is a sinful thing, is a curse.
An active mind that is constantly watchful must first experience. Truth must be experienced and then lived. You cannot believe in truth. It is yours as much as your nose is yours, as your feelings are yours. Truth is not to be believed with indifference, but to be lived with purpose, which comes from the ecstasy of every experience. Truth is life, to be experienced through desire, through sense, through thought and emotion. As I was saying yesterday, if you block up any one of these channels through fear, through lack of understanding of the purpose of life, you are choking up the only means by which life can be understood. That is why you cannot be indifferent. Be either wholly against or wholly for. Do not hesitate between the two. If you think I am wrong it does not matter. If you do what you think is right, and do not care for the consequences, then you will not develop this baneful indifference. A good swimmer would rather swim against the current, because he takes delight in the exercise, than follow sweetly along with the current, because there is not much fun in that. It is mere relaxation. An active mind which knows what it wants, which is ever analysing, experiencing, seeking, can never merely believe in truth. It must live truth. That to me is the thing of the greatest importance in these talks. I do not want you to believe in anything I say. I have been vaguely, shyly listening to the discussions that have taken place. A man says "Krishnamurti says this", but never what he personally feels, thinks, and is struggling for in life, because all this is becoming a matter of belief, not of experience, not of life. Truth is not a matter of belief or of personal affection. You may like me and I may like you. That is not a reason why you should believe what I say. Truth is life, and life is desire, thought, sense, emotions; and if you cannot understand and develop that, you will never have truth which is happiness, which is freedom. You cannot be indifferent, you must be actively for or against. It were much better, I think -I am saying this knowing that it will be misunderstood- to be fanatical, in the bigger sense of the word, to know what is essential and to seek it, no matter what the consequences may be. It is what you think that is essential, not what I think, because I cannot tell what is essential to you. It is a matter of individual discernment to find out the essential, and to do this you must be always aware, always discerning, rejecting and assimilating. Do not merely believe because I emphasise certain points over and over again. That is why I have often wondered whether it is worthwhile talking at all. Do not believe, but experience that which I am saying, because through experience alone can you grow and not through belief.
QUESTION: Because of your appeal not to misrepresent your thought, many who desire to tell others of your message are frankly afraid to do so. They are waiting till their individual perfection is achieved before they can go to help their fellowmen. Is it your desire that no one but yourself should explain what are the Beloved, the goal, the direct path, etc.?
KRISHNAMURTI: Then you will wait a very long time and that is also an excuse. Do not make this artificial. What is there so extraordinarily strange in what I am saying? It is because you are so unnatural that you take a natural thing as being unnatural, as being complicated, as being superhuman, extraordinary; you give to it all kinds of meanings and interpretations. A savage is very simple. He will believe, accept anything that I put before him without thinking that it is complicated, intricate and so on. And at the other extreme a genius, a really cultured man, will accept simplicity of thought. You are caught between the two, and hence this looks so difficult, whereas it is extremely simple. What is there that you are afraid of explaining? I have said over and over again that you must be kindly, really affectionate. What is there to explain in really loving people with detachment? It means that you must first love. But if you begin to explain those things which you do not understand, then trouble begins.
"Is it your desire that no one but yourself should explain what are the Beloved, the goal, the direct path?" Certainly not. What is the good of my being happy, if you are unhappy? What value is it to you if you are caught in sorrow? What does a prisoner want? He does not want explanations of the fresh air, what the trees are like, how the birds fly; he wants to be released and wants you to tell him of the immediate manner of release. The difficulty with the majority of people is that though they are in prisons, they are not aware of them and, being unaware of their own selves, and hence of their circumstances, they seek far away explanations which become more and more complicated. If there is one experience that you have gone through, you can explain it very easily, if your mind is active, if you are all the time seeking to understand life. But if you are living by second-hand tradition, and narrow morality, then explanations have no value, because they are not yours. After all, is not the goal, the Beloved, what every one of you is seeking all the time? Individuality creates perfection but individuality is not a thing in itself; it is by the fructifying contract with life that separateness disappears. If you come to think it over, really, sanely, wisely, what is there to explain in that? Why should you not explain it to others? Of course, if you do not believe in it, if you are not living it, explanation becomes difficult, and has no value. But if you are living on millionth part of it, and explain what you are living, then it has value because you cannot misrepresent what you are living. What is yours you can expound profoundly, vastly, without limitation, whereas if you are explaining something which is lived by another, your explanation goes wrong from the beginning to the end. Therefore, live first and then explanation comes as sweetly, benignly, as the flight of a bird from its nest. But if you do not live and merely talk, then you are like a four-footed animal which cannot fly. That is why if there were ten people who were really living this, and really explaining it to others, there would be a different world, a different smile, a change of countenance, a change of heart and not merely lip service.
QUESTION: You say that truth is pathless; are we to understand that in order to attain truth or liberation, each has to make his own path; that there will be as many paths as there are individuals and that there is no common path at any stage of the progress?
KRISHNAMURTI: Absolutely. Each one has to make his own path, because truth is a matter of individual perception and individual experience in turn, and you cannot follow the path of another, however great, however wise. Whatever prophet he may be, he cannot lead you. The individual must grow, the individual must become more and more unique to understand truth. Take the example of an arrow shot with a firm hand from a bow. There is no division of time and space at any time. It is a continual curve from the moment it leaves the bow till it reaches its aim. Mentally you can divide it into stages, but if you become part of the arrow, there are no stages -only one beautiful direct line. So in life there are no stages. It is like dawn which reaches the summit of light. To understand truth, which is life, you must develop your sense of touch, your sense of understanding, you must develop your desires and not repress or throttle them. Make your desires so consummate, so perfect, that they have no limitation. Do not be afraid of desires. As I said the other day, what you perceive you desire, and if your perception is small, narrow, limited, your desires will be the same. If your perception is one of a tranquil, stagnant, indifferent life, your desires will help you to that. But if your perception is to be absolutely limitless, free, unconditioned, whole, continual, active, then all your desires will be boundless, ecstatic, profound, rich. It is exactly the same way with thought and affection. If your thoughts are merely, all the time, reactions to the personal element, then they will place a limitation on you. The same with love and affection.
Life, and the unfoldment of life, is purely an individual affair, and truth, as I have explained, is not a matter of belief; it is to be experienced by the individual and hence there cannot be any path to truth. I know all that is said by your teachers and your books. But this is what I say; examine it, analyse, it, criticise it, question it and be active either in acceptance or in rejection of it. Do not be indifferent.
QUESTION: You frequently use the words "incorruptibility of love". Please explain what you mean by incorruptibility. How can love be corrupt?
KRISHNAMURTI: If you ask a question "how can love be corrupted?" it means that you do not love. I will explain what I mean. You love one person; you cling to that one person; you are jealous if that one person does not love you in return. Is that not so in your ordinary life? You like me and, if I do not like you, there is at once antagonism, struggle, a continuous battling. In the process of time, through the understanding of jealousy, hate, envy and all the experience of love, you make that love more and more impersonal, more and more detached, and you begin then to have the real understanding of the incorruption of love which is, like the perfume of the rose, given to all. The sun does not care on whom it shines. If once you attain to the pure quality of love without reactions, there will be no reaction of others on you. It is like this: you can go to the well with a small vessel or with a large vessel, but essentially whatever quantity you may have drawn, it will contain the whole of the well, for the whole quality of the water is in one part of it. Likewise, if you are capable of giving to another that love which is the essence of incorruptibility, it does not matter how much that other takes it, it is not your business. But you must have in your love the essence of that quality which is incorruptibility. That means that you must begin to love people, to be really affectionate to people, no matter if it leads to sorrow. We are so intellectually advanced that we see fear and entanglements in affection, and so we put it aside. There is all the time within you that volcano corrupting your perception. But to have love without fear, you must go through all the processes of love. You cannot merely sit still and meditate on the abstract idea of love. Nor can you attain it by reading books or listening to lectures. If you really love a person, you do not know what it will lead to -the immense struggles, jealousies, anxiety, constant watching whether that person likes you- and thereby you will develop more and more of that true quality of love. But if you are afraid of love and of affection, leave it aside. You are then blocking up one of the channels through which you must assimilate life. Therefore compete with kindliness, not with systems, not with what other people say, not with religions, with gurus, with gods, but compete with that thing which is eternal, struggle with it in order to understand. To attain the incorruptibility of love, you must begin with the corruption of love; you must begin to concern yourself more and more with your children, your wives, your husbands. It may be selfish, it may be passionate, it does not matter. By seeking the highest you are becoming indifferent to love, you are becoming so intellectually superhuman that your roots, which are deep in the dark soil of affection, are beginning to rot. That is why you prefer to believe, you prefer to be indifferent to all things, to sorrow, to pain, to pleasure and love. How can such a man grapple with life, understand life? How can a man who has no great passion, great ecstasies, understand life which is ecstasy, which is pain, which is desire, which is everything, which culminates in the incorruptibility of thought and love? To go far, you must begin near; to climb high, you must begin low. But if, from the beginning, you have the perception of where you want to go, of that end which is the perfection, the fulfilment of life, then the climbing will be a delight; the struggle will give ecstasy and not be a mere drudging painful process.
QUESTION: You suggest to us that we should fix our goal. You say you have attained the goal which for you is freedom, liberation and happiness. When I try to fix my goal, I find that it is not easy. There is nothing definite that appeals to me as my goal. Along what lines would you suggest that I should think, or act, so that I may perceive my goal, however dimly?
KRISHNAMURTI: Love your friends. Is not that a goal in itself? You have some abstract intellectual idea of this. If you are seeking something beyond, naturally it is vague, difficult, uncertain. But in the meantime you are treading on people. What matters is what you do now, how you act and react, how you behave, how you think now -not what you do in the future. What has the future to do with a man who is in sorrow? The goal or the beginning of perception of the goal is very near; it lies next to you, in you. You are trying to accept my goal, my definition of the goal. You want it to be made concrete, narrowed down for your perception. I cannot do that. If I did, it would have no value to you. But if you perceive the goal for yourself, then all your ideas, all your life, all your suffering will be the goal. It will be the goal of everyone, naturally, because everyone is suffering.
The question is "along what lines would you suggest that I should think, or act, so that I may perceive my goal however dimly?" How can I suggest what you should think? When you are in sorrow, when you are in loneliness, when you are in pain, you do not ask another "How am I to get out of it?" You try ways and means to get out of it, and do not sit down and try to understand how you go into it. When you are hungry what do you do? If you are of a violent nature, you go and steal or beg, or do something. You do not sit down and enquire into the cause of hunger, what is the goal of hunger. That is the reason why I said that truth is purely an individual matter, not to be acquired through any prophet, through any leader, or through your neighbour. If you understand life through yourself, it will be the life of everyone, because the self in you and in me is the same; and if you have fathomed, enriched, made perfect that self, then you will understand the self of everything and of everyone.
QUESTION: If we are to fix our goal intelligently, we must know at least something about it, however vaguely it may be. With a view to enable us to do so, will you kindly explain whether the goal or freedom you speak of is the freedom from compulsory births and deaths that others speak of? Also, whether this goal is the final step in attainment or is one in a series of steps.
KRISHNAMURTI: I am not going to answer that question, because you are not concerned with births and deaths. You are concerned with living in the present. When you worship death, as most people do, you want to know all about it, what are its qualities, whether there is birth and rebirth. But if you are concentrated on living in the present, acutely focussed in the present, then you are not afraid of death or of rebirth. I am not evading the question; I am not concerned with birth or death. It does not matter whether you are reborn or not. That has no value. What is valuable is how you are living now. Because the now contains the future and the past, space and time, everything. The whole of existence is in the now. This is not an extraordinary metaphysical thing to understand. The now projects into the past and into the future, in both directions, in all directions, and a man who is truly living will concern himself with life and not with death. He will concern himself with trying to make himself more and more perfect in the present, more and more incorruptible in the present. If you are hungry now, it will not help you to be told that you will be fed in ten days. If you are suffering from some vital disease, you want to be cured immediately, you are not concerned with how you got it and what is going to be the end of it. You want to be cured if you are suffering. So, please, if I may suggest it, do not concern yourself with these things, but concentrate your mind, your thoughts, your desires, your senses, in the present, and make them more and more perfect in the present and not in the future. To live in the present, in the now, to be acutely aware of the now requires great concentration. It demands such energy that you would much rather seek release in death and rebirth. Please see this, because it is vital, essential, that you should be incorruptible now, that you should try to understand now, and not bother about what lies ahead of you or behind you. There are innumerable theories as to what is behind and what is in front. You accept the one or the other. From my point of view, whatever theory you adopt is valueless. But what is of value is what you are now, how you are struggling now, in what way you are making your love more and more incorruptible, what your reactions are, in what way you treat your friends, in what way you consider others in your heart. The prisoner knows that he will be released from the prison in years to come, but he wants to be released immediately. A man who is concerned with solving the immediate from the point of view of the eternal has no future and no past. You must solve it from the point of view of the eternal, which is life, not only the life of the individual, but the life of the whole, not your immediate future, but the whole of all life. So, if you can grapple, understand and live in the present, actually, battling with full rich energy, then for you there is no birth or death.
ADYAR GATHERING 1929-30
Adyar, India, 1929-1930
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