Life in Freedom
From these Camps you will go away to all parts of the world carrying with you that which you have understood, and carrying with you, alas, also that which you have not understood. If that which you have not understood be the stronger, because of its strength, it will pervert that which you have understood. I would give you the flower of understanding which shall know no decay, so that you may keep it ever with you.
Truth is like a flame without definite form, it varies from moment to moment. No man can describe it, but by the light of Truth alone you must walk, if you would keep that flower of understanding with you always.
Because you will go away with phrases, with words, with half ideas, the full beauty of manifestation will escape you. I have heard people say, "I must give up music. I must no longer admire painting. I must no longer enjoy the shade of a tree and the glory of sunset; nor the reflection of the swallow on a still evening on the face of the waters." If that is what you understand when I say that life is more important than its expressions, you will destroy the beauty of the expression, and then you will have to create that beauty again. Do you think that there is so much beauty around us in expression, in manifestation, only to be destroyed, to be put aside and not to be admired?
As the water is necessary for the beauty of the lotus, and as the lotus makes the waters beautiful, so, when the expression of life is destroyed, when it is made hideous and horrible to behold, then life itself, which is in each one, becomes perverted, mutilated and ugly. So, friend, do not cease to admire beauty. Do not hold back the laughter that awakens in your heart when you see a dancing leaf. Do not thwart the expressions of life by misunderstanding the purpose of life. To bring that expression to perfection, to its fulfillment, life must be free, life must not be bound by traditions, by your stagnating moralities and beliefs. The expressions of life will then be naturally beautiful.
There have been many thousand people at these Camps, and what could they not do in the world if they all understood? They could change the face of the world tomorrow. Its expression would become different because new life had been brought to it.
That is what I long to do. That is the only desire that burns in my heart. Because I see sadness and corruption, pain and suffering, passing ecstasies and passing fantasies, I would awaken life and bring it to its perfect fulfilment. You who are going away must realize your responsibility. Truth is not to be played with, nor to be corrupted by misunderstanding, but to be developed with full understanding of the purpose of life. If you have caught a glimpse of Truth, if you are walking on the path of understanding, you can change the thought and feeling of the world; but before you can change the world, you must change your own heart and mind. For this reason you have gathered together, for this reason you have been shaken to the very foundation -as I hope- of your structure. You have come to discover, in the light of the Truth, that which is lasting, which shall stand against the storm, and distinguish it from that which is unimportant, trivial and to be set aside.
For that reason I have urged you to invite doubt, and to examine with understanding all that you have gathered through the ages. Adversity is as a furnace through which everyone must pass. Great struggles, great sorrows and great ecstasies unfold the Truth in its sublimity, in its simplicity. To welcome adversity -not thrust upon you by another- you must invite doubt. If doubt unconsciously insinuates itself into your heart, it will not purify it. You can only purify it by deliberately inviting doubt.
Those who would attain greatly, who would understand truly, must invite the future, and let that future come into conflict with the fruit of the past, which is the present. But you do not want to do that. All your questions, all your thoughts and feelings have been about the past. You have judged everything that I have put before you by the past; but, friend, Truth is neither bound by the past nor the present nor the future. To understand Truth, you must put aside all things that you have accumulated and not cling with fear to the past, however beautiful it may be. If the past seems so fruitful to you, if the past in its decay is so dear to you, if the past holds such sway over you, why are you here? You are here because you are faced with the future. To understand the future you must put aside the past and take the future to your heart and mind, and cling to it desperately as a drowning man desires air. Not merely to dwell in some distant future, but to bring that future into the immediate present is the glory of man. I tell you, friend, One greater than your books, your rites, your religions and your beliefs, is here, and if you would learn to understand the Truth, you must put aside the past, however comfortable, however pleasing, however delightful it may have been, and welcome the future. If you worship and cling to the past, you will be like the dead stumps of yesterday; no waters can revive their green shoots.
As you have to build greatly, you must bring that future Truth and life in its fulfilment to the present. To create greatly, to create lastingly, you must understand, and so I say, "Do not follow, do not obey, do not be loyal to any person except to yourself, and then you will be loyal to every passer-by."
Do not repeat after me words that you do not understand. Do not merely put on a mask of my ideas, for it will be an illusion and you will thereby deceive yourself.
I would build in your heart and mind that Truth which is of no form and hence eternal. I would change your heart and mind in the shadow of eternity. When you change and build on the love of life and its understanding, what you build will be everlasting. I do not want to concern myself with the molding of a door, which is but an expression of life. You can always change the expression of life, but if you would build eternally in the light of the Truth, you must ever give love to life, with new ideas and understanding to nourish it. The only eternal creation is that which is without form, with life itself and not with the expressions of life. You want me to create your expressions, to lay down disciplines for you to follow; you want me, who am the Life, to deal with the moldings of the door. Because I do not concern myself with the expressions and manifestations of life, you are not satisfied. You want me to deal with the transitory instead of with the eternal.
Friend, I want to lay the foundation of Truth in your mind and heart. That is the work of life and therefore of the eternal. You have not so far been concerned with that foundation, you have not taken to heart and pondered over that Truth, you have all the time occupied yourself with the past, with small misunderstandings, with the corruption from obedience, with petty loyalties to individuals, with the adoration of passing mediators and gurus. Is it not better to seek the Life eternal that shall nourish you always, than to seek shelters that vary from moment to moment, inviting you to their decay and stagnation?
Friend, believe me, I am saying all this out of the fullness of my heart. Because I am in love with that life which is in everyone, I would free that life; but you do not want that, you want the passing love, the fleeting comfort and the balm that shall heal your momentary pain. You desire what you perceive, but if your perception is limited and conditioned, your desire will be the cause of your sorrow. But if your perception has no limitation, if it is beyond all beliefs and traditions, then your desire will have no limitations, it will be life itself. You are not in love with life; you are in love with the past, and life is not concerned with the past. Life, like the swift running waters, is always going forward and is never still and stagnant.
Because One greater than all these is with you, I hold it dear and precious that you should understand in the fullness of your heart and mind, and so create the light which shall be your guide, which is not the light of another but your own. Go away with the mirror of Truth which shall reflect your life, with the love that is detached, and with the understanding of the Truth.
Life in Freedom
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Life in Freedom. Talks in Benares, Ojai and Ommen, 1928.