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1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Auckland, New Zealand
Talk to Theosophists 31st March, 1934

Friends, I will just say a few words before I attempt to answer some of these questions.

First of all, I should like to say that what I am going to say should not be taken in a partisan spirit. Most of you here are probably Theosophists, with certain definite ideals and ideas, with certain definite teachings, and you think I hold contrary views and make out that I belong to another camp with other ideals and beliefs. Let us rather approach the whole thing from the point of view of discovery rather than trying to say, "We believe in this, and you don't; therefore, we are upholders of certain ideas which you are trying to destroy." Now that spirit, that kind of attitude, indicates opposition rather than understanding; that you have something which you desire to protect, and if anyone questions what you have, you immediately will say that he is attacking or I am attacking. It is not at all my intention to attack anything, but rather to help you to discover if what you are upholding is true. If it is true, then no one can attack it, and it does not matter if anyone attacks it, if what you hold is real; and you can only find out what is real by considering it, not protecting it, not being on the defensive.

You know, wherever I go Theosophists ask me, as do other organizations, to speak to them; and Theosophists with whom I have lived for so long have taken up this unfortunate attitude, that I am attacking them, destroying their pet beliefs, which they must protect at all costs, and all the nonsense of it. Whereas, I feel if we can really consider together, reason together, and see what we have in our hands that we want to protect, then instead of belonging to any one particular camp, or particular section of thought, we shall naturally understand what is true; and that which is true has no party. It is neither yours nor mine. So that is my attitude in addressing you, and in talking anywhere: to help you to discover - and I mean this honestly - if what you hold is really lasting, or a thing that you have built up out of conceit, out of self-protection, self-preservation, out of search for security. Such things have no value though they may wear the clothing of surety, of certainty and of wisdom.

Now, sirs, I would like to say that, to me, truth has no aspects. We are in the habit, especially Theosophists I think, and some others besides, of saying that truth has many aspects: Christianity is one aspect, Buddhism another, Hinduism another, and so on. This merely indicates that we want to stick to our own particular temperament and our own prejudices, and be tolerant to other people's prejudices. Whereas, to me, truth has no aspects; it is one, and that which is complete, whole, has no aspects. It is not like a light with many coloured lamps. That is, you place coloured lamps over that light, and then try to be tolerant to a red light if you are a green light, and invent that unfortunate word tolerance, which is so artificial, a dry thing that has no value. Surely you are not tolerant to your brother, to your children. When there is real affection there is no tolerance, so, it is only when the heart has withered, that we talk about tolerance. I, personally, do not care what you believe or do not believe, as my affection is not based on belief. Belief is an artificial thing; whereas affection is the innateness of things, and when that affection withers, then we try to spread brotherhood through the world and talk about tolerance, the unity of religions. But where there is real understanding there is no talk about tolerance.

Understanding does not lie through books. You can be students of books for many years, and if you do not know how to live, then all your knowledge withers; it has no substance, no value. Whereas, one moment of full awareness, full conscious understanding, brings about real, lasting peace; not a thing that is static, but that peace which is continually in movement, unlimited.

Now I wonder how I am going to answer all these questions.

Question: Can a ceremony be helpful, and yet be not limiting?

Krishnamurti: Do you really want to go into the question, or do you just want to deal with it superficially? How many of you really perform ceremonies? It has become, unfortunately, a subject over which you quarrel in the T. S.

Now what is a ceremony? Not the putting on of a tie, clean- ing yourself, eating, or the appreciation of beauty - because I have discussed with people, and they have trotted out all these arguments. They say, "We go to church because there is so much beauty in it. It is our self-expression. Is not putting on a suit and cleaning your teeth, is that not a ceremony?" Surely this is not ceremony. The appreciation of beauty is not ceremony. You do not attend church or attend a ceremony to self-express. So ceremony as you use it has a very definite meaning. A ceremony, as far as I can make out, according to your own usage of that word, is where you either hope to advance spiritually through its efficacy, or you attend it in order to spread in the world spiritual forces. Shall we limit it to that, and not bring in extraneous arguments? Is that not so? Ceremony is only applicable where you are spreading spiritual force, and in which you hope to gain spiritual advancement. Let us examine these two things.

First of all, when you say you are spreading spiritual force in the world, how do you know that you are doing this? Either it must be based on authority, acceptance of someone else's edicts or precepts, or you feel that you are spreading it. So let us put away the authority of another, because that is childish. If someone else merely says, "Do that", and you do it, then there is no value; it does not matter who it is. Then we merely reduce ourselves into children, and become the instruments of authority. Therefore there is no vitality in our actions. We are merely imitative machines.

Now we might think that by attending a church we feel elated, we feel full of vitality and a sense of well-being. I am not insulting when I say that by taking to drink you feel the same, or attending a stimulating lecture; but why do you place ceremony as being much more important, more vital, more essential, than appreciation of something which really stimulates you? If you really examine it, it is much more than appreciation of beauty which stimulates. You hope by attending a ceremony, by some miraculous process your whole being is going to be cleansed. Now to me, such an idea is, if I may say so, really absurd. Such ideas are instruments of true exploitation. Whereas, really being integral, complete within oneself, you cannot look to someone else to cleanse your mind and heart. One has to discover for oneself. So, to me, this whole conception that ceremonies are going to give you spiritual understanding and attainment, is really the very thing which every so-called materialistic person thinks. He wants to be somebody in this world, he wants to have money, so he begins to accumulate, possess, exploit, to be ruthless; and the man who wants to be somebody in the spiritual world does exactly the same thing, only he calls it spiritual. That is, behind it all, there is this idea of gain; and to me such an idea, the desire to attain, is in itself a limitation. And if you perform ceremonies as a means of gain, then all ceremonies are but limitation. Or if you go and perform ceremonies as essential, as necessary, then you are merely accepting it on authority or tradition. Surely such a mind cannot understand what life is, what the whole process of living is.

I am surprised that this question should arise wherever I go, especially among those who are supposed to be a little more advanced, whatever that may mean, who have been students of philosophy for years, who are supposed to be thoughtful. It but indicates that they have really sought substitutes. You are fed up with your old churches and institutions, and you want some new toy to play with, and you accept that new toy without finding out if it has any value; you cannot find out if anything has value so long as you are merely seeking substitutes.

Have I dealt with that question completely, comprehensively? I would really like to discuss this with people, this idea of ceremonies. I have discussed with those who have recently become priests, and they give me, not some valid reason, but some reason based on authority, as "We have been told", or some kind of excuse for their action.

Now, there is another aspect of it which is completely different. That is this idea that in ceremony lies magic - not white and black magic, I am not talking about that - that the mystery of life is unfolded through a ceremony. You know, I have talked with some Roman Catholics, and they will tell you that that is their reason why they go to church. That is not the reason given by any of the ceremonialists of the Theosophical bent, so do not use that club against me again. Now life is mystery. There is something immense, magical, about life; but to pierce its veil is not to create spurious, unnatural things to discover the true mystery - and, to me, these sacerdotal ceremonies are unnatural. They are really a means of exploitation.

Question: It has been suggested that the power that speaks through you belongs to the higher planes, and cannot be sent below the intuitional, so that we must listen rather with our intuition if we would get your message. Is that correct?

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by intuition? What does intuition mean to you all? You say it is something which we feel instinctively without going through the process of logical reason: a "hunch", as the Americans would say. Now I really question whether your intuition is real or merely the glorified unconscious hopes; subtle, deceitful longings. You know, when you hear reincarnation spoken of, or you hear a lecturer talk about reincarnation, or you read of it in a book, and you jump to it and say, "I feel it is true, it must be", you call that intuition. Is it really intuition, or is it the hope that you will have another opportunity to live next life; therefore you cling to it, and call it intuition? Wait a minute. I am not denying that there is intuition, but what the average person, what the usual person calls intuition, that is not true, that is something without reason, validity, without understanding behind it.

Now the questioner says that it has been suggested that the power that speaks through me belongs to the higher planes, and cannot be sent below the intuitional. Surely you understand what I am talking about. Don't you? Pretty obvious. Now wait a minute. It is easy to understand what I am talking about, but if you don't pursue it, carry it out in action, there is no understanding; and because you don't carry it out in action, you rather transfer it to the intuitional world, and therefore say it is suggested that I am speaking from the higher plane, and therefore you must go to your higher and try to understand what that means. In other words, although you understand what I am trying to say, fairly well, it is difficult to put it into action; therefore, you say let us rather remove it to a higher plane, and from there we can discuss. Is that not so? If you say, "I do not understand what you are talking about", then there is a possibility of further discussion. I will then try to explain it differently, so that we can discuss it, go into it, consider it together; but to start with the assumption that to understand me you must go to the higher plane - surely there is something radically wrong in that attitude. What is the higher plane, except that which is thought? Why go any further? But do you not see, my point is we are starting with something mysterious, something far away, and from that we try to find out the obvious, the realities, and, therefore,there are bound to be great deceptions, great hypocritical actions, falseness. Whereas, if we start with things that we do know, which are very simple to find out if you give your thought, then you can go really far, infinitely. But it is absurd to start from the mysterious, and then try to relegate life to that mystery, which may be romanticism, false, imaginative. Such an attitude of mind which says, "To understand you we must listen with our intuition", may be false, so that is why I said your intuitions may be utterly false. How can you listen with something which may be false, which may be your hopes, predilections, longings or dreams? Why not listen with your ears, with your reason? From that, when you know the limitation of reason, then you can go - that is, to climb high you must begin low; but you have already climbed high, and you have no further to go. That is what is the trouble with all of you. You have climbed the heights intellectually; naturally your beings are empty, arrogant. Whereas, if you begin near, then you will know how to climb, how to move infinitely.

You know, all these are means and ways of real exploitation. It is the way of the priests - to complicate matters, when things are infinitely simple. I won't go into what I have to say, I have explained that over and over again; but to make it complicated, to coat it with all kinds of traditions or prejudices and not recognize your prejudices, that is where the hideousness lies.

Question: If a person finds the Theosophical Society a channel through which he can express himself and be of service, why should he leave the Society?

Krishnamurti: First of all, let us find out if it is so. Don't say why he should or should not leave; let us go into the matter.

What do you mean by a channel through which he can express himself? Don't you express yourself through business, through marriage? Do you or don't you express yourself when you are working every day for your livelihood, when you are bringing up children? And as it shows that you do not express yourself there, you want a Society in which to express yourself. Is that not it? Please, I hope I am not giving some subtle meaning to all this. So you say, "As I am not expressing myself in the world of action, in the everyday world, where it is impossible to express myself, therefore I use the Society to express myself." Is it so, or not? I mean, as far as I understand the question.

How do you express yourself? Now as it is, at the expense of others. When you talk about self-expression, it must be at the expense of others. Please, there is true expression, with which we will deal presently, but this idea of self-expression indicates that you have something to give, and therefore the Society must be, created for your use. First of all, have you something to give? A painter, or a musician, or an engineer, or any of these fellows, if he is really creative, does not talk about self-expression; he is expressing it all the time; he is at it in the outside world, at home, or in a club. He does not want a particular society so that he can use that society for his self-expression. So when you say "self-expression", you do not mean that you are using the Society for giving forth to the world a particular knowledge or something which you have. If you have something, you give it. You are not conscious of it. A flower is not conscious of its beauty. Its loveliness is ever present.

"Be of service to the world." Are you of service to the world, really? Please, you know, I wish you could really think, honestly, frankly; then if you really think honestly, frankly, you will be of service to the world - not in this extraordinary way. Let us find out if we are of service to the world. What is the world in need of at the present time - or at any time, in the past or in the future? People who have the capacity to be completely human; that is, people who are not bound up by their narrow circles of thoughts and prejudices and the limitations of their self-conscious emotionalism. Surely, if you really want to help the world, you cannot belong to any particular sect or society, any more than you can belong to any particular religion. If you say all religions are one, then why have any religion? Religions and nationalities really encage people, trammel them. This is shown throughout the world, throughout history; and the world has come now to more and more sects, more and more bodies enclosed by walls of beliefs, with their special guides; and yet you talk of brotherhood! How can there be real brotherhood when this possessive instinct is so deep, and so must lead to wars because it is based on nationalism, patriotism. Surely your talk of brotherhood shows that you are not really brotherly. A man that is really brotherly, affectionate, does not talk about brotherhood; you do not talk about brotherhood to your sister, or to your wife, there is a natural affection. And how can there be brotherhood, real unity of humanity, when there is exploitation? So to really help the world - as you do talk about helping the world - if you would really help it to be free of all its commitments, its vested interests, its environments, then you will see that you are never talking about helping the world; then you do not put yourself on a pedestal to help somebody at a distance, lower down.

Question: Do you approve of our invoking the aid of the angels of the angelic kingdom, such as the Angel Raphael in sickness, the Angel of Fire in the ceremony of cremation? Are they props and crutches? (Laughter)

Krishnamurti: Please, some of you laugh at it, but you have your own particular prejudices, superstitions. You may not have this "angelic" superstition. You have some others,

Now, let us not look at it from the point of view of invoking aid. First of all, if you are normal, then there is a normal miracle taking place in the world; but we are so abnormal that we want abnormal actions to take place. I have answered the question so often. All right. First of all, suppose you are suffering, and you are cured, it may be by a doctor, it may be by an angel; if you do not know the cause of suffering, you will again become ill. Personally, I have dabbled a little in healing, but I want to do something else in life, to really heal the mind and heart; that is, to let you discover for yourself the cause of suffering; and I assure you, no calling on angels, continual attendance on the doctor, is ever going to show you the cause of suffering. You may be healed symptomatically for the moment, but unless you really find out for yourselves - nobody else can find out for you - what is the cause of suffering, you will again be ill. In discovering the cause you will become healthy.

Question: Have you sympathy for those who admire your beauty, but ignore your wisdom?

Krishnamurti: It is the same thing as the other question. Let us listen to you intuitively, and ignore your words. Only this is put differently. You know, wisdom is not to be bought. You cannot buy it from books. You cannot get it by listening. You may listen to me for hundreds of years, but you are not going to be wise. What brings wisdom is action. Action is wisdom; it cannot be separated. And because we have divided action from our thought, from our emotions, from our intellectual capacity of reasoning, we are carried away by superficial things, and thereby are exploited.

Question: Do you consider that the Theosophical Society has finished its work in the world, and ought to retire into solitary confinement?

Krishnamurti: What do you think, you who are its members? Is that not a much more apt question, than yours to me? Sirs, may I put it this way? Why do you belong to any Society? Why are you Christians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, and God knows what? Why do you exclude and seclude yourselves? "Because", you say, "this particular form of belief, this particular form of expression, of ideas, appeals to me; therefore I am going to subscribe myself to it." Or you belong to it because you hope to get something out of it: happiness, wisdom, office, position. So instead of asking me if the Society should retire, ask yourselves why you belong to it. Why do you belong to anything? There is this horrible idea that we want to be exclusive - the Western Club, the Eastern Golf Course, and all the rest of it. Exclusive hotels - you know. So likewise, we say we have something special, so do the Hindus, so do Roman Catholics. Every person in the world talks about having something special, so they exclude themselves, and become the owners of that special thing, and so thereby create more divisions, more conflicts, more heartaches. Besides, who am I to tell you if the Society should retire into confinement? I wonder how many of you have really asked why you belong to it. If you are really a social body, not a religious body, not an ethical body, then there is some hope for it in the world. If you are really a body of people who are discovering, not who have found, if you are a body of people who are giving information, not giving spiritual distinctions, if you are a body of people that have a really open platform, not for me or for someone special, if you are a body of people among whom there are neither leaders nor followers, then there is some hope. But I am afraid you are followers, and therefore you all have leaders. And such a society, whether it is this or another, is useless. You are merely followers or merely leaders. In true spirituality there is no distinction of the teacher and the pupil, of the man who has knowledge and the man who has not. It is you that are creating it, because it is this that you are seeking - continually to be distinctive. You cannot all of you be Sir Richard Something-or-other, so you want to be somebody in this Society, or in another society, or in heaven. Don't you see, if you really thought about these things and were honest, you could be an extraordinarily useful body in the world. You could then really work for the intrinsic merit of its ideas - not for some phantasy and emotionalism of your leaders. Then you would examine any idea, and find out its true significance and work it out, and not depend on the honours conferred for your services, on the enticement to work. That way leads to narrowness, bigotry, to more divisions and cruelties, and ultimately to utter chaos of thought.

Question: What is your attitude to the early teachings of Theosophy, the Blavatsky type? Do you consider we have deteriorated or advanced?

Krishnamurti: I am afraid I do not know, because I do not know what Madame Blavatsky's teachings are. Why should I? Why should you know of someone else's teachings? You know, there is only one truth, and therefore there is only one way, which is not distant from that truth; there is only one method to that truth, because the means are not distinct from the end.

Now you who have studied Madame Blavatsky's and the latest Theosophy, or whatever it is, why do you want to be students of books instead of students of life? Why do you set up leaders and ask whose teachings are better? Don't you see? Please, I am not being harsh, or anything of that kind. Don't you see? You are Christians; find out what is true and false in Christianity - and you will then find out what is true. Find out what is true and false in your environment with all its oppressions and cruelties, and then you will find out what is true. Why do you want philosophies? Because life is an ugly thing, and you hope to run away from it through philosophy. Life is so empty, dull, stupid, ignominious, and you want something to bring romanticism into your world, some hope, some lingering, haunting feeling; whereas, if you really faced the world as it is, and tackled it, you would find it something much more, infinitely greater than any philosophy, greater than any book in the world, greater than any teaching or greater than any teacher.

We have really lost all sense of feeling, feeling for the oppressed, and feeling for the oppressor. You only feel when you are oppressed. So gradually we have intellectually explained away all our feelings, our sensitiveness, our delicate perceptions, till we are absolutely shallow; and to fill that shallowness, to enrich ourselves, we study books. I read all kinds of books, but never philosophies, thank goodness. You know, I have a kind of shrinking feeling - please, I put it mildly - when you say, "I am a student of philosophy", a student of this, or that; never of everyday action, never really understanding things as they are. I assure you, for your happiness, for your own understanding, for the discovery of that eternal thing, you must really live; then you will find something which no word, no picture, no philosophy, no teacher can give.

Question: Are the teachings which Theosophy gives concerning evolution of any consequence for the purpose of the growth of the soul?

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by evolution, sirs? As far as I can make out, growing from the unessential to the essential. Is it? Growing from ignorance to wisdom. Is that not so? Nobody shakes his head. All right. What do you mean by evolution? Gaining more and more experience, more and more wisdom, more and more knowledge, more and more and more and more; infinitely more and more. That is, you go from the unessential to the essential; and that essential becomes the unessential the moment you have attained, you have reached it. Is that not so?

Are you too tired? Is it too late? Please, you have to think with me. This is my second talk during the day; but if you do not think with me, it will be rather difficult for me. I have to push against a wall.

You consider something as essential today, and go after it, and get it; and tomorrow that thing becomes unessential, and you say, "I have learnt that." That which you had thought essential has become the unessential, so you go on and on and on, and you call that growth, evolution; getting more and more, discerning more and more between the essential and the unessential - and yet there is no such thing as the essential and the unessential. Is there? Because that which you think is the essential today becomes the unessential tomorrow, for you want something else.

Let me put it differently. You see some pleasurable object you think you want to possess, and you possess it: then satisfied, you move to another thing. It may be some emotional craving, desire, and you get that. You want an idea, and you pursue that, and get it. And ultimately you want to reach God, truth, happiness; and the man who wants happiness, God, truth, you consider spiritual, and the man who wants a hat or a tie, or whatever it is, you call mundane, materialistic. The unessential is the hat, and the essential is the God or truth. What have we done? We have merely changed the object of our desires. We have said, "Well, I have had enough hats, enough cars, enough houses, and I want something else", and you go after that and get that, and then you finish with it and want something else; so you proceed gradually till you ultimately want something which you call God, and then you think you have reached the ultimate. All you have done is played with your desires, and this process of continual choosing you call evolution. Is it so or not?

Comment from audience: At one time one individual is satisfied with one thing and another individual with another.

Krishnamurti: But surely the desire is the same thing. Desire is the same whether it is the desire for a hat or for God. There is the desire behind it; wanting, until we have gone through the range of our desire; whereas, if we really understood the significance of each object which desire is running after, that it is neither essential nor unessential, we would then understand the true significance of that object; and evolution then has a different meaning - not this perpetual attainment, gaining, all the time succeeding.

Comment: Will we stop desire?

Krishnamurti: Surely not. If you stop desire, then - goodbye! It is death. How can you stop desire? It is not a thing you turn off and on. Why do you want to stop desire? Because it gives you pain. If it gives you pleasure you continue, you don't ask me; but the moment it gives you pain you say, "I had better stop it." Why do you have pain? Because there is no understanding. If you understand a thing, then there is no pain.

Comment: Can you give an illustration of that point? That pain stops when you understand it.

Krishnamurti: Cannot you think it out? Perhaps I will give it later. Let me put it all differently. We are used to this idea of killing out desire, disciplining desire, controlling it, subjugating it. To me, this way of thinking is unhealthy, unnatural. You desire a hat or a coat or something - I do not know what - and you multiply desires because the object which the desire is pursuing does not give you satisfaction. Is that not so? So you pursue it, but you change to another object. Now, why is your desire pursuing one thing after another? Because you do not understand the very object which the desire is pursuing; you do not see the full significance of the desire for an object. You are more concerned with the gain and with the loss, rather than with the significance of this pursuit. Am I explaining? Please, one must think about it.

Question: Does what you wrote in "At the Feet of the Master" still hold good?

Krishnamurti: All right, sirs. What does the question imply? What are the implications in that question? Do I still believe in the Masters, eh? Isn't that so? And naturally, if I believe in them, I must still believe in the teachings, and so on. Let us find out. Let us look at it quite openly, not as if I were attacking your Masters, whom you have to protect.

Now, why do you want a Master? You say we need him for a guide - the same thing which the spiritualists say - the same thing the Roman Catholics say - the same thing everybody says in the world. This applies to everyone, not to you particularly. To guide you to what? That is the next question, obviously, isn't it? You say, "I must have a guide to happiness, to truth, to liberation, to nirvana, to heaven" - you must have somebody to lead you to that. (Please, I am not a clever lawyer trying to browbeat you; I am trying to help you to find out for yourselves. I am not trying to convert you to anything.) Now, if you are interested in the discovery of truth, then guides are of no importance, are they? It does not matter - you would pick anybody. How do you know he is going to help you to truth? It may be that the man who sweeps the road will help you - your sister, neighbour, brother, anybody; so why do you pay particular attention to your guides? Oh, don't shake your heads. I know all about it. You say, "Oh yes, quite right, it is so; and yet you are all seeking probationary discipleship, distinctions, initiations. So to you what matters is, not truth, but who is the guide who will lead you. Isn't that it? No? Then please tell me what.

Comment: You said in "At the Feet of the Master" we had to be desireless, and now you say we have...

Krishnamurti: Wait a minute sir. Yes, it is a contradiction. I hope there will be lots of contradictions. There is a lady who said "No." She shook her head. I would like to find out.

Comment: I forget exactly what your question was with regard to the Master. I feel it is not the way I personally look to the Master. I feel that just as I look to you to help me to understand and discover, so the Master will help us to understand and discover.

Krishnamurti: That is, to most of you the Master is the guide. You cannot deny that, can you? You cannot say, "No, I do not care who will lead us to it."

Comment: I don't think the important thing is the guide; not the special guide.

Krishnamurti: You don't have special guides?

Comment: That is why we come to hear you.

Krishnamurti: Please, try to find out what I am talking about. Do not say, "We don't want Masters, guides", and all that; let us find out. So don't say, "This does not apply to me." If you really think about the thing I am talking about, it will apply to you, because we are all in the same circle.

So, if you want to find out what truth is, as I said this morning, if you ask a guide, then you must know, and he must know, both of you must know what truth is. But if you know what truth is, and you have a dim perception of it, then you will ask nobody. Then you are not concerned whether you are a probationary pupil, or an initiate with special honours, and all the rest of it. You want truth, not distinctions. What do you say to that?

Comment: I would say that it is with many not the desire for distinction, but the desire for understanding.

Krishnamurti: You are not trying to protect. I am not trying to knock down. Please, let us discuss together with that attitude. How can you have understanding when you are a pupil, a distinguished person, a distinctive entity with more special privileges than someone else?

Comment: I do not feel that I have any special privileges; only what I make myself. I do not feel that anyone confers privileges upon me.

Krishnamurti: I am sorry I am not explaining fully. All right. What is it but distinction, self-aggrandizement, when you are somebody's special pupil? You will say, "No. That will help me to truth. That step is necessary towards truth." Is that not so? So that step is merely the accentuation and exaggeration of self-consciousness. To understand, there must be less and less of the "I" consciousness, not more and more. Is that not so? To understand anything there must be no prejudice; there must be no consciousness of "my path" and "your path", "my" this and "your" that. Anything that accentuates the "my" idea must be a hindrance. Must it not?

Comment: We are taught there are Masters.

Krishnamurti: Well, I cannot enter into that. If you say, "It is authority; we are told", then there is nothing more to be said; but does that satisfy you all?

Comment: No.

Krishnamurti: For the moment, forget everything you have learned here about the Masters, disciples, initiation. If you were really frank, you would see it. It is merely that everyone wants to be something, and this process of wanting to be somebody is used and exploited.

What is this consciousness which we call the "I"? When are you conscious of it? (Please, I must be brief, because I must stop.) What is this consciousness? When are you conscious of yourself? When there is this conflict, when there is a hindrance, a frustration. Remove all frustration, remove all hindrances, then you do not say "I". Then you are living. It is only when you are conscious of pain that you are conscious of the body. So when there is pain, emotionally or intellectually, then you are conscious as something separate. Now we have accentuated it, brought about a condition in the mind that we call the "I", and we take that as a fact and desire to proceed with the expansion of that consciousness into truth - enlarge that consciousness more and more, through probation and initiations and all the rest of it, which indicates you have a false cause. That is, the "I" is not reality. You have a false cause, and you have the false answers, as initiations, as expansion of consciousness of the "I; and hence you say somebody is necessary to help you to realize truth, to expand your consciousness; or you say, "The world needs a plan, and there are wiser people than I; therefore I must become their instrument to help the world." Therefore you establish a mediator between them and yourself - somebody who knows and somebody who does not know. And therefore, you merely become an instrument of exploitation. I know you all smile and disagree with me; but please, it does not matter. I am not here to convince you, or you to convince me. If you look at it with reason you will see.

So you establish a plan known to the few, and you merely become an instrument of action, to carry out orders. Take, for instance, if the Masters said, "War is right." I am not saying that they have said it. You know in the last war how everybody said, "God is on our side", and we all jumped at it. Now, if you, as an individual, begin to really think, you will see war is a pernicious thing, And if you really thought of it, you could not join a war. But you say, "I do not know. The plan says there must be a war and good will come out of evil, so let me join." In other words, you really cease to think. You are merely instruments to be driven, cannon fodder. Surely that is not spiritual, all those things. So please, with regard to whether I believe in Masters or not, to me it is of very little importance. Whether you believe in a Master or not has nothing to do with spirituality. What is the difference between a medium that gets messages, and you that get messages from the Masters?

Comment: Are we to believe in nothing? Krishnamurti: Please, just a minute. Please, you see I have been talking about this. Why do you want belief? (Laughter) Please do not laugh, because everybody is in that position. We all want beliefs as props, as something to sustain us. Surely, the more and more you have beliefs, the less and less you have of strength, of inward richness. I am so sorry I cannot go into all this. It is half-past eight, but I would like to say this. Wisdom, or understanding, is not to be got at by holding on to things; holding on to your beliefs or ideas. Wisdom is born when you are really moving, not anchored to any particular form of belief; and then you will discover that it does not matter whether the Masters exist or do not exist, whether your Society is essential to the world or not. These things are of very little importance. Then you are bringing about a new civilization, a new culture in the world.

You know, it is most extraordinary! Dr. Besant said to all the members, and I used to hear this very often, "We are preparing for a World Teacher. Keep an open mind. He may contradict everything you think, and say it differently." And you have been preparing, some of you, for twenty years or more; and it does not matter whether I am the Teacher or not. No one can tell you, naturally, because no one else can know except myself; and even then I say it does not matter. I have never contradicted it. I say, "Leave it. That is not the point." You have been preparing for twenty years or more, and very few of you have really an open mind. Very few have said, "Let us find out what you are talking about. Let us go into it. Let us discover if what you say is true or false, irrespective of your label." And after twenty years you are in exactly the same position as you were before. You have innumerable beliefs, you have certainties, and your knowledge, and you are not really willing to examine what I am saying. And it seems such a waste of time, such a pity that these twenty years and more should go wasted, and you find yourselves exactly where you were, only with new sets of beliefs, new sets of dogmas, new sets of conditions. I assure you, you cannot find truth, or liberation, or nirvana, or heaven, or whatever you like to call it, by this process of attachment. That does not mean that you all must become detached, which only means you become withered, but try to find out frankly, honestly, simply, whether what you are holding with such grim possessiveness has any significance, whether it has any value; and to find out if it has any value there cannot be the desire to cling to it. And then when you really look at it in that way, you will find something which is indescribable. Then you will discover something real, lasting, eternal. Then there will be no necessity for a teacher and a pupil. It will be a happy world when there are no pupils and no teachers.

1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Auckland, New Zealand
Talk to Theosophists 31st March, 1934

Jiddu Krishnamurti. What Is Right Action? The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1934..1935.


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