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1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Ojai, California
4th Public Talk 19th June, 1934

I shall first answer some of the questions that have been put to me, and then give a brief talk.

Question: Does intuition include past experience and something else, or only past experience?

Krishnamurti: To me intuition is intelligence, and intelligence is not past experience, it is the understanding of past experience. I am going to talk presently about this whole idea of past experience, memory, intelligence and mind, but I shall now answer this particular point, whether intuition is born of the past.

To me, the past is a burden, the past being but gaps in understanding; and if you really base your action on the past, on so-called intuition, it is bound to lead you astray. Whereas if there is spontaneous action in the ever-moving present, in that action is intelligence and that intelligence is intuition. Intelligence is not to be separated from intuition. Most people like to separate intuition from intelligence, because intuition gives them a certain security and hope. Many people say they act"on intuition", that is, they act without reason, without depth of thought. Many people accept a theory, an idea because they say their"intuition" tells them that it is true. There is no reason behind it, they merely accept it because that theory or idea gives them some solution, some comfort. It is really not reason that is functioning, but it is merely their own hopes, their own longings which are directing their minds. Whereas intelligence is detached from environment and therefore there is reason, thought, behind it.

Question: How can I act freely and without self-repression when I know that my action must hurt those that I love? In such a case, what is the test of right action?

Krishnamurti: I think I answered this question the other day, but probably the questioner wasn't here, so I will answer it again. The test of right action is in its spontaneity, but to act spontaneously is to be greatly intelligent. The majority of people have merely reactions which are perverted, twisted, and stifled because of the lack of intelligence. Where intelligence is functioning, there is spontaneous action.

Now the questioner wants to know how he can act freely and without self-repression when he knows his action must hurt those he loves. You know, to love is to be free - both parties are free. Where there is the possibility of pain, where there is the possibility of suffering in love, it is not love, it is merely a subtle form of possession, of acquisitiveness. If you love, really love someone, there is no possibility of giving him pain when you do something that you think is right. It is only when you want that person to do what you desire or he wants you to do what he desires, that there is pain. That is, you like to be possessed; you feel safe, secure, comfortable; though you know that comfort is but transient, you take shelter in that comfort, in that transience. So each struggle for comfort, for encouragement, really but betrays the lack of inward richness; and therefore an action separate, apart from the other individual naturally creates disturbance, pain and suffering; and one individual has to suppress what he really feels in order to adjust himself to the other. In other words, this constant repression, brought about by so-called love, destroys the two individuals. In that love there is no freedom; it is merely a subtle bondage. When you feel very ardently that you must do something, you do it, sometimes cunningly and subtly, but you do it. There is always this urge to do, to act independently.

Question: Am I right in believing that all conditions and environment become right to a really intelligent mind? Is it not a question of seeing the art in the pattern?

Krishnamurti: To an intelligent mind environment yields its significance; therefore that intelligent mind is the master of environment, that mind is free of environment, is not conditioned by environment. What conditions the mind? The lack of understanding. Isn't it? Not environment, environment does not limit the mind; what limits the mind is the lack of understanding of a particular condition. Where there is intelligence, mind is not conditioned by any environment, because it is all the time conscious, aware and functioning, and therefore discerning, perceiving the full worth of the environment. Mind can only become conditioned by the environment when it is lethargic and lazy, trying to escape from the condition itself. Though mind may think in that condition, it is not functioning truly, it is only thinking within that limited circle of condition, which to me is not thinking at all.

So what creates intelligence, what awakens intelligence is this perception of true values, and as the mind is crippled with so many values imposed on it by tradition, one has to be free of these past experiences, past burdens in order to understand the present environment. So the battle is between the past and the present. The struggle is between the background which we have cultivated through the centuries and the ever changing circumstances in the present. Now, a mind that is clouded by the past cannot understand these swift changes of environment. In other words, to understand the present, mind must be supremely free of the past; that is, it must have a spontaneous appreciation of values in the present. I am going to talk about that later on.

"Is it not a question of seeing the art in the pattern?" Surely. That is, in the pattern of circumstances, in the pattern of environment, mind must see the subtle value, so hidden, so delicate; and to perceive that subtlety, that delicacy, the mind must be alive, pliable, acute, not burdened by values of yesterday.

Question: There seems to be the idea that liberation is a goal, a culmination. What is the difference in this case between striving for liberation and striving for any other culmination? Surely the idea of an end, a goal, a culmination is wrong. How then ought we to regard liberation if not in this way?

Krishnamurti: I am afraid the questioner has not been hearing what I have been talking about; probably he has read some old books of mine and then has put the question.

Now, mind is seeking a culmination, a goal, an end, because mind wants to be certain, assured. Take away all the assurances and certainties from the mind, which are subtle forms of self-glorification or of the craving for self-continuance. Take all that away from the mind, strip it naked, and then you will see that the mind is battling again for security, for shelter, because from that security it can judge, it can function, it can act safely like an animal tethered to a post.

As I said, liberation is not an end, it is not a goal; it is the understanding of right values, eternal values. Intelligence is ever becoming, it has no end, no finality. In the desire to attain there is a subtle craving for self-continuance, glorified self-continuance; and every struggle, every effort to attain liberation indicates an escape from the present. This summation of intelligence, which is liberation, is not to be understood through effort. After all, you make an effort when you want, when you desire to acquire something. But liberation is not to be acquired, truth is not to be acquired. So where there is a craving for liberation, for a culmination, for attainment, there must be an effort to sustain, to preserve, to perpetuate that consciousness which we call the "I". The very essence of that "I" is an effort to reach a culmination, because it lives in a series of movements of memory, moving towards an end.

"But then, how ought we to regard liberation if not in this way?" Why regard it at all? Why do you want liberation? Is it because I have been talking about it for the last ten years? Or is it because you want to escape from conditions, or because it will give you greater excitement, greater stimulation, greater intellectual domination? Why do you want liberation? You say, "I am not happy, and if I can find liberation there will be happiness; because I am in misery, if I find this other, then misery will disappear." If you say so, then you are merely seeking substitution.

Liberation is not to be "regarded" in any way. It is born. It comes into being only when the mind is not trying to escape from the condition in which it is caught, but rather to understand the significance of that condition which creates conflict. You see, as you don't understand the condition, the environment which creates conflict, you seek an idea, a culmination, an end, a goal, saying to yourself, "If I understand that, this will disappear", or, "If I have that, I can impose that on this condition." So it is but a subtle form of continual escape from the present. All ideals, beliefs, goals and culminations are but ways out of the present. Whereas if you really come to think of it, the more you are pursuing an end, a goal, an aim, a belief, an ideal, the more you are burdening the future, because you are escaping from the present and therefore creating more and more limitation, conflict, sorrow. Question: Some people say your idea is that we should become liberated now, while we have the opportunity, and that we can become masters later on, at some other time. But if we are to become masters at all, why is it not good for us to begin to set our feet on that way now?

Krishnamurti: Is there the opportunity now for you to be liberated? What do you mean by opportunity? How could you be liberated now? By some miraculous process? And later on become a master? Sir, what is a master, and what is liberation? What is masterhood? Surely if it is not liberation it cannot be masterhood? If liberation is not the summation of intelligence in the present, surely that intelligence is not going to be acquired in some far distant future. So you want liberation now and masterhood afterwards? I wonder why you want liberation now. I am afraid liberation has no meaning when you want it. And this idea of becoming a master - the questioner must think that life is like passing an examination, becoming something - I am afraid this becoming a master, becoming liberated has no meaning to you. Don't you see, when you really don't want to become anything, but live completely in one day, in the richness of a single day, you will know what masterhood or liberation is. This wanting is continually creating a future which can never be fulfilled, therefore you are living incompletely in the present.

During the last three days I have been talking about mind and intelligence. Now to me there is no division between mind and intelligence. Mind stripped of all its memories and hindrances, functioning spontaneously, fully, being aware, creates understanding, and that is intelligence, that is ecstasy; that to me is immortality, timelessness. Intelligence is timelessness, and intelligence is mind itself. This intelligence is the real, is mind itself, it is not to be divided from mind; this intelligence is ecstasy, it is ever becoming, ever in movement.

Now memory is but the impediment to that intelligence; memory is independent of that intelligence; memory is the perpetuation of that "I" consciousness which is the result of environment, of that environment the full significance of which the mind has not seen. So memory stupefies, thwarts the ever becoming intelligence, the ever moving, timeless intelligence. Mind is intelligence, but memory has imposed itself on mind. That is, memory being that I consciousness, identifies itself with the mind, and the "I" consciousness comes as it were between intelligence and the mind, thus dividing, stupefying, thwarting, perverting it. So memory, identifying itself with mind, tries to become intelligence, which to me is wrong - if I may use the word"wrong" here - because mind itself is intelligence, and it is memory that perverts the mind and so clouds intelligence. And hence mind seems ever to seek that timeless intelligence, which is the mind itself.

So what is memory? Isn't memory incident, experience, fear, hope, longing, belief, idea, prejudice and tradition, action, deed, with their subtle and complex reactions? The moment there is hope, longing, fear, prejudice, temperament, it conditions the mind, and that conditioning creates memory, which obscures the clarity of mind which is intelligence. This memory rolls through time, coagulating and hardening itself into the self-consciousness of the "I". When you talk about the "I", it is that. It is the crystallizing, the hardening of the memory of your reactions, the reactions of experience, incidents, beliefs, ideals, and after becoming a solidified mass, that memory becomes identified and confused with the mind. If you think it over you will see this. Self-consciousness, or that consciousness of the particular, the "I", is nothing else but the bundle of memory, and time is nothing else but the field in which it can function and play. So this hardened mass of reactions cannot be resolved, cannot resolve itself backwards in time through analysis, the analysis of the past, because this very looking back, this analysis of the past is one of the tricks of memory itself. You know, taking an unhealthy pleasure in reasserting and reconditioning the past in the present is the constant activity, the metier of memory, isn't it? Please, this is not cleverness, this is not a philosophical concept. Just think it out for a minute, and you will see that this is true. There is this mass of reactions born out of condition, environment, prejudice, various longings and all these, therefore there is the thing which you call the "I".

Then there is born this idea that you must dissolve the "I", because of what I have been saying. Or you yourself feel the stupidity of it, so you begin to unwind; memory begins to unwind itself backward into the past, which is the process of self-analysis. And if you really come to think of it, memory itself is taking an unhealthy pleasure in reconditioning the past in the present. And likewise, the future of memory is a greater hardening through further craving, further accumulation of experiences and reactions. In other words, time is memory or self-consciousness. You cannot resolve or dissolve self-consciousness by going into the past, The past is but the accumulation of memory, and delving into the past is not going to resolve that consciousness in the present; nor going into the future - which is but further accumulation, further craving, further reaction and hardening, which we call beliefs, ideals, hopes - the future which is still involved in time. As long as this process of memory as past and future continues, intelligence can never act with completeness or fullness in the present.

Intuition as commonly understood is based on the past, the past accumulation of memory, past accumulation of experiences, which is but a warning to act carefully - or freely - in the present. As I said, this timelessness is not a philosophical concept to me, it is a reality, and you will see that it is a reality if you experiment with what I am saying. That is, you will see that it is a reality if your mind is not clogged by the past accumulation which you call memory, which functions and directs you in the present, preventing you from being fully intelligent and therefore living completely in the present.

So liberation or truth or God is the release of the mind, which is itself intelligence, from the burden of memory. I have explained to you what I mean by memory, not the memory of facts or falsehoods, but the burden placed on the mind through self-consciousness which is memory, and that memory is the reaction to the environment which has not been understood. Immortality is not the perpetuation of that "I" consciousness, which is but the result of a false environment, but immortality is the freedom, the release of the mind from the burden of memory.

1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Ojai, California
4th Public Talk 19th June, 1934

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


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