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1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Sao Paulo, Brazil
2nd Public Talk 24th April, 1935

Friends, many questions have been put to me concerning the personal future of individuals and their hopes, whether they will succeed in certain business, whether they should leave this country and establish themselves in North America, who is the right person to marry, and so on. I cannot answer such questions as I am not a fortune-teller. I know these are questions which are real and disturbing, but they have to be solved by each one for himself.

I have chosen from among the innumerable questions that have been put to me, those that are representative; but I feel it would be futile and a waste of time for you and for me if what I am going to say, and have said, were accepted by you as some philosophical theory with which the mind can amuse itself. I have something vital to say which is applicable to life, something which, when understood, will help you to solve the many problems in your daily life.

I am not answering these questions from any particular point of view, for I feel that all problems should be dealt with, not separately, but as a whole. If we can do this, our thoughts and actions will become sane and balanced.

Please do not dismiss some of these questions as being bourgeois or as asked by the leisured class. They are human questions and should be considered as such, not as belonging to any particular class.

Question: How do you regard mediumship and communication with the spirits of the dead?

Krishnamurti: You can laugh it off or take it seriously. In the first place, do not let us discuss whether the spirits exist or not, but let us consider the desire which prompts us to communicate with them, for that is the most important part in the question.

With the majority of people who go in for that kind of thing, in their communication with the dead there is the desire to be guided, to be told what to do, as they are in constant uncertainty with regard to their actions, and they hope that by communicating with those who are dead they shall find guidance, thus sparing themselves the trouble of thinking. So the desire is for guidance, for direction, in order that they may not make mistakes and suffer. It is the same attitude that some have with regard to the masters, those beings who are considered more advanced, and so able to direct man through their messengers and so forth and so on.

The worship of authority is the denial of understanding. The desire not to suffer breeds exploitation. So this search for authority destroys fullness of action, and guidance brings about irresponsibility, for there is strong desire to sail through life without conflict, without suffering. For this reason one has beliefs, ideals, systems, in the hope that struggle and suffering can be avoided. But these beliefs, ideals, which have become escapes, are the very cause of conflict, creating greater illusions, greater suffering. So long as the mind seeks comfort through guidance, through authority, the cause of suffering, ignorance, can never be dissolved.

Question: In order to attain truth, must one abstain from marriage and procreation?

Krishnamurti: Now, truth is not an end, a finality that can be attained through certain actions. It is that understanding born of continual adjustment to life, which demands great intelligence; and because most people are not capable of this self-defenseless adjustment to the movement of life, they create certain theories and ideals which they hope will guide them. So man is held in the frame of traditions, prejudices and binding moralities, dictated by fear and the desire for self-preservation. This has come about because he is unable to discern continuously the significance of life in constant movement, and so he has developed certain "musts" and "must nots". A complete and a rich living, by which I mean a most intelligent life, not a self-protective, defensive existence, demands that the mind shall be free of all taboos, fears and superstitions, without "must" and "must not", and this can only be when the mind wholly understands the significance and the cause of fear.

For most people there is conflict, suffering and a ceaseless adjustment in marriage; and for many the desire to attain truth is but an escape from this struggle. Question: You deny religion, God and immortality. How can humanity become more perfect, and so happier, without believing in these fundamental things?

Krishnamurti: It is because with you it is only a belief in God, in immortality, it is because you merely believe in these things, that there is so much misery, suffering and exploitation. You can discover whether there is truth, immortality, only in the completeness of action itself not through any belief whatsoever, not through the authoritative assertion of another. Only in the fullness of action itself is reality concealed.

Now to most people, religion, God and immortality are simply a means of escape. Religion has merely helped man to escape from the conflict, the suffering of life, and therefore from understanding it. When you are in conflict with life, with its problems of sex, exploitation, jealousy. cruelty, and so on, as you do not fundamentally desire to understand them - for to understand them demands action, intelligent action - and as you are unwilling to make the effort, you unconsciously try to escape to those ideals, values, beliefs which have been handed down. So immortality, God and religion have merely become shelters for a mind that is in conflict.

To me, both the believer and the non-believer in God and immortality are wrong, because the mind cannot comprehend reality until it is completely free of all illusions. Then only can you affirm, not believe or deny, the reality of God and immortality. When the mind is utterly free from the many hindrances and limitations created through self-protectiveness, when it is open, wholly naked, vulnerable in the understanding of the cause of self-created illusion, only then all beliefs disappear, yielding place to reality.

Question: Are you against the institution of the family?

Krishnamurti: I am, if the family is the centre of exploitation, if it is based on exploitation. (Applause) Please, what is the good of merely agreeing with me? You must act to alter this. The desire for perpetuation creates a family which becomes the centre of exploitation. So the question is really, can one ever live without exploiting? Not whether family life is right or wrong, not whether having children is right or wrong, but whether family, possessions, power, are not the result of the desire for security, self-perpetuation. As long as there is this desire, family becomes the centre of exploitation. Can we ever live without exploitation? I say we can. There must be exploitation as long as there is the struggle for self-protection; as long as the mind is seeking security, comfort, through family, religion, authority or tradition, there must be exploitation. And exploitation ceases only when the mind discerns the falseness of security and is no longer ensnared by its own power of creating illusions. If you will experiment with what I say, you will then understand that I am not destroying desire. but that you can live in this world, richly, sanely, a life without limitations, without suffering. You can discover this only by experimenting, not by denying, not through resignation nor by merely imitating. Where intelligence is functioning - and intelligence ceases to function when there is fear and the desire for security - there can be no exploitation.

Most people are waiting for a change to take place that will miraculously alter this system of exploitation. They are waiting for revolutions to realize their hopes, their unfulfilled longings; but in so waiting they are slowly dying. For I think that mere revolutions do not change the fundamental desires of man. But if the individual begins to act with intelligence, without compulsion, irrespective of present conditions or of what revolutions promise in the future, then there is a richness, a completeness whose ecstasy cannot be destroyed.

1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?

Sao Paulo, Brazil
2nd Public Talk 24th April, 1935

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


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