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The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
3rd Public Talk 28th May, 1944

In my first talk I tried to explain that right thinking can come only with self-knowledge. Without right thinking you cannot know what is true. Without knowing yourself, your relationship, your action, your every day existence has no true basis. Our existence is a state of opposition and contradiction, and any thought and action that spring from them can never be true. And before we can understand the world, our conduct and relationship with another, we must know ourselves. When the individual puts himself in opposition to the mass he is acting in ignorance, in fear, for he is the result of the mass, he is the result of the past. We cannot separate ourselves or put ourselves in opposition to anything if we wish to understand it.

In the second talk we some what touched upon thought putting itself in opposition, thereby creating duality. We should understand this before we begin to be concerned with our every day thought and activity. If we do not understand what it is that brings about this dualism, this instinctive opposition as yours and mine, we shall not understand the meaning of our conflict. We are aware, in our life, of dualism and its constant conflict; wanting and not wanting, heaven and hell, the State and the citizen, light and darkness. Does not dualism arise from craving? In the will to become, to be, is there not also the will of not becoming? In positive craving there is also negation and so thought-feeling is caught up in the conflict of opposites. Through the opposites there is no escape from conflict, from sorrow.

The desire to become, without understanding duality, is a vain struggle; the conflict of the opposites ceases if we can grapple with the problem of craving. Craving is the root of all ignorance and sorrow and there is no freedom from ignorance and sorrow save in the abandonment of craving. It is not to be set aside through mere will for will is part of craving; it is not to be set aside through denial for such denial is the outcome of opposites. Craving can be dissolved only through becoming aware of its many ways and expressions; through tolerant observation and understanding it is transcended. In the flame of understanding craving is consumed.

Let us examine the desire to become virtuous. Is there virtue when there is consciousness of vice? Do you become virtuous by putting yourself in opposition to vice or is virtue a state which is not anchored in the opposites? Virtue comes into being when there is freedom from opposites. Is generosity, kindliness, love, opposite to greed, envy, hate or is love something that is beyond and above all contradictions? By putting ourselves in opposition to violence, will there be peace? Or is peace something that is beyond, transcending both the opposites? is not true virtue a negation of becoming? Virtue is the freedom from craving.

We must become aware of this complex problem of duality through constant watchfulness, not to correct but to understand; for if we do not understand how to cultivate right thinking, from which comes right endeavour, then we shall be continually developing opposites with their endless conflicts.

Does right thinking come through the conflict of opposites or does it come into being when the cause of opposites, craving, is thought out, felt out and so understood? Freedom from the opposites is only possible when thought-feeling is able to observe without acceptance, denial or comparison its actions and responses; out of this awareness comes a new feeling, a new understanding which is not anchored in the opposites. Thought-feeling that is caught in duality is not capable of understanding the timeless. So, from the very beginning of our thinking we must lay the right foundation for true endeavour, for right means lead to right ends and wrong means will produce wrong ends. Wrong means will not at any time take us to right ends, only in right means lie right ends.

Questioner: I find it extremely difficult to understand myself. How am I to begin?

Krishnamurti: Is it not very important that one must understand oneself above everything else? For if we do not understand ourselves we shall not understand anything else for the root of understanding lies in ourselves. In understanding myself, I shall understand my relationship with another, with the world; for in me, as in each one, is the whole; I am the result of the whole, of the past. This concern to understand oneself may appear superficially to be egocentric, selfish, but if you consider it you will see that what each one of us is, the world, the State, society is; and to bring a vital change in the environment, which is essential, each one must begin with himself. In understanding himself and so transforming himself, he will inevitably bring about the necessary and vital change in the State, in the environment. The recognition and understanding of this fact will bring a revolution in our thinking-feeling. The world is a projection of yourself, your problem is the world's problem. With out you, the world is not. What you are the world is; if you are envious, greedy, inimical, competitive, brutal, exclusive, so is society, so is the State.

The study of yourself is extremely difficult for you are very complex. You must have immense patience, not lethargic acceptance, but alert, passive capacity for observation and study. To objectify and study that which you are subjectively, inwardly, is very difficult. Most of us are in a whirl of activity, inwardly confused and wandering, torn by many conflicting desires, denying and asserting. How can this enormously complex machine be studied and understood? A machine which is moving very rapidly, revolving at a tremendous speed cannot be studied in detail. It is only when it can be slowed down that you can begin to study it. If you can slow down your thinking-feeling, then you can observe it, just as in a slow motion picture you can study the movement of a horse as it runs or jumps a hurdle. If you stop the machine you cannot understand it, then it becomes merely a dead matter, if it goes too fast you cannot follow it; but to examine it in detail, to understand it thoroughly, it must go slowly, revolve gently. Just so must the mind work to follow each movement of thought-feeling. To observe itself without friction it must slow down. To merely control thought- feeling, to apply a brake to it, is to waste the necessary energy required to understand it; then thought-feeling is more concerned in controlling, dominating, than in thinking out, feeling out, understanding each thought-feeling.

Have you ever tried to think out, feel out each thought-feeling? How extremely difficult it is! For the mind wanders all over the place, one thought is never finished, one feeling never concluded. It flutters from one subject to another, a slave driven hither and thither. If the mind cannot slow itself down the implication, the inward significance of its thoughts-feelings cannot be discovered. To control its wanderings is to make it narrow and petty and then thought-feeling is expended in checking, restraining, rather than in studying, examining and understanding. The mind has to slow itself down and how is this to be done? If it forces itself to be slow then opposition is brought into being which creates further conflict, further complication. Compulsion of any kind will nullify its effort. To be aware of each thought - feeling is extremely arduous and difficult; to recognize that which is trivial and to let go, to be aware of that which is significant and to follow it, penetratingly and deeply, is strenuous, requiring extensional concentration.

I would like to suggest a way but don't make of it into a hard and fast system, a tyrannical technique or the only way, a boring routine or duty. We know how to keep a diary, writing down all the events of the day in the evening. I do not suggest that we should keep a retrospective diary but try to write down every thought- feeling, whenever you have a little time. If you try it, you will see how extremely difficult even this is. When you do write you can only put down one or two thoughts because your thinking is too rapid, disconnected and wandering. And as you cannot write down everything, because you have other things to do, you will find after a while that another layer of your consciousness is taking note. When again you have leisure to write, all those thoughts-feelings to which you have not given conscious attention will be "remembered." So at the end of the day you will have written down as much of your thoughts and feelings as possible. Of course only those who are earnest will do this. At the end of the day look at what you have written down during the day. This study is an art, for out of it comes understanding. What is important is how you study what you have written, rather than the mere writing down.

If you put yourself in opposition to what you have written you will not understand it. That is, if you accept or deny, judge or compare, you will not grasp the significance of all that is written, for identification prevents the flowering of thought-feeling. But if you examine it, suspending judgment, it will reveal its inward contents. To examine with choiceless awareness, without fear or favour, is extremely difficult. Thus you learn to slow down your thoughts and feelings but also, which is enormously important, to observe with tolerant dispassion every thought - feeling, free from judgment and perverted criticism. Out of this comes deep understanding which is cultivated not only during the waking hours but during sleep. From this you will find there comes candor, honesty.

But then you will be able to follow each movement of thought - feeling. For in this is involved not only the comprehension of the superficial layer but also of the many hidden layers of consciousness. Thus through constant self-awareness there is deeper and wider self-knowledge. It is a book of many volumes; in its beginning is its ending. You cannot skip a paragraph, a page, in order to reach the end quickly and greedily. For wisdom is not bought by the coin of greed or impatience. It comes as the volume of self-knowledge is read diligently, that which you are from moment to moment, not at a particular, given moment. Surely this means incessant work, an alertness which is not only passive but of constant inquiry, without the greed for an end. This passivity is in itself active. With stillness comes highest wisdom and bliss.

Questioner: I am very depressed and how am I to get over it?

Krishnamurti: It is natural, is it not, to be depressed at this present time when there is so much killing, confusion and sorrow? Now, do we learn when we are up or down, at the heights or in the shadows, in the valleys? Our lives are lived in undulation, up and down, in great heights and in great depths. When we are at the heights we are so exhilarated, so consumed with happiness or joy, with that sense of completeness, that the depths, the shadows are forgotten. Joy is not a problem, happiness does not seek a solution, in that state of completeness there is no striving after understanding. It is. But it does not last and we grope after it, remembering, grasping, comparing. Only when we are in the depths, in the valley, conflict, confusion, sorrow arise. From this we want to run away, craving to reach the heights once again. But we will not attain through want, for joy comes uninvited. Happiness is not an end in itself; it is an incident in wider and deeper understanding.

But if we try to comprehend conflict and sorrow we shall begin to understand ourselves in relation to that conflict and sorrow: how we meet it or evade it, how we condemn it or justify it, how we rationalize it or compare it. In this process we get to know ourselves, our deceits, escapes, excuses; you may escape from depression but it will catch you up again and again. But if we try to understand it, and to understand we must observe all the reactions in relation to it, how we try to escape from it, to find substitutions for it, we will find that the very desire to get over it indicates the lack of its comprehension. Through becoming aware of the causes and significance of depression wider and deeper understanding comes into being, in which there is no place for depression, for self pity, for fear.

Questioner: You talked about the State. Will you please explain more about it.

Krishnamurti: What you are, that your State will be. If you are envious and passionate, seeking power and wealth, then you will create the State, the government that will represent you. If you are seeking power and dominance as most are, in the family, in the town or in the group, you will create a government of oppression and ruthlessness. If you are competitive, worldly, you bring about a society that is organized for violence, whose values are sensate, which will give rise ultimately to wars, to disasters, to tyrannies. Having helped to create a society, a State, according to your cravings, it runs away with you; it becomes an independent entity, dominating, commanding. But it is we, you and I, who have produced it through our ill will, greed and worldliness. What you are the State is.

Organized religion, to exist at all, must and does become a partner of the State and thereby loses its true function: to guide, to teach, to uphold at all times what is true. In this partnership religion becomes another means of oppression and division. If you who are responsible for the creation of the State do not understand yourself, how can you bring about the necessary change in the machinery of the State? You cannot affect a deep, radical change in the State unless you understand yourself, and thereby free yourself from sensuality, from worldliness and the craving for fame. Unless you become religious in the fundamental sense of the word, not of any particular organized religion, your State will be irreligious and therefore responsible for war and economic disaster, for starvation and oppression. If you are nationalistic, separative, racially prejudiced, then you will produce a State that will be the cause of antagonism, oppression and misery. Such a State can never be religious; it becomes evil the larger and more powerful it becomes. I am using the word religious not in any specialized sense, not according to any doctrine, creed or belief but living the life of non-sensuality, non-worldliness, not seeking personal fame or immortality.

Do not let us be clouded by words, names or labels which only bring confusion as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Mohammedans, or as Americans, Germans, English, Chinese. Religion is above all names, creeds, doctrines. It is the way of the realization of the supreme, and virtue is not of any country, race or of any specialized religion. We must free ourselves from names and labels, from their confusion and antagonism, and try to seek through highest morality that which is. Thus you will become truly religious and so will your State. Then only will there be peace and light in the world. If each one of us can understand that there can be unity only in right thinking, not in mere superficial, economic devices, when we become religious, transcending craving for personal immortality and power, for worldliness and sensuality, only then shall we realize the deep inward wisdom of peace and love.

Questioner: Are you merely teaching a more subtle form of psychology?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by psychology? Do we not mean the study of the human mind, of oneself? If we do not understand our own make up, our own psyche, our own thought-feeling, then how can we understand anything else? How can you know what you think is true if you have no knowledge of yourself? If you do not know yourself, you will not know reality. Psychology is not an end in itself. It is but a beginning. In the study of oneself, right foundation is laid for the structure of reality. You must have the foundation but it is not an end in itself, it is not the structure. If you have not laid the right foundation, ignorance, illusion, superstition will come into being, as they exist in the world today. You must lay the right foundation with right means. You cannot have the right with wrong means. The study of oneself is an extremely difficult task and without self-knowledge and right thinking, ultimate reality is not comprehensible. If you are not aware of and so do not understand the self-contradiction, the confusion and the different layers of consciousness, then on what are you to build? Without self-knowledge that which you build, your formulations, beliefs, hopes will have little significance.

To understand oneself requires a great deal of detachment and subtlety, perseverance and penetration; not dogmatism, not assertion, not denial, not comparison which lead to dualism and confusion. You must be your own psychologist, you must be aware of yourself, for out of yourself is all knowledge and wisdom. Nobody can be an expert about you. You have to discover for yourself and so liberate yourself; not another can help you in freeing yourself from ignorance and sorrow. You create your own sorrow and there is no saviour but yourself.

Questioner: Do I understand you to say that through the constant practice of instantaneously discerning the cause of every thought that enters the mind, the true self will begin to be revealed?

Krishnamurti: If we assume that there is a true and a false self then we shall not understand what is true. Don't you see it is like this: we are out on a voyage of discovery. To discover, thought- feeling must not be clogged by any hypothesis or belief; they hinder. To discover there must be freedom, there must be alert passivity. The knowledge of others is of little value in the discovery of truth. It must be found by yourself, not another can give it to you, not another can bring you wisdom. Truth is not a reward, it is not the result of a practice, nor is it to be assumed nor formulated. If you formulate it you will miss it, your hypothesis will only cloud it. Through constant awareness you will discover what is true of the self. It is this discovery that matters for it will liberate thought from ignorance and sorrow; what you discover on this journey, that will liberate, not your assertions and denials of the true and the false. To discover how one's thought-feeling is entrenched in creed, in belief, to discover the significance of the conflict of the opposites, to become aware of lust, of worldliness, of craving for self-continuity, is to be liberated from ignorance and sorrow. Through self-awareness comes self-knowledge and right thinking. There is no right thinking without self-knowledge.

Questioner: Do you mean that right thinking is a continual process of awareness while right thought is merely static? Why is right thought not right thinking?

Krishnamurti: Right thinking is a continual process born of self-discovery, of self-awareness. There is no beginning and no end to this process so right thinking is eternal. Right thinking is timeless; it is not bound by the past, by memory, not limited by formulation. It is born of freedom from fear and hope. Without the living quality of self-knowledge, right thinking is not possible. Right thinking is creative for it is a constant process of self-discovery. Right thought is thought conditioned; it is a result, is made up, is put together; it is the outcome of a pattern, of memory, of habit, of practice. It is imitative, accumulative, traditional. It shapes itself through fear and hope, through greed and becoming, through authority and copy. Right thinking-feeling goes above and beyond the opposites, whereas right or conditioned thought is oppressed by the opposites. The conflict of the opposites is static.

Right thinking is the outcome of how to think, not what to think. But most of us have been trained or are training ourselves what to think, which is to think in terms of conditioning. Our civilization is based on what to think which is given to us through organized religions, through political parties and their ideologies and so on. Propaganda is not conducive to right thinking; it tells you what to think.

Through self-awareness the pattern, the copy, the habit, the conditioned thought is discovered; this perception begins to free thought-feeling from bondage, from ignorance; through constant awareness and self-knowledge, which bring about right thinking, there is that creative stillness of reality. The craving for security brings about conditioned thought; to seek certainty is to find it but it is not the real. Highest wisdom comes with that creative stillness of the mind-heart.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
3rd Public Talk 28th May, 1944

Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.


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