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The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
4th Public Talk 4th June, 1944

In the last three talks I have been trying to explain that right thinking, which comes from self-knowledge, is not to be acquired through another, however great, nor through any book; but rather through the experience of self-discovery, through that discovery which is creative and liberating. I tried to explain that as our life is a series of struggles and conflicts, unless we understand right endeavour we will be creating not clarity and peace but more conflict and more pain; that without self-knowledge, to make a choice between the opposites must inevitably lead to further ignorance and sorrow.

I do not know how clearly I explained this problem of conflict between the opposites; for till we deeply understand its cause and effect our endeavour, however earnest and strenuous, will not liberate us from our confusion and misery. However much we may formulate or try to understand that which we call God or Truth, we cannot comprehend the unknown until the mind itself becomes as vast, as immeasurable as the thing it is trying to feel, to experience. To experience the immeasurable, the unknowable, mind must go beyond and above itself.

Thought-feeling is limited through its own cause, the craving to become, which is time binding. Craving, through identifying memory, creates the self, the me and the mine. It is the actor taking different roles to suit different occasions but inwardly ever the same. Till this craving, We cause of our ignorance and sorrow, is understood and dissolved, the conflict of duality will continue and effort to disentangle from it will only plunge us more into it. This craving expresses itself through sensuality, through worldliness, through personal immortality, through authority, mystery, miracle. Just as long as the mind is the instrument of the self, of craving, so long will there be duality and conflict. Such a mind cannot comprehend the immeasurable.

The self, the consciousness of the me and the mine, is built up through craving, by a series of thoughts and feelings not only in the past but by the influence of that past in the present. We are the result of the past; our being is founded in it. The many interrelated layers of our consciousness are the out come of the past. This past is to be studied and understood through the living present; through the data of the present the past is uncovered. In studying the self and its cause, craving, we shall begin to understand the way of ignorance and sorrow. To merely deny craving, to merely oppose its many expressions is not to transcend it but to continue in it. To deny worldliness is still to be worldly; but if you understand the ways of craving then the tyranny of the opposites, possession and non-possession, merit and demerit, ceases. If we deeply inquire into craving, meditating upon it, becoming aware of its deeper and wider significance and so begin to transcend it, we shall awaken to a new, different faculty which is not begotten of craving nor of the conflict of the opposites. Through constant self-awareness there comes unidentifying observation, the study of the self without judgment. Through this awareness the many layers of self-consciousness are discovered and understood. Self-knowledge brings right thinking which alone will free thought-feeling from craving and its many conflicting sorrows.

Questioner: Does the understanding of oneself lead to a change of the problem and idea? One can understand how nationalism comes into being: education, persecution, vanity et cetera, but the nationalist remains still a nationalist. The will to change, to understand the problem, does not bring the real dissipation of that problem. So what is the next step after knowing the causes in this thought process?

Krishnamurti: To identify oneself with a particular race, with a particular country or with certain ideologies yields security, satisfaction and flattering self-importance. This worship of the part, instead of the whole, cultivates antagonism, conflict and confusion. If you think this out, feel this out clearly and intelligently, not examining the mere ideas but your response to them, in comprehending the full implication of nationalism, order and clarity will come into that thin layer of consciousness with which we function every day. It is important to do this; to become conscious of the full significance of nationalism, how it divides humanity which is one; how it breeds antagonism and oppression; how it encourages the ownership of property and of family; how it conditions thought-feeling through organizations; how it cultivates economic barriers and poverty, wars, miseries and so on.

In deeply understanding the implication of nationalism, order and clarity are brought into the conscious mind and into this clarity the hidden, the stored up responses project themselves. Through studying these projections, diligently and intelligently, the whole consciousness is freed from the disease of nationalism. Then you do not become an internationalist, which still maintains separatism and the worship of the part; but there is an awareness of unity and non-nationality, a freedom from labels and names, from racial and class prejudice.

The same process can be applied to all our problems; to think - feel over the problem as widely and freely as possible, thus bringing order and clarity to the conscious mind which then can respond with understanding to the projections of the hidden, inner impulses and injunctions; thus wholly resolving the problem. Till the many layers of memory are searched out, exposed and their responses fully understood, the problem will continue; but this search, this inquiry, is not possible if the conscious mind has not cleared itself of the problem. Not to be completely identified with the problem is our difficulty for identification prevents the flow of thought-feeling; identification implies acceptance or denial, judgment or comparison, which distort our understanding. Thought-feeling, to free itself from any problem, from any hindrance, is not the work of a moment. Freedom demands outer and inner awareness, the outer ready to receive the inner responses; this constant awareness brings deeper and wider self-knowledge. In self-knowledge there is the freedom of right thinking and only in self-knowledge are problems, bondages, understood and dissolved.

Questioner: I am a very active person physically. A time is coming when I shall not be. How shall I then occupy my time?

Krishnamurti: Most of us are caught up in sensate values, and the world around us is organized to increase and maintain them. We become more and more involved in them and unthinkingly grow old, worn out by outward activity but inwardly inactive and poor. Soon the outward, noisy activity comes to an inevitable end and then we become aware of loneliness, poverty of being. In order not to face this pain and fear, some continue ceaselessly to be active socially, in organized religion, politically and in the business world, giving justifications for their activity and noisy bustle. For those who cannot continue outward activity the question of what to do in old age arises. They cannot become suddenly inwardly active, they do not know what it means, their whole life has been against it. How are they to become inwardly aware?

It would be wise if after a certain age, perhaps let us say forty or forty-five, or younger still, you retired from the world, before you are too old. What would happen if you did retire not merely to enjoy the fruit of sensate gatherings but retired in order to find yourself, in order to think feel profoundly, to meditate, to discover reality? Perhaps you may save mankind from the sensate, worldly path it is following, with all its brutality, deception and sorrow. Thus there may be a group of people, being disassociated from worldliness, from its identifications and demands, able to guide it, to teach it. Being free from worldliness they will have no authority, no importance and so will not be drawn into its stupidities and calamities. For a man who is not free from authority, from position, is not able to guide, to teach another. A man who is in authority is identified with his position, with his importance, with his work and so is in bondage. To understand the freedom of truth there must be freedom to experience. If such a group came into being then they could produce a new world, a new culture. It is sad for him who, with old age approaching, begins to question his empty life; at least he has begun to wake up... A couple came to see me the other day. They were working in a factory earning large sums. They were old. In the course of conversation a suggestion naturally arose that they withdraw, considering their age, to think, to live anew. They looked surprised and said: "What about?"

You may laugh but I am afraid most of us are in the same position. For most of us thinking, searching, is along a clear cut groove of a particular dogma or belief, and to follow that groove is considered religious, intelligent. Right thinking begins only with self-knowledge and not in the knowledge of ideas and facts which is only an extension of ignorance. But if you, whether you are old or young, begin to understand yourself, you will discover great and imperishable treasures. But to discover, demands persistent awareness, adjustment and application; awareness of every thought-feeling and out of this the treasure of life is discovered.

Questioner: How can we truly understand ourselves, our infinite riches, without developing a whole complete perception first; other wise with our comparative perception of thought, we get only a partial understanding of that infinite flow of cause in whose order we move and have our true conscious being.

Krishnamurti: How can you understand the whole when you are worshipping the part! Being petty, partial, limited, how can you understand that which is boundless, infinite? The small cannot grasp the great but the small can cease to be. In understanding what makes for limitation, for partiality, and transcending it, you will then be able to comprehend the whole, the limitless. From the known the unknown is realized but to speculate about the unknowable is merely to deny the limited, the trivial; and so all speculation becomes a hindrance for the understanding of reality.

Begin to understand yourself and in that there will be discovered immeasurable riches. Begin with the known, with the trivial, the limited, the confused; the small that is bound by fear, by belief, by lust, by ill will. It is petty, partial because it is the product of ignorance. How can such a mind understand the whole? It cannot. If thought-feeling frees itself from craving, and so from ignorance and sorrow, then only is there a possibility of understanding the whole. How can there be understanding of the causeless when our thought-feeling is a result, when it is bound to time? This seems so obvious that it does not require much explanation, but yet so many are caught up in the illusion that we must first have the vision, the perception of the whole, a working hypothesis of it as a beginning, before there is understanding of the part. To have a perception of that completeness, the realization of that infinite reality, the singularistic, the limited mind must break down the barriers that confine it. From a small, narrow opening the wide heavens are not to be perceived. We try to perceive the whole through the small aperture of our thought-feeling and what we see must inevitably be small, partial, incomplete. We say we want to understand the whole, yet we cling to the petty, to the me and the mine. Through self-awareness, which brings self-knowledge, right thinking is nurtured, which alone will free us from our triviality and sorrow. When the mind ceases to chatter, when it is not playing any part, when it is not grasping or becoming, when it is utterly still, in that creative emptiness is the whole, the uncrated.

Questioner: Do you believe there is evil in the world?

Krishnamurti: Why do you ask me that question? Are you not aware of it? Are not its actions obvious, its sorrow crushing? Who has created it but each one of us? Who is responsible for it but each one of us? As we have created good, however little, so we have create devil, however vast. Good and evil are part of us and are also independent of us. When we think-feel narrowly, enviously, with greed and hate, we are adding to the evil which turns and rends us. This problem of good and evil, this conflicting problem, is always with us as we are creating it. It has become part of us, this wanting and not wanting, loving and hating, craving and renouncing. We are continually creating this duality in which thought-feeling is caught up. Thought-feeling can go beyond and above good and its opposite, only when it understands its cause - craving. In understanding merit and demerit there is freedom from both. Opposites cannot be fused and they are to be transcended through the dissolution of craving. Each opposite must be thought out, felt out, as extensively and deeply as possible, through all the layers of consciousness; through this thinking out, feeling out, a new comprehension is awakened which is not the product of craving, or of time.

There is evil in the world to which we are contributing as we contribute to the good. Man seems to unite more in hate, than in good. A wise man realizes the cause of evil and good, and through understanding frees thought-feeling from it.

Questioner: Last Sunday I understood from what you said that we do not take time from our jobs, family, activities, to study ourselves. This seems a contradiction of your former statement that one can be aware in everything one does.

Krishnamurti: Surely you begin by being aware in every thing that you do. But what happens when you are so aware? If you pursue this awareness more and more you come to be alone but not isolated. No object is ever in isolation; to be is to be related whether alone or with many. But when you begin to be aware in everything you do, you are beginning to study yourself, you are beginning to be more and more aware of your inward private thoughts-feelings, motives, fears and so on. The more there is self-awareness the more self-recollected you become; you become more silent, more purely aware. We are too much occupied with family, job, friends, social affairs and we are little aware; old age and death creep upon us and our life is empty. If you are aware in your daily relationship and activity, you will begin to disentangle thought - feeling from the cause of ignorance and sorrow. Through becoming aware of the inward as well as the superficial actions and responses, distractions will naturally cease and a simple life will inevitably follow.

Questioner: Do you think you will ever come back to the Masters?

Krishnamurti: The questioner believing and hoping in the Masters wishes to bring me back to his fold; perhaps he thinks that having once accepted his belief I will return to it.

Let us examine this belief in the Masters intelligently, without identifying ourselves with it. For some it will be difficult as they are greatly taken up with it but let us try to think-feel as openly and freely as possible concerning it. Why do you need Masters? Those supposed living beings with whom you are not directly in contact? You will say probably that they act as sign posts to reality. If they are sign posts why do you stop and worship them? Why do you accept the sign posts, the mediators, the messengers, the in-between authorities? Then why do you form organizations, groups round about them? If you are seeking truth why all this bother about them, why the exclusive organizations and secret conclaves? Is it not because it is easier and pleasanter to linger, to worship at a wayside shrine, taking comfort in it, rather than to go on the long journey of search and discovery? No one can lead you to truth, neither the Masters nor the gods nor their messengers. You alone have to toil, search out and discover.

A teacher with whom you are directly in contact is one thing, though it has its own dangers; but to be supposedly in contact with those whom you are not directly in touch with, or in touch with through their supposed representatives or messengers, is to invite superstition, oppression and other grave hindrances. The worship of authority is the very denial of truth. Authority blinds and the flowering of intelligence is destroyed; arrogance and stupidity increase, intolerance and division grow and multiply.

Fundamentally what can the Masters tell you? To know yourself, to cease to hate, to be compassionate, to seek reality. Any other teaching would be of little importance. None can give you a technique, a set formula to know yourself. If you had one and you followed it, you would not know yourself; you would know the result of a formula but not yourself. To know, you will have to search and discover within yourself. The result of a technique, of a practice, of a habit is uncreative, mechanical. Not another can help you to understand yourself and with out understanding yourself there is no comprehension of reality. This search for the Masters is the prompting of worldliness. A super sensate value is still of this world and so the cause of ignorance and sorrow.

Then one might ask what are you doing, are you not a sign post? If I am and you gather round it to put flowers, to build a shrine and all the stupidities that go with it, then it is utterly foolish and unworthy of grown up people. What we are trying to do is to learn how to cultivate right thinking - which comes only through self-knowledge. On the foundation of right thinking is the Highest. This knowledge none can give you, but you yourself have to become aware of all your thoughts-feelings. For in yourself is the beginning and the end, the whole of life. The Highest is to be discovered, not formulated.

To read the pages of the past, you must know yourself as in the present for through the present the past is revealed. With you is the key that opens the door to reality; none can offer it for it is yours. Through your own awareness you can open the door; through your own self-awareness only can you read the rich volume of self-knowledge, for in it are the hints and the openings, the hindrances and the blockages that prevent and yet lead to the Timeless, to the Eternal.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
4th Public Talk 4th June, 1944

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


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