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The Observer is the Observed

Ojai, California. 2nd Public Talk 1946

We have been saying there can be no right relationship between us if we do not understand each other's intentions. The way of self-expansion is the way of strife and sorrow and is not the way of Reality. The ecstasy of Reality is to be found through awakened, highest intelligence. Intelligence is not the cultivation of memory or reason but an awareness in which identification and choice have ceased.

To think out a thought fully is difficult for it needs patience and extensional awareness. We have been educated in a way of life which furthers the self, through achievement, through identification, through organized religion; this way of thought and action has led us to fearful catastrophes and untold misery.

Questioner: You have said that illumination could never come through self-expansion but does it not come through the expansion of consciousness?

Krishnamurti: Illumination, understanding of the Real, can never come through the expansion of the self, through the I making an effort to grow, to become, to achieve and there is no effort apart from the will of the I. How can there be understanding if the self is ever filtering experience, identifying, accumulating memory? Consciousness is the product of the mind and the mind is the result of conditioning, of craving, and so it is the seat of the self. Only when the activity of the self, of memory, ceases is there a wholly different consciousness, about which any speculation is a hindrance. The effort to expand is still the activity of the self whose consciousness is to grow, to become. Such consciousness however expanded is time-binding and so the Timeless is not.

If one desires to understand a vital problem should not one put aside one's tendencies, prejudices, fears and hopes, one's conditioning, and be aware simply and directly? In thinking over our problems together we are exposing ourselves to ourselves. This self-exposure is of great importance for it will reveal to us the process of our own thoughts-feelings. We have to dig deeply into ourselves to find truth. We are conditioned and is it possible for thought to go beyond its own limitation? It is possible only through being aware of our conditioning. We have developed a certain kind of intelligence in the process of self-expansion; through greed, through acquisitiveness, through conflict and pain we have developed a self-protective, self-expansive intelligence. Can this intelligence comprehend the Real which alone can resolve all our problems? Questioner: Is intelligence the right word to use?

Krishnamurti: If we all understand the meaning of that term as I am using it here, it is applicable. The main point is, can this intelligence which has been cultivated through the expansion of the self experience or discover truth; or must there be another kind of activity, another kind of awareness to receive truth? To discover truth there must be freedom from the self-expansive intelligence for it is ever enclosing, ever limiting.

Questioner: Must we not look at this problem of self-expansion from the point of view of what is true?

Krishnamurti: To see the false as the false and the true as the true is difficult. If you saw the truth about self-expansion problems would begin to fade away. To see the truth in the false is to understand yourself first. It is the truth in the false that is liberating.

Questioner: Do you imply that there is a greater intelligence than ours?

Krishnamurti: We are not trying to discover whether there is a greater intelligence but what we are considering is whether the particular intelligence we have so sedulously cultivated can experience or understand Reality.

Questioner: Is there a Reality?

Krishnamurti: To discover that, there must be a tranquil mind, a mind that is not fabricating thoughts, images, hopes. As the mind is ever seeking to expand through its own creations it cannot experience Reality. If the mind, the instrument, is blurred, it is of little use in the search of truth. It must first cleanse itself and then only will it be possible to know if there is Reality. So each one must be aware, recognize the state of his intelligence. By its very limitation is not the mind a hindrance to the discovery of the Real? Before thought can free itself it first must recognize its own limitations.

Questioner: Can you tell us how to go through this process without impairing ourselves?

Krishnamurti: I am afraid we are talking at cross purposes and so we are getting confused. What is it that each one of us is seeking? Are we not aware of a common search?

Questioner: I am trying to solve my problem. I am seeking God. I want love. I want security. Krishnamurti: Are we not all seeking to transcend conflict and sorrow? Conflict and sorrow come to us in different ways but the cause common to us all is self-expansion. The cause of conflict and sorrow is craving, the self. Through understanding and so dissolving the cause our psychological problems will come to an end.

Questioner: Will the solution of the central problem end for me all problems?

Krishnamurti: Only if you dissolve the cause of all problems, the self; till then each day brings new strife and pain.

Questioner: My intelligence says that by solving my individual problem I can fit harmoniously into the whole. Are there different purposes for each one of us?

Krishnamurti: Out of our self-contradiction and confusion have we not invented purposes according to our tendencies and desires? Are not our purposes and problems fabricated by the self?

Being in sorrow we seek to be happy. If this is our chief concern, as it surely is for most of us, then we must know what the causes are that prevent us from being happy, or that make us sorrowful.

Questioner: How am I to eradicate the causes?

Krishnamurti: Before you put that question you must be aware of the causes of sorrow. Being in sorrow you say you are seeking happiness; so the search for happiness is an escape from sorrow. There can be happiness only when the cause of sorrow ceases; so happiness is a byproduct and not an end in itself. The cause of sorrow is the self with its craving to expand, to become, to be other than what it is; with its craving for sensation, for power, for happiness and so on.

Questioner: If there were no discontent there would be no progress, there would be stagnation.

Krishnamurti: You want both "progress" and happiness and that is your difficulty, is it not? You desire self-expansion but not the conflict and sorrow that inevitably come with it. We are afraid to look at ourselves as we are, we want to run away from the actual and this flight we call "progress" or the search for happiness. We say that we will decay if we do not "progress; we will become lazy, thoughtless, if we do not struggle to run away from what is. Our education and the world that we have created help us to run away; yet to be happy we must know the cause of sorrow. To know the cause of sorrow and transcend it is to face it, not to seek escape through illusory ideals or through further activities of the self. The cause of sorrow is the activity of the expanding self. Even to crave to be rid of the self is negative action of the self and hence delusive.

Questioner:Could we take a positive rather than a negative point of view, saying to ourselves that we are the whole?

Krishnamurti: Is not a positive or negative action of the self still the movement of the self? If the self asserts that it is the whole is not that an activity of the self seeking to enclose the whole within its own walls? We think that by constantly asserting we are the whole, we will become the whole; such repetition is self-hypnosis and to be drugged is not to be illumined. We are not yet aware of the cunning deceptions of our minds, of the subtle ways of the self. Without self-knowledge there can be no happiness, no wisdom.

Questioner: I do not desire self-expansion.

Krishnamurti: Can it bc so easily thought and said? The desire for self-expansion is complex and subtle. The structure of our thought is based on this expansion, to grow, to become, to fulfil.

Questioner: The cause of sorrow is incompleteness. Expansion stimulates and so we crave for it.

Krishnamurti: Can we not experience here and now directly for ourselves the cause of sorrow? If we can experience and understand this urge to expand, to be, then we shall go beyond the verbal state to the root of sorrow.

Questioner: I want to find truth and that is one of my reasons for self-expansion.

Krishnamurti: Why are you seeking truth? Do you seek it because you are unhappy and so through its discovery you hope to be happy? Truth is not compensation; it is not a reward for your suffering, for your struggles. Do you hope that it will set you free? The activity of the self is ever binding and does not lead to truth. Without self-awareness and self-knowledge how can there be the understanding of truth? We think we are seeking truth; but perhaps we are only seeking gratifying remedies, comforting answers. We verbally assert the need for brotherhood, for unity, without eradicating in ourselves the causes of conflict and antagonism. We must be aware of the cause of self-expansion and directly experience its full implications.

Questioner: Self-expansion is a natural instinct and what is wrong with it? Questioner: We want to be loved and if we are frustrated we seek another form of gratification. We are continually seeking satisfaction.

Krishnamurti: The seemingly natural instinct for self-expansion is the cause of discontent and pain; it is the cause of our recurrent disasters, civilized ruthlessness and mounting misery. It may be "natural" but surely it must be transcended for the Timeless to be. The craving for gratification is without end.

Questioner: Why is there the urge to be superior?

Questioner: I do not know why but there is in me the urge to be superior. I cannot observe it without being amused or appalled, yet I want to be superior. I know it is wrong to feel superior. It leads to misery, it is antisocial, it is immoral.

Krishnamurti: You are merely condemning the desire to bc superior; you are not trying to understand it. To condemn or accept is to create resistance which hinders understanding. Do not all of us desire to be superior in some way or another? If we deny it, if we condemn it or are blind to it we shall not understand the causes that sustain this desire.

Questioner: I want to be superior because I want to be loved by people for it is necessary to be loved.

Krishnamurti: Being inferior there is the urge to feel superior; not being loved we desire to be loved. That is, in myself I am insignificant, empty, shallow, so I desire to put on masks for different occasions, the mask of superiority and of nobility, the mask of earnestness, the mask that asserts it is seeking God and so on. Being inwardly poor we desire to identify ourselves with the great, with the nation, with the Master, with an ideology and so on, the form of identification varying with circumstances and moods.

You may pursue virtue and practice spiritual exercises but by covering up this incompleteness. in denying it consciously or unconsciously, it is not transcended. Till it is transcended all activity is of the self which is the cause of conflict and sorrow. Being inwardly insufficient we have developed the cunning art of escape; this escape we call by various pleasant sounding names. How can this process of the mind comprehend the Real? How can it comprehend something not of its own fabrication?

The desire to be superior, to become the Master, to accumulate knowledge, to lose oneself in activities offers hopeful and gratifying escape from inward poverty, insufficiency. Being incomplete, empty, any activity, however noble, can only be the expansive movement of the self.

Questioner: Can we not occasionally realize that we are escaping?

Krishnamurti: We may, but our self-expansive urge is so cunning, subtle, that it avoids coming directly in conflict with this aching insufficiency. How to approach this problem is our difficulty, is it not?

Questioner: When you are free what is the purpose of activity?

Krishnamurti: How can mind that is the outcome of insufficiency and fear experience an activity which is not of the self? How can a mind that is acquisitive and fearful, bound by dogma and its limitation is only a postponement of the realization of its bondage. If I may suggest, can we try during the coming week to be aware of this bondage that has been developed by the process of self-expansion, for this limitation, this expanding self can never experience or discover the Real?

The Observer is the Observed

Ojai, California. 2nd Public Talk 1946

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.


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