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Rome 1966

Rome 4th Public Discussion 10th April 1966

We are not here discussing as children. We are trying to talk over together the serious problems in our lives. The last few times that we met here we said that it is absolutely necessary that there should be a radical revolution psychologically in consciousness itself. We said that as long as there is conflict of any kind, conscious or unconscious, at any level, whether we are aware of it or not, the mind, which is the totality of our being, cannot function clearly, harmoniously, cannot see without distortion what actually is. This conflict exists because man has always sought pleasure in which there is psychological security, pleasure of many different kinds - moral, ethical, spiritual, economic. Where there is pleasure there is inevitably pain, and a conflict between pleasure and pain. What gives sustenance to pleasure is desire, and desire is strengthened by thought. Intellectual argumentation, intellectual verbal exchange and theories have no value at all. All the theologians and the priests throughout the world have indulged in endless theories about God, about how to live and what to do, but that has not brought about a fundamental, radical revolution in man.

The last time we met we were talking about fear; and how man has lived for centuries upon centuries with fear, outwardly, and especially inwardly. Having this unresolved, deep-rooted fear, he has built a network of escapes - gods, priests, religions, amusements of every form - in order to escape from it. We went into whether it is possible to radically eradicate fear. If we live with fear, however trivial or however deep it may be, we always have a dual hypocritical activity in life. A mind that is afraid lives in darkness and strain. It is therefore necessary to be completely free from fear.

Questioner: Could we speak about clarity in observation? Could we go into it first regarding oneself in conflict with another?

Krishnamurti: If we go into this question theoretically, intellectually, verbally, superficially, it will lead us nowhere. If we are merely discussing a different formula from that which we already have, again that will not lead us anywhere. We can invent innumerable formulas, concepts of what God is and what He is not. The modern theologians are trying to do this because they see that the whole concept of God has to be changed completely. They are still dealing with concepts, and a stupid concept is as good as a clever one. It is still a concept. Let us be clear about what we are discussing. This demands clarity. This demands the perception and rejection of theories, concepts, formulas, beliefs and dogmas. That demands enormous, intelligent awareness into ourselves. Otherwise we indulge in superficial, intellectual, verbal explanations and dialectical exchange, all of which are of no value.

Ever since man has been, he has been seeking the extraordinary thing which he calls God. He has given it different names. Life is so superficial, so meaningless, so boring, earning a livelihood for forty years, breeding a lot of children, having a family; he says, "Is that all?". Caught in that routine, he has to invent something. In the most ancient Hindu thought, there was no concept of God at all. There was just direct communication with nature. God got more and more important as people got further and further away from nature, from feeling, from direct communication. That was of course utilized by clever people who became priests to interpret reality. The whole game of exploitation and vested interest of priests came into being. This is what has happened historically throughout the ages. To examine the question, is there such a thing as God, one must be free of dogmas, beliefs, theories and concepts, otherwise one's conditioned thinking will determine the direction in which one is going to think and feel.

If one wants to discover what that reality is, there must be complete freedom from the conditioning which man lives in, which is propaganda. Every day, from childhood, one is told what God is, what He is not, how to find him through the Saviour, through the priest, through rituals. Unless one can really, seriously be aware of one's conditioning and throw it off, not eventually, but immediately, there is no way out. As far as one understands, there has always been this idea that God is outside and God is within. I don't personally like to use the word "God", because it is so heavily burdened. One must find out whether there is such a thing, such a truth, whether there is a reality, a something which is unimaginable, unthinkable, unconditioned.

How do we find out? That's the question, isn't it? The only instrument we have is the brain, thought. Let's talk it over together as two friends who are investigating something; not just one man talking, and you all listening. That really leads us nowhere.

Questioner: There must be complete freedom from dogmas in order to reach this unimaginable thing.

Krishnamurti: We must investigate what freedom is, what there is to be free from, who the seeker is and what there is to be sought. Is freedom merely a reaction? If I'm in prison, I want to be free. That's a reaction. I'm always contrasting freedom and slavery. The opposite of slavery is not freedom. If freedom is the opposite of slavery, then it still contains slavery. If freedom is a reaction, if it contains that which has been, it is not freedom at all.

Is there any other kind of freedom? Is there freedom which is not a reaction? There can be, if one is aware of the process of reaction. Freedom is not from something; freedom is per se, in itself. If I am bound by certain family ties and break away from them, it is a reaction. That reaction will make one act again, will produce a new standard from which I will again try to escape.

Freedom also is not the result of time. Freedom is something immediate. I cannot say to myself, "I will be free day after tomorrow; because if it is a gradual achievement, if freedom is at a distance, something to be achieved, there is a time interval between the present and what should be. In that time interval there are all kinds of strains and pressures, and there is never complete freedom. If I am frightened, if I am caught and want to be free, the wanting?, to be free is an activity of the will, and therefore is not freedom.

How does this freedom which is not a reaction come about? It cannot be the result of desire, of will; it cannot be an aim which I must achieve, an ideological goal which I must pursue. When there is an awareness of the process of reaction from what is to what should be, then there is freedom.

Awareness implies observation without criticism, without evaluation, without justification, without condemnation. To be aware of that plant, those flowers, without identifying the species by name, just to observe, without your information or your knowledge, which is thought, coming into it is extraordinarily difficult. The thought which observes has an image of that flower identified with the name; therefore the image is looking. That's fairly easy, because it's outside, objective. It is much more difficult to observe inwardly. If you are aware of what is, a desire to change the fact into what should be is a denial of the fact. The moment you say, "This should be that", this is denied. If I say to a boy, "You must be like your uncle, who is so clever", I have denied the boy. When I compare the boy with some one who is very clever, I have denied the integrity of the boy.

If you are aware of what is, without condemning, without justifying, without any choice, just watching inwardly as it takes place, there is something else, which has nothing to do with voluntary, spontaneous will. Because you have understood what is, you are free of it and there is this other thing.

That brings in a tremendous problem of what beauty is. The quality of beauty has to be understood, not intellectually but non-verbally. We only know beauty through comparison, or through the thing which has been created by, put together by man, or created by nature. We see a picture and say, "That's beautiful". We see an attractive woman or a tree and say, "How lovely!". There are certain standards and there is the mixing up of good taste with beauty, but is there beauty without the object? Is there space without the object? That plant exists in space and creates space around it. This room has space because of the walls. The walls exist in space, outside. We only know space in relation to a centre.

Questioner: There is space outside and space inside the house.

Krishnamurti: Yes, I took that as an example. The house exists in space; it creates space. Because of the house you know space. You can't think of space without a thinker and you have to find out if there is a space without the object.

Again, take love. The word is heavily loaded, but we are not using it sentimentally, emotionally or devotionally. We are using it non-sentimentally. When we say, "I love my country, my wife, my family, my God", or anything else, there is an object to be loved, whether the object is an idea or an entity. When the object moves, love becomes entangled, jealous. We want to know if there is love without the object. Neither beauty, nor space, nor love is the result of an object. This is an enormous investigation. To pursue that subject we must have order - order being freedom in which there is no envy, ambition, greed or worship of success; otherwise there is disorder, and a disordered mind cannot discover anything.

Order is virtue. You must be virtuous, but not virtuous according to the pattern of society, because society is not virtuous. Only a mind free from conflict and therefore completely free has the energy to pursue. You must have passion; otherwise you can't proceed. You must have energy, tremendous energy. Energy is being dissipated now in conflict, in adjustment, in imitation, in following authority. When you look at a flower, if you say, "I like", "I don't like", "This is a beautiful flower", "This is not a beautiful flower", "I wish I had it", all that is a dissipation of energy and prevents your looking. If you merely suppress or isolate yourself as an escape, it is a form of self-delusion, self-hypnosis. This is what the monks and all the Hindus in India do. There must be no motive for order, for love. It must be involuntary, not purposeful. If I love you because you give me pleasure or money, or because I'm frightened or want security, it is no longer love.

We must next go into the question of seeking. Why do we seek at all? We seek because we are lost; we are confused; we are messy, disorderly; we have contradictory beliefs, ideas, desires; there is a whirlpool of contentious demands. We either turn to a dogma, to a belief, to a priest, or we turn to some one who says, "I know", and follow him. Human beings are dreadfully confused. Whatever takes place out of that confusion is still confused. We say, "Well, there are moments of clarity; in that clarity I act". But that action of clarity is neutralized, set aside, contradicted by the action of confusion. If we are confused, we should not do a thing, because whatever we do out of confusion is still confusion.

When the mind is confused, it seeks something which it hopes is not confused, but the clarity it finds is the result of confusion, and that clarity is still confusion. I see that, and I don't act. This doesn't mean that I live in a vacuum, in a blank state. I see that any action born of confusion is furthering confusion. Therefore I stop, naturally, not because I want to seek and find, but because I am confused. That's a completely negative state. The action of confusion, which is to seek, appears to be positive. We like that; we feel that it is right, but to seek, to endeavour, to pursue, to make effort, to determine, to pray - all those are the result of confusion. If I'm confused, I won't pray; I won't ask; I won't look. The denial of action is total negation of the positive.

The mind now is not seeking; the mind is not wanting more experience. A confused mind says, "I want more experience". It will have more experience, but always in terms of confusion. To find that thing which we call God, seeking must come to an end, which means complete negation of the positive or the negative of the world. The world is caught in the positive and the negative - obey, disobey, trying to be free of both, out of which comes confusion. The total negation of this is necessary, so that the mind is no longer seeking, struggling, wanting. It is completely still, but not through discipline, through control, through suppression, through going into a monastery, shutting oneself in a cell and trying to be quiet. When this negation takes place, the mind is naturally quiet. It is empty, and therefore full of space; something new can take place.

What one does matters tremendously; what one thinks, what one feels, what one is. One has to put aside vanity, greed, ambition, the desire to be some one. This doesn't mean that one must leave society, but one is no longer caught psychologically in its structure.

Questioner: You say we should not act. Does that mean we should just sit and watch people murder someone?

Krishnamurti: Ah, no; quite the contrary. Look, madam. What I am saying implies a total revolution i;i education, a different educational system altogether, one in which the whole field of living will not be neglected. Because we are now being trained only to be technicians, in mathematics, in engineering, we escape into all kinds of brutalities. Common murder is on the increase; violence is multiplying; the authorities don't know what to do. In America, in England, everywhere, even in the so-called marvellous society of Russia there is violence.

One has to do something about the problem of starvation in Asia. To feed all the people, there must be no nationalities, no sovereign States, no Italian government, Indian government, American government. Science has enough creative knowledge to give food, shelter and clothing to all the people in the world, if there were no armaments, no nationalities, , no division into Christians, Hindus, Buddhists. But we don't want to think in those large terms. We say, "Some one is wronging me; I must immediately do something about that". Of course we must, but the issue is larger than that.

Questioner: I still think that murdering is bad.

Krishnamurti: So do the judges. They send murderers to prison, hang them, shoot them or electrocute them. No matter what they do, murder still goes on.

Questioner: But they have to judge and then declare what is good and what is bad.

Krishnamurti: Good and bad in what sense?

Questioner: In terms of my personal choice.

Krishnamurti: Your personal choice is based upon your conditioning.

Questioner: But if I try to free myself from conditioning?

Krishnamurti: There is a great deal of mischief, misery, ugliness, brutality in the world; there is tremendous violence. That we all know. What are we to do? We stop immediate violence, don't we? If we see someone being violent, we interfere, or do something about it. But the issue of violence is much greater than that, because in all of us there is violence. We want to hurt people; and there is violence when we are ambitious, competitive. We have to tackle not only the little violence which we come upon every day, but also the great violence of man. There have been about fifteen thousand wars in the last five thousand five hundred years and yet we are still going on. To stop war, we must do away with nationalities, religious divisions, the vested interests of the politicians and the military. It is a tremendous problem; we can't just join peace movements and hope peace will come; it won't. Peace is something which is both outward and inward. We cannot have peace outwardly if there is no inward peace. That means there must be no ambition, no greed, no envy.

Questioner: Should we just live peacefully, and not join these peace movements?

Krishnamurti: Madam, I don't advise you. I am just saying that if you want peace in the world, you must live peacefully; and to live peacefully is one of the most difficult things. They have been preaching non-violence in India a great deal for the last thirty years, and before that for thousands of years. The non-violent violence has become an ideal. The fact is that we are violent. What's the point of having an ideal? You have to change violence, not in terms of the ideal. To change it you have to face it; you have to be aware of it in,our daily life, in what you do, in what you say, in what and how you think. All ideals are always a curse, because they take you away from the facts, and it is only when you face the facts that you can do anything.

Questioner: You said there is no love when pleasure is the object. Isn't there always pleasure, even if you do achieve this?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by pleasure? There's a great deal of pleasure in owning a house, in possessions. It gives immense pleasure and it doesn't matter if it's a house, a shirt or a coat. To see that you have everything you want - a house, a wife, children, position, prestige, power, dominance - all that gives great pleasure outwardly and also inwardly. It gives pleasure if you are rich, if you are an important man, if you are capable, if you have fulfilled, if you can do things. Sex also gives great pleasure. But in pleasure there is always pain.

I want to be a great man. This concept gives me pleasure, because I see people going about who are called great. I wish I could be treated like they are. That idea gives me pleasure. To succeed I may have to cheat, do a dozen things; I may even have to kill people. In doing all that I find there is pain, frustration.

Questioner: Yes, but you also get pleasure in the happiness.

Krishnamurti: I understand that, but what is pleasure, and what gives duration to pleasure, lends it continuity? If you simply say, ; That's beautiful," it is finished, but if you say, "I must have it", there is continuity.

Questioner: Why?

Krishnamurti: We don't say why we want it.

Questioner: There is a pleasure in looking at people, and smiling at people.

Krishnamurti: Of course. You smile at me. I like it, and I want more of it.

Questioner: Yes, but you are the other person. I am talking of me.

Krishnamurti: But I want more of it.

Questioner: I want to give you something of myself.

Krishnamurti: But I want it. You may not want to give it; you gave me a first smile, which was a delight both to you and to me. That delight I want to perpetuate. So I say, "please do this thing. I like your smile; I must have it". And you say, "Sorry; I smiled at you as a friend, but later on it has become a nuisance". There is pain; I suffer. Through life we do many, many, many things hoping to find a continuous pleasure; and at the end we say, "What a bore it all is; there is no pleasure. " Questioner: Do you think everyone seeks pleasure?

Krishnamurti: Don't we all seek pleasure? Don't you?

Questioner: It is a pleasure to give.

Krishnamurti: You give out of your goodness; you say, "By Jove, it's like the sunshine".

Questioner. That's a pleasure, a great pleasure.

Krishnamurti: All right, have it! But what happens to me? It has given me delight to receive it.

Questioner: When a person takes pleasure in giving, it is always an egotistical thing. he only gives because he gets pleasure out of it.

Krishnamurti: Of course.

Questioner: I believe in generosity.

Krishnamurti: If you say, "I believe in generosity and therefore I must be generous", it is not being generous. It is just an idea. But if you are generous, that's a different thing. If you derive something from your generosity, as pleasure, then you're really not generous. It is like giving your love to your wife or your children; it's giving because you enjoy it.

All we have discussed this morning makes the mind not isolated, but very sharply alone. One must be alone, not in the isolated sense of the monk, however. To be truly alone implies freedom. It's not the aloneness of self-pity and loneliness; it is a marvellous thing to see clearly that you are alone. When every one around you shouts nationalistic slogans and waves the flag, and you think it's all nonsense, you're alone.

April 10, 1966


Rome 1966

Rome 4th Public Discussion 10th April 1966

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