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Krishnamurti on Education

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Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Students Chapter 5 'On Sensitivity'

Some of the teachers of this school were discussing with me, the other day, how important it is to be sensitive, how necessary it is to have a sensitive body and a sensitive mind. A human being who is aware of his environment, as well as aware of every movement of thought and feeling, who is a harmonious whole, is sensitive. How does that sensitivity come about? How can there be a complete development of the body, of the emotions, of the capacity to think deeply and widely, so that the whole being becomes astonishingly alive to everything about it, to every challenge, to every influence? And is that possible, in a world like this, a world where technological knowledge is all important, where making money, being an engineer or an electronic expert is assuming such importance? Is it possible to be sensitive? The politician, the electronics expert become marvellous human machines, but lead very narrow lives. They are sorrowful people having no depth in them. All they know is their little world, the world determined by their own field.

A life that is held in technological knowledge is a very narrow, limited life. It is bound to breed a great deal of sorrow and misery. But can one have technological knowledge, be able to do things, make a little money and still live in the world with intensity, with intensity, with clarity, with vision? That is the real question. Life is not merely going to the office day after day. Life is extraordinarily vital, important, and for that you must be sensitive, you must have the sensitivity that appreciates beauty. You know, there is something extraordinary about beauty. Beauty is never personal, though we make it personal. We put flowers in our hair, have nice saris, wear fine shirts and trousers, look very smart and try to be as beautiful as we can; that is a very limited beauty. I do not say that you should not wear nice clothes, but merely that - that is not appreciation of beauty. The appreciation of beauty is to see a tree, to see a painting, to see a statue, to see the clouds, the skies, the birds on the wing, to see the morning star, and the sunset behind these hills. To see such immense beauty we must cut through our little personal lives.

You may have good taste. Do you know what good taste means? To know how to combine colours, how not to wear colours that jar, not to say something that is cruel about anybody, to feel kindly, to see the beauty of a house, to have good pictures in your room, to have a room with right proportions. All that is good taste, which can be cultivated. But good taste is not the appreciation of beauty. Beauty is never personal. When beauty is made personal it becomes self-centred. Self concern is the source of sorrow. You know, most people are not happy in the world. They have money, they have position and power. But remove the money, the position, the power and you see underneath an extreme shallowness of head. The source of their shallowness, misery, conflict and extreme anguish is a feeling of guilt and fear.

To really appreciate beauty is to see a mountain, to see the lovely trees without the "you" being there; to enjoy them, to look at them although they may belong to another; to see the flow of a river and move with it from beginning to end; to be lost in the beauty, in the vitality, in the rapidity of the river. But you cannot do all that if you are merely concerned with power, with money, with a career. That is only a part of life and to be concerned only with a part of life is to be insensitive and, therefore, to lead a life of shallowness and misery. A petty life always produces misery and confusion not only for itself but for others. I am not moralizing, I am just stating the facts of existence.

The function of your teachers is to educate not only the partial mind but the totality of the mind; to educate you so that you do not get caught in the little whirlpool of existence but live in the whole river of life. This is the whole function of education. The right kind of education cultivates your whole being, the totality of your mind. It gives your mind and heart a depth, an understanding of beauty.

Probably, the girls among you will grow up and get married and the boys will have careers and that will be the end. You know, the moment you get married - I am not saying you should not get married - you have your husband, children, and responsibilities begin to crowd in like crows upon a tree. The husband, the house, your children, become a habit and you become caught in that habit. All through your life, till you die, you will be working, working in the house or going to the office, every day.

I wondered - the other morning when I saw you all having a good time - what is going to happen to you all? Will you live a life with a fire burning in you or will you become for the rest of your life a businessman or a housewife? What are you going to do? Should you not be educated to cut through respectability, to burst through all conformity? Probably I am saying something dangerous, but it does not matter. Perhaps you will give an ear and perhaps this will sink somewhere into your consciousness and perhaps in a moment when you are about to make a decision, this may alter the course of your life.

Student: How is one to be sensitive?

Krishnamurti: I do not know if you noticed the other evening, it was drizzling. There was a sharp shower. There were dark, heavy, rain-laden clouds. There were also clouds that were full of light, white, with a rose-coloured light inside them. And there were clouds that were almost like feathers going by. It was a marvellous sight and there was great beauty. If you do not see and feel all these things when you are young, when you are still curious, when you are still indecisive, when you are still looking, searching, asking; if you do not feel now, then you never will. As you grow older life encloses you, life becomes hard. You hardly look at the hills, a beautiful face or a smile. Without feeling affection, kindness, tenderness, life becomes very dreary ugly, brutal. And as you grow older, you fill your lives with politics, with concern over your jobs, over your families. You become afraid and gradually lose that extraordinary quality of looking at the sunset, at clouds, at the stars of an evening. As you grow older, the intellect begins to create havoc with your lives. I do not mean that you must not have a clear, reasoning intellect, but the predominance of it makes you dull, makes you lose the finer things of life.

You must feel very strongly about everything, not just one or two things, but about everything. If you feel very strongly, then little things will not fill your life. Politics, jobs, careers are all little things. If you feel strongly, if you feel vitally, vigorously, you will live in a state of deep silence. Your mind will be very clear, simple, strong. As men grow older they lose this quality of feeling, this sympathy, this tenderness for others. Having lost it they begin to invent religions. They go to temples, take drinks, drugs, to awaken this spontaneity. They become religious. But religion in the world is put together by man. All temples, churches, dogmas, beliefs are invented by man. Man is afraid because he is lost without a deep sense of beauty, a deep sense of affection. And, having lost this, superficial ceremonies, going to temples, repeating mantras, rituals become very important. In reality, they have no importance at all. Religion born of fear becomes ugly superstition.

So, one has to understand fear. You know, one is afraid: afraid of one's parents, afraid of not passing examinations, afraid of one's teachers, afraid of the dog, afraid of the snake. You have to understand fear and be free of fear. When you are free of fear there is the strong feeling of being good, of thinking very clearly, of looking at stars, of looking at clouds, of looking at faces with a smile. And when there is no fear, you can go much further. Then you can find out for yourself that for which man has searched generation upon generation.

In caves in the south of France and in northern Africa there are 25,000 year old paintings of animals fighting men, of deer, of cattle. They are extraordinary paintings. They show man's endless search, his battle with life and his search for the extraordinary thing called God. But he never finds that extraordinary thing. You can only come upon it darkly, unknowingly, when there is no fear of any kind. The moment there is no fear you have very strong feelings. The stronger you feel, the less you are concerned about small things. It is fear that drives away all feeling of beauty, of the quality of great silence. As you study mathematics, so you have to study fear. You must know fear and not escape from it so that you can look at fear. It is like going for a walk and suddenly coming upon a snake, jumping away and watching the snake. If you are very quiet, very still, unafraid, then you can look very closely, keeping a safe distance. You can look at the black tongue and the eyes that have no eyelids. You can look at the scales, the patterns of the skin. If you watch the snake very closely you see and appreciate it and perhaps have great affection for that snake. But you cannot look if you are afraid, if you run away. So, in the same way as you look at a snake, you have to look at this battle called life, with its sorrow, misery, confusion, conflict, war, hatred, greed, ambition, anxiety and guilt. You can only look at life and love if there is no fear.

Student: Why do we all want to live? Krishnamurti: Don't laugh because a little boy asks, when life is so transient, why do we crave to live? Isn't it very sad for a little boy to ask that question? That means he has seen for himself that everything passes away. Birds die, leaves fall, people grow old, man has disease, pain, sorrow, suffering; a little joy, a little pleasure and unending work. And the boy asks why do we cling to all this? He sees how young people grow old before their age, before their time. He sees death. And man clings to life because there is nothing else to cling to. His gods, his temples, don't contain truth; his sacred books are just words. So he asks why people cling to life when there is so much misery. You understand? What do you answer? What do the older people answer? What do the teachers of this school answer? There is silence. The older people have lived on ideas, on words and the boy says, "l am hungry, feed me with food, not with words." He does not trust you and so he asks, "Why do we cling to all this?" Do you know why you cling? Because you know nothing else. You cling to your house, you cling to your books, you cling to your idols, gods, conclusions, your attachments, your sorrows, because you have nothing else and all that you do brings unhappiness. To find out if there is anything else, you must let go what you cling to. If you want to cross the river, you must move away from this bank. You cannot sit on one bank. You want to be free from misery and yet you will not cross the river. So, you cling to something that you know however miserable it is and you are afraid to let go because you don't know what is on the other side of the river.

Krishnamurti on Education

Talks to Students

Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Students Chapter 5 'On Sensitivity'

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