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Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 17

We have been examining the various factors that bring about deteriorate in our lives, in our activities, in our thoughts; and we have seen that conflict is one of the major factors of this deterioration. And is not peace also, as it is generally understood, a destructive factor? Can peace be brought about by the mind? If we have peace through the mind, does not that also lead to corruption, deterioration? If we are not very alert and observant, that word `peace' becomes like a narrow window through which we look at the world and try to understand it. Through a narrow window we can see only part of the sky, and not the whole vastness, the magnificence of it. There is no possibility of having peace by merely pursuing peace, which is inevitably a process of the mind.

It may be a little difficult to understand this, but I shall try to make it as simple and clear as I can. If we can understand what it means to be peaceful, then perhaps we shall understand the real significance of love.

We think that peace is something to be achieved through the mind, through reason; but is it? Can peace ever come about through any quieting through any control or domination of thought? We all want peace; and for most of us, peace means to be left alone, not to be disturbed or interfered with, so we build a wall around our own mind, a wall of ideas.

It is very important for you to understand this, for as you grow older you will be faced with the problems of war and peace. Is peace something to be pursued, caught and tamed by the mind? What most of us call peace is a process of stagnation, a slow decay. We think we shall find peace by clinging to a set of ideas, by inwardly building a wall of security, safety, a wall of habits, beliefs; we think that peace is a matter of pursuing a principle, of cultivating a particular tendency, a particular fancy, a particular wish. We want to live without disturbance, so we find some corner of the universe, or of our own being, into which we crawl, and we live in the darkness of self-enclosure. That is what most of us seek in our relationship with the husband, with the wife, with parents, with friends. Unconsciously we want peace at any price, and so we pursue it.

But can the mind ever find peace? Is not the mind itself a source of disturbance? The mind can only gather, accumulate, deny, assert, remember, pursue. Peace is absolutely essential, because without peace we cannot live creatively. But is peace something to be realized through the struggles, the denials, the sacrifices of the mind? Do you understand what I am talking about?

We may be discontented while we are young, but as we grow older, unless we are very wise and watchful, that discontent will be canalized into some form of peaceful resignation to life. The mind is everlastingly seeking a secluded habit, belief, desire, something in which it can live and be at peace with the world. But the mind cannot find peace, because it can think only in terms of time, in terms of the past, the present and the future: what it has been, what it is, and what it will be. It is constantly condemning, judging, weighing, comparing, pursuing its own vanities, its own habits, beliefs; and such a mind can never be peaceful. It can delude itself into a state which it calls peace; but that is not peace. The mind can mesmerize itself by the repetition of words and phrases, by following somebody, or by accumulating knowledge; but it is not peaceful, because such a mind is itself the centre of disturbance, it is by its very nature the essence of time. So the mind with which we think, with which we calculate, with which we contrive and compare, is incapable of finding peace. Peace is not the outcome of reason; and yet, as you will see if you observe them, the organized religions are caught up in this pursuit of peace through the mind. Real peace is as creative and as pure as war is destructive; and to find that peace, one must understand beauty. That is why it is important, while we are very young, to have beauty about us - the beauty of buildings that have proper proportions, the beauty of cleanliness, of quiet talk among the elders. In understanding what beauty is, we shall know love, for the understanding of beauty is the peace of the heart.

Peace is of the heart, not of the mind. To know peace you have to find out what beauty is. The way you talk, the words you use, the gestures you make - these things matter very much, for through them you will discover the refinement of your own heart. Beauty cannot be defined, it cannot be explained in words. It can be understood only when the mind is very quiet.

So, while you are young and sensitive, it is essential that you - as well as those who are responsible for you - should create an atmosphere of beauty. The way you dress, the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you eat - all these things, and the things about you, are very important. As you grow up you will meet the ugly things of life - ugly buildings, ugly people with their malice, envy, ambition, cruelty; and if in your heart there is not founded and established the perception of beauty, you will easily be swept away by the enormous current of the world. Then you will get caught in the endless struggle to find peace through the mind. The mind projects an idea of what peace is and tries to pursue it, thereby getting caught in the net of words in the net of fancies and illusions.

Peace can come only when there is love. If you have peace merely through security, financial or otherwise, or through certain dogmas, rituals, verbal repetitions, there is no creativeness; there is no urgency to bring about a fundamental revolution in the world. Such peace only leads to contentment and resignation. But when in you there is the understanding of love and beauty, then you will find the peace that is not a mere projection of the mind. It is this peace that is creative, that removes confusion and brings order within oneself. But this peace does not come through any effort to find it. It comes when you are constantly watching, when you are sensitive to both the ugly and the beautiful, to the good and the bad, to all the fluctuations of life. Peace is not something petty, created by the mind; it is enormously great, infinitely extensive, and it can be understood only when the heart is full.

Questioner: Why do we feel inferior before our superiors?

Krishnamurti: Whom do you consider your superiors? Those who know? Those who have titles, degrees? Those from whom you want something, some kind of reward or position. The moment you regard somebody as superior do you not regard somebody else as inferior?

Why do we have this division of the superior and the inferior? It exists only when we want something, does it not? I feel less intelligent than you are, I do not have as much money or capacity as you have, I am not as happy as you seem to be, or I want something from you; so I feel inferior to you. When I am envious of you, or when I am trying to imitate you, or when I want something from you, I immediately become your inferior, because I have put you on a pedestal, I have given you a superior value. So, psychologically, inwardly, I create both the superior and the inferior; I create this sense of inequality between those who have and those who have not.

Among human beings there is enormous inequality of capacity, is there not? There is the man who designs the jet plane, and the man who guides the plough. These vast differences in capacity - intellectual, verbal, physical - are inevitable. But you see we give tremendous significance to certain functions. We consider the governor, the Prime minister, the inventor, the scientist, as being enormously more important than the servant; so function assumes status. As long as we give status to particular functions, there is bound to be a sense of inequality, and the gap between those who are capable and those who are not becomes unbridgeable. If we can keep function stripped of status, then there is a possibility of bringing about a real feeling of equality. But for this there must be love; because it is love that destroys the sense of the inferior and the superior.

The world is divided into those who have - the rich, the powerful, the capable, those who have everything - and those who have not. And is it possible to bring about a world in which this division between the `haves' and the `have-nots' does not exist? Actually, what is happening is this: seeing the breach, this gulf between the rich and the poor, between the man of great capacity and the man of little or no capacity, the politicians and economists are trying to solve the problem through economic and social reform. That may be all right. But a real transformation can never take place as long as we do not understand the whole process of antagonism, envy, malice; for it is only when this process is understood and comes to an end that there can be love in our hearts.

Questioner: Is it possible to have peace in our lives when at every moment we are struggling against our environment?

Krishnamurti: What is our environment? Our environment is society, the economic, religious, national and class environment of the country in which we grow up; and also the climate. Most of us are struggling to fit in, to adjust ourselves to our environment, because we hope to get a job from that environment, we hope to have the benefits of that particular society. But what is that society made up of? Have you ever thought about it? Have you ever looked closely at the society in which you are living and to which you are trying to adjust yourself? That society is based on a set of beliefs and traditions which is called religion, and on certain economic values, is it not? You are part of that society, and you are struggling to adjust yourself to it. But that society is the outcome of acquisitiveness, it is the outcome of envy, fear, greed, possessive pursuits, with occasional flashes of love. And if you want to be intelligent, fearless, non-acquisitive, can you adjust yourself to such a society? Can you?

Surely, you have to create a new society, which means that you as an individual have to be free of acquisitiveness of envy, of greed; you have to be free of nationalism, of patriotism, and of all narrowing down of religious thought. Only then is there a possibility of creating something new, a totally new society. But as long as you thoughtlessly struggle to adjust yourself to the present society, you are merely following the old pattern of envy, of power and prestige, of beliefs which are corruptive.

So it is very important, while you are young, to begin to understand these problems and bring about real freedom within yourself, for then you will create a new world, a new society, a new relationship between man and man. And to help you do this is surely the true function of education.

Questioner: Why do we suffer? Why can we not be free of disease and death?

Krishnamurti: Through sanitation, through proper living conditions and nutritious food, man is beginning to free himself from certain diseases. Through surgery and various forms of treatment, medical science is trying to find a cure for incurable diseases like cancer. A capable doctor does all he can to relieve and eliminate disease.

And is death conquerable? It is a most extraordinary thing that, at your age, you are so interested in death. Why are you so preoccupied with it? Is it because you see so much of death about you - the burning ghats the body being carried to the river? To you, death is a familiar sight, it is so constantly with you; and there is the fear of death.

If you do not reflect and understand for yourself the implications of death, you will go endlessly from one preacher to another, from one hope to another, from one belief to another, trying to find a solution to this problem of death. Do you understand? Don't keep on asking somebody else, but try to find out for yourself the truth of the matter. To ask innumerable questions without ever trying to find out or discover, is characteristic of a petty mind.

You see, we fear death only when we cling to life. The understanding of the whole process of living is also the understanding of the significance of dying. Death is merely the extinction of continuity, and we are afraid of not being able to continue; but what continues can never be creative. Think it out; discover for yourself what is true. It is truth that liberates you from the fear of death, and not your religious theories, nor your belief in reincarnation or in life hereafter.

Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 17

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