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The Ending of Time

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Ojai 2nd Conversation with David Bohm 2nd April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'

K: I hope you had a good rest. In our dialogue between yourself and myself we were saying time is conflict.

DB: Yes, psychological time.

K: Time is the enemy of man. And that enemy has existed from the beginning of man. And we said why has man from the beginning taken a wrong turn, a wrong path - in quotes. And if so is it possible to turn man in another direction in which he can live without conflict? Because, as we said yesterday, the outer movement is also the same as the inner movement, there is no inner or outer. It is the same movement carried on inwardly. And if we were concerned deeply and passionately, to turn man in another direction so that he doesn't live in time, but has a knowledge of the outer things. And the religions have failed; the politicians, the educators, they have never been concerned about this. Would you agree to that?

DB: Yes, I think the religions have tried to discuss the eternal values beyond time but they don't seem to have succeeded.

K: That is what I wanted to get at. To them it was an idea, an ideal, a principle, a value, but not an actuality.

DB: Yes, well some of them claim that to some of them it may have been an actuality.

K: But you see most of the religious people have their anchor in a belief.

DB: Yes.

K: An anchor in a principle, in an image, in knowledge, in Jesus or in something or other.

DB: Yes, but if you were to consider all the religions, say the various forms of Buddhism, they try to say this very thing which you are saying, to some extent.

K: To some extent, but what I am trying to get at is: why has man never confronted this problem? Why hasn't he, all of us, why haven't we said, let's end conflict? Or rather we have been encouraged because through conflict we think there is progress.

DB: Yes, to overcome opposition.

K: Yes,

DB: It can be a certain source of stimulus to try to overcome opposition.

K: Yes sir. And if you and I saw the truth of this, not in abstraction but actually deeply, can we act in such a way that every issue is resolved instantly, immediately, so that time is abolished?

DB: Psychological time.

K: We are talking about psychological time. And as we said yesterday, when you come to that point when there is nothing and there is everything, and all that is energy, and when time ends, is there a beginning of something totally new? That's where we came up to yesterday.

DB: And if there isn't then the whole thing falls flat. I mean it only drives you back into the world.

K: Is there a beginning which is not enmeshed in time? Now how shall we discover it? Words are necessary to communicate. But the word is not that thing. So what is there when all time ends? Psychological time, not the time of...

DB:... time of day.

K: Yes. Time is the 'me', the 'I', the ego, and when that completely comes to an end what is there that begins - could we say that, out of the ashes of time, there is a new growth? What is that? We came to that point yesterday. What is that which begins - no, that word 'begins' implies time too.

DB: Whatever we mean, that which arises.

K: That arises, what is it?

DB: Well we were discussing yesterday that essentially it is creation, the possibility of creation.

K: Yes, we said creation. Is that it? That is, is something new being born each - not time, you see - something new is taking place.

DB: It is not the process of becoming, you see.

K: Oh no, that is finished. Becoming is the worst, that is time, that is the real root of this conflict. We are trying to find out what happens when the 'I', which is time, has completely come to an end. I believe the Buddha is supposed to have said, Nirvana.

DB: Nirvana?

K: Nirvana. And the Hindus call it Moksha. I don't know, the Christians may call it Heaven or whatever it is.

DB: The Christian mystics have had some similar...

K: Similar yes. But you see the Christian mystics as far as I understand it, they are rooted in Jesus, in the Church, in the whole belief. They have never gone beyond it.

DB: Yes, well that seems so. As far as I know anyway.

K: Say, like a man like Teilhard de Chardin, he was great, you know all the rest of it, he was a deep believer. Now we have said belief, attachment to all that is out, finished. That is all part of the 'I'. Now when there is that absolute cleansing of the mind of the accumulation of time, which is the essence of the 'me', what takes place? Why should we ask what takes place?

DB: You mean it is not a good question?

K: I am just asking myself. Why should we ask that? Is there behind it a subtle form of hope? A subtle form of saying, what, I have reached that point, there is nothing. That's a wrong question. Wouldn't you consider that.

DB: Well it invites you to search out - it invites you to look for some hopeful outcome.

K: If all endeavour is to find something beyond the 'me', that endeavour and the thing that I may find is still within the orbit of 'me' - right?

DB: Yes.

K: So I have no hope. There is no sense of hope, there is no sense of wanting to find anything.

DB: What then is moving you to enquire?

K: My enquiry has been to end conflict.

DB: Yes, we have to then be careful. You are liable to produce a hope of ending conflict. We are liable to fall into the hope of ending conflict.

K: No, no there is no hope. I end it.

DB: There is no hope.

K: The moment I introduce the word 'hope' there is a feeling of the future.

DB: Yes, that is desire.

K: Desire, and therefore it is of time. So I - the mind puts all that aside completely, I mean it, completely. Then what is the essence of all this? Do you understand my question? What is the - no, I have put the wrong question, sorry. Is my mind still seeking, or groping after something intangible that it can capture and hold? And if that is so, it is still part of time.

DB: Well that is still desire.

K: Desire and a subtle form of vanity.

DB: Why vanity?

K: Vanity in the sense 'I have reached'.

DB: Self deception.

K: Deception, and all forms of illusion arise from that. So it is not that. I am cleaning the decks as we go along.

DB: Essentially it seems that you are cleaning the movement of desire in its subtle forms.

K: In its subtle forms. So that too has been put away. Then as we said the other day, in another discussion, there is only mind. Right?

DB: Yes, we left the question somewhat unsettled because we had to ask what is meant by nature, if there is only mind, because nature seems somewhat independent.

K: But we also said all the universe is the mind.

DB: You mean to say nature is the mind.

K: Part of mind.

DB: The universal mind.

K: Universal mind.

DB: Not a particular mind.

K: The particular mind then is separate but we are talking of Mind.

DB: You see we have to make it clear because you are saying that nature is the creation of universal mind which nevertheless nature has a certain reality.

K: That is all understood.

DB: But it is almost as if nature was the thought of the universal mind.

K: It is part of it. Sir I am trying to grope after - if the particular mind has come to an end, then there is only the Mind, the universal mind. Right?

DB: Right. Yes, well if it has - we have been discussing the particular mind groping through desire and we said if all of that has stopped...

K: That is just my point. If all that has completely come to an end, what is the next step? Is there any next? We said yesterday, there is a beginning, and that word also implies part of time.

DB: We won't say, so much beginning, perhaps ending.

K: The ending, we have said that.

DB: Ending, right. But now is there something new?

K: Is there something which the mind cannot capture?

DB: Which mind, the particular or the universal?

K: The particular has ended.

DB: Yes. You are saying the universal mind cannot capture it either?

K: That is what I am finding out.

DB: Are you saying there is a reality beyond universal mind? Or something?

K: Sir, are we playing a game of peeling off one thing after another? Like an onion skin and at the end there is only tears and nothing else?

DB: Well, I don't know.

K: Because we said there is the ending, then the cosmic, the universal mind, and behind is there something more?

DB: Well would you say this 'more' is energy?

K: We said that.

DB: But you mean the energy is beyond the universal mind?

K: I would say yes because the universal mind is part of that energy.

DB: I understand that. That is understandable.

K: That is understandable. At last!

DB: Well in a way the energy is alive, you are saying?

K: Yes, yes.

DB: And also intelligent?

K: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

DB: In so far as it is mind.

K: Now if that energy is intelligent, why has it allowed man to move away in the wrong direction?

DB: I think that that may be part of a process, something that was inevitable in the nature of thought. You see if thought is going to develop that possibility must exist.

K: Oh.

DB: To bring about thought in man...

K: Is that the original freedom for man?

DB: What?

K: To choose?

DB: No, that is, thought has to have the capacity to make this mistake.

K: But if that intelligence was operating, why did it allow this mistake?

DB: Well you can suggest anyway that there is a universal order, a law.

K: All right sir. The universe function in order.

DB: Yes, and this is part of the order of the universe that this particular mechanism can go wrong. If a machine breaks down it is not disorder in the universe, it is merely part of universal order.

K: Yes. In the universal order there is disorder, where man is concerned.

DB: It is not disorder at the level of the universe.

K: No, no. At a much lower level.

DB: At the level of man it is disorder.

K: Disorder. And why has he lived from the beginning of man, why has he lived in this disorder?

DB: Because he is still ignorant, he still hasn't seen the point.

K: But if he is part of the whole and in one tiny corner man exists and has lived in disorder. And this enormous conscious intelligence - not conscious, this enormous intelligence has not...

DB: Yes, well you could say that the possibility of creation is also the possibility of disorder. That if man had the possibility of being creative and there would also be the possibility of a mistake or something. It could not be fixed like a machine, to always operate in perfect order.

K: No, no.

DB: I mean the intelligence would not have turned him into a machine.

K: No, of course not.

DB: That would be incapable of disorder.

K: So is there something beyond the cosmic order, mind?

DB: Are you saying that the universe, that that mind has created nature which has an order that is not merely just going around mechanically? It has some deeper meaning.

K: That is what we are trying to find out.

DB: You are bringing in the whole universe as well as mankind. Well what makes you do this? What is the source of this perception?

K: The source of what?

DB: Of what you said.

K: What?

DB: About the universe and about the mind.

K: We said just now - let's begin again: there is the ending of the 'me' as time, and so there is no hope, all that is gone, finished, ended. In the ending of it there is that sense of nothingness, which is so. And nothingness is this whole universe,

DB: Yes, the universal mind, the universe of matter.

K: Yes, the whole universe.

DB: I am just asking: what lead you to say that?

K: Ah! I know. To put it very simply: division has come to an end. Right? The division created by time, created by thought, created by this education and so on and so on, all that, because it has ended, it is obvious, the other.

DB: You mean without the division then the other is there to be perceived.

K: Not to be perceived, it is there.

DB: But then how do you come to be aware that it is there?

K: Quite. How do you come to be aware that - I don't think you become aware of it.

DB: Then what leads you to say it?

K: Would you say it is, not, I perceive it, or, it is perceived.

DB: No. It is.

K: It is.

DB: You could almost say that it is saying it. In some sense you seem to be suggesting that it is what is saying.

K: Yes.

DB: Right?

K: Yes. I didn't want to put it - I am glad you put it like that!

DB: I mean it is implied in what you are saying.

K: Where are we now?

DB: Well we say that the universe is alive, as it were, it is mind and we are part of it.

K: We can only say we are part of it when there is no 'I'.

DB: No division.

K: No division.

I would like to push it a little further, which is: is there something beyond all this?

DB: Beyond the energy, you mean?

K: Yes. We said nothingness and everything, that nothingness is everything and so it is that which is total energy. It is undiluted pure uncorrupted energy - right. Is there something beyond that? Why do we ask it?

DB: I don't know.

K: I feel we haven't touched - I feel there is something beyond.

DB: Could we say this something beyond is, as it were, the ground of the whole. You are saying that this all emerges from an inward ground?

K: Yes, there is another - I must be awfully careful here. Sir, you know one must be awfully careful not to be romantic, not to have illusions, not to have desire, not even to grope. It must happen. You follow what I mean?

DB: We are saying the thing must come from that. Whatever you are saying must come from that.

K: From that. That's it. It sounds rather presumptions.

DB: Without your actually seeing it - it is not that you look at it and say that is what I have seen.

K: Oh no. Then it is wrong.

DB: There isn't a division or anything. Of course it is easy to fall into delusion into this sort of thing.

K: Of course. But we said delusion exists as long as there is desire and thought. That is simple. And desire and thought is part of the 'I', which is time and all that. When that is completely ended then there is absolutely nothing and therefore that is the universe, that emptiness which is full of energy. We can put a stop there for the time.

DB: Yes, because we haven't yet seen the necessity for going beyond the energy, you see.

K: Yes.

DB: We have to see that as necessary.

K: I think it is necessary.

DB: Yes but it has to be seen. We have to bring that out, why is it necessary?

K: Why is it necessary? Tentatively: there is something in us that is operating, there is something in us much more - I don't know how to put it - much greater. Let me, sir. I am going slowly, slowly. What I am trying to say is: wait a minute. I think there is something, sir, beyond that. When I say 'I think', you know what I mean.

DB: I understand, yes.

K: There is something beyond that. How can we talk about it? You see energy exists only when there is emptiness - right?

DB: Yes. Well.

K: Together they go.

DB: This pure energy is emptiness. This pure energy you talk about is emptiness.

K: Emptiness.

DB: Not filled with something.

K: No. Now beyond that emptiness, not in terms of beyond. Beyond means more, further, time.

DB: Yes. Inwardly.

K: I don't know how to put it that way.

DB: But are you trying to suggest that there is that which is beyond the emptiness, the ground of the emptiness?

K: Yes.

DB: Would that be something in the nature of a substance? You see the question is if it is not emptiness then what is it?

K: I don't quite follow your question.

DB: Well you say something beyond emptiness, you know, other than emptiness.

K: I said there is emptiness which is energy.

DB: And beyond that.

K: Now, wait a minute. Are you all hanging on my words? What do you say sir?

DB: I think we can follow to the energy and the emptiness. Now if we suggest something other to that, to the emptiness...

K: Oh yes, there is something other.

DB: Yes, then that other must be different from the emptiness.

K: Yes sir. I have got it.

DB: Non-emptiness. Is that right?

K: What did you say just now?

DB: I said something other to emptiness, which therefore is not emptiness, does that make sense?

K: Then it is substance.

DB: Yes that is what seemed to be implied: if it is not emptiness it is substance.

K: Substance is matter, is it?

DB: Not necessarily but having quality of substance.

K: What do you mean by that?

DB: Well, you see matter is a form of substance in the sense that it is...

K: Matter is energy.

DB: It is energy but having the form of substance as well because it has a constant form and it resists change, it is stable, it maintains itself.

K: Yes. But when you use the word 'substance', beyond emptiness, does that word have a meaning then?

DB: Well we are exploring the possible meaning of what you want to say. If you are saying it is not emptiness then it would not be substance as we know it in matter but we can see a certain quality which belongs to substance in general, if it has that quality we could use the word substance, extend the meaning of the word substance.

K: I understand. So could we use the word 'quality'?

DB: Well the word 'quality' is not necessarily the emptiness, energy could have the quality of emptiness, you see.

K: Yes I see.

DB: And therefore something other might have the quality of substance. That is the way I see it. And is that what you are trying to say?

K: Sir, there is something beyond emptiness. How shall we tackle it?

DB: Firstly, what leads you to say it? What leads you to say this?

K: Simply the fact that there is. We have been fairly logical all along, reasonable and fairly sane. So we have not been caught in any illusions so far. Right? And can we keep that same kind of watchfulness in which there is no illusion to find out - not find out - for that which is beyond emptiness to come down to earth? Come down to earth in the sense to be communicated. You follow what I mean?

DB: Yes. Well we could come back to the question before: why hasn't it come down?

K: Why hasn't it come down? Has man been ever free from the 'I'?

DB: No, well not generally speaking, no.

K: No. And it demands that the 'I' end.

DB: I think we could look at it this way: that the ego becomes an illusion of that substance. You feel the ego is a substance too in some way.

K: Yes, the ego is substance, quite right.

DB: And therefore that substance seems to be...

K:... untouchable.

DB: But that ego is an illusion of true substance. You see the mind tries to create some illusion of that substance.

K: That is an illusion, why do you relate it to the other?

DB: In the sense that if the mind thinks it already has this substance then it will not be open to it.

K: Of course, of course.

Can that thing ever be put into words? I am not saying I am avoiding it - you follow? It is not a question of avoiding or trying to slither out of some conclusion. But you see so far we have put everything into words.

DB: Yes, well I think that once something can be perceived it can generally be put into words. If anything can be properly perceived then after a while the words come to communicate it.

K: Yes, but can that be perceived and therefore communicable?

DB: This thing beyond, would you say also it is alive?

K: Eh?

DB: Is life beyond emptiness, is that still life?

K: Is that still alive?

DB: Living.

K: Living, yes. Oh yes.

DB: And intelligent?

K: I don't want to use those words.

DB: That is too limited?

K: Living, intelligence, love, compassion, it is all too limited.

Sir, you and I are sitting here, we have come to a point and there is that thing which perhaps later on might be put into words, without any sense of pressure or intimation, without any sense of verbal communication, and so without any illusion, don't you see beyond the wall? You know what I mean? We have come up to a certain point and we are saying there is something still more - you understand? There is something behind all that. Is it palpable, you can touch it, is it something that the mind can capture? You follow?

DB: Yes. Are you saying it is not?

K: I don't think it is possible for the mind to capture it - capture, you understand?

DB: Yes, or grasp it.

K: Grasp it, understand, for the mind to look at it even. Sir, you are a scientist, you have examined the atom and so on and so on, don't you, when you have examined all that, don't you feel there is something much more beyond all that?

DB: You can always feel there is more beyond that but it doesn't tell you what it is.

K: No, no, but you know there is something much more.

DB: It is clear that whatever you know it is limited.

K: Yes.

DB: And there must be more beyond.

K: How can that communicate with you so that you, with your scientific knowledge, with your brain capacity and so on and so on, how can you grasp it?

DB: Now are you saying it can't be grasped?

K: No, no. Can you grasp it? I don't say you can't grasp it - can you grasp it?

DB: Look, it is not clear. You were saying before that it is ungraspable by...

K: Grasp in the sense, can your mind, highly trained, capable of perception, you know, beyond theories and so on - what am I trying to tell you? I am trying to say: can you move into it? Not move - you understand, move means time and all that. Can you - what am I trying to say? Can you enter it? No, those are all words. Sir, what is beyond emptiness? Is it silence?

DB: Isn't that similar to emptiness?

K: Yes, that is what I am getting at, move step by step. Is it silence? Or is silence part of emptiness?

DB: Yes, I should say that.

K: I should say that too. If it is not silence - just a minute sir, I am just asking: could we say it is something absolute? You understand?

DB: Well we could consider the absolute. It would have to be something totally independent, that is what it really means, absolute. It doesn't depend on anything.

K: Yes, sir. I am glad. You are getting somewhere near it.

DB: Entirely self moving, as it were, self active.

K: Yes. Would you say everything has a cause and that has no cause at all?

DB: You see this notion is already an old one. This notion has been developed by Aristotle, that this absolute is the cause of itself.

K: Yes.

DB: It has no cause in a sense. That is the same thing.

K: You see the moment you said Aristotle, it is not that. How shall we get at this? Emptiness is energy and that emptiness exists in silence or the other way round, it doesn't matter - right?

DB: Right.

K: Oh yes, there is something beyond all this. Probably it can never be put into words.

DB: As far as we can tell anyway.

K: But it must be put into words.

DB: Yes.

K: You follow?

DB: You are saying the absolute must be put into words, and yet we feel it can't be. Any attempt to put it into words makes it relative.

K: Yes. I don't know how to put all this.

DB: I think we have a long history of danger with the absolute. People have put it in words and it has become very oppressive.

K: Leave all that. You see being ignorant of what other people have said - you follow? - Aristotle and the Buddha and so on - it has an advantage. You understand what I mean? It is an advantage in the sense that the mind is not coloured by other people's ideas, it is not caught in other people's statements. And that is part of our conditioning and so on, all that. Now to go beyond all that. What are we trying to do, sir?

DB: Well I think to communicate regarding this absolute, this beyond.

K: I took away that word immediately.

DB: Then whatever it is, what is beyond emptiness and silence.

K: Beyond all that. There is beyond all that.

DB: The difficulty is...

K: All that is something, part of an immensity.

DB: Yes, well even the emptiness and silence is an immensity, isn't it? The energy is itself an immensity.

K: Yes, I understand that. But there is something much more immense than that. Sir, emptiness and silence and energy is immense, it is really immeasurable. But there is something - I am using the word 'greater' than that. I can't put it, I don't know. Why do you accept all this?

DB: Well I am just considering. I am looking at it, I mean, but one can see that whatever you say about emptiness, or about any other thing, that there is something beyond.

K: No, as a scientist, why do you accept - not accept, forgive me for using that word - why do you even move with the other chap?

DB: Yes, well because we have come this far step by step, seeing the necessity of each step.

K: You see all that is very logical, reasonable, sane.

DB: And also, one can see that it is so, right.

K: Yes. So if I say there is something greater than all this, silence, energy, would you accept that? Accept in the sense that up to now we have been logical.

DB: We will say that anything you say, there is certainly something beyond it. Whatever you say - carry whatever you say to silence, energy, whatever, then there is always room logically for something beyond that.

K: Beyond that, yes.

DB: That is not the final.

K: That is not the end.

DB: But even if you were to say there is something - the point is this: that even if you were to say there is something beyond that, but still you logically leave room for going again beyond that.

K: No, no, no.

DB: Well that is the question.

K: That is the point.

DB: Well why is that? You see whatever you say there is always room for something beyond.

K: Of course, of course. There is nothing beyond.

DB: Yes, well that point is not clear you see because...

K: There is nothing beyond it. I stick to that. Not dogmatically or obstinately. I feel that is the beginning and the ending of everything. Sir, just in ordinary parlance, in ordinary communication, the ending and the beginning are the same. Right?

DB: In which sense?

K: Yes sir, I see something in this.

DB: You mean in the sense that you are using the beginning of everything as the ending of everything.

K: Yes. Right? You would say that?

DB: Yes, if we take the ground from which it comes it must be the ground to which it falls.

K: That's right. That is the ground.

DB: All right.

K: Upon which...

DB: Well that is a figure of speech.

K:... upon which everything exists, space...

DB:... energy...

K:... energy, emptiness, silence, all that is on that - not ground, you understand?

DB: No, it is just a metaphor.

K: There is nothing beyond it.

DB: This ground has no cause.

K: No cause, of course. If you have a cause then you have ground.

DB: You have another ground.

K: No, no, that is the beginning and the ending.

DB: It is becoming more clear.

K: That's right. Does that convey anything to you?

DB: Yes, well I think that that conveys something.

K: Something. Would you say further: there is no beginning and no ending?

DB: Yes. It comes from the ground, goes to the ground, but it does not begin or end, right.

K: Yes, there is no beginning and no ending. Right?

DB: Yes.

K: The implications are enormous. Is that sir, death - not death in the sense, I will die - is that complete ending of everything?

DB: Yes, well you see at first you would have said that the emptiness is the ending of everything, so in what sense is this more now?

K: I am trying to get at thing.

DB: We began with emptiness is the ending of things, isn't it?

K: Yes, yes. Is that death?

DB: What?

K: This emptiness?

DB: Well that...

K: Death of everything the mind has cultivated.

DB: Right, then in what sense is it not then? Why is it not?

K: That emptiness is not the product of the mind, of the particular mind.

DB: Yes, it is the universal mind.

K: That emptiness is that.

DB: Yes.

K: That emptiness can only exist when there is death of the particular.

DB: Yes, the particular goes.

K: When there is total death of the particular.

DB: Yes.

K: I don't know if I am conveying this.

DB: Yes that is the emptiness, but then you are saying that in this ground that death goes further?

K: Oh yes, oh yes.

DB: So you are saying the ending of the particular, the death of the particular is the emptiness, which is universal. Now are you going to say that the universal also dies?

K: Yes sir, that is what I am trying to say.

DB: Into the ground.

K: Does it convey anything?

DB: Possibly, yes.

K: Just hold it a minute. Let's see it. I think it conveys something sir, doesn't it?

DB: Yes, of course it is hard to...

K: Yes.

DB: Now if the particular and the universal die then that is death, yes?

K: Yes sir. After all, I don't know, I am not an astrologer - not astrologer - an astronomer, everything in the universe is dying, exploding, dying.

DB: Yes, but of course you could suppose that there was something beyond, you know.

K: Yes, that is just it.

DB: I think we are moving. The universal and the particular - first the particular dies into the emptiness and then comes the universal.

K: And that dies too.

DB: Into the ground, right?

K: Yes, sir.

DB: So you could say the ground is neither born not dies.

K: That's right.

DB: Well I think it becomes almost inexpressible if you say the universal is gone because expression is the universal.

K: You see, I am just explaining: everything is dying, except that. Does this convey anything?

DB: Yes. Well it is out of that that everything arises and into which it dies.

K: So that has no beginning and no ending.

DB: Yes. Well what would it mean to talk of the ending of the universal? What would it mean to have the ending of the universal you see?

K: Nothing. Why should it have a meaning if it is happening? What has that to do with man? You follow what I mean?

DB: Yes.

K: Man who is going through a terrible time and all the rest of it, what has that got to do with man?

DB: Well let's call it that man feels he must have some contact with the ultimate ground in his life otherwise there is no meaning.

K: But it hasn't. That ground hasn't any relationship with man.

DB: Apparently not.

K: No. He is killing himself, he is doing everything contrary to the ground.

DB: Yes, that is why life has no meaning for man.

K: So I am asking, I am an ordinary man: I say all right you have talked marvellously, it sounds excellent, what has that got to do with me? How will that or your talk help me to get over my ugliness? My wife quarrels with me - or whatever it is. And after your excellent talk...

DB: Well I think I would go back and say we went into this logically starting from the suffering of mankind, showing it originates in a wrong turning and that leads inevitably...

K: Yes but help me, he says, to get to the right turn. Put me on the right path. And to that you say, please don't become anything. You see, sir?

DB: Right. What is the problem then?

K: He won't even listen to you.

DB: Yes, well now it seems to me that it is necessary for the one who sees this to find out what is the barrier to listening.

K: Obviously you can see what is the barrier.

DB: What is the barrier?

K: 'I'.

DB: Yes but I meant more deeply so that...

K: More deeply, all your thoughts, you know, deep attachments and all that is in your way. If you can't leave that then you will have no relationship with that. But he doesn't want to leave all that.

DB: Yes, I understand that. But what he wants is the result of the way he is thinking.

K: What he wants is some comfortable, easy way of living without any trouble, and he can't have that.

DB: No. Well only by dropping all this.

K: There must be a connection otherwise...

DB: A connection.

K: There must be some relationship with the ground and this, with ordinary man otherwise what is the meaning of living?

DB: Yes, well that is what I was trying to say before that without that...

K:... there is no meaning.

DB: And then people invent meaning.

K: Of course. Billy Graham does it everyday.

DB: Well even going back, the ancient religions have said similar things that god is the ground and they say seek god, you know.

K: Ah no, this isn't god.

DB: Yes, it is not god but it is playing the same - you could say that god is an attempt to put this notion a bit too personally perhaps.

K: Yes. Give them hope, give them faith, you follow? Make life a little more comfortable to live.

DB: Well are you asking first, at this point: how is this to be conveyed to the ordinary man? Is that your question?

K: Yes more or less. And also it is important that he should listen to this.

DB: Yes, I meant exactly that.

K: You are a scientist. You are good enough to listen because we are friends. But who will listen among your friends? They will say, what the hell are you talking about? I feel, sir, if one pursues this we will have a marvellously ordered world.

DB: Yes. And what will we do in this world?

K: Live.

DB: Yes but I mean we said something about creativity.

K: Yes. And then if you had no conflict, no 'I', there is something else operating.

DB: Yes, it is important to say that because the Christian idea of having a perfection may seem rather boring because there is nothing to do.

K: That reminds me of a good joke! You are waiting for the joke? A man dies and goes to St Peter and St Peter says, 'You have lived a fairly good life, you have not cheated too much, but before you enter into this heaven I must tell you one thing: here we are all bored. We are all awfully serious, god never laughs. And every angel is moody, oppressed and unless you want to enter this world, hesitate.' But he says, 'Before you come in perhaps you would like to go down below and see what it is like. And then come and tell me. It's up to you.' So St Peter says, 'Ring that bell, the lift will come up. You get into it and go down.' So the chap rings the bell and goes down and the gates open. And he is met by the most beautiful girls etc., etc., etc. And he said, 'By Jove, this is the life. May I go up and tell Peter?' And so he rings the bell and gets into the lift and goes up and says, 'Sir it was very good of you to offer me the choice. I prefer down below.' And Peter says. 'I thought so!' So he rings the bell and goes down, opens the gate, two people meet him and beat him up. Push him all around and so on. He said, 'Just a minute, a minute ago I came here, you treated me like a king.' 'Ah, you were a tourist then!' (Laughter) Sorry. From the sublime to the ridiculous, which is good too.

Sir we must continue this some other time, because it is something that has got to be put into orbit.

DB: It seems impossible.

K: We have gone pretty far.

The Ending of Time

Longer, Unedited Versions

Ojai 2nd Conversation with David Bohm 2nd April, 1980 `the Ending of Time'

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