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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

“When one is awake, with Light in oneself, there is no seeking. Only the man in darkness is always searching for light, for more experience… A monkey is restless, scratching itself, chattering, endless movement. So is our mind. One says, ‘I must control it’ and concentrate. We don’t realize that the entity demanding control is still the entity that is like the monkey.”




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Editor’s prefatory comments:

Jiddu Krishnamurti has been an important teacher in my life. I began learning about the “true” and “false” selves about 15 years ago, and his insights served to inaugurate this vital area of enquiry.

He was the one to make clear that “guru” signifies merely “one who points,” not “infallible sage.” Pointing the way is what even the best teachers provide, but no more. One must walk the path of enlightenment alone, no one can do this for us.




Public Talk 4, Paris - 26 May 1966


When one is awake, when one has Light in oneself, there is no seeking. One does not want any more experiences. It's only the man in darkness who is always searching for light. Is it possible to be so intensely awake, so highly sensitive, physically, intellectually, in every way, that there is not a dull spot in the mind? Then only is there no seeking; then only is there no urge for more experience.

Is it possible? Most of us live on sensations, sensuous sensations, and thought gives pleasure to them...

Most of us are faced with this sense of isolation and loneliness, a sense of void. Though one may have a family group or whatever it is, one knows this sense, this deep anxiety about nothing. Can one be free of it; can one really go beyond it; not escaping from it; not trying to fill that isolation, that loneliness, that emptiness with knowledge, with experience, with all kinds of words? You all know the things that one does to fill this void in oneself. Can one go beyond it? ...

If you would look at a flower, look at it. You can only look at it if there is no image of that flower in your mind, if you don't name it, if thought is not operating when you are looking at the flower, thought as knowledge of the species or the colour of that flower. Then you are directly, immediately in contact with that thing. When there is such contact, there is no observer. The observer is the image-maker, who prevents coming into direct contact with a fact, with a flower, with death, or with that thing which we call loneliness...

You have to understand this very deeply. It is this separation of the observer from the observed that makes the observer want more experience, more sensations, and so he is everlastingly pursuing, seeking. It has to be completely and totally understood that as long as there is an observer, the one that is seeking experience, the censor, the entity that evaluates, judges, condemns, there is no immediate contact with what is...

A mind that is in conflict of any kind, at any level, conscious or unconscious, is a tortured mind, whatever it sees is distorted. Please do understand this very simple truth or fact, that whatever it sees must be distorted as long as there is conflict, conflict of ambition, fear, the agony of separation and all the rest of it. A mind in conflict is a distorted mind. This conflict can only end when the observer ceases to be, when there is only the observed. Then virtue, that is, behaviour has a quite different meaning. Virtue is order, not the virtue of social order, for society is disorderly...

Order is not a matter of time; it isn't, "I will be orderly, virtuous, day after tomorrow". Either we are or we are not. In the interval between what is and what we think should be, disorder comes into being, disorder being conflict. Out of conflict there can be no virtue, no morality. I say to, myself, "I am angry; I will get over it; I'll practise patience, love and all the rest of it". That is, I'll gradually come to that state where I'm not angry. That process, the idea of gradual achievement, breeds not only conflict but also this disorderly, anxious, destructive existence...

When you see something dangerous you act immediately! There is no time interval; the idea is not separate from the action, action is the idea. A mind that is virtuous in this sense in which the speaker is using that word does not perceive through effort, but through direct perception. When you see the fact non-verbally there is immediate action. A man who is vain and proud may try to cultivate humility, but humility cannot be cultivated, any more than you can cultivate love. If he faces that fact of pride, non-verbally, actually comes into contact with it - and this is only possible when there is not a separate observer who says, " I am proud", but the observer is the observed - then there is a direct contact with the fact. To come into contact with the fact, energy is needed, and that energy comes into being when the observer is non-existent.

Having done this, you can begin to understand what meditation is, because the understanding of the observer and the observed is part of meditation. Unfortunately the East has supplied various systems of meditation; they think they are experts at this. There are the various schools of meditation which have certain practices, breathing in certain ways, sitting in certain positions. They say " Practise, practise, try, struggle, dominate, control; eventually you will get somewhere". Obviously you will get somewhere, but it will not be worth getting. What you will get is the projection of your own thinking, and this has no validity whatsoever.

It is a very complex question. One has to completely deny authority in any form, whether external authority or the authority of one's own experience and knowledge. One needs a very subtle, quick mind, a mind that can reason, that is healthy, not neurotic. All neuroses take place when there is self-centred activity, when there is this observer wanting to express himself in various activities, because he creates conflict in himself. All this is part of meditation. It demands awareness to observe what is without interpretation, to look without judgment, without choice, and therefore to act, not in terms of ideas, but to act as one does when one sees a precipice, a danger - immediate action! That immediate action, when one observes, when one perceives, in which no time is involved, brings about virtue, order.

Have you ever seen a monkey at close quarters? There are plenty of them in India. If you have seen one, you have noticed how restless it is, scratching itself, chattering, in endless movement. So is our mind. It is a chattering mind, a mind that is vagrant, that wanders all over the place, chattering like a monkey. One realizes that and says, " I must control it", and one begins to concentrate. One doesn't realize that the entity that is concentrating, the entity that demands control or exerts domination is still the entity that is like the monkey.


from the Gospel Of Thomas

restless, chattering, endless motion, ever seeking

Krishnamurti lecture: 26.May.1966.

“When one is awake, with Light in oneself, there is no seeking. Only the man in darkness is always searching for light, for more experience…A monkey is restless, scratching itself, chattering, endless movement. So is our mind. One says, ‘I must control it’ and concentrate. We don’t realize that the entity demanding control is still the entity that is like the monkey.”

K. I think everything we’ve said above concerning “motion and rest” is somewhat valid and helpful, but Krishnamurti might have inadvertently offered clarity here. The “monkey mind” is never at rest.

E. I think you’re onto something here. Krishnamurti says that if we have Light within ourselves, then the frantic search for satisfaction ceases.

K. We feel ourselves, at a deep level, to be “enough.”

E. And so, spell it out for us, Kriss. What is the cryptic statement of “motion and rest” really about?

K. The whole book of Thomas’ Gospel is that of drawing distinction between those who know about the inner Light and those who don’t.

E. Yes… very good… this would mean then, according to this view, that the world is divided into these two camps –

K. -- those who are at “rest” and those who are in constant “motion.”  

E. And look at the context in "Thomas." Jesus said, if they ask you, what is the evidence that you are from the Light? - tell them, "It is motion and rest."

K. In other words, everyone is led by one of these. The world is in constant "motion" but those of the Light are in a state of "rest."



The observer is the observed! Therefore, concentration - please listen - concentration leads merely to isolation, exclusion. Any schoolboy knows how to concentrate, or any man interested in something can concentrate. He puts on blinkers, creates a wall around himself and observes, acts. Such concentration, being exclusion, creates conflict; but there is an awareness which is not concentration, in which one can concentrate without exclusion.

Awareness is something really quite simple, so simple that you don't even think about it. As you enter a hall like this, you are aware of the colour, the shape of the pillars, the dimensions of the room and so on and so on and so on. You are aware, and then you begin to distinguish, criticize, give a name to the various colours. Such verbal differentiation is called distraction, but there is no distraction at all. There is only distraction when you try to concentrate on something; then everything else is a distraction. But there is no such thing as distraction when you are aware of everything that is going on. If you are aware, there is no distraction at all. From this awareness comes attention. When you give your whole attention, your nerves, body, mind, heart, everything is attentive! You are attentive when there is danger. In the attention, if you observe it, the mind is extraordinarily quiet. It is only in silence that you can perceive anything; it is only in silence that there is perception, seeing.

If you look at that microphone attentively, look at it totally, your mind is very quiet; it doesn't need concentrating, exclusion, an effort. This silence of the mind is necessary. It is not something to be achieved, not something put together by thought, for such silence is sterile, dead. A man through prayer can achieve a certain quality of silence; through repetition of words you can bring about a quietness of the mind, but this is so immature. It's not silence at all, the mind has drugged itself; but where there is attention there is silence.

It is the function of the brain to receive and react. The brain is always active; the cells are conditioned through centuries of certain patterns of behaviour. When one is conditioned as a Christian and one hears the word " Christian", the brain cells react to that word very quickly, instantly. Is it possible for the brain cells themselves - which have been so highly trained to react instantly according to their pattern of behaviour, thought and all the rest of it - is it possible for those brain cells to function, without agitation, without all the turmoil that ordinarily goes on when one hears a word like " death"?

Silence is not merely a quality, a verbal quality, a verbal statement to be realized, but the silence of a mind that has understood the whole process of what we have talked about this evening. Then there is a silence from which all action takes place, when one has gone into it very deeply, and has done it actually, not theoretically, has responded immediately to the fact of what one is. It is only this silence that can see something totally new, something in which thought has no place whatsoever, because thought is the response of the old. Thought always functions within the field of the known. Only a silent mind, one which is actually completely empty of the known, can perceive whatever is new. It perceives, not as the observer perceiving something outside of itself, there is only perception. Only such a mind can come upon something that has no word, that has no measure in terms of time.

It is very easy to ask a question, but it is more difficult to ask a right question. In the very asking of the right question you have the answer. So, it is very important to find out how to put the right question. This doesn't mean that I am trying to stop you from asking questions. To put the right question you need tremendous awareness, attention, but if you were to ask yourselves the right question, out of that attention the answer is there. You don't have to ask anybody. You don't have to follow anybody! So I hope you'll ask the right questions.


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