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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

Communion comes when minds and hearts meet with the same quality of intensity, urgency and fullness. But most are so driven by the intellect that we cling to words, but the symbol, the word, is never the reality. Most of us don't want to be totally free, just free in certain spots which ache.




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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 5, Paris - 28 April 1968

AS THIS IS the last talk we shall have to consider this morning many things together and, even if we do not do so in great detail, we shall nevertheless talk about things that we have to consider seriously.

To us words are necessary, words must be used to communicate; and communication can be either merely verbal or a communion, which is entirely different from mere listening to a lot of words.

To be in communication implies, doesn't it, meeting each other at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity; otherwise we do not communicate with each other. We may understand verbally, hear a series of words and try to translate them into our known background, comparing, judging and evaluating.

But communion is entirely different; it comes into being when both mind and heart meet, meet the other person with the same quality of intensity, urgency and fullness - then there is a communion which goes beyond words. But most of us are so driven by the intellect that we cling to words, words have become extraordinarily important; but the symbol, the word, is never the reality. And if we are to communicate with each other this morning we must, it seems to me, meet each other, not at the verbal level, nor at intellectual heights, but rather meet each other over problems that are most important to understand and go beyond.

So what we are going to talk about needs a great deal of penetration, not verbally, but actually, because the word is never the actual, the thing itself. When we say the 'door', the word 'door' isn't actually the door, one has to touch the door to feel its substance, its grain, and the word can never convey that. And a word like 'suffering' isn't the actual agony, misery, anxiety and fear involved in that word.

To go beyond sorrow and the ending of sorrow is one of our major problems, perhaps one of our most essential problems; for a mind that suffers is always living in darkness; it cannot see very clearly, it always lives in confusion.

Editor's note: The Spirit Guides say that entering spirituality, by and large, for the great many, does not happen in this world but in Summerland where we're no longer "poked and jabbed."

To understand, and in so doing to end sorrow, needs a great deal of attention, bearing in mind that the word is never the thing, with its pain, despair, lack of love, sense of loneliness and consuming self-pity. But is it possible for a human being living in this world of utter chaos (where each individual is neurotically working for himself) is it possible for a human being ever to be completely rid of sorrow?

I wonder if one has ever even asked that question; or if we merely put up with sorrow, bear it, get used to it. When we do get used to anything (used to beauty, used to ugliness, used to a lovely cloud that's moving across the earth, to the flowers), when we get used to beauty or to ugliness the mind becomes very dull. Most of us have been unable to resolve this question of sorrow and so we either worship it as a symbol in a church, as the Christians do, or as in Asia, give explanations, endless explanations of the cause of sorrow.

But explaining the cause never dissipates sorrow. So if one would be rid of sorrow at all levels, as one must, completely rid of it at all levels of consciousness (never to have pain, anxiety, loneliness, self-pity, which that word sorrow covers) to do so one has to understand the nature and the structure of thought and time. And, if we can, this morning we are going to explore this problem together.

To investigate we must also take part in this. You must be as intense and as objective, direct, immediate, as the investigation demands. So you are not merely listening to a formula or series of ideas, but rather we are exploring together this question of sorrow that has haunted man; and to investigate this there must be freedom.

Most of us decline, consciously or unconsciously, to be truly free. Most of us don't want to be [totally] free. Most of us want to be free in certain spots which ache, which give us pain, we want to get rid of those things that give pain, conflict and anxiety.

Freedom is not a thing which is relative; either one is free or not free. One is not free from something - if one is free from something resistance is involved. If I wish to be free from envy, I must resist it, I must deny it, there must be control, an exercise of will, which are all various forms of resistance; and resistance is never freedom.

Freedom comes only when one can look at the thing completely, intellectually, with a complete mind and heart, without any distortion. And this freedom is necessary to observe; it is a freedom in which there is no demand to resolve the problem, because the problem of sorrow is only resolved when one can look at it totally, completely, with all one's being, mind and heart, without any self-pity.

Freedom is part of this investigation because one sees that without freedom there can be no order, without freedom there can be no clarity. And to find out what freedom is (not theoretically, nor philosophically, but actually to find out with your eyes, with your mind and to feel it) one has to go into the question of fear.

Sorrow can be understood and it can come to an end when there is freedom and there is no freedom as long as there is fear. But can man (living in this world, with all its complex social demands and economic pressures, with the tremendous tension, the threat of wars and of insecurity, the incessant propaganda on the part of the churches, the politicians and priests throughout the world, with this weight of pressure and influence) can man be free of fear, both outwardly, physically and inwardly? Without the ending of fear we must live in darkness, in conflict. I don't think we see the importance of being really completely free of fear. Fear makes us neurotic, fear makes us escape from daily, actual living. Fear makes us run away to the churches, into various forms of escape, to gods, to philosophies, to theories. Fear breeds dogmas, beliefs, superstition - all those forms of neurosis exist in each one, because we are afraid.

We are afraid of losing a job, of not having enough money, of not being loved, of not fulfilling, of not becoming a success outwardly and inwardly, we are afraid of being alone, of feeling the emptiness of our own lives, our utter barrenness of thought. 'Thought is the child of a barren woman'. And we are frightened of death, of life and of love.

Is it possible to ask this question of ourselves - actually demand, actually ask ourselves that question, with an insistence as acute and as sharp as hunger, as intense as pain? Otherwise the answer will not come. With the intensity of demand to find out, one must come to a state of mind that is really not afraid of anything at all.

So we are going to investigate whether it is possible for a human mind that has sought security, both physical and psychological, that has been nourished on certainty (always wanting to be sure, certain, secure in everything it does, in its relationship, in its job, in its movement of thought, to be sure, certain and accurate), whether that mind which has not found security and is afraid of not finding it, can find any security at all.

Psychologically, inwardly, is there such a thing as being secure, in knowledge, in belief, in experience, in possession? As you possess a house, you want to possess your wife, your husband, a relationship. But in that is there any security at all? Is there any permanency in life? Or is life a total movement in which there is no permanency whatsoever, no security whatsoever? Please do ask yourselves this question, not intellectually because that doesn't answer a thing; but find out for yourselves. That is, look at yourself, look at the state you are in, the mounting fear about everything - fear of death, fear of old age. And is there anything in life, psychologically, that is secure, that is permanent? Is your relationship with your wife, with your husband, with anything permanent? Or does thought give permanency to something that is impermanent?

Thought is always seeking something lasting in all relationships. Thought in its search for security must seek pleasure and in pleasure there is always pain and hence there is always fear. Do observe this in yourselves and you will see how simple it is, how thought comes about and how fear is bred out of thought. And so we never meet fear. Do we know actually what fear is? Or do we know it only through the recognition of what was called fear, which happened yesterday? That is, do I know fear actually the moment it happens? Or do I know it only when it has gone and then I recognize it? We are talking of psychological fears for the moment.

And to understand the nature of fear one has to look also at the structure of thought, because thought does create fear. Thought says: 'I don't know what death is. I'll put it as far away as possible until the last minute. I don't have to look at it, I don't have to understand it.' Put it away, escape from it, build various beliefs, dogmas, comforting theories, as long as I don't have to face it and come directly into contact with it. So thought creates a division between the living and the thing called 'death'. You are living - this is the 'known' - and the thing 'unknown' is death.

Thought breeds time, the interval between today and tomorrow. Tomorrow being uncertainty, death and old age. One has to feel one's way into this psychological time. We know chronological time, time by the watch, yesterday, today and tomorrow, that obviously is a fact; but psychological time, the time that thought has bred through memory, as 'what is and what has been', 'what is and what should be', that requires investigation. Psychologically I am afraid. Is it possible to get rid of fear gradually, through time, by developing courage, resistance? Is it possible to give up a habit through time, gradually building a resistance against a particular habit? All that is involved in time, time being thought; and so one is afraid, not of what actually is, but of what might be, or of what has been.

So to understand sorrow is really an immense problem, because there is not only the human, individual sorrow but the collective sorrow of man. There is the sorrow of ignorance, not of technological ignorance, but actually ignorance of oneself; and in that there is a great deal of sorrow. Take, for instance, the fact that we are used to the tradition of change through time. We say we are envious and to be rid of envy completely we need time, that is, we shall gradually resist it, gradually, every day cut it down little by little until the mind is no longer an instrument of measure. But can we get rid of anything through time? Can there be freedom from a particular habit through time? That's the old accepted way of dealing with problems. Psychologically we say 'I cannot get rid of it immediately but I will practise, I will do this or that, I will exercise my will. All that involves time. And freedom doesn't come through time.

Freedom is an explosion which takes place only when time, as a gradual means of change, comes to an end. That is, when you see actually, not theoretically, that the gradual process is utterly false, then the very perception of what is false is the perception of what is true, isn't it? When one sees what is false, that very act of seeing is the act of truth. That is, when one observes what nationalism has done throughout the world, when one sees the danger of it, the utter fallacy of it, the brutality of it - actually sees it - then one is not only free of it, but that freedom is the outcome of seeing what is true; but if you say 'I will gradually get rid of nationalism by becoming international, European, gradually evolve to a wider acceptance of people' - in that gradualness you are sowing the seed of war, the seed of separation. It's like those people who are everlastingly talking about non-violence, but actually in their hearts, in their way of life, they are violent, through their discipline and through their resistance.

The idealist is the most dangerous person on earth because he refuses to see the fact and go beyond that fact immediately. The idealist says: 'There must be non-violence and I will practise non-violence through discipline, through control, through gradual denial of everything that brings about violence' - that is, the actual fact of violence is now opposed to what he will be in the future. In that interval of time he is sowing the seeds of violence, therefore he is a most dangerous man. What is important is to see the fact, and not the ideal opposed to the fact. So if one can see violence in oneself - anger, brutality, the assertion of oneself, the demand for fulfilment, competition, the everlasting envy, which are all forms of violence - if one can see that as it is, without any distortion, without any ideals, then one is free of it, totally. So long as there is not anonymity there is violence; the mind that is anonymous is in a state of no violence at all. And the world, as it is today, is full of violence. Is it possible to be free of this fear which breeds every form of violence, to be utterly free of that fear?

I wonder how one asks this question of oneself. Does one ask it because somebody suggests it? Or does one ask it because it is a natural question, a question that demands an immediate answer, like when one is hungry - hunger is not an intellectual fact or observation, it is a daily fact, which needs to be answered. In the same way can one raise this question of fear? And in considering fear and sorrow, one has to go into this problem of death and old age. Death may happen through disease, through an accident or through old age and decay. There is the obvious fact of the physical organism coming to an end. And there is also the obvious fact of the organism growing old, becoming old, diseased and dying. And one observes, as one grows older, the problem it constitutes, its ugliness, how as one grows older one becomes more dull, more insensitive. Old age becomes a problem when one does not know how to live - one may never have lived at all - one has lived in struggle, pain, conflict, which is expressed in our faces, in our bodies, in our attitudes.

As the physical organism comes to an end, death is certainly inevitable; perhaps the scientists may discover some pill that will give continuity for another fifty or hundred years, but always at the end there is death. There is always the problem of old age, losing one's memory, becoming senile, more and more useless to society and so on. And there is death, death as something inevitable, unknown, most unpleasant, most dreaded - and being frightened of it, we never even talk about it, or if we do talk about it we have theories, comforting formulas, either the 're-incarnation' of the East, or the 'resurrection' of the West. Or perhaps intellectually we accept death and say it is inevitable and that 'as everything dies, I will also die'. Rationalization, a comforting belief, or an escape, are all exactly the same.

But what is death? Apart from the physical entity coming to an end, what is death? In asking that question one must ask what is living? The two cannot be separated. If you say 'I really want to know what death is', you will never know the answer unless you know what living is. And what is our living? From the moment we are born until we die, it consists of endless struggle, a battlefield, not only within ourselves but with our neighbours, with our wife, children, with our husband, with everything - it is a battle of sorrow, fear, anxiety, guilt, loneliness and despair. And out of this despair come the inventions of the mind such as gods, saviours, saints, the worship of heroes, rituals and war - actual war, killing each other. That's our life. That's what we call living (in which there may be a moment of joy, an occasional light in the eye) but that's our life. And to that life we cling because we say 'At least I know that, and it is better to have that than nothing'.

So one is afraid of living, and one is afraid of death, the ending. And when death comes inevitably one fights it off. Our life is one long drawn out agony of battle with ourselves, with everything about us. And this battle is what is called love, it is a mounting pleasure, a mounting desire, with its fulfilment, sexually or otherwise - all that is our life from morning until night. And when we sleep we dream. But is dreaming necessary at all? I know the psychologists say that unless one dreams one goes mad, that one must dream, that it is an outlet. But why should we dream at all? Is dreaming necessary despite all the analysts and psychologists? It's not a question of how you interpret dreams but whether dreams are necessary.

Dreams become unnecessary when you know how to live every day, how to be aware, watch every movement of thought and feeling, give complete attention to every intimation, every hint that comes from a mind that is not open, exposed; then there is no dreaming at all. Then the mind, when you do sleep, has a quality of freshness, innocency. Unless one understands living, merely to find a way out of death is utterly meaningless. Then when one understands what it is to live, which is to end sorrow, to end struggle, not to make a battlefield of life, then it will be seen psychologically, inwardly, that to live is to die - to die to everything everyday, to all the accumulations that have been gathered, so that the mind is fresh, new and innocent each day. And that requires enormous attention. But this cannot be unless there is an ending to sorrow, that is fear, and so the ending of thought; then the mind is completely quiet - not dull, not stupid, not made insensitive by discipline and all the rest of those tricks that one plays through the study of yoga and all the rest of that business. Then life is dying, which means there is no death without love. Love is not a memory. Life, love and death go together - they are not separate things. And so life consists in living every day in a state of freshness and to have that clarity, that innocency, there must be the death of that state of mind in which there is always the centre, the 'me'.

Without love there is no virtue, without love there is no peace, there is no relationship. That is the foundation - for the mind to go immeasurably into that dimension in which alone truth exists.



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