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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

It is only the spiritual mind that is truly revolutionary. Is there any thought which is not conditioned? All thought is the response of memory, the response of accumulated tradition, knowledge. When you see this clearly, the very seeing may give you the answer. 




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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 1, Saanen, Switzerland - 07 July 1968

FROM THE VERY first day and during these gatherings I hope we are going to be very serious. Most of us, I am afraid, have come with a sense of holiday spirit, to look upon the hills and mountains, the green valleys and the flowing streams, to be quiet, to meet friends, to gossip, to have a little fun which is all right but if we are to get any worthwhile meaning out of these gatherings we ought to be very serious from the beginning.

There are tremendous problems confronting us as human beings. Living in this mad and stupid world we have to be serious; and those people who are really serious in their hearts, in their very being not neurotically, not according to any particular principle or commitment it seems to me, have that quality of seriousness which is necessary.

As one observes what is going on in this world, the students in revolt, the anxiety of war, the extreme poverty, the racial hatreds and riots, the deplorable satisfaction of the small countries with their monetary position, and so on, one feels one does not know what it is all about. One has listened to many explanations, from the philosophers, from the intellectuals, the theologians, the priests, the sociologists, from all the organized bureaucracies and so on. But explanations are not good enough; and even to know the cause of these disturbances does not solve the issue. During these gatherings here, we are going to be individually and humanly responsible; we are going to see if we can understand the problem of our existence, with its turmoil, with its chaos, misery and enormous sorrow, which is both within us and outside.

It obviously behoves us to dispel the darkness which we individually have created in ourselves and in others. That is why it seems to me we ought to be very serious.

You know, there are those people who are serious rather neurotically; they think if they follow a certain principle or belief or dogma or ideology and keep practising it, that they are serious. They are not serious such people, they believe and that belief breeds an extraordinary state of imbalance. So one has to be extremely alert to find out what it means to be serious.

One can see that ideologies play a tremendous part in the life of man throughout the world and that these ideologies do separate man into groups the republican and the democrat, the left and the right and so on they divide people and by their very nature these ideologies become 'authority'. Those who assume power in these ideologies tyrannize, democratically or ruthlessly; this is observable throughout the world. Ideologies, principles and beliefs, not only separate man into groups, but they actually prevent co-operation; yet that is what we need in this world, to co-operate, to work together, to act together not you acting in one way, belonging to one group, and I in another. Division inevitably comes about if you believe in a particular ideology whether it is that of the communist, the socialist, the capitalist and so on whatever that ideology be, it must separate and breed conflict.

An ideologist is not a serious man, he does not see the consequences of his ideology. So, to be really serious one has to put away completely, totally, these nationalistic and religious divisions, deny that which is utterly false and perhaps as an outcome of that there might be a possibility of being really and truly serious. We have to build a totally different world, a world that has nothing whatsoever to do with the present world of manias and conflicts, of competition, ruthlessness, brutality and violence.

It is only the religious mind that is a truly revolutionary mind; there is no other revolutionary mind, whether calling itself revolutionary from the extreme left or centre, it is not revolutionary. The mind which calls itself left or centre is only dealing with a fragment of the totality and is even breaking that fragment into various other parts; it is not a truly revolutionary mind at all.

The really religious mind in the deep sense of that word is truly revolutionary because it is beyond the left, the right and the centre. To understand this and co-operate with each other is to bring about a different social order; and it is our responsibility. If we could put away all these immature, childish things, I think we could be the salt of the earth; and that is the only reason for which we have come together, there is no other reason. You are not going to get something from me, nor I from you. That which is absolutely essential is not possible round an ideology. I think that is fairly obvious, historically and factually. What is going on in the world indicates this, the division and conflict of ideologies; you, knowing of an ideology however superior, however great, however noble cannot possibly bring about co-operation; perhaps it can bring about a destructive tyranny, of the left or right, but it cannot possibly bring this co-operation of understanding and love.

Co-operation is only possible when there is no 'authority'. You know, that is one of the most dangerous things in the world 'authority'. One assumes 'authority' in the name of an ideology, or in the name of God, or Truth, and an individual, or group of people, who have assumed that 'authority', cannot possibly bring about a world order.

I do hope you are listening to all this and are not mesmerized by words, by perhaps the speaker's intensity; I hope you are sharing these things with the speaker.

Authority gives a great deal of satisfaction to the man who exercises it in whatever name he does so he derives immense pleasure and therefore he is the most...! One has to be tremendously aware of such a person; from the beginning of these talks let us be very clear on this one point, at least. Seriousness entails non-acceptance of any authority, including the speaker. There are those who come from the East, unfortunately, who maintain that they have most extraordinary experiences, that they can show the past to another, that they know how to give some word which will help you to meditate most excellently. I do not know if you are caught in those kinds of traps many people are, thousands, millions are. Such authority prevents a human being from being a light to himself. When each one of us is a light to himself then only can we co-operate, then only can we love, then only is there a sense of communion with each other. But if you have your particular authority, whether that authority be an individual or an experience which you yourself have felt, have known, then that experience, that authority, that conclusion, that definite position, prevents communication with each other. It is only a mind that is really free that can commune, that can co-operate.

During these days please do be very wise and not accept anyone's authority, neither your own authority which you have cultivated through experience, through knowledge, through various conclusions that you have reached, nor the authority of the speaker nor the authority of anybody. It is only then when the mind is free really free that it can learn; such a mind is both the teacher and the pupil. It is vital to understand this because it is that we are going into, in all these discussions and talks.

One has to be, for oneself, both the teacher and that which is taught. And that is only possible when there is a sense of observation, of seeing things in oneself, as they are. You know, most of us are so unconscious of ourselves. I do not know if you have observed those people who are all the time talking about themselves, their self evaluation about their position in life you know, 'me first and everything else second'. If there is to be co-operation between us, communication and communion with each other, this barrier of 'me first and everything else second' must obviously disappear. The 'me' assumes such tremendous importance, it expresses itself in so many ways. That is why organizations become a danger, yet we have to have organization. Those who are at the head of the organization, or who assume the power of that organization, gradually become the source of 'authority'. And with such people one cannot possibly co-operate, commune.

We have to create a new world these are not just words, just an idea actually we have to create a totally different kind of world where we as human beings are not battling with each other, destroying each other, where the one does not dominate the other with his ideas or with knowledge, where each human being is actually free, not theoretically. And in this freedom alone can we bring about order in the world. So we are going to unravel the net that we have woven round ourselves which prevents co-operation, which divides us, which brings about such intense anxiety, sorrow and isolation if we can.

It would very marvellous if at the end of these gatherings we could go out and say, 'look I've got it; not that you 'possess' something, but that you for yourself see that you are completely free, become a human being, with vitality, with energy, with clarity, with intensity. So, there it is. Perhaps that is a great deal. But unless we do it we create in the world a great deal of misery, the wars that are going on, for which we are responsible not the Americans, not the North Vietnamese each human being is responsible. And those who may live in this safe country are also responsible; as also we are responsible for the division that is going on in the world, not only ideologically, but religiously. So please, if you can, let us put our mind and heart into this. This does not demand a great deal of intellectual effort intellect has not solved anything; it can invent theories, it can explain; it can see the fragmentation and create more fragments; but the intellect, being a fragment, cannot solve the whole problem of man's existence. Nor can emotionalism and sentimentality do anything; they are also the response of a fragment.

It is only possible to act totally and not in fragments, when we see totally the whole human problem not the fragments. So, what is the problem? What is the total, essential, problem of the human being, which having been understood, having been seen (as you would see a tree, a lovely cloud) then all the other fragments can be resolved? From there you can act. So what is this total perception this total seeing? I am asking, you have to find the answer. If you wait for me to give the answer and you accept it, then it will not be yours, then I become the 'authority', which I abhor. So, what is your response, as a human being living in this world with all the turmoil, with all the disturbances, revolutions, this terrible division between man and man, the immoral society, the religious immorality of the priests, when you see all this spread out before you, and see the agony of man what is your response? How do you act to it? Either you belong to a part, to a fragment and try to convert all the fragments to your particular fragment which is obviously so immature, so meaningless or you see this whole fragmentation and that very seeing gives you a total perception. So, what is to you the essential problem, the essential issue, the one challenge, which, if answered completely, then all the other problems are dissolved, or understood, or can be tackled?

It is quite interesting, is it not, to find out for yourself what the essential issue in life is, not according to the psychologist, the philosopher or theologian, or Krishnamurti, not according to anybody, but to find out for yourself. How will you find out? You may not have thought about it, or if you have thought about it, how will you find that essential demand or issue? Will you ask another? of course not, for when you look in any direction you are looking to 'authority'. What 'authority' says has no reality; you are concerned with the highest issue and this you must find out for yourself. If you are not looking for another to help you to discover what is the central, true issue, then what will you do? How will you find out? Please, this is a very serious question.

First of all, has one ever put such a question to oneself asking oneself if there is one essential thing, in the very understanding of which all other minor issues will be answered? If you have not put it to yourself, I am putting it to you. If you listen to it as I hope you are listening then how will you find out?

How will you find out? Will you find out by thought by thinking about it a great deal, thinking about each problem, each issue, each fragment, getting more and more involved and then coming to a conclusion, saying 'this is the essential question'? Will thought help you? Will an indication, however subtle, will that help? for if you depend on it you are lost again. So thinking about it does not give the answer, does it?

What is the nature of thought? Thought, as one can observe, springs from accumulated memory do watch it in yourselves. You are being challenged what is the essential issue in life? The challenge is new and if you respond to it in terms of thought you are responding from accumulated memory and your response will be from the old. That is fairly clear, is it not?

If I cling to my Hinduism with all its superstitions, beliefs, dogmas, traditions and all that nonsense and something new appears in front of me, or a new challenge arises, I can only respond from the old. Therefore I see that the response of the old is not the way to find out. Right? So I will not depend on thought, whether it is the thought of the most erudite person, or on my own thought. So I put away please do it as we are talking completely, the use of thought to find out. Can one do it? It sounds easy, but actually, can one do it? Which means that there is here a totally new challenge; I look at it with fresh eyes, with clarity. And thought however reasoned, astute, clear, does not bring clarity. So, I see that thought is not the way to discover that which is the essential; so thought does not play any part in this search, in this enquiry. Can you do it? Eh? It means that thought which is old, which is constantly interfering no longer imposes or dominates. Then what takes place? Do pursue this for yourself, please. When you are no longer seeking in terms of your conditioning then you have denied, have you not, all the burden of yesterday.

You know, what I am trying to say is really quite simple. You must find a new way of living, a new way of acting, to find out what love means. And to find that out you cannot use the old instruments that we have. The intellect, the emotions, the tradition, the accumulated knowledge, those are the old instruments. We have exercised those instruments, used them so endlessly and they have not brought about a different world, a different state of mind; they are utterly useless. They have their value at certain levels of existence but they have no value when we are asking, when we are trying to find out, a way of living which is totally new. To put it differently; our crisis is not in the world but in consciousness itself. It is not, how to stop a war, or reform universities, or give more work or less work and more pay and so on, on that level there is no answer; any reform gives more complication. The crisis is in the mind itself, in your mind, in your consciousness. And, unless you respond to that crisis, to that challenge, you will add, consciously or unconsciously, to the confusion, the misery and to this immensity of sorrow.

Our crisis is in the mind, in our consciousness and we have to respond to it totally. What is the true response, the essential issue? Obviously, as we have seen, thought cannot help us there; which does not mean we become vague, dreamy, dull. When you no longer use thought, to find out for yourself what the essential issue in life is, then what has taken place in the mind? Do you understand my question are we communicating with each other? Do say yes or no. To communicate, to commune with each other, we must be at the same level at the same time with the same intensity. It is like love and if you say yes, it means that you have put away, for the time being, thought as an instrument of discovery. Then you and the speaker are on the same level. We both are intense to find out and you are not waiting for me to tell you. When you tell somebody, 'I love you', either you say it casually and do not mean it, or you say it with intensity, with a depth and with a quality of urgency and if the other person is rather indifferent, is looking in another direction, then communion between the two ceases. This communion in only possible when both are intense, not casual, not holding back. You know, when you are both generous you understand it does produce an extraordinary intensity; the giver and the receiver cease to exist.

So, what do you think, what do you feel, what do you sense, is the essential issue in life?

Shall we leave this question until Tuesday morning? Do you want time to think it over to discuss it with other people to sit under a tree or in your room and let it come to you? If you are looking to time to help you, time is not going to help you time is the most destructive thing.

Questioner: You said that thought is a product of memory. Now I quite realize that most of my thoughts are very much conditioned, but I'm not quite sure there is no possibility for other thought which might not be conditioned by memory.

Krishnamurti: Is there any thought which is not conditioned? Is there? Or, is it that all thought is conditioned? Obviously, all thought is the response of memory, the response of accumulated tradition, knowledge, experience. What do you feel is the essential issue in life? Let us talk it over for a few minutes together.

Questioner: To create harmony.

Krishnamurti: Where outside or inside, or both? How can one create harmony outside if one is not harmonious inside? The harmony inside is the first thing, not harmony outside. Is that the essential issue? Or, could it be that harmony is a result and not an end in itself? It is, it happens. It is like being very healthy and going out for a walk. But to seek harmony as an end in itself is that possible? One has to find harmony in oneself; for this one has to make tremendous enquiry into oneself, the contradictions, the efforts, the discipline all that is involved in it. Is that the essential question? You say the essential question may be harmony, but it may be pleasure. Please listen to what we have just said. We have said that the essential question for most people may be the urge for and the continuity of and the strengthening of pleasure; pleasure being the pleasure derived from security, from sexual experience; it is deliberate, not a thing in itself. I do not know if you are following this. I derive pleasure in doing something the doing gives me pleasure; therefore the doing from which I derive pleasure is important; pleasure is not in and of itself, but results from the act of something. So, is that the challenge, is that the essential question?

Look, please, look at the world, look at all the things that are going on the extraordinary technological advancement, the wars, the affluent society and the poverty, one nation fighting another nation for its security, for its glory, and so on and so on all that is going on, it's there in front of you. If you look at it objectively, as you would look at a map, you would have the answer which is, to look.

Questioner: The essential challenge or essential issue, is the responsibility of relationship.

Krishnamurti: The responsibility of relationship is that it?

Questioner: It's only part of it.

Krishnamurti: Yes, again it is a fragment. Relationship, what does that mean to be related to people, to individuals, to be related to the world, to nature, to everything that is happening? How can one be related to everything that is happening not just to your wife or husband only but to everything that is happening in the world; how is that possible if you are isolated, if all your thought, your activity, your business, your words, are isolating you which is to say, 'me first and to hell with everybody else'?

We will have to stop for today. But do be with this question, give your mind and heart to see the world as it is, not as you think it should be, but actually as it is. When you see it clearly, the very seeing may give you the answer.



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