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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

A mind clouded by belief, which is based on the desire for comfort, security, cannot possibly see what truth is. Are you, when you are listening, observing your own belief, your own conclusion? Is the self, the "me", a living thing, constantly changing, constantly moving?




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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, New Delhi - 20 December 1970

We are going to talk over together not merely about religion and the religious mind, but also about reality, meditation, and the quality of the mind that can perceive what is true. The difficulty that is going to take place is that each one of us is going to translate according to his peculiar conditioning, to his particular culture, anything that is being said. To find out, one must discard totally everything that man has put together intellectually, emotionally, and be completely and totally free of all that. One must totally negate all that man has put together in his desire to find reality, and that is going to be our difficulty.

First of all, what is religion? What is the quality of the mind that is asking this question? Religion has played an extremely important part in our lives. Probably it is the foundation of our lives, and without really enquiring into the structure and the nature of a religious mind, merely bringing about a social outward revolution will have very little meaning. You see, to understand the quality of a mind that is religious, one has to first of all enquire into this whole problem of search, seeking, what is implied in search, what is implied in that word, what is the significance that is in the word? Why do we seek at all, and what is it that we are trying to find?

In seeking, there is the seeker and the thing he searches after. There is the entity that is seeking, looking, observing, finding out, and the thing he is going to find out. In that there is duality, the "me" that is seeking, wanting to find out, and if he can find out, what is it he is going to find? He will find, in his search, according to his conditioning. If you are a Christian, you are going to find what your culture has taught you, the propaganda of your culture; if you are a Hindu what your Hindu culture has taught you, and so on. So according to your culture, according to your conditioning, according to your knowledge, you are going to find that which you call truth, happiness, what you will. So the past is going to seek something in the future, and the past is going to dictate what it will find in the future. Therefore, it will not be truth at all. It will be something according to the past, which is knowledge, experience and memory.

So a mind that would perceive what truth is must be free of the past, of its conditioning. That is, if you are a Hindu you must be totally free from all conceptual conditioning or from all your tradition. Otherwise you are going to find what your tradition has dictated, what your tradition has told you to find. So a mind that would perceive what truth is must be free of all its conditioning, of any particular culture, which means, free of any belief. Right? For belief is based on the desire for comfort, for security, or on fear. You don't believe that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. You know it will rise. It is only the mind that is uncertain, confused, seeking security, comfort, that believes. So one must be totally free of all belief, which is, all conclusions, all ideals.

As you are listening, observing this fact, that a mind that is clouded by a belief, which is based on the desire for comfort, security, which is the outcome of fear, such a mind cannot possibly see what truth is, though it may thirst for it. Do you see the truth of it? If you see the truth of it, then it is finished, your mind is then free to observe. Are you, when you are listening, observing your own belief, your own conclusion? If you would perceive clearly, a mind must be totally free of belief, of your God or my God. As you listen, are you free of it? Or you are so heavily conditioned that without belief you feel lost and therefore frightened and, therefore, attached to your beliefs? Such a mind is obviously an irreligious mind. A mind that is seeking will never find the truth, and all your conditioning is to seek. So can the mind observe the truth that search implies a dualistic conflict and a mind in conflict is always distorted, and therefore it cannot possibly see?

And obviously, a mind caught in rituals is not a religious mind at all. It is after stimuli, sensation, every form of excitement. So can the mind which is really enquiring seriously, passionate to find out, can it put aside totally all rituals, all beliefs, the whole movement of seeking, because we have explained how these things prevent perception?

So are you listening, free of all this division? You are no longer a Hindu at all, are you? I am afraid you are, for the simple reason that you are not serious. You accept life as it is and you don't find the danger of this living, the misery, the confusion, the agony, and so you act mechanically. If you are serious - and you must be serious - life demands it, life is a battle, a misery, a confusion, and if there is to be a different kind of world, one must be very, very serious, and in our so-called search we get caught by so-called gurus. They offer systems, methods, how to reach enlightenment, how to reach something which they call God or whatever it is.

Now, when you have a system, a method, a practice, doesn't it imply that there is a fixed end? Do these things and you will achieve that. The end is already known and fixed. So there are many, many systems to reach enlightenment, truth, as though truth or whatever you might like to call that, is a fixed state. Once you have achieved, all the troubles are over, and therefore practise, do this and you will get that. Are you following all this?

First of all, will a system lead you to reality? Think it out logically first. System implies a method, a practice, a process. Through a process you will come there. Process implies time. A process implies a mechanical cultivation of habit and therefore constant conflict with "what is" and what should be. Process implies distorting the mind, not understanding the whole structure and the nature of the mind, which is thought. Right? That is, we think through a process, through time, gradually we will arrive at something that is already there, fixed.

Now, is truth something that is permanent, that is there for you to capture, or is it something that is living, therefore, without a path, therefore demanding a constant observation, perception of everything that is happening inwardly, which is non-mechanical? You know, there are many roads to the station, and the station is a permanently fixed thing, unless, of course, there is an earthquake or a bomb or something. It is there and the many systems offer a way to get to the station, and people are so gullible, so greedy, that they want the thing which they call truth without enquiring deeply whether there is a static thing as truth.

The religious mind is free from all practice, from all systems, from all organized thought.

One day a man was walking along the street and instead of looking at the beautiful sky he was watching the pavement as he went along. Then he saw in the distance something very brilliant. He went rapidly towards it, picked it up and looked at this extraordinary thing, and he was in a state of beatitude, because it was extraordinarily beautiful. So he looked at it and put it in his pocket. Behind were two people, also walking. One of them says to the other "What was it that he picked up? Did you see his expression, what an ecstasy he was in by the very act of looking at it?" And the other - who happened to be the devil - said, "What he picked up was truth." And the friend said "That is a very bad business for you that he has found it". He said "Not at all. I am going to help him to organize it."

And that is what we have done - we have the systems, the methods, the practices of the gurus. And so a mind that is enquiring into the nature of truth must be free totally from all organized pursuit, all organized practice, all organized enquiry.

Then there is the question - a religious mind must find out what beauty is, because if there is no beauty, there is no love. And what is beauty? When you perceive what beauty is, then you will know what love is, and the religious mind has this quality of beauty and love. Otherwise it is not a religious mind at all.

So what is beauty? You know most religions have denied beauty. The monks, the sannyasis are afraid of beauty. Beauty is associated with sensual desire, and of course if you are seeking reality, God, you must deny all sense of desire, all sense of perception of the beautiful. Therefore you take a vow of various kinds, and when you take a vow, what happens to you? You are everlastingly, inwardly in conflict. Therefore your mind is distorted, neurotic, incapable of perceiving what is true.

So what is beauty? Do ask this question, be passionate to find out, do not sit there just waiting to be told. What is beauty? Is it something in the architecture, in the building, something that is in the museum, something in a book, in the poem, something carved by the hand or by the mind? And does beauty demand expression? Must it be put into words, into a stone, into a building? Or is it something entirely different? And to find that out, to find out what beauty is, and therefore what love is, there must be the understanding of the self, the understanding of oneself, the knowing of oneself, not according to any pattern, not according to any system, but just learning about oneself as one actually is. Do you see it? Wait, let me explain.

One thinks there is a permanent self about which one is going to learn. Right? That is an assumption. Is there a permanent self at all about which you are going to learn, or is the self, the "me", a living thing, constantly changing, constantly moving? To enquire into it is something quite different from learning about something which is there as a living thing. So there must be the understanding of oneself, not according to any system, not according to any philosopher or any analyst, but watching oneself, because where there is this self, there is division from the other self. Right? And where there is division, there must be conflict, and where there is conflict, there is no beauty, and therefore no love.

So a mind that is enquiring into this question of what is a religious mind must be aware, must know the extraordinary state of what beauty is, and it can only see what beauty is when there is total abandonment of the "me", and therefore in that abandonment there is intensity, there is passion, otherwise love does not exist at all. Love is not pleasure, desire, lust. It is not merely associated with sex. And a religious mind is a mind that knows the movement of virtue and discipline. We are going to enquire into this whole problem of discipline.

You know the word "discipline" means to learn. Please listen to this. If you can listen completely, then you will see the truth of it, and you will see that, [then] out of that you have the most extraordinary perception of reality, which does not mean that the speaker is hypnotizing you. The word "discipline" itself means "learn" and not conform, imitate, obey, but to learn; and you cannot possibly learn if you are accumulating.

Accumulation as knowledge is necessary, otherwise you could not possibly go home, you could not do anything. Knowledge is necessary, that is, you acquire through learning a language, a technique; that is necessary if you would be an engineer, a scientist, what you will. That is, one learns Italian or French and there is the accumulation of words, knowledge and speech. That is learning to acquire, and the acquiring is the past which is knowledge. Knowledge is always the past and the knowledge which is the past acts when necessary.

Now there is another kind of learning altogether, which is not acquiring. In learning to observe, there is no acquisition at all; that is, to learn what order is, there should be no accumulation of knowledge, of what order should be, or what order should be according to your particular design. So you are learning about order, not what order should be or a design according to your particular prophet or saint but what order is.

Now, how are you going to learn about what order is? Please listen to this. You live in disorder, that's all you know. You live in contradiction, you live in confusion, you live in this constant battle. This is disorder. Now in observing disorder, in learning all about disorder, there is order, and that is discipline. You get it? You have to observe what disorder is, not to bring order out of disorder, but just to observe what disorder is, negating all positive action, but watching disorder which is what we consider the positive.

So what is disorder? Observe it, observe it within oneself, how disorderly you are, contradictory, pruning this and that, conforming, measuring, comparing, and therefore never free at all. You are confused about everything inwardly, because you no longer trust your guru, you won't ever trust your guru any more, no book, no priest. That means no authority, and when you reject authority altogether, except the authority of the law, when you reject all sense of inward spiritual authority altogether, because the moment you obey, there is no freedom, and a mind must be totally free to enquire. When such a mind rejects authority, it faces its own loneliness, its own despair, its own confusion. This is the disorder in us.

Now, what does a mind which is learning about confusion see? When one is confused, one wants to act, doesn't one? When you are confused, you don't know what to do, and you want to do something. You don't look at that, you don't observe it, you don't study it, you don't learn about it, but you want to "do something about", therefore, you get more and more confused. But you have to watch it, not escape from it.

Why is there confusion? That is, a mind that does not know what to do - which direction to go, whether to become a communist, socialist, an activist, contemplative, or withdraw altogether from this ugly, beastly world - is confused. Why is there confusion? There is confusion because there is conformity. Conformity implies measurement, measuring myself - what I am with what I should be. Please do follow this. Once you see this, really see the truth of this, confusion is finished. There is confusion, because the mind, through education, through all kinds of circumstances, stresses, strains, through various forms of compulsions and so on, is always measuring itself, what it is with what it should be, the ideal. And that is one reason for this confusion: comparing, conforming, obeying.

Now, why do you conform, why do you measure, why do you obey? You conform because from childhood you have been taught to compare yourselves with another. Watch it, Sir, watch it in yourself, comparing - which means what you are is not important, what you should be is important. Right? So there is a contradiction, the denial of "what is", but the acceptance of what should be, the hero, the image that you have projected from what you are. Now if you do not compare at all, you know what you are, and what you are then is totally different from what, through comparison, you thought you were. You get it?

That is, I compare myself with you - you are very clever, bright, intelligent, awake, and comparing with you, I say to myself "I am dull". But if there is no comparison at all, am I dull? I am what I am. I don't call it dull. Then I can do, act, change, go beyond "what is", but if I compare myself with another, I cannot go beyond. You understand?

And why do we obey at all? I don't know if you have ever gone into this problem why you obey anybody. You know the word "obey", its root is "to hear". When you hear over and over and over again that you are a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Christian, a communist, you know what it does? It conditions your mind, doesn't it? You repeat and you instinctually follow, obey. You have been told in this country - and now it is unfortunately spreading in other countries - that you need a guru. That is your tradition, repeated over and over again and you follow what it says. And look what you have done to yourself, what has been done to the mind. A mind that obeys, that conforms, that compares is not a religious mind at all. See the logic of it, see the reason of it first.

You see, Sir, we have to learn what virtue is, which is order. Virtue is order. Virtue is order, not the thing which you practise. You cannot practise humility. When you understand vanity, humility is naturally there. And we have also to go into the question of meditation. What is the meditation of a religious mind? We said the religious mind is free of all belief. It has completely set aside all systems, all authority, all practice. It is in a state of mind that is free of all this which is all part of meditation.

Question: Could we establish a way of understanding each other, a common understanding?

Krishnamurti: You know what is the meaning of that word, not according to the dictionary, what it means "to understand?" When do you understand anything? Is it an intellectual process? Is it an emotional enthusiasm? You understand only when your mind is attentive and completely silent. If I am chattering when you are talking, how can I understand what you are talking about? If I am comparing what you are saying with what I have already read or known or experienced, how can there be communication? I must listen to you with attention, care, with affection. And out of that care, out of that affection, out of that silence there is understanding, not only verbal understanding but non-verbal. That is the common foundation.

And to go into this question of what meditation is, it cannot possibly be done in a few minutes, because this is really an immensely complicated subject, about which we are going to learn, not be instructed by the speaker how to meditate. The moment you put the 'how" you are wrong. Never, if I may most respectfully suggest, never ask of anybody the "how". They are all only too eager to give you a method, but if you see the mischief of the "how", that very perception is enough.



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