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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Jiddu Krishnamurti
1895 - 1986

There is no freedom when you depend on somebody, and when you depend on somebody psychologically, inwardly, you are seeking comfort, and so you must dominate that person or submit yourself to that person. You will see that the source of this dependence is fear, fear of not being able to stand alone, fear of never finding happiness.




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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 3, Bombay - 14 February 1971

I think there is only one fundamental question, which is, how to live in this world with intelligence, sanity, with great affection, beauty, in spite of all our complications; how to live a life that has depth, that in the very living there is significance, a life that is without conflict, a sane, healthy life with freedom and great intelligence.

If we could answer this question, not merely verbally or intellectually, if we could put this question to ourselves and find out for ourselves a way of living, that, it seems to me, would be the most important thing. Having right relationship with man, a harmonious, rational, balanced life in relationship, understanding that and living it - not merely becoming a sannyasi, following the latest craze, doing some kind of penance, a singing and dancing and all that kind of business that goes on - if we could find out a way of living where there is really a great deal of love, intelligence, beauty, then perhaps we would be able to find out for ourselves, not through somebody else, if there is something beyond time, something which is not within the field of everyday strife.

And this evening, we might perhaps devote this whole hour to finding out for ourselves how to live, how to live with real understanding, with a great sense of beauty, with a great sense of human understanding in which there is no conflict in relationship. If we could spend some time on that, then perhaps we could go on from there to find out for ourselves what meditation is, if there is such a thing as truth, as a reality.

But first we must lay the foundation, not the foundation of another, however wise or however caught up in illusion or full of his own experience, but if we could lay this foundation in our own lives, in the life of our daily existence, if we could do that we would have a world - not a utopian world, not an ideological world - a world of sanity, a world in which there is no war, no division between those who know and those who do not know, those who pretend that they have attained enlightenment and those who are seeking enlightenment, those who assert that there is and those who assert that there is not. So, if you will, let us find out if we can change entirely our way of living.

First of all, we must look at this whole existence which we call living, in which is included the earning of a livelihood, in which there is this problem of conflict, physical pain and the psychological, mounting sorrow, the thing that we call love, joy, pleasure, fear, anxiety and understand what it means to die - living and dying - the whole of that, not just one fragment of it. That is why we must look, observe the whole field of our existence, not just one corner of it; not just how to earn a livelihood or just escape from this into some illusion, but to consider together this whole phenomenon of existence in which all the things are included.

As we now are, we are composed of many fragments, the good, the bad, the greedy, the ambitious, the one that is in sorrow and the one that is seeking an understanding and escaping from sorrow. There is this fragmentation not only inwardly but outwardly. We are all that, because we are the world and the world is us: the society is made, put together by us, and though we are caught in it, we are part of it, we have constructed it, and we have to understand this whole phenomenon of existence.

So let us look first at our lives, your life, not the life or any saint, not the life described in any book, not the life of your favourite guru, not the life that you want to live, but the actual daily life, the monotony of it, the boredom of it, the loneliness of it, the fear of it, the aggression, the violence, the sexual pleasures, the fear, the joy, the unthinking acceptance, imitation conformity - all that is our daily life. And that is what we have to understand and in the very process of understanding, see if we can bring about a radical change in all that, whether it is possible to end all sorrow in our life, to be free from all fear, to find out for ourselves what it means to love, and to consider the thing that so many are afraid of, which is death. All that is our life.

So we have to look first at what actually is and not get frightened about it, or feel there is no hope or that there is hope. We have to first look at it. Can you look at your life?

Do please listen to what is being said. Look at your own life, and if you do look, one finds a great sense of striving, of insufficiency, conformity, fear, the pursuit of pleasure. Don't you find this, that your life as it is lived, whether you are aware of it or not, is bound with fear, with anxiety, a great sense of loneliness and utter boredom? Don't you find that not being able to solve this you run away from it, you run away to temples, read the Gita or listen to the commentaries made by the professionals on the Gita or accept what your gurus say? So that is your life. And is it possible to change it all, not only the outward circumstances but the inner structure which has created the outer? Is it possible radically to change the psychological nature of yourselves? If it is not possible, then you have no energy, do you understand? If it is possible, you are full of energy. We have concluded that it is not possible, that we cannot possibly, totally change. We have got into the habit of living with fear, living with sorrow, hiding ourselves from our own secret miseries. And so we have made life into something which we think is not possible to change, and therefore we escape from that central issue.

We are going to find out, if we can this evening, whether it is possible, whatever we are - intellectual or emotional, leading a bourgeois existence, having a middle-class outlook on the whole of life - whether it is possible to change at all. We are going to investigate together, you understand that word, the meaning of that word? When we are exploring together, it means you must also share, you must also be very serious to find out for yourself whether it is possible to change, and this change cannot take place except in relationship. You cannot go away into isolation and try to dissolve all your troubles. It can only be solved in relationship, because it is only in relationship that you discover all your troubles, all your miseries, all your confusion. So we must do it together, you and I, because it is our problem, it is our misery, as this is our life to live on, to be happy, to enjoy the beauty of nature, of life, not everlastingly live in sorrow, confusion, misery. So together we have to solve this. "Together" means relationship.

Don't you find when you observe in yourselves that there are two active principles, one fear and the other is pleasure?

Don't you find that pleasure is in different forms, whether that pleasure is to seek God or to become a great person politically, this way or that? And don't you find in yourselves the active principle of fear going on? These two things exist. We want more of the one, which is pleasure, and less of the other, which is fear. Right?

Now sitting like that there you are really not frightened at this present moment. You have no fear at this actual moment, you may have that fear when you go back; but sitting there listening, you have no fear. Though it is always there in the background, you cannot possibly invite that fear and observe it. You cannot say, "I am going to be frightened and let me look." But you can, through understanding attachment, come upon what it means to be afraid. As we said, fear and pleasure are our main movements, contradictory movements in life, and being afraid, unconscious of fear, not being aware that we are afraid, we attach ourselves, we depend on people, on ideals, on our guru or on our wife or husband. Don't you find that, that you depend on people - not the postman, not the milkman - depend on people round you or depend on somebody in whom you think you have confidence?

So, what is involved in this dependence? First of all, there is no freedom when you depend on somebody, whether it is your wife or your guru. And when you depend on somebody psychologically, inwardly, you are seeking comfort, sustenance and when you depend on that person you must possess that person, you must dominate that person or submit yourself to that person.

And when you are observing that you are dependent, you see that the source of this dependence is fear, fear of not being able to stand alone, fear of making a mistake, fear of not following the straight path - fear of not having comfort, not having somebody as a companion, not being able to depend on somebody.

So through dependence, as you are sitting now, you discover that you are really frightened. Without inviting fear you discover that basically you are frightened. Are we communicating with each other? "Communication", as we said the other day, is to share together a common problem. This is our common problem. And when you depend on a person, there must be inevitably not only fear but jealousy, anxiety.

So all that is involved in dependence; and can a mind be free of this dependence? Because, people like to be possessed by another. Haven't you noticed it? They like to belong to somebody, belong to a group, commit themselves to a certain pattern of action, a sense that they are leading a kind of righteous life.

So when you look at it very carefully, you will see for yourself the basis of all this is fear. Then arises the question, is it possible to be free of that fear, not only the superficial fear in relationship and dependency but the deep-rooted fear?

Are you asking this question with me? That is, can you as a human being be completely free of fear because when you are afraid, you do the most extraordinarily stupid things. When you are afraid, you are almost unbalanced, neurotic, you cannot think clearly, observe truly. Haven't you noticed your life become dark, heavy? It becomes a burden, a torture. And not knowing how to resolve this fear, you run away from it. You run away doing the most absurd things.

There is the fear of physical pain. You have had pain, physical pain, years ago or a few days ago, agonizing pain or superficial pain, and that pain has left a mark on the brain, which is the memory of that pain which you have had two days ago or two years ago, and you do not want that pain to be repeated. What takes place then? Having had physical pain, you do not want it to be repeated and there is the idea that it might come back. In that idea, there is fear. You think about the pain which you had yesterday or two days ago and you do not want it repeated.

Thought, which is the response of memory, says "I do not want that pain again." So physically you cannot forget it, it is there, and as long as you think about it, you intensify the memory of that pain and therefore thinking about it increases the fear of that pain. You see that, don't you? Talking about the past pain sustains that pain and you may have that pain tomorrow, which is still thinking about pain, and so thought says, "I must not have pain." So there is fear.

So thought breeds fear. I may lose my job - the 'may' is in the future - I think about it, so I get frightened. I think about death and thinking about it makes me afraid. So thought breeds fear, not only the fear of the past but also fear of the future. Unless you follow this very carefully, you won't be free of fear. Together we are going to see if you cannot totally be free of it. Then you will be a free man and you can then put away all your gurus. You will then be able to think, see, live very clearly, in an ecstatic state. So we must together understand this question basically. So thought sustains, gives a continuity to psychological pain as well as physical pain. Right? Wait there, leave it there.

You have had a great pleasure yesterday, sensory pleasure, sexual pleasure, or the pleasure of seeing a beautiful tree or the lovely sunset, the shape, the beauty and the dignity and the strength of a marvellous tree - the pleasure that you have had. All that is recorded. When you see a sunset, if you have ever taken the trouble to look, when you have looked, it is recorded in your brain, and when after seeing, at that moment there is no sense of, "I want it to be repeated." There is just the experiencing of it, then a second later you say, "How beautiful that is, I want it to be repeated."

The desire to have it repeated is the beginning of pleasure. You understand this? The desire to have the repetition of an event which has given a delight, the pursuit of it, the demanding further experiencing of it is pleasure, which again is thought. That is, seeing the sunset, then thinking about it and wanting to be repeated, that is pleasure, isn't it? This is what you do when you have sexual pleasure, the repetition, the image, the thinking about it, chewing and wanting it again. So thought, thinking, breeds fear as well as pleasure. Right? Thought gives continuity to fear and a continuity to pleasure; but when you had physical pain yesterday or two years ago, to have it, to finish with it, not record it, then there is no continuity of it, the continuity brought about by thinking about it. I am going to go into that.

Please listen to this. Because, you see, Sirs, we are human beings, not merely animals. We have to live intelligently. We have to live a marvellous, beautiful life, and if one lives in fear, it is anxiety, guilt, sense of failure, fear of the dark, fear of death, fear of losing your money, fear of not becoming a great man and fear expresses itself in different ways. So thought nourishes, sustains, gives continuity to fear and pleasure.

The question then is, why does thought which has created such marvellous things in the world - technology, all the marvellous medicines, science, you know, what thought has done - that very thought breeds fear and sustains fear and pleasure? So what is thought and where should thought function completely, totally, rationally, sanely, and where should thought be completely quiet? Thought is the response of memory, knowledge, experience stored up in the brain, and that memory, response, is thought. The memory, the intelligence, the knowledge has created the rocket which went to the moon, which has created the most marvellous technological things, the aeroplane, the most extraordinary things, and yet that very thought gives continuity to fear, and that very thought seeks pleasure, and that very pleasure becomes fear. You see the difficulty? You need thought to function rationally, objectively, sanely, reasonably, logically and also you see how thought continues to go with fear.

So we must find out why it is that thought always interferes - if I can use that word "interfere" - when there is an experience of pleasure or pain; why thought, when it is experiencing something, either physical pain or psychological pain, why thought comes in and holds it. Why? Are you asking the question too? You understand the problem, do you? To be able to speak English, I must have a great deal of knowledge of English, memory and all the rest of it and thought is using the words in order to convey something. Thought is using knowledge, and thought also uses knowledge which breeds fear, knowledge of pain of yesterday, knowledge of the pleasure of yesterday.

So the question is, why does thought always avoid the one which is fear and hold on to pleasure? That is one question. Why does thought interfere when there is an experience? You understand? I have an experience of the sunset and at that moment there is nothing to think at all; I am just looking at the beauty of that light. Then thought comes along and says, "I want that repeated again tomorrow, which is, knowledge as experience, which is pleasure, wants it to be repeated again. I have had pain, which is the remembrance of that pain which is knowledge, and according to that knowledge or depending upon that knowledge, thought says, "I do not want it." You follow? Thought is doing that all the time, functioning between pleasure and pain. And thought is responsible for both. Right?

So knowledge on the one hand is essential, otherwise you cannot go home, otherwise you cannot talk your language, you cannot invent, you cannot construct if you are an engineer, and so on. Knowledge is essential, and also the knowledge of the pain of yesterday breeds fear. Right? So you have to find out for yourselves what it is that acts when thought is absent.

If you have followed from the beginning, observed all this, your mind has become sensitive, very alert, aware of the whole problem, you can look at it immediately and understand it instantly, not through analysis, but see it immediately. When you observe this, you find, don't you, that you have a mind that is learning and therefore it has become somewhat intelligent, because it has become sensitive about the problem, which before it has evaded? Now you are sensitive to the problem of fear and pleasure, therefore you are learning about it. The mind that is learning about fear and pleasure has not learnt the thing before, it is learning now.

You follow, I want to convey this to you with my heart, you understand, Sir, so that you get up from this place as a human being, living, not eternally frightened.

See, when you are learning about something, say, like the Italian or Russian language, you do not know about it, you are learning, therefore you come to it afresh. You do not know it, you will only know it as you accumulate knowledge about Italian or Russian, but when you start, you know nothing. Now you think you know about fear, you think you know about pleasure, whereas you do not really know about it. So you are learning now - you see the difference? Therefore a mind that is learning is an intelligent mind, not the mind that says "I have learnt" or "I know what fear is". That is, a mind that is learning is an intelligent mind, not the mind that says, "Tell me all about it, you are my guru. I will follow, stand on my head, dance, do what you tell me, I will do all that in order to go to heaven." Such a mind is a stupid mind, it cannot learn, it is a dead mind, it is a neurotic mind, but a mind that is learning is the mind that says "I do not know, I am going to look at fear for the first time, I am going to look at attachment for the first time, I am going to find out for the first time what real pleasure is." So you see when you are learning, your mind is awake. A mind that is awake is an intelligent mind, and it is this intelligence that says when you should use knowledge and when not.

Look, Sir, I wish you were sitting up here and I was there, because you see, Sir, the speaker has not read a book about all this, neither the Gita, the Upanishad, nor any books - philosophical, psychological - books that pertain to the psyche of man. And one has to find the truth of this for oneself. Truth is not second-hand. You cannot get it through a guru, through a book. You have to learn about it, you understand Sir, learn; and the beauty of that learning is that you do not know. You do not know what truth is. Do not pretend, do not quote somebody. You really do not know, therefore learn about it, and to learn about it one must come with a passion, an intensity to find out. So a mind that is learning is an intelligent mind, not the mind that repeats or is caught in a habit, "I am caught in fear. I do not know what to do about it", or a mind that says "I must have pleasure, more and more pleasure".

So learning brings intelligence, as you have intelligence when you are a first-class engineer, or a first-class non-governmental scientist. Then such a person has intelligence. So if you are really learning, not from me, then you have this extraordinary quality of intelligence which you cannot get from any book.

Now we are going to learn together what love is - learn. You have used that word, you have repeated that word and loaded it with all kinds of formula - love is godly, love is sacred, love is not profane - and you think you have understood it. Do you know what love is, do you? If you are really honest, not hypocritical, you will say, "I do not know, I only know what jealousy is, I know what sexual pleasure is - which I call love - I know all the agony that one goes through in what one calls love." But the nature of it, the beauty of it you really do not know.

So what is love? Do not form an opinion about it, do not have a formula. If you have, then you have stopped learning. Do you understand what love is? We are going to find out. I have to learn verbally what it means, which is not love at all. What is love? Is it pleasure, is it desire, is it the product of thought, is it the love of God and the hate of man? That is what you do - love God and kick your fellow man. You love the politician, not the politician perhaps - but you love your boss, you love your wife. Do you really love your wife? Yes? What does it mean? When you love something, you care for it. Sir, do you love your children - which means that you care for them, not only when they are little babies but when they grow older, to see that they have the right education. When you love them you will see that you are not merely concerned that they should have a safe job, get married and settle down to follow the pattern of your generation.

So love is not jealousy, right? An ambitious man, an aggressive man can never understand what love is, can he? A violent man, can he understand what love is? And you are violent, aggressive, ambitious, competitive. What you call love is pleasure. You say you love your family. Do you know what it means to love somebody? It means no division, not your family, you understand, Sir? Your family is a deadly, inclusive, corrupt thing. That is all you know, that the family is against everybody else. How can you love your wife or your children when you are ambitious, when you in your office you are cheating, wanting a bigger position, playing up to the big man, how can you love?

Therefore, to find out what love is, approach it negatively - negatively means do not be ambitious. You say if I am not ambitious I will be destroyed by this world. Be destroyed by this world. It is a stupid world anyhow, it is a monstrous, immoral world. If you really want to find out the beauty, the real quality of love, you must deny all the virtue which man has cultivated. What you have cultivated is ambition, is greed, envy, competition, holding on to your little self and your little family. Your family is yourself. You have identified yourself with the family, which means you love yourself, not the family, not your children. If you really love your children, the world would be different; you would have no wars, Sir.

So to find out what love is, you must put aside what it is not. Will you do it? You see you will do anything but that; you will go to the temples, you will go to the guru, you will read endless sacred books, repeat mantras, play tricks upon yourselves, and you will talk about love of God, your devotion to your guru. You won't do the one thing, which is just to say, find out what it means to love, find out for yourself what it means to be aggressive.

So a man who has not love, but the things made by thought in his heart, will make a monstrous world, will construct, put together a society that is totally immoral. That is what you have done. So to find out, you must undo everything that you have done, not through time, not saying "I'll gradually undo it." That is another trick of your mind. Then you say it is my karma. When you really understand aggression, how terrible it is, in a little way or a big way, you drop it instantly, and in that dropping there is great beauty.

And also one has to find out what it means to die. You have seen death, you have seen people dying, carried to the grave, you know all that. You don't know what it means to die, do you? You have theories about death, you have beliefs about death, or you say, "I believe in reincarnation, what will happen after death." You all believe in reincarnation, don't you?

Voices: We do.

You know what that means - reincarnation? Listen to it very quietly; that you will be born next life, incarnate. You have assumed that you will be born, and you believe in that. What is "You"? The bank account? The house? The job? The memories? The quarrels? The anxiety? The pain? The fear? Is not that all "you"? Do you deny all that is you or do you say the "me" is something greater than that? If you say the "me" is not the furniture, not my family, not my job, but something far superior than all this, who says it, and how do you know that there is something far superior? It is still thought that says that there is something far superior than this. So the thing that is far superior, the super-ego, the Atman, is still within the field of time, is still within the field of thought, and thought is you, your furniture, your bank account, your attachment to your family, to your nation, to your books, to your unfulfilled desires.

And you say, "when I die all this rubbish goes back and I am born next life." And if you really believed actually with your heart, not with your shoddy little mind, if you thought that in your next life you would incarnate, it means that you would live today completely, because what you do today, you are going to pay for it tomorrow, next life.

When you die you are going to lose your bank account, you cannot take it with you, you may have it till the last minute - and most people want it till the last minute - it is quite funny, isn't it? So you really know nothing about death. So let us learn about it, not repeat what the speaker says because you will find if you repeat what the speaker says it is nothing, just words.

The physical organism dies, obviously. The scientist may give it another fifty years longer, and at the end of it dies, because it is being constantly used and misused. It has great many strains, pressures. It has been abused through drink, drugs, wrong eating, the constant battle. And that has put a tension on it - the heart failures, and the disease.

The body will die and what else will die with the body? Your furniture, your knowledge, all your hopes, despairs, your fulfilment - is that going to die? So what is death? Please learn. We are learning together. To find out what it means, you must die, must not you? You with your ambitions, you must die, die to your ambition, die to your desire for power, position, prestige, die to our habits, your traditions, you understand? Do not argue, you cannot argue with death, you cannot just say, "Give me few more days, I have not finished my book. I want another child." You cannot argue, so do not argue, do not justify.

Die to one thing so completely, to your vanity to your aspirations, to your images about yourself or about your guru, about your life, end it then you will see what it means to die, then you will know what a mind is that is dead to the past. It is only such a mind that ends every day, it is only such a mind that goes beyond time.

Now, Sirs, you have listened. You have listened and therefore learnt what fear is, what pleasure is, and if you have learnt about these two, then you will know what love is, and love is the quality of mind - mind means the brain, the heart, the whole thing - in which there is no division, which means there is no fragmentation in oneself. So when you have done this, you will have a marvellous mind, a clear heart, and when you leave here this evening, learn all that you have learnt today and die to it. You understand? Die to everything that you have learnt this evening, so that tomorrow morning you are fresh again. Otherwise if you carry all the burden of today to tomorrow, then you give continuity to fear. So end each day and you will know the beauty of life, the beauty of truth, then you will have nothing to learn from anybody, because you are learning.



Editor's last word: