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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


As I was saying yesterday, one of the fundamental causes of deterioration is the will in action. I also said that imitation, repetition, the mechanical response of the mind, of memory, is another factor of deterioration of the mind. Is not self-perpetuation one of the major factors that bring about destruction, deterioration of the mind?

We see that every religion, every philosophy, even the totalitarian state, desires to destroy the separative process of the mind. No revolution, no outward economic change, or the so-called inward discipline, has in any way destroyed or brought about the ending of the self. I think most of us perceive or are aware that the self must come to an end, not theoretically but actually. One can philosophize over it and speculate about it; most people do it only surreptitiously or with an aggressive purpose like most politicians by whom we are ruled, or like the rich men who control most of our outward economy, or like those who pursue the spiritual path. All of them in different forms, more subtly or more aggressively, pursue self-expansion. Is not that one of the vital factors that destroy the mind?

The only instrument we have is the mind. We have used it hitherto, wrongly. Is it possible now to bring to an end this whole process of the self with all its deteriorating factors, with all its destructive elements? I think most of us realize that the self is separative, destructive, antisocial; outwardly and inwardly, it is an isolating process in which no relation ship is possible, in which love cannot exist. We more or less feel this actually or superficially, but most of us are not aware of it. Is it possible to really bring that process to an end, not substitute it for something else, or postpone, or explain it away?

As we have seen, mere discipline, mere conformity, does not end the self; it only gives it a vital strength in another direction. Most intelligent people, thoughtful people, must have enquired into this. Apart from religious sanctions, totalitarian compunctions, injunctions and concentration camps, most of us must have asked if the self can really come to an end. When we do put that question to ourselves, the automatic, the natural response is the `how'. How is it to come to an end? So to us, the `how' becomes very important. Only the `how', the practical way, the manner, matters to us. If we can examine a little more closely the whole question of the `how' and its technique, perhaps we shall understand that the `how', the practical way of achieving a result, will not end the self.

When we want to know the method of ending the self, the way how to bring it about, what is the process of the mind? Is there the `how', the way of doing, the method, the system? If we do follow the system, does it end the self? Or, does it give strength in another direction? Most of us are anxious, particularly those who are somewhat earnest and religiously inclined, desire to know or find out the method of ending, the way of becoming, the way of achieving a result. If we look deeply into our hearts and mind, it is obvious that we would pursue the method of ending the self, should there be one.

Now, why does the mind ask the way, the technique, the method? Is not that an important question? What happens is this. You have a system, a method, the `how', the technique; and the mind shapes after the technique, the pattern. Does that end the self? You may have a very rigorous and disciplining method, or a method that will gradually ease you out of the conflict of self, a method that will give you solace; but essentially, the desire for a method only indicates really the strengthening of the self. Does it not? Please follow this closely and you will see whether or not the `how' indicates a thought process, an imitative process, through which the mind, the self, can gather strength and have greater capacity and not end at all.

Take the question of envy. Most of us are envious at different levels, which causes untold misery to others and to ourselves; you have envy of the rich, envy of the learned, envy of the guru, envy of the man who achieves. Envy is the social motive, a drive in our existence. It is clothed sometimes in a religious form but essentially it is the same; it is the desire to be something, spiritually, economically. That is one of our major drives. Is there a method, a means, by which you can get rid of it? Our instinctive response, if we are at all thoughtful, is to find a way to make it come to an end or to bring it to an end. What happens? Can envy be brought to an end by a method, by a technique? Envy implies the desire to be something here or hereafter. You have not tackled the desire which makes you envious; but you have learned a way to cover up that desire by expressing it in another way; but essentially, it is still envy.

So, if you can understand this process of how we want a method to achieve a result, and if we also understand the mind that cultivates the technique, we can then see that essentially it is the strengthening of thought. Thought is one of the major factors that bring about deterioration, because thought is a process of memory, which is verbalization of memory and is a conditioning influence. The mind that is seeking a way out of this confusion is only strengthening that thought process. So, what is important is, not to find a way or a method - because we have seen what the implications in it are - , but to be aware of the whole process of the mind.

Thought can never be independent; there is no independent thinking, because all thought is a process of conformity to the past. There is no independence or freedom through thinking. How can a mind which is essentially the result of the past, which is conditioned by various memories, climatically, socially and environmentally and so on, how can such a mind be independent? So, if you seek independence of thought, you are only perpetuating the self. What is the process of this independence? Most of us are lonely, and there is a constant craving for fulfilment. Being aware of this emptiness in ourselves, we seek various forms of escapes from it - religious, social; you know the whole business of escapes. As long as we do not solve that problem, the independence that we are seeking in thinking will only be the perpetuation of the self.

For most of us, creation is non-existent; we do not know what it means to create. Without that creativeness which is not of time, which is not of thought, we cannot bring about a vitally different culture, a different state of human relationship? Is it possible for the mind to be in that receptive state in which creativeness can take place? Thought is not creative; the man who pursues the idea can never be creative; the pursuit of an ideal is thought process and is conditioned after the mind. So, how can the mind which is thought process, which is the result of time, which is the result of education, of influence, of pressure, of fear, of the search for reward, of the avoidance of punishment, how can such a mind be ever free so that creativeness can take place? When we put that question to ourselves, we want to know the method, the `how', the practical way to achieve that mental freedom. Trying to know the `how', the method, is the most absurd thing and is a school boy's affair. The `how' implies always the method which is the pursuit of thought, the conformity to a particular technique. We see also that only when the mind with its thought process comes to an end, is there creation.

Surely, in the present crisis of the world and with the politicians and their cunning exploitations, creation is the most difficult thing to achieve. We do not want more theories, more ideals, more leaders, more and newer techniques, the means of supporting a pattern. The only minds that are creative are those of human beings that are integrated.

Is it possible for the mind which is the result of centuries of thought process, ever to be in that creative state? That is, can the thought ever receive, or ever cultivate, that creative urge? It seems to me that is one of the most important things we should ask ourselves, because the mere following of a pattern has not led us anywhere, socially or religiously. No leader can give us the real creative urge; no example can do that; every example is the expansion of the self, the hero is the expansion of the `me' glorified. So is the pursuit of the ideal an expansion of my self, fulfilling of myself in an idea; it is continuation of thought as time, and therefore there is no creative state. I think it is very important to find this out, to be aware how essential it is for each of us to discover for ourselves that creative spirit. The mind can never discover that, do what it will; thought can never understand or bring about that creative state.

What is that creative state? Surely it cannot be stated positively. To describe it is to limit it. The description will be a process of measuring; and to measure it is to use a thought process. Obviously it is so. Therefore thought can never capture it. It is of no value to describe it. But what we can do is to find out what are the barriers, by negatively approaching it, obliquely coming upon it. Most of us will object to it, because most of us are accustomed to be direct. `Do this thing and you will get that' is the attitude that governs your approach. What we are discussing is not to describe that state, but to find out what you should do to discover for yourself the impediments that prevent that creative state, that extraordinary state in which the mind, the observer, is non-existent.

What is the first thing that stands in the way? Surely, the whole desire to be powerful, to dominate, stands in the way. The desire for power is a process which is separative; though it may be identified with the whole, with a country, or with a group, it is an isolating process. The impediment is the mind which is ambitious at any level - the so-called spiritual ambition, the mind of the politician, of the rich and of the poor man. All these persons desire to have more. The urge for more is the most destructive element that stands in the way. That is very difficult to grasp because the mind is so subtle. You may not seek power in the crude form, but you may seek it as a politician with his excuse of doing things in the interests of the state; or you may be an electioneer. There are different forms of pursuit of power which are all essentially the will to be, the will to be come something, which expresses it self through virtue, through respectability, through the action of the mind, the sense of domination, the pride of having power.

So, one of the major factors, major barriers, is this desire for power, this desire for domination. Do watch in your own lives and you will see the separative, the destructive desire in action. That will obviously defeat love. It is only love that is our redemption. But you cannot have love if there is any sense of domination, any sense of the desire for power, position, authority, the will in action, the desire to achieve a result. We know all this. Vaguely we are aware of it also. We are caught in the stream of becoming, in the stream of desire for power; and we are incapable of stopping it and stepping out. To step out, there is no `how'. You see the full implications of power; and when you realize it fully, you step out; there is no `how'.

One of the hindrances that prevents creativeness is authority, authority of the example, the authority of the past, authority of experience, authority of knowledge, authority of belief. All these are impediments for a creative state. You do not have to accept what I am saying. You can observe it in your own life; and you will see how belief, knowledge and authority strengthen the separative process of the mind.

Obviously, another factor that prevents the creative state is repetition, imitation, perpetuation of an idea. Repetition is not only of sensation but of rituals, vain repetition of the pursuit of knowledge, repetition of experience, which have no significance at all. All these are hindrances. There is no new experience. All experience is a process of recognition. When there is no recognition, there is no experience; and the process of recognition is a process of the mind, which is verbalization.

Another factor that divides us from that creative state is this desire for a method, the `how', the way, practicing something so that our mind can achieve a result; this is a process of continuity, repetition; and the mind which is caught in repetition, can never be creative.

So, if you can see all that, then you will find that it is the mind actually that is preventing the creative state from coming into being.

So when the mind is aware of its own movement, mind comes to an end. It is only then that the creative state can be; it is the only salvation because that creative state is love. Love has nothing to do with sentiment. It has nothing to do with sensation. It is not a product of thought, nor can the mind manufacture it. Mind can only create images, images of sensation, of experience; and images are not love. We do not know what it means though we use that word very freely. But we know sensation; and it is the very nature of the mind to feel sensation, and pursue sensation through images, through words, through every form of conceit. But the mind can never know love; and yet we have cultivated the mind for centuries.

It is extremely arduous for the mind to see all this process so that the experiencer is never apart from the experienced. It is this division between the observer and the observed that is the process of thought. In love, there is no experiencer or the experienced. And as we do not know it and as that is the only redemption, surely an earnest man must watch the whole process of the mind, the hidden and the open. That is very arduous. Most of us are wasting our energies through climate, through diet, through idle gossip - I am sorry, there is no idle gossip, there is only gossip - through our envy. We have not the time for enquiry. It is only through meditative search, that we can have awareness of the mind and its content; then, the mind comes to an end and love can be.

Question: How is man to fulfil himself if he has no ideals?

Krishnamurti: Is there such a thing as fulfilment, though most of us seek fulfilment? We know, we try to fulfil ourselves through family, through son, through brother, through wife, through property, through identification with a country or a group, or through pursuit of an ideal, or through the desire for continuity of the `me'. There are various, different forms of fulfilment at different levels of consciousness.

Is there such a thing as fulfilment? What is the thing that is fulfilling? What is the entity that is seeking to be in or through certain identification? When do you think of fulfilment? When are you seeking fulfilment?

As I said, this is not a talk at the verbal level. If you treat it at verbal level, then go away; it is a waste of time. But if you want to go deeply, then pursue, then be alert and follow it; because we need intelligence, not dead repetition, not repetition of phrases, words and examples with which we are feed up.

What we need is creation, intelligent integrated creation; which means, you have to search it out directly through your own under standing of the mind process.

So in listening to what I am saying, relate it to yourself directly, experience what I am talking about. And you cannot experience it through my words. You can experience it only when you are capable, when you are earnest, when you observe your own thinking, your own feeling.

When is desire to be fulfilled? When are you conscious of this urge to be, to become, to fulfil? Please watch yourself. When are you conscious of it? Are you not conscious of it when you thwart it? Are you not aware of it when you feel extraordinary loneliness, a sense of inexhaustible nothingness, of yourself not being something. You are aware of this urge for fulfilment only when you feel an emptiness, loneliness. And then, you pursue fulfilment through innumerable forms, through sect, through relationship with property, with trees, with everything at different layers of consciousness. The desire to be, to identify, to fulfil, exists only when there is consciousness of the `me' being empty, lonely. The desire to fulfil is an escape from that which we call loneliness. So our problem is not how to fulfil, or what is fulfilment; because there is no such thing as fulfilment. The `me' can never fulfil; it is always empty; you may have a few sensations when you are achieving a result; but the moment the sensations have gone you are back again in that empty state. So you begin to pursue the same process as before.

So the `me' is the creator of that emptiness. The `me' is the empty; the `me' is a self-enclosing process in which we are aware of that extraordinary loneliness. So being aware of that, we are trying to run away through various forms of identification. These identifications we call fulfillments. Actually, there is no fulfilment because mind, the `me', can never fulfil; it is the very nature of the `me' to be self-enclosing.

So what is the mind which is aware of that emptiness, to do? That is your problem, is it not? For most of us, this ache of emptiness is extraordinarily strong. We do anything to escape from it. Any illusion is sufficient, and that is the source of illusion. Mind has the power to create illusion. And as long as we do not understand that aloneness, that state of self-enclosing emptiness - do what you will, seek whatever fulfilment you will - there is always that barrier which divides, which knows no completeness.

So our difficulty is to be conscious of this emptiness, of this loneliness. We are never face to face with it. We do not know what it looks like, what its qualities are; because we are always running away from it, with drawing, isolating, identifying. We are never face to face, directly, in communion with it. We then are the observer and the observed. That is, the mind, `the I', observes that emptiness; and the I, the thinker, then proceeds to free itself from that emptiness or to run away.

So, is that emptiness, loneliness different from the observer? Is not the observer himself empty and not that he observes emptiness? Because, if the observer was not capable of recognizing that state which he calls loneliness, there would be no experi- ence. He is empty; he cannot act upon it, he can do nothing about it. Because, if he does anything what ever, he becomes the observer acting upon the observed, which is a false relationship.

So when the mind recognizes, realizes, is aware, that it is empty and that it cannot act upon it, then, that emptiness of which we are aware from outside, has a different meaning. So far, we have approached it as the observer. Now the observer himself is empty, alone, is lonely. Can he do anything about it? Obviously, he cannot. Then his relationship to it is entirely different from that of the relationship of the observer. He has that aloneness. He is in that state in which there is no verbalization that `I am empty'. The moment he verbalizes it or externalizes it, he is different from that. So when verbalization ceases, when the experiencer ceases as experiencing loneliness, when he ceases to run away, then he is entirely lonely, his relationship is in itself loneliness; he is himself that; and when he realizes that fully, surely, that emptiness, loneliness, ceases to be.

But loneliness is entirely different from aloneness. That loneliness must be passed to be alone. Loneliness is not comparable with aloneness. The man who knows loneliness can never know that which is alone. Are you in that state of aloneness? Our minds are not integrated to be alone. The very process of the mind is separative. And that which separates knows loneliness.

But aloneness is not separative. It is something which is not the many, which is not influenced by the many, which is not the result of the many, which is not put together as the mind is; the mind is of the many. Mind is not an entity that is alone, being put together, brought together, manufactured through centuries. Mind can never be alone. Mind can never know aloneness. But being aware of the loneliness when going through it, there comes into being that aloneness. Then only can there be that which is immeasurable. Unfortunately most of us seek dependence. We want companions, we want friends, we want to. live in a state of separation, in a state which brings about conflict. That which is alone can never be in a state of conflict. But mind can never perceive that, can never understand that, it can only know loneliness.

Question: You said that Truth can come only when one can be alone and can love sorrow. This is not clear. Kindly explain what you mean by being alone and loving sorrow?

Krishnamurti: Most of us are not in communion with anything. We are not directly in communion with our friends, with our wives, with our children. We are not in communion with anything directly. There are always barriers - mental, imaginary, and actual. And this separativeness is the cause, obviously, of sorrow. Don't say `Yes, that we have read, that we know verbally'. But if you are capable of experiencing it directly, you will see that sorrow cannot come to an end by any mental process. You can explain sorrow away, which is a mental process; but sorrow is still there, though you may cover it up

So to understand sorrow, surely you must love it, must you not? That is, you must be in direct communion with it. If you would understand something - your neighbour, your wife, or any relationship - , if you would understand something completely, you must be near it. You must come to it without any objection, prejudice, condemnation or repulsion; you must look at it, must you not? If I would understand you, I must have no prejudices about you; I must be capable of looking at you, not through barriers, screens of my prejudices and conditioning's; I must be in communion with you, which means, I must love you. Similarly, if I would understand sorrow, I must love it, I must be in communion with it. I can not do so because I am running away from it through explanations, through theories, through hopes, through postponements, which are all the process of verbalization. So words prevent me from being in communion with sorrow. Words prevent me - words of explanations, rationalizations, which are still words, which are the mental process - , from being directly in communion with sorrow. It is only when I am in communion with sorrow, I understand it.

The next step is: Am I who is the observer of sorrow, different from sorrow? Am I, the thinker, the experiencer, different from sorrow? I have externalized it in order to do something about it, in order to avoid, in order to conquer, in order to run away. Am I different from that which I call sorrow? Obviously not. So I am sorrow, not that there is sorrow and I am different. I am `sorrow'. Then only is there possibility of ending sorrow.

As long as I am the observer of sorrow, there is no ending of sorrow. But when there is the realization that sorrow is the me, the observer him self is the sorrow - which is an extraordinarily difficult thing to experience, to be aware of, because for centuries we have divided this thing - ,when the mind realizes it is itself sorrow - not when it is observing sorrow, not when it is feeling sorrow - , it is itself the creator of sorrow, it is itself the feeler of sorrow, it is itself sorrow, then there is the ending of sorrow. This requires, not tradition or thinking, but very alert, watchful, intelligent awareness. That intelligent integrated state is aloneness. When the observer is the observed, then it is the integrated state. And in that aloneness, in that state of being completely alone, full, when the mind is not seeking anything, neither seeking reward nor avoiding punishment, when the mind is truly still, not seeking, not groping, only then, that which is not measured by the mind, comes into being.

February 3, 1952