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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


It must have occurred to many of us how quickly every thing deteriorates. Great revolutions slaughtering millions with good promises soon deteriorate. They fall into the hands of bad people. Great movements, political and religious, soon wither away. It must have occurred to many of us why it is that this constant process of renewal and decay takes place. Why is it that some thing that has been started by a few people with good intentions, with right motives, is soon usurped by bad people and destroyed?

What is this process of withering, this decay? I think if we can answer this question and find out the truth of the matter, then perhaps we as individuals can set about an action which will not utterly wither away. I think we should look to the cause of it, not merely at the superficial level but at the deeper level as well. I think there is a deeper and more fundamental reason why this deterioration takes place so rapidly, and I hope that is one of your problems too. Don't think I am trying to introduce a new problem or I am taking up something to talk about. This must have occurred to you, as it has occurred to me. If you are at all alert, aware of the process in history, in everyday life, you must have observed that some thing is behind this process of deterioration; having observed it, probably you have brushed it aside; or having sacrificed yourself to a cause which soon withers away, you do not know what to do.

You must find out what exactly is that which is behind this process of deterioration, this renewal which soon withers away. It seems to me that we should enquire into this whole question; and perhaps there lies the true answer to our problem.

In our every day life, we make effort to become. Don't we? All our effort is to be something, to be come, positively or negatively. We see that there is sociological conflict in `becoming', in the individual becoming more and more; and the force behind that `becoming' is ever directed that way. To control individual effort which is self-enclosing, there are social laws; and in order to control the individual religiously, there are religious sanctions; but in spite of these laws and sanctions, deteriorations exist in our effort to be good, to be noble, to be beautiful, to seek truth. Until we really discover for ourselves - not imitatively, not through tradition, not through mere verbal rationalization - that which is behind this process of decay and deterioration, which is apart from our being, there is no end to the world's turmoil.

The state of creativeness is very important. I am afraid we shall not be in that state which is so essential to bring about or to maintain a constant state in which there is no deterioration of any kind.

Now to go into this matter fully, you must enquire into this process of the experiencer and the experience, because whatever we do contains this dual process. The effort or the will to experience, to acquire, to be or not to be, is always there. The will is the factor of our deterioration; the will to become - individually, collectively, nationally or in different levels of our societies - , the will to be is the important factor. If we observe, we shall find that, in this will, there are the actor and the thing he acts upon. That is, I exert my will to transform or change some thing; I am greedy, and I exert my will not to be greedy; I am provincial, nationalistic, and I exert my will not to be so. I act; that is, I use my will to transform that which I consider evil, or I try to become or keep that which is good. So, there is this dualistic action in will, which is the experiencer and the experience. think that, therein, is the root of our deterioration.

As long as I am experiencing, as long as I am becoming, there must be this dualistic action; there must be the thinker and the thought, two separate processes at work; there is no integration, there is always a centre which is operating through the will, of action to be or not to be - collectively, individually, nationally and so on. Universally, this is the process. As long as effort is divided into the experiencer and the experience, there must be deterioration. Integration is only possible when the thinker is no longer the observer. That is, we know at present there are the thinker and the thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experienced; there are two different states. Our effort is to bridge the two.

The will or action is always dualistic. Is it possible to go beyond this will which is separative, and discover a state in which this dualistic action is not? That can only be found when we directly experience the state in which the thinker is the thought. We now think the thought is separate from the thinker, but is that so? We would like to think it is, Sirs, because then, a thinker can explain matters through his thought. The effort of the thinker is to become more or become less; and therefore, in that struggle, in that action of the will, in `becoming', there is always the deteriorating factor, we are pursuing a false process and not a true process.

Is there a division between the thinker and the thought? As long as they are separate, divided, our effort is wasted; we are pursuing a false process which is destructive and which is the deteriorating factor. We think the thinker is separate from the thought. When I find that I am greedy, possessive, brutal, I think I should not be all this. The thinker then tries to alter his thoughts, and therefore effort is made to `become; and in that process of effort, he pursues the false illusions that there are two separate processes whereas there is only one process. I think therein lies the fundamental factor of deterioration.

Is it possible to experience that state when there is only one entity and not two separate processes, the experiencer and the experience? Then perhaps we shall find out what it is to be creative, and what the state is in which there is no deterioration at any time, in whatever relationship man may be.

In all our experiences, there is the experiencer, the observer; and the experiences; or the observer is gathering to himself more and more, or denying himself. Is that not a wrong process and is that not a pursuit which does not bring about the creative state? If it is a wrong process, can we wipe it out completely and put it aside? That can come about only when I experience, not as a thinker experiences, but when I am aware of the false process and see that there is only a state in which the thinker is the thought.

I am greedy. I and greed are not two different states; there is only one thing and that is greed. If I am aware that I am greedy, what happens? Then, I make an effort not to be greedy, either for sociological reasons or for religious reasons; that effort will always be in a small limited circle; I may extend the circle, but it is always limited. Therefore the deteriorating factor is there. But when I look a little more deeply and closely, I see that the maker of effort is the cause of greed and he is greed itself; and I also see that there is no `me' and greed, separately existing, but that there is only greed. If I realize that I am greedy, that there is not the observer who is greedy but I am myself greed, then our whole question is entirely different; our response to it is entirely different; then our effort is not destructive.

What will you do when your whole being is greed, when whatever action you do is greed? But unfortunately, we don't think along those lines. There is the `me', the superior entity, the soldier who is controlling dominating. To me that process is destructive. It is an illusion and we know why we do that. I divide my self into the high and the low, in order to continue the desire to be secure. If there is only greed, completely, not `I' operating greed, but I am entirely greed, then what happens? Surely then, there is a different process at work altogether, a different problem comes into being. It is that problem which is creative, in which there is no sense of `I' dominating, `I becoming' positively or negatively. We must come to that state if we would be creative. In that state, there is no maker of effort. I think it is not an action of verbalizing or of trying to find out what that state is; if you set about that way, you will lose and you will never find. What is important is to see that the maker of effort and the object to wards which he is making effort are the same. That requires enormously great understanding, watchfulness, to see how the mind divides itself into the high and the low - the high being the security, the permanent entity - but still remaining a process of thought and therefore of time. If we can understand this as directly experiencing, then you will see that quite a different factor comes into being.

The Unknown can't be understood by the maker of effort, the will of action. To understand, mind must be completely silent, which ultimately means complete self abnegation; the self which is the maker of effort to `become' positively or negatively, is not there.

Question: What makes something I say to another, gossip? Is speaking the truth or speaking good or bad about another, gossip? Can it be gossip so long as what is said, is true?

Krishnamurti: Behind this question, there lie many things. First of all, why do you want to speak about another? What is the motive, what is the urge? That is more important to find out. You must know if what you say about another is true. Why do you want to talk about another? If you are antagonistic, your motives are based on violence, hatred; and then, it is bound to be evil; your intention is to give pain to another through your words or through your expression. Why do you talk about another, good or bad, and what is the necessity that urges you to talk about somebody else? First of all, does it not indicate a very shallow and petty mind? If you are really concerned, interested in anything, you should know the time for it, the time to talk about another, however good, noble that another may be, or however stupid or irresponsible he may be. A stupid or shallow mind always wants to have something to talk about, chat or be agitated about. It must either read, acquire, or believe. You know the whole process of being occupied with something. Then the problem arises, how am I to stop gossiping.

Both the gossiper and the subject of the gossip, good or bad, about an other, have a kind of relationship to one another; and both he and the man to whom he gossips, have a kind of mutual pleasure, the one to tell and the other to listen. I think it is very important to find out the motives, an not how to stop gossiping. If you can discover the motive and rather keep looking at it directly without any condemnation or justification, then perhaps your mind will begin to discover a deeper level, which consequently makes you put away this gossip, this talking about another. But to discover that motive, that urge, is quite an arduous task. Is it not?

First of all, the man or woman who is occupied with gossiping, is so interested in telling about somebody good or bad, that he or she has no time to think. After all, gossip is one of the ways of self-knowledge. Is it not? If you talk about another cruelly, it indicates antagonism, hatred. As you do not want to face your own antagonisms and hatreds, you escape through talk; and if you talk and gossip about another, it is another form of escape from your self.

The man who would really understand this whole process of life, must have profound self-knowledge, - not the knowledge which acquire from a book or a psychologist, but direct knowledge we comes through relationship, the relationship which comes as a mirror in which you see yourself constantly, both the pleasant and unpleasant. But that requires earnestness. Very few are earnest and many are petty and stupid.

Question: How can individual regeneration alone possibly bring about, in the immediate, the collective well-being of the greatest number, which is the need everywhere?

Krishnamurti: We think that individual regeneration is opposed to collective regeneration. We are not thinking in terms of regeneration, but only of individual regeneration. Regeneration is anonymous. It is not `I have redeemed myself'. As long as you think of individual regeneration as being opposed to the collective, then there is no relationship between the two. But if you are concerned with regeneration, not of the individual but regeneration, then you will see there is quite a different force, intelligence, at work; because after all, what are we concerned with? What is the question with which we are concerned, profoundly and deeply? One might see the necessity for united action of man to save man. He sees that collective action is necessary in order to produce food, clothing and shelter. That requires intelligence; and intelligence is not individual, is not of this party or that party, this country or that country. If the individual seeks intelligence it will be collective. But unfortunately, we are not seeking intelligence, we are not seeking the solution of this problem. We have theories of our problems, ways of how to solve them; and the ways become individual and collective. If you and I seek an intelligent way to the problem, then we are not collective or individual; then we are concerned with intelligence that will solve the problem.

What is collective, what is mass? You in relationship with another. Is it not? This is not oversimplification; because, in my relationship with you, I form a society; you and I together create a society in our relationship. Without that relation ship, there is no intelligence, there is no cooperation on your side or on my side, that is wholly individual. If I seek my regeneration and you seek your regeneration, what happens? We both of us are pursuing opposite directions.

If both of us are concerned with the intelligent solution of the whole problem, because that problem is our main concern, then our concern is not how I look at it or you look at it, not my path or your path; we are not concerned with frontiers or economic bias, with vested interests and stupidity which come into being with those vested interests. Then you and I are not collective, are not individual; this brings about collective integration which is anonymous.

But the questioner wants to know how to act immediately, what to do the next moment, so that man's needs can be solved. I am afraid there is no such answer. There is no immediate moral remedy, whatever politicians may promise. The immediate solution is the regeneration of the individual, not for himself but regeneration which is the awakening of intelligence. Intelligence is not yours or mine, it is intelligence. I think it is important to see this deeply. Then our political and individual action, collective or otherwise, will be quite different. We shall lose our identity; we shall not identify our selves with something - our country, our race, our group, our collective traditions, our prejudices. We shall lose all those things because the problem demands that we shall lose our identity in order to solve it. But that requires great, comprehensive understanding of the whole problem.

Our problem is not the bread and butter problem alone. Our problem is not feeding, clothing and shelter alone; but it is more profound than that. It is a psychological problem, why man identifies himself. And it is this identification with a party, with a religion, with knowledge, that is dividing us. And that identity can be resolved only when, psychologically, the whole process of identifying, the desire, the motive, is clearly understood.

So the problem of the collective or of the individual is non-existent when you are pursuing the solution of a particular problem. If you and I are both interested in something, is vitally interested in the solution of the problem, we shall not identify ourselves with something else. But unfortunately, as we are not vitally interested, we have identified our selves, and it is that identity that is preventing us from resolving this complex and vast problem.

Question: Although you have used the word `Truth' often, I do not recall that you have ever defined it. What do you mean by it?

Krishnamurti: You and I as two individuals are going to find this out, not tomorrow but perhaps this evening. If you are very quiet, let us discover it. Definitions are not valuable. Definitions have no meaning to a man who is seeking Truth. The word is not the thing; the word `tree' is not the tree; but we are satisfied with words. please follow this closely. To us, definitions, explanations are very satisfactory because we can live within them. We can pursue words, and words have certain effects on us physically and psychologically. The word `God' awakens all kinds of neurological and psychological reactions, and we are satisfied.

So to us, definition is very important. Is that not so? Definition we call knowledge, and knowledge we think is Truth. The more we read about it, the nearer we think we are to it. But the explanation of the word is not the thing. So we have to realize, to understand; we must not be caught by definitions by words. Therefore, we must put aside the word. And how difficult it is, is it not?, because the word is the process of thought! There is no thinking without verbalizing, without using words, images, concepts, formulas. Please follow all this, meditate with me now, to find this out.

When the mind perceives that it is caught in words, that the very process of its thinking is word which is memory, how can such a mind - which is memory, which is time, which is caught in definitions and conclusions - , understand what is Truth, what is unknowable. If I would know the unknowable, the mind must be completely silent, must it not? That is, all verbalization, all imagination, all projection must cease. You all know how difficult it is for the mind to be still, not compelled, not disciplined to be still; which means, the mind is no longer verbalizing, no longer recognizing, no longer the centre of recognition of any experience.

When the mind recognizes the experience, that experience is projected. When I experience the Master, Truth, God, that experience is self-projected, because I recognize. There is the centre of me which recognizes that experience; that recognition is the process of memory. Then I say `I have seen the Master, I know He exists, I know there is God.' That is, the mind is the centre of recognition, and recognition is the process of memory. When I experience something as God, as Truth, it is my projection, it is recognition, it is not Truth, it is not God.

The mind is quite still only when it is incapable of experiencing, that is, when there is no centre of recognition. But that does not come about through any form of action of will. That does not come about through discipline. That comes about when the mind observes its own activities, which I hope you are doing now. And when you observe, you will see how every minute there is the process of recognition going on, and how when you recognize, there is nothing new.

Truth is something that is timeless, that is not measurable by words. Since truth is measureless, timeless, mind cannot recognize it. There fore, for Truth to be, it is imperative that the mind should be in a state of non-experiencing. Truth must come to you, the mind, you cannot go to it. If you go to it, you will experience it. You cannot invite Truth. When you invite when you experience, you are in the position of recognizing it; when you recognize it, it is not Truth; it is only your own process of memory, of thought that says `It is so, I have read, I have experienced'. Therefore, knowledge is not the way to Truth. Knowledge must be understood and put away for Truth to be. If your mind is quiet, not asleep, not drugged by words, but actually pursuing, observing the process of the mind, then you will see that quietness comes into being darkly, mysteriously; and in that state of stillness, you will see that which is eternal, immeasurable.

Question: There is an urge in every one of us to see God, Reality, Truth. Is not the search for beauty the same as the search for reality? Is ugliness evil?

Krishnamurti: Sirs, do realize you cannot seek God. You cannot seek Truth. Because, if you seek, what you will find is not Truth. Your search is the desire to find that which you want. How can you seek something of which you do not know? You seek something of which you have read, which you call Truth; or you are seeking something which inwardly you have a feeling for. Therefore, you must understand the motive of your search, which is far more important than the search for Truth.

Why are you seeking, and what are you seeking? You would not seek if you are happy, if there was joy in your heart. Because we are empty we are seeking. We are frustrated, miserable, violent, full of antagonism; that is why we want to go away from that and seek some thing which would be more. Do watch yourselves and realize what I am saying to you, not merely listening to words. In order to escape from your present psychological conflicts, miseries, antagonisms, you say `I am seeking Truth'. You will not find Truth because Truth does not come when you are escaping from reality, from that which is. You have to understand that. To understand that, you must not go to seek the answer outside. So you cannot seek Truth. It must come to you. You cannot beckon God, you cannot go to Him. Your worship, devotion, is utterly valueless because you want something, you put up the begging bowl for Him to fill. So, you are seeking someone to fill your emptiness. And you are interested more in the word than in the thing. But if you are content with that extraordinary state of loneliness without any deviation or distraction, then only that which is eternal comes into being.

Most of us are so conditioned, so trained, that we want to escape; and the thing to which we escape, we call beauty. We are seeking beauty through something - through dance, through rituals, through prayer, through discipline, through various forms of formulations, through painting, through sensation. Are we not? So as long as we are seeking beauty through something, through man, woman or child, through some sensation, we shall never have beauty because the thing through which we seek, becomes all important. Not beauty, but the object through which we seek it, becomes all important, and then we cling to that. Beauty is not found through something; that would be merely a sensation which is exploited by the cunning. Beauty comes into being through inward regeneration, when there is complete, radical transformation of the mind. For that, you require an extraordinary state of sensitivity.

Ugliness is an evil only when there is no sensitivity. If you are sensitive to the beautiful, denying the ugly, then you are not sensitive to the beautiful. What is important is not ugliness or beauty, but that there should be sensitivity which sees, which reacts to the so-called ugly as well as to the beautiful. But if you are only aware of the beautiful and deny the ugly, then it is like cutting off one arm; then your whole existence is unbalanced. Don't you shut out the evil, deny it, call it ugly, fight it, be violent about it? You are only concerned with the beautiful, you want it. In that process, you lose the sensitivity.

The man that is sensitive to both the ugly and the beautiful, goes beyond, far away from the things through which he seeks Truth. But, we are not sensitive to either beauty or ugliness; we are so enclosed by our own thoughts, by our own prejudices, by our own ambitions, greed's, envies. How can a mind be sensitive, that is ambitious spiritually or in any other direction? There can be sensitivity only when the whole process of desire is completely understood; for, desire is a self-enclosing process, and through enclosing, you cannot see the horizon. The mind then is stifled by its own `becoming'. Such a mind can only appreciate beauty through something. Such a mind is not a beautiful mind. Such a mind is not a good mind, it is an ugly mind which is enclosed and is seeking its own perpetuation. Such a mind can never find beauty. Only when the mind ceases to enclose itself by its own ideals and pursuits and ambitions, such a mind is beautiful.

January 27, 1952