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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

EARLY WRITINGS - 1927 1928 1929


London, UK, 1928

INTERVIEWER: A number of newspapers in America recently reported you as saying that you were not the Teacher, but only the voice of the Teacher. Are we to take that as your attitude?

KRISHNAJI: No, sir, I am afraid they were entirely wrong. You cannot explain to someone who comes with no idea of what you are talking about without being misunderstood.

INTERVIEWER: Then what is the reality, from your point of view?

KRISHNAJI: The reality is that I am the Teacher.

INTERVIEWER: How did the confusion arise?

KRISHNAJI: They have misunderstood what was meant by the idea of the "vehicle of the Teacher". With that they are confused, and they bring it in at every interview.

INTERVIEWER: How did it happen that various journals drew a distinction between the personality of Krishnamurti and the Teacher?

KRISHNAMURTI: Sir, I have said over and over again that, according to me, Krishnamurti as such no longer exists. As the river enters the sea and loses itself in the sea, so Krishnamurti has entered into that Life which is represented by some as The Christ, by others as The Buddha, by others still, as the Lord Maitreya. Hence Krishnamurti as an entity fully developed has entered into the Sea of Life and is the Teacher, because the moment you enter into that Life -which is the fulfilment of all Teachers, which is life of all the Teachers- the individual as such ceases.

INTERVIEWER: Then should we not concern ourselves with the glorious Being who dwells in the Himalayan mountains?

KRISHNAJI: That is of very little importance as compared with the Truth, as compared with the teaching. What is of great importance is that everyone should concern himself with what I am saying, rather than with the personality of the Teacher, the body of the Teacher, where He dwells, and so on. That will lead to confusion. Sir, it is like this: When an artist paints a picture he does not want you to consider his personality as represented in that picture -he wants you to look at the beauty of that picture. No one cares who has painted the picture as long as it is beautiful.

INTERVIEWER: I take it then that according to you, the distinction between Krishnamurti and the Teacher has come to an end.

KRISHNAJI: As far as I am concerned, it has come to an end, it does not exist; but the people who desire to adhere to their own prejudices, their own desires and their own longings, will believe what is convenient, because whatever they do not desire to take to heart they can say emanates from Krishnamurti, and what they personally like and what gives them so-called comfort, they will say comes from the Teacher. So my point is that, as the beauty of the picture depends not on the painter but on the picture itself, what I say must depend on its own intrinsic value and not on the authority of my attainment, nor on the authority of others.

INTERVIEWER: Is it not inevitable that because you are giving us this point of view your personality will be made the basis of a religion in spite of your desire not to have one formed about you?

KRISHNAJI: If people are foolish, they are bound to mix the personality and the Truth, and to build a temple around the personality and form a religion.

INTERVIEWER: Has it not always been the case, that Truth without expression cannot be realized or understood? Because of that, you who have realized the Truth must be the Truth to others, and therefore you become the symbol of Truth to them, with the danger that people will worship the personality?

KRISHNAJI: Yes, of course, that is my very point. Adhere to the Truth rather than to the personality, and take to heart the Truth rather than the authority of another.

The questioner persisted:

INTERVIEWER: And yet there is this inevitable danger of the forming of a religion with creeds.

KRISHNAJI: There is only that inevitable danger as long as there is lack of understanding; but the moment the individual understands, there will be no formation of religion. So my chief concern is to make clear the Truth which I have attained, to give an understanding of the Truth, which is the Truth for all. And hence, if there is understanding rather than blind following, people will not create a religion.

INTERVIEWER: Why, if you know the Truth, can you not lay down rules and laws for others?

KRISHNAJI: I could of course do that, but then it would bind people to my perception of the Truth. It would crystallize and limit this Truth, which, I say, can only be developed by individual uniqueness. My contention is that it is impossible to limit Truth, for that would mean that you were stepping down the Truth to the individual, who is limited. It would be useless to lay down a crystallized method for everyone to follow.

The discussion then went back to the question of the founding of a religion.

INTERVIEWER: Some of your followers say that you have come to found a religion; and even though you may deny this, they maintain that because of you and what you say a religion will inevitably be founded afterwards.

KRISHNAJI: First of all, sir, when you say that I have followers, let me assure you that I do not want followers, nor would I ever encourage the idea of following. There are laws in some countries, I believe, which prohibit anyone from following you in the street, and if someone does, he can be arrested and put into prison. So, spiritually, I wish there were a police system which would put people into a spiritual prison for following others. In fact, it does happen automatically.

INTERVIEWER: Then it is your desire to prevent definitely the formation of a religion around the personality of Krishnamurti and to take steps to avoid that?

KRISHNAJI: I cannot take any steps -I can only insist that understanding, not blind belief, should be the goal.

INTERVIEWER: But do you think there will be a religion afterwards, when you are gone?

KRISHNAJI: With that we need not concern ourselves. That depends on the understanding of the people.

INTERVIEWER: You have said that you are the Buddha, the Christ, the Lord Maitreya, and more than these. How can that be?

KRISHNAJI: I hold that all the Teachers of the world have attained that Life which is the fulfilment of life. Hence, whenever anyone enters that Life, which is the culmination of all life, then he is ipso facto the Buddha, the Christ, the Lord Maitreya, because there is no distinction there. And hence, when I say that it is more than These, it is more -from the point of view of the understanding of the ordinary individual.

INTERVIEWER: Do the Buddha and the Christ continue Their existence as individuals?

KRISHNAJI: Does life continue beyond the door? The fulfilment of life is not annihilation -on the contrary- I am much more ambitious, much more desirous, much more eager than you are. It is Life. Therefore it cannot be annihilation, for you cannot annihilate Life! When I said that I am the Buddha, the Christ, the Lord Maitreya, and more, it was not a question of superiority or inferiority. I added that phrase 'and more' very carefully, because I knew that people had a very limited understanding of the Buddha and the Christ, and hence if I said: 'I am the Christ, the Buddha', they would limit that Reality to their own conceptions of the Buddha or the Christ, and Life has no limit.

INTERVIEWER: Why is it necessary to call yourself the World-Teacher? Did Buddha require a title?

KRISHNAJI: He called himself 'The Enlightened One' and Jesus called himself 'The Son of God'. To me the term 'World-Teacher' is of as little importance as 'The Son of God' or 'The Enlightened One'.

INTERVIEWER: What is the purpose of having such a name or title?

KRISHNAJI: To acknowledge, to show, the condition of mind and heart when you have achieved. It is like saying: 'I have painted a picture'. It is like saying: 'I have written a poem'. It is an assertion of the fact of attainment, rather than the narrow understanding that is given to labels and phrases. What the phrase indicates is of importance.

INTERVIEWER: Why do you use the word 'Teacher' which suggests the idea of teaching and implies a purpose?

KRISHNAJI: As the world has to attain the fulfilment of eternal life, to me it does not in the least matter what I am called -'Enlightened One', 'Son of God', or something else. To me, it has no purpose -as little as when the Buddha said, 'I am the Enlightened One'. It does not matter what you call the gaoler so long as he has the key that will open the door of your prison! Similarly, as I have the key to release Life from its prison, it does not matter in the least what you call either the key or myself. I am not concerned about the title.

INTERVIEWER: It has been stated constantly in the papers that you are in disagreement with different individuals in the various movements connected with the Theosophical Society. Is it not true that in this fulfilment of life there cannot be real disagreement?

KRISHNAJI: Naturally, sir.

INTERVIEWER: So it is really in the minds of those who see life partially and from their limited point of view that this apparent disagreement arises?

KRISHNAJI: I quite agree with you, sir.

INTERVIEWER: But your point of view is of course different from that of others?

KRISHNAJI: It is bound to be, but that does not mean that we quarrel about it.

INTERVIEWER: Then do you mean that you have your individual truth or your individual work?

KRISHNAJI: More than that. You see, others have stepped down the Truth.

INTERVIEWER: There must, of course, be differences in the expression of each one's understanding of Truth. These sometimes seem opposed. Should they, then, be regarded as complementary to each other?

KRISHNAJI: Sir, one does not concern oneself with the expressions, but rather with life. You are looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope when you look at the expressions of life. There is a fundamental difference. Life in the savage appears different from the life that dwells in you, different in its expression, but it is all one Life. Anyone who has not fulfilled that life must step down the Truth, and when he does that, he is unconsciously betraying the Truth.

INTERVIEWER: What about the new race type, the new civilization in California that has been gradually appearing?

KRISHNAJI: Wherever there is a suitable environment for the fulfilment of Life, it will fulfil itself. To me, again, that is only a matter of the barriers of nationality, and not of life.

INTERVIEWER: Would you say that the barriers of nationality would have to be removed before Life could fulfil itself?

KRISHNAJI: When the wind blows across the various continents, it does not bring with it the nationalities of the countries through which it passes. So likewise with Life.

INTERVIEWER: In India you exhorted the people to activity. You said in America it is reported that they were concerned with the shadows of life. Americans are very active. Why, then, do you consider that they are chasing phantoms?

KRISHNAJI: Activity that perishes, that is not productive of the eternal, of the lasting, is of very little use.

INTERVIEWER: Why have the Hindus -so concerned with philosophy and with the eternal side of life- become sleepy and lethargic?

KRISHNAJI: The Hindu, the Oriental, says that the physical is but the shadow of the Eternal, of the Truth; and he says 'In order to understand the Truth, I must let the shadow go, and not concern myself with it, but with the understanding of the Eternal.' So he does not concern himself with the physical. He is more concerned with the quality of mind and heart. Hence there is disease, there is disorder, and there is chaos and neglect and the gradual running down of the physical. Whereas in the West, the shadow becomes, more important, more vital, and people forget the cause of the shadow and go about decorating, embellishing and enlarging the shadow. So there you have the two extremes: the man that is concerned mainly with the hidden life, and the man who seriously concerns himself with the expression of that life. What I want to do is to bring about harmony between the two extremes, for therein lies the Truth. The harmony of life is the understanding of Truth.

INTERVIEWER: Is the discord in families and in nations the negation of that understanding?

KRISHNAJI: On the contrary. It is a necessary stage through which you must go. Without discontentment, without revolt, you can never attain harmony. It is a necessary stage, which must be gone through by everyone. Contentment is not happiness. Contentment is stagnation and decay, whereas happiness is life and growth.

INTERVIEWER: Is war a necessary stage to attain that harmony?

KRISHNAJI: No. If you have the desire, if you establish the goal -which is harmony, which is happiness through liberation- then these stages of revolt, of war, of struggle, can be avoided -should be avoided. You are not going to wallow in the gutter if you can jump over it. You see, my discord must be different from yours; my revolt must not be the same thing as yours. It will not be a revolt if it is moulding itself around your revolt.

INTERVIEWER: You do not believe in national discord because it is created out of policies and politics?

KRISHNAJI: Certainly not. National discord is, like religion, a standardized form of revolt; and the moment a revolt is standardized, it is no longer a revolt.

INTERVIEWER: Therefore you definitely say that war is not a thing to go through, but a stage to be avoided if possible?

KRISHNAJI: Of course. It is a stage brought about by the standardizing of thought, revolt, and life -not by the freedom of life, not by the revolt of life.

INTERVIEWER: In your opinion, will the method of having various peace movements lead to the abolition of war?

KRISHNAJI: I question again if you can ever standardize peace. For, once more, the individual problem is the world problem. Therefore let us return to the problem of individual perfection and the establishing of peace in the heart and in the mind of the individual.