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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Ojai, Friday, 22 April, 1983

Going down in the old car which has been kept well polished, the engine running smoothly - going down to the village, through the village, past all those small buildings, schools, and then the open space filled with avocados - going down through the ravine, curving in and out on a smooth road, so well made; then going up and up and up, perhaps over 5,000 feet: there the car stopped and there we were high up, overlooking all the hills which were very green, with bushes, trees and deep ravines. It seemed that we were up among the gods.

Very few used that road, which went on through the desert to a big town miles away, far to your left. As you face the south you see the very far distant sea - the Pacific. It is so very still here. Though man has made this road, fortunately there is no imprint of man. There have been fires up here but that was years ago. You can see some burnt out stumps, black, but round them it has now become green. There have been heavy rains and everything is now in flower, purple, blue and yellow, with here and there bright red spots. The glory of the earth has never been so deeply passionate as up here.

We sat on the side of the road which was quite clean. It was the earth; earth is always clean. And there were little ants, little insects, crawling, running all over the place. But there are no wild animals up here, which is strange. There may be at night - deer, coyotes and perhaps a few rabbits and hares. Occasionally a car passed by, and that broke the silence, the dignity and the purity of silence. This is really an extraordinary place.

Words cannot measure the expanse, the rolling hills and the vast space, nor the blue sky and the distant desert. It was the whole earth. One hardly dared to talk there was such compelling silence, not to be disturbed. And that silence cannot be measured by words. If you were a poet you would probably measure it with words, put it into a poem, but that which is written is not the actual. The word is not the thing. And here, sitting beside a rock which was becoming warm, man did not exist. The rolling hills, the higher mountains, the great sweeping valleys, deep in blue; there was no you, there was nothing but that.

From ancient times all civilizations have had this concept of measurement. All their marvellous buildings were based on mathematical measurement. When you look at the Acropolis and the glory of the Parthenon, and the hundred and ten floor buildings of New York, they have all had to have this measurement.

Measurement is not only by the rule; measurement exists in the very brain: the tall and the short, the better, the more. This comparative process has existed for time beyond time. We are always comparing. The passing of examinations from school, college, university - our whole way of living has become a series of calculated measurements: the beautiful and the ugly, the noble and ignoble - one's whole set of values, the arguments that end in conclusions, the power of people, the power of nations. Measurement has been necessary to man. And the brain, being conditioned to measurement, to comparison, tries to measure the immeasurable - measuring with words that which cannot ever be measured. It has been a long process for centuries upon centuries - the greater gods and the lesser gods, measuring the vast expanse of the universe and measuring the speed of the athlete. This comparison has brought a great many fears and sorrows.

Now, on that rock, a lizard has come to warm itself quite close to us. You can see its black eyes, its scaly back and the long tail. It is so still, motionless. The sun has made that rock quite warm, and the lizard, coming out of its cold night and warming itself, is waiting for some fly or insect to come along - it will measure the distance and snap it up.

To live without comparison, to live without any kind of measurement inwardly, never to compare what you are with what you should be. The word `meditation' means not only to ponder, to think over, to probe, to look, to weigh; it also has a much deeper meaning in Sanskrit - to measure, which is `to become'. In meditation there must be no measurement. This meditation must not be a conscious meditation in deliberately chosen postures. This meditation must be totally unconscious, never knowing that you are meditating. If you deliberately meditate it is another form of desire, as any other expression of desire. The objects may vary; your meditation may be to reach the highest, but the motive is the desire to achieve, as the business man, as the builder of a great cathedral. Meditation is a movement without any motive, without words and the activity of thought. It must be something that is not deliberately set about. Only then is meditation a movement in the infinite, measureless to man, without a goal, without an end and without a beginning. And that has a strange action in daily life, because all life is one and then becomes sacred. And that which is sacred can never be killed. To kill another is unholy. It cries to heaven as a bird kept in a cage. One never realizes how sacred life is, not only your little life but the lives of millions of others, from the things of nature to extraordinary human beings. And in meditation which is without measurement, there is the very action of that which is most noble, most sacred and holy.

The other day on the banks of a river [this is a memory from when he was at Benares on the banks of the Ganges] - how lovely are rivers; there isn`t only one sacred river, all rivers throughout the world have their own divinity - the other day a man was sitting on the banks of a river wrapt in a fawn coloured cloth. His hands were hidden, his eyes were shut and his body was very still. He had beads in his hands and he was repeating some words and the hands were moving from bead to bead. He had done this for many years and he never missed a bead. And the river rolled along beside him. its current was deep. It began among the great mountains, snowclad and distant; it began as a small stream, and as it moved south it gathered all the small streams and rivers and became a great river. In that part of the world they worshipped it. One does not know for how many years this man had been repeating his mantra and rolling the beads. He was meditating - at least people thought he was meditating and probably he did too. So all the passers-by looked at him, became silent and then went on with their laughter and chatter. That almost motionless figure - one could see through the cloth only a slight action of the fingers - had sat there for a very long time, completely absorbed, for he heard no other sound than the sound of his own words and the rhythm of it, the music of it. And he would say that he was meditating. There are a thousand others like him, all over the world, in quiet deep monasteries among the hills and towns and beside the rivers.

Meditation is not words, a mantram, or self-hypnosis, the drug of illusions. It must happen without your volition. It must take place in the quiet stillness of the night, when you are suddenly awake and see that the brain is quiet and there is a peculiar quality of meditation going on. It must take place as silently as a snake among the tall grass, green in the fresh morning light. It must take place in the deep recesses of the brain. Meditation is not an achievement. There is no method, system or practice. Meditation begins with the ending of comparison, the ending of the becoming or not becoming. As the bee whispers among the leaves so the whispering of meditation is action.