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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Ojai, Monday, 28 February, 1983

FLYING AT 41,000 feet from one continent to another you see nothing but snow, miles of snow; all the mountains and the hills are covered with snow, and the rivers too are frozen. You see them wandering, meandering, all over the land. And far below, the distant farms are covered with ice and snow. It is a long, tiresome flight of eleven hours. The passengers were chattering away. There was a couple behind one and they never stopped talking, never looked at the glory of those marvellous hills and mountains, never looked at the other passengers. Apparently they were absorbed in their own thoughts, in their own problems, in their chatterings. And at last, after a tedious, calm flight, in the dead of winter, you land at the town on the Pacific.

After the noise and the bustle, you leave that ugly, sprawling, vulgar, shouting city and the endless shops selling almost all the same things. You leave all that behind as you go round the coast highway of the blue Pacific, following the seashore, on a beautiful road, wandering through the hills, meeting the sea often; and as you leave the Pacific behind and enter into the country, winding over various small hills, peaceful, quiet, full of that strange dignity of the country, you enter the valley. You have been there for the last sixty years, and each time you are astonished to enter into this valley. It is quiet, almost untouched by man. You enter into this valley which is almost like a vast cup, a nest. Then you leave the little village and climb to about 1,400 feet, passing rows and rows of orange orchards and groves. The air is perfumed with orange blossom. The whole valley is filled with that scent. And the smell of it is in your mind, in your heart, in your whole body. It is the most extraordinary feeling of living in a perfume that will last for about three weeks or more. And there is a quietness in the mountains, a dignity. And each time you look at those hills and the high mountain, which is over 6,000 feet, you are really surprised that such a country exists. Each time you come to this quiet, peaceful valley there is a feeling of strange aloofness, of deep silence and the vast spreading of slow time.

Man is trying to spoil the valley but it has been preserved. And the mountains that morning were extraordinarily beautiful. You could almost touch them. The majesty, the vast sense of permanency is there in them. And you enter quietly into the house where you have lived for over sixty years and the atmosphere, the air, is, if one can use that word, holy; you can feel it. You can almost touch it. As it has rained considerably, for it is the rainy season, all the hills and the little folds of the mountain are green, flourishing, full - the earth is smiling with such delight, with some deep quiet understanding of its own existence.

`You have said over and over again that the mind, or if you prefer it, the brain, must be quiet, must empty itself of all the knowledge it has gathered, not only to be free but to comprehend something that is not of time or thought or of any action. You have said this in different ways in most of your talks and I find this awfully difficult, not only to grasp the idea, the depth of it but the feeling of quiet emptiness, if I can use that word. I never could feel my way into it. I have tried various methods to end the chattering of the mind, the endless occupation with something or other, this very occupation creating its problems. And as one lives one is caught up in all this. This is our daily life, the tedium, the talk that goes on in a family, and if there isn't talking there is always the television or a book. The mind seems to demand that it should be occupied, that it should move from one thing to another, from knowledge to knowledge, from action to action with the everlasting movement of thought.'

`As we pointed out, thought cannot be stopped by determination, by a decision of the will, or the urgent pressing desire to enter into that quality of quiet, still emptiness.' 'I find myself envious for something which I think, which I feel, to be true, which I would like to have, but it has always eluded me, it has always gone beyond my grasp. I have come, as I have often come, to talk with you: why in my daily life, in my business life, is there not the stability, the endurance of that quietness? Why isn't this in my life? I have asked myself what am I to do. I also realize I cannot do much, or I can't do anything at all about it. But it is there nagging. I can't leave it alone. If only I could experience it once, then that very memory will nourish me, then that very remembrance will give a significance to a really rather silly life. So I have come to enquire, to probe into this matter: why does the mind - perhaps the word brain may be better - demand that it should be occupied?'