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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Ojai, Thursday, 10 March, 1983

THE OTHER DAY as one was walking along a secluded wooded lane far from the noise and the brutality and the vulgarity of civilization, right away from everything that was put together by man, there was a sense of great quietness, enveloping all things - serene, distant and full of the sound of the earth. As you walked along quietly, not disturbing the things of the earth around you, the bushes, the trees, the crickets and the birds, suddenly round a bend there were two small creatures quarrelling with each other, fighting in their small way. One was trying to drive off the other. The other was intruding, trying to get into the other's little hole, and the owner was fighting it off. Presently the owner won and the other ran off. Again there was quietness, a sense of deep solitude. And as you looked up, the path climbed high into the mountains, the waterfall was gently murmuring down the side of the path; there was great beauty and infinite dignity, not the dignity achieved by man that seems so vain and arrogant. The little creature had identified itself with its home, as we human beings do. We are always trying to identify ourselves with our race, with our culture, with those things which we believe in, with some mystical figure, or some saviour, some kind of super authority. Identifying with something seems to be the nature of man. Probably we have derived this feeling from that little animal.

One wonders why this craving, longing, for identification exists. One can understand the identification with one's physical needs - the necessary things, clothes, food, shelter and so on. But inwardly, inside the skin as it were, we try to identify ourselves with the past, with tradition, with some fanciful romantic image, a symbol much cherished. And surely in this identification there is a sense of security, safety, a sense of being owned and of possessing. This gives great comfort. One takes comfort, security, in any form of illusion. And man apparently needs many illusions.

In the distance there is the hoot of an owl and there is a deep-throated reply from the other side of the valley. It is still dawn. The noise of the day has not begun and everything is quiet. There is something strange and holy where the sun arises. There is a prayer, a chant to the dawn, to that strange quiet light. That early morning, the light was subdued, there was no breeze and all the vegetation, the trees, the bushes, were quiet, still, waiting. Waiting for the sun to arise. And perhaps the sun would not come up for another half hour or so, and the dawn was slowly covering the earth with a strange stillness.

Gradually, slowly, the topmost mountain was getting brighter and the sun was touching it, golden, clear, and the snow was pure, untouched by the light of day.

As you climbed, leaving the little village paths down below, the noise of the earth, the crickets, the quails and other birds began their morning song, their chant, their rich worship of the day. And as the sun arose you were part of that light and had left behind everything that thought had put together. You completely forgot yourself. The psyche was empty of its struggles and its pains. And as you walked, climbed, there was no sense of separateness, no sense of being even a human being.

The morning mist was gathering slowly in the valley, and that mist was you, getting more and more thick, more and more into the fancy, the romance, the idiocy of one's own life. And after a long period of time you came down. There was the murmur of the wind, insects, the calls of many birds. And as you came down the mist was disappearing. There were streets, shops, and the glory of the dawn was fast fading away. And you began your daily routine, caught in the habit of work, the contentions between man and man, the divisions of identification, the division of ideologies, the preparations for wars, your own inward pain and the everlasting sorrow of man.