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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


There is something I'd like to discuss. I see that like and dislike are a matter of opinion - as what is ugly and what is beautiful - everyone has their own ideas. If I have no image about things, is there anything beautiful or ugly?

Krishnamurti: To like: has that anything to do with affection, with love?

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: Don't say, no or yes, go into it. And the feeling of beauty, does it come out of an image? Look at it - don't answer. I see a building created in space, and I say, `How beautiful that is.' Now that expression, "How beautiful", is it born of an image? Or is there no image, but the perception of something which has proportion, depth, quality, workmanship.

Questioner: You have an image of what is beautiful or of what you like: you are comparing it with something else. Your conditioning comes in.

Krishnamurti: That's right. Watch it, it is much more complex than that. You see that tree - do you say it is beautiful? Why do you say it is beautiful, who has told you? Or, apart from the images, do you feel from everything a sense of beauty? - not related to trees, buildings, people. You understand? - the sense of beauty - not looking at anything particular.

Questioner: If you really look, it doesn't only happen with trees.

Krishnamurti: You see a building and you say, "How beautiful that is." Is it because you have compared it with other buildings? - or because it is a famous building by Wren or the Ancient Greeks and so you say, "What a marvellous thing that is." Because you have been told about it and there is the image you have made about the man who built it; and so you comply because the popular thing to say is, "How beautiful!" Or do you have a sense of beauty irrespective of anything created or not created? Have you understood my question?

Questioner: The sense of beauty has nothing to do with what you see.

Krishnamurti: That's just it. The sense of beauty has nothing to do with what you see outside. Now what is that sense of beauty?

Questioner: A state of harmony.

Krishnamurti: You are too quick in answering, go into it. What is that sense of beauty?

Questioner: It's vitality.

Krishnamurti: It is a little more complex, go into it. As we said just now, if you have an image either about yourself, or an artist, or a great man, then that image is going to dictate what is beautiful, depending on the culture, on the popularity of the artist, or the statue, or the painting, this or that. So the image you have prevents the sense of beauty, in which there is no image.

Questioner: It prevents the very seeing.

Krishnamurti: Of course. So, not to have images at all! You follow? - the image is the `me'. When there is no `me', there is the sense of beauty. Have you the sense of the `me'? Then, when you say, "That is beautiful", you are just reacting to the image you have about what is beautiful, which is based on your literature, on your culture, the pictures, the museums to which you have been exposed. You can't ever say, "How ugly!" when looking at a painting by Leonardo da Vinci; or when you are listening to Mozart, "What a noise!" It is really quite extraordinary: to have no image about oneself is to have this sense of extraordinary beauty.

Questioner: If you listen to some music for the first time and you don't like it, through repetition you suddenly, or gradually, come to like it. Krishnamurti: Yes, what happens? You don't like Indian music, and you listen to it three or four times; then you begin to see something in it - not because you have been told - you listen. That means you are paying attention.

Questioner: You were paying attention the first time.

Krishnamurti: The first time it was noise.

Questioner: You already have a notion what Western music is.

Krishnamurti: You are used to Western music and you are suddenly faced with Chinese music. The first time you couldn't listen to it very carefully, there was a reaction - you follow? That is why any image, outer or inner, is the emphasis of the `me', `the ego', the personality, all that; and that absolutely prevents the quality and the sense of beauty. Which means, passion is not dependent nor the cause of something.

Questioner: If my sense of beauty makes me feel there is no difference between the beauty of the sun or the beauty of a tree..?

Krishnamurti: Wait, I have no image, therefore I have the sense of beauty, the feeling of beauty. And I see squalor, dirt, filth. I see a piece of paper on the road. What happens? I pick it up. When I see filth on the road I do something; socially, I act. I don't say, "I have a sense of beauty, I don't see that."

Questioner: I understand that. My sense of beauty is not destroyed by whatever goes on. Even if I close my eyes, it is not dependent on seeing.

Krishnamurti: Absolutely right. But the sense of that beauty which is yours is mine also. It is not my sense of beauty or your sense of beauty, or the collective sense. It is beauty, the sense of beauty. To go into this is something passionate. It beats all books! But I mustn't say that, because you must pass exams!