The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Public Talk June, 1936
Krishnamurti: It all depends on what you call free living. If you are obsessed by an ideal and follow it ruthlessly without deeply considering its integral significance, you are not fulfilling, and you are therefore creating suffering for another and for yourself. Through your own lack of balance, you create disharmony. But if you are truly fulfilling, that is, living in true values, then although that fulfilment may bring about antagonism and conflict, you will truly help the world. But one has to be aware, extremely alert, to see whether one is merely living according to an ideal, principle, or standard, which indicates the lack of real understanding of the present, and an escape from actuality. This escape, this imitation leading to frustration, is the true cause of conflict and suffering.
Question: How can I prevent interference with what I think is right action without causing unhappiness to others?
Krishnamurti: If you merely consider not causing unhappiness to others and try to mould your life according to that idea, then you are not acting truly. But if you are freeing yourself from the many subtle layers of egotism, then your action, though it may cause unhappiness, is that of fulfilment.
Question: Morality and ethics, though variable factors, have throughout the ages supplied the motives for conduct, as for instance, the ideal of Christian charity, or Hindu renunciation. Devoid of this basis, how can we live useful and happy lives?
Krishnamurti: There is the morality of the ideal and that of the actual. The ideal is to love one another, not to kill, not to exploit, and so on. But in actuality, our conduct is based on a different conception. The ethic of our everyday existence, the morality of our social contacts, is based fundamentally on egotism, on acquisitiveness, on fear, on self-protectiveness.
As long as these exist, how can there be true morality, true relationship of the individual with his environment, with society? As long as each one is isolating himself through fear, acquisitiveness, egotistic cravings, beliefs and ideals, how can there be true relationship with another?
The everyday morality is really immorality, and the world is caught up in this immorality. Various forms of acquisitiveness, exploitation and killing are honoured by governments and by religious organizations, and are the basis of accepted morality. In all this there is no love but only fear, which is covered over by the constant repetition of idealistic words that hinder discernment. To be truly moral, that is, to have true relationship with another, with society, the immorality of the world must cease. This immorality has been created through the self-protective cravings and efforts of each individual.
Now, you will ask how one can live without craving, without acquisitiveness. If you deeply think out the significance of freedom from acquisitiveness, if you experiment with it, then you will see for yourself that you can live in the world without being of the world.
Question: In the book entitled "The Initiate in the Dark Cycle" it is stated that what you are teaching is Advaitism, which is a philosophy only for yogis and chelas, and dangerous for the average individual. What have you to say about this?
Krishnamurti: Surely, if I considered that what I am saying is dangerous for the average person, I wouldn't talk. So, it is for you to consider if what I say is dangerous.
People who write books of this kind are consciously or unconsciously exploiting others. They have axes of their own to grind, and having committed themselves to a certain system, they bring in the authority of a Master, of tradition, of superstition, of churches, which generally controls the activities of an individual.
What is there in what I am saying that is so difficult or dangerous for the average man? I say that to know love, kindliness, considerateness, there cannot be egotism. There must not be subtle escapes from the actual, through idealism. I say that authority is pernicious, not only the authority imposed by another, but also that which is unconsciously developed through the accumulation of self-protective memories, the authority of the ego. I say that you cannot follow another to comprehend reality. Surely, all this is not dangerous to the individual, but it is dangerous to the man who is committed to an organization and desires to maintain it, to the man who desires adulation, popularity and power. What I say about nationalism and class distinction is dangerous to the man who benefits by their cruelties and degradation. Comprehension, enlightenment, is dangerous to the man who subtly or grossly enjoys the benefits of exploitation, authority, fear.
Question: Do you discard every system of philosophy, even the Vedanta which teaches renunciation?
Krishnamurti: You must ask yourself why you need a system, not why I discard it. You think that systems help the individual to unfold, to fulfil, to comprehend. How can a system or a technique ever give you enlightenment? Enlightenment comes about through one's own right effort, through one's own discernment of the process of ignorance. To discern, the mind must be unprejudiced; but now, as the mind is prejudiced and cannot discern, surely no system can free it from prejudice. All that a system can tell you is to have no prejudices, or it can indicate various kinds of prejudices, but it is you who have to make the effort to be free from them.
There is no such thing as renunciation. When you comprehend right values of life, the idea of renunciation has no meaning. When you do not comprehend right values there is fear, and then there is the hope of freeing yourself from it through renunciation. Enlightenment does not come through renunciation.
You think that by going away from actuality, from everyday existence, you are going to find truth. On the contrary, you will find reality only through everyday life, through human contacts, through social relationships, and through the way of thought and love.
Question: What is your idea of meditation?
Krishnamurti: What is called meditation, as practised by most people, is concentration on an idea and self-control. This concentration helps to develop a strong memory of some principle that guides and controls everyday thought and conduct. This conformity to a principle, to an ideal, is but an escape from actuality, the lack of discernment of the adequate cause of suffering. The man who seeks reality through renunciation, through meditation, through any system, is caught in the process of acquisition, and that which can be acquired is not true.
Meditation is not a withdrawal from life. It is not concentration. Meditation is the constant discernment of what is true in the actions, reactions and provocations of life. To discern the true cause of struggle, cruelty and misery, is true meditation. This needs alertness, deep awareness. In this awareness, in the course of deep discernment of right values, there comes the comprehension of reality, bliss.