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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


The greatest hindrance to perception is idea. What is the difference between fact and the idea about a fact?

Krishnamurti: How do the professionals regard perception, the seeing, the fact?

R: In Vedanta, it is said that consciousness acts through the sense organs. It sees an object. Consciousness takes the form of the object. It is like water taking the shape of the vessel. That is perception.

Krishnamurti: What is perception, the seeing, to you? You see the chest of drawers; you have the image of the chest of drawers, therefore, recognize it as the chest of drawers. When you see that piece of furniture, do you have the image first or do you see first, have the image and then recognize?

R: Instantaneously the image arises, then we call it a chest of drawers.

A: There is seeing, and the immediate naming.

Krishnamurti: So I do not have the image first. There is seeing, association, recognition, naming. I do not start with the naming, the image. That is fairly easy. I see you this morning. I saw you yesterday and, therefore, there is an image of you. So that image is you. Is there a difference between the physical object of perception and the mental image of perception?

A: There is a difference between the two. One is purely an image of a shape as in the case of an object, the other is an image created by reactions, which are not merely form and shape.

Krishnamurti: Take a simple thing. You see a snake. The brain cells are conditioned to snakes; they know that snakes are dangerous. The brain is conditioned from childhood to the danger of a snake and so it reacts. The child, not knowing the danger, may not react, but the mother comes along and tells it.

The chest of drawers, the picture, the naming of it, has formed a picture in the brain cells. So I say it is a chest of drawers. The brain cells have been conditioned by a particular environment to call it a chest of drawers.

A: The question is, therefore, before seeing the fact, the idea about the fact arises which may not necessarily be factual.

Krishnamurti: Are you saying that there is violence, one feels angry, then the naming of the feeling and the naming is to strengthen the past?

A: I meet my brother. He has quarrelled with me and I am on my guard when I meet him next. So I am unable to see him at all. I am only seeing the idea.

R: The brain cells carry the image of the hurt.

Krishnamurti: There is violence, anger. At the moment of anger, there is no naming. A second later, I call it anger. The naming of that feeling as anger is to record that fact and strengthen the past, the memory, which has recognized that feeling as anger.

R: This is something which is different from naming.

Krishnamurti: We are coming to that. There is the chest of drawers, there is the person, then all the emotional reactions. One is angry; at the moment of anger there is no naming, a second later there is naming.

Why do we name? Why do we say "I am angry"? Why is there the need to put it into words? Or is it merely habit; an instant response?

A: A defence mechanism starts. The recognition itself is creating a situation which says "I do not want to get into conflict."

Krishnamurti: That is one part of it - naming as a process of self-defence. Why does one name a particular reaction?

R: Otherwise, one would not feel that one was existing.

Krishnamurti: Why do we name it, why do I name? You have hurt me and I name it and form a certain self-defence.

A: If I did not name, there would not be continuity.

Krishnamurti: Why does the mind give it a continuity?

R: To feel that it exists.

Krishnamurti: What exists - feeling, anger?

Why has naming become so important? I name my house, my wife, my child. Naming strengthens the me. If I did not name, what would happen? Anger would be over.

Why should there be continuity? Why does the brain, the mind, operate in continuity? Why is there this verbalization all the time?

A: Verbalization establishes that there is some residue.

Krishnamurti: Why do we do this? It may be a habit, a form of giving continuity to a sense of anger and the not ending of it. All that indicates that the mind needs occupation. Now, why is the mind demanding to be occupied with sex, God, with money? Why?

A: The mind gets stimulated all the time. If there were no stimulus, the mind would fall asleep.

Krishnamurti: Is it so? Is this very occupation not putting the mind to sleep?

A: Why does the mind slacken when it is not occupied?

Krishnamurti: On the contrary, the moment we begin to enquire why there is this necessity for any kind of occupation, the mind is already alive.

A: Mere absence of occupation is not enough.

Krishnamurti: Of course, there are many who get duller and duller every day without any occupation. But the question is why does your mind want to be occupied? Will it go to sleep if it is not? Or is it fear of emptiness that makes the mind want to be occupied?

I am enquiring. In enquiry the mind will not go to sleep. It is only the mind that is not occupied which can enquire.

So most of us fall into habits which prevent looking.

I am a Hindu and for the rest of my life I am a Hindu. You are a Muslim and for the rest of your life you are a Muslim. But if I ask myself why I am a Hindu, I open the door to enquiry.

So naming may be part of this fear of not knowing what to do.

A: Fear of leaving the shore of the known.

Krishnamurti: That is all. So, can the mind, the brain cells, can they observe the reaction called anger, not name it and so be finished with it? If it does that, there is no carrying over. When next time the reaction arises, which I have named as fear, it has quite a different meaning, a different quality.

A: Our difficulty is that we meet anger with idea.

Krishnamurti: Why have we ideas, formulas? Let us begin again - we know anger, the naming, the conditioned response. Now, we see naming is a factor which gives continuity to anger. I see the truth that by naming we give continuity. So I do not name. As I see the danger of the snake and do not touch it, I do not touch this also. I see that the naming of the fact gives continuity to something which I have called anger and so naming gives duration. So naming is finished. Therefore, anger undergoes a change.

R: It seems as if during the moment when we are capable of observing anger, anger disappears, and anger exists in the moment when we are not capable of observing.

Krishnamurti: No. You call me a fool. I get angry. I do not like your calling me a fool. I see that. I see the falsity of naming. So where is the response? This instantly happens. Instead of naming, this happens and therefore, there is no hurt at all. "A"'s question is why do we have formulas at all. We have ideas first and then perception, action.

A: Instead of one act of perception we have our deep conditioning. All these together, the cultural, the sociological, the anthropological - are a ready frame of reference which give us a sense of security.

Krishnamurti: Why do you do this, Sir?

R: We have been brought up that way.

Krishnamurti: That is not good enough. Do you not know why we do this? We know economically and sociologically it is beneficial. Tribalism still persists. It is tremendously important. Step out of the formulas, patterns of Hinduism, Islam, you will then see what happens.

Personally, I have no formula. Why do you have it? Find out.

Formulations, which are patterns, give you safe conduct in action. We lay down the line according to which we act and in that there is safety. So fear of insecurity must be one of the reasons why we have formulas, ideas. The mind wants to be certain. The brain cells function perfectly only when there is complete security. I do not know if you have noticed it in yourself. The brain cells function only when there is perfect order. And there is perfect order in a formula.

A: You mean physiologically, we have an inbuilt desire for order.

Krishnamurti: Even physiologically, if I do not have a certain type of order, the organism rebels. Order is absolutely necessary, essential. Formulas are the safest way to have order.

Have you not noticed that before you go to sleep, the brain cells establish order? "I should not have done this, I should not have said this." And when going to sleep, unless you establish order, it creates its own order. These are all facts. The brain cells demand order which is security. And formulas are one of the safest ways of conducting one's life without disorder. It is much safer to follow a guru. Formulas are necessary for a mind that wants order, that hopes to find order. What happens? As it hopes to find order in tribalism - the Brahmin tribe, the Hindu tribe, the national tribe - and if you step out of that, there is danger. So to call oneself an Indian is to be safe. To belong to Jehovah, is to be treated as one belonging to that group. As long as I belong to some sect, some guru, I am safe. Now what happens when you have a formula? You have your formulas and I have my formulas.

You have your security, and I who have no time, accept it. What happens to me when I accept your formula? Do you not know what happens when I am a Hindu? There is division, therefore insecurity. The brain cells demand order, because they want to have harmony. They use formulas as a means to order. The brain cells demand order, demand security, otherwise they cannot function properly. Seeking order through formula creates division, disorder. Once I see the real danger, then what happens? Then I do not seek safety in formula, then I enquire whether there is safety in any other direction, whether there is such a thing as safety.

A: But the brain needs safety.

Krishnamurti: The brain must have order.

A: Order is not safety.

Krishnamurti: Order is safety, order is harmony, but the very search for order ends in disorder. So, seeing this, I drop all formulas. I am no longer a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim. Drop all this. Dropping is intelligence. In the very dropping the mind has become very intelligent. Intelligence is order. I do not know if you see this.

In enlightenment there is order. Therefore, the brain can function in perfect condition. Then relationship has quite a different meaning.

The brain cells are seeking order in disorder. They do not see the nature of disorder. They do not understand what is disorder. It is when the brain cells reject tribalism, formulas, that in the very rejection is inte1ligence, which is order.