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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


I AM SURE we all have sometime or other experienced a great sense of tranquillity and beauty coming to us from the green fields, the setting sun, the still waters, or the snowcapped peaks. But what is beauty? Is it merely the appreciation that we feel, or is beauty a thing apart from perception? If you have good taste in clothes, if you use colours that harmonize, if you have dignified manners, if you speak quietly and hold yourself erect, all that makes for beauty, does it not? But that is merely the outward expression of an inward state, like a poem you write or a picture you paint. You can look at the green field reflected in the river and experience no sense of beauty, just pass it by. If, like the fisherman, you see every day the swallows flying low over the water, it probably means very little to you; but if you are aware of the extraordinary beauty of something like that, what is it that happens within you and makes you say, "How very beautiful"? What goes to make up this inward sense of beauty? There is the beauty of outward form: tasteful clothes, nice pictures, attractive furniture, or no furniture at all with bare, well-proportioned walls, windows that are perfect in shape, and so on. I am not talking merely of that, but of what goes to make up this inward beauty.

Surely, to have this inward beauty, there must be complete abandonment; the sense of not being held, of no restraint, no defence, no resistance; but abandonment becomes chaotic if there is no austerity with it. And do we know what it means to be austere, to be satisfied with little and not to think in terms of 'the more'? There must be this abandonment with deep inward austerity - the austerity that is extraordinarily simple because the mind is not acquiring, gaining, not thinking in terms of `the more'. It is the simplicity born of abandonment with austerity that brings about the state of creative beauty. But if there is no love you cannot be simple, you cannot be austere. You may talk about simplicity and austerity, but without love they are merely a form of compulsion, and therefore there is no abandonment. Only he has love who abandons himself, forgets himself completely, and thereby brings about the state of creative beauty.

Beauty obviously includes beauty of form; but without inward beauty, the mere sensual appreciation of beauty of form leads to degradation, disintegration. There is inward beauty only when you feel real love for people and for all the things of the earth; and with that love there comes a tremendous sense of consideration, watchfulness, patience. You may have prefect technique, as a singer or a poet, you may know how to paint or put words together, but without this creative beauty inside, your talent will have very little significance.

Unfortunately, most of us are becoming mere technicians. We pass examinations, acquire this or that technique in order to earn a livelihood; but to acquire technique or develop capacity without paying attention to the inner state, brings about ugliness and chaos in the world. If we awaken creative beauty inwardly, it expresses itself outwardly, and then there is order. But that is much more difficult than acquiring a technique, because it means abandoning ourselves completely, being without fear, without restraint, without resistance, without defence; and we can thus abandon ourselves only when there is austerity, a sense of great inward simplicity. Outwardly we may be simple, we may have but few clothes and be satisfied with one meal a day; but that is not austerity. There is austerity when the mind is capable of infinite experience - when it has experience, and yet remains very simple. But that state can come into being only when the mind is no longer thinking in terms of `the more', in terms of having or becoming something through time.

What I am talking about may be difficult for you to understand, but it is really quite important. You see, technicians are not creators; and there are more and more technicians in the world, people who know what to do and how to do it, but who are not creators. In America there are calculating machines capable of solving in a few minutes mathematical problems which would take a man, working ten hours every day, a hundred years to solve. These extraordinary machines are being developed. But machines can never be creators - and human beings are becoming more and more like machines. Even when they rebel, their rebellion is within the limits of the machine and is therefore no rebellion at all.

So it is very important to find out what it is to be creative. You can be creative only when there is abandonment - which means, really, when there is no sense of compulsion, no fear of not being, of not gaining, of not arriving. Then there is great austerity, simplicity, and with it there is love. The whole of that is beauty, the state of creativeness.

Questioner: Does the soul survive after death?

Krishnamurti: If you really want to know, how are you going to find out? By reading what Shankara, Buddha or Christ has said about it? By listening to your own particular leader or saint? They may all be totally wrong. Are you prepared to admit this - which means that your mind is in a position to inquire?

You must first find out, surely, whether there is a soul to survive. What is the soul? Do you know what it is? Or have you merely been told that there is a soul - told by your parents, by the priest by a particular book, by your cultural environment - and accepted it?

The word `soul' implies something beyond mere physical existence, does it not? There is your physical body, and also your character, your tendencies, your virtues; and transcending all this you say there is the soul. If that state exists at all, it must be spiritual, something which has the quality of timelessness; and you are asking whether that spiritual something survives death. That is one part of the question.

The other part is: what is death? Do you know what death is? You want to know if there is survival after death; but, you see, that question is not important. The important question is: can you know death while you are living? What significance has it if someone tells you that there is or is not survival after death? You still do not know. But you can find out for your- self what death is not after you are dead, but while you are living, healthy vigorous while you are thinking, feeling.

This is also part of education. To be educated is not only to be proficient in mathematics, history or geography, it is also to have the ability to understand this extraordinary thing called death - not when you are physically dying, but while you are living, while you are laughing, while you are climbing a tree, while you are sailing a boat or swimming. Death is the unknown, and what matters is to know of the unknown while you are living.

Questioner: When we become ill, why do our parents worry and worry about us?

Krishnamurti: Most parents are at least partly concerned to look after their children, care for them, but when they worry and worry it indicates that they are more concerned about themselves than about their children. They don't want you to die, because they say, "If our son or daughter dies, what is going to become of us?" If parents loved their children, do you know what would happen? If your parents really loved you, they would see to it that you had no cause for fear, that you were healthy and happy human beings; they would see to it that there was no war, no poverty in the world, that society did not destroy you or anyone around you, whether the villagers, or the people in the towns, or the animals. It is because parents do not truly love their children that there are wars, that there are the rich and the poor. They have invested their own beings in their children and through their children they hope to continue, and if you become seriously ill they worry; so they are concerned with their own sorrow. But they will not admit that.

You see, property, land, name, wealth and family are the means of one's own continuity, which is also called immortality; and when something happens to their children, parents are horrified, driven to great sorrow, because they are primarily concerned about themselves. If parents were really concerned about their children society would be transformed overnight; we would have a different kind of education, different homes, a world without war. Questioner: Should the temples be open to all for worship.

Krishnamurti: What is the temple? It is a place of worship in which there is a symbol of God, the symbol being an image conceived by the mind and carved out of stone by the hand. That stone, that image, is not God is it? It is only a symbol, and a symbol is like your shadow as you walk in the sun. The shadow is not you; and these images, these symbols in the temple, are not God, not truth. So what does it matter who enters or who does not enter the temple? Why make such a fuss about it? Truth may be under a dead leaf, it may be in a stone by the wayside, in the waters that reflect the loveliness of an evening, in the clouds, in the smile of the woman who carries a burden. In this whole world there is reality, not necessarily in the temple; and generally it is not in the temple, because that temple is made out of man's fear, it is based on his desire for security, on his divisions of creed and caste. This world is ours, we are human beings living together, and if a man is seeking God he shuns temples because they divide people. The Christian church, the Mohammedan mosque, your own Hindu temple - they all divide people, and a man who is seeking God will have none of these things. So the question of whether or not someone or other should enter the temple becomes merely a political issue; it has no reality.

Questioner: What part does discipline play in our lives?

Krishnamurti: Unfortunately it plays a great part, does it not? A great part of your life is disciplined: do this and don t do that. You are told when to get up, what to eat and what not to eat, what you must know and not know; you are told that you must read, go to classes, pass examinations, and so on. Your parents, your teachers, your society, your tradition, your sacred books all tell you what to do; so your life is bound, hedged about by discipline, is it not? You are a prisoner of do's and don'ts, they are the bars of your cage.

Now, what happens to a mind that is bound by discipline? Surely, it is only when you are afraid of something, when you are resisting something, that there has to be discipline; then you have to control, hold yourself together. Either you do this out of your own volition, or society does it for you - society being your parents, your teachers, your tradition, your sacred books. But if you begin to inquire, to search out, if you learn and understand without fear, then is discipline necessary? Then that very understanding brings about its own true rder, which is not born of imposition or compulsion.

Do think about this; because when you are disciplined through fear, crushed by the compulsion of society, dominated by what your parents and teachers say, there is for you no freedom, no joy, and all initiative is gone. The older the culture, the greater is the weight of tradition which disciplines you, tells you what you must and must not do; and so you are weighed down, psychologically flattened as if a steam-roller had gone over you. That is what has happened in India. The weight of tradition is so enormous that all initiative has been destroyed, and you have ceased to be an individual; you are merely part of a social machine, and with that you are content. Do you understand? You don't revolt, explode, break away. Your parents don't want you to revolt, your teachers don't want you to break away, therefore your education is aimed at making you conform to the established pattern. Then you are not a complete human being, because fear gnaws at your heart; and as long as there is fear there is no joy, no creativity.

Questioner: Just now, when you were talking about the temple, you referred to the symbol of God as merely a shadow. We cannot see the shadow of a man without the real man to cast it.

Krishnamurti: Are you satisfied with the shadow? If you are hungry, will you be satisfied merely to look at food? Then why be satisfied with the shadow in the temple? If you deeply want to understand the real, you will let the shadow go. But, you see, you are mesmerized by the shadow, by the symbol, by the image of stone. Look what has happened in the world. People are divided because they worship a particular shadow in the mosque, in the temple, in the church. There can be the multiplica- tion of shadows, but there is only one reality, which cannot be divided; and to reality there is no path, neither Christian, Moslem, Hindu, nor any other.

Questioner: Examinations may be unnecessary for the rich boy or girl whose future is assured, but are they not a necessity for poor students who must be prepared to earn a livelihood? And is their need less urgent, especially if we take society as it is?

Krishnamurti: You take society as it is for granted. Why? You who don't belong to the poor class, who are fairly well-to-do, why don't you revolt - not as a communist or a socialist, but revolt against the whole social system? You can afford to do it, so why don't you use your intelligence to find out what is true and create a new society? The poor man is not going to revolt, because he hasn't the energy or the time to think; he is wholly occupied, he wants food, work. But you who have leisure, a little free time to use your intelligence, why don't you revolt? Why don't you find out what is a right society, a true society, and build a new civilization? If it does not begin with you, it will obviously not begin with the poor.

Questioner: Will the rich ever be prepared to give up much of what they have for the sake of the poor?

Krishnamurti: We are not talking about what the rich should give up for the sake of the poor. Whatever they give up, it will still not satisfy the poor - but that is not the problem. You who are well-to-do, and who therefore have the opportunity to cultivate intelligence, can you not through revolt create a new society? it depends on you, not on anybody else; it depends on each one of us, not on the rich or the poor, or on the communists. You see, most of us have not this spirit of revolt this urge to break through, to find out; and it is this spirit that is important.