EERDE GATHERING 1929
Eerde, Holland, 1929
In my previous talks, I divided the self into the eternal and the progressive, but that was done not to introduce another theory or philosophy, but purely for convenience, to make it absolutely clear to you all, as it is clear to me. So please do not systematise it. Please do not work out a philosophy from it. Each one must see it distinctly for himself, not congregationally, not collectively. Liberation is the attainment of the individual, it is the concern of the individual. If you try to make it into a philosophy, or a system, or a dogma, you are making it applicable to the whole, whereas it is not; it is an individual perception, an individual strife and struggle to understand clearly.
Liberation is for the attainment of all humanity, and hence for every individual separately. You must be free of all cages. You must be free of the cage which you will make out of what I am saying. You will make it a crutch or a cage to enable you to evade certain things which give you pain. But, if you make what I am saying into a crutch or a cage, you will be as much a slave, as far from liberation, as you were before. Try to make it absolutely clear for yourself, and by your inner perception encourage yourself to make that effort which will clarify your vision, and give you understanding and right comprehension.
As I was saying, life which is everything, free and unconditioned, in which there is the seed of all things, is the universal, the eternal "I". I am trying to put into words something which can never be put into words, but do not make of it a dogma.
In order to arrive at life, which is free and unconditioned, which is all-conserving and yet cannot admit to itself anything that is impure, corruptible, imperfect, you, as an individual, as the "I" separate from this life, must create harmony within yourself and so become united with life which is free. In other words: You as an individual -whether as the progressive "I" or the universal "I" need not concern us for the moment- must be incorruptible; you, as an individual, must be free, because in you that universal life must be centred. As truth cannot be stepped down, as life cannot be limited by moralities, by worships, by gods, by shrines, you, as the individual "I", must leave these limitations of fear, of comfort, and by elimination establish harmony within yourself.
You have to become your own lawgiver, and stand wholly free from all external authorities, from all fear. As you are entirely responsible for yourself, you must first perceive this vision, this fulfilment of all life, and from that, which I say is freedom, establish your law, according to yourself and not according to another. After all, you cannot tell me what I should do and what I should not do; and I am not going to tell you what you should do and what you should not do. But you all know, if you have suffered, if you have observed, if you are in pain, in great isolation and loneliness or in great company, that all life -individually and the life which is all around you- must culminate finally in that life which is, which has no beginning and no end. Knowing that as the final goal -if I may use that word without bringing it into limitation- you can then develop an inward quality of true and proper perception, which will act as your own lawgiver.
That is the only way in which you can be free, so that you need not be afraid of circumstances, of conventions, of what other people say and think. If you are certain for yourself, with the certainty born of right comprehension, which has its seed in immortality, the freedom to which all life must come, from that you will derive your power to walk straightly. Then you need not be afraid, then you need not be concerned with the creating of dogmas and philosophies.
To arrive at that perception of freedom, you must go through the process of elimination. When I say,' you must go', please, do not do it because I ask you to. Do it. You are here because you want to understand, because you think that I have attained and that I can help you. I cannot help you really, but I can make that perception clear to you, so that you may, out of your own strength, struggle for it, and become men, free and unconditioned. You cannot perceive that vision of life with all your entanglements, and without that perception you can do nothing. I do not know what prevents you from eliminating all useless, unessential things. You have to think out individually for yourselves in what manner you are going to do it, otherwise what I am saying will be utterly useless; it will only create another crutch. Instead of the old, you will have the new.
After all, this needs a certain determination of purpose. When you go after money, or love or amusement, you are constantly thinking about it, you are excited and you devise ways and means of attaining it... But, surely, this of which I am speaking is greater than all amusement, greater than all love, greater than all money. And, if it is worth having, you must similarly devise ways and means of attaining it, you must be constantly watchful, be aware of everything that you do.
QUESTION: Some have objected to your teachings on life that life is always expressed in forms and that they can't conceive pure life as such. Now I feel that life and form are not opposites, as life seems to me to be neither form nor formless, but forms in the process of ever-changing, ever-becoming, while form itself is produced by the illusion of standing still. Would this be in agreement with your point of view?
KRISHNAMURTI: Partly. To me there is no separation of form and life, of spirit and matter, they are all one. The form is the expression of life; if the life is not strong, vital, pliable, energetic, completely and wholly free, your forms are limitations. So, you must concern yourself with life, and then forms will look after themselves.
QUESTION: You say the way you teach is the shortest, easiest way. What is the reason that apparently so few in history have found this shortest way?
KRISHNAMURTI: How many of you are willing to try what I am saying, to experiment with it? Very few. And that is the reason why there are so few in history. After all, the man who attains finds his goal after going through the process of ordinary, unessential, everyday things, just like everyone else. But, when once he has attained, he sees that all these small, unessential things are unnecessary. And so he says to others: "Don't do these things." But very few will listen. Very few will contend with him in the essential things.
QUESTION: A child is to be taught from outside up to a certain age. To which stages of evolution of mankind would the same be applicable? Our natural connection with higher, superhuman beings, as Masters and angels? (I do not think of praying to them, leaning on them.)
KRISHNAMURTI: You want to know what is the natural connection between higher, superhuman beings, such as Masters and angels, and man. What is the natural connection between a savage and a so-called civilised man? There is evolution, distance; that is the natural connection. You want to know what is the natural connection between humanity and the Masters and angels. The same natural connection as between a savage and a civilised being. But that is of very little importance to either because both the ordinary man and the Master have to come to the same fulfilment of life -of that I am speaking, not of the natural stages. So, it is no good asking who is ahead of you or who is behind you.
That is again, from my point of view, taking the unessential for the essential. You are all immensely interested in the Masters, whether they exist or not, and what my view is with regard to them. I will tell you my view. To me it is of very little importance whether they exist, or whether they do not exist, because I say man has to arrive at that liberation at which the Masters also must arrive. So concern yourself with that and not with who is ahead of you. When you have to walk to the Camp or to the station from here, there are people ahead of you, nearer the Camp, nearer the station; people who have started earlier. What is more important? To get to the station, or to sit down and worship the man who is ahead of you? Both you and the man ahead of you are very far away from the goal, both have to get there, for all life leads to that.
QUESTION: In what way does life, as seen by you, differ from the theosophical conception of the divine clan? Do you mean to say that there is no such plan, our natural connection with higher, superhuman beings, as Masters and angels? (I do not think of praying to them, leaning on them.)
KRISHNAMURTI: You want to know what is the natural connection between higher, superhuman beings, such as Masters and angels, and man. What is the natural connection between a savage and a so-called civilised man? There is evolution, distance; that is the natural connection. You want to know what is the natural connection between humanity and the Masters and angels. The same natural connection as between a savage and a civilised being. But that is of very little importance to either because both the ordinary man and the Master have to come to the same fulfilment of life -of that I am speaking, not of the natural stages. So, it is no good asking who is ahead of you or who is behind you. That is again, from my point of view, taking the unessential for the essential. You are all immensely interested in the Masters, whether they exist or not, and what my view is with regard to them. I will tell you my view. To me it is of very little importance whether they exist, or whether they do not exist, because I say man has to arrive at that liberation at which the Masters also must arrive. So concern yourself with that and not with who is ahead of you. When you have to walk to the Camp or to the station from here, there are people ahead of you, nearer the Camp, nearer the station; people who have started earlier. What is more important? To get to the station, or to sit down and worship the man who is ahead of you? Both you and the man ahead of you are very far away from the goal, both have to get there, for all life leads to that.
QUESTION: In what way does life, as seen by you, differ from the theosophical conception of the divine plan? Do you mean to say that there is no such plan, or rather, as I venture to interpret you, that in that conception of the plan the perpetual, ever-continuing flow of divine life is seen too much as something static, divided into compartments in an anthropomorphic way?
KRISHNAMURTI: I don't know what the theosophical divine plan is; I have to guess from the questioner himself that everything is laid down, static, as he says. I am only following the questioner. Another theosophist might say: No, it is not so.
To me life cannot have a plan. Life which is unconditioned, free, whole, is entirely delivered from all plans. The moment you have a plan, you are bringing that life into limitation. And, as you cannot bring down that which is unconditioned and which can never be controlled, your plan cannot then correspond to life which is free.
QUESTION: With regard to reconciliation of the old and new, are there not two different kinds of reconciliation? One tries to avoid the decision, to avoid the real issue, and endeavours to practise the old and the new, partly this, partly that. But the other kind of reconciliation is willing to decide, but wants to understand the link between the old and the new. What we have been told in the old way is, or at least seems to be, consistent in itself. What you say and what you are is not only consistent in itself, but is for me the highest form of living truth I know. But in some points I do not wholly understand either the accurate meanings of your words or the practical implications of them. I can honestly say that I try here during these weeks very hard to understand you. In my innermost being I feel I have already made my choice to go the direct path. I feel that it is now, since I have heard you during these ten days, no more a choice at all, and that I cannot go back to the past. And yet there is still some uncertainty in my consciousness. Do I understand you rightly when I say: There is relative truth in the old way (stages of the path of discipleship, inner government of the world and so on), but that both ways cannot be trodden by the same man, that the old way is not untrue, but that the individual must decide which way to go?
KRISHNAMURTI: Quite right. You must decide which you will do. This is not an ultimatum, please. It is left to the choice of the individual, because, after all, I cannot force anyone, and no one can force me.
I have followed all these old paths of discipleship, of worship, and I see that they are much too long, too complicated, unnecessary -because whatever path you may follow, whatever god you may worship, whatever shrine you may build, you are forced at last to come back to yourself and solve that self. Whatever path I followed, there was still that inward struggle, discontentment, unhappiness, loneliness, fear, looking to others for encouragement -there was always something going on within me like a volcano which is bubbling. So I say that it does not matter what you believe, what you worship, you will be forced to come back to yourself. Why need you believe, why need you worship, why need you have gods, theories, philosophies, dogmas, fears? They are useless so long as the "I" is not content, not made to understand, not tranquil, not free from corruptibility. As the questioner says, which way you follow is a matter of individual choice. You may prefer the choice of comfort, of discipleship -I place comfort in that- but you will be forced to face your life eventually, you cannot avoid it. You must have this harmony within yourself, free of all gods, Masters, discipleship, fears, traditions, births and deaths, existence -everything. Because I have followed all those and have found them all useless, I say that it is better to establish harmony within yourself rather than to seek aid from outside. The choice is yours because nobody wants you to choose one or the other -I certainly do not. You must decide. No society is going to force you to decide. That is why you cannot make a dogma or a philosophy out of this. It is an individual choice. And as you are free, you will choose either limitation or freedom, either comfort or that fearlessness which gives right comprehension.
QUESTION: Does real progress begin only after complete cleavage from all nonessentials?
KRISHNAMURTI: Progress exists all the time. It is there continually. You are progressing from day to day, you are altering little by little so there is progress of a certain kind -slow, tedious, irksome- which exists anyhow, whether you make an effort, whether you make a cleavage or not. But there is the other kind of progress about which I am speaking, that progress which leaps, as it were -if you can call it a leap- which comes by, breaking away from all non-essentials. As I said the other day, you must be either hot or cold, that is, either one thing or the other. If you say: "I am going to take life as a game, a pleasant thing", then you must be against the real things of life. But if you say: "I am going to take life with that seriousness which is unaffected, which will produce the flower of life in me", then you must be against all unessentials. You must be entirely for one thing or entirely for the other. You cannot compromise. The moment you compromise, even though there is progress in compromise, there is not that progress which you have come here to seek. The majority of you are here in search of freedom which is truth, which is life, which is the outcome of all life, which is the consummation of all life, the flower of all life. If you are seeking that in real earnest, you must seek it without compromise. Then your progress will be quicker, although the method of achieving it may be more drastic. If you break away from all your old conditions of thought, your old ideas of salvation, then, because you do not compromise, because you are certain of your search, there will be that progress which is like the flower which has waited all through the winter and bursts forth on a lovely day of spring. It is necessary, if you want this thing, to be absolutely certain in what you do. You must be aware, be self-recollected, the whole day long, so that you are not in any manner whatsoever deflected from your purpose. What is happening at present? You are uncertain -and I hope that by me, or by yourself, you will be made certain. How are you going to become certain? Not through compromise, either one way or the other. You cannot say: "I am going to seek this, I am going to play with that for a little while and with this for a little while." You have done all that. No, you must decide one way or the other in order to be certain. And to be certain you must withdraw from all external conditions of limitation, of fear. I know people will think this is a negative attitude, will think that it is very easy to withdraw and let nothing remain. On the contrary, when you withdraw from all things and find yourself, you will be certain of all things. In order to establish certainty, you must break away from your uncertainties.
After all, what do you all want in life? If it is money, popularity, fame, comfort -physically, mentally, emotionally- what I am saying will hardly interest you. But if on the contrary you want truth, it will make you more and more lonely, in the nicest sense, strong, calm and pliable, more and more your own master, will bring you nearer and nearer to that life which is free, eternal, unconditioned. If you want comfort, money, popularity, then go after them, work for them, strive after them, be the biggest person in the realm of the transient. If you do not want that, then be the biggest person in the realm of the eternal. You have to make a cleavage, you have to make up your mind to be either hot or cold. If you are hot for this thing, then you must never at any instant be in sympathy with the unessentials. Truth is a danger to all societies, because truth cannot submit to any falsification of thought or perversion of feeling. It is a constant element of revolt wherever there is the unessential, the unreal. So you, who are the seekers after truth, must be a danger to everything that is futile, childish, fleeting and unreal. That is what I meant when I said the other day that the majority of people are not in earnest. They are still supporting the unessential, consciously or unconsciously.
QUESTION: You say, "I am speaking from the eternal standpoint." How then is it possible that we, who are not living in the eternal, can know the real meaning of all you put before us?
KRISHNAMURTI: To perceive the eternal, you must have the transient about you in order to compare, to judge and to weigh them both, for the eternal lies only through the transient. This is not a cryptic saying. If you want to find incorruptible love -a love that has no variance, that is constant, that is impersonal, that is for all- you must go through the transient love. You cannot get the eternal suddenly. But do not be caught in the transient. I am speaking of that which is the result of putting aside all transient things, by suffering and other means, and acquiring that eternal which everyone in life is seeking. If you cannot see through the transient it means that you are not yet awakened even to the transient. You cannot distinguish between what is transient and what is eternal.
QUESTION: We are in love. We will not be bound in marriage. We cannot have a child. But we want the full experience of love, from basement to top floor. To act, or not to act?
KRISHNAMURTI: Do you want me to decide this? How can I decide it? What is it that you want to do in life? To be a prisoner of corruptible love or to be free of love which is corruptible? I cannot decide that. I cannot decide whether you should have a child or should not have a child. Desire calls for experience, so you have to look to the desire, not to the experience. As you cannot kill desire, as you cannot obliterate it by going into ecstasy -you have to transmute it. Find out if your desire will lead you to what you want, will lead you towards liberation.
QUESTION: When you urge us to be in revolt against the world, do you mean that we should smash, and inspire others to smash, existing external institutions, conventions, laws; or do you mean that each one should break his own reliance on or fear of these limiting externals? In other words, is it anarchy for everybody that you advocate, or is it self-government for the few who become strong and pure enough to undertake it?
KRISHNAMURTI: If you want to break external laws, I am afraid that the external law will break you. Governments would not allow it. The important thing is to break fear, the reliance on external things. In other words, this is an individual matter. If you are afraid, you are relying on external support for your right conduct. You should break all those things that uphold you in righteousness, because dependence on them means weakness of character. It is not a question of breaking outside laws, but of breaking down for yourself all those things that tend to create artificial strength from outside. That is, you must be intelligently in revolt within yourself with all those things which are unessential, and thereby become a dynamo, a power which will, of its own inherent strength, destroy everything superficial, false, unessential, that comes into contact with you. After all, laws and institutions are all created by us. The individual creates, so the individual can alter; it may take time, but the individual alone is ultimately responsible for all rules, all institutions. If the individual is weak, not strong enough to rely on his own authority, he may break down institutions, but he will create new ones. It is a question therefore of making the individual strong, vital, energetic, calm and undisturbed, and for that the individual must be in revolt with all unreal things.
"In other words, is it anarchy for everybody that you advocate, or is it self-government for the few who become strong and pure enough to undertake it?"
It is self-government for all, not for the few. Because the few will create in others the desire to govern themselves.
QUESTION: Frequently while you are speaking to us you stop short as though unwilling to hurt or offend us. Is it that you really feel that we, although we come here for a serious purpose, are not ready to face what is necessary in the way of pain?
KRISHNAMURTI: I hesitate sometimes because personally I have finished with compromise and, in my eagerness, I want others to do the same. But I cannot force them to it.
QUESTION: What do you mean by liberation?
KRISHNAMURTI: We will start it again! Liberation is not negative. Liberation, from my point of view, is the outcome of all life fully matured. Liberation is the consummation of all life highly developed, highly cultured, highly evolved. Liberation is the result of the cessation of all desires. This freedom is the natural outcome which desire is constantly seeking, the breaking down of those walls which are placed by the self upon itself through experience. You are asking what is liberation. I can only tell you that it is life, a hundred and one things, which come into being after you have gone through the process of utter elimination and are wholly delivered from illusion.
QUESTION: If any one of us attained it now would it change to us the outer world?
KRISHNAMURTI: Attain it, and then we can talk about it. You are asking me to put something infinite into finiteness, to translate it into words, for a mind that is limited. If you have not an experience of something, I cannot give you the taste of it by my words, however much I may struggle, however much I may write, lecture or talk about it. An experience of that kind is the natural outcome of human evolution, of human struggle, pain and pleasure. It is the consummation of individual life, as well as of universal life. It is impossible to describe to a person whose mind is finite something which is infinite, and which cannot be described. And could it be described, it would lose its beauty. Could you ever describe it, it would no longer be that which you were describing.
QUESTION: You say that life is free, but in general we acknowledge that nature has some laws. And modern science says that perhaps the laws of the universe are not really the laws of the whole cosmos. Perhaps the laws of our universe are changing. So, I wanted to know whether this universal life is at the same time giving and experimenting with the laws of nature.
KRISHNAMURTI: That is right. I look at it like this. There is manifestation, and in manifestation there must be law, but not for that which manifests. To life there must be an expression, and in the expression there must be law, but for that life which expresses itself there cannot be a law. I maintain that for that which is life in freedom, which is spirituality in consummation, there cannot be law, because, if it is under law, it is in limitation.
QUESTION: Your point of view quite agrees with what modern science is saying. The laws which we formerly understood as universal are only relative; it is a plan full of life.
KRISHNAMURTI: That is right. That is why you cannot have laws to lead you to spirituality; or a system, set meditation, to lead you to spirituality, the freedom of life. To that which is free you cannot go with bound hands. And as this life is within you -this vast immensity of life is within that life which is in limitation within you- to arrive at that you must struggle to free yourself from the bondage of all things. If you laid down a law, a dogma, sets of rules for meditation, it would not lead you to that freedom. Not that I am against meditation; I would not put away a single moment of contemplation. On the contrary, you should contemplate all day long, meditate all day long, not set an hour for meditation and then forget it the rest of the day. Contemplate the whole day long. But you cannot lay down a law for contemplation. You cannot make laws for spirituality. It is an inward experience which cannot be translated into finiteness, to a mind which is limited. It is so vast an experience, a life so immense that, unless you experience it yourself, it must remain a mystery, a thing that is secret, hidden, and you cannot discuss it or question it. That is what I am so much concerned with. Not that you should investigate what I am feeling, or what is liberation, but that you should develop your own perception, that you should be perfectly harmonised within, wholly free, delivered from illusion. That is what matters; not what effect it has on your consciousness, or what you will do when you have attained. You should concern yourself with how to attain it, how to be eager for it, how to search of after it.
QUESTION: An individual who has attained liberation, truth, life, has attained spiritual perfection. In the course of your talks, you said twice, speaking about life: It is that to which Masters and men have to come. Now, apart from the fact that we have heard about the Masters through a system, which is not the direct, the shortest way, and also apart from the fact whether they themselves used that shortest way or another, I always thought that, at any rate, they had attained liberation. Must I now understand that they have not, which means that they have not attained that spiritual perfection which you have reached?
KRISHNAMURTI: Why are you bothering about the Masters? I say that the Masters, man, every being, has to attain liberation. It is of very little importance whether they have attained or have not attained. The question of importance is: have you? Not who else has attained, or whether I am greater than the Masters. I really do not care. What do you know about the Masters, except what you have been told? So, you cannot compare. You cannot say I am greater than another, or less, if you have not the knowledge with which to make a comparison. To me this question is of so little importance that I do not want even to talk about it. I say that the Masters and human beings have to attain as I have attained. I am not saying that I am greater or less, or this or that. The point is whether those people who are listening to me are concerned with the achievement of that thing for themselves, whether they are anxious, whether they are strong enough, free enough to attain. It is not a question of vital importance whether the Masters exist or not, or whether you are their pupils. Who cares whether you are a pupil or an initiate, or a Master himself? The essential is that you should be free and strong, and you can never be free and strong if you are a pupil of another, if you have gurus, mediators, Master over you. You cannot be free and strong if you make me your master, your guru. I don't want that. What I want is to make you strong and free, really harmonised within, certain, not through ecstasy, but by careful and deliberate thought and feeling, after much search. This inner certainty alone will destroy all the perverseness of the unreal.
EERDE GATHERING 1929
Eerde, Holland, 1929
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