QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ommen, Holland, 1929
I HAVE been told by many people here in Europe, and also in India and America, that what I say is not new. There is nothing new under the heavens. But, for every man who discovers, who attains, everything is new. So if you find nothing new in what I say, it is not my fault, it is the fault of those (if it be a fault at all) who have nothing new in themselves. As every day is fresh and keen, as every spring is new, so, if you would find something new, original, clear, different, you must be different To discover something new, there must be the desire in your heart to break away from the old.
1. We are constantly being told that what you say about the inutility of ceremonies, churches (including the Liberal Catholic Church), religions, does not apply to the present moment, but is intended for the sixth sub-race. What do you say about this?
ANSWER: When you are hungry, do you postpone the hour of eating? When you are drowning, do you listen to the man on the shore who says: "Tomorrow I will rescue you." When you are in sorrow, do you postpone getting relief from that suffocating hour by forgetfulness? What do you do? When you are hungry you go after food and get it. If you are drowning you struggle to have fresh air, and if you are in sorrow you want to have your sorrow removed immediately. I explained yesterday what I mean by the eternal moment and, from my point of view, that eternal moment should be the concern of everyone, and not only of the few. This realisation is not for the future, you must have it now. Of what value will it be in the future? Who will benefit? Neither yourself nor your neighbour.
Do you not all want to be free? Free from sorrow, from the constant gnawing of misery, NOW? What is the use of looking to the future? You have to solve your problems now, you have to live now, you have to struggle now, in your daily life. You have to alter the circumstances around you now. You have to clear the forest and make a pathway now, not in the future. The future will ever be the future, if you do not alter now. The future will always be a mystery, if you do not master the present. Your difficulty is that you do not know that you are prisoners. When you are in sorrow -really in sorrow-you do not utilise that sorrow to break down the walls that create other sorrows. It is NOW that matters: the way you live, the way you behave, the way you love people, the way you think of people. What does it matter what you are in the future? If you do not grow now to your greatest, by your sustained effort, the future will always elude you. If you do not grow to that incorruptibility now, you will build greater walls, greater barriers between yourself and your attainment, and thereby create greater limitations and greater sorrow.
You think you are weak, that within you there is not the power to uphold you in your integrity, you imagine that you cannot stand by yourselves. I say that you can, if you really want to, if you have the tremendous desire to seek truth, to search it out, to reason and struggle with it, and thereby establish it within yourself -and you must do that NOW, not in the future. In the future the darkness and mystery of death await you; so while living you must concern yourselves with life, and alter the course of that life, tearing away all the barriers, limitations, trivialities, that exist between you and your greater understanding. Why do you wait for the future, and what is the value of awaiting the future? In what way will the future give you its fulfilment, if you do not build greatly, vastly, dangerously, at the present moment? You are killing the future by the present. That future will always be twisted, perverted, if you do not live at the present moment. I cannot understand why it is so difficult for you to understand what I am saying. What is there so complicated about it? I say that no one from outside can give you incorruptibility of the mind or of the heart, that in that incorruptibility alone lies the perfection of life, the beauty, the loveliness, of which everyone is a part. It is so simple that you want to complicate it by philosophies, systems, creeds, religions, churches, rites. How can you live greatly, vastly, delightedly, beautifully in the future, if you do not lay the foundation now, if you are not living in that eternity now, with your greatest capacity with all your enthusiasm and eagerness?
If you are hungry, you go in search of work that will give you money to buy food. You do not postpone the hour; you go out and struggle to satisfy your cravings. Because you have not the real burning craving to find truth immediately, NOW, all these complications exist. To have that incorruptibility of the self at the present moment, NOW, is of the greatest and the utmost importance. It is only NOW that you can find it, not in the future. Go into some of the slums of London, or of any other big city, and ask the people there if they want to have food, comfort, and light in the future. You are all too comfortable in your minds, and in your hearts, and physically too. You are satisfied and stagnant and yet you want truth, which does not come out of satisfaction or stagnation.
2. The following story has been widely circulated, in theosophical and star magazines. A priest went to Mr. Krishnamurti and said that after the inspiration of the Camp he was going away to throw himself more arduously than ever into the Church work, and Mr. Krishnamurti answered, "You at least have understood my teaching." There was also a lady who asked him if she should give up co-masonry. Mr. Krishnamurti replied: "Why, are you afraid of co-masonry?" Are these stories correct?
ANSWER: What do you think? Don't laugh, please don't laugh, this is not funny. I have not refuted this story, because it is too silly. It just shows the sorrow that exists in the hearts of people, the smallness of their mind, the futility of their struggles. I am not trying to depress or to discourage you, but after I have been speaking for three years, how can you believe such things?
None of these stories are true. I maintain (how often I have done this) that these things are absolutely and wholly unessential to make the self incorruptible. If you are not seeking for that perfection of the self, then these things are necessary. I would much rather that you were in disagreement with me than invent this kind of story, much rather that you were against everything that I have said than go on compromising. Because, friends, if you are uncertain in your own minds and hearts, you will be unhappy. Make up your mind one-way, and leave the other alone. Don't play with both. Truth and falsehood, the essential and the unessential, cannot exist together for a person who is seeking the incorruptibility of the self.
3. The fear of death, not so much for oneself as for those we love, is almost universal, though more, perhaps, in the West than in the East. It is a dark mystery, from which there seems no escape, and for which there is no explanation. Can you tell us how, from your standpoint, we can set about freeing ourselves from this fear of separation?
ANSWER: By living in the present... What is death? Death is but darkness in that life which is continuous. It is a veil drawn down which separates you from someone else. Separation causes loneliness, and that loneliness causes sorrow. So you have to grapple with sorrow, loneliness and separation, not with death. Death is inevitable, it is like the night which follows the day, but to prepare for the night you must work in the day, so do not find explanations for death, but rather make the self incorruptible, which means that it is no longer separate from anything or anyone. Then both birth and death will cease. Separation is the cause of sorrow, and separation is the assertion of the self in climbing toward the mountain top. That self-assertion will exist and must exist so long as the individual is still corruptible. To a man who is incorruptible there is neither birth nor death, and hence no sorrow.
4. If it is "here" and "now" that we achieve Liberation, what development is possible for us after death?
ANSWER: It was better to ask the question, "What development is possible while we are living?" You are much more interested in death than in life. Liberation, the truth of which I am speaking, is not something external, outside, but it lies in the process of achievement, not in achievement itself. Truth lies in the continual struggle, and in the rejection and achievement, which are the result of that struggle. Truth is in the unfoldment of the progressive "I", the self, not in its final fulfilment. That progression of the self is not in the future, nor at a distant time, but while you are living, struggling, rejoicing, so sorrowing, now. So it were much better that you should seek to understand and grapple with life now, than to investigate life after death. As you prepare for darkness during the daytime, so to prepare for death, you must live. Live now, for that is the only thing that matters. To alter the course of your thought, to change your corruptible love now, is the only thing that matters. Please see this, that you must struggle constantly, continually, now, so as to create that incorruptibility in your minds and in your hearts. It is a very difficult thing to struggle continually; it requires great strength, great determination. As very few people have that, you have all these innumerable side-paths to encourage you; but even though you may wander along the side-paths, you will always come back to this one thing. You may worship at a thousand altars, perform a thousand rites, but you will always come back to this one thing. You cannot forget sorrow; you cannot put aside misery, or loneliness, or fear by these illusive means. You must go to the root of all sorrow, and there establish perfection, that harmony between reason and love, and then all these unessential side-paths will have no value.
5. I am inclined to think that to put away the past and to forget it wholly are not quite the same. Would you give us your point of view on memory? What is the right kind of remembrance, and the right kind of forgetting? The right kind of gratitude? In what way is memory related to the art of discriminating between the essential and the unessential, and should it be educated in order to function rightly?
ANSWER: This is a really interesting question for a change -"I am inclined to think that to put away the past and to forget it wholly are not quite the same. Would you give us your point of view on memory?" To me memory should be not memory of experience itself, but rather memory of that which is the outcome of the experience. You must forget the experience and remember its lesson. That is true memory. That is eternal, because it is the only thing of value in the experience. That true memory is intelligence.
As I said last night, intelligence is the capacity to choose, with discrimination, with culture, that which is essential from that which is false. That intelligence is acquired through experience, through the lessons that remain after experience. The highest form of that intelligence is intuition, because it is the residue of all accumulated experiences. That is the true function of memory.
"What is the right kind of remembrance, and the right kind of forgetting?" The right kind of remembrance, from my point of view, is to remember, to hold to that reside of all experience, so that you will not again indulge in the same kind of experience. The indulgence in experiences with which you have finished creates karma and barriers. To a wise man one experience of one special kind is sufficient. So the right kind of remembrance and the right kind of forgetting is to have learned from experiences, and to brush aside all experiences that have no value.
The next question is "What is the right kind of gratitude?" To me there can be no question of gratitude, because if you really love everyone, you learn from everyone alike. You are not attached to one person.
You are grateful in your love for everyone. You learn from your servants, if you are observant, from the labourer, from the man who digs in the field, and from your greatest hero. You learn from them all, as you are really in love with them all, and there is no gratitude to anyone. Again, you are loyal to everyone, and not to one particular person. You will be loyal to one if you are loyal to all -because you love all. I tell you it is much more lovely, much more tranquil, serene, to love everyone alike; really to hold all people in your heart, not to be indifferent to anyone, not to have that variation of corruptible love in your heart is the greatest of blessings. When you have such love, you are learning, not from one thing, but from everything moving and non-moving, from everything transient and eternal. If you love only one person, you begin to worship, to look up to that person, you begin to suffocate yourself; you are not learning from life, you are not rejoicing in life, nor are you in love with it. The question of gratitude is a question of love, and for the person who loves one and not another, there is sorrow. This is not a mere platitude, but a reality. So love is as a flower which gives its perfume to every passer-by whether he be of this colour or that, of this type or that. The flower gives its perfume to all, and if you are wise you will breathe that perfume, rejoice in it. From the love which is small, which entangles, which is corruptible, you reach to that love which does not entangle, which is incorruptible.
"In what way is memory related to the art of discriminating between the essential and the unessential, and should it be educated in order to function rightly?" Of course. That is what I have been saying. True self-discipline is the education of the "I". "In what way is memory related to the art of discriminating between the essential and the unessential?" It is not a question of in what way it is related, it is the whole. If you have not right memory, if you are always hesitating, if you are uncertain, then your discrimination has no value, but if your memory is the residue of all experience, when you are confronted with innumerable unessentials and one essential thing, you should be able to choose that one essential, because your memory is trained. Examine every experience that comes across you, as the wind that ruffles the still waters, and see if that experience is essential. If it is not, leave it alone, because if it is unessential, you have already had it. A child that has once burned its fingers will never go near the fire again. It has had its experience and the lesson remains. So if once you have had a certain experience, it should give you the fullness of all its consequences.
"And should it be educated in order to function rightly?" Are you not training it every moment of the day when you are watching eagerly, when you are self-disciplining yourself constantly in the light of your understanding of the eternal? You need not go through any special training; life trains you if you are keen, observant. It is the indolent who require assistance, those who are lazy, who are tired of examining everything that comes to them. The only manner of making the self absolutely pure and incorruptible is through self-discipline imposed upon yourself, not through repression, but through the love of that freedom which is truth.
6. What would you say to a group of college students who say they have no creed, no religion, no belief, except in material science, and who consider no ideal necessary, if they can earn a living?
ANSWER: I would ask them whether they are not in sorrow, whether they are not in love with something, whether they do not love someone. A college student, like everyone else, is in the clutches of sorrow of various kinds -though not perhaps of your particular kind. He is not worrying about what is essential, or what is the right kind of ceremony, but about his own sufferings, and he wants to be rid of that suffering. He is in love with someone, from which follow the entanglements of love, and there is sorrow. It is very easy to talk to such people, because they have not so many preconceived ideas, prejudices, certainties. They are willing to examine, to criticise, what you put before them.
7. Don't you think that it is difficult for very young people to see what is essential and what is unessential?
ANSWER: I do not know that it is only young people who have that difficulty. I have explained how to discriminate. I cannot tell you what is essential and what is false, what is lasting and what is fleeting, because if I did, it would be a cage. YOU have to suffer, YOU have to struggle, and you must be able to distinguish now. I say that essential things are those that will give you freedoms absolute and unconditioned, will give you that happiness which has no variance. All other things are unessential. You must examine and find out for yourselves what you think to be the essential. Otherwise, if I told you what were the unessential things, where would be your progress, where would be your own uniqueness in attainment?
8. To anyone detached from the need of human affection, what is the value of human friendship?
ANSWER: To be truly detached means that you are attached to everyone, so it is the outcome of all human affection, and supersedes any particular friendship. After all, true love, which is detached so that it is attached to everything, is the outcome, is the consummation of all human affections, and is the fulfilment of all love. So it is absolutely unnecessary for a man who has attained to have human friendship, because human friendship, in most cases, is the outcome of loneliness, of sorrows, of the longing for companionship. But if you are struggling all the time to establish that love which is for everyone, then you will utilise human affection, every affection that stirs your heart, to attain that perfect love.
9. If I am quite frank with myself, I must say that I have not the burning desire to attain liberation and truth. Nor -if I had that desire- would I trust that I had strength and perseverance enough to attain. I have but one earnest desire: to be a servant of the Masters for the helping of humanity. So I think the only thing for me is to go on with my work in different departments for the helping of others...
ANSWER: That is the point. You want to help others. All right, there is only one way to help others -to make yourself beyond all help, that is, to make yourself incorruptible. You cannot help truly, lastingly, in any other way. Not that you should not help in the process of attainment. How you like to dodge things!
Continued: ...On the other hand, I feel that you the "Awakener", and perhaps by your influence I may be awakened one day to the burning desire for truth and liberation...
ANSWER: You will never be awakened by my desire. You must have the desire; you must have the longing because you have suffered. I cannot awaken what is asleep in you. You must awaken it yourself, and then you will have the greatest joy of living.
Continued: ...Is it under these circumstances permitted to go on attending your Camps and meetings, although I am not yet striving for liberation?
ANSWER: Of course. Nobody is going to prevent you, or to examine whether you are really searching for liberation. How can they? Please come to these Camps if you want to come. We are not going to examine who is really striving after liberation and who is not. Who can tell? Certainly not the Camp Management, nor I. It is you who have to assure yourself if you are really struggling. Please see this. All problems in the world, and the solution of those problems, exist only within yourself. All external problems are the outcome of individual struggle. The problems outside are the expressions of the individual, chaotic struggle, and you cannot solve those outside problems if within you there is still sorrow, suffering, rejoicing, pleasure, suffocation. So, if you really want to help -which you all say you do- the only way lies through the perfection of the self, through making the self incorruptible, and in no other manner.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ommen, Holland, 1929
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