The Pool of Wisdom
THE POOL OF WISDOM
2. OMMEN CAMP FIRE TALK, 1926
All wise people, all people who are searching after knowledge, must look about them and contemplate. All things, whether living or non-living, are transient. Nothing is lasting, nothing is permanent. There is birth and death; there is a rush and a jostle; there is a passing pain and a passing joy; there are cravings, unsatisfied desires, desires that can never be satisfied; there is an immense ocean of nothingness. Affections and love fade as the delicate flower of a secluded valley; there is rejoicing at birth, and sorrow at death. A day of glory is as a passing cloud. All things, whether living or non-living, are subject to decay and they perish; all go down to the grave, and hence to the dust.
Wherever we look, there is this chaos, this vast unrest, this something that cannot be satisfied. And the contemplative mind that seeks the reason of things must ask, must demand, must search out and find if there is anything lasting, anything permanent, anything enduring, any resting place.
Is there not an abode where we can be free from desires, from those desires that are unsatisfiable, where the mind can be tranquil, peaceful and composed? Is there no Eternity where nothing changes, nothing decays, nothing can fade? The wise mind contemplates, looks around, sees these transient things, and then asks: Is there not something that will last, something which is Eternal?
Those who have not found that Eternity cannot answer; and those who have found it can but answer vaguely, for each must find that which he seeks according to his evolution, according to his stage of thought and of feeling. But we can all have the same vision; we can see the same beauty, though our lips may translate it into words, which convey different meanings.
Those who are wise, those who are full of age -not necessarily of the body, but full of age that comes through experience, through many sorrows, through many pains, through many pleasures and through many ecstasies- those can say, if they have once seen that vision, that there is Eternity, that it is beyond the possibility of doubt.
What then is this Vision? It is Truth. Truth is permanent, everlasting. It has no beginning and no end, it is changeless and immortal. And when you ask: "Where does it abide, where can I find it?" -I say: "You will find it only in that Kingdom of Happiness." If you would find it, you must apply your mind and your heart to know, to seek, and to search out that Pool of Heaven which is Wisdom, which is Truth. For there, in that Kingdom, in the Holy of Holies, we must learn, we must experience, we must grow mentally and emotionally, and find that image which is the incarnation, which is the embodiment of Truth, which is Eternal. And like all people who are not satisfied by the mere world of passing glories that this can give, by the flatteries of friends, you must seek, must brush aside the undergrowth in the forest, if you would see the clear skies of heaven. You must cut away the dead branches of life, before you can see the stars by which you can guide your way out of the forest of transient things.
In such a way must we set about it. In such a way I set about it. I saw my Eternity. I saw the source of all things, the beauty, the perfection, and the joy of all things. I tasted Immortality. What I saw can be described only from my point of view, can be given only in words that may seem to mean very little. But when you have longed for it and it has come; when once you have seen it for yourself, when once it is the very breath of your life, then you will understand, then you will know that you have tasted Immortality, that you have seen the permanent, the lasting and unchangeable.
There is nothing in the world that can give satisfaction, that can satisfy your cravings, except that Immortality, that finding of Truth. But he who would seek that Pool of Wisdom, that Kingdom of Happiness where Truth abides, must first learn to destroy self. He must first learn to appreciate and to feel the greatness of real friendship, the friendship that comes when you feel one with all things, when you have no existence apart from others; when in everything about you, through the transient, you see the Eternal; when every word, when every person, when every passing cloud and all things of earth give a new meaning, have a different song, a different pleasure, and a different Happiness. Then you will be able to enter into that Kingdom of Happiness, where there is the freshness of many breezes.
For self and Truth cannot exist together. The path of the self leads to sorrow, to pain, and to those fleeting pleasures, which we call life, which we take for reality and for the permanent. But Truth leads to the Kingdom of Happiness, because there is forgetfulness of self -that absolute oneness of life, both mental and emotional, which makes you feel and think that you are part of all the world, whether moving or non-moving, whether active or inactive.
But he who would walk to that Kingdom of Happiness, if he would be great, must learn to sacrifice the self, however difficult, however impossible it may be for the moment, however wearying, however painful. He must sacrifice it in order to gain and give greater pleasures, greater Happiness, greater ecstasy, and greater glory, which are lasting.
Since it has been my dream, since it has been my Happiness, since it has been my delight to see that Kingdom, to breathe those scented airs, let us walk there together, let us see it together, and let us explore it together.
Before you can see it with my eyes, before you can think of it through my mind, before you can feel it through my heart, you must have the capacity, you must have the strength, to shatter all prejudices. For what we perceive shall be the essence of intelligence, the essence of thought, the essence of all emotions, the essence of devotion, the essence of love. And those of us who are prejudiced, those of us who are trammelled, cannot see it in all its beauty, in all its greatness, in all its nobility. For prejudice distorts the vision, as colored glasses dim the sunshine of the world.
For this reason, those of you who would see it as it should be seen, who would see it as it is, must come freely and fearlessly, exultant and controlled. But you must have obeyed the Voice within to arrive at that growth; and having for the moment shattered those walls of prejudice, those narrow limits that bind you, jet us examine it, let our minds -and not only our hearts- examine it.
When you see a statue, which is the perfection of human art, or a fair vision of the mountain top in the light of the evening sun, or the sheen on the wing of a fast-flying bird, or a lovely flower in the field, or a strong tree set apart -when you have seen such physical glory, and when you can retain that vision and keep it, and make use of it at those times when you have tumultuous emotions both of depression and of great ecstasy, and when that vision can give you Happiness, satisfy your fleeting disturbances with its physical appearances of beauty, of divinity, and of pleasure -it shows that the mind and the heart can react to that for which each one of us is craving, for which each one of us is asking.
Likewise the Vision of Eternity, this Truth. You must live with it. Every moment that you are not occupied with the fleeting, that you are not taking pleasure in the passing -that very moment you must dwell with that beauty, take it and keep it as a precious jewel. If you have seen the ordinary, physical vision of beauty, it often recurs in moments of trouble. It is the feeble mind and the weak heart that soon forgets the beauty of it, and so eventually forgets that beauty which is lasting and that Happiness which is permanent.
If we are wise, if we have a heart that is not prejudiced and a mind that is pure, then the physical vision of great beauty always remains. You can always go back and live in it, and you can forget the outer world. You can always breathe that air which is ecstatic. And likewise, when once you have seen this Kingdom of Happiness, this garden of many roses, this abode of ecstasy and immortality, when once you have grasped it with a pure mind and a clean heart, then you can always live in that Kingdom. And then from that reality you can go back and wander forth into the unreal, from the real to the unreal; whereas most of us live in the unreal and wander seldom in the real.
It is always the transient things which we take as the reality; and for this reason, that vision of greatness, that vision of nobility, is rare because we are surrounded, dominated, by passing things. For this reason, it is much more difficult for a mind and for a heart that is not peaceful, that is not quiet, that is always agitated, to retain that vision which it has once seen -which every one of us has seen, since to see it is not the exception.
Every one of us has seen the beauty of the sunset, of a tree, of the fast-flying bird in a still sky. There is the reality, if you would see the Happiness through the unreal, if you would see the Truth, which is transcendent. But you must have eyes, eyes that have long been accustomed to visions of beauty, that are capable of long search, capable of retaining what they have seen, whatever be the troubles, whatever be the sorrows, whatever be the pain.
When once you have entered into that Holy of Holies which is Truth, then you need not lose it again, because you are part of Eternity. Then no glory of earth, then no personal friends, passing love nor any of those things matter; for you belong to that Eternity, for you have drunk at that Pool of Heaven which is wisdom.
When once you have entered it, you can always go forth and see the fleeting things of the world. Then only can you give Happiness and sympathy. Then only can you give those realities which are lasting.
You must of your own accord enter that Kingdom, that garden, that abode of Truth which is Happiness. Of your own strength, of your own desire, of your own greatness, must you create this greatness which is everlasting. Of your own perfection, of your own genius, must you create this immortality. For what I create, or anyone else creates, can only be the passing; but what you yourself create through your own experience is lasting, is permanent.
When you enter that Kingdom, then you begin to understand that the self, the giver of sorrow and pain and all the fierce physical pleasures, has no control over you, has no sway over you -that its dominion and its power have weakened.
As you grow into that perfection, and enter into that Holy of Holies where abides Truth, more and more you cease to exist as a separate being. This is the only Truth, this is the only spirituality, this is the only Happiness that any human being can find.
The Pool of Wisdom
THE POOL OF WISDOM, 2. OMMEN CAMP FIRE TALK, 1926
Jiddu Krishnamurti The Pool of Wisdom; philosophy revolutionary truth public talks pool wisdom.