1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?
1st Public Talk 1st September, 1935
Friends, our human problems demand clear, simple and direct thinking. Some of you may imagine that by merely listening to a few of the talks which I am going to give, your problems will be solved. You desire immediate remedies for the many aches and sorrows, and superficial alterations which will revolutionize your thought, your whole being. There is only one way to find intelligent happiness, and that is through your own perception, discernment; and through action alone you can dissolve the many impediments that stand in the way of fulfilment. If you can perceive for yourself simply and directly the limitations that prevent deep and complete living. and how they have been created. then you yourself will be able to dissolve them.
I would beg of you, in listening to me, to pass beyond the convenient and satisfactory illusion which has divided thought as oriental and occidental. Truth is beyond all climes, peoples and systems. Though I come from India, what I say is not conditioned by the thought of that country. I am concerned with human suffering which exists all over the world. And please do not put aside what I say by thinking that it is not practical but merely some form of oriental mysticism. I would beg of you not to think in terms of formulae, systems, catch-phrases, but to free the mind from the background of many generations, and think anew, directly and simply. Please do not think that by calling me an anarchist or communist, or by giving to me some other convenient name, you have understood what I have said. We must think anew and understand the human problem as a whole, and then only can we live harmoniously and intelligently. Where there is true individual fulfilment, there will also be the true well-being of the whole, the collective.
If each one of you can fulfil, live in complete harmony - which demands great intelligence and not the pursuit of egotistic desires - then there will be the well-being of the whole. Though we must have a complete revolution of thought and desire, it must be the outcome of voluntary comprehension on the part of the individual, and not of compulsion.
As most of you are deeply interested in happiness and in fulfilment, and have not come here merely out of curiosity, if you will carefully understand what I say, and act, then there will be the true ecstasy of life.
There is intense suffering throughout the world. There is hunger amidst plenty. There is exploitation of class by class, of women by men, and of men by women. There is the absurdity of nationalism which is only the collective expression of egotistic search for security.
This chaos is the objective expression of that inward suffering of man. Subjectively there is uncertainty, the agonizing fear of death, of incompleteness, of emptiness. Our action in the subjective and objective world is but the expression of egotistic desire for security. So the mind has created many impediments, limitations, and till we completely and thoroughly understand these impediments and voluntarily liberate ourselves from them, there cannot be fulfilment.
By individually understanding and liberating ourselves from these limitations, we can create true and necessary action, and thereby change the environment. A great many people think that there must be a mass movement in order to bring about individual fulfilment. But to create a true mass movement, there must first be a complete revolution of thought and desire in the individual, in you. That, to me, is true revolution, this individual and voluntary change. It must begin with you, with the individual, and not with a vague, collective mass. Don't be hypnotized by the phrase "mass movement". Each individual who is caught up in suffering must change, he must understand the cause of his own sorrow and the hindrances he has created around himself. It is no use merely seeking a substitution, for that will in no way solve our human problems and agonies. That is merely a false adjustment to a false condition. Most of us in searching for a substitution are merely clinging to our own egotistic pursuits.
Do not, please, at the end of the talk, say that I have not given you a positive system. I am going to try to explain how our sorrows have been created; and when you discern the cause for yourself, then there will be a direct action which alone will be positive. This action born of comprehension, of intelligence, is not the imitation of a system.
Each individual is seeking security, both subjectively and objectively. His subjective search is for certainty, so that the mind can cling to it, undisturbed. And his objective search is for security, power and well-being.
Now what happens when you seek security, certainty? There must be fear; and if you are conscious of your thought, you will discern that it has its root in fear. Morality, religion and objective conditions are based fundamentally on fear, for they are the outcome of the desire on the part of the individual to be secure. Though you may not have any religious belief, yet you have the desire to be subjectively secure, which is but the religious spirit. Let us understand the structure of what we call religion.
As I said, when one seeks security there must be fear; to be subjectively certain, you seek what you call immortality. In search of that security, you accept teachers who promise this immortality, and you come to regard them as authorities, to be feared, to be worshipped. And where there is this fear, there must be dogmas, creeds, beliefs, ideals and traditions to hold the mind.
What you call religion is nothing but an organized form of individual self-protection for subjective security. To administer this authority based on fear, there must be priests, who become your exploiters. You are the creators of exploiters, for through fear you have created the cause for exploitation. Religion has become an organized belief, a crystallized form of thought, of morality, of oppression, domination. Religion, whose God is fear - though we use words as love, kindliness, brotherhood to cover up that deep fear-is nothing but a subjective submission to a system which assures us security. I am not talking of an ideal religion. I am talking of religion as it is throughout the world, the religion of exploitation, of vested interest.
Then there is the objective search for security through egotistic power essentially based on fear and so on exploitation. If you look at our present system, you will see that it is nothing but a series of cunning exploitations of man by man. Family becomes the very centre of exploitation. Please do not misunderstand what I mean by family. I mean the centre which makes you feel secure, which demands the exploitation of your neighbour. Family, which should be the true expression of love, not of exclusiveness, becomes the means of egotistic self-perpetuation. From this there develop classes, the superior and the inferior; and the means of acquiring wealth accumulate in the hands of the few. Then there follows the disease of nationalism, nationalism as a means of exploitation, of oppression. This dangerous disease of nationalism is dividing people, as religions are doing. From this there arise sovereign governments, whose business it is to prepare for war. Wars are not a necessity; to kill another human being is not a necessity.
Thus, seeking your own security, you have created many impedi- ments of which you are entirely unconscious; and these impediments are not only turning you into a machine, but are preventing you from being a true individual. In becoming conscious of these limitations there arises conflict. You do not want conflict, you merely desire satisfaction, security, and so these hindrances continue to create sorrow and turmoil. But you will find true happiness, fulfilment, reality, only when you come into conflict with the values that now oppress and limit the mind. Examining these values intellectually does not reveal their true significance. Mere intellectual examination will not create conflict, and only through suffering do you begin to understand their deep, concealed meaning.
Most people are acting mechanically in a system; so it is essential that they come face to face with those values and impediments of which they are unconscious. In this there is the awakening of true intelligence, which alone can bring about fulfilment. This intelligence, which is unique, will reveal the eternal. As the sun comes out clear and bright through the dark clouds, so through your own discernment and in the purity of your own action comes the realization of that life which is ever renewing.
Question: You are preaching revolutionary ideas, but how can any real good come from it unless you organize a group of followers who will bring about a revolution in fact? If you are against organization, how can you ever achieve any result?
Krishnamurti: You cannot follow anyone, including myself. Out of your own voluntary comprehension you will create whatever organization is necessary. But if an organization were imposed on you, you would become merely slaves of that organization and be exploited. As there are so many organizations which are already exploiting you, what is the good of adding another to them? But what is important is that each one of you fundamentally understands, and out of that comprehension will come the true organization which will not impede individual fulfilment. I am not against all organizations. I am against those organizations which prevent individual fulfilment, and especially that organization which is called religion, with its fears, beliefs and vested interests. It is supposed to help man, but in fact it deeply hinders his fulfilment. Question: Would there not be trouble, chaos and immorality in society if there were not priests to uphold and preach morality?
Krishnamurti: Surely there is now in the world utter chaos, exploitation and misery. Can you add more to it? We must consider what we mean by priests; and what we mean by immorality.
I mean by a priest, one whose action is based on vested interest and so further fear. He may not be of any religious organization, but may belong to a particular system of thought and so create dogmas, creeds and fears. A priest is one who forces another, subtly or crudely, to fit himself into a particular mould.
To understand what is true morality, one must first understand what morality is now. If we can discern how it has grown about us and liberate ourselves from its many stupidities and cruelties, then there will be intelligence, whose action will be truly moral, for it will not be based on fear.
If you observe dispassionately, you will see that our present day morality is based on deep egotism, the search for security, not only here, but in the hereafter. Out of acquisitiveness, the desire to possess, you have established certain laws, certain opinions which you call moral. If you are voluntarily free from possessiveness, acquisitiveness, which needs deep discernment, then there is intelligence, which is the guardian of true morality.
You will say. "It is all right for us, who are educated, we need no one to support us in this morality; but what about the people. the mass?" When you regard others as not being cultured, then you yourself are not; for out of this so-called consideration for others exploitation is born. What you are really concerned with when you ask about another is your own fear of conflict and disturbance. If you understood the present false morality, with its subtle cruelty, then there would be true intelligence. That alone is the assurance of kindly morality. inclusive and without fear.
Question: Is character another name for limitation?
Krishnamurti: Character becomes a limitation if it is merely egotistic defence against life. This development of resistance against the movement of life becomes the means of self-protection. In this there can be no intelligence. and action then only creates further limitation and sorrow. We have developed a system in which, to live at all, we must possess what is known as character, which is but a carefully cultivated resistance, a self-defence against life.
A man who would live, fulfil, must have intelligence. Character is in opposition to intelligence. Character is merely a hindrance, a limitation, and in its development there cannot be fulfilment.
Question: Do you really believe everything you say?
Krishnamurti: Now I am telling you what to me is truth, not belief. It is the fruition of my own living. It is not the pursuit of some ideal, which is but imitation. Where there is imitation, there is belief. But if you are fulfilling, which is not to achieve something or to become something, then there is the living reality.
Belief is born of illusion, and reality is free from all illusions. You cannot judge whether I am living what I am saying. I am the only person who can know about that, but you have to discover for yourself whether what I say has any deep significance for you. To judge, you must have a measure, a standard. Now that standard, as it generally happens, is the result of some prejudice or frustration. Please examine what I have to say, for in the very examination you will begin to understand the true significance of living. When there is judgment, there is either condemnation or approval, and this division, this breaking up of thought and emotion does not bring about comprehension.
1934, 1935, What Is Right Action?
1st Public Talk 1st September, 1935
Jiddu Krishnamurti. What Is Right Action? The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1934..1935.