The Mirror of Relationship
8th Talk in the Oak Grove 24th May, 1936
Question: Can we stop war by praying for peace?
Krishnamurti: I do not think that war can be stopped by prayer. Isn't praying for peace merely a particular form of emotional release? We think that we are incapable of preventing war and so we find in prayer a release from this horror. Do you think that by merely praying for peace you are going to stop violence in the world? Prayer only becomes an escape from actuality. That emotional state which results in prayer can also be worked upon by propagandists for the purposes of war, hatred. As one eagerly prays for peace, so, equally enthusiastically, one is persuaded about the beauties of nationalism and the necessity of war. Prayer for peace is utterly useless. The causes of war are manufactured by man, and it is of no value to appeal to some outside force for peace. War exists because of psychological and economic reasons. Until those causes are fundamentally altered, war will exist, and praying for peace is of no value.
Question: How can I live simply and fully if I have to analyze myself and make conscious effort to think deeply?
Krishnamurti: To live simply is the greatest of arts. It is most difficult, as it demands deep intelligence and not the superficial comprehension of life. To live intelligently and simply, one must be free of all those restrictions, resistances, limitations, which each individual has developed for his own self-protection and which have hindered his true relationship with society. Because he is enclosed within these restrictions, these walls of ignorance, for him there can be no true simplicity. To bring about a life of intelligence, and so of simplicity, there must be the tearing down of those resistances and limitations. The process of dissolution implies great thought, activity and effort. A man who is prejudiced, nationalistic, bound by the authority of traditions and concepts, and in whose heart there is fear, surely cannot live simply. A man who is ambitious, narrow, worshipping success, cannot live intelligently. In such a person there is no possibility of deep spontaneity. Spontaneity is not mere superficial reaction; it is deep fulfilment, which is intelligent simplicity of action. Now, most of us have walls of self-protective resistance against the movement of life; of some we are conscious, of others we are not. We think that we can live simply by merely avoiding or neglecting the undiscovered ones; or we think that we can live fully by training our minds to certain standards of life. It is not simplicity to live by oneself, apart from society, or to possess little, or to adjust oneself to particular principles. This is merely an escape from life. True simplicity of intelligence, that is, the deep adjustment to the movement of life, comes only when, through comprehensive awareness and right effort, we begin to wear down the many layers of self-protective resistance. Then only is there a possibility of living spontaneously and intelligently.
Question: What is your idea of ambition? Is it ego-inflation? Is not ambition essential for action and achievement?
Krishnamurti: Ambition is not fulfilment. Ambition is ego-inflation. In ambition there is the idea of personal achievement ever in opposition to the achievement of another; there is the worship of success, ruthless competition, the exploitation of another. In the wake of ambition there is constant dissatisfaction, destruction and emptiness; for in the very moment of success there is a withering, and so a renewed urge for further achievements. When you deeply discern that ambition has within it this constant struggle and strife, then you comprehend what is fulfilment. Fulfilment is the fundamental expression of what is true. But often a superficial reaction is mistaken for fulfilment. Fulfilment is not for the few alone, but it demands deep intelligence. In ambition there is an objective and the drive towards its achievement, but fulfilment is the intelligent process of completeness. The comprehension of fulfilment involves continual adjustment, and the re-education of our whole social being. Where there is ambition, there is also the search after rewards from governments, churches or society, or there is the desire for the rewards of virtue with its consolations. In fulfilment the idea of reward and punishment has utterly disappeared, for all fear has wholly ceased.
Experiment with what I am saying and discern for yourself. Your present life is involved with ambition, not with fulfilment. You are trying to become something instead of being aware of those limitations which prevent true fulfilment. Ambition holds within it deep frustration, but in fulfilment there is bliss. Question: I belong to one of the religious societies and I want to withdraw from it, but I have been warned by one of its leaders that if I left it, the Master would no longer help me. Do you think that the Master would really do this to me?
Krishnamurti: You know, this is the whip of fear which all religious societies use to control man. They first promise a reward, here or in heaven, and when the individual begins to comprehend the foolishness of the idea of reward and punishment, he is grossly or subtly threatened. Because you crave for happiness, security, and for what is called truth - and this is really an escape from actuality - you create and play into the hands of exploiters. The churches and other religious bodies have throughout the ages threatened man for his independent thought and fulfilment. It is not principally the fault of the exploiters. The organizations and their leaders are created by their followers, and so long as you want those mysterious aids and depend on authority for your own righteous effort, conduct, and inward richness, these and other forms of threats will be used, and you will be exploited.
Some people, I see, laugh easily at this question, but I am afraid they too are involved in this process of reward and punishment. They may not belong to any religious society, but they perhaps seek their rewards from governments, from their neighbours, or from the immediate circle of their friends and relatives. Thus, through their craving, subtly or unconsciously, they are engendering fear and illusions which create an easy path to exploitation.
You know, this idea of following a Master is utterly erroneous and wholly unintelligent. I have recently and very often explained the folly of this idea of being guided, of worshipping authority, but apparently the questioner and others do not understand its deep significance. If they would try to discern, without prejudice, they would perceive the great harm that lies in this conception. Discernment alone can free them from the bondage of their habitual thought. Romanticism and escapes are offered by churches and religious bodies, and you get caught up in them. But when you discover their utter valuelessness, you find that you have involved and committed yourself financially and psychologically, and instead of giving up these absurdities, you try to find excuses for your beliefs and commitments. Thus you encourage and maintain a whole system of exploitation, with its cruel stupidities. Unless you discern fundamentally that no one can truly free you from your own ignorance and its self-sustaining activities, you become entrammelled in these organizations, and fear, with its many illusions and sorrows, continues. Where there is fear, there must be subtle and gross forms of exploitation and suffering.
Question: You have many interpreters, and associates of your youth, who are creating confusion in our minds by saying that you have a purpose - well known to them but not disclosed by you to the public. These individuals claim to know special facts about you, your ideas and work. I sometimes have a feeling from their words that they are really antagonistic to you and to your ideas, but they profess a warm friendship towards you. Am I mistaken in this, or are they exploiting you to justify their own actions, and the organizations to which they belong?
Krishnamurti: Why do these interpreters exist? What is it that is so difficult in what I am saying that you cannot understand it for yourself? You turn to interpreters and commentators because you do not want to think fully, deeply. As you look to others to lead you out of your trouble, out of your confusion, you are bound to create authorities, interpreters, who only further confuse your own thought. Then after being confounded, you put this question to me. You yourself are creating these interpreters and allowing yourself to become confused.
Now, with regard to past associates, I am afraid they and I have parted company long ago. There are some immediate friends who are working with me and helping me, but the associates of my youth, as they call themselves, are of the past. Deep friendship and co-operation can exist only where there is true comprehension. How can there be true co-operation and the action of friendship between a man who thinks authority is necessary, and a man who considers authority to be pernicious? How can there be companionship between a man who thinks that exploitation is a part of human nature, and another who maintains that it is ugly and wicked; between a man who is bound by beliefs, theories and dogmas, and a man who discerns their fallacy? How can there be any work common to a man who is creating and encouraging neuroticism, and a man who is attempting to destroy its cause?
I have no private teaching; I have no private classes. What I say here to the public, I repeat in my conversations and interviews with individuals. But these self-styled associates and interpreters have their own axes to grind, and you like to be ground. You may laugh, but this is just what is happening. You listen to me, and then you go back to your leaders to interpret for you what I have said. You don't consider what I say and think it out fully by yourself. Surely, to think about what I am saying, for yourself, would be more direct and clear. But when you begin to think for yourself clearly, directly, action must follow; and to avoid drastic action, you turn to your leaders, who help you not to act. And so, through your own desire, by not acting clearly, you maintain these interpreters with their positions, authorities, and their systems of exploitation.
What profoundly matters is that you free yourself from beliefs and dogmas and limitations, so that you can live without conflict with another individual, with society. True relationship, morality, is possible only when barriers and resistances are entirely dissolved.
Question: If the whole process of life is self-acting energy, as I understand from your previous talk, that energy, judging from its creations, must be super-intelligent, far beyond human comprehension. What part, then, does the human intellect play in life's process? Would it not be better to let that creative energy work in us and through us, and not interfere with it by means of our human intellect? In other words, "Let go and let God", as Father Divine says.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid the questioner has not understood what I have been saying. I have said that there is energy, force, unique to each individual. I have not qualified it; I have not said that it is superintelligent or divine. I have said that through its own self-acting development, it creates its own substance. Through its own ignorance it is creating for itself limitation and sorrow. There is no question of letting something super-intelligent act through its creation, the individual. There is only consciousness, as the individual, and consciousness is created through that friction between ignorance, craving, and the object of its want. When you consider this, you will discern that you are wholly responsible for your thoughts and actions, and that there is not something else acting through you. If you regard yourself and other human beings as merely instruments in the hands of other energies and forces unknown to you, then I fear you will be a plaything of illusions and deceptions, confusion and sorrow. How can a superior force or intelligence act through a man whose mind-heart is limited, crooked?
You know, this is a most fallacious idea that we have developed in order not to delve into ourselves and discover our own being. To know ourselves needs constant thought and effort, but few of us are eager to discern, so we vainly try to make ourselves into convenient instruments for some super-intelligence, God. This conception in various forms exists throughout the world. If you really think about it fundamentally you will see that, if it were true, the world would not be in this unintelligent, chaotic condition of hatred and misery. We have created this confusion and sorrow through ignorance of ourselves, through craving, and through the resistances of self-protection, and we alone can break down these limitations and barriers which cause misery, hatred, and the lack of adjustment to the action of life.
As this is my last talk here, I should like to make a brief resume of what I have been saying during the past few weeks. Those of you who are really interested can think about it and experiment with it and prove its truth for yourselves, so that you do not follow anyone, any dogma, any explanation, any theory. Out of discernment will come comprehension and bliss.
There is contradiction of ideas, of theories, there is confusion created through constant assertions by leaders, of what is and what is not. Some say there is God, some say there is not; some maintain that the individual lives after death; the spiritists claim to have proved for themselves that there is a continuance of the individual mind; others say that there is only annihilation. Some believe in reincarnation, and others deny it. There is the piling up of theory upon theory, uncertainty upon uncertainty, assertion upon assertion. The result of all this is that one is wholly uncertain; or else one is so hedged about, bound by particular concepts and forms of belief, that one refuses to consider what is really true.
Either you are uncertain, confused, or you are certain in your own belief, in your own particular form of thought. Now, for a man who is truly uncertain, there is hope; but for a man who is entrenched in belief, in what he calls intuition, there is very little hope, for he has closed the door upon uncertainty, doubt, and takes rest and consolation in security.
Most of you who come here are, I think, uncertain, confused, and so deeply desire to comprehend what is actuality, what is truth. Uncertainty engenders fear, which gives rise to depression and anxiety. Then, consciously or unconsciously, one sets about escaping from these fears and their consequences. Observe your own thoughts, and you will perceive this process at work. As you crave to be certain of the purpose of life, of the hereafter, of God, you begin to be aware of your desires, and through this inquiry there comes doubt, uncertainty. Then that very uncertainty, doubt, creates fear, loneliness, emptiness about you and in you. This is a necessary state for the mind to be in, for then it is willing to face and comprehend actuality. But the suffering involved in this process is so great that the mind seeks shelter and creates for itself what it calls intuitions, concepts, beliefs, and clings to them desperately, hoping for certainty. This process of escape from actuality, from uncertainty, must lead to illusion, abnormality, neurosis and unbalance. Even though you accept these intuitions, beliefs, and take shelter in them, yet if you examine yourself deeply you will see that there is still fear, for uncertainty continues.
This vital state of uncertainty, without the desire to escape from it, is the beginning of all true search for reality. What is it that you are really seeking? There can be only a state of comprehension, a direct perception of what is, of actuality; for comprehension is not an end, an objective to be gained. Discernment of the actual process of the "I", of its coming into being and its true dissolution, is the beginning and the end of search.
To understand what is, comprehension must begin with oneself. The world is a series of indefinite, varied processes which cannot be fully comprehended, for each force is unique to itself, and cannot be truly perceptible, in its completeness. The whole process of life, of existence in the world, is entirely dependent on unique forces, and you can understand it only through that process which is focussed in the individual as consciousness. You may superficially gather the significance of other processes, but to comprehend life fully, you must understand this process working in you as consciousness. If each one deeply and significantly understands this process as consciousness, then each one will not fight for himself, exist for himself, be concerned about himself. Now, each one is concerned about himself, fighting for himself, acting antisocially because he does not understand himself fully; and it is only through the comprehension of his own unique force as consciousness that there is the possibility of understanding the whole. In completely discerning the "I" process, you cease to be a victim who struggles alone in an emptiness.
Now, this force is unique, and in its self-development becomes consciousness, from which arises individuality. Please do not learn the phrase by heart, but think about it, and you will see that this force is unique to each one, and through its self-acting development becomes consciousness. What is this consciousness? It cannot have any location, nor can it divide itself as high and low. Consciousness is composed of many layers of memories, ignorance, limitations, tendencies, cravings. It is discernment and has the power of comprehending ultimate values. It is what we call individuality. Don't ask: Is there nothing else beyond this? That will be discernible when this "I" process comes to an end. What is important is to know oneself, and not what is beyond oneself. You are only seeking reward for your efforts, a something to which you can cling in your present despair, uncertainty and fear, when you ask: Is there something else beyond this "I"?
Now, action is that friction, tension, between ignorance, craving, and the object of its want. This action is self-maintaining, which gives a continuity to the "I" process. So ignorance, through its self-sustaining activities, perpetuates itself as consciousness, the "I" process. These self-created limitations prevent true relationship with other individuals, with society. These limitations isolate one, and hence there is constant arising of fear. This ignorance with regard to oneself ever creates fear, with its many illusions, and hence the search for unity with the higher, with some superhuman intelligence, God, and so on. From this isolation comes the pursuit of systems, methods of conduct and disciplines.
In the dissolution of these limitations you begin to discern that ignorance is without a beginning, that it is self-maintaining through its own activities, and that this process can come to an end through right effort and comprehension. You can test this out by experimenting, and discern for yourself the beginningless process of ignorance and its end. If the mind-heart is bound by any particular prejudice, its own action must create further limitations and so bring about greater sorrow and confusion. Thus it perpetuates its own ignorance, its own sorrows.
If you become fully cognizant of this actuality, through experiment, then there is the comprehension of what the "I" is, and through right effort it can be brought to an end. This effort is awareness, in which there is not the choice or conflict of opposites, one part of consciousness conquering the other part, one prejudice overcoming another. This needs strenuous thought, which will free the mind of fears and limitations. Then only is there the permanent, the real.
The Mirror of Relationship
8th Talk in the Oak Grove 24th May, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.