The Mirror of Relationship
5th Public Talk 23rd June, 1940
During the last four Sundays we have been trying to understand what we mean by greed and some of the problems involved in relationship. We divided craving into greed, possessive love, and dependence on beliefs, but in fact, there is no such division; we did it to understand craving more fully. There is only a complex unity of craving and its artificial division is for convenience only. We said that craving expresses itself in three ways, through worldliness, through possessive love, and through the desire for personal immortality. Perhaps some of you have thought over it and have seen the significance of what I have been saying and have become aware of how it expresses itself in relationship. Of course, there are many problems involved in it, such, for instance, as earning a living. To earn a livelihood in a human and intelligent way seems almost impossible, as social organization is based on personal gain, but we cannot hope to bring about a complete change in the system until there is a complete change in our own consciousness. To bring about that necessary change, we, as individuals, have to abandon our interest in ourselves. For, as I tried to explain, the individual is the world; his activities, his thoughts, his affections and conflicts, produce the environment which is but his own reflection. As it seems almost impossible under existing conditions to earn a livelihood humanely and honestly, the primary thing is to understand the process of greed and thereby free thought from those psychological cravings which distort our lives.
To transcend the conditions that limit thought and hold it in constant conflict, we must understand craving, expressed in our relationship with another, with society. I explained in what manner this is to be done, not through mere control, not through mere discipline or denial, but through constant awareness of the process of craving. This demands strenuous application, patience, and constant alertness. In becoming actively aware of the process of craving, you will perceive that craving as possessiveness of things and people, undergoes a fundamental change. Also, I tried to explain that the expression of greed has created a society in which great importance is placed on things, on property, on material and otherworldliness, which is partly the cause for separative conflicts, racial antagonisms, and wars.
Also, we saw how craving expresses itself in relationship as sensation, gratification, possessiveness. Possessiveness cannot be love, it is the result of fear. Fear and sorrow permeate our being through our unawareness of the process of craving. Craving for pleasure and gratification necessitates the possessing of the other, thus creating and continuing fear and sorrow. Where there is fear there cannot be understanding, compassion. Until we solve this individual problem of relationship, we cannot solve our social problem, for society is but the extension of the individual, his thoughts and activities.
So, craving expresses itself through worldliness and through possessive love. When thought is limited by greed, by that possessive desire which we call love, surely there must be sorrow and conflict; and in order to escape from this conflict and sorrow we invent various beliefs and hopes which we imagine will endure and so be satisfying, unaware that they are still the creation of craving and therefore transient.
Our ideas, beliefs, hopes, are so deeply imbedded in us that they escape our critical observation. Yet, without the knowledge of their cause and origin there cannot be true understanding. If our ideas and beliefs spring from ignorance and fear, then our life and action must be limited and ever in conflict and sorrow. But ignorance is difficult to eradicate.
What is the basis of our thought? What is the origin of the mind? Those of you who have experimented with greed will have become aware of its process and the various expressions of craving; also you will have become aware of the origin of possessive love. Now in the same way, perhaps we can discover for ourselves from what source the process of our daily thought begins. Mere control of the many expressions of thought will not reveal its true source.
What is the basis, the root, of our thought process? It is important to discover this, is it not? If the root of a tree is diseased or decayed what value is there in trimming its branches? Likewise, should we not first discern the origin of our thinking before concerning ourselves with its varied expressions and alterations? In understanding truly the source, through deep awareness, our human thought will become free of illusion and fear. Each one has to discover this source for himself, and with vital awareness transform radically the process of thinking.
Has not our thought its source in craving? Is not what we call the mind the result of craving? Through perception, contact, sensation, and reflection, thought divides itself into like and dislike, hate and affection, pain and pleasure, merit and demerit - the series of opposites, the process of conflict. It is this process which is the content of our consciousness, the unconscious as well as the conscious, and which we call the mind. Being caught up in this process and fearing uncertainty, cessation, death, each one craves after permanency and continuity. We seek to establish this continuity through property, name, family, race, and dubiously perceiving their insecurity, again we seek this continuity and permanency through beliefs and hopes, through the concepts of God and soul and immortality.
Having accumulated various experiences, many memories, and achievements, we identify ourselves with them, but there is ever within us the gnawing of uncertainty and the apprehension of death, for everything decays, passes away, and is in a continual flux. So, some begin to justify to themselves their complete abandonment to the pleasures of this world, and their ruthless self-expansion; others believing in continuity, become watchful, anxious, and live their lives dreading a future punishment or hoping for a reward in the hereafter, perhaps in heaven or perhaps in another life on earth.
There are various forms of subtle craving for immortality, reward, and success. Thought is deeply and actively concerned with the idea of continuity of itself in different forms, gross and subtle. Is this not our main preoccupation in life, the continuity of the self in possessions, in relationship, in ideas? We crave for certainty, but craving ever creates ignorance and illusion and establishes instruments of faith and authorities who will reward and punish. The pursuit of self is death.
The basis of our thinking is craving, which creates the self, and thought expresses itself in worldliness, in possessive love, and in the belief of self-continuity. What happens to a mind that is occupied with itself and its expressions, consciously or unconsciously? It will limit itself and so give importance to itself. Thought, thus occupied, must engender confusion, conflict, sorrow. Being caught in its own net, it tries to escape into the future or into those activities that assure immediate forgetfulness, the so-called social service, worship of state or person, racial and social antagonism, and so on. Thus thought gets more and more entangled in the net of its own desires and escapes. As long as thought is preoccupied with its own personal importance and continuity, it is incapable of becoming aware of its own process.
How are we to become aware? Alertly and disinterestedly observe the working of the mind, without immediate correction, without controlling, denying, or judging it. The present eagerness to judge, to correct, is not from understanding; it springs from craving, fear. There is a deep and fundamental transformation of the self when there is understanding of the process of craving. Understanding transcends mere reason or emotion. Mind-intellect is now the instrument of craving, with its rationalization and expansive outgoing desires; to rely solely on either for understanding and love is to continue in ignorance and suffering.
Questioner: What do you mean by experimenting?
Krishnamurti: If consciously or unconsciously we are merely seeking results, we are not experimenting. Experimentation with one's own thought and feeling becomes impossible if we are merely adjusting ourselves to a pattern, ancient or modern. We may think we are experimenting, but if our thought is influenced and limited, say by a belief, then experimentation is not possible and most of us are blind to our own limitations. True experimenting consists in understanding through our own alert watchfulness, awareness, the causes that condition thought. Why is thought conditioned? Being uncertain, fearful, it clings to certainties, definite results, and achievements, either those of someone whom it considers great or of its own assured memories. That is, thought moves from the known to the known, from one certainty to another, from one assurance to another, from one substitute to another. Reality is not the known. What is conceived cannot be the real, when the mind is the instrument of craving. Craving always breeds ignorance and sorrow follows. True experimenting consists not in trying to discover the unknown but rather in understanding the forces, the causes, that make thought cling to the known. in the understanding of this process, ever deeply, patiently, there comes a new element which has transcended mere reason and emotion.
Questioner: What should my attitude be towards violence?
Krishnamurti: Does violence cease through violence, hate through hate? If you hate me and I hate you in return, if you act violently towards me and I act likewise towards you, what is the result - more violence, more hatred, more bitterness, is it not? Is there any other consequence than this? Hate begets hate, ill will begets ill will. Very often in our relationship, individual or social, this spirit of retaliation breeds only more violence and more antagonism.
The spirit of vengeance is rampant in the world. Can you have any other attitude towards violence? We feel powerful in being violent. To use a commercial phrase, there are larger and quicker dividends in hate. The individual has created the existing social structure because of hatred within him, because of his desire to retaliate and to act violently. The world about us is in this feverish condition of hate and violence; because of its cunning and purposive strength, unless we, ourselves, are free of hate, we are easily carried away by the brutal current. If you are free of it, then the question of what attitude one should have towards the many expressions of hate does not arise. If you were deeply aware of hate itself and not merely of its cunning expressions, you would see that hate only begets hate. If you have hatred within you, you will respond to the hate of another, and since the world is you, you are bound to react to its fears, ignorance, and greed. Surely, you are bound to hate, to act vengefully, if your thought is confined to the self. Greed and possessive love must breed ill will and if thought does not free itself from them, there must be the constant action of hate and violence. As I pointed out, our beliefs and hopes are the result of craving, and when doubt is cast on them, resentment and anger arise. In understanding the cause of hate, there comes into being forgiveness, kindliness. Love and understanding come through being constantly aware.
Questioner: Is it not natural to love the Masters, knowing instinctively without analyzing it that there response to us vivifies our love because we are one? This is not an effort to expand, for love is life itself.
Krishnamurti: There are two types of gurus, masters, or teachers: those with whom the pupil is directly in contact on this plane of existence, and those with whom the pupil is supposed to be in contact indirectly. The teacher with whom the pupil is in contact directly, physically, observes the pupil while helping and guiding him. This is exacting and difficult enough for the pupil. Now the "Masters" are not in direct, physical contact with the pupil except apparently with those who claim that they are intermediaries. in this relationship, which has its own rewards and anxieties, the mind can deceive itself limitlessly. Now, the questioner wants to know if our love for a Master does not vivify, our love? Why do you seek a Master to love when you don't know how to love human beings? Why do you claim unity with Masters, and not with human beings? To love an ideal, a Master, a God, a State, is easier, is it not? For they can be created in our image, according to our hopes, fears, illusions. It is more convenient, though perhaps exacting in a different way, to have an ideal, a far-off image to love, for between that and ourselves there can be no unpleasant, personal reaction, which causes such sorrow in human relationship. Such love is not love but an intellectual creation called love. Not being directly in contact with a Master one must depend on either an intermediary, or on one's own so-called intuition. Dependence on an intermediary destroys understanding and love and further conditions the mind; and so-called intuition has its grave dangers for it may be only a self-deceiving wish.
Now, why do you want to depend on a mediator or on an intuition? To learn not to be greedy, to have no ill will, to be compassionate? Why do you want to look at a distant ideal when understanding and love can be awakened only through human relationship? When we love another, our passions, our possessive love, and jealousies are aroused; we find sorrow and conflict in this relationship, and because we cannot resolve this ache here, we try to run away from it.
Because we do not know how to love human beings we love Masters, ideals, Gods. But you might say that to love a Master is also to love humanity, to love the highest is to love also the lowly. but this generally does not happen. Is this not odd, complicated, and artificial? If we cannot love another without possessiveness, without constant conflict and pain, with which we are all so familiar, if we don't understand this, how can we hope to understand and love something else, especially, when in this something there is a great possibility of self-deception? Where is love to begin, with Gods and Masters and ideals, or with human beings? How can there be love when we take pride in our individual prejudices, racial antagonisms, national hatreds, and economic conflicts? How can we love another when we are mainly concerned with our own security, with our own growth, with our own well-being? This so-called love of ideals, Masters, Gods, is romantic and false; I do not think one sees the brutality of this. The worship of Masters, ideals, is idolatry and destructive of understanding and love.
Love and understanding are not the products of the intellect. Love is not to be divided artificially as the love of God and the love of man. If it can be so divided, it is no longer love. Love completely, wholly, without the thought of self, and thereby free yourself truly from fear which necessitates various forms of escape and forgetfulness.
Questioner: What would you do if your child were attacked?
Krishnamurti: I have no answer to hypothetical problems. How one will react instantly to violence will depend upon the conditioning of one's mind. If you have been conditioned to meet violence with violence, then you will act violently, but, if you have become aware of the cause and the process of violence, then you will depend upon the depth of your awareness and the fullness of your understanding and love. Our problem is: Can thought dissipate the centre of violence which is in oneself? It can, through constant awareness and understanding. Then if violence comes upon you unexpectedly you will know how to act, but mere speculation of how one should act in a future is vain. The problem is not how we shall act when violence is upon us but how can we now be free of violence in our thoughts and feelings? most of us are unaware of our own state of being; we act thoughtlessly and sorrow overtakes us.
Questioner: Can one be self-reliant in spite of frustrated self expression? Is not the process of self-revelation part of the necessary self-reliance.
Krishnamurti: We must discover for ourselves what it is in us that is expressing itself before we give such importance to self-expression. There can be no frustration if we understand the nature of the self that is craving to express itself. Giving importance to self-expression causes frustration. The individual expresses himself through his conditioning, and that limitation which he insists is his self-expression, is but sorrow and frustration. What is it that is constantly seeking expression in our daily action? Craving, is it not, in different forms, as power, success, satisfaction?
I said relationship is a process of self-revelation. If thought allows itself, without any hindrance, to perceive its own process in the action and interaction of relationship, then there is the beginning of understanding of the causes of conflict and sorrow; this understanding is true self-reliance. Until one fully understands the process of craving with its self-protective fear which is very often revealed in relationship with another or with society, self-expression only becomes a barrier between man and man. This comprehensive awareness demands strenuous interest and discernment, which is true meditation.
The Mirror of Relationship
5th Public Talk 23rd June, 1940
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.