The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Public Talk 7th December, 1947
Before I answer the many questions that have been put to me I would like to make one or two remarks. First, I wish to make a very brief resume of what I have been saying, and then I would like to suggest how the answers to the questions should be received.
It seems to me that it would be a really beautiful world, if there were no teachers and no disciples. I wonder if you have ever considered why there come to be teachers and disciples; why we look to another for enlightenment, for encouragement, for guidance? Would it not be a peaceful and orderly world, if there were neither the seeker nor the thing which he seeks? The thing which he seeks originates, does it not, from a desire for gain and therefore out of this desire comes conflict. As long as one desires to profit, whether spiritually or materially, there is conflict between man and man and if we can understand the significance of this idea of gain, perhaps, we shall find real peace, and thereby abolish the division between the teacher and the disciple and the extraordinary fear that exists between the disciple and the master though the disciple calls it love. We are caught in the process of acquisition and we realize its painful nature and so we wish to get out of that process and this gives birth to duality, does it not? That is, I want to gain and the desire to gain entails always fear and fear naturally creates duality and then the conflict of the opposites begins.
Now, does not one opposite contain the germ of its own opposite? That is, if virtue is the opposite of vice, is it virtue? I do not know if you have thought along these lines, but if you observe you will find that any opposite always contains its own opposite, that is, if vice is the opposite of virtue, virtue contains vice and therefore virtue is not the opposite of vice and so if we can understand this conflict the opposite ceases. I think it is very important to understand this point because most of us are caught in this problem of opposites, greed and non - greed, ignorance and knowledge and so on, and being caught in it, what must one do? The problem then is how to overcome it. Now, is there a problem at all or have we merely misunderstood the conflict altogether? That is, if we can understand the fact itself, anger for instance, then the conflict of its opposite ceases; that is, if we can understand `what is', the problem of duality in which is implied the existence of evil, ceases. I think it is of the utmost importance to understand this problem of opposites as it exists in our daily life; is there ever any way out of the opposites or is the only way through the understanding of the fact itself, without any attempt to overcome it by its opposite? In other words, `what is' can only be understood through awareness, not through condemnation or justification; it is important to understand fear itself and not try to escape into its opposite and thereby create the conflict of the opposites.
I am not going further into this problem now because I have many questions to answer; but, I want to point out the difficulty of understanding ourselves, of being aware through self-knowledge, of what you are thinking, what you are feeling and what you are doing. If we do not understand the dual process of our own activities, our own feelings and thoughts, we have no basis for right thinking.
To be aware of ourselves is extremely arduous. It does not require book knowledge. To know ourselves is to reach the source of wisdom and this is not mere hearsay nor mere assertion. If you begin to inquire, to be aware choicelessly of yourself in everything that you do, you will soon discover what extraordinary depths thought can plumb and how free this awareness is.
Question: You have often talked of relationship. What does it mean to you?
Krishnamurti: First of all there is no such thing as being isolated. There is no existence in isolation. To be, is to be related and without relationship there is no existence. Now, what do we mean by relationship? It is an interconnected challenge and response between two people, between you and me, the challenge which you throw out and which I accept, or to which I respond; also the challenge I throw out to you. So, the relationship of two people creates society; society is not independent of you and me; the mass is not by itself a separate entity, but you and I in our relationship to each other create the mass, the group, the society. So, relationship is the awareness of inter-connection between two people and what is that relationship generally based on? Is it not based on so-called interdependence, mutual assistance? At least we say it is mutual help, mutual aid and so on, but, actually, apart from words, apart from the emotional screen which we throw up against each other, what is it based upon? On mutual gratification, is it not? If I do not please you, you get rid of me, if I please you, you accept me either as your wife or as your neighbour or as your friend. That is the actual fact.
So, relationship is sought where there is mutual satisfaction, gratification, and when you do not find that satisfaction you change relationship, either you divorce, or you remain together but seek gratification elsewhere or else you move from one relationship to another till you find what you seek, which is satisfaction, gratification and a sense of self-protection and comfort. After all that is our relationship in the world and that is the actual fact. So, relationship is sought where there can be security, where you as an individual can live in a state of security, in a state of gratification, in a state of ignorance, all of which always creates conflict, does it not? If you do not satisfy me and I am seeking satisfaction, naturally there must be conflict, because we are both seeking security in each other and when that security becomes uncertain you become jealous, you become violent, you become possessive and so on. So, relationship invariably results in possession, in condemnation, in self-assertive demands for security, for comfort and for gratification and in that there is naturally no love.
We talk about love, we talk about responsibility, duty, but there is really no love, and relationship is based on gratification, the effect of which we see in the present civilization. The way we treat our wives, children, neighbours, friends is an indication that in our relationship there is really no love at all. it is merely a mutual search for gratification and as this is so, what then is the purpose of relationship? What is its ultimate significance? Surely, if you observe yourself in relationship with others, do you not find that relationship is a process of self-revelation? Does not my contact with you reveal my own state of being if I am aware, if I am alert enough to be conscious of my own reaction in relationship? So, relationship really is a process of self-revelation which is a process of self-knowledge and in that revelation there are many unpleasant things, disquieting, uncomfortable thoughts, activities and since I do not like what I discover I run away from a relationship which is not pleasant to a relationship which is pleasant. So, relationship has very little significance when we are merely seeking mutual gratification, but relationship becomes extraordinarily significant when it is a means of self-revelation and self-knowledge.
After all there is no relationship in love, is there? It is only when you love something and expect a return of your love that there is a relationship. But when you love, that is, when you give yourself over to something entirely, wholly, then there is no relationship. Is relationship a mutual gratification or is it a process of self-revelation? There is no gratification in love there is no self-revelation in love. You just love. Then what happens? If you do love, if there is such a love, then it is a marvellous thing. In such love there is no friction, there is not the one and the other there is complete unity. It is a state of integration, a complete being. There are such moments, such rare, happy, joyous moments, when there is complete love, complete communion. But what generally happens is that love is not what is important but the other, the object of love becomes important; the one to whom love is given becomes important and not love itself. Then the object of love, for various reasons either biological verbal, or because of a desire for gratification, for comfort and so on, becomes important and love recedes Then possession, jealousy and demands create conflict and love recedes further and further, and the further it recedes, the more the problem of relationship loses its significance, its worth and its meaning. So, love is one of the most difficult things to comprehend. It cannot come through an intellectual urgency, it cannot be manufactured by various methods and means an disciplines. It is a state of being when the activities of the self have ceased but they will not cease if you merely suppress them, shun them or discipline them. You must understand the activities of the self in all the different layers of consciousness. We have moments when we do love, when there is no thought, no motive but those are rare we cling to them in memory and thus create a barrier between living reality and the action of our daily existence. So, in order to understand relationship it is important to understand first of all `what is', what is actually taking place in our lives, in all the different subtle forms and also what relationship actually means. Relationship is self-revelation and it is because we do not want to be revealed to ourselves that we hide in comfort and then relationship loses its extraordinary depth, significance and beauty. There can be true relationship only when there is love but love is not the search for gratification. Love exists only when there is self forgetfulness, when there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest, and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.
Question: The Theosophical Society announced you to be the Messiah and world teacher. Why did you leave the Theosophical Society and renounce the Messiahship?
Krishnamurti: I have receive several questions of the kind and I thought I would answer them. It is not frightfully important, but I will try to answer them.
First of all let us examine the whole question of organizations. There is a rather lovely story of a man who was walking along the street and behind him were two strangers. As he walked along, he saw something very bright and he picked it up and looked at it and put it in his pocket and the two men behind him observed this and one said to the other: "This is a very bad business for you, is it not?" and the other who was the devil answered: "No, what he picked up is truth. But I am going to help him organize it". You see it!
Can truth be organized? Can you find truth through an organization? Must you not go beyond and above all organizations to find truth? After all why do all spiritual organizations exist? They are based on different beliefs, are they not? You believe in one thing and somebody else believes in it too and around that belief you form an organization and what is the result? Beliefs and organizations are for- ever separating people, keeping people apart; you are a Hindu, I am a Muslim, you are a Christian and I am a Buddhist. Beliefs throughout history have acted as a barrier between man and man, and any organization based on a belief must inevitably bring war between man and man as it has done over and over again. We talk of brotherhood, but if you believe differently from me I am ready to cut your throat; we have seen it happen over and over again.
Are organizations necessary? You understand that I am not talking about organizations formed for the mutual convenience of man in his daily existence; I am talking of the psychological and the so-called spiritual organizations. Are they necessary? They exist on the supposition that they will help man to realize truth and they are a means of propaganda: you want to tell others what you think, or what you have learned, what appears to you to be a fact. And is truth propaganda? What is truth to someone, when propagated surely ceases to be the truth for another. Does it not? Surely, reality, God or whatever you call it, is not to be propagated. It is to be experienced by every one for himself and that experience cannot be organized; the moment it is organized, propagated, it ceases to be the truth, it becomes a lie, therefore a hindrance to reality, because after all, the real, the immeasurable cannot be formulated, cannot be put into words, the unknown cannot be measured by the known, by the word, and when you measure it, it ceases to be the truth, therefore it ceases to be the real and therefore it is a lie, and therefore generally propaganda is a lie. And organizations that are supposed to be based on the search for truth, founded for the search of the real, become the propagandists' instruments, and so they cease to be of any significance; not only this particular organization in question but all spiritual organizations, become means of exploitation. They acquire property and property becomes awfully important; seeking members and all the rest of that business begins; they will not find truth for the obvious reason that the organization becomes more important than the search for reality. And no truth can be found through any organization because truth comes when there is freedom and freedom cannot exist when there is belief, for belief is merely the desire for security and a man who is caught in his need for security can never find that which is.
Now, with regard to Messiahship, it is very simple. I have never denied it and I do not think it matters very much whether I have or have not. What is important to you is whether what I say is the truth. So, don't go by the label, don't give importance to a name. Whether I am the world teacher or the Messiah or something else is surely not important. If it is important to you then you will miss the truth of what I am saying because you will judge by the label and the label is so flimsy. Somebody will say that I am the Messiah and somebody else will say, that I am not and where are you? You are in the same confusion and the same misery, in the same conflict. So, surely, it is of very little significance. I am sorry to waste your time on this question. But whether I am or I am not the Messiah is of very little importance. But what is important is to find out, if you are really earnest, whether what I say is the truth and you can only find out whether what I say is truth by examining it, by being aware now, of what I am saying and finding out whether what I am saying can be worked out in daily life. What I am saying is not so very difficult to understand. The intellectual person will find it very difficult because his mind is perverted and a man of devotion also will find it extremely difficult, but the man who is really seeking will understand because of its simplicity. And what I am saying cannot be put into a few words and I am not going to attempt to say it in a few words because my answers to the questions and the various talks which I have given will reveal if you are interested in what I am saying.
Question: On two or three occasions in the course of the talks I have attended, I have become conscious, if I may venture to describe the experience properly, of standing in the presence of one vast void of utter silence and solitude for a fraction of a second. It feels as though I am at the entrance but dare not step into it. What feeling is this? Is it some hallucination, self-suggested, in the present stormy turbulent condition in which our daily life is passed?
Krishnamurti: There is always the danger, is there not, when one feels very strongly that one gets caught up in that feeling. That is how propaganda works, is it not? If you hear over and over again that you must destroy the Muslim or the Christian or the Buddhist or the German and when it is repeated endlessly, one is caught in that noise of repetition and swept off into certain kinds of action. But, during these talks and discussions there have been moments when we discussed and felt very deeply, when we perceived for ourselves certain states of consciousness and because we reached a point of great understanding and great depth, there was silence, there was no noise. It was absolute silence. But it becomes hallucination, if it is due to self-hypnosis; that is, if you yourself, during the discussion or talk, have not followed it and experienced it directly for yourself. Then such silences, such extraordinary states of being become escapes from the ordinary storm, from the every day conflict of existence. So, there is always the danger of being influenced by another for the good as well as for the bad. But, the fact that you have been influenced indicates that you can be influenced and therefore the question is not whether you should or should not be influenced for the good, but whether you should be influenced at all. If you can be influenced for the good, you can also be influenced for the bad; we have seen it happen over and over again and the bad wins more often than the good as indicated by the repeated wars and catastrophes that go on in the world almost constantly.
So, the problem is not whether you should enter this thought, this silence, this creative state of being, but whether you have come to it through understanding or through influence, through persuasion or through your own careful, wise experience and understanding. Unless you have come to it through your own understanding, not merely intellectually and verbally, it has no meaning, for really there is no such thing as intellectual understanding; understanding is complete, whole and not partial. But if you come to that stillness through understanding, through being aware, it brings about the cessation of those conflicts and then through that understanding there is quietness and in that quietness and in that solitude, in that loneliness, there is reality. It is not that you are afraid to enter it, you cannot enter it. It must come to you, because if you go to it, you can only go to the known. If it comes to you it is the unknown, therefore the real. But, if you go to it, you have already formulated what it is and therefore that towards which you go is the known and therefore not the real. Therefore it must come to you. All greatness, like love, comes to you. If you pursue love it will never come, but if you are open, still, not demanding, it will come.
So, the question of influence is really very important because we all want to be influenced, we all want to be encouraged, because in ourselves we are uncertain, we are confused. And this is where the danger lies, in looking to another for clarification, for understanding. Clarification and understanding cannot be given to you by another, no matter who he is. Understanding or clarification comes when the mind is single, free, not distracted by effort. When you are interested in something, keen about it, you give your whole being to it. You are not distracted and in that giving of yourself, in order to find out what is true there comes that quietness, that amazing creative emptiness, that absolute silence, unenforced and uninvited, and in that silence the real comes into being.
Question: You have said that a mind in bondage is vagrant, restless, disorderly. Will you please explain further what you mean?
Krishnamurti: To understand this question we must consider the whole problem of meditation and I hope you will not be too fatigued to follow this question and the things involved in the problem itself. I do not know if you have noticed that a mind that is in bondage, held by an idea or by a problem, is always restless, because it is always seeking an answer to the problem. Therefore it is always wandering. A mind that is in prison is always seeking freedom and therefore it is restless, but if it questions the prison itself, the bondage itself, then it is quiet because then it is pursuing the truth of that bondage and therefore not wandering away from the problem; the bondage is the problem itself.
The moment you are aware of a bondage, what happens? You want to free yourself from it. You want to understand it and therefore you are striving to do something about it. That means restlessness, disorder, vagrancy, but if you are interested, not in the solution of the problem but in the problem itself, which contains its own answer, then surely the mind becomes free, concentrated, because it no longer seeks a solution, but understands the problem itself; therefore the mind becomes extremely effective, clear and capable of pursuing swiftly every movement.
So, meditation then is the understanding of the problem itself which contains its own answer. Meditation is not mere repetition of words, mantrams, japams, or sitting in front of a picture or an image. Meditation is not prayer or a concentration, as I explained before. Meditation is thought freeing itself from time because through time the timeless cannot be comprehended, and as the mind is the product of time, thought must cease if the real is to be. And the whole process of meditation causes thought to come to an end and it is very important to comprehend this because thought is the product of time, the experience of yesterday, thought is caught in the net of time and that which is of time can never comprehend that which is timeless, the eternal.
So, our problem then is to understand that the mind which is constantly creating time, is the product of time and therefore whatever it produces, whatever it fabricates, whatever it formulates, whatever it creates, is of time, whether it creates the Paramatman, or the Brahman or an idea or a machine. As thought is founded upon the past which is time, it cannot understand the timeless and therefore meditation is a process of freeing thought from time which means that thought must come to an end. Have you ever experimented with it? Have you not found how extraordinarily difficult it is for thought to come to an end because no sooner does one thought come into being than another pursues it, and so thought is never completed; and meditation is to carry one thought through right to the end, because that which ends knows renewal, that which is continuous is of time and therefore in that there is no renewal.
How then can one complete thought? This is the problem, for that which is complete has no continuity. That which is complete has an ending and therefore a renewal. So, how is thought to come to an end? Thought can only come to an end when the thinker understands himself; the thinker and the thought are not two separate processes. The thinker is the thought, and the thinker separates himself from his thought for his self-protection, for his continuance, for his permanency and therefore the thinker is continually producing thought which is transforming, changing and gratifying. So, you have to understand the thinker, which means the thinker is not separate from the thought. Remove the thoughts, where is the thinker? Remove the qualities and where is the self, remove a man's property, his qualities, where is he? He is non-existent. Similarly remove the thoughts of the thinker, where is the thinker? Surely there is no thinker when the thought process is removed, which means we must complete every thought that arises whether good or bad; and to complete every thought through to its end is extremely arduous because it involves a slowing down of the mind. As a fast revolving motor cannot be understood save through being slowed down, so too, a mind which is to understand itself must slow itself down. Again, it is a very arduous task to have a mind go slowly, so that you can follow every thought through. But most of our minds are not moving, they are only vagrant, they are all over the place, disjointed, disorderly, confused; and to bring order out of that confusion and vagrancy, you will have to follow each thought through. In order to follow each thought through, write it down and you will see. Experiment with it, and you will see. Write down every thought if only for a period of two minutes. As in the case of a film, the quick movements cannot be followed and only when the film is slowed down can you follow the movements. Similarly a mind that is too fast, I should not say `fast', - because most of our minds are not fast, they are disjointed, wandering, vagrant, - such a mind can only be understood by slowing it down and it can only be slowed down by pursuing every thought as it comes. As you are listening to me your mind is slowed down and not wandering because you are following my thoughts; and as I am concentrated on what I am talking about, and as it is not mere intellection or verbal assertion, but an actual experience, you are following it actually, which indicates that you can slow down your mind and follow each thought through. But since you cannot be with me all the time, I suggest, you write down every thought and experiment with it and you will see what an extraordinary thing takes place. Your condemnations, your identifications or prejudices etc., will come out before a consciousness that is empty and one that is now capable of complete silence. A consciousness that is filled with all kinds of memories, traditions, racial prejudices, national demands, can never be still. And you will see that in that process, when thought frees itself from time, it is not possible to indulge in certain activities.
The other day a man came to see me and he wanted to find `peace' as he called it, peace of mind. He wanted to find God and he also stated that he was a speculator. That is what we too want. We all want peace of mind, happiness, love and tranquillity and yet we are caught in those activities that are not quite orderly, that are not peaceful; we are caught in viciousness, in professions that are destructive such as of the lawyer, the soldier, the police, and so on. So, the understanding of the process of the mind will itself create a crisis in your daily life and you do not have to invite a crisis. It will create it and if you pursue further that crisis, then when the storm ceases there comes quietness like that of the pool when the breeze stops. So, the problems that are self-created come to an end, and there is silence, a silence that is not induced or compelled, but a silence which is free from all problems and in that silence that which is unutterable comes into being.
Question: Does not the belief in reincarnation explain inequality in society?
Krishnamurti: What a callous way of resolving a problem! Does it resolve the problem? Does your belief in reincarnation resolve the problem? Everything goes on; has your belief altered that suffering? You have only explained it away to suit your convenience, but inequality remains. And can inequality be explained by a belief, by a theory, whether the theory is of the right or of the left whether it is an economic theory or a spiritual theory? When you believe in certain forms of socialism, either of the extreme left or of the modified left, does inequality cease because of the theory? Because you believe in reincarnation, that is in a progressive growth, which puts you a little higher than the other fellow because you are economically and socially better off, that theory comforts you; for you also believe that because you have worked and suffered in the past now you have earned the right to something, a spiritual bank account. Therefore you feel that you are a little superior and the other fellow is a little bit under you, until he in turn will come up but somebody will always be below and somebody always above. Surely, this is the most extraordinary way of regarding life, is it not, the most brutal and callous way of explaining it. You want explanations and explanations seem apparently to satisfy you whether they are political, or religious. Surely, reincarnation or the belief in reincarnation is no solution for any of the difficulties. Is it? It is merely a postponement, an explanation but the facts are `inequality', the untouchables, the Brahmin and the non-Brahmin or the vicious commissar and the poor devil who works for the commissar; the fact remains that there is division and no kind of explanation however beautiful, however callous, however scientific is going to eliminate it.
I am sorry, some of you seem rather bored by this question but we will have to go into it. And how is this inequality to be overcome? Can inequality be wiped away by a system, economic social or religious? Can a system, of the left or of the right, religious or any other kind, dispel the actual fact that men like to divide themselves into superiors and inferiors? Revolutions have taken place but they have not produced equality, though in the beginning they maintained that there must be equality; and yet when the revolution has been accomplished, when the froth, when the excitement is over, there is still inequality, the boss, the tyrant dictator and all the rest of the ugly business of existence. No government, no theory can wipe that out and to look to a theory, look to a belief is to be the most stupid, callous person. You look to a belief, to a system when your hearts are dry, when you have no love; then systems become important. Surely, when you love somebody, there is no equality or inequality. There is neither the prostitute nor the righteous. To the man caught up in his righteousness, there is division.
So, belief is not the solution, a system is not the way to equalize. You may equalize economically, but even then that economic equalization becomes unimportant as long as the psychological inequality exists; and this cannot be wiped out by economic systems. So, the only solution and the true one, and the lasting one, is love, affection, kindliness, and mercy. But love is extremely difficult for a man who is caught up in activities of unmercy, in competition, in ruthlessness. Being caught up in gratifying means, through acquisition, he must find an explanation and reincarnation satisfies him. He can pursue his monstrous, ugly ways and yet feel that he is all right.
Sirs, belief is not a substitution for love and because we do not know love, because we do not know what love is, we indulge in theories and practices, we search for systems, economic and social or religious, that will dissolve this monstrous inequality. When you love there is neither the intellectual nor the dull, neither the sinner nor the righteous. And it is a marvellous thing to be so free, and only love can give that freedom and not a belief and love is possible only when beliefs drop away, when you are not looking to a system, when you become human and not mechanical. How little we love in our daily life! You don't love your sons, your daughters, your wives or your husbands and because you do not know them, you do not know yourselves. And, when we know ourselves more and more, we begin to understand the significance of love and love is the most extraordinary factor in life because it resolves all our difficulties. It is not a mere assertion or my say-so, but you try and drop all your aggressions, competitions, pursuits and be simple and you will find love. The man who is simple does not bother to know who is superior and who is inferior, who is the master, who is the disciple because he is content with what he is and the understanding of `what is' brings love and happiness.
Question: I have made the rounds of various teachers and I would like to know from you what is the purpose of life?
Krishnamurti: It is a very odd fact in life, this pursuit of gurus. You know how ladies especially do a great deal of `window-shopping; they go from window to window looking from the outside to see what dress or what else they would buy if they had the money. Similarly there are many who indulge in this peculiar game of going from guru to guru, always window shopping. What happens to such people? What happens, Sirs, when you go from guru to guru, from teacher to teacher? You get emotionally excited, stretched, and when you keep on stretching, stimulating yourself artificially, what happens? The elasticity of emotion wears out. Does it not? Keep on stretching artificially, stimulated first by one and then by another, and you lose all feeling; your elasticity, quickness, pliability are gone. Why do you go from guru to guru, from teacher to teacher? Obviously for protection, but where do you find protection always? With the teacher who gratifies you. The teacher who protects you is your own gratification. If the teacher tells you to give up and become very simple, nice, kindly, loving, you will not go to him and if he tells you to meditate, to prostrate yourself at his feet, then you will follow him, because that is a child's game. If you feel very comfortable in his presence you go, because that again is very easy. But, if he demands something beyond your miserable comforts and security, then you go and find another teacher. So, this pursuit of the guru makes the mind dull and the emotion weak, and the original strength and vitality are lost. What has happened to all of you who have followed gurus? You have lost that extraordinary sensitivity, quickness of thought and depth of emotion. It is obvious, is it not? It is the truth.
That is one part of the question. The other part concerns the purpose of life. Apparently, the questioner must have been told by the various teachers what the purpose of life is and now, he wants to add my views to his collection, to see which is the best, which is the most suitable. Sirs, it is all so infantile, so immature. I know the person who wrote this question, a married man in a responsible position. See the tragedy of it. He wants to find out from someone, make a collection of purposes of life and choose one out of them. Sirs, it is tragic, not laughable. It shows the state of mind of the majority of us. We are mature in office, in bringing up children, in getting money, but immature in thought and in life. We do not know what it means to love.
So, the questioner wants to know what is the purpose of life. How are you going to find out? Shall I tell you what it means, or must you not find out for yourself what the purpose of life is. To remain at the office day after day, month after month, pursuing money, position, power, ambition, is that the purpose of life? Is it the purpose of life to worship graven images, to perform rituals without significance, without meaning indulge in mere repetition? Is it the purpose of life to acquire virtue and be walled in by barren righteousness? If the purpose of life is none of these then what is it? To find what is the purpose of life, must you not go beyond all these? Then you will find out. Then you need not seek out the purpose of life. Surely the man in sorrow is not seeking the purpose of life, he wants to be free of sorrow. But you see, we do not suffer. Rather, we suffer and we escape from our suffering and therefore we do not understand suffering. So a question of this kind indicates the extraordinary inefficiency of the thinker and the questioner. But having put that question to me and through my answer, he should now find out for himself what the purpose of life is. You see about you confusion, misery and what is the outcome of it all? How can you go to another to find out? To find out the outcome of all this confusion, you should understand the one who is confused, the man who brought about this confusion, which is yourself. This chaos is the result of our own thought, own feeling, and to understand that confusion, that misery, you have to understand yourself and as you proceed deeper and deeper in understanding yourself you will find out what is the significance of life. Merely to stand at the edge of confusion and ask what is the significance of life has very little meaning. Sirs, it is like a man who has lost the song in his heart. Naturally he is always seeking for somebody who has a song, he is enchanted by the voice of others, he is always seeking a better singer because in his own heart there is no song. There can be song in his heart only when he discards everything and ceases to follow the teacher. There comes a time when you become aware of your desires, when you do not escape from them, but understand them. It requires earnestness, it requires extraordinary serious attention and he who is already in earnest has begun to understand and in him there is hope. There is hope not in performances, not in gurus, but only in yourself.
The Observer is the Observed
Madras, India. Public Talk 7th December, 1947
Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.