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The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
3rd Talk in the Oak Grove 19th April, 1936

To have united thought, and so action, there must be agreement, accord, and to have agreement seems to be very difficult. Agreement does not mean thoughtless acceptance or tolerance, for tolerance is superficial. Agreement demands deep intelligence and requires a mind that is very pliable. In this world, apparently, one is more easily convinced by foolishness than by thought that is integral and intelligent. There is an emotional agreement which is not agreement at all. It is merely an excitement which carries one on to certain activities, attitudes and assertions, but does not lead to the full, intelligent awakening of individual fulfilment.

Now, if you agree - as apparently most people agree - with foolishness, there must be confusion. You may feel for the moment that you are supremely happy, contented, and thus think that you have understood life; but if you allow your mind to consider your assumed happiness, you will see that what you have is really a superficial emotional excitement induced by the repeated assertions of another. Any action born of this superficiality must inevitably lead to confusion, whereas agreement, with intelligent thought, leads to true happiness and complete well-being.

I am emphasizing this point because I feel it is very important and necessary that one should not have within oneself any barriers which create division, disagreement. These barriers create confusion and struggle in the individual, and also prevent united and intelligent action in the world. Intelligent agreement is essential for concerted action; but it is not agreement when there is any kind of compulsion or authority, whether subtle or gross. Please see why such deep understanding is necessary, and also please find out whether you are profoundly in agreement with what I say. By agreement, I do not mean a superficial and tolerant acceptance of certain ideas which I express. You should consider the whole implication of what I say and discover whether you are deeply in agreement with it. This needs thought and careful analysis, and then only can you accept or reject. As the majority of us seem to yield to emphatically repeated assertions, I feel it would be a waste of time if you merely allowed yourself to be convinced by certain statements which I often repeat. Such surrender on your part would be utterly useless and even harmful.

In this world there are so many contradictory opinions, theories, grotesque assertions and emotional claims, that it is difficult to discern what is true, what is really helpful for individual comprehension and fulfilment. These affirmations - some fantastic, some true, some violent, some absurdly confusing - are thrown and shouted at us. Through books, magazines, lecturers, we become their victims. They promise rewards, and at the same time subtly threaten and compel. Gradually we allow ourselves to take sides, to attack and defend. So we accept this or that theory, insist on this or that dogma, and unconsciously the repeated assertions of others become our beliefs, on which we try to mould our whole lives. This is not an exaggeration; it is happening in us and about us. We are constantly being bombarded with claims and oft repeated ideas, and unfortunately we tend to take sides because our own unconscious desire is for comfort and security, emotional or intellectual, which leads us to accept these affirmations. Under such conditions, though we may think that we examine these assertions and intuitively know them to be true, our minds are incapable of examination or of any intuition. Hardly anyone escapes this constant attack through propaganda; and unfortunately, through one's own craving for security and for permanence, one helps to create and encourage fantastic declarations.

When the mind-heart is burdened with many barriers, prejudices, national and class distinctions, it is impossible to come to an intelligent agreement. What is happening is not intelligent and sane agreement among people, but it is a war of belief against belief, doctrine against doctrine, group against group, vested interest against vested interest. In this battle, intelligence, comprehension, is denied.

It would really be a calamity if out of these meetings you developed dogmas, beliefs and instruments of compulsion. My talks are not intended to engender beliefs or ideals, which can only offer you an escape. To understand what I say, mind must be free from beliefs and from the prejudice of "I know." When you say, "I know", you are already dead. This is not a harsh statement.

It is a very serious undertaking to try to discover what is true, why we are here, and where we are going. This discovery cannot be made by the superficial solution of our immediate problems. The mind-heart must free itself from those dogmas, beliefs and ideals of which most of us are unconscious. We are here to discover intelligently what is true; and if you understand this, you will discern something which is real, not something which is self-imposed or invented by another. Please believe that I am really not concerned with particular views, but with individual understanding, happiness and fulfilment.

There are many teachers who maintain various systems, meditations, disciplines, which they claim will lead to the ultimate reality; there are many intermediaries who insist on obedience in the name of the Masters; and individuals who assert that there is God, that there is truth - unfortunately I myself have made these assertions in the past. Knowing all this, I have realized that the moment there is an assertion, its very significance is lost. How then shall we comprehend this world of contradictions, confusions, beliefs, dogmas and claims? From where shall we start? If we attempt to understand these from any other point of view than through the comprehension of ourselves, we shall but increase dissension, struggle and hatred. There are many causes, many processes at work in this world of becoming and decaying, and when we try to investigate each process, each cause, we inevitably come up against a blank wall, against something which has no explanation, for each process is unique in itself.

Now, when you face the inexplicable, faith comes to your aid and asserts that there is a God, that he has created us and we are his instruments, that we are transcendent beings, with a permanent identity. Or if you are not religiously inclined, you try to solve this problem through science. There again you try to follow cause after cause, reaction after reaction; and though there are scientists who maintain that there is a deep intelligence at work, or who employ different symbols to convey to us the inexplicable, yet there comes a point beyond which even science cannot go, for it deals only with the perception and reaction of the senses.

I think there is a way of understanding the whole process of birth and death, becoming and decaying, sorrow and happiness. When I say I think, I am being purposely suggestive, rather than dogmatic. This process can be truly understood and fundamentally grasped only through ourselves, for it is focussed in each individual. We see around us this continual becoming and decaying, this agony and transient pleasure, but we cannot possibly understand this process outside of ourselves. We can comprehend this only in our own consciousness, through our own "I" process; and if we do this, then there is a possibility of perceiving the significance of all existence.

Please see the importance of this; otherwise we shall be entangled in the intricate question of environment and heredity. We shall understand this question when we do not divide our life into the past and the present, the subjective and the objective, the centre and the circumference; when we realize the working of the "I" process, the "I" consciousness as I have often said, if we merely accept the "I" as a living principle, a divine entity in isolation, created by God, we shall but create and encourage authority, with its fears and exploitations; and this cannot lead to man's fulfilment.

Please do not translate what I say about the "I" process into your particular phraseology of belief. That would be of no help to you at all; on the contrary, it would be confusing; but please listen with an unprejudiced mind and heart.

The "I" process is the result of ignorance, and that ignorance, like the flame that is fed by oil, sustains itself through its own activities. That is, the "I" process, the "I" energy, the "I" consciousness, is the outcome of ignorance, and ignorance maintains itself through its own self-created activities; it is encouraged and sustained through its own actions of craving and want. This ignorance has no beginning, and the energy that created it is unique to each individual. This uniqueness becomes individuality to consciousness. The "I" process is the result of that force, unique to each individual, which creates, in its self-development, its own materials, as body, discernment, consciousness, which become identified as the "I".

This is really very simple, but it appears complicated when put into words. If, for example, one is brought up in the tradition of nationalism, that attitude must inevitably create barriers in action. A mind-heart narrowed and limited in action by prejudices must create increasing limitations. This is obvious. If you have beliefs, you are translating and moulding your experiences according to them, and so you are continuously forcing and limiting thought-emotion, and these limitations become the "I" process. Action, instead of liberating, freeing the mind-heart from its own self-imposed bondages, is creating further and deeper limitations, and these accumulated limitations can be called ignorance. This ignorance is encouraged, fed by its own activities, born of its own self-created desires. Unless you realize that ignorance is the result of its own self-created, self-sustained activities, the mind-heart must ever dwell in this vicious circle. When you deeply comprehend this, you will discern that life is no longer a series of conflicts and conquests, struggles and attainments, all leading to frustration. When you truly have an insight into this process of ignorance, living is no longer an accumulation of pain, but becomes the ecstasy of deep bliss and harmony.

Most of us have an idea that the "I" is a separate being, divine, something that is enduring, becoming more and more perfect. I do not hold with any of this. Consciousness itself is the "I." You cannot separate the "I" process from consciousness. There is no "I" that is accumulating experience, which is apart from experience itself. There is only this process, this energy which is creating its own limitations, through its own self-sustained wants. When you discern that there is no "I" apart from action, that the actor is action itself, then gradually there comes a completeness, an unfathomable bliss.

When you grasp this, there can be no method to free you from your own limitations, from the prison in which you are held. The "I" process must dissolve itself. It must wean itself away from itself. No saviour nor the worship of another can liberate you; your self-imposed disciplines and self-created authorities are of no avail. They but lead to further ignorance and sorrow. If you can understand this, you will not make of life a terrible, ugly struggle of exploitation and cruelty.

Question: Last Sunday you seemed very uncertain in what you said, and some of us could make nothing of it. Several of my friends say they are not coming any more to hear you, because you are becoming vague and undecided about your own ideas. Is this impression due to lack of understanding in us, or are you not as sure of yourself as you used to be?

Krishnamurti: You know, certain things cannot be put into words definitely, precisely. I try to express my comprehension of life as clearly as possible, and it is difficult. Sometimes I may succeed, but often I seem not to be able to convey what I think and feel. If one thinks deeply about what I have been saying, it will become clear and simple; but it will remain merely an intellectual conception if there is no comprehension in action. Some of you come repeatedly to these meetings, and I wonder what happens to you in the intervals between these talks. It is during these intervals that you can discover whether action is liberating, or creating further prisons and limitations. It is in your hands to fashion your own life, either to comprehend or to increase ignorance.

Question: How can one be free of the primitive reactions of which you speak?

Krishnamurti: The very desire to be free creates its own limitation. These primitive or ignorant reactions create conflicts, disturbances and sorrow in your life, and by getting rid of them you hope to acquire something else, happiness, bliss, peace, and so on. So you put to me the question: How am I to get rid of these reactions? That is, you want me to give you a method, lay down a system, a discipline, a mode of conduct.

If you understand that there is no separate consciousness, apart from the "I" process; that the "I" is consciousness itself; that ignorance creates its own limitations, and that the "I" is but the result of its own action, then you will not think in terms of denudation and acquisition.

Take, for example, the reaction towards nationalism. If you think about it, you will see that this reaction is ignorant and very harmful, not only to yourself but to the world. Then you will ask me: How is one to get rid of it? Now, why do you want to get rid of it? When you perceive why you want to get rid of it, you will then discern how it has come into being, artificially, with its many cruel implications; and when you deeply comprehend it, then there is not a conscious effort to get rid of this ignorant reaction; it disappears of itself.

In the same way, if mind-heart is bound by fears, beliefs, which are so dominant, potent, overwhelming that they pervert clear perception, it is no good making great efforts to get rid of them. First you have to be conscious of them; and instead of wanting to get rid of them, find out why they exist. If you try to free yourself from them, you will unconsciously create or accept other and perhaps more subtle fears and beliefs. But when you perceive how they have come into being, through the desire for security, comfort, then that very perception will dissolve them. This requires great alertness of mind-heart.

The struggle exists between those established values and the ever changing, indefinite values, between the fixed and the free movement of life, between standards, conventionalities, accumulated memories, and that which has no fixed abode. Instead of trying to pursue the unknown, examine what you have, the known, the established prejudices, limitations. Comprehend their significance; then they disappear like the mists of a morning. When you perceive that what you thought was a snake in the grass is only a rope, you are no longer afraid, there is no longer a struggle, an overcoming. And when, through deep discernment, we perceive that these limitations are self-created, then our attitude towards life is no longer one of conquering, of wanting to be freed through some method or miracle, of seeking comprehension through another. Then we will realize for ourselves that, though this process of ignorance appears to have no beginning, it has an end.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
3rd Talk in the Oak Grove 19th April, 1936

Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.

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