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The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
5th Public Talk 12th August, 1938

I have tried to explain that renewal, rebirth, must be spontaneous and not the result of effort.

Before finding out if effort is moral or immoral, important or unimportant, we must first consider desire. In understanding desire, each one will discover for himself whether effort is moral or immoral with regard to the renewal, the rebirth of the mind. If one had no desire, there would be no effort. So we must know its process, the motive power behind effort, which is always desire; by whatever name you like to call it, righteousness, the good, the God in us, the higher self, and so on, nevertheless it is still desire.

Now desire is always for something; it is always dependent and therefore always productive of fear. In being dependent there is always uncertainty which breeds fear. Desire cannot exist by itself, it must always be in relation to something. You can observe this in your daily, psychological reactions. Desire is always dependent, related to something. It is only love which is not dependent.

There is the desire to be something, to become, to succeed, not to suffer, to find happiness, to love and to be loved, to find truth, reality, God. There is the positive desire to be something, and the negative desire not to be something. If we are attached there is agony, suffering, and from that we learn - what we call learn - that attachment gives pain. So we desire not to be attached, and cultivate that negative quality, detachment. Desire is prompting us to be this and not that.

We are familiar with the positive and the negative desire, to be and not to be, to become and not to become. Now desire is not emotion; desire is the result of a mind that is ever seeking satisfaction, whose values are based on satisfaction. To be satisfied is the motive behind all desire. The mind is ever seeking satisfaction at any cost, and if it is thwarted in one direction it seeks to achieve its purpose in another. All effort, all directive power of the mind, is that it may be satisfied. So satisfaction becomes a mechanical habit of the mind. In moments of great emotion, of deep love, there is no dependency of desire, nor its search for satisfaction.

To be satisfied, the mind develops its own technique of resistance and non-resistance, which is the will. And when the mind discovers that in the process of satisfaction there is suffering, then it begins to develop desirelessness, detachment. Thus there is the positive and the negative will ever exerting, ever seeking satisfaction. The desire to be satisfied creates will, which maintains itself by its own continual effort. And where will is, there must always follow fear - fear of not being satisfied of not achieving, of not becoming. Will and fear always go together. And again to overcome this fear, effort is made, and in this vicious circle of uncertainty the mind is caught. Will and fear go always hand in hand, and will maintains its continuity from satisfaction to satisfaction, through memory which gives to consciousness its continuity, as the "I".

Will and effort, then, is merely the mechanism of the mind to be satisfied. Thus desire is wholly of the mind. Mind is the very essence of desire. Habit is established by constant search for satisfaction, and the sensation which the mind stimulates is not emotion.

All effort then, springing from the will either to be satisfied or not to be satisfied, must ever be mechanical, habit-forming, and so cannot bring about rebirth, renewal. Even when the mind inquires into the cause of suffering, it is doing so primarily because it desires to escape, to do away with that which is not satisfactory and to gain that which is.

Now this whole process in which the mind is caught up is the way of ignorance. Will, that is maintaining itself through effort to be satisfied, to be gratified, through various ways and methods - this will of satisfaction must of its own accord cease, for any effort to put an end to satisfaction is only another way of being satisfied.

So this process of satisfaction, of gratification, is continually going on and all effort can only give strength to it. Perceiving that all effort is the desire for satisfaction and therefore of fear itself, how is one to bring this process to an end? Even this very desire for its cessation is born of the will to be satisfied. This very question of how to be free of desire is prompted by desire itself.

If you feel integrally this whole process as ignorance, then you will not ask for a way to be free from desire, fear. Then you will not seek any method, however promising, however hopeful. There is no method, no system, no path to truth. When you understand the full inward significance of all methods, that very comprehension is beginning spontaneously to dissolve desire, fear, which is seeking satisfaction.

Only in deep emotion is there no craving for satisfaction. Love is not dependent on satisfaction and habit. But the will of desire ever seeks to make of love a mechanical habit, or tries to control it through moral laws, through compulsion, and so on. Hence there is a constant battle by the mind, with its will of satisfaction, to control, dominate love; and the battle is almost always won by the mind, for love has no conflict within itself and so with another. Only when desire, with its will of fear, ceases of its own spontaneous accord - not through compulsion or the promise of reward - is there a renewal, a rebirth of one's whole being.

Questioner: Can I trust or have faith in this love, or is this also a way of self-protection?

Krishnamurti: Is not faith another refuge in which mind takes satisfaction and shelter? You may have faith in love, another in God, and so on. All such faith is an anchorage for the mind. Any refuge, any attachment, whatever its name, must be one of self-protection, satisfaction, and therefore the result of fear.

One perceives appalling cruelty about one, utter chaos and barbarity, and one takes refuge in an ideal, in belief, or in some form of consolation. Thus one escapes into an illusion; but the conflict between the actual and the illusory must continue till either the unreal overcomes the actual or the actual breaks through all safeguards, all escapes, and begins to reveal its deep significance.

Questioner: By merely insisting on individual fulfilment are you not putting aside the social question? How can the individual who is ever in relation with society, be the only important factor? Why do you emphasize the individual?

Krishnamurti: Without the individual, society cannot exist; this social entity is not independent of the individual. Society is the relationship of one individual with another. Society is personal but it has become an independent machine with a life of its own which merely uses the individual. Society has become merely an institution which controls and dominates the individual through opinion, moral laws, vested interests, and so on. As institutions are never important but only the individual, we must consider his fulfilment, which cannot be brought about by mere change of environment, however drastic the change may be. The mere alteration of the superficial will not bring about the deep fulfilment of man, but only mechanical reactions. This division as the individual and the environment is mechanical and false; when fundamentally each one understands this to be so, then the individual will act integrally, not as an individual nor as merely the mechanical product of a society, but as an integrate human being.

Questioner: This surely will take many centuries, will it not? So must we not make new social laws and conditions now?

Krishnamurti: How are we going to bring about this change which we all desire? Either through force, or each individual beginning to awaken to the necessity of fundamental change. Either through enforcement, revolution, domination, or through the awakening of the individual to reality.

If we want to produce a merely mechanical world of moral systems, laws, impositions, then violence may be sufficient, force of every description; but if we want peace and brotherhood, relationship based on love, then violence in any form cannot be the way. Through violence you cannot come to peace, to love, but only to further violence. Violence is complex and subtle, and until the individual is free from its obvious and its hidden domination, there cannot be peace nor lasting brotherhood.

Questioner: Then must we let cruel people go on being cruel?

Krishnamurti: To save humanity must you first destroy the human? Is that what you are asking me? Because you have certain ideologies, certain beliefs, must the individual be sacrificed to them? No, my friends, we do not want to help the world, we only want to impose on others a certain ideology, a certain faith, a certain belief. We want the tyranny of ideas to prevail, and not love.

Each one is pursuing his own particular problem, or his own ideal of man, or his own conception of the State, or his belief in God, and so on. But if you who are listening to me fundamentally grasp what I am saying, then you will be concerned with the root problem, that of desire with its fears and efforts, which prevents individual fulfilment, rebirth.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
5th Public Talk 12th August, 1938

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

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