The Mirror of Relationship
9th Public Talk 9th July, 1944
It is important at all times and especially in times of much suffering and confusion to find for ourselves that inward creative joy and understanding. We have to discover it for ourselves but sensuousness, prosperity and personal power, in all their different forms, prevent creative peace and happiness. If we use our energies for the gratification of the senses we will inevitably create values which will bring prosperity, worldliness, but with these come war, confusion and sorrow. If we seek personal immortality we will nourish the greed for power which expresses itself in many ways: national, racial, economic and so on, from which flow great disasters with which we are all familiar.
We have been discussing during the last eight talks these matters. It is necessary to understand ourselves, for in understanding ourselves we will begin to think rightly and in the process of right thinking we will discover what it means to live deeply and creatively and to realize that which is beyond all measure. To live fully and creatively there must be self-knowledge; and to know, there must be candor and humility, love and thought freed from fear. Virtue lies in the freedom from craving and craving brings multiplicity and repetition and makes life complex, tormenting and sorrowful. A simple life, as I explained, does not merely consist in the possession of few things, but in right livelihood and in the freedom from distractions, addictions and possessiveness. Freedom from acquisitiveness will create the means of right livelihood but there are certain obvious wrong means. Greed, tradition and the desire for power will bring about the wrong means of livelihood. Even in these times when everybody is harnessed to a particular kind of work, it is possible to find right occupation. Each one must become aware of the issues of wrong occupation with its disasters and miseries, weary routine and death dealing ways. Is it not necessary for each one to know for himself what is the right means of livelihood? If we are avaricious, envious, seeking power, then our means of livelihood will correspond to our inward demands and so produce a world of competition, ruthlessness, oppression, ultimately ending in war.
So surely it is imperative that each one should think over his problem; perhaps you will not be able to do anything immediately but at least you can think-feel seriously about it, which will bring its own action. Talent and capacity have their own dangers and if we are not aware we become slaves to them. This slavery produces antisocial action, bringing misery and destruction to man. Without right understanding talent and capacity become an end in themselves and so disaster follows, for him who has it and for his fellowman.
Without the discovery and the understanding of the real, there is no creative joy, no peace; our life will be a constant struggle and pain; our actions and relationships will have no significance; outward legislation and compulsion will never produce inward riches, treasures that are imperishable. To understand the real, we must become aware of the process of our thinking, of the way of our memory and of the interrelated layers of our consciousness. Our thought is the result of the past. Our being is founded on the past. Organically and in thought we are copies. Organically we can understand the copies that we are and we can, by understanding them, comprehend their reactions, imitative actions and responses. But if our thought-feeling is merely imitative, the result of mere tradition and environment, there is little hope of going beyond itself. But if we recognize and understand the limits of environmental influences and are capable of going beyond their imitative restrictions, then we shall find that there is a freedom from copy in which is the real.
A copy, a thing that is put together, the self, can never understand that which is not made up, the uncrated. It is only when the copy, the self, the me and the mine ceases that there is the ecstasy of the imperishable. The self thinks-feels in terms of gathering, accumulating, experiencing; it thinks-feels in terms of the past, of the future or of continuing the present. This accumulative process of memory strengthens the self which is the cause of ignorance and sorrow. Without understanding the ways of the self, those of us who are politically and socially inclined are apt to sacrifice the present with the hope of creating a better world in the future; or there are some who wish to continue the present; or there are those who look to the past. Without understanding the self and transcending it, all such actions must end in calamity. In becoming aware of the process of the self with its accumulative memory, we shall begin to understand its time-binding quality, the craving for continued identification. Till we understand the nature of the self and transcend its time-binding quality, there can be no peace, no happiness. As the self is, so is the environment, political and social.
It is the time-binding quality of the self with its identifying memory that must be studied, understood and so transcended. Desire, especially pleasurable desire, is singularistic; and it is memory that gives identified continuity to the me and the mine. Thought-feeling which is ever in movement, ever in flux, when it identifies itself with the me and the mine becomes time-binding, giving identified continuity to memory, to the self. It is this memory which is ever increasing and multiplying that must be abandoned. It is this memory that is the cause of copy, of the movement of thought from the known to the known, thus preventing the realization of truth, the uncrated. Memory must become as a shell without a living organism in it. To discover the unknowable reality, we have to transcend the time - binding quality of the self, the identifying memory. This is an arduous task. Through meditative awareness the binding process of memory is to be understood; through constant awareness of every thought-feeling craving for identity is observed and understood. Thus through alert and passive awareness, thought-feeling frees itself from the time-binding quality of memory of the me and the mine. It is only when the self ceases to create that there is the uncrated.
Questioner: In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna urges Arjuna to enter into battle. You say right means to right ends. Are you opposed to the teachings of Krishna?
Krishnamurti: Perhaps some of you have not heard of this book; it is the sacred book of the Hindus in which Krishna, supposed to be the manifestation of God, urges Arjuna, the warrior, to enter into battle. Now, the questioner wants to know if I am opposed to this teaching which urges Arjuna to fight. This teaching can be interpreted in many ways, each interpretation creating contention. We can think of many interpretations but I do not want to indulge in speculation which would be futile. Let us think-feel without the crippling burden of spiritual authority. This is of primary importance to understand the real. To accept authority, especially in matters that concern right thinking is utterly foolish. To accept authority is binding, hindering and the worship of authority is self-worship. It is a form of laziness, thoughtlessness, leading to ignorance and sorrow.
Most of us desire to have a world in which there is peace and brotherhood, in which ruthlessness and war have no place, in which there is kindliness and tolerance. How are we to achieve it? To bring about right ends surely right means must be employed. If you would have tolerance, you must be tolerant, you must put away intolerance from you. If you would have peace, you must use right means for it, not wrong methods, brutality and violence. This is obvious is it not? If you would be friends with another, you must show courtesy and kindliness; there must be no anger, no cause for enmity. So you must use right means to create right ends, for in the very means is the end. They are not separate; they do not lie distant. So if you would have peace in this world, you must use peaceful methods. You may have right ends but wrong means will not achieve them. Surely this is an obvious fact but unfortunately we are carried away by repetitive authority, by propaganda, by ignorance. The thing in itself is simple and clear. If you would have a brotherly, unified world, then you must put away the causes of disruption: enmity, jealousy, acquisitiveness, nationality, racial difference, pride and so on. But very few of us are willing to put aside our craving for power, our specialized religion, our ill will and so on; we are unwilling to abandon these and yet we want peace, a non-competitive and sane world!
You cannot have peace in the world except through peaceful means. You must eradicate in yourself the causes of enmity by right and intelligent means, by right thinking. Self-knowledge cultivates right thinking. But as most of us are ignorant of ourselves and as our thinking-feeling is self-contradictory our thought is non-existent. So we are led, driven and made to accept. Through constant awareness of every thought-feeling the ways of the self are known, and out of self-knowledge comes right thinking. Right thinking will create the right means for a sane and peaceful world.
Questioner: How am I to get rid of hate?
Krishnamurti: There are similar questions with regard to ignorance, anger, jealousy. In answering this particular question, I hope to answer the others also.
A problem cannot be solved on its own plane, on its own level. It must be understood and so dissolved from a different and deeper level of abstraction. If we wish merely to get rid of hate by suppressing it or treating it as a tiresome and interfering thing then we shall not dissolve it; it will reoccur again and again in different forms for we are dealing with it on its own limited, petty level. But if we begin to understand its inner causes and its outer effects, and so make our thought-feeling wider and deeper, sharper and clearer, then hate will disappear naturally, for we are concerned with deeper and more important levels of thoughts-feelings.
If we are angry and if we are able to suppress it, or so control ourselves that it does not rise up again, our mind is still as small and insensitive as before. What has been gained by this effort not to be angry if our thought-feeling is still envious and fearful, narrow and enclosed? We may get rid of hate or anger, but if the mind-heart is still stupid and petty it will create again other problems and other antagonisms and so there is no end to conflict. But if we begin to be aware and so understand the causes of anger and their effects, then surely we are widening and freeing thought-feeling from ignorance and conflict. In becoming aware we shall begin to discover the causes of anger or of hate which are self-protective fears in different forms. Through awareness we discover we are angry, perhaps, because our particular belief is being attacked; on examining it further we question if belief, creed, are necessary at all. We become more aware of its wider significance; we perceive how dogmas, ideologies divide people, giving cause to antagonism, to various forms of cruel and stupid absurdities. So through this extensional awareness, through comprehension of its inward significance, anger soon fades away; through this process of self-awareness the mind has become deeper, quieter, wiser and so the causes of hate and anger have no place in it. In freeing thought-feeling from anger and hate, from greed and ill will, there comes a gentleness, the only cure. This gentleness, compassion, is not the result of suppression or substitution but is the outcome of self-knowledge and right thinking.
Questioner: Though you have talked about it, I find concentration extremely difficult. Would you kindly go into it again?
Krishnamurti: Is not interested attention necessary if we would understand? Especially is it necessary if we would understand ourselves, for our thoughts and feelings are so vagrant, quick and apparently disconnected. To understand ourselves an extensional awareness is essential, not an exclusive mind with its rejections and judgments, not a narrowing concentration. From extensional awareness comes one pointedness, true concentration.
Now why is it that we find concentration so difficult? Is it not because most of our thinking is a distraction, a dissipation? Either through habit, laziness or through interests, or because our thought-feeling has not completed itself, thought wanders or is repetitive. If it wanders because of interest merely to suppress or control thought is of little use, for such suppression and control is another additional factor for further disturbance. Thought will revert to that interest, however trivial, over and over again till all its value ceases. So if thought wanders because of interest why not think it through instead of resisting it? Go with it, become aware of all its implications, study it disinterestedly till that particular thought, however stupid and petty, is understood and so dissolved. Thus you will discover through this process of extensional awareness that repetitive thoughts of trivial interest cease; and they cease only when you consciously think-feel them out, not suppress them. If thought wanders because of habit it is indicative and to become aware of it is important. If thought-feeling is caught in habit it is merely mechanical repetition and copy, and so is not thinking at all. If you examine such habit of thought you will perceive that it might be caused by education, through fear of opinion, through religious upbringing, through environmental influence and so on. So your thought follows a groove, a pattern which reveals your own state of being. It might be through laziness that thought wanders. Again this is also very indicative, is it not? To be aware of laziness is to become alert but to be unaware of it is to be truly lazy. We allow ourselves to become lazy through wrong diet, not paying sufficient attention to health or through circumstances or relationships that put us to sleep and so on. Thus when we become aware of the causes of our laziness we may produce inward disturbances which have outward effect, and so we may prefer to be lazy. Or thought is repetitive because it is never allowed to complete itself. Just as an unfinished letter becomes a source of irritation so unfinished thought-feeling becomes repetitive.
Through constant awareness you will begin to find out for yourself why your thought-feeling wanders or is repetitive, whether because of interest or habit or laziness, or because it is not completed. If you pursue your thoughts-feelings diligently, alertly, with passive disinterested watchfulness, there comes an extensional concentration which is essential for the understanding of the real. A mind that is formulating, creating, cannot understand creation, the uncrated. How can a chattering, noisy mind comprehend the immeasurable? Of what value is a beautiful piece of art to a child? It will play with it and is soon tired of it. So it is with most of us. We believe or disbelieve; we have other people's experiences and knowledge. Our minds are petty, cruel, ignorant. Our minds are broken up, there is no integration and stillness. How can such a mind understand that which is beyond all measure, beyond all formulation! To be truly concentrated all valuation must cease. Awareness flows into deep and quiet pools of meditation. Questioner: Do I not owe something to my race, to my nation, to my group?
Krishnamurti: What is your nation, your race? Each people say its nation, its group, its race. Out of this thoughtless assertion there is confusion and conflict, untold sorrow and degradation. You and I are one; there is neither the East nor the West. We are human beings, not labels. We have artificially created nations, races, groups in opposition to other nations; races and groups. We have created them, you and I, in our search for power and fame; in our desire to be exclusive; in our delight in those singularistic, self-enclosing cravings; through greed, ill will and ignorance we have created national, racial and economic barriers. We have artificially separated ourselves from our fellow men. Does a thoughtful man owe something to that which is the out come of ill will and ignorance? If you are still part of the nation, the group, the race, the result of fear and greed, then being of it you are responsible for sorrow and cruelty. Then what you are your race, your nation, your group is. Then how can you owe something to that of which you are a part? Only when you put yourself in opposition to the mass, then in your individualistic, exclusive response debt is incurred. But surely such a reaction is false for you are the group, the nation, the race; out of you it has come into being; without you it is not.
So the question is not whether you are indebted to it but how to transcend it; how to go beyond the causes that have produced this separative, exclusive existence. By asking yourself what is your duty, your karma, your relationship with the mass, with the nation, you are putting to yourself a wrong question which will have only a wrong answer.
You have created the nation in your desire for self-worship, for self-glory and any answer to that will still be conditioned by your craving. An answer to a desire is in the desire itself. So the question is how to transcend the responses of individuality, of the mass or of the nation. You can go above and beyond them only through self-awareness in which the self, the cause of conflict, antagonism and ignorance, is observed disinterestedly and so understood and dissolved. The price of right thinking is its own reward.
Questioner: Are there different paths to Reality?
Krishnamurti: Would you not put the question differently? Each one of us has several tendencies, each tendency creating its own difficulties. in each one of us there is a dominant tendency, intellectual, emotional or sensuous; a tendency towards knowledge, devotion or action. Each has its own complexity and trial. If you pursue one exclusively, rejecting the others, you will not discover completeness, reality; but by becoming aware of the difficulties of each tendency, thus understanding them, the whole is realized. When we ask if there are not different paths to reality, do we not mean the difficulties and hindrances which each tendency meets with and how they are transcended so as to discover the real? To transcend them you have to become aware of each tendency and watch it with disinterested passive alertness; and through understanding its conflicts and trials go beyond and above it. Through constant meditative awareness these various tendencies with their hindrances and joys are understood and made whole.
The Mirror of Relationship
9th Public Talk 9th July, 1944
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.