The Mirror of Relationship
10th Public Talk 16th July, 1944
I have been saying that to lay emphasis on the immediate does not solve the very complex human problem. I mean by the immediate, the urgent consideration of the senses and their gratification. That is, to lay emphasis on the economic and social values instead of on the primary and eternal, leads to distorted and terrible actions. The immediate becomes the future when sensate values and their gratifications are promised by sacrificing the present; when the present is sacrificed in the hope of a future happiness or of a future economic well being, then is the beginning of cruel thoughtlessness and disaster. Such emphasis must inevitably lead to further chaos for in giving importance to that which is secondary, we miss the whole, the real, and so bring about confusion and misery. Each one must become aware, must think out and feel out for himself what is involved in giving primary importance to the gratification of sensory desires. To yield to the values of the senses is to ultimately bring about war, economic and social catastrophes. To seek enrichment in things, made by hand or by mind, is to create inward poverty which brings untold misery. Accumulation and its importance deprives thought-feeling of the realization of the real which alone will bring order, clarity and happiness.
If one seeks first to cultivate the inner, the real, then the secondary, the economic and social order will come wisely into being; otherwise there will be constant economic and social upheavals, wars and confusion. In seeking the Eternal we will be able to bring order and clarity. The part is never the whole and the cultivation of the part brings ceaseless confusion, conflict and antagonism.
To comprehend the whole we must first understand ourselves. The root of understanding lies in oneself and without the understanding of oneself there is no comprehension of the world; for the world is oneself. The other, the friend, the relation, the enemy, the neighbour, near or far, is yourself.
Self-knowledge is the beginning of right thinking and in the process of self-knowledge the Infinite is discovered. The book of self-knowledge has no beginning and no end. It is a constant process of discovery and what is discovered is true and truth is liberating, creative. If in that process of self-understanding we seek a result, such a result is binding, enclosing and hindering and so the Immeasurable, the Timeless is not discovered. To seek a result is to search out value which is to cultivate craving and so to engender ignorance, conflict and sorrow. If we are seeking to understand, to read this complex rich book, then we will discover its infinite riches. To read this book of self-knowledge is to become aware. Through self-awareness each thought-feeling is examined with out judgment and thus allowed to flower which brings understanding; for in following each thought-feeling fully we will find that in it all thinking is contained. We can think - feel completely only when we are not seeking a result, an end.
In this process of self-knowledge right thinking comes into being; and right thinking frees the mind from craving. The freedom from craving is virtue. Mind must free itself from craving, the cause of ignorance and sorrow. For the mind to be virtuous, to be free from craving, complete candor, honesty, which comes with humility, is essential. And such integrity is not a virtue, not an end in itself but is a byproduct of thought freeing itself from the process of craving, which principally expresses itself in sensuality, in prosperity or worldliness, impersonal immortality or fame. Thought in freeing itself from craving will comprehend the nature of fear and so in transcending it there will be love which is in itself eternal. Simple life does not consist merely with the contentment of a few things but rather in the freedom from acquisitiveness, dependence and distraction, inner and outer. Through constant awareness the time-binder, the identifying process of memory which builds up the self, is thus dissolved. Only then can the ultimate reality come into being.
To understand oneself, this complex entity, is most difficult. A mind that is burdened with value and prejudice, judgment and comparison cannot comprehend itself. Self-knowledge comes with choiceless awareness and when craving no longer distorts thought-feeling then in that fullness, when the mind is utterly still, creatively empty, the Highest is. Questioner: I had son who was killed in this war. He did not want to die. He wanted to live and Prevent this horror being repeated. Was it my fault that he was killed?
Krishnamurti: It is the fault of every one of us that this present horror is going on. It is the outward result of our every day inner life of greed, ill will and lust, of competition, acquisitiveness and specialized religion. It is the fault of everyone who, indulging in these, has created this terrible calamity. Because we are nationalistic, singularistic, passionate, each one of us is contributing to this mass murder. You have been taught how to kill and how to die, but not how to live. If you wholeheartedly abhorred killing and violence in any form then you would find ways and means to live peacefully and creatively. If that were your chief and primary interest then you would search out every cause, every instinct that makes for violence, for hatred, for mass murder. Are you so wholeheartedly interested in stopping war? If you are then you must eradicate in yourself the causes of violence and killing for any reason whatsoever. If you wish to stop wars then there must take place a deep, inner revolution of tolerance and compassion; then thought-feeling must free itself from patriotism, from its identification with any group, from greed and those causes that breed enmity.
A mother told me that to give up these things would not only be extremely difficult but also would mean great loneliness and utter isolation which she could not face. So was she not responsible for untold misery? You might agree with her and so by your laziness, thoughtlessness, add fuel to the ever increasing flames of war. If, on the contrary, you attempted seriously to eradicate the causes of enmity and violence in yourself, there would be peace and joy in your heart which would have immediate effect about you.
We must re-educate ourselves not to murder, not to liquidate each other for any cause however righteous it may appear to be for the future happiness of mankind, for an ideology however promising; not merely be educated technically, which inevitably makes for ruthlessness; but to be content with little, to be compassionate and to seek the Supreme.
The prevention of this ever increasing destruction and horror depends on each one of us, not on any organization or planning, not on any ideology, not on the inventions of greater instruments of destruction, not on any leader but on each one of us. Do not think that wars cannot be stopped by so humble and lowly a beginning - a stone may alter the course of a river - to go far you must begin near. To understand the world chaos and misery you must comprehend your own confusion and sorrow, for out of these come the magnified issues of the world. To understand yourself there must be constant meditative awareness which will bring to the surface the causes of violence and hate, greed and ambition, and by studying them without identification, thought will transcend them. For none can lead you to peace save yourself; there is no leader, no system that can bring war, exploitation, oppression to an end save yourself. Only by your thoughtfulness, by your compassion, by your awakened understanding can there be established good will and peace.
Questioner: Though you explained last week how to get rid of hate, would you mind going into it again as I feel that what you said was of great importance.
Krishnamurti: Hate is the result of a petty mind, of a small mind. A narrow mind is intolerant. A mind that is in bondage is capable of resentment. Now, a little mind saying to itself that it must not hate still remains little. An ignorant mind is the cause of enmity and of conflict.
So the problem then is not how to get rid of hate but rather how to destroy ignorance, the self, that causes narrow thought-feeling. If you merely overcome hate without understanding the ways of ignorance then that ignorance will produce other forms of antagonism, and so thought-feeling will be violent and ever in conflict. How then are you to free the mind from ignorance, from stupidity? Through constant awareness; by becoming aware that your thought-feeling is small, petty and narrow and not being ashamed of it, by understanding the causes that have made it little and self-enclosed. in understanding the deep and extensional causes, intelligence, disinterested generosity and kindliness come into being and hate yields to compassion. Through constant awareness the cause of ignorance, the process of the self, with its burden of the me and the mine, my achievement, my country, my possessions, my god, is being discovered, understood and dissolved. To understand there must be no judgment or comparison, no acceptance or denial, for all identification prevents that passive awareness in which alone the discovery of what is true is made. And it is this discovery that is creative and liberating. If the mind is aware negatively, passively, then being open it is able to discover the bondage, the limiting influence or idea, and so free itself from them.
So no problem can be solved on its own level; it is to be solved on a different level of abstraction. Thinking is a process of expansion, of inclusive inquiry, not a concentrated denial or assertion. In trying to understand hate and its causes, in trying to free thought-feeling from hindrances, from delusions, mind becomes deeper and more extensive. In the greater the lesser ceases to be.
Questioner: Is there anything after death or is it the end? Some say there is continuation, others annihilation. What do you say? Krishnamurti: In this question many things are involved; and as it is complex we will have to go into it, if you wish, deeply and openly. First of all, what do we mean by individuality? For we are not considering death abstractly but the death of an individual, of the particular. Will the individual self with name and form continue, or will he cease to exist? Will he take birth again? Before we can answer this question we must find what makes up individuality. A wrong question has no right answer; only a right question may have an answer. And all questions concerning the deep problems of life have no categorical answer for each one must discover what is true for himself. Truth alone gives freedom.
Is not individuality, though it may have a different form and name, the result of a series of accumulated responses and memories from the past, from yesterday? Each one of us is the result of the past and the past contains the you and the many, the you and the other. You are the result of your father and mother, of all the fathers and mothers; you are the father, the maker of the past, the father of the future. Thus through identifying memory the self is created, the me and the mine; so the self becomes the time-binder. From this arises the question of whether the self continues or is annihilated after death. Only when the self, the becomer and the non-becomer, the creator of the past, the present and the future, the time-binder, is transcended, then only is there that which is deathless, timeless.
In this there is also the question of cause and effect. Are cause and effect separate or is effect within the cause? They flow together, they exist together and they are a joint phenomenon, not to be separated. Though effect may take "time" to come into being, the seed of effect is in the cause, it coexists with the cause. It is no longer cause and effect but a much more subtle, delicate problem to be thought out, to be experienced. Cause-effect becomes the means of restricting, conditioning consciousness and these restrictions produce conflict and sorrow. These restrictions, subtle and inward, must be self-discovered and understood which will ultimately free thought from ignorance and pain.
In this question of birth and death, of continuity and annihilation, is there not implied progress, gradualism? Do not some of us think that gradually, through repeated birth and death, through time, the self-becoming more and more perfect, will ultimately realize supreme bliss? Is the self a permanent entity, a spiritual essence? Is the self not made up, put together and so impermanent? Is not the self a result and so, in itself, not a spiritual essence? Has not the self a continuity through identifying memory, subject to time, and therefore impermanent and transitory? That which is in itself impermanent, put together, a result, how can it reach the causeless, the eternal? That which is the cause of ignorance and sorrow, how can it attain supreme bliss? That which is the product of time, how can it know the timeless?
Realizing the impermanency of the self, there are those who say the permanent is to be found by throwing off the many layers of the self which requires time and so to reincarnate is necessary. The self, the result of craving, the cause of ignorance and sorrow, continues, as we observe; but to understand it and to transcend it we must not think in terms of time. Through time the timeless is not realized. Is not this approach to reality through gradualism, through slow evolutionary process, through birth and death, erroneous? Is it not the rationalization of conditioned thought, of postponement, of laziness and ignorance? This idea of gradualism exists, does it not, because we do not think-feel directly and simply? We choose a satisfactory explanation, a rationalization of our confused and lazy effort. Through conditioned thinking, through postponement can the real be discovered? The self, the cause of ignorance and sorrow, can it gradually through time become perfect? Or through time can the self dissolve itself? That which is in its very nature the cause of ignorance, can it become enlightened? Must it not cease to be before there can be light? Is its cessation a matter of time, a horizontal process, or is enlightenment only possible when thought-feeling abandons this horizontal process of time and so can think-feel vertically, directly? Along this horizontal path of time, of postponement, of ignorance, truth is not; it is to be found vertically at any point along the horizontal process if thought-feeling can step out of it, freeing itself from craving and time. This freedom is not dependent on time but on the intensity of awareness and the fullness of self-knowledge.
Must thought go through the stages of the family, the group, the nation, the internation to come to the realization of human unity? Is it not possible to think-feel directly the human unity, without going through these stages? We are prevented, are we not, by our conditioning? If we rationalize our conditioning and so accept it then we shall never realize human unity so shall have ceaseless wars and terrible disasters. We rationalize our conditioning because it is easier to accept what is, to be lazy, to be thoughtless than vigorously to examine it, to discover what is true. We are afraid to examine for it might reveal hidden fears bring greater conflicts and suffering, force us to pursue actions that might bring uncertainty, insecurity, isolation and so on. So we accept our conditioning, inventing a theory of gradual growth towards ultimate human unity, and force all thought-feeling-action to conform to our gratifying theory.
Similarly do we not gratifyingly accept this theory of gradualism, of evolutionary growth toward perfection? Do we not accept it because it soothes our anxious fear of death, of insecurity, of the unknown? In accepting it conditioning takes place and we become slaves to wrong ideas, to false hopes. We must break through these conditionings not in time, not in the future, but in the ever present. In the present is the Eternal.
Only right thinking can free our thought-feeling from ignorance and sorrow; right thinking is not the result of time but of becoming intensely aware in the present of all conditioning which prevents clarity and understanding.
The realization of that which is immortal, deathless, does not lie along the path of self-continuity, nor is it in its opposite. In the opposites there is conflict but not truth. Through self-awareness and in the clarity of self-knowledge there comes right thinking. The capacity to realize truth is with us. in cultivating right thinking which comes with self-knowledge, thought-feeling unfolds into the real, into the timeless.
I shall be told that I have not answered the question, that I have evaded it, gone round about it. What would you have me say - that there is or that there is not? Is it not more important to know how to discover for yourself what is true than to be told what is? The one will be merely verbal and so of little significance while the other will bring true experience and so is of great importance. But if I assert merely that there is continuity or that there is not, such a statement will only strengthen belief and that is the very thing that stands in the way of the real. What is necessary is to go beyond our narrow beliefs and formulations, our cravings and hopes to experience that which is deathless and timeless.
Questioner: Will not the scientists save the world?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by the scientists? Those who work in the laboratories and outside of them are human beings like us, with national and racial prejudices, greedy, ambitious, cruel. Will they save? Are they saving the world? Are they not using their technical knowledge to destroy more than to heal? In their laboratories they maybe seeking knowledge and understanding but are they not driven by the self, by competitive spirit, by passions like other human beings?
One has to be on guard, alertly watchful of an organized group; the more you are organized, controlled, shaped the more you are incapable of thinking wholly, completely. You are thinking then in part which brings calamity and misery. One has to be watchful of the professionals; they have their vested interests, their narrow demands. One has to be on guard with the specialists along any line. Through the specialization of the part the whole is not understood. The more you rely on them and leave the deliverance of the world from misery and chaos to them the more confusion and catastrophes there will be. For who is to save you except your self? For the leader, the party, the system is created in your being and what you are, they are; if you are ignorant and violent, competitive and acquisitive, they will represent what you are.
The scientists and the laymen are ourselves; we think in part, rejecting the whole; thoughtlessly we allow ourselves to be fashioned by lust, by ill will and ignorance. Through fear and dependence we allow ourselves to be regimented, oppressed. What can save us except our own capacity to free ourselves from those bondages which bring about conflict and misery? None can re-educate us save ourselves and this re-education is an arduous task.
In ourselves is the whole, the beginning and the end. We find the book of self-knowledge difficult to read and being impatient and greedy for results we turn to the scientists, to the organized groups, to the professionals, to the leaders. So we are never saved, none can deliver us, for deliverance from ignorance and sorrow comes through our own understanding. To re-educate ourselves is a strenuous task demanding constant awareness and great pliability, not opinion and dogma but understanding. To understand the world each one must understand himself, for he is the world; out of self-knowledge comes right thinking. It is right thinking alone that will bring order, clarity and creative peace. To think-feel anew of the pain of existence each one must become aware so as to think out, feel out each thought-feeling and this is prevented if there is identification or judgment.
Questioner: I am not particular interested in nationality nor in virtue. But I am greatly impressed by what you say about the uncrated. Will you please go into it a little more, though it is difficult.
Krishnamurti: You cannot pick and choose; for nationality, virtue and the uncrated are interrelated. You may not accept what pleases and reject what is unpleasant; the pleasant and the unpleasant, ritualism and sorrow, virtue and evil are interrelated; to choose the one and reject the other is to be caught in the net of ignorance.
To think about the uncrated without the mind truly freeing itself from craving is to indulge in superstition and speculation. To experience the uncrated, the immeasurable, mind must cease to create. It must cease to be acquisitive, must free itself from ill will, from copy. Mind must cease to be the storehouse of accumulated memories. That which we worship is our creation and so it is not the real. The thinker and his thought must come to an end for the uncrated to be.
The uncreated can only be when the mind is capable of utter stillness. A mind that is riven, burning with craving, is never tranquil. There is no virtue if thought is not free from craving. When thought begins to free itself from craving there is right thinking. It is right thinking that will ultimately bring about clarity of perception. Surely there is a difference between that which is thinkable and that which is experienceable. Out of formulation, out of imagination, out of the known we experience, but few are capable of experiencing without symbols, without imagination, without formulations. Negative understanding frees the mind from copy, from the created. Our minds are filled with memories, with knowledge, with action and response to relationship and things. There is no inward rich stillness without pretension and desire and so there is no creative emptiness. A mind rich in activity, rich in possession, rich in memory is not aware of its own poverty. Such a mind is incapable of negative comprehension; such a mind is incapable of experiencing the uncrated. Supreme wisdom is denied to it.
Questioner: Is not the practice of a regular discipline necessary?
Krishnamurti: A dancer or a violinist practices many hours a day so as to keep his fingers supple, his muscles flexible. Now, do you keep your mind pliable, thoughtful, compassionate, by practicing any particular system of discipline? Or do you keep it alert, keen by constant awareness of thought-feeling? To think, to feel is not to belong to any system. We cease to think if we think in terms of systems and because we think within systems our thought needs strengthening. A system will only produce a specialized form of thought but it is not thinking, is it? Mere practice of a discipline to gain a result only strengthens thought to function in a groove and thereby limits it; but if we become aware and realize that we are thinking in terms of systems, formulas and patterns then thought-feeling, in freeing itself from them, is beginning to become pliable, alert and keen. If we can think every thought through, go with it as far as we can, then we shall be capable of understanding and experiencing widely and deeply. This expansive and deep awareness brings its own discipline, a discipline not imposed outwardly or inwardly according to any system or pattern but the outcome of self-knowledge and therefore of right thinking and understanding. Such discipline is creative without forming habit and encouraging laziness.
If you become aware of every thought-feeling, however trivial, and think it out, feel it out as deeply and extensively as possible, thought then breaks down the limitations it has imposed upon itself. Thus there comes an understanding adjustment, a discipline far more effective and pliable than the imposed discipline of any pattern. Without awakening the highest intelligence through awareness practice of a discipline merely creates habit, thoughtlessness. Awareness itself through self-knowledge and right thought brings its own discipline. Habit, thoughtlessness as a means to an end makes of the end into ignorance. Right means create right ends for the end exists in the means. Questioner: How am I to still the mind in which it may be possible to realize something which will affect daily problems? How am I also to retain the still mind?
Krishnamurti: Just as a lake is calm when the breezes stop so when the mind has understood and thus transcended the conflicting problems it has created, great stillness comes into being. This tranquillity is not to be induced by will, by desire; it is the outcome of the freedom from craving.
Most of our so-called meditation consists in stilling the mind by various methods which only further strengthens self-enclosing, exclusive concentration; such narrowing concentration brings its own result but it is not extensional understanding, not the highest intelligence and wisdom which bring naturally, without compulsion, tranquillity. This understanding is to be awakened, cultivated through constant awareness of every thought-feeling-action, of every disturbance whether small or great. In understanding and so dissolving the conflicts and the disturbances which are in the conscious mind, in the external layer, and thus bringing clarity, it is able then to be passive and so understand the deeper, the interrelated layers of consciousness with their accumulations, impressions, memories. Thus through constant awareness the deep process of craving, the cause of self and so of conflict and pain, is observed and understood. Without self-knowledge and right thinking there is no meditation and without meditative awareness there is no self-knowledge.
The Mirror of Relationship
10th Public Talk 16th July, 1944
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.