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New York 1950

New York 4th Public Talk 25th June 1950

If we could find a way out of our conflict, we would not take recourse to authority; but as we do not find a means of resolving our innumerable and multiplying conflicts, we turn either to inward or outward authority for guidance and comfort. So, authority becomes very important in our lives. Because we are unable to understand and resolve conflict, we use authority as a means of avoiding conflict; and the means then becomes all-important, and not the fathoming, the exploring of the process of conflict.

So, we have authority of innumerable kinds, inward as well as outward. Outward authority takes the form of knowledge, examples, teachers, and so on, and inwardly it is our own experiences and memories, to which we turn for guidance in moments of conflict and anxiety. So, authority, both outward and inward, offers us a hope of being free of our various troubles.

But can authority of any kind, inward or outward, resolve our problems? The more we seek authorities, ideals, conclusions, hopes, the more we depend on them; and dependence on authority becomes much more significant than the understanding of the conflict itself. The more we depend on authority, the more dependent we become, because dependence ultimately destroys confidence in our own understanding of problems. Most of us have no confidence in our own capacity to find out, to explore the many problems; and when we depend on authority, obviously that confidence is denied.

Confidence is not arrogance. The more one has experienced, the more one is inwardly certain, the more arrogant and obstinate one becomes. Such self-confidence is only self-enclosure, a process of resistance. But there is, I think, a different kind of confidence which is not cumulative. To explore into the nature of conflict, one cannot bring to it that which one has accumulated; and if one explores with previous knowledge, it ceases to be exploration. Then you are merely moving from the known to the known, from certainty to certainty, from what you have experienced to what you hope to experience; and that is not exploration or experimentation. That is merely the cumulative process of knowledge, of experience, and the confidence it brings is assertive arrogance.

Now, I think there is a confidence which is much more subtle, much more worth while, and which comes when there is no sense of accumulation of any kind, but a constant exploration and discovery. It is this state of constant discovery, the capacity for constant exploration, that brings about an enduring confidence which is not arrogance. And that confidence, which is so essential, is denied when there is authority of any kind, when we depend on or look up to another for guidance in conduct. When we are dependent, it does give a certain self-assurance, even though it entails fear; but that assurance of following someone, belonging to a group, believing in an idea or in certain dogmas, is surely a self-enclosing process, is it not? The mind that is constantly isolating itself is bound to awaken fear, and so there is a wandering from one authority to another, from one emotional exhaustion to another; and in this process our problems are never resolved, they only multiply.

Now, is it possible to look at our conflicts without bringing in any authority, external or inward? Surely, one can be passively aware of conflict without choice or condemnation; that is, one can be aware, not as an observer observing his experience or analyzing the thing in himself which he wishes to destroy, but aware with that passivity in which the observer is the observed. In that state of mind we will see that the problems are understood and resolved; whereas, if we choose the way of action with regard to a problem, or compare or condemn it, we only increase resistance, and therefore multiply the problems. This process of choice is going on at all levels of our being, and that is why, instead of decreasing problems, we are multiplying them. The multiplication of problems comes into being only when we seek an answer, a conclusion, and so depend on an authority, outward or inward. Dependence on authority actually prevents our understanding of any problem, which is always new. No problem is old; as long as it remains a problem, it is a challenge, and therefore it is always new. Problems are invariably self-projected, and therefore it is important to understand the whole process of oneself without authority, without following a pattern or looking up to an example, an ideal, or a leader.

Self-knowledge is the beginning of the end of all conflict, and it is only when conflict ceases that there can be creation. Creation cannot be verbalized, it is a state which comes into being when the process of thought is at an end; and only then will the unknowable come to you.

In considering these questions, let us take the journey of exploration together; let each one of us find the truth of every problem for himself. It is no use waiting for the particular answer which you or I might like, or adhering to any particular opinion. To find out what is true, there must obviously be that passive alertness of mind which gives the capacity to explore each problem deeply.

Question: I have many friends, but I am in constant fear of being rejected by them. What should I do?

Krishnamurti: What is the problem? Is the problem one of rejection and fear, or is it a question of dependence? Why do we want to have friends? Not that we should not have friends; but when we feel the necessity of having friends, when there is this dependence on others, what does it indicate? Does it not indicate insufficiency in oneself? Does not loneliness indicate an inward poverty? And being lonely, inwardly poor, insufficient, we turn to friends, to love, to activity, to ideas, to possessions, to knowledge and technique. That is, being inwardly poor, we depend on outward things; so, the outward things become very important to us. When we use something as a means of escape from ourselves, obviously it becomes very important. We cling to things, to ideas, and to people, because psychologically we depend on them; and when they are taken away, as when our friends reject us, we are lost, we are afraid. So, dependence indicates inward uncertainty, inward poverty; and as long as we use or depend on others, there must be fear of loss.

Now, can this loneliness, this inward poverty or emptiness, be filled through any action of the mind? If I may suggest, please listen and follow it out by watching your own mind, and you will find the answer for yourself. I am only describing the experience as we go along; but to experience it for yourself, you must be passively alert, and not merely follow words.

So, being inwardly poor, we try to escape from this poverty through work, through knowledge, through love, through many forms of activity. We listen to the radio, read the latest book, pursue an idea or a virtue, accept a belief - anything to escape from our selves. Our thinking is a process of escape from what is; and can that in ward emptiness ever be covered up or filled? One can know the truth of that only when one does not escape - which is extremely arduous. One must be aware that one is escaping, and see that all escapes are similar, that there is no `noble' escape. All escapes, from drunkenness to God, are the same, be cause one is escaping from what is, which is oneself, one's own inward poverty. It is only when one really ceases to escape that one is face to face with the problem of loneliness, of inward insufficiency, which no knowledge, no experience, can cover up; and only then is there a possibility of understanding and so dissolving it. This loneliness, this inward insufficiency, is not merely the problem of people who have leisure, who have nothing else to do in life except study themselves; it is the problem of every one in the world, the rich and the poor, the man who is brilliant and the man who is dull.

So, can inward emptiness ever be covered up? If you have tried and failed to cover it up by means of one escape, surely you know that all escapes are futile, do you not? You don't have to go from one escape to another to see that psychological insufficiency can never be filled, covered up, or enriched. By thoroughly understanding one escape, the whole process of escape is understood, is it not? Then what happens? One is left with emptiness, with loneliness; and then the problem arises, is that loneliness different from the entity that feels lonely? Obviously not. It is not that the entity feels empty, but that he himself is emptiness; and the separation between the entity that feels empty, and the state which he calls emptiness, arises only in giving that state a name, a term, a label. When you do not name that state, then you will see there is no separation between the observer and the observed: the observer is the observed, which is insufficiency. In other words, when there is no naming or terming, an integration takes place between the experiencer and the experienced; and then you can proceed further to find out if that state which you have been avoiding as lonely, insufficient, is really so, or is merely a reaction to the word `lonely', which awakens fear.

Is it the word or the fact that awakens fear? Is any fact ever fearful, or is it an idea about the fact that makes for fear? If you have followed this whole process, you will see that when there is no desire to escape from what is, there is no fear; and then there is a transformation of what is, because then the mind is no longer afraid to be what it is. In that state there is no sense of being lonely, insufficient: it is what it is. If you proceed deeper, you will see that the mind no longer rejects or accepts that state, and is therefore quiet; and only then is it possible to be free from that which is qualified as being lonely or insufficient. But to come to that, you must understand this whole process of inward insufficiency, escape and dependence; you must see how escape and the means of escape become much more important than the thing from which you are escaping; you must discover this division between the thinker and the condition which he calls lonely, and find out for yourself whether it is merely verbal, or an actual state. If it is verbal, then that separation goes on; but if you do not give it a name, then there is only that state which you no longer term lonely; and only then is it possible for the mind to go beyond and discover further.

Question: What is the place of the individual in society?

Krishnamurti: Is the individual different from society? Are you different from your environment? The environment has conditioned us to be Christians, capitalists, communists, socialists, or what you will; and the environment is in turn the projection of ourselves, is it not? Society is the projection of the individual, who is then further conditioned by that society. So, the individual and society are interrelated; they are not two separate states, or two separate entities. As long as you are conditioned by environment, is there a separate individuality? I am not saying that life is one - that is merely a theory. But it is important to discover whether the individual is separate from the environment, is it not? Though we may call ourselves individuals, are we not conditioned by society? Obviously we are. We are an integral part of society therefore, although we appear to be separate entities, we are not really individuals. Physically, you and I are separate, dissimilar; but there is an extraordinary inward similarity. Whatever may be the superficial difference of race and custom, we are all more or less shaped along the same lines, we are all conditioned by fear, by depend- ence, by belief, by the desire to be secure, and so on. Surely, as long as we are conditioned by environment, which is our own projection, we are not really individuals, though we may bear different names. There is individuality only when we can go beyond this conditioning. Individuality is a state of creativeness, a state of aloneness, in which there is freedom from the conditioning influences of desire.

So, as long as we are bound by desire, as long as thought is merely the reaction of desire, which it is, there must be the conditioning influence of society, of the environment, and of our own experiences in reaction to society. We are an integral part of society; and if we try to establish a relationship between ourselves and society, as though we and society were two separate entities, then surely we shall misunderstand the whole process; then we shall merely resist or fight society. Until we understand how society influences, shapes, controls us, through our own instinctual responses of desire, we are obviously not unique individuals, though we may say, `I am a separate soul', and all the rest of it. That is merely the assertion of a dogma, a belief - which will inevitably be denied by those who belong to another kind of society; so, we shall be conditioned in one way, and they will be conditioned in another. As long as we consider ourselves as entities separate from society, we shall never understand either society or ourselves, and we shall always be in conflict with society. But if we can understand the process of desire which creates the environmental influences which condition us, then we can go beyond and discover that aloneness which is true individuality, that uniqueness which is a state of creation.

The important thing, then, is not to inquire what is the individual's place in society, but to be aware of how we are conditioned by our beliefs, our desires, our motives. To be aware of the conscious as well as of the unconscious or collective response of the past to the present, to know both the superficial and the deeper layers of one's own thinking - surely, that is of far greater importance than to inquire what is the relationship between the individual and society. If we really see that, then the reformation of society becomes a minor thing. To reform society without understanding ourselves merely creates the need of further reform - and so there is no end to reformation. Whereas, if we can go beyond the limitations of desire, then there is the revolution of individuality; and it is that inward revolution that is so essential to bring about a new world. Merely reforming the world according to a particular ideology has no significance, because revolution based on an idea is no revolution at all. An idea is merely a reaction of the past to the present. There is inward revolution or transformation only when there is the understanding of desire; and it is this inward revolution which is so essential, because it alone can bring about a different world.

Question: I love my children, and how am I to educate them to become integrated human beings?

Krishnamurti: I wonder if we do love our children? We say so, and we take it for granted that we love them. But do we? If we loved our children, would there be wars? If we loved them, would we be nationalistic, divided into separate groups, constantly destroying each other? Would we belong to any particular race or religion in opposition to another? This whole process of separation in life ultimately brings about disintegration, does it not? Surely, war, the ceaseless conflict in society between different groups and different classes, is an indication that we do not love our children. If we really loved them, we would want to save them, would we not? We would want to protect them, we would want them to live as happy, integrated human beings, we would not want them to live in outward insecurity, or be destroyed. But since we have created a world of conflict and misery, in which outward security is nonexistent, it indicates, does it not?, that we do not really love our children at all. If we loved them, we would obviously have a different world. Don't let us become sentimental. But we would have a different world if we really loved our children, because then we would quickly see how to prevent wars; then we would not leave it to the clever politicians, who will never prevent wars; but we would assume direct responsibility for it because we really have the intention of saving the children.

Surely, then, our whole outlook in education, our entire social structure, must be utterly revolutionized, must it not? That means we can no longer use the children for our personal or psychological gratification, as we are doing at present - and that is why we are so easily satisfied, so superficial in what we call `love'. But if we do not use the children as a means of self perpetuation, to carry on our name, if we do not use them in any way for our personal gratification, then we will obviously regard them quite differently. Then our concern will be, not to educate the children, but to educate the educator. At present, education is merely to make the children efficient, to teach them a technique, the manner of earning a livelihood; and efficiency obviously brings about ruthlessness. Not that one must be inefficient; but this drive to be efficient, this constant attention to success, must entail struggle, strife, contention.

Now, we cannot have integrated human beings unless we understand the process of disintegration. Integration is not the pursuit of a pattern, the adjustment to an idea, or the following of a particular example. Integration can come about only when one under stands the total process of oneself; and there cannot be the understanding of oneself as long as we are living superficially. Our whole process of thought is superficial, the process of the so called intellect, and to the cultivation of this intellect we give great emphasis. So, intellectually, which is verb ally, we are very far advanced; but inwardly we are insufficient, poor, uncertain, groping, clinging to any form of security. This whole process of thought is a process of disintegration, because thought invariably separates; ideas, like beliefs, never bring people together except in conflicting groups. So, as long as we depend on thought as a means of integration, there must be disintegration. To understand the process of thought is to understand the ways of the self, and then only is there a possibility of integration, which is not imitation.

So, there must not only be the educating of the educator, but we, as mature human beings, must understand our relationship with the children, must we not? And if we really love them, obviously we will see to it that there will lie no war, that there will be no struggle in society between the rich and the poor, nor the depredations of the ambitious and the acquisitive who seek power, position, and prestige. But if we want our children to be powerful, to have bigger and better positions, to become more and more successful, surely it indicates that we do not love them: we merely love the acclaim, the glamour, the position, the reflected glory which we hope they will afford us. Therefore, we are encouraging confusion, destruction, and utter misery. I know you are listening to all this, but you will probably return home and continue with those very ways which engender war. Most of us are really not interested in these things. We are interested in immediate answers. We do not want to explore and discover the truth. It is not an economic revolution, but only the discovery of truth, that will free us, that will bring about a new world.

So, the whole question resolves itself into this: not how to educate the children, but how to educate ourselves, and thereby bring about a different society. To do that, one must under stand oneself, the ways of one's desire, the ways of one's thought. We must be aware of everything: of the things about us and in us, of colours, of people, of ideas, of the words we use, of our memories, both personal and collective. It is only when one is fully aware of this whole process that one is alone, a unique individual, and only such people can bring about a new civilization, a new culture.

Question: Can prayer form the link between life and religion?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by prayer, and what do we mean by life and religion? Is life different from religion? Apparently with most of us it is, so we use prayer as a means of linking life and religion. Why is life separate from religion? What is religion, and what is life? Is religion the pursuit of an idea? When you say religion is the pursuit of God, surely your God is an idea, is it not? Therefore your God is self-projected. Or, if you deny God and accept another ideology, whether of the left or of the right, it is still a form of religion. So, is religion merely the following of a certain pattern of ideas which promises a reward in the present or in the future? And is religion different from 30 life, from action, from relationship?

What do we mean by life? Life is relationship, is it not? Can there be life without relationship - relationship to people, to ideas, to things, to property, to nature? Can there be life in isolation? And yet, that is what each one of us is pursuing, is it not? In our ideas, in our relationship to everything about us, we are enclosing, isolating ourselves; and being isolated, we want to find a relationship or link with what we call religion - which is merely an other form of isolation. That is, be cause in our relationships we are seeking inward security, we make outward security impossible; and in religion we are also seeking security. Our God is the ultimate happiness, absolute peace. Surely, such a God is an invention of our minds so as to assure ourselves of permanency in the form of ultimate security; and then we ask, "Can prayer form the link between life and religion?" Obviously it can, can it not? Like everything else in our lives, prayer will help us to be more and more isolated - because that is what we want. In our relationships, in our possessions, we are seeking isolation, which is a form of security; and in religion also we seek security, permanency. Our God, our virtue, our morality, like our daily activities, are all self-enclosing, self-isolating; so, we use prayer as a means of uniting the various isolation's.

What do we mean by prayer? And when do we pray? Surely, we pray only when we are suffering, when we are in misfortune, when there is conflict, confusion, when we are in pain. Do we ever pray when we are happy, when there is rejoicing, when our hearts are full? Obviously not. We pray only when we are in confusion, when we are uncertain, when we don't know what to do; and then we turn to somebody for help.

Prayer, then, is generally supplication, is it not? It is a petition, a de- mand, a psychological extending of the hand for it to be held, to be filled. And when you ask, you receive, do you not? But what you get is what you want - it is never what you don't want; so, what you get is your own projection. That which you receive in response to prayer is shaped by your own fancy, your own limitation, your own conditioning. The more you ask, the more you receive of your own projection, and with that you are satisfied.

But is prayer a process of self-gratification? What happens when you pray? You repeat certain words, certain phrases, you take a certain posture; and when there is a constant repetition of words and phrases, obviously the mind becomes quiet, does it not? Try it and you will see. The repetition of words makes the mind still. But that is only a trick, is it not? The mind is not really still, it is acquisitive; but you have made it still in order to receive what you want. You want to be helped because you are confused, you are uncertain, and you will receive what you want. But that response to supplication is not the voice of reality: it is the response of your own projection, and also of the collective projection. Because, we all want an answer, do we not? We all want somebody to tell us what wonderful people we are; we all want someone to guide us, to help us in our confusion in our misery. So, what we want; but what we want is petty, trivial.

So, prayer, which is a supplication, a petition, can never find that reality which is not the outcome of a demand. We demand, supplicate, pray, only when we are in confusion, in sorrow, and not understanding that confusion and sorrow, we turn to somebody else. The answer to prayer is our own projection; in one way or another it is always satisfactory, gratifying, otherwise we would reject it. So, when one has learned the trick of quieting the mind through repetition, one keeps on with that habit; but the answer to sup plication must obviously be shaped according to the desire of the person who supplicates.

Now, prayer, supplication, petition, can never uncover that which is not the projection of the mind. To find that which is not the fabrication of the mind, the mind must be quiet - not made quiet by the repetition of words, which is self-hypnosis, nor by any other means of inducing the mind to be still. Stillness that is induced, enforced, is not stillness at all. It is like putting a child in the corner: superficially he may be quiet, but inwardly he is boiling. So, a mind that is made quiet by discipline is never really quiet, and stillness that is induced can never uncover that creative state in which reality comes into being.

So, when we use prayer as a means of linking life and religion, we are only discovering more ways of self-isolation, more ways of disintegration. To put yourself in a state of receptivity through prayer is a process of disintegration, because you want to receive. You may say, `I do not ask anything, I only put myself in a state of receptivity through prayer; but that is merely a subtle form of forcing the mind. Enforcement of any kind can never bring about tranquillity. Tranquillity of mind comes into being only with the cessation of thought; and thought ceases when one understands the thinker, the person who asks, demands. Therefore, self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; and without self-knowledge, merely to pray has very little significance. Prayer cannot open the door to self-knowledge. What opens the door to self-knowledge is constant awareness - not practicing awareness, but being aware from moment to moment and discovering. Discovery can never be cumulative. If it is cumulative, it is not discovery. Discovery is new from moment to moment, it is not a continuous state. A man cannot discover if he is accumulating, for accumulation is continuity. Discovery from moment to moment is freedom from the desire which is understood from moment to moment. There is spontaneity of the mind only when you understand the desire that seeks security, permanency, and that desire is the self, the `me', at all levels. As long as you do not understand yourself wholly, there must be every form of escape, every form of confusion and destruction, and prayers do not help; they merely offer another means of escape.But if you begin to understand the desire that creates confusion, pain, conflict, then you will see that in understanding there comes spontaneity of the mind; then the mind is really tranquil, without wanting to be or not to be, and only such a mind can understand that which is real.

June 25, 1950


New York 1950

New York 4th Public Talk 25th June 1950

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.

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