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Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 16

We have been talking about the deteriorating factors in human existence, and we said that fear is one of the fundamental causes of this deterioration. We also said that the following of authority in any form, whether self-imposed or established from outside, as well as any form of imitation, copying, is destructive of incentive, of creativeness, and that it blocks the discovery of what is true.

Truth is not something that can be followed; it has to be discovered. You cannot find truth through any book or through any accumulation of experience. As we discussed the other day, when experience becomes a remembrance, that remembrance destroys creative understanding. Any feeling of malice or envy, however slight it may be, is also destructive of this creative understanding without which there is no happiness. Happiness is not to be bought, nor does it come when you go after it; but it is there when there is no conflict.

Now, is it not very important, especially while we are still in school, to begin to understand the significance of words? The word, the symbol has become an extraordinarily destructive thing for most of us, and of this we are unaware. Do you know what I mean by the symbol? The symbol is the shadow of truth. The gramophone record, for example, is not the real voice; but the voice has been put on the record, and to this we listen. The word, the symbol, the image, the idea is not the truth; but we worship the image, we revere the symbol, we give great significance to the word, and all this is very destructive; because then the word, the symbol, the image becomes all-important. That is how temples, churches, and the various organized religions with their symbols, beliefs and dogmas, become factors which prevent the mind from going beyond and discovering the truth. So do not be caught up in words, in symbols, which automatically cultivate habit. Habit is a most destructive factor, because when you want to think creatively, habit comes in the way.

Perhaps you do not understand the whole significance of what I am saying; but you will, if you think about it. Go for a walk by yourself occasionally and think out these things. Find out what is meant by words like `life', `God', `duty', `cooperation' - all those extraordinary words which we use so freely.

Have you ever asked yourself what `duty' means? Duty to what? To the aged, to what tradition says: that you must sacrifice yourself for your parents, for your country, for your gods. That word `duty' has become extraordinarily significant to you, has it not? It is pregnant with a lot of meaning which is imposed upon you. You are taught that you have a duty to your country, to your gods, to your neighbour; but what is much more important than the word `duty' is to find out for yourself what the truth is. Your parents and society use that word `duty' as a means of moulding you, shaping you according to their particular idiosyncrasies, their habits of thought, their likes and dislikes, hoping thereby to guarantee their own safety. So take time, be patient, analyze, go into all this and find out for yourself what is true. Do not merely accept the word `duty', for where there is `duty', there is no love.

Similarly, take the word `co-operation. The State wants you to co-operate with it. If you co-operate with something without understanding, you are merely imitating, copying. But if you understand, if you find out the truth of something, then in co-operating you are living with it, moving with it; it is part of you.

So it is very necessary to be aware of the words, the symbols, the images that are crippling your thinking. To be aware of them and to find out whether you can go beyond them is essential if you are to live creatively, without disintegrating.

You know, we allow the word `duty' to kill us. The idea that you have a duty to parents, to relations, to the country, sacrifices you. It makes you go out to fight, to kill, and to be killed or maimed. The politician, the leader says it is necessary to destroy others in order to protect the community, the country, the ideology or way of life; so killing becomes part of your duty, and you are soon drawn into the military spirit. The military spirit makes you obedient, it makes you physically very disciplined; but inwardly your mind is gradually destroyed because you are imitating, following, copying. You become a mere tool of the older people, of the politician, an instrument of propaganda. You come to accept killing to protect your country as inevitable because somebody says it is necessary. But no matter who says it is necessary, should you not think it out very clearly for yourself?

To kill is obviously the most destructive and corrupt action in life, especially to kill another human being; because when you kill, you are full of hatred, however much you may rationalize it, and you also create antagonism in others. You can kill with a word as well as with an action; and killing other human beings has never solved any of our problems. War has never cured any of our economic or social ills, nor has it brought about mutual understanding in human relationship; and yet the whole world is everlastingly preparing for war. Many reasons are put forward as to why it is necessary to kill people; and there are also many reasons for not killing. But do not be swept away by any reasoning; because today you may have a good reason for not killing and tomorrow you may have a much stronger reason for killing.

First see the truth of it, feel how essential it is not to kill. Regardless of what may be said by others, from the highest authority to the lowest, find out for yourself the truth of the matter; and when you are inwardly clear about that, then you can reason out the details. But do not start with a reason, because every reason can be met by a counter-reason and you will be caught in the net of reasoning. The important thing is to see directly for yourself what the truth is; and then you can begin to use reason. When you perceive for yourself what is true; when you know that to kill another is not love; when you inwardly feel the truth that there must be no enmity in your relationship with another, then no amount of reasoning can destroy that truth. Then no politician, no priest, no parent can sacrifice you for an idea or for his own safety.

The old have always sacrificed the young; and will you in your turn, as you grow older, also sacrifice the young? Do you not want to put an end to this sacrifice? Because it is the most destructive way of living, it is one of the greatest factors of human deterioration. To put an end to it, you as an individual have to find out the truth for yourself. Without belonging to any group or organization, you have to discover the truth of not killing of feeling love, of having no enmity. Then no amount of words, no cunning reasons can ever persuade you to kill or to sacrifice another.

So it is very important, while you are young, to think out, to feel out these things for yourself, and thereby lay the foundation for the discovery of truth.

Questioner: What is the purpose of creation?

Krishnamurti: Are you really interested in that? What do you mean by `creation'? What is the purpose of living? Why do you exist, read, study, pass examinations? What is the purpose of relationship - the relationship of parents and children, of husband and wife? What is life? Is that what you mean when you ask this question, "What is the purpose of creation?" When do you ask such a question? When inwardly you do not see clearly, when you are confused, miserable, in the dark, when you do not perceive or feel the truth of the matter for yourself, then you want to know what is the purpose of life.

Now, there are many people who will tell you the purpose of life; they will tell you what the sacred books say. Clever people will go on inventing various purposes of life. The political group will have one purpose, the religious group will have another, and so on and on. And how are you to find out what is the purpose of life when you yourself are confused? Surely, as long as you are confused, you can only receive an answer which is also confused. If your mind is disturbed, if it is not really quiet, whatever answer you receive will be through this screen of confusion, anxiety, fear; therefore the answer will be perverted. So the important thing is not to ask what is the purpose of life, but to clear away the confusion that is within you. It is like a blind man asking, "What is light?" If I try to tell him what light is, he will listen according to his blindness, according to his darkness; but from the moment he is able to see, he will never ask what is light. It is there.

Similarly, if you can clarify the confusion within yourself, then you will find out what the purpose of life is; you will not have to ask, you will not have to look for it. To be free of confusion you have to see and understand the causes which bring about confusion; and the causes of confusion are very clear. They are rooted in the `me' that is constantly wanting to expand itself through possessing, through becoming, through success, through imitation; and the symptoms are jealousy, envy, greed, fear. As long as there is this inward confusion, you are always seeking outward answers; but when the inward confusion is cleared away, then you will know the significance of life.

Questioner: What is karma.

Krishnamurti: Karma is one of the peculiar words we use, it is one of those words in which our thought is caught. The poor man has to accept life in terms of a theory. He has to accept misery, starvation, squalor, because he is underfed and has not the energy to break away and create a revolution. He has to accept what life gives him, and so he says, "It is my karma to be like this; and the politicians, the big ones, encourage him to accept his misery. You do not want him to revolt against all that do you? But when you pay the poor man so little while you have so much, that is very likely to happen; so you use that word karma to encourage his passive acceptance of the misery in his life.

The educated man, the man who has achieved, who has inherited, who has come to the top of things, the man who has power, position and the means of corruption - he also says, "It is my karma. I have done well in a previous life and now I am reaping the reward of my past action".

But is that the meaning of karma - to accept things as they are? Do you understand? Does karma mean accepting things as they are without question, without a spark of revolt - which is the attitude many of us have? So you see how easily certain words become a net in which we get caught, because we are not really alive. The true significance of that word karma cannot be understood as a theory; it cannot be understood if you say, "That is what the Bhagavad Gita says".

You know, the comparative mind is the most stupid mind of all, because it does not think; it merely says, "I have read such-and-such a book, and what you say is like it". When you say this, you have stopped thinking; when you compare, you are no longer investigating to find out what is true, irrespective of what any particular book or guru has said. So what is important is to throw off all authorities and investigate, find out, and not compare. Comparison is the worship of authority, it is imitation, thoughtlessness. To compare is the very nature of a mind that is not awake to discover what is true. You say, "That is so, it is like what was said by the Buddha", and you think you have thereby solved your problems. But really to discover the truth of anything, you have to be extremely active, vigorous, self-reliant; and you cannot have self-reliance as long as you are thinking comparatively. please listen to this. If there is no self-reliance, you lose all power to investigate and find out what is true. Self-reliance brings a certain freedom in which you discover; and that freedom is denied to you when you are comparing.

Questioner: Is there an element of fear in respect?

Krishnamurti: What do you say? When you show respect to your teacher, to your parents, to your guru, and respect to your servant; when you kick the people who are not important to you, and lick the boots of those who are above you, the officials, the politicians, the big ones - is there not an element of fear in this? From the big ones, from the teacher, the examiner, the professor, from your parents, from the politician or the bank manager, you hope to get something; therefore you are respectful. But what can the poor people give you? So the poor you disregard, you treat them with contempt, you do not even know they are there when they pass you in the street. You do not look at them, it does not concern you that they shiver in the cold, that they are dirty and hungry. But you will give to the big ones, to the great of the land, even when you have very little, in order to receive more of their favours. In this there is definitely an element of fear, is there not? There is no love. If you had love in your heart, you would show respect to those who have nothing and also to those who have everything; you would neither be afraid of those who have, nor disregard those who have not. Respect in the hope of reward is the outcome of fear. In love there is no fear.

Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 16

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