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Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 8

As you know, we have been talking a great deal about fear, because it is a very powerful factor in our lives. Let us now talk for a while about love; let us find out whether behind this word and this feeling - which for all of us has so much significance - there is also that peculiar element of apprehension, of anxiety, the thing which grownup people know as loneliness.

Do you know what love is? Do you love your father, your mother, your brother, your teacher, your friend? Do you know what it means to love? When you say that you love your parents, what does it mean? You feel safe with them, you feel at home with them. Your parents are protecting you, they are giving you money, shelter, food and clothing, and you feel with them a sense of close relationship, don't you? You also feel that you can trust them - or you may not. Probably you do not talk to them as easily and happily as you do to your own friends. But you respect them, you are guided by them, you obey them, you have a certain sense of responsibility towards them, feeling that you must support them when they are old. They in turn love you, they want to protect you, to guide you, to help you - at least they say so. They want to marry you off so that you will lead a so-called moral life and stay out of trouble, so that you will have a husband to look after you, or a wife to cook for you and bear your children. All this is called love, is it not?

We cannot immediately say what is love, because love is not readily explained by words. It does not come to us easily. Yet without love, life is very barren; without love, the trees, the birds, the smile of men and women, the bridge across the river, the boatmen and the animals have no meaning. Without love, life is like a shallow pool. In a deep river there is richness and many fish can live; but the shallow pool is soon dried up by the strong sun, and nothing remains except mud and dirt.

For most of us, love is an extraordinarily difficult thing to understand because our lives are very shallow. We want to be loved, and also we want to love, and behind that word there is a lurking fear. So, is it not very important for each one of us to find out what this extraordinary thing really is? And we can find out only if we are aware of how we regard other human beings, how we look at the trees, at the animals, at a stranger, at the man who is hungry. We must be aware of how we regard our friends, of how we regard our guru, if we have one, of how we regard our parents.

When you say, "I love my father and my mother, I love my guardian, my teacher", what does it mean? When you respect somebody tremendously and look up to them, when you feel it is your duty to obey them and they in turn expect your obedience, is that love? Is love apprehensive? Surely, when you look up to somebody, you also look down upon somebody else, don't you? And is that love? In love is there any sense of looking up or looking down, any compulsion to obey another?

When you say you love somebody, don't you inwardly depend on that person? While you are a child you naturally depend on your father, on your mother, on your teacher, on your guardian. You need to be cared for, to be provided with food, clothing and shelter. You need a sense of security, the feeling that someone is looking after you.

But what generally happens? As we grow older, this feeling of dependence continues, does it not? Haven't you noticed it in older people, in your parents and teachers? Haven't you observed how they depend emotionally on their wives or husbands, on their children, or on their own parents? When they grow up, most people still cling to somebody; they continue to be dependent. Without someone to lean on, to give them a sense of comfort and security, they feel lonely, do they not? They feel lost. This dependency on another is called love; but if you observe it very closely you will see that dependency is fear, it is not love.

Most people are afraid to stand alone; they are afraid to think things out for themselves, afraid to feel deeply, to explore and discover the whole meaning of life. Therefore they say they love God, and they depend on what they call God; but it is not God, the unknown, it is a thing created by the mind.

We do the same with an ideal or a belief. I believe in something, or I hold on to an ideal, and that gives me great comfort; but remove the ideal, remove the belief and I am lost. It is the same thing with a guru. I depend because I want to receive, so there is the ache of fear. Again it is the same when you depend on your parents or teachers. It is natural and right that you should do so when you are young; but if you keep on depending when you have grow to maturity, that will make you incapable of thinking, of being free. Where there is dependence there is fear, and where there is fear there is authority; there is no love. When your parents say that you must obey, that you must follow certain traditions, that you must take only a certain job or do only a particular kind of work - in all this there is no love. And there is no love in your heart when you depend on society in the sense that you accept the structure of society as it is, without question.

Ambitious men and women do not know what love is - and we are dominated by ambitious people. That is why there is no happiness in the world, and why it is very important that you, as you grow up, should see and understand all this, and find out for yourself if it is possible to discover what love is. You may have a good position, a very fine house, a marvellous garden, clothes; you may become the prime minister; but without love, none of these things have any meaning.

So, you have to begin to find out now - not wait until you are old, for you will never find out then - what it is you actually feel in your relationship with your parents, with your teachers, with the guru. You cannot merely accept the word `love' or any other word, but must go behind the meaning of words to see what the reality is - the reality being that which you actually feel, not what you are supposed to feel. If you actually feel jealous, or angry, to say, "I must not be jealous, I must not be angry" is merely a wish, it has no reality. What matters is to see very honestly and very clearly exactly what it is you are feeling at the moment, without bringing in the ideal of how you should feel or will feel at some future date, for then you can do something about it. But to say, "I must love my parents, I must love my teachers", has no meaning, has it? Because your real feelings are quite different, and those words become a screen behind which you hide.

So, is it not the way of intelligence to look beyond the accepted meaning of words? Words like `duty', `responsibility', `God', `love', have acquired a traditional meaning; but an intelligent person, a truly educated person looks beyond the traditional meaning of such words. For instance, if someone told you that he did not believe in God, you would be shocked, would you not? You would say, "Goodness, how awful!", because you believe in God - at least you think you do. But belief and non-belief have very little meaning.

What is important is for you to go behind the word `love' to see whether you actually do love your parents, and whether your parents actually do love you. Surely, if you and your parents really loved one another, the world would be entirely different. There would be no wars, no starvation, no class differences. There would be no rich and no poor. You see, without love we try to reform society economically, we try to put things right, but as long as we have no love in our heads we cannot bring about a social structure free of conflict and misery. That is why we have to go into these things very carefully; and perhaps then we shall find out what love is.

Questioner: Why is there sorrow and misery in the world?

Krishnamurti: I wonder if that boy knows what those words mean. He has probably seen an over-loaded donkey with his legs almost breaking, or another boy crying, or a mother beating her child. perhaps he has seen older people quarrelling with each other. And there is death, the body being carried away to be burnt; there is the beggar; there is poverty, disease, old age; there is sorrow, not only outside, but also inside us. So he asks, "Why is there sorrow?" Don't you want to know too? Have you never wondered about the cause of your own sorrow? What is sorrow, and why does it exist? If I want something and cannot get it, I feel miserable; if I want more saris, more money, or if I want to be more beautiful, and cannot have what I want, I am unhappy. If I want to love a certain person and that person does not love me, again I am miserable. My father dies, and I am in sorrow. Why?

Why do we feel unhappy when we cannot have what we want? Why should we necessarily have what we want? We think it is our right, do we not? But do we ever ask ourselves why we should have what we want when millions have not got even what they need? And besides, why do we want it? There is our need of food, clothing and shelter; but we are not satisfied with that. We want much more. We want success, we want to be respected, loved, looked up to, we want to be powerful, we want to be famous poets, saints, orators, we want to be prime ministers, presidents. Why? Have you ever looked into it? Why do we want all this? Not that we must be satisfied with what we are. I do not mean that. That would be ugly, silly. But why this constant craving for more and more and more? This craving indicates that we are dissatisfied, discontented; but with what? With what we are? I am this, I do not like it, and I want to be that. I think I shall look much more beautiful in a new coat or a new sari, so I want it. This means I am dissatisfied with what I am, and I think I can escape from my discontent by acquiring more clothes, more power, and so on. But the dissatisfaction is still there, is it not? I have only covered it up with clothes, with power, with cars.

So, we have to find out how to understand what we are. Merely to cover ourselves with possessions, with power and position, has no meaning, because we will still be unhappy. Seeing this, the unhappy person, the person who is in sorrow, does not run away to gurus, he does not hide in possessions, in power; on the contrary, he wants to know what lies behind his sorrow. If you go behind your own sorrow you will find that you are very small, empty, limited, and that you are struggling to achieve, to become. This very struggle to achieve to become something is the cause of sorrow. But if you begin to understand what you actually are, go deeper and deeper into it, then you will find that something quite different takes place.

Questioner: If a man is starving and I feel that I can be helpful to him, is this ambition or love?

Krishnamurti: It all depends on the motive with which you help him. By saying he is for helping the poor man, the politician gets to New Delhi, lives in a big house and shows himself off. Is that love? Do you understand? Is that love?

Questioner: If I relieve his starvation by my helpfulness, isn't that love?

Krishnamurti: He is starving and you help him with food. Is that love? Why do you want to help him? Have you no motive, no incentive other than the desire to help him? Do you not get any benefit out of it? Think this out, do not say `yes' or `no'. If you are looking for some benefit out of it, politically or otherwise, some inward or outward benefit, then you do not love him. If you feed him in order to become more popular, or in the hope that your friends will help you to go to New Delhi, then that is not love, is it? But if you love him, you will feed him without any ulterior motive, without wanting anything in return. If you feed him and he is ungrateful, do you feel hurt? If so, you do not love him. If he tells you and the villagers that you are a wonderful man, and you feel very flattered, it means you are thinking about yourself; and surely that is not love. So, one has to be very alert to find out if one is deriving any kind of benefit from one's helpfulness, and what the motive is that leads one to feed the hungry. Questioner: Suppose I want to go home and the Principal says `no'. If I disobey him, I will have to face the consequences. If I obey the Principal, it will break my heart. What am I to do?

Krishnamurti: Do you mean to say that you cannot talk it over with the Principal, that you cannot take him into your confidence and show him your problem? If he is the right kind of Principal you can trust him, talk over your problem with him. If he still says you must not go, it is possible that he is just being obstinate, which means there is something wrong with the principal; but he may have good reasons for saying `no', and you have to find out. So it requires mutual confidence. You must have confidence in the Principal, and the Principal must have confidence in you. Life is not just a one-sided relationship. You are a human being; so is the Principal a human being, and he also may make mistakes. So both of you must be willing to talk it over. You may want very much to go home but that may not be quite enough; your parents may have written to the Principal not to let you come home. It must be a mutual inquiry, must it not?, so that you do not get hurt, so that you do not feel ill-treated or brutally pushed aside; and that can happen only when you have confidence in the teacher and he has confidence in you. In other words, there has to be real love; and such an environment is what a school should provide.

Questioner: Why should we not do puja?

Krishnamurti: Have you found out why the older people do puja? They are copying, are they not? The more immature we are, the more we want to copy. Have you noticed how people love uniforms? So, before you ask why you should not do puja, ask the older people why they do it. They do it, first of all, because it is a tradition; their grandfathers did it. Then the repetition of words gives them a certain sense of peace. Do you understand this? Words constantly repeated make the mind dull, and that gives you a sense of quietness. Sanskrit words especially have certain vibrations which make you feel very quiet. The older people also do puja because everybody else is doing it; and you, being young, want to copy them. Do you want to do puja because somebody tells you it is the right thing to do? Do you want to do it because you find a pleasant hypnotic effect in repeating certain words? Before you do anything, should you not find out why you want to do it? Even if millions of people believe in puja, should you not use your own mind to discover the true significance of it?

You see, the mere repetition of Sanskrit words, or of certain gestures, will not really help you to find out what truth is, what God is. To find that out, you must know how to meditate. But this is quite a different matter - quite different from doing puja. Millions of people do puja; and has it brought about a happier world? Are such people creative? To be creative is to be full of initiative, full of love, of kindness, of sympathy and consideration. If as a little boy you begin to do puja and go on repeating it, you will become like a machine. But if you begin to question, to doubt, to inquire, then perhaps you will find out how to meditate. And meditation, if you know how to do it properly, is one of the greatest blessings.

Life Ahead

Part 1

Life Ahead Part One Chapter 8

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