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The Future Is Now

Varanasi 1985

The Future Is Now Chapter 5 19th November 1985 2nd Public Talk in Varanasi

MAY WE GO on with what we were talking about yesterday? As we said, we are taking a long journey together, in a train a very long journey, right throughout the world, and that journey began two and a half million years ago. During that long interval of time and distance, we've had a great many experiences, and those experiences are stored in our brain, either in the conscious or in the unconscious, deeper layers of it. And, together, you and the speaker are going to examine explore. Not that the speaker alone talks - we're talking together. The speaker is putting it into words, and the words have a very significant meaning - not just the vocabulary, but the depth of the word, the significance of the word, the meaning of the word.

As you and the speaker are taking the journey together, you can't just go to sleep. You can't just say, `Yes, I agree' or `I disagree'. We went into that; we are not agreeing or disagreeing. We are merely looking out of the window, seeing what extraordinary things man has gone through, what experience, what pain, what sorrow, what unbearable things man has created for himself and for the world. We are not taking sides, pro and con, left, right or centre - please understand this very carefully.

This is not a political meeting, this is not an entertainment; this is a serious gathering. If you want to be entertained, you should go to a cinema or a football match. This is a very serious meeting as far as the speaker is concerned. He has talked all over the world: unfortunately or fortunately he may have created a reputation, and probably you are coming here because of that reputation, but that has no value at all. So, we are going to examine together, sitting together in that train, taking an infinitely long journey. We are not trying to impress you, we are not trying to force you to look at something.

We are looking at our daily life and all the background of a million years. One must listen to all the whispers, hear every moment, see everything as it is - not as you would wish it to be but actually what you see out of the window of the train as it goes along - the hills, the rivers, the stretch of water and all the beauty around you. Shall we talk about beauty for a while? Would it interest you? It's a very serious subject, like everything in life. Probably you have never asked what beauty is. For the moment we are going to enquire into what it is because you are passing in that train the most wonderful scenery - the hills, the rivers, the great snowclad mountains, deep valleys, and not only things outside you, but also the inward structure and nature of your own being - what you think, what you feel, what your desires are. One has to listen to all this - not only to our own inward thoughts, feelings, and our opinions and judgements, but also to the sound of what other people are saying - what your wife is saying, what your neighbour is saying; listen to the sound of that crow, feel the beauty of the world, the beauty of nature. Not just say yes, right, wrong, this is what I think, this is what I should not think, or merely follow some tradition, but very quietly, without any reaction, see the beauty of a tree.

So together, we're going to talk about beauty. What is beauty? Have you been to museums, some of you? Probably not. I won't take you around the museums; I am not a guide. But instead of looking at the pictures, and statues of the ancient Greeks, ancient Egyptians, Romans and the moderns, we are looking, asking, inquiring, demanding to find out what is beauty. Not the form, not a woman or a man or small child that is extraordinarily beautiful - all children are - but what is beauty? I'm asking the question, sir. Please answer it to yourself first, or have you never thought about it? Not the beauty of a face, but the beauty of a green lawn, of a flower, of the great mountains with the snow covering them, and the deep valleys, and the still tranquil waters of a river. All that is outside you and you say, `How beautiful that is!' What does that word `beauty' mean? It's very important to find that out, because we have so little beauty in our daily life. If you go through Benares you will know all about it - the filthy streets, the dust, the dirt. And seeing all this, as also the tenderness of a leaf or the tender generosity of human beings, you enquire deeply about this word that is used by poets, painters and sculptors, as you are asking yourself now. What is this quality of beauty? Do you want me to answer it or will you answer it? The gentleman says, you answer it because we don't know. Why? Why don't you know? Why haven't we enquired into this enormous question? You have your own poets, from the ancient people to now. They write about it, they sing about it, they dance, and you say you don't know what beauty is. What a strange people you are!

So, what is beauty? The same question put in different words is what are you? What is the nature and structure of you, apart from the biological factor? That is very closely related to what is beauty. When you look at a mountain, snowcapped, deep valleys, blue, deep hills, what do you feel, what's your real response to all that? Aren't you, for a second or for a few minutes, absolutely shocked by it, by the greatness, the immensity of the green valley, the extraordinary light and the blue sky against the snowclad mountains? What happens to you at that moment when you look at that - the grandeur, the majesty of those mountains? What do you feel? Do you, for the moment, or for a few minutes, exist at all? You understand my question? Please don't agree; look at it very closely. At that moment when you look at something grand, immense, majestic, for a second you don't exist - you've forgotten your worries, your wife and your children, your job, all the messiness of your life. At that moment you are stunned by it. For that second, the grandeur has wiped out all your memory, just for a second, and then you come back. What happens during that second when you are not there?

That is beauty - you understand? - when you are not there. With the grandeur, the majesty of a mountain or a lake, or that river early in the morning making a golden path, for a second you've forgotten everything. That is, when the self is not, there is beauty. Where you are not, with all your problems and responsibilities, your traditions and all that rubbish, then there is beauty. Like a child with a toy, as long as the toy is complex and he plays with it, the toy absorbs him, takes him over. The moment the toy is broken, he's back to whatever it was he was doing. We are also like that. We are absorbed by the mountain; it's a toy for us for a second, or for a few minutes; then we go back to our world. And we are saying, without a toy, without being absorbed by something greater, can you be free of yourself? You understand my question? You don't understand this; you're too clever; you are covered with a lot of knowledge, experience, and so on. That's what's the matter with all of you - too much learning. You're not simple enough. If you are very simple, deeply simple in yourself, you will discover something extraordinary.

We have talked over beauty for a while. Now let us look at ourselves. We have created the world - you, the speaker, his forefathers, the past generations. What is it all about? - killing each other, maiming each other, dividing: my god, your god. Why is this society so ugly, so brutal, so cruel? Who has created this monstrous world? I am not being pessimistic or optimistic, but look at the world, the things that are going on outside of you: poor countries buying armaments, your country buying armaments, and immense poverty, competition - who has created all this? Will you say god has created it? He must be a messy god. So who created this society, who put it together? Haven't you put it together? Not only you, but your father, your great-grandfather, the past generations of a million years - they have created this society through their avarice, envy, competition. They have divided the world economically, socially, religiously. Face the facts, sir. We have put this society together, we are responsible for it - not god, not some external factors, but each one of us has created this society. You belong to this group and I belong to another group; you worship one god and I worship another god: you follow one guru and I follow another. So we have divided society, and we have divided it not only socially, but also religiously. Geographically we have divided the world - Europe, America, Russia; we have divided culture - western culture and eastern culture; we have divisions in government - socialist, democratic, republican, communist, and so on. You understand, sir, how our brain works? It divides, divides, divides. Haven't you noticed this fact? And out of this division comes conflict.

So you have created this society; you are this society. So, unless you change radically, you'll never change it. The communists have tried to change it, forcing man, secretly, viciously, to submit to various forms of compulsion. You must know all this: this is history. So where there is division, there must be conflict; that's the law. And apparently we like conflict, we live in perpetual conflict. So we must go back and find out what is the cause of all this. Is it desire? Is it fear? Is it pleasure? Is it the avoidance of all pain and therefore guilt? Let us begin to find out for ourselves what is desire. That is the basis - desire to have power, desire to achieve, desire to become somebody. We are not against desire, we are not trying to become somebody. We are not against desire, we are not trying to suppress desire or transcend desire, like the monks. We must, together, understand what is desire.

Are you interested to find out what is the root of desire? Do you want me to explain? But explanation is not the thing, the description is not that. When one describes a marvellous tree, the description is not the tree. We use words to convey something to each other, but the words, the descriptions, are not the fact. The word `wife' is not the wife. If you can understand that simple fact, you will treat her better.

So, what is desire and why does it dominate us? What is its place, what is its nature? Monks the world over suppress desire or want to transcend desire or identify it with certain images, certain symbols, certain rituals. But what is desire? Have you ever asked that question? Or do you yield to desire, whatever the consequences?

We live by sensation, don't we? - better food, better house, better wife. Sensation is a part of life, so is sex - it's a sensation, a pleasure, and we have a great many pleasures, pleasure of possession and so on. Sensation is an extraordinarily important part of our existence. If you have no sensation you are dead, right? All your nerves go, your brain withers. We live by sensation, sensation being touch, feeling, like running a nail suddenly into your finger - that's sensation; you call it pain. Tears, laughter, humour are all part of sensation. You want more power, more money, and `the more' is part of sensation. Every second, every response - intellectual, theoretical, philosophical - is part of sensation. We live by sensation - be clear on that - that is, by the senses responding: good taste, bad taste; it's bitter, it's sweet. Sensation is natural, it is inevitable, it is part of life.

What happens when you have a sensation? When you see something very beautiful - a car, a woman, a man, or a lovely house - what happens? You have seen that lovely house, seen the gardens, seen the beauty of the landscape, and how the house is built, with styled grace and a sense of dignity. Then thought comes along, makes an image of that sensation, and then says, `I wish I had that house.' At that moment desire is born. When sensation is given a shape, a form, then, at that second, desire is born. When I see something I don't have, like a house or a car, then sensation becomes dominant. When thought gives it an image, when thought comes along and says, `I wish I had it', at that moment desire is born. Right? You understand the subtlety of it, the depth of it? When thought gives a form, a structure, an image to sensation, at that second desire is born.

Now the question is, can sensation not be caught by thought, which is also another sensation? You understand, sir? After sensation, take time before thought gives it a shape - have an interval between sensation and thought giving it a shape. Do it, and you'll learn a lot from that. So I'm saying, when there is time in between sensation and thought - an interval, long or short - you'll understand the nature of desire. In that there is no suppression, no transcending. Sir, if you drive a car, not knowing the mechanism of it, you are always a little nervous that something might go wrong. But if you have dismantled that car and put it together very carefully, known all the parts, then you're master of the machinery, then you're not afraid, for you can put it together again. So, if you understand the nature of desire, the way desire begins, then you are not afraid of it, then you know what to do with it.

There's something else which you and the speaker should talk over together. We have lived for thousands of years, and we have never understood the nature of fear. What is the source of fear, what is the cause of fear? We have apparently never ended fear - biological fear as well as psychological fear, inward fear - fear of death, fear of not having, not possessing, fear of loneliness - we have so many fears. Out of these fears you create gods, you create rituals, spiritual hierarchies, gurus, all the temples of the world. And we're asking, what is fear? Not your particular form of fear, not my fear and your fear, but fear? As I said, if you understand the machinery of a car, you're not afraid of it. So if you know, realize, understand the nature of fear, the cause of it, the root of it, then you will transcend fear, and fear is gone. We are going to do that this morning.

We are asking, what is fear, what is the cause of it - not how to end it, not how to transcend it, control it, suppress it, and run away from it, as you're doing, but what is the cause, the source of it? Think it out, sir, go into it for a minute. Take your fear, your particular fear, or fears; what is the root of them? - security? desire for more? If you haven't found it, you ask somebody like the speaker what the cause is. Will you listen?

Will you actually listen? I will explain, but the explanation is not the thing. Does the word `fear' evoke fear in you? Fear is a fact; the word is not the fact. So the explanation is not a means to end fear. We have to examine then what is time, because time is fear: tomorrow something might happen, my house might fall down, my wife might turn to another man, my husband might go off - and I'm in fear. Fear of the past, fear of the future, fear of the present: I have been that, I won't be that, but I am not that now - that whole process is a movement in time. From here to there is a movement, and it needs time. All movement is time.

The past shapes the present. The past is operating now, and the future is shaped by the present - modified. Circumstances change, certain incidents happen, so the past is modified, changed, altered, and the future is what happens now. All time - the past, the present and the future - is contained in the now. This applies to life; it is not just a theory. You were something yesterday; an incident takes place today that changes, modifies, slightly alters the past, and the future is what you are now, modified. That is, the past, the present and the future are now; tomorrow is now. If there is no mutation now, you'll be exactly the same as you've been before. I think I am a Hindu, with all the circus romp behind it, and I'll be a Hindu tomorrow. That is logical. Therefore what you do now matters much more than what you will do tomorrow. So, what are you going to do if tomorrow is now? That is a fact; it is not my theory or your theory, it's a fact. I am greedy now, and if I don't do anything about it now, I'll be greedy tomorrow. Can you stop being greedy today? Will you? No, of course not. So you will be what you have been. This has been the pattern of humanity for millions of years.

You don't mind killing. Be honest. You don't mind killing, you subscribe to it, you want your country to be strong. Right? Don't be ashamed of it - this is a fact. And so you gather armaments. If you don't stop being an Indian now, you'll be an Indian tomorrow. So I'm asking, what will you do now? Stop being an Indian, will you? Do you know what the implications are? - not the passport, not the paper - but not being associated with any religion, any group; they are all phoney anyhow. Is that possible? Will you do it? Do you see that if there is no mutation now, today, you'll be exactly the same tomorrow? This is not being optimistic or pessimistic; this is a fact. Do you understand the seriousness of it? If there is no radical mutation now, I'll be the same tomorrow.

So time is a factor in fear. And fear is a common factor of all mankind. Can that fear - not one branch of it - but the root of fear be totally demolished? - that is, to have no fear of any kind. The speaker says it is eminently possible; that it can be done radically. The speaker is saying that fear can be totally ended. Don't say it is for the illumined one and all that nonsense. You can end it if you put your brain, your heart into it - completely, not partially. And then you will see for yourself what immense beauty there is in it; a sense of utter freedom - not freedom of a country or of some government, but the sense of the enormity of freedom, the greatness of freedom.

Will you do it - today, now? From today, seeing the cause of fear, end it. As long as there is fear - biologically, physically, psychologically - it destroys us. So, if one may ask, after listening to this fact, not theory, what are you going to do? Time is the factor of fear and thought; so if you don't change now, you won't ever change. It is constant postponement.

The Future Is Now

Varanasi 1985

The Future Is Now Chapter 5 19th November 1985 2nd Public Talk in Varanasi

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