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The Only Revolution

India 1969

The Only Revolution India Part 8

Meditation is hard work. It demands the highest form of discipline - not conformity, not imitation, not obedience, but a discipline which comes through constant awareness, not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly. So meditation is not an activity of isolation but action in everyday life which demands co-operation, sensitivity and intelligence. Without laying the foundation of a righteous life, meditation becomes an escape and therefore has no value whatsoever. A righteous life is not the following of social morality, but the freedom from envy, greed and the search for power - which all breed enmity. The freedom from these does not come through the activity of will but through being aware of them through self-knowing. Without knowing the activities of the self, meditation becomes sensuous excitement and therefore of very little significance.

At that latitude there is hardly any twilight or dawn, and that morning the river, wide and deep, was of molten lead. The sun was not yet over the land but there was a lightening in the east. The birds had not yet begun to sing their daily chorus of the morning and the villagers were not yet calling out to each other. The morning star was quite high in the sky, and as you watched, it grew paler and paler until the sun was just over the trees and the river became silver and gold. Then the birds began, and the village woke up. Just then, suddenly, there appeared on the window-sill a large monkey, grey, with a black face and bushy hair over the forehead. His hands were black and his long tail hung over the window-sill into the room. He sat there very quiet, almost motionless, looking at us without a movement. We were quite close, a few feet separated us. And suddenly he stretched out his arm, and we held hands for some time. His hand was rough, black and dusty for he had climbed over the roof, over the little parapet above the window and had come down and sat there. He was quite relaxed, and what was surprising was that he was extraordinarily cheerful. There was no fear, no uneasiness; it was as though he was at home. There he was, with the river bright golden now, and beyond it the green bank and the distant trees. We must have held hands for quite a time; then, almost casually, he withdrew his hand but still remained where he was. We were looking at each other, and you could see his black eyes shining, small and full of strange curiosity. He wanted to come into the room but hesitated, then stretched his arms and his legs, reached for the parapet, and was over the roof and gone. In the evening he was there again on a tree, high up, eating something. We waved to him but there was no response.

The man he was a sannyasi, a monk, with rather a nice delicate face and sensitive hands. He was clean, and his robes had been recently washed though not ironed. He said he had come from Rishikesh where he had spent many years under a guru who had now withdrawn into the higher mountains and remained alone. He said he had been to many ashramas. He had left home many years ago, perhaps when he was twenty. He couldn't remember very well at what age he had left. He said he had parents and several sisters and brothers but he had lost touch with them completely. He had come all this way because he had heard from several gurus that he should see us, and also he had read little bits here and there. And recently he had talked to a fellow sannyasi, and so he was here. One couldn't guess his age; he was more than middle-aged, but his voice and his eyes were still young.

"It has been my lot to wander over India visiting the various centres with their gurus, some of whom are scholarly, others ignorant though with a quality which indicates that they have something in them; yet others are mere exploiters giving out mantras; these have often been abroad and become popular. There are very few who have been above all this, but among those few was my recent guru. Now he has withdrawn into a remote and isolated part of the Himalayas. A whole group of us go to see him once a year to receive his blessing."

Is isolation from the world necessary? "Obviously one must renounce the world, for the world isn't real, and one must have a guru to teach one, for the guru has experienced reality and he will help those who follow him to realize that reality. He knows, and we don't. We are surprised that you say that no guru is necessary for you are going against tradition. You yourself have become a guru to many, and truth is not to be found alone. One must have help - the rituals, the guidance of those who know. Perhaps ultimately one may have to stand alone, but not now. We are children and we need those who have advanced along the path. It is only by sitting at the feet of one who knows that one learns. But you seem to deny all this, and I have come to find out seriously why."

Do look at that river - the morning light on it, and those sparkling, green luscious wheatfields, and the trees beyond. There is great beauty; and the eyes that see it must be full of love to comprehend it. And to hear the rattling of that train over the iron bridge is as important as to hear the voice of the bird. So do look - and listen to those pigeons cooing. And look at that tamarind tree with those two green parrots. For the eyes to see them there must be a communion with them - with the river, with that boat passing by filled with villagers, singing as they row. This is part of the world. If you renounce it you are renouncing beauty and love - the very earth itself. What you are renouncing is the society of men, but not the things which man had made out of the world. You are not renouncing the culture, the tradition, the knowledge - all of that goes with you when you withdraw from the world. You are renouncing beauty and love because you are frightened of those two words and what lies behind those words. Beauty is associated with sensuous reality, with its sexual implications and the love that is involved in it. This renunciation has made the so-called religious people self-centred - at a higher level perhaps than with the man of the world, but it is still self-centredness. When you have no beauty and love there is no possibility of coming upon that immeasurable thing. If you observe, right through the domain of the sannyasis and the saints, this beauty and love are far from them. They may talk about it, but they are harsh disciplinarians, violent in their controls and demands. So essentially, though they may put on the saffron robe or the black robe, or the scarlet of the cardinal, they are all very worldly. It is a profession like any other profession; certainly it is not what is called spiritual. Some of them should be business men and not put on airs of spirituality.

"But you know, sir, you are being rather harsh, aren't you?"

No, we are merely stating a fact, and the fact is neither harsh, pleasant nor unpleasant; it is so. Most of us object to facing things as they are. But all this is fairly obvious and quite open. Isolation is the way of life, the way of the world. Each human being, through his self-centred activities, is isolating himself, whether he is married or not, whether he talks of co-operation, or of nationality, achievement and success. Only when this isolation becomes extreme is there a neurosis which sometimes produces - if one has talent - art, good literature, and so on. This withdrawal from the world with all its noise, brutality, hate and pleasure is a part of the isolating process, isn't it? Only the sannyasi does it in the name of religion, or God, and the competitive man accepts it as a part of the social structure.

In this isolation you do achieve certain powers, a certain quality of austerity and abstemiousness, which give a sense of power. And power, whether of the Olympic champion, or of the prime Minister, or of the Head of the churches and temples, is the same. Power in any form is evil - if one may use that word - and the man of power can never open the door to reality. So isolation is not the way.

Co-operation is necessary in order to live at all; and there is no co-operation with the follower or with the guru. The guru destroys the disciple and the disciple destroys the guru. In this relationship of the teacher and the taught how can there be co-operation, the working together, the enquiring together, taking the journey together? This hierarchical division which is part of the social structure, whether it be in the religious field or in the army or the business world, is essentially worldly. And when one renounces the world one is caught in worldliness.

Unworldliness is not the loincloth or one meal a day or repeating some meaningless though stimulating mantra or phrase. It is worldliness when you give up the world and are inwardly part of that world of envy, greed, fear, of accepting authority and the division between the one who knows and the one who doesn't know. It is still worldliness when you seek achievement, whether it be fame or the achievement of what one may call the ideal, or God, or what you will. It is the accepted tradition of the culture that is essentially worldly, and withdrawing into a mountain far from man does not absolve this worldliness. Reality, under no circumstances, lies in that direction.

One must be alone, but this aloneness is not isolation. This aloneness implies freedom from the world of greed, hate and violence with all its subtle ways, and from aching loneliness and despair.

To be alone is to be an outsider who does not belong to any religion or nation, to any belief or dogma. It is this aloneness that comes upon an innocency that has never been touched by the mischief of man. It is innocency that can live in the world, with all its turmoil, and yet not be of it. It is not clothed in any particular garb. The flowering of goodness does not lie along any path, for there is no path to truth.

The Only Revolution

India 1969

The Only Revolution India Part 8

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