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Dialogue 1 - New Delhi - 12th December 1970 - ‘The flame of sorrow’
We were walking in the open gardens near a huge hotel. There was a golden blue in the western sky and the noise of the buses, cars went by. There were young plants full of promise, watered daily. They were still building, creating the gardens and a bird was hovering in the sky, fluttering its wings rapidly before it plunged to the earth; and in the east, there was the nearing of the full moon. What was beautiful was none of these things but the vast emptiness that seemed to hold the earth. What was beautiful was the poor man with his head down, carrying a small bottle of oil.
Krishnamurti: What does sorrow mean in this country? How do the people in this country meet sorrow? Do they escape from sorrow through the explanation of karma? How does the mind in India operate when it meets sorrow? The Buddhist meets it in one way, the Christian in another way. How does the Hindu mind meet it? Does it resist sorrow, or escape from it? Or does the Hindu mind rationalize it?
Questioner P: Are there really many ways of meeting sorrow? Sorrow is pain – the pain of someone dying, the pain of separation. Is it possible to meet this pain in various ways?
Krishnamurti: There are various ways of escape but there is only one way of meeting sorrow. The escapes with which we are all familiar are really the ways of avoiding the greatness of sorrow. You see, we use explanations to meet sorrow but these explanations do not answer the question. The only way to meet sorrow is to be without any resistance, to be without any movement away from sorrow, outwardly or inwardly, to remain totally with sorrow, without wanting to go beyond it.
P: What is the nature of sorrow?
Krishnamurti: There is personal sorrow, the sorrow that comes with the loss of someone you love, the loneliness, the separation, the anxiety for the other. With death there is also the feeling that the other has ceased to be, and there was so much that he wanted to do. All this is personal sorrow. Then there is that man, ill-clad, dirty, with his head down; he is ignorant, ignorant not merely of book knowledge, but deeply, really ignorant. The feeling that one has for the man is not self-pity, nor is there an identification with that man; it is not that you are placed in a better position than he is and so you feel pity for him, but there is within one the sense of the timeless weight of sorrow in man. This sorrow has nothing personal about it. It exists.
P: While you have been speaking, the movement of sorrow has been operating within me. There is no immediate cause for this sorrow but it seems like a shadow, always with man. He lives, he loves, he forms attachments and everything ends. Whatever the truth of what you say, in this there is such an infinitude of sorrow. How is it to end? There appears to be no answer. The other day you said in sorrow is the whole movement of passion. What does it mean?
Krishnamurti: Is there a relationship between sorrow and passion? I wonder what sorrow is. Is there such a thing as sorrow without cause? We know the sorrow which is cause and effect. My son dies; in that is involved my identification with my son, my wanting him to be something which I am not, my seeking continuity through him; and when he dies all that is denied and I find myself completely emptied of all hope. In that there is self-pity, fear; in that there is pain which is the cause of sorrow. This is the lot of everyone. This is what we mean by sorrow.
Then also there is the sorrow of time, the sorrow of ignorance, not the ignorance of knowledge but the ignorance of one’s own destructive conditioning; the sorrow of not knowing oneself; the sorrow of not knowing the beauty that lies at the depth of one’s being and the going beyond. Do we see that when we escape from sorrow through various forms of explanation, we are really frittering away an extraordinary happening?
P: Then what does one do?
Krishnamurti: You have not answered my question, “Is there, a sorrow without cause and effect?” We know sorrow and the movement away from sorrow.
P: You have talked of sorrow free of cause and effect. Is there such a state?
Krishnamurti: Man has lived with sorrow from immemorial times. He has never known how to deal with it. So he has either worshipped it or run away from it. They are both the same movement. My mind does not do either, nor does it use sorrow as a means of awakening. Then what takes place?
P: All other things are the products of our senses. Sorrow is more than that. It is a movement of the heart.
Krishnamurti: I am asking you what is the relationship between sorrow and love.
P: They are both movements of the heart.
Krishnamurti: What is love and what is sorrow?
P: Both are movements of the heart, the one is identified as joy and the other as pain.
Krishnamurti: Is love pleasure? Would you say joy and pleasure are the same? Without understanding the nature of pleasure, there is no depth to joy. You cannot invite joy. Joy happens. The happening can be turned into pleasure.
When that pleasure is denied, there is the beginning of sorrow.
P: At one level it is so, but it is not so at another level.
Krishnamurti: As we said, joy is not a thing to be invited. It happens. Pleasure I can invite, pleasure I can pursue. If pleasure is love, then love can be cultivated.
P: We know pleasure is not love. Pleasure may be one manifestation of love but it is not love. Both sorrow and love emerge from the same source.
Krishnamurti: I asked what is the relationship between sorrow and love? Can there be love if there is sorrow – sorrow being all the things that we have talked about?
P: I would say “yes”.
Krishnamurti: In sorrow, there is a factor of separation, of fragmentation. Is there not a great deal of self-pity in sorrow? What is the relationship of all this to love? Has love dependency? Has love the quality of the “me” and the “you”?
P: But you talked of passion......
Krishnamurti: When there is no movement of escape from sorrow then love is. Passion is the flame of sorrow and that flame can only be awakened when there is no escape, no resistance. Which means what? – Which means, sorrow has in it no quality of division.
P: In that sense, is that state of sorrow any different from the state of love? Sorrow is pain. You say when in that pain there is no resistance, no movement away from pain, the flame of passion emerges. Strangely in the ancient texts, kama (love), agni (fire), and yama (death) are said to be the same; they are placed on the same level; they are all identical; they create, purify and destroy to create again. There has to be an ending.
Krishnamurti: You see, that is just it. What is the relationship of a mind which has understood sorrow and therefore the ending of sorrow? What is the quality of the mind that is no longer afraid of ending, which is death?
When energy is not dissipated through escape, then that energy becomes the flame of passion. Compassion means passion for all. Compassion is passion for all.