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Ojai 6th Public Talk 18th June, 1944
I have been saying in my talks that self-knowledge is the beginning of right thinking and without self-knowledge true thinking is not possible. With self-knowledge comes understanding, in it is the root of all understanding. Without self-knowledge there is no comprehension of the world about us. To bring about this understanding there must be right endeavour for without it, as I explained, thought-feeling will ever be in the conflict of duality, of merit and demerit, the me and the mine as opposed to the not-me and the not-mine, which causes deep anguish and sorrow. This conflict of the opposites will ever exist if craving is not observed and understood and so transcended; craving for worldliness and for personal immortality is the cause of sorrow. Craving for these in different forms creates ignorance, antagonism and sorrow. The desire for personal immortality is not only the continuation of the self in the hereafter, but also in the present which expresses itself in the pride off family, of name, of position, in the desire for possessions, for fame, authority, mystery and miracle. The craving for these is the beginning of sorrow and in yielding to them there is no end to sorrow.
So freeing thought-feeling from craving is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is a negation of the self rather than the positive becoming of the self, for negative understanding is the highest form of thinking-feeling. The so-called positive becoming or the qualities of the self are self-enclosing, self-binding and so there is never freedom from conflict and sorrow. The desire to become, however noble and virtuous, is still within the narrow sphere of the self and so such a desire is the means of producing conflict and confusion. This process of constant becoming, supposedly positive, brings death with its fears and hopes. Freeing thought from craving, though it may appear as negation, is the essence of virtue for it is not building up the process of the self, the me and the mine.
As I said in my previous talks, in freeing thought-feeling from craving, in becoming aware of its ways, we begin to perceive the significance of candor, love, fear, simple life and so on. It is not that one must become candid, honest, but in thinking-feeling about it, in becoming extensively aware of it, its deeper implications are perceived rather than the self becoming honest. Virtue is not a structure upon which the self can build for in it there is no becoming. The self can never become candid, open, clear for its very nature is dark, enclosing, confusing, contradicting.
To become aware of ignorance is the beginning of candor, of honesty. To be unaware of ignorance breeds obstinacy and credulity. Without being aware of ignorance, to try to become honest only leads to further confusion. Without self-knowledge mere sincerity is narrowness and gullibility. If one begins to be self-aware and observes what is candor, then confusion yields to clarity. It is the lack of clarity that leads to dishonesty, to pretension. To be aware of escapes, distortions, hindrances, brings order and clarity. Ignorance, which is the lack of self - knowledge, leads to confusion, to dishonesty. Without understanding the contradictory nature of the self, to be candid is to be hard and to produce more and more confusion. Through self-awareness and self-knowledge there is order, clarity and right thinking.
The highest form of thinking is negative comprehension. To think-feel positively, without understanding craving, is to raise values that are separative, disruptive and uncreative.
Now, love is sorrowful; we are aware that there is in love sorrow, bitterness, disillusionment; the pain of love is a torment; in it we know fear and resentment. There is no escape from love but yet in it there is torture. The foolish blame love, without understanding the cause of pain; without knowing its conflict there is no transcending anguish.
Without becoming aware of the source of conflict, craving, love brings pain. It is craving, not love, that creates dependence and all the sorrowful issues that arise out of it. it is craving in relationship that gives rise to uncertainty, not love; and this uncertainty breeds possessiveness, jealousy, fear. In this possessiveness, in this dependence, there is a false sense of unity which sustains and nourishes the temporary feeling of well being; but it is not love, for in it there is inward fear and suspicion. This outward stimulation of seeming oneness is parasitical, the living of the one on the other; it is not love for inwardly there is emptiness, loneliness and the need for dependence. Dependence breeds fear, not love. Without understanding craving is there not domination, oppression, taking the form of love? In relationship with the one or with the many, such love of power and dominance, with its submissiveness and acceptance, brings conflict, antagonism and sorrow. Having the seed of violence within oneself how can there be love? Having the seed of contradiction and uncertainty within oneself how can there be love? Love is beyond and above all these; it transcends sensuousness. Love is in itself eternal not dependent, not a result. In it there is mercy and generosity, forgiveness and compassion. With love, humility and gentleness come into being; without love they have no existence.
Questioner: I am already an introvert and it seems to me that from what you have been saying, is there not a danger of my becoming more and more self-centred, more of an introvert?
Krishnamurti: If you are an introvert in opposition to an extrovert then there is a danger of self-centredness. If you put yourself in opposition then there is no understanding; then your thoughts, feelings and actions are self-enclosing, isolating. In intelligently comprehending the outer you will come inevitably to the inner, and thereby the division of the outer and inner ceases. If you oppose the outer and cling to the inner or if you deny the inner and assert the outer, then there is the conflict of the opposites, in which there is no understanding. To understand the outer, the world, you must begin with yourself for you, your thoughts-feelings and actions, are the result of both the outer and the inner. You are the centre of all objective and subjective existence and to comprehend it, where are you to begin save with yourself? This does not encourage unbalance, on the contrary it will bring creative understanding, inward peace.
But if you deny the outer, the world, if you try to escape from it, if you distort it, shaping it to your fancies, then your inner world is an illusion, isolating and hindering. Then it is a state of delusion which brings misery. To be is to be related but you can block, distort this relationship, thus becoming more and more isolated and self-centred which leads to mental disorder.
The root of understanding is within yourself, in self-knowledge.
Questioner: You, like so many Orientals, seem to be against industrialization. Why are you?
Krishnamurti: I do not know if many Orientals are against industrialization and if they are I do not know what reasons they would give, but I thought I explained why I consider that mere industrialization is not a solution for our human problem with its conflicts and sorrows. Mere industrialization encourages sensate value, bigger and better bathrooms, bigger and better cars, distractions, amusements and all the rest of it. External and temporal values take precedence over eternal value. Happiness, peace is sought in possessions, made by the hand or by the mind; in addiction to things or to mere knowledge. Walk down any principal street and you will see shop after shop selling the same thing in different colours, shapes; innumerable magazines and thousands of books. We want to be distracted, amused, taken away from ourselves for we are so wretched and poor, empty and sorrowful. And so where there is demand there is production and the tyranny of the machine. And we think by mere industrialization we shall solve the economic and social problem. Does it? You may temporarily, but with it come wars, revolutions, oppression, exploitation, bringing so-called civilization - industrialization with all its implications - to the uncivilized.
Industrialization and the machine are here, you cannot do away with them; they take their right place only when man is not dependent for his happiness on things, only when he cultivates inner riches, the imperishable treasures of reality. Without these mere industrialization brings untold horrors; with inner treasures industrialization has a meaning. This problem is not of any country or race; it is a human issue. Without the balancing power of compassion and unworldliness you will have, through the mere increase of the production of things, of facts and of technique, bigger and better wars, economic oppression and frontiers of power, more subtle ways of deception, disunity and tyranny.
A stone may change the course of a river, so a few who understand may perhaps divert this terrible course of man. But it is difficult to with stand the constant pressure of modern civilization unless one is constantly aware and so is discovering the treasures that are imperishable.
Questioner: Do you think that group meditation is helpful?
Krishnamurti: What is the purpose of meditation? Is not right thinking the foundation for the discovery of the Supreme? With right thinking the unknowable, the immeasurable comes into being. You must discover it, and to discover, your mind must be utterly uninfluenced.
Your mind must be completely silent, still, and creatively empty. The mind must free itself from the past, from conditioning influences, cease creating value.
You are the one and the many, the group and the single; you are the result of the past. There is no understanding of this whole process save through the result; you must study and examine the result which is yourself. To observe you must be detached, uninfluenced; cease to be a slave to propaganda, the subtle and the gross. The influence of environment shapes thought-feeling and from this too there must be freedom to discover the real which alone liberates. How easily we are persuaded to believe or not to believe, to act or not to act; magazines, newspapers, cinemas, radios, daily shape our thought-feeling and how few can escape from their limiting influence!
One religious group believes this and another that; their thoughts-feelings are imitative, influenced, fashioned. In this imitative confusion and assertion what hope is there of finding the real! To understand this mad confusion, thought-feeling must extricate itself from it and so become clear, unbiased and simple. To discover the real, mind-heart must free itself from the tyranny of the past; it must become purely alone. How easily the collective, the congregation is used, persuaded and drugged! The discovery of the real is not to be organized; it must be sought out by each one, un-coerced, not urged by reward or punishment. When the mind ceases to create, there is creation.
Questioner: Is not belief in God necessary in this terrible and ruthless world?
Krishnamurti: We have had belief in God for centuries upon centuries but yet we have created a terrible world. The savage and the highly civilized priest believe in God. The primitive kills with bows and arrows and dances wildly, the civilized priest blesses the warships and the bombers and rationalizes. I am not saying this in any cynical, sneering spirit, so please do not smile. It is a grave matter. Both of them believe, and also there is the other who is non-believer but he also resorts to liquidating those who stand in his way. Clinging to a belief or to an ideology does not do away with killing, with oppression and exploitation. On the contrary, there have been and continue to be terrible, ruthless wars and destruction and persecution in the name of peace, in the name of God. If we can put aside these contending beliefs and ideologies and bring about a deep change in our daily life there will be a chance for a better world. It is our every day life that has brought this and previous catastrophes, horrors; our thoughtlessness, our exclusive national and economic privileges and barriers, our lack of good will and compassion have brought these wars and other disasters. Worldliness will constantly erupt in chaos and in sorrow.
We are the result of the past and without understanding it, to build upon it is to invite disaster. The mind which is a result, which is put together, cannot hope to understand that which is not made up, that which is causeless, timeless. To comprehend the uncrated, the mind must cease to create. A belief is ever of the past, of the created, and such a belief becomes a hindrance to the experiencing of the real. When thought-feeling is anchored, made dependent, understanding of the real is not possible. There must be open, still freedom from the past, a spontaneous overflow of silence in which alone the real can flower. When you see a sunset, in that moment of beauty there is a spontaneous, creative joy. When you wish to repeat that experience again, there is no joy in the sunset; you try to receive that same creative happiness but it is not there. Your mind, not expecting, not wanting was capable of receiving, but having received it is greedy for more and it is this greed that blinds. Greed is accumulative and burdens the mind-heart; it is ever gathering, storing up. Thought-feeling is corrupted by greed, by the corroding waves of memory. Only through deep awareness is this engulfing process of the past brought to an end. Greed, like pleasure, is ever singularistic, limiting, and how can thought born of greed comprehend that which is immeasurable!
Instead of strengthening beliefs and ideologies become aware of your thoughts-feelings, for out of them spring the issues of life. What you are the world is; if you are cruel, lustful, ignorant, greedy, so is the world. Your belief or your disbelief in God is of little significance for by your thoughts-feelings-actions, you make the world terrible and ruthless, peaceful and compassionate, barbarous or wise.
Questioner: What is the source of desire?
Krishnamurti: Perception, contact, sensation, want and identification cause desire. The source of desire is sensation in its lowest and highest forms. And the more you demand to be satisfied sensually the more of worldliness which seeks continuity in the hereafter. Since existence is sensation we can but understand it, not become slaves to it, and so free thought to transcend into pure awareness. The desire to be satisfied must produce the means for satisfaction, at whatever cost. Such demand, such craving can be observed, studied, intelligently understood and transcended. To be enslaved to craving is to be ignorant and sorrow is its end.
Questioner: Don't you think that there is in man a principle of destruction, independent of his will to destroy and of his desire at the same time for life? Life in itself seems to be a process of destruction. Krishnamurti: In all of us there is the dormant will to destroy like anger, ill will, which extended leads to world catastrophes; and also within us there is the desire to be thoughtful and compassionate. So there is at work within us this dual process, a seemingly endless conflict. The questioner wants to know if life itself does not seem to be a destructive process. Yes, it is, if we understand it to mean that in negation is the highest comprehension. This negation is the destruction of those values that are based on the positive, on the me and the mine. As long as life is self-becoming, enclosed by the thought-feeling of me and mine, it becomes a destructive process, cruel and uncreative. The positive, assertive becoming is ultimately death dealing, which is so obviously manifest in the world at the present time. Life pursued positively as theme and the mine is conflicting and destructive. When this positive, aggressive wanting or not wanting is put an end to, there is the awareness of fear, of death, of nothingness. But if thought can go above and beyond this fear then there is ultimate reality.