life is a pathless land ...............................................................................1
the purpose of life.....................................................................................2
the ‘I’ .......................................................................................................8
desire...is life itself ..................................................................................11
individual uniqueness ...............................................................................16
in life there are no stages..........................................................................26
Action is the instrument by which life becomes conscious of itself ...............32
Freedom of consciousness...is life itself ....................................................39
“life is a pathless land”
p. 94 (28 December 1929, Winter, Adyar)
If you want to discover whether what I say is true, you must judge
impersonally, that is, put aside your personal likes and dislikes, your personal
beliefs, because you are trying to seek the understanding of the significance of the
whole of life, not merely of your particular individual life. Every one tries to seek
truth — that is, the rich, full, harmonious life — according to his particular
whims, according to his particular beliefs, dogmas and religions. The Hindu will
seek truth — that fullness of life — through Hinduism, the Christian through
Christianity, the Buddhist through Buddhism, and so on, taking for granted
certain experiences of others and thereby forming a sect through which each
thinks he will discover the truth. If you want to discover truth, you must put
aside Hinduism, Buddhism, all religions and seek for yourself wholly, entirely,
because truth is a pathless land, life is a pathless land, and you cannot approach
it from any point of view, by any path whatever. Please do not agree or disagree,
but examine this statement sanely, rationally. If you think it is wrong, leave it
alone and go your own sweet way. There is no question of tolerance or
intolerance. Truth, if I may give a crude example, is like a vulture that awaits a
dying animal: it has infinite patience. What I say is, to me, absolute,
unconditional, and I have patience. If you think it is right, then live by it,
because that alone has value and not what you profess with your lips.
[Page numbers refer to Krishnamurti: Selected Early Talks & Writings. Bolding has been
added as a means of explaining the choice of each selection.]
“the purpose of life”
pp. 139-40 (10 April 1930, Los Angeles)
Why do you make yourself into a type? Why do you imitate someone else?
Why do you follow authority? In spiritual matters there cannot be authority; in
thought and belief there cannot be authority; it is experience alone that is of
importance. Experience is the only master. Why is it then that you make yourself
into a type, into a machine? It is because fear plays the dominant part in your
lives. You are afraid of your own thoughts, you are uncertain; and hence you seek
for leaders in spiritual matters. The moment there is desire for comfort, fear is
born. Struggle breeds either fear or understanding. The moment you are afraid
to struggle, you seek shelters, you look to authority in matters spiritual, you want
to be told what is right, what is wrong, what is failure, what is success. But the
moment there is the desire to understand this immense struggle that is going on,
you do not bind yourself with fear and you try to understand every experience
that comes to you.
Conformity is not culture. You cannot educate yourself through conformity.
You must make proper environments, so that the individual is all the time
struggling, choosing, assimilating and rejecting, and thus growing. Individuality
is not an end in itself, because individuality is division, and individuality is trying
all the time by continual contact with life, to wear down the barrier that
separates it from others. In other words, individuality is made up of our
unconquered reactions. Reactions create barriers and divisions. But the moment
you have conquered your reactions, there are no barriers and no divisions.
Therefore, it is the ego, the individuality which has not transmuted its reaction,
that creates barriers. But the true self resides in the region of pure action, so to
attain to that self, to find out pure action, you must go through the process of
reaction, of likes and dislikes, joys and pleasures, sorrows and great ecstasies,
and gradually eliminate all reactions, till you arrive at your own dwelling-place,
from which you act, but where there are no reactions. This is the purpose of
Hence, awareness in all things, in your acts, your thoughts and your
emotions, and the achievement that is not born of reactions, is the highest
spirituality, not the conforming to a pattern. You must create in yourself, by the
excessive heights of the conflict between emotion and reason, the desire to be
perfectly poised. But to arrive at balance you must pass through this extreme
struggle, you cannot escape or grow weary of the world. The moment you are in
the excessive heights of struggle between emotion and thought, the desire is born
in you to be perfectly poised, and you are beginning to be poised. You can have
any number of books that will explain all your sorrows and your struggles, your
pains and your pleasures. It is very easy to explain things away. This is what all
people are seeking — explanation. Does the man who is really in sorrow seek
explanation? If someone whom you love dies, of what value are the explanations
to you? You want him because you are lonely. Loneliness cannot be explained
away. No amount of theories or explanations will make loneliness disappear. But
the moment you are really struggling in sorrow, and feel that sorrow in its
uttermost depths, then you are seeking the root, the cause of sorrow, and not the
explanation of sorrow. Sorrow then becomes as a soil through which you must
grow, a soil for nourishment, not a thing to be avoided.
Now, the enrichment of life by continual experience is pure action, is
incorruption. The poverty of life, the lack of experience is corruption. So, you
must not mould yourself after a pattern. You must be the whole, all-inclusive.
Thought, which is at first personal, is by experience evolving more and more
towards the impersonal, and when thought is impersonal, it is intelligent. And
intelligence takes you to that realm of pure consciousness, which is the
consummation of human life. To be perfectly poised in that pure action, is the
goal of life, the result of all experience; then life is rich, whole, all-inclusive,
complete; then your problems as an individual are solved, and you are then
able to give to the world that perfume, that understanding which is necessary
for the maintenance of the whole.
pp. 180-2 (18 July 1930,
So this morning I am going to try to describe, define, that which is really
indescribable and indefinable; to put into words that which is only realisable
when there is a perfectly stable mind, pliable, serviceable, eager, stripped of all
personal whims and personal points of view. It is absolutely necessary not to be
self-opinionated, not to be caught in opinions. Life is creation, and you cannot
apply to creation the words, “Happiness” or “Unhappiness”. Life is creation, is
movement, and in it there is manifestation and non-manifestation, phenomenon
and non-phenomenon. So do not approach the understanding of life with any
qualitative relations, special circumstances, or attributes. That is why I said that
to understand the ultimate reality, the end of life, life itself, you must come to it
with a mind free of all these attributes, qualities. Life is creation, and Nature
conceals life — that is, everything that is in manifestation conceals life in itself.
When that life in Nature develops and becomes concentrated in the individual,
then Nature has fulfilled itself. (This is not a theory; you can think it out and
you will see.) The whole destiny and function of Nature is to create the
individual who is self-conscious, who knows the pairs of opposites, who knows
that he is an entity in himself, conscious and separate. So, life in Nature,
through its development, becomes self-conscious in the awakened, concentrated
individual. That is a separate being — an individual who is self-conscious, who
knows that he is different from another, in whom there is a separation of the
“you” and the “I”. When that self-conscious life in the individual, held in the
bondage of limitations, knowing the separation of “you” and “I”, of object and
subject, has liberated itself from that limitation, is has achieved the end, it has
fulfilled itself. Therefore self-consciousness is effort. If you do not make an
effort, if there is not this effort against limitation, there is no longer selfconsciousness
and individuality. Individuality is imperfection; it is not an end.
When individuality has fulfilled itself through ceaseless effort, destroying, tearing
down the wall of separateness, it reaches that sense of effortless being; then the
self-consciousness in the individual realises the pure knowledge in which there is
neither subject nor object.
My point is that you must first know towards what life is going — and by
life I mean this individual existence which achieves its end in liberation. The
man who knows separation is but the subject, which is limited, and in him the
object has not yet been realised. He must realise towards what life is working, the
purpose of life; otherwise experience has no meaning, creation has no meaning,
perfection has no meaning, uniqueness has no meaning. If that individual, in
whom there is the consciousness of separation, of subject and object, does not
understand the purpose of life, he becomes merely a slave to experience, to
creation. So my point is, first understand the purpose of life, understand what it
is towards which you are struggling, then utilise every experience, every emotion,
every thought, to strengthen you, to wear down this veil of separation.
To the self-conscious individual there is subject and object, and the object
becomes a far-off entity to whom he is looking for aid, to whom he gives his
adoration, his love, his affection, his whole being. Is not everyone doing that? To
the separate individual, life becomes subject and object, but the end of life, the
fulfillment of life, is to realise the totality of the whole — objectiveless,
subjectiveless being — which is pure life. So it is in the subjectivity of the
individual that the object really exists. In the individual is the beginning and the
end. In him is the totality of all experience, of all thought, of all emotion. In him
is all potentiality, and his task is to realise that totality in the subjective; that is,
in his own consciousness.
The purpose of life, then, is, by a series of efforts — every day, every
minute, every second — to arrive at that pure being which is effortlessness —
which is, not to know the sense of separateness, of individual consciousness.
Because individual consciousness is effort. When you realise that within your
own self lies the whole universe — the universe of life, not of manifestation —
then, through outward going, you inevitably return to the source of all existence,
which is in yourself. Hence this pure being, this pure life, is all-inclusive; though
outside of it there is time and space, in itself there is not time and space.
So, pure being, life, is beyond time and space, and, being beyond, it is
undisturbed, tranquil, serene, pliable happiness. The moment you depend on
time and space there is limitation and there is unhappiness. This pure being,
which is impersonal, though it is not thought, nor emotion, though it is not
desire, is yet the end of desire, the goal of thought, the end of will. It is intuition.
Intuition, though it is not thought or emotion, yet is the goal and the end of
both. This pure life is impersonal; but you must arrive at it by personal effort, by
the purification of thought and emotion. Pure being is not to be found in
objective external things, but in one’s own self; and to find your true self means
When you have reached pure being, pure life, however — when you have
found the truth which cannot be approached by any path — then you have
cessation of effort; then you live by pure intuition, which is to be found
potentially in every self-conscious individual. By continual conquering, by the
understanding of your inner cravings, your passions, your hopes, your despairs,
your vain pursuits, and your desire to be consoled and comforted, — by
gradually wearing these down, you arrive at the liberated life which is happiness,
which is the dwelling place of pure intuition, and of pure action. Whenever
objects are presented to this intuition, it gives always the right response. When
once you understand the purpose of life — however objective it may be at the
beginning, however outside you it is at first — you will be all the time
watching, aware, self-recollected, so as to utilise every experience and every
thought as a means to guide you towards that. Hence, you become your own
To such a man there is no fear. He has removed the fundamental cause of
fear. The man who does not rely upon outward circumstances for his inward
growth, masters the space between his self-conscious separateness and his
fulfillment. That is liberation, that is happiness — not the intermediary stages,
which are only delusions of the mind. I expect you will ask me questions about
this, but it is an indescribable living reality, to be realised only by yourself. It
cannot be transmitted by me to you. So it is no good waiting for me to fill that
void, that emptiness. But the moment you are aware of that emptiness, you are
filling it; the moment you are aware of the purpose of life and your own separate
existence, of your self-conscious individuality, then you are bridging the gap,
through constant, ceaseless effort. The man who is happy is he who has
conquered all effort, because, after all, true virtue is spontaneous, is effortlessness.
While there is an effort towards virtue, it is not yet virtue. While there is an
effort, you are not yet liberated. There is not yet that state of understanding, of
pure being, of pure happiness and pure intuition. To arrive at that, there must
be this intense watchfulness, constant continual effort, adjustment, choice; and
all this requires the great energy of awakened intelligence. For a man who desires
to realise this state of liberation — of happiness and pure life and pure being —
there must be constant awareness of the true worth of all the things about him.
Such a man is becoming illumined, for he is no longer a slave to things that have
pp. 182-4 (19 July 1930,
Question: Yesterday you spoke of the purpose of life. By this we understand you to
mean the purpose of individual existence. Can you develop the idea that pure life can
have no purpose?
KRISHNAMURTI: Naturally, life, pure action, pure life itself, the
totality, the summation of all life, has no purpose. It is. That life is of no
particular temperament or kind; it is impersonal. So Life cannot be understood
through any temperament, through any path; it is the Self of everything. But
between that Self and the understanding of it by the individual, lies this
individual existence, this scar of suffering. In wearing down this individuality,
this ego of reaction, lies the purpose of individual existence, of life with a small
“l”. In Life, on the other hand — Life with a capital “L” — in the pure Life
which is purposeless, there is no division; there is no distinction between
manifestation and life. In the individual, who is self-conscious, there is a
purpose — namely, that he shall realise completely, without any attributes,
qualities, special relations, this totality which is self-existent, self-caused. But
in that self-existing, self-caused Life, there is no purpose. The individual who
knows separation, is caught up in effort (effort being imperfection) and for
him, as a separate segment of that Life, there is a purpose. So one must realise
the truth of this Self, which is pure Being, which is in all things, and in so
realising it, fulfill the separate consciousness of the individual. Separation is
limitation, sorrow, unhappiness, effort. And in and through this unhappiness,
choice, effort and continual adjustment, the individual existence must all the
time adjust itself with that Truth. So he must have conceived, have caught a
glimpse of this pure Life, this pure Being which is the summation of all effort
and hence is effortlessness. It is the summation of good, — of a good in which
there is no effort. Realising this, understanding this, he will, through
spontaneous action, wear away the wall of separation. When there is total
realisation, or union with that Life, then there is no longer the craving for
separate existence, — he is everything, he is creation, he is perfection —
unblemished, because the scar of individuality has vanished away.
I know most of you will think immediately that this means total
annihilation because, you will say, how can it be achieved without the
destruction of individual existence? The moment you look at it from that point
of view, your individual existence becomes the most important thing; whereas,
from the point of view of Life, individuality is imperfection, is a segment merely
of the totality, and it is because it feels itself to be only a part, that it is all the
time seeking to fulfil itself, to realise itself in the totality. The idea that truth is
the development of the individual must be set aside. You cannot develop
something which is, of its very nature, imperfect — and this individuality is. But
you can wear it down by constant adjustments — by adjustments of conduct in
action. That is why it matters vitally what you are now, and why you should put
aside all philosophical and metaphysical theories. What matters is the manner of
your life, the manner of your behaviour, your conduct, your action, your choice
— not whether the Self exists, or whether that which exists is not the Self —
whether it is the “I” that progresses, or the “not I”. Who eventually cares for
these theories? What really matters is that you are in sorrow. When a man is
caught in sorrow he wants to be free, he wants to establish within himself a
tranquility, and a peace; he needs a mind that is pliable and eager, and this can
only be developed through continual choice. Choice is the continual discovery of
truth. There must be that eager awareness for continual adjustment — never
yielding for a second. This is not a theory with me; because I myself have done
it. I am putting it forward to you either to take it or to leave it. The wise man,
the man who is in sorrow (and the wise man is in sorrow because he is all the
time struggling to find out) examines, analyses, seeks out by criticism the
fundamental principle; and through that criticism, through impersonal
examination, he becomes aware of the total reality.
pp. 203-4 (25 July 1930,
Question: You often speak of the aim of life as being happiness. I find that, as I grow
in life, happiness and unhappiness begin to mean less and less. Their place is taken by
certainty, reality, compared to which happiness and unhappiness are as the rise and
fall of waves to the ocean. That reality is my aim, whether it makes me happy or
unhappy. In fact, I believe that, as one reaches it, one is beyond either happiness or
unhappiness. So why speak of happiness as the aim of life? This is not just a question
KRISHNAMURTI : Life, as such, has no purpose, no aim; but individual
existence has a purpose, which is to realise this being in which there is no
“you” and “I”, in which there is no separation of subject and object, in which
there is absolute unity of being. Now you can call that intuition, happiness or
liberation. I use the word happiness because, when there is the state of equal
happiness and unhappiness, it is merely negative, whereas this state of bliss is
positive. One has, unfortunately, to use words to convey the meaning of
something which cannot be described in its totality, however much one may try
to do so.
How can you describe to a blind man the beauty of sunrise or sunset? You may
attempt it. You may say: It is warmth, it is light, it is this or that; but the real
beauty, to be fully realised, must be seen. Words, therefore, can only be a bridge.
I use ordinary words with a very definite intention, giving to them a new
meaning. To me, this state of equal happiness and unhappiness, which is
analogous to the rise and ebb of the sea, is but a state of negation, a negative
condition. Whereas the positive state is Being—that bliss which is the essence of
all happiness and unhappiness—which you need not call “happiness” if you do
not wish to do so. It is liberation from all limitation of emotion, of reason; and
yet it is the goal of all reason and all emotion and all thought. To me, this
happiness is a condition in which all states of happiness exist, and it is not
dependent on changes of pleasure and pain. To realise this highest reality you go
through doubt, faith, certainty, recollectedness, in which is involved happiness
and unhappiness, sorrow, pain, joy, envy, greed—all these, however, being but
the steps of a ladder. When once you have reached the highest step, you are no
longer dependent on the lower steps. The highest is the positive, to which you
can give any name you like. That is why I am quite willing to yield to a different
name. The name does not matter; what matters is that it is positive. This
supreme positiveness is the essence of positive and negative, it is the quintessence
of all things in their variety of expressions, in their changes, in their moods; and
therefore it is Life itself.
p. 121 (2 January 1930, Winter, Adyar)
The self is the residuum of all experience; not only of the accidental, but
of all time; not of the moment, but of eternity; not of a traditional, cast-iron
system, but of life which is free. That self is the outcome of the development of
your own uniqueness, your own growth, through which you gain understanding.
This is individuality. Do not confuse the individual with the personal. In
individuality, if you can trace it to its source, if you can separate it from your
personality, you will find the truth, that intuition which is reason, which is the
consummation of intelligence.
On the one side, there is the self which is of the eternal, which can only be
developed through your own uniqueness, which is the residue of all experience,
which is intelligence, intuition, reason; and on the other side there is the
personality, which is of the moment, the result of birth, nationality, class and so
on. That is why I have urged over and over again that you must cast aside the
personal, which is the unessential, and judge everything from the point of view
of the eternal, which is the individual. And in order to discover the individual,
you must put aside all your personal point of view. This requires constant
balance, adjustment and thought.
To understand the significance of life, you must not be caught in the
momentary, in the personal, but rather shed that completely, dissociate yourself
entirely from it, and then look at all things from the point of view of the eternal,
that is, of the self. Bearing this in mind, ask yourself what is the “I” trying to
achieve; what is the individuality, developed through uniqueness, through
experience, trying to seek and attain? It is trying to set aside the limitations of
the personality, of the momentary, the incidental; and so release the life.
pp. 335-6 (31 July 1931, Summer, Ommen)
The “I”, the ego, is impermanent, it is an illusion, it is a bundle of qualities, a
centre of virtues, sins, ideals, a circumference in which there is a beginning and
an end. Now, that “I” is formed through the senses, through the emotions,
through the perception, and from that perception arises thought, which creates
consciousness and out of this is born the separate “I”-ness. The “I” does not exist
by itself, the “I” is not something which feels by itself: you feel and the “I” is
created; you think and the “I” is created; you have strong emotions and the “I” is
created. It is not the “I” that feels and thinks; the “I” is but the coordination,
the coming together of corporeal existence which forms the body of sensation,
perception, thought, which becomes consciousness. That consciousness of the
mind creates the “I”. Therefore you say: “I want to exist, I have a separate
existence.” Therefore you say: “I feel, I think, I perceive, I am conscious.” If you
are seeking Truth, then you have senses and yet the mind is not creating the
“I” through those senses; you have feelings, but the mind is not creating the
“I”; you must have perception, which is the capacity to distinguish, to
discriminate, and yet through that discrimination, the “I” must not be made.
You must think, and yet through thought there must not be this illusion of
So consciousness is but self-consciousness. It is but the bundle, the
coordination of all these things which create the “I”; but to be conscious of that
“I”-ness, as you must, you must begin to be responsible, you must begin to think
for yourself, to feel for yourself. The “I” is an illusion, and if you base all your
civilization, your thought, your culture, your intercourse, your conduct on that
illusion, you will not understand Truth, you will not live in that completeness.
You are but caught up in an illusion of separateness which is the cause of sorrow,
but as soon as you realize the cause you begin to alter your whole outlook, and
therefore your conduct and civilization.
pp. 339-40 (1 August 1931, Summer, Ommen)
To understand the cause and the subject of suffering let us find out what is the
“I”. This body of mine has its sensations of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting,
and feeling. This group we shall call sensation. Then there is perception, the
power to create images, imagination. There is the mind which thinks, and there
is consciousness. I am dividing them for convenience, not to create a new
system. All these: body, sensation, perception, thought, consciousness, go to
create the “I”. It is not the “I” which creates them, not the “I” which thinks,
which feels, which perceives, which is conscious. The “I” begins to acquire,
grasp, hold, and through this grasping, holding, self-consciousness is created.
Thus all self-consciousness is acquisition.
The “I” does not exist by itself, it exists only through sensation. To me there
is no “I”; it is but sensation, body, perception, thought, consciousness, that
create the “I”; and because it must live in separateness, that “I” must acquire,
must possess. So consciousness, that “I”, must hold, must grasp, must acquire,
and in opposition to that, death seems like annihilation. Now this acquiring,
grasping “I”, thinks that through these accumulations it will acquire happiness,
completeness. Through that desire of acquisition it sets up the idea of continuity
and the fear of annihilation. So the “I” is created in the mind, the “I” does not
exist by itself. For its well-being, for its maintenance of separateness, it demands
the standardization of thought, with all its implications, and evades all changes.
Then there is the standardization of morality, laws framed to check the “I” from
becoming too greedy in acquisition, and from this arises fear, the fear of that
independent thought which leads man to become his own law.
Naturally, from all this, there is the emphasis on individuality in the wrong
place; that is, you think that because the individual is separate and the quality
of individuality is acquisition, you should emphasize that quality of acquisition
in work. You think that through work the individual will gain more and more
for himself and become more possessive in qualities, friendships and objects. The
emphasis is laid on the gain to the individual through work. Work must be
collective, not individualistic. There must be the planning of cooperative work
for the whole and not for the individual alone. We must plan together for the
whole of mankind, and in that there cannot be separation into countries,
On the other hand, there is the individual who must free himself, through
his own effort, from his “I”, self-consciousness. For that there can be no
authority— though there must be an authority in work. Authority must be in
the right sphere and not in the wrong sphere as it is at present. You have spiritual
authority, that is, you follow someone, a saviour, a guru. There cannot be
authority towards the freedom of self-consciousness, because Truth is purely an
individual perception and in that perception you must become a law to yourself
and cannot follow another.
Because of the false emphasis on individuality, there is the idea either of
annihilation or of continuity. The mind is all the time occupied with the “I”:
whether “I” shall always exist, whether “I” have enough possessions, power,
glory, comfort—all the time grasping, acquiring, growing, and this kind of
growth is entirely based on sensation. The “I” exists in that consciousness which
depends on sensation, so the mind is occupied with all these longings; and you
imagine that the more you acquire, the happier you will be. Examine your
systems of life and you will see that everything is based on this. While you are
caught up in this division of “yours” and of “mine”, there are many ways of
deceiving yourself. But when the mind is free of the “I”, it can begin to renew
itself, to recreate itself.
“desire...is life itself”
p. 141 (10 April 1930, Los Angeles)
Question: Must there not be a creative urge or power, outside the control of the
individual, which impels him to attain the abundant life?
KRISHNAMURTI: What greater urge do you need than of laughter and
tears? That is why I have been talking about tears and laughter, and not the
explanations of them. If you do not know how to suffer, if you have never cried,
how can you understand, and what greater urge is there than desire? What are
you doing all the time with your desire? Your highest aim is to kill it, but you
cannot kill desire. What you perceive, you desire; but if your perception is small,
your desires are small. If your vision is large, your desires are large. If you are in
chaos, it is not the fault of desire, it is the fault of your perception.
pp. 151-2 (31 May 1930, Ojai)
Now, when you ask yourself what you are seeking, what you really desire to
understand is how life works as a whole, what truth is as a whole. You wish to
find the universal within all the mass of particulars. You want to understand life
in all its various shades of expression and the way in which you, as an individual,
can express that life, and how you can assimilate the happiness which is the fruit
of life. And you will notice that every individual, whether advanced or not,
wishes to understand life in his own particular way, to narrow it down to suit
himself. The philosopher will intellectualize life and have many systems and
explanations of things, and will seek life along that particular line. The poet will
seek the understanding of life in the balance and beauty of words; and so forth.
Everyone, in brief, wants to interpret life according to his own desires, or in
terms of the particular system or religion to which he belongs.
Now, if you wish to understand truth in its totality, you cannot come to it
along any of these particular lines, because life is all inclusive; it lies beyond all
philosophies, beyond the garland of words, beyond ugliness and beauty, beyond
poverty and riches; and yet, because it is beyond these, it is in them all. So, if you
would realize with serious intent, you must grasp at this fullness, this totality,
and must free yourself from all the special fantasies of desire. Life, as an inner
principle, is the completeness of thought and love; and the way to this
completeness is from the personal to the impersonal. There must ever,
therefore, be a conflict between emotion and mind until they become poised in
self-existent happiness in the liberated life. All particular desires — whether
they be of the poet or the philosopher, or of the thoughtless seeker after
pleasure — are, at bottom, the desire for this self-existent, enduring happiness.
That is what your own life — separate as it is, caught in reactions, urged about
by fear — is really seeking. For life, this is its ultimate potentiality, which it is
ever craving to bring into actualization....... *
[Original asterisk footnote:] * Krishnamurti here traced once more the three stages
of desire, as outlined on pages 5 and 13 of this issue.
Any unreal satisfaction of the inner want, which we call desire, is usually
accompanied by a desire to pass on all this unreality to somebody else. I will
explain. You want to give understanding and love in a particular way, which is
your way; and you are hurt when this is not accepted. But such giving is the
giving of illusion, not reality. Also, there is cruelty in it, for it arises from the
desire to dominate, to guide, and control; and it is out of this kind of giving that
we get our steel-bound morality. Both giving and wanting come to the same
thing. Giving is but weakening the individual, and wanting is but relying on
something external. Therefore, neither of these have anything to do with truth.
The point is that, at the root of both wanting and giving, there is a going
outwards away from yourself; and this is what you have to resist. But, if you
do, what is left? When you are not giving or wanting something, what are you?
You are Being, which is the only positive thing in man.
Being is fearless and does not depend on anything outside itself; hence it
does not cast a shadow. It knows no separation and it is immortal. And so, when
you as an individual enter into that pure Being, you become the delight of life’s
expression, because you have been through everything. Such Being is life’s
fulfillment. That is what everyone is seeking — to be himself; not to depend on
external things for his wanting or giving. When you are such Being, you are as
the sunshine in which all things grow and in which there is nothing which is
either evil or good, bad or indifferent.
So do not seek to understand this Being through any one particular
channel. It is far above all these petty creations of illusion. Seek it by casting out
all fear, for when that is done life will show you what it means you to be.
pp. 154-5 (1 June 1930, Ojai)
Now desire, contrary to general belief, is the most precious possession of
man. It is the eternal flame of life; it is life itself. When its nature and functions
are not understood, however, it becomes cruel, tyrannical, bestial, stupid.
Therefore your business is not to kill desire as most spiritual people in the world
are trying to do, but to understand it. If you kill your desire, you are like the
withered branch of a lovely tree. Desire must keep growing and find out its true
meaning through conflict and friction. Only by the continuance of the conflict
can understanding come. This is what most people do not see. As soon as the
conflict comes, and the sorrow born of conflict, they at once seek comfort.
Comfort, in its turn, breeds fear. Fear leads to imitation and the sheltering
behind established tradition. From this come rigid systems of morality, laying
down what is spiritual and what is not spiritual, what is the religious life and
what is not the religious life. It is the fear of life which produces guides, teachers,
gurus, churches, religions. Please, I know.
None of these things are going to satisfy a mind which is really enquiring,
which is really in revolt. As soon as you fear, you have the desire to conform, to
listen to everybody, to become a machine, a type. And all this is but contraction,
and contraction is slow death. It is not in this way that desire can ever fulfil itself.
Growth can only come by the liberation of desire, and liberation here means
freeing it from all fear, and so from the cruelty and exploitation which results
from the quest of comfort, which is the refuge of fear. And this, in its turn, can
only come about through the wearing down of the egotism in desire by contact
with life itself. Only in this way can the reality be reached which is the true
consummation of desire. And so, truly to grow is to learn to love more and
more, to think more and more impersonally, through experience.
Desire, freed from its limitations and from the illusion of fear, becomes joy,
which is but the true poise of reason and love. From being at first personal,
limited, anxious, clinging, it grows by suffering till it becomes all-inclusive, till it
is as the sunset which gives and does not ask anything in return. In the same
way, by continual experience, by choosing, by assimilating and rejecting,
thought becomes more and more impersonal. When both thought and desire
are purified, then we get the perfect balance and harmony between the two,
which is the fulfillment of life and which we speak of as intuition. Such
purified life is the highest reality, and I say that every man and woman must
sooner or later attain to it. It is not reserved for the few, because life is not the
possession of the few. It is that which is struggling for realization in every
human being, and the path to realization is the same in all cases. It is by
struggle, effort, choice and conflict.
Now this highest reality is something which I assert that I have attained. For
me, it is not a theological concept. It is my own life-experience, definite, real,
concrete. I can, therefore, speak of what is necessary for its achievement, and I
say that the first thing is the recognizing exactly what desire must become in
order to fulfil itself, and then to discipline oneself so that at every moment, one
is watching one’s own desires, and guiding them towards that all-inclusiveness of
impersonal love and thought which must be their true consummation. When
you have established the discipline of this constant awareness, this constant
watchfulness upon all that you think and feel and do, then life ceases to be the
tyrannical, tedious, confusing thing that it is for most of us, and becomes but a
series of opportunities for growing towards that perfect fulfillment.
The goal of life is, therefore, not something far off, to be attained only in the
distant future, but it is to be realized moment by moment in that Now which is
all eternity. In such realization every moment controls the future; by what you
are now, you make yourself the master of tomorrow. To understand life and to
live it with understanding you must make yourself free of all the illusions which
desire throws up in its efforts to grow. And this means that you must be free of
fear, for all such illusions are born of fear. Once you have attained to fearlessness,
then you will understand clearly what desire is really seeking, and how it may
attain its end. The man who is seeking happiness, and understands what he is
seeking, must have no divorce between his desires and his actions. Knowing what
desire really wants, he will translate this into daily action. In other words, all his
actions will show forth that poise of reason and of love, which is desire’s true
goal because it is the liberation of life.
pp. 191-2 (22 July 1930,
Question: How would you distinguish between the emotional or intellectual
reaction created in an ordinary man by a sunset, and the creative thoughts and
feelings perceived in the sunset by a great artist or a liberated man? What is the
nature of the difference between the two modes of experience?
KRISHNAMURTI: In one case there is excitement; in the other there is no
excitement. Excitement means reaction, and the liberated man is free of all
reactions. His energy is outward-going; reactions are inward-going. Please do
not look for sunsets to inspire you. You are only transferring to Nature the
inspiration you looked for in a Master. You are trying to become something, to
imitate something, instead of realising your own self, in which the whole
summation of truth lies hidden. It is not in the worship of another “I am” that
you find truth. That is only an illusion. In the realisation of one’s being, which is
the being of all things, alone is happiness.
p. 247 (6 August 1930,
Question: In answer to a question yesterday about the civilised man asking
nothing for himself from anyone, you said, “One must make compromises with
physical things”. This is likely to lead to misunderstanding. Could you explain
KRISHNAMURTI: To explain further, you must look at desire. Desire is
seeking happiness in many ways, and in its search it is creating conflict. Now
one man seeks happiness through a multitude of things — possessions, money,
houses, clothes, all the perquisites of modern civilization. Then he goes to a
subtler world of enjoyment, where desire is still seeking happiness. He does not
find it there, so he becomes indifferent, which is to be free from sorrow in a
negative way — it is not a state of positive being. So again he must suffer till he
comes to that state of true being which is the summation of happiness.
When I said yesterday that one must make a compromise with physical things,
please understand what I mean: There must be total detachment from all things
— from all comforts, the desire for possessions, from both gross or subtle
enjoyment — not because of authority or fear, but because you desire it yourself;
and out of that desire will come ecstasy and activity of being. When I said that
we must compromise with physical things, I meant to convey that I must put on
a pair of trousers, for instance, but that it is no good multiplying those trousers
to many hundreds. Happiness does not lie in that direction. You must have a
certain minimum, but without attachment; and then you are free, indifferent to
these things. I know you will immediately translate this into all kinds of things.
That is why I introduced it by saying: Examine your desires, find out if your
desire is clinging to comfort, to popularity, to fashions, to all the innumerable
idiosyncrasies of man — or rather, to the not-yet-man. Then, after great
examination and careful thought, you will be free of these things. Then there
will no longer be a question of compromise. But it requires great concentration,
great thoughtfulness, to recognise the pursuit of desire. You may give up your
clothes, smoking, eating meat, and all the rest of it, but yet that desire may cling
passionately to something else. It is by utter detachment, freedom from all
attachments, without compromise of any kind, that you arrive at the full
realisation of truth. You may be free from physical attachment, free from the
desire for comfort; but if you have the desire to shelter yourself from fear, to have
mental tabernacles in which you take refuge, comforting ideas in which you find
consolation — then you are not really detached. With all these things there must
be no compromise. When there is no longer that aching attachment to things,
gross, subtle, or formless, then from that detachment comes the ecstasy of
living, of being, which is but the perfect balance of naturalness.
p. 301 (1931 Summer,
Question: Are we to see in the most fundamental human emotions—hunger, thirst,
sex, love—something of which to be ashamed; or are we to recognize them as
expressions of life and at the same time try to purge them of egotism?
KRISHNAMURTI: You cannot purge, clean, that which is the true expression
of Life. You can only clean that which is the expression of egotism. The true
expression of Life is free, not limited by self-consciousness. Therefore it is, and
there is nothing to be cleansed. It is a part of the essential loveliness which is
Life. It is complete; it knows no separation, it does not spring out of sorrow,
pain, fear of the opposites. Love, which is its own eternity, is Life. In
completeness love knows no person, no mine and yours, no division, no
attraction or repulsion. It is the same with intelligence, the pure inward
perception, which is the true attribute of Life, its true outward expression.
As long as man holds to his self-consciousness there is a struggle between the
opposites, like and dislike, attraction and repulsion. A man who desires to be free
of self-consciousness must be normal, he must not suppress any of his desires
through fear, but must understand his conflict, his love, his sex. This
understanding shall make him free from self-consciousness. In man lies at all
times that Life in its completeness; but so long as there is self-consciousness with
all its qualities, opposites, virtues, fears, attachments, he is held in the bondage of
illusion. He thinks of himself as incomplete, and out of that incompleteness
there arises oppression, the expression of authority, the sense of possession, of
power. When a man really desires to be free, really wishes to realize that
completeness, he uses these as stepping stones; through his conflicts he gathers
the significance of experience.
p. 64 (NOW, 1929 Ommen camp)
What I mean by self-discipline is not discipline imposed through fear of
punishment and desire of reward which, when removed, enables you to return to
your old, senseless ways. True self-discipline is far greater, far more intense,
because it cuts at the roots of that “I”ness which creates barriers. Self-discipline is
the realisation of the freedom of the self. Individual uniqueness consists in the
process and not in the attainment. Intelligence consists in choosing the essential
and must be born from the love of perfection, from the love of that which is
Understand the purpose of life, and from that very understanding will arise
self-discipline. Do not discipline yourself because you think that I have rewards
or punishments for you, or because you think that there is a heaven or a hell, or
because you desire to cooperate with something greater than yourself. These are
all childish reasons. If you merely discipline yourself without understanding, you
are creating greater barriers, greater misunderstandings, greater sorrows for
yourself and for others. Self-discipline must be born out of the love of Life —
vast, immeasurable, whole, unconditioned, limitless, to which all humanity
belongs. The encouragement, the nourishment, the fostering of that love will
lead to incorruptibility, because you love that which is eternal. Because you love
that freedom which is absolute, which is Truth itself, which is Life eternal, which
is perfection, which is incorruptibility, which is harmony — by the very force of
that love, your self-discipline will make you incorruptible; so you must nourish
that love. The incorruptibility of the self is the perfection of life. Into the
vastness of that Life which is unconditioned, all things enter, as all rivers enter
p. 87-8 (14 November 1929, Benares)
Bearing in mind that you must be assured, certain for yourself beyond the
shadow of doubt, as to what is the purpose of life, from that point of view
examine the individual. I am only concerned with the individual, though in the
present civilisation the group is striving to dominate the individual, irrespective
of his growth. It is the individual that matters, because if the individual is clear in
his purpose, is assured, certain, then the struggle against society will cease. Then
he will not be dominated by society; he will be free and independent of society,
of the morality, of the narrowness, of the conventions of societies and groups.
The individual is the whole universe, the individual is the whole world, not
part of the world. The individual is the all-inclusive, not the all-exclusive,
because the self in each one is constantly making efforts, experimenting in
different directions; but the self in you and in me and in hundreds of others is
the same, though the expressions may vary and should vary.
The individual is the focus of the universe. So long as you do not
understand yourself, so long as you do not fathom the fullness of yourself, you
can be dominated, controlled, guided, helped, urged, caught up in the wheel of
continual strife. So you must concern yourself with the individual, that is, with
yourself. I am not preaching a selfish point of view at all. Experiment with what
you yourself think is right and not with what another says.
pp. 114-5 (1 January 1930, Winter, Adyar)
Another point which I would bring to your notice is this: life is not working
to produce a type; life is not creating waxen images.
Life wants you to be entirely different one from the other, and in diversity
must your fulfillment be and not in the production of a type. Look at what is
happening at present. You worship the many in the one, you worship the whole
of life personified in one being. This is worshipping a type, a waxen image, and
thereby making yourself into a type, into an image; and that image is a limitation
and hence there is sorrow. Whereas if you worship the one in the many, you will
not make yourself into a type. This is not a philosophical or a metaphysical idea
at all. Man, because he is afraid to be kindly, affectionate to the many, gives all
his respect, his worship, his prayers to the one—that is, he creates an image. But
life does not make types, it has nothing to do with images. To worship the one
in the many needs constant awareness of thought, constant apprehension of
the impersonal, constant adjustment of the point of view of the individual to
the many, which is life. If you create a type and merely adjust the balance
between yourself and that type, it is not a true adjustment, it is purely a personal
whim. Whereas if you make an adjustment between yourself and the one in the
many, then you are not creating an image, nor a type, but rather are being
moulded by life itself.
p. 129 (est. January 1930, Winter, Adyar)
What are you seeking? If you are seeking comfort, that putrefying
satisfaction, then you will naturally invent many things to support you in your
sorrow but will never eradicate the root of sorrow. But if you are seeking
freedom, you are beginning to destroy all these limitations, you are not a
worshipper of anything, you are seeking that perfection of the self which is the
perfection of the whole.
The self which is in every being is life and life is thought in action at the
beginning and, as it grows to its final fulfillment, it is thought in being. We will
discuss this later; but, as I said before, do not accept anything unless your hearts,
your minds are certain without a shadow of doubt, and then alter and destroy
the unessential things that are around you and be free. Then you will be in full
ecstasy with life, in love with life, with every dancing shadow, with every cry,
with every sound of laughter. Do not translate this into mysticism; truth has
nothing to do with such things. It is the whole, and to understand the whole you
must not approach it by any path. You must have the uniqueness of the self in
p. 196-7 (24 July 1930,
Question: Does life, for the realisation of which the individual is struggling,
appear differently to different temperaments?
KRISHNAMURTI: Certainly not. Temperaments exist because of separate
individual existences; but that which knows no separation cannot be translated
into temperaments; you cannot approach it through a particular temperament.
If you look at it from the point of view of the part, you do not see the whole,
and naturally the whole appears in terms of the part, and so you translate that
part as temperament. Through a temperament you cannot perceive that which is
beyond all temperaments. As a person realises this life, he may translate it
differently, using different terms, a different language, but it will be the same
picture. It is like two artists who paint the same scene. If you try to find unity in
those two pictures on the canvas, you will be utterly confused; but if you perceive
the scene itself, you will find there the unity that has been translated into two
different expressions. Now expressions are temperaments, and in temperaments
there cannot be unity; but
there is unity in that which creates temperaments.
Question: Would you kindly speak further to us concerning the distinction
between individual temperament and what you have called individual uniqueness?
KRISHNAMURTI: Individual temperament varies, whereas individual
uniqueness is continuous until it achieves, until it has realised. Individual
temperament depends on birth, involving change of environment, personality,
race consciousness, heredity, and so on. Individual uniqueness is continuous
through birth and death, is the sole guide in your existence as a separate
individual, until you reach the goal.
pp. 224-6 (2 August 1930, Summer, Ommen)
I have been saying that through individuality there arises attachment, and I
will explain what I mean by individuality and what I mean by attachment.
Individuality is the awakened, self-conscious, limited existence which, being
imperfect, demands effort, and out of that effort there arises attachment. In
effort is involved struggle, and struggle demands comfort. From comfort is
awakened fear, which clings to that comfort through attachment to persons, to
ideas, to dogmas, to pre-established conceptions of life. Therefore one must fully
understand the purpose of struggle, the significance of effort. So, from effort
born out of the limitation of self-conscious individuality arises the desire to seek
shelter; and in that shelter you are caught and entangled, and you no longer wish
to make the struggle to free yourself from self-conscious individuality.
Through fear, you give consoling attributes to truth; you give to truth those
comforting qualities, which fear makes you desire; you qualify truth out of fear.
Therefore, truth becomes comfortable, pleasurable, and hence personal. If you
look into your own minds and hearts, you will see that desire, in its secret
pursuit, is all the time attributing to truth the consoling powers which your selfconscious
individuality, in its struggle, demands. You are seeking, in your
struggle, to establish a comfortable theory of truth. Truth is supposed by you to
be comforting, personal, encouraging, compassionate, loving, and so on. Now
truth, to me, is all-inclusive — inclusive of love with its opposites of hate,
jealousy, envy, greed. Do not misunderstand and misapply this statement. In
truth are all opposites, because it is everything. So the desire to establish truth as
a comforting, consoling sanctuary must be put entirely away. Whenever you give
to truth this consoling personal attribute, you are clinging to individuality and
craving for its endurance. In other words, you are seeking immortality through
Now you, this limited self-conscious individual, cannot, in limitation, attain
immortality. Immortality is freedom of all consciousness, consciousness being
that awakened self-consciousness created by limitation, in which there is “you”
and “I”, caused by separation. Individuality — which includes the desire to
cling to that individuality, and the love for other individuals — is not an end
in itself. Individuality is but self-conscious limitation. When there is that
limitation, there is consciousness, and no amount of expansion of that
consciousness can give you immortality. Consciousness is created by separateness,
and out of that separateness arises effort. Consciousness is effort against
limitation, and there cannot be immortality in limitation. Immortality lies only
outside limitation. When there is conscious effort in separation, in limitation,
there is created the delusion of “you” and “I”, and you desire to prolong that “I”
through time, by the worship of another “I am”. You seek immortality in
another “I am”; but however great, however evolved that other “I am” may be, it
yet remains another “I am”.
So the strongly awakened self-consciousness, which is the “I”, is all the time
seeking immortality, its endurance in separateness; but there cannot be
immortality, endurance, for that which is caused by limitation, exclusiveness.
Limitation is but negation; it is not complete, whole; and for that limited life,
which we call individuality, there can be no immortality, because selfconsciousness
is awakened by limitation, and only in the removing of that
limitation lies immortality.
Therefore the “I” is the limitation of separateness. And so you must remove
that cause of separation, the “I”, in which is self-consciousness, in which is
involved struggle; by continual concentrated effort, every moment of the day,
you must remove this wall of limitation and thus establish yourself in true
freedom of consciousness. That is immortality, and that is endurance. That is to
be beyond time and space, beyond birth and death.
As there cannot be immortality in separation, you must seek that which is
enduring, through inclusiveness, through the desire for the whole — not for the
part, not for the prolongation of the “I”, but for the diminution of the “I”, not
for the magnification of the “I”, but for the lessening of the “I”, by continual
effort, by continual adjustment, by constant reflectiveness, awareness. Freedom
of consciousness is life. Freedom of consciousness is not complete annihilation
or a condition of perpetual sleep; it is the consummation of all effort, the union
of all opposites; and the wise man is he who has conquered the opposites and is
free from effort. He is life itself, everlasting, because he has united himself with
So there must no longer be clinging to personal attachment. I know you will
immediately ask how the world will continue if there is no personal attachment.
The world is but yourself multiplied, and if there is the conquering of
separateness by your individual effort, then you are raising the standard of the
world. By your understanding of immortality and your living in that
immortality, in that life which is continuous, enduring, perpetual, you will not
destroy but raise the world. That is why my insistence is on the individual
conquest of the wall of separation. An individual who has conquered is free,
liberated; he has become the totality; he is the whole with unimpeded mind,
with unimpeded love, unlimited, unconditioned.
For the conquering of this wall of division there must first of all be
detachment in place of attachment — detachment leading to conduct.
Detachment without purpose is but negation; but detachment leading to
something is positive. Detachment leading to behaviour, to conduct, becomes
positive, active — whereas detachment leading nowhere can become
indifference, which again is negation; and in negation there is always limitation,
sorrow, pain, suffering. When detachment, from all things which are caused by
self-conscious separation of “you” and “I”, leads towards right behaviour, right
conduct, right action, then that detachment brings you to that positive being, to
that pure awareness, that intuition which is the totality of life itself.
p. 353-4 (5 August 1931,
Question: You say the “I” is an illusion. We must think, but without the illusion of
the “I”, impersonally. On the other hand, you teach a tremendous individualism; you
speak of responsibility very often, and insist on it. You say we must become a law
unto ourselves, our own law. I quite agree with this. But how is one to reconcile this
individualism with selflessness? All truths are paradoxical, but it is most important to
find out what attitude can result from this perfect selflessness allied with integral
individualism. How can I be a law unto myself if my self is an illusion?
KRISHNAMURTI: Irresponsibly, unconsciously, you have followed ideals,
teachers, saviours, your neighbours, society. Unconsciously you have done this
because it is easier to follow than to think for yourself. Now I say do not follow,
become fully conscious; that is, become fully responsible for your own actions,
become a law to yourself and you will come finally to that realization which is
the harmony of all. In that there is no law because completeness knows no law,
law being irresponsibility and responsibility, consciousness and unconsciousness.
You have unconsciously followed, but to be complete you must be fully
responsible, that is, fully individualistic in the sense that you are responsible for
your actions. You do not depend on anyone, and therefore you come to that
realization where the self no longer exists, which is freedom from all
consciousness and all responsibility.
I will put it differently. There is the observer and the observed, the actor
and the action. Now the actor, the observer, is conscious of his separateness; he
knows he is the actor, the thinker, the subject that creates the object, the doer
who does the deed. If you are caught up in the deed, that is, in the fruit of
action, you are unconscious, you are irresponsible, though there still exist the
observer and the observed, the deed and the actor. Carry that further and there is
neither the actor, nor the action. In Truth there is no longer either actor or
action, there is only completeness.
I will try to put it again differently. You must know in what way you are
selfish. That is, you must become fully aware of yourself; you must know for
yourself in what manner your opinions are selfish, whether your ideals have their
root in selfishness, whether your will is selfish, whether your imagination has its
roots in selfishness. You must dissociate yourself from all ideas of society, of
nations, of peoples, and of man himself and all his civilizations and
complications. From that dissociation you become completely yourself,
completely individualistic, not selfishly individualistic; that is, you are alone. I
will give you an example: You think that you are in love. To find out whether it
is real love, love itself, which is its own eternity, you must dissociate yourself
from the object of your love, and see if your love can stand by itself without
losing its loveliness. You must be intrinsically alone. That aloneness is true
individuality. Out of that full consciousness of individuality there comes the
freedom of individuality. You must become a law to yourself in order to be free
of all law. The discovery of uniqueness is solitude; it is not the uniqueness of
expression, but the uniqueness of unit. From this comes full consciousness and
through consciousness the realization of completeness.
In this solitude alone can Truth be realized; it is the inevitable result of
search. There is then a delight, an ecstasy of search. Concentrate your energy,
not in fighting the opposites, but in searching, seeking, understanding. So you
will be free of the opposites.
p. 355-8 (5 August 1931, Summer, Ommen)
If you have understood what I have been saying during the last week, you will
see that man is continually in search of that Life which is ever renewing itself,
which knows no death. That completeness is in all things and that Life in all its
potentiality, in all its eternity, abides in man. It is the beginning and the end of
all search: That completeness is of no time—time being purely directional,
progressive, relative—and therefore it ever abides beyond past, present and
In that alone lies immortality. The personality may wither and die, but to the
man who realizes that completeness, that tranquility of mind, to him there is
the assurance of immortality—not as progressive continuance which admits
subject and object, and therefore duration, but that Reality in which all selfconsciousness,
which includes the “I” and the thinker, the actor and the action,
is consummated. That state of mind is like the taut string of a violin. If you
wish to play the violin you must have the string rightly adjusted, tuned,
neither too much nor too little. That tension is harmony. When the mind is
free of all self-consciousness and therefore of all action springing from selfishness,
it knows neither object nor subject, neither thinker nor thought. Such a mind is
clothed with the love in which the particularity of sense, of object, is entirely
absent, and that love is as the perfume of a flower. This is not an intellectual
theory, but living in continual adjustment, constant awareness, so that out of
that awareness which is the outcome of search will come harmony—the mind
that contains the heart.
Completeness, that ultimate Reality, is in every human being, and in the
realization of that alone is Truth. Man spends many years in acquiring, holding,
possessing, grasping, whether it be possessions or ideas, because he thinks that
the ultimate Reality which is happiness can only be realized through this
acquisition, through holding on to an idea or to an ideal, to things, to persons.
He thinks through the acquisition of virtues, qualities, to prolong his own entity,
Now I say that the ego, the personality, has no future, which does not mean
annihilation nor continuance. The realization of Truth alone is eternal. Nothing
but Truth can be permanent, everlasting. I maintain that he who would realize
this completeness, the ecstasy of that eternal Reality, must turn his effort which
he has used in acquiring, in grasping, to free himself from all these qualities,
virtues, the opposites, because what he has gathered so carefully is but laying
emphasis on the ego, which is but an illusion. Though a fact, the ego is an
illusion, but man acts as if it were a Reality. It is only by ridding himself of that
illusion that he will find the consummation of completeness.
For many years you have spent your energy in acquiring possessions of things,
of ideas, of people, and now I say that happiness cannot be realized except
through the freedom from self-consciousness. You must go through that flame of
self-consciousness to be free so that the mind can be tranquil.
Truth lies hid under all this covering of the opposites, created by the ego.
Effort, then, must be turned, if you would free yourself from the opposites. With
the desire, with the love for that ultimate Reality, which is Life itself, effort does
not become a struggle between the opposites, but becomes a liberating process
from the idea of “yours” and “mine”, “your truth, and my truth”. Effort then, is
but discernment. So long as you have not true judgment, which is true
discernment, the mind is caught up in struggle and is lost between the opposites.
With the desire to seek Truth, with the love of Reality, with the love of Life,
arises self-discipline. True discipline is discernment, not imposition,
compulsion, repression. Discernment leads to Truth, and on that discernment
self-discipline must be based. The capacity to discern begins with small things
and through continual choice intelligence is awakened, and that intelligence
gives you the capacity to distinguish the essential in all things.
In the search for that completeness there naturally comes discernment, which
is true self-discipline, and out of that self-discipline comes fearlessness. Fighting
fear will never make you fearless, but if you are seeking completeness, fear
disappears of its own accord. Out of fearlessness comes detachment. Detachment
is not a strained effort, but the inevitable result of search. You must be discerning
in your likes and dislikes in order to be free of both likes and dislikes. If you are
seeking Truth, out of detachment comes action, which is conduct—conduct, not
based on like and dislike, on friendship, on nationalities, on pettiness, on
preferences, but conduct based on the search for the ultimate Reality which is
In search of that ultimate Reality, through right action which is behaviour,
there comes complete solitude. This solitude is not a withdrawal, a flight from
conflict. Out of that solitude which, at the beginning, is full of reflection,
examination, comes the state of mind which is no longer occupied with
imagination, will, opinions and ideas, which are rooted in self-consciousness.
But to arrive at that solitude, which is an ecstasy, which is a richness, you must
have gone through ideas, opinions, great determination, great perceptions.
Otherwise that solitude is but an emptiness, an escape, a flight, a poverty, caused
by the fear of effort.
So you come to that state of mind and heart when they are complete in
themselves and, therefore, fully harmonized. Out of that harmony comes the
freedom from self-consciousness which is full responsibility, and the realization
of that completeness which is immeasurable. In the man who would seek Truth,
which lies in himself, there must be born that intense desire, the love of Truth,
the love of that completeness which is Life itself.
As I said before, this is not an intellectual theory, the deductions from books.
But if you put this into practice in everyday life you will find, because you are
seeking Truth, that there comes this sequence: right behaviour, true conduct; out
of true conduct, solitude — first solitude which is full of reflection and then
solitude which is free of all reflection, thought. Then the mind and the heart
are, as it were, held taut like strings, so that the full tone of Life may sound.
When you are seeking that completeness, which is not in the future nor in the
past but in the ever-living present, which knows no birth but only an eternal
renewing in itself, you must begin with the first step, that is, you must become
fully self-conscious; and in the very heart of that self-consciousness you will find
the ecstasy of that perfume of understanding, of that completeness.
We shall not meet again, perhaps, for some two years. The occasions when you
can be absolutely tranquil are very rare, you have few opportunities to be
inwardly peaceful with everything, with yourself. Civilization does not give you
the opportunity; you must strive after it; you must snatch out of this conflict the
tranquil moment which must not be withdrawal but the consummation of
reflection, the height of thought. Then you will never avoid Life, with its
changes, conflicts, sorrow, joys, corruption, envy. Live with great intensity, for it
is through the highest intensity that true detachment is born. It is only then that
you can realize completeness. Through the liberation from self-consciousness,
through the flame of full responsibility to yourself, you will find that ultimate
Reality which is beyond all law, which is true freedom.
p. 363-4 (24 January 1932, Ojai)
What creates illusions, what creates beliefs? It is the idea of the “I,” the ego,
the uniqueness of separation. As long as you are unaware of yourself, you create
ignorance. By becoming more and more conscious of yourself, by going through
the flame of self-consciousness, you realize the ultimate, which is liberation from
self-consciousness, the creator of ignorance. In other words, there is illusion as
long as self-consciousness exists, but the freedom of self-consciousness destroys
all illusions. You cannot free that self-consciousness, that limitation, by losing
yourself in works, in service to a cause, or by a belief in Saviors, Masters, and so
on. You can liberate it only by finding out if your actions are based on a belief,
on an incentive, on selfishness. Do not go through the whole gamut of beliefs,
but become conscious in action in the present. Free the mind of all ideals
because they do not dissolve self-consciousness. By becoming fully self-conscious
in the present, in thought, in emotion, and hence in action, you are liberating
self-consciousness, which is a limitation, a quality.
pp. 365-6 (24 January
Question: I am an honest man, willing to work and earn an honest wage.
Nevertheless, I have been out of work for six months and have forgotten what it is
like not to be hungry. I am told that you possess nothing, but you are obviously
protected by your friends, for your face is still handsome and your body is clothed
and well fed. You speak of Truth. How can you philosophize while thousands are
starving? What is all this talk of Truth? To me, Truth is food, work, living. You
spend your time talking of some hypothetical state of consciousness. Surely the man
who tackles the problem of the unemployed, who actively helps his neighbor, is
making better use of his knowledge. What is your reply?
KRISHNAMURTI: A civilization that has its roots in selfishness cannot be
altered in a day. It needs re-educating. A civilization in which the individuals are
rampant in their aggressiveness must be fundamentally changed. It must be
based on communal work, where the individual has no outlet for his selfishness,
where individual competitiveness has no reward; but the individual must keep
the integrity of his individuality wholly to seek understanding. As it is now, man
is selfishly individualistic, competent in his desire for brutal achievement, seeking
his own selfish gains, accumulating possessions and wielding tyrannous power,
all of which create utter chaos. On the other hand, in the search after Truth,
where he should keep his individuality wholly complete and thereby free it from
all self-consciousness, he sets up Saviors, Masters, beliefs, ideals and authorities,
all of which mean blind following. Emphasize individuality in its right place,
where the individual realizes completeness in himself. Naturally we must help
one another, we must live together, understand one another, work together. All
of this comes about normally and without effort when you have the true
understanding of the function of the individual.
What I desire to explain is that every individual is complete in himself. In the
realization of this completeness there is true happiness. Such a man, then, is
never the slave of another, he has no beliefs, he is at peace within himself, rich in
his understanding, living wholly, naturally, in the eternal present. Thus he will
help to create true order. By bringing about order, there will be work, bread and
opportunity for all, but without this true conception of the individual there will
always be chaos in the world.
p. 392-3 (2 June 1932, Ojai)
To realize that which is eternal, you must go through the miracle of
individuality, which is not individualism. In the ordinary sense of the word,
individualism is to do everything for oneself, to be selfish, egotistic, selfcentered.
I do not mean that at all; I mean that you must become wholly your
own unit, you must become completely responsible for your thoughts, emotions
and actions and know their cause. You become aware through wise
disentanglement from the hindrances set up through craving, from all reactions.
I want you to see that to realize the immeasurable, the ecstasy of Life, you
must become wholly responsible, and that the mind and heart must go through
the intense flame of self-consciousness. I say that the process of going through
that full self-consciousness reveals the joy of wisdom. It is not away from
individuality, but through individuality that you realize completeness.
This concentration of Life can be known only through the joy of solitude. I
do not mean the solitude of running away from every-day existence, going away
into a monastery or into a wood, or to a camp; but the joy of solitude is to face
that inward aloneness, that emptiness which everyone in the world has and
which he tries to conceal, from which he tries to run away. Face that loneliness,
and in the discovery of its cause, and in the freedom from that cause, you will
realize the immensity of concentration. You can never know the plenitude of
Life by running away from loneliness; when you cover it up, when you are
enticed away, stimulated, you are merely deceiving yourself. So, in the
recognition of that loneliness, in the acceptation of that poverty, and in the utter
loss of it through ridding the mind of this idea of “yours” and “mine,” you do
away with the cause of poverty. In piercing through these many layers of
craving, which are the cause of that emptiness, that loneliness, that aching void,
there is the realization of eternal Life.
“in life there are no stages”
pp. 108-9 (31 December
1929, Winter, Adyar)
Question: You say that truth is pathless; are we to understand that in order to
attain truth or liberation, each has to make his own path; that there will be as many
paths as there are individuals and that there is no common path at any stage of the
KRISHNAMURTI: Absolutely. Each one has to make his own path,
because truth is a matter of individual perception and individual experience in
turn, and you cannot follow the path of another, however great, however wise.
Whatever prophet he may be, he cannot lead you. The individual must grow, the
individual must become more and more unique to understand truth. Take the
example of an arrow shot with a firm hand from a bow. There is no division of
time and space at any time. It is a continual curve from the moment it leaves
the bow till it reaches its aim. Mentally you can divide it into stages, but if you
become part of the arrow, there are no stages — only one beautiful direct line.
So in life there are no stages. It is like the dawn which reaches the summit of
light. To understand truth, which is life, you must develop your sense of touch,
your sense of understanding, you must develop your desires and not repress or
throttle them. Make your desires so consummate, so perfect, that they have no
limitation. Do not be afraid of desires. As I said the other day, what you perceive
you desire, and if your perception is small, narrow, limited, your desires will be
the same. If your perception is one of a tranquil, stagnant, indifferent life, your
desires will help you to that. But if your perception is to be absolutely limitless,
free, unconditioned, whole, continual, active, then all your desires will be
boundless, ecstatic, profound, rich. It is exactly the same way with thought and
affection. If your thoughts are merely, all the time, reactions to the personal
element, then they will place a limitation on you. The same with love and
Life, and the unfoldment of life, is purely an individual affair, and truth, as I
have explained, is not a matter of belief; it is to be experienced by the individual
and hence there cannot be any path to truth. I know all that is said by your
teachers and your books. But this is what I say; examine it, analyse it, criticise it,
question it and be active either in acceptance or in rejection of it. Do not be
p. 263 (7 March 1931, London)
I have realized what to me is the supreme happiness— not of pleasure, but
of that inward quietude which is the assurance of tranquillity, the realization of
completeness. In this state there is no progress, but a continual realization in
which all problems, all complexities, all troubles vanish. That truth, that inward
completeness, exists in all things, in every human being; and that everlasting
reality is never absent in the least nor does it exhaust itself in the greatest.
To me truth, that completeness, is in all things. Therefore the idea that you
must progress towards reality is a false one. You cannot progress towards
something which is already there. It is not a question of going out or turning
inward, but of freeing yourself from that consciousness which knows itself as
separate. When you realize that completeness, that reality, it has no future, no
past; and all the problems connected with these wholly disappear. When once
man realizes that, there is the tranquillity not of stagnation, but of creation, of
eternal being. To me the realization of that truth is man’s fulfillment.
p. 292 (1931 Summer, Ommen, III)
Life, that eternal Reality, exists in all things; it is not something apart from us.
It abides in each one at all times in its completeness, so it is vain to attempt to
realize it through the illusion of worship, of external aid, of any religious systems
or of organized search after Truth. Because that Reality is ever complete, it has
no progress, it is beyond time. To realize that completeness you must be free of
motive, you must have a mind that is not an incentive to acquisition, to
achievement, to self-glorification. That Reality is beyond progress, beyond time,
and is therefore dissociated from both past and future; it can exist only in the
present, not in the present as time, but in the present as action. That Life
which to me is Truth, is ever renewing itself. Though it is absolute, it is not a
finality. The realization of that Reality, of that Life, gives an abiding peace; it is
immortality. In that Life which is ever renewing itself, ever becoming, there is no
struggle, no conflict. That Life is the purity of its own essence. Reality exists at
all times in its completeness, and if once you become cognizant of this, then you
are no longer held by the idea of progress, of acquiring and developing qualities
and virtues. The realization of that completeness sets man beyond karma,
karma being action in bondage.
pp. 311-2 (1931 Summer,
Question: You say that completeness exists, not in the present as time but in the
present as action. Please explain.
KRISHNAMURTI: Time exists only when there is incompleteness. When you
are clinging to your personality, to your limited senses, emotions and thoughts,
then you know time as past, present and future: in completeness there is no
time. Time is the continuity of individuality. If you are wholly free of selfconsciousness,
with its complications, desires, fears, then there is that awareness
which is not of time and the opposites.
That awareness is the result of complete homelessness, solitude. Aloneness is
the flame of self-consciousness, the intensity of feeling and thought. When
there is this self-recollectedness, there is the dawning of intuition which is
constant, which knows no time, no limitation. Intuition is pure action, it is
Life itself, and that Life has no qualities, no attributes; it is love in which there
is no object, it is its own eternity, complete in itself. Only the mind in which
there is no longer idea or will can understand that inward harmony of
completeness. In that there cannot be time, so the idea of direction, progress,
Intuition can be translated only as action. I do not use the word “action” as
the opposite of stagnation. You will think that when the mind has no idea, no
will, and when the heart knows no “you” and “I,” there must be complete
negation. From the point of view of time it is annihilation, that is, when you
regard life as opposites; but it is not nothingness. It is that homeless state, that
completeness in which all time has ceased, and which ever renews itself.
Do not enter into metaphysical discussions over this. If it can be discussed, it
is not real. I know that which is eternal, but I cannot prove it to you; I cannot
give it to you. In this realization there is no progress, no evolution, as time. At
present you know yourself as separate, and therefore you think of Truth as apart
from you. Completeness is deep contemplation, freed from self-consciousness. It
is an ecstasy in which there is no beginning and no end. As long as you are in the
bondage of sorrow, which is the conflict of the opposites, you can never
understand. You may understand intellectually, but I am not talking of
something intellectual, philosophical, metaphysical; I am talking of Truth, which
can be realized only in the present, through your actions and the manner of your
pp. 313-4 (1931 Summer, Ommen, IX)
I maintain that Truth, Life eternal, lies hidden in every human being, but it is
covered over with self-consciousness. In that completeness there can be no
duality; duality arises only in self-consciousness. Pure action has its source in
completeness; but good and bad, the opposites, are born through the illusion of
In the realization of Truth, there is no time; time springs from selfconsciousness.
The idea of progress arises from self-consciousness, progress in
the sense of action in time. You cannot realize Truth through perfection in
time. Truth does not evolve, it is not bound by time. Illusion can progress, but
not Life. However glorified or perfected that illusion, it will never understand
Truth. Completeness is eternal, which is not the indefinite continuity of time.
It is ever renewing itself and is self-sustained. Beyond that completeness there
is nothing more, it is absolute though not a finality. Living in time, which is a
ceaseless becoming, you attribute progress to Truth; but Truth can be realized
only when you are liberated from becoming.
Completeness is harmony of mind and heart. Mind must be wholly
unburdened of idea, will and imagination, for these belong to self-consciousness.
The center of self is ever creating its own disharmony, and as long as this center
remains you cannot attain that harmony of which I am speaking. To dissolve the
center of self, you must become fully responsible for your actions; thus, only
through the flame of self-consciousness can you realize Truth, the harmony of
Life. Love is its own eternity, and as long as the other, the object, exists, there is
the sorrow of loneliness.
You imagine that through the gathering of experience there comes
understanding. You think that the multiplication of experiences in time will give
you the fulness of understanding. To me, it is quite the contrary. What will give
you understanding, the realization of completeness, is the comprehension of the
full significance of action as experience in the present. That flower of
understanding, which is beyond time and beyond all limitations, is embedded in
thought, in emotion. You can realize it only through your thought and through
your emotion, and not by escaping from them. Limited by self-consciousness,
you separate Truth from your daily actions; you think that this Reality is to be
found in another plane of existence, outside of yourself. You cannot separate the
perfume from the flower. It is through the intensity of self-consciousness—selfconsciousness
being individuality, ego —through becoming fully responsible,
that you realize completeness.
As long as action springs from irresponsibility, there can never be harmony,
there can never be this intense flame of self-consciousness, through which alone
lies completeness. To break through that limitation of irresponsibility, there is no
need to examine the past. It is of no value to examine what happened yesterday,
but become fully conscious of your actions in the present. In the liberation of
consciousness lies true spontaneity.
The majority of people are irresponsible because they are carried away by their
sensations; they are slaves to their emotions, and are merely living in that circle
of slavery. Not being self-conscious and therefore being irresponsible, their
actions do not liberate them. This is action leading to ignorance.
By becoming conscious, self-recollected, responsible, you are breaking down
the limitations which hold you in the circle of ignorance. You cannot cover up
sorrow or indulge in joy, as both emotions are fleeting. Through selfconsciousness
you uncover the secret sources of desire. Sorrow must exist as long
as there is self-consciousness, and if you cover it up by comfort, by
irresponsibility, you are but binding yourself with ignorance.
pp. 331-332 (30 July 1931,
Question: In talking with outsiders who ignore the law of reincarnation, and who do
not understand the gradation of successive lives, it is difficult to make clear the idea of
Liberation and the long process of perfection in man. There is a gap in their
understanding, and Liberation seems to them impossible to effect. In order that they
may realize the logical action of evolution, will you explain how to clear up their lack
KRISHNAMURTI: First of all, I suggest that you make sure of your own
comprehension. Try to understand it yourself. Try to follow this carefully, and
you will see how simple it is. You think that time will give understanding; that at
the end of a series of experiences you will understand. That is, you think that
you must have time to grow in understanding. Now time does not give
understanding; what gives understanding is the comprehension of an experience
in the present, not prolonging that experience through time. When I have death
in my family, if I do not understand the sorrow, the loneliness and the conflict
of affection in the present, grapple with it in the present, fight out the struggle
between loneliness and affection in the present, my postponing the effort to a
future will not create in me understanding. Yet this is what you all do. You say:
“If my brother dies, I shall be united with him on another plane, somewhere
else.” That gives a momentary satisfaction, it gives you comfort. But if you are
really in sorrow, this postponement of the understanding of sorrow, this unity as
you call it, is not going to give you understanding. What gives you
understanding is the desire to become aware, to find out the source of sorrow,
not in time to come but in the present. Neither time nor the accumulation of
experience will give you understanding. What gives understanding is your own
desire, your own ecstasy, your own struggle, your own strength to break down
the barriers of time, and for that you need time; not in the sense of
continuation, but time to become conscious.
If, for instance, you do something, instead of seeking your reasons for that
action, you want to go on immediately to the next act, you avoid thought in the
present. You seek understanding through time, time being a series of lives, a
series of experiences. You, as an ego, a personality, an individual, desire to cling
to your identity in the next life because you hope that the next life will give you
fresh opportunities for understanding. When you hold this idea it means that
you are not living in the present, adjusting yourself to the present, being vital in
the present, but merely postponing effort out of ignorance and laziness.
I do not want you to accept what I say as you have accepted reincarnation.
Whether you believe in reincarnation or not is of very little importance. What is
important is whether you who are listening—not your neighbour—whether you
who are paying attention to what I am saying at the present time, whether you
are living in that now in which is all Life. The mind invents time as progress, as
direction towards Truth; whereas to me there is no progress as direction
towards Truth, towards that completeness. There cannot be a progress towards
that which is ever here. The idea of direction, of marching towards something,
which is but another form of grasping, of acquiring, is false. If you look at life,
not from the point of view of the continuity of the ego, which is but an
illusion, but from the point of view of Truth, you will see that you can fully
understand every experience in the present; and one incarnation is sufficient to
grasp the whole significance of Life. Therefore live the whole in the present. If
your mind is continually dwelling on postponement, this effortless pushing away
of conflict in the present, you will never understand. But if your mind is really
seeking, inquiring for Truth, if it is adaptable, pliable, energetic, you will find
that time is an illusion, that the whole of existence is contained in a single
minute of comprehension, and that comprehension is not arrived at through
time but in the vitality of your desire to understand experience in the present.
That knowledge which is the beginning of wisdom must be based on the
realization that Truth is not external to man; that the moment he has freed
himself from his stupidity, from his love of acquisitions, from his egoism, in that
moment he will realize his fulfillment in the present. The knowledge that Truth
is in the present, not in the future; that there is no supreme being external to the
Reality which is in man; and that Reality knows no time, no division, no unity,
no separation—that knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.
pp. 335-6 (31 July 1931,
Question: You say that one single experience of love, birth or death, contains the
whole of Life. But to be able to draw out of that one experience its full content is to
have already developed the intuition to its highest point, and therefore to have become
an evolved being. Not having reached this stage of understanding, how are we to seize
the fleeting moment and make it yield its full treasure?
KRISHNAMURTI: To go a thousand miles you must take the first step.
Intuition is intelligence highly awakened and therefore beyond the limitations of
the personality or of self-consciousness. The capacity to discern the essential and
to care for that essential will lead you to that which I call intuition.
Intuition is but instinct highly refined; and though everyone has instinct, that
instinct must be moulded to reason, and when reason becomes impersonal,
wisdom is born, and intuition is the truest expression of wisdom. Being full of
instincts, you must first become conscious of those instincts and then by
continual adjustment and self-recollectedness be aware of that completeness
which alone can give you that realization which is eternal.
By becoming thus concentrated, you may learn from every experience the
whole significance of Life. This understanding of the significance of an
experience is not the privilege of the few, of the evolved. Your idea of evolution
is continual growth towards something, which means that you are still looking
out from that circle of self-consciousness. If you look for Truth from there you
will never find it. By freeing yourself from that circle you will have
understanding. Intuition comes by diligence, by continual adjustment and
awareness. It is not a miracle, a gift; so put this idea of progress towards an
ultimate Reality out of your mind entirely, out of all your works. Begin to
become conscious, to become responsible. Up to the present you have merely
followed out of fear the dictates of others; now you must become a law unto
yourself, and that is much more difficult, it demands greater determination,
greater energy, greater power of thought. Intuition which is pure action of Life,
in which all “I”-ness is completely removed, can be realized only through your
own constant, diligent, patient watchfulness, never letting one second go by
without knowing what you are thinking and why you are thinking it, and
removing from your thought this idea of “I”-ness created through false ideas of
sensation. Intuition comes like sunshine, you do not make an effort to realize
it; it is a natural thing that enfolds you, not in time as duration, but enfolds
you in the present by your own effort to free yourself from self-consciousness.
“Action is the instrument by which life becomes conscious of itself.”
p. 148-9 (28 May 1930, Ojai)
Most people are looking for inspiration, for understanding, for happiness,
outside themselves. But this is to seek a satisfaction for thought and emotion
which has no relation to your real life and action. True wisdom must flow from
experience. Action is the instrument by which life becomes conscious of itself.
By action, I mean pure action, that which springs from within. Only such action
is experience, and so only from action of this kind can wisdom spring.
Many of us have excellent ideas and theories and consider these as wisdom.
From my point of view such theories are useless. Truth is a thing that has to be
struggled for, and this struggle is an individual struggle. That is why I lay such
emphasis on the individual. Only by his own efforts can he achieve that
readjustment of himself towards everyone and everything around him, which is
truth in practice. Skill in action, which is only another name for truth in
practice, springs from love and impersonal thought. It is that sensitive
adjustment which produces harmony. It is by action that you lay bare the
illusions of life.
Illusion, as I said the other day, is the creation of desire, and desire
depends upon choice. Therefore, you must be careful what you choose. To
avoid illusion, you must choose the essential.
Most people act from a preconceived idea of spirituality, usually that which
is provided by the religion in which they happen to have been born. All action
based upon such externals bears the imprint of fear. Take, for example, a thing
like anger: when you feel angry, it is no good repressing it because of something
that some Teacher has said. Your business is to understand it and to conquer it
by understanding; and for such understanding, you must be free from fear.
You mix up all kinds of notions with your idea of spirituality. You imagine
that to be really spiritual, you must starve, or wear no clothes, or undergo various
other physical hardships; and you impose all these ideas upon your actions,
although they have nothing to do with life.
To arrive at truth, there must be action, and every action must be based upon
personal choice. Only by choosing, and then seeing what is the result of your
choice, can you find things out for yourself.
p. 192 (22 July 1930,
Question: Please explain the nature of action.
KRISHNAMURTI: Action, to me, is creation, life in creation. Do not look
at creation as manifestation or non-manifestation. Life is not concerned about
manifestation or non-manifestation. Life is creation, being, and may result in
manifestation, or not. Therefore life is action in creation—creation being both
the object and the subject. In itself it is objectless and subjectless. Being is the
true creation—not the making of a flower, or a stone, or even an individuality.
Action is the totality of all creation.
p. 198-199 (24 July 1930,
Question: You say that “in a moment all time exists” and “to the liberated man
there is no time”. Does the last statement, taken in conjunction with the first, imply
that it is possible to bridge lack of experience by intuitive realisation, vicariously? And
how, since we are also told that “true value requires experience”?
KRISHNAMURTI: I said that for the liberated man there is no time; but to
the man of sorrow there is time. You look to the future for this realisation—the
idea that you will achieve some day, and that some day is postponed indefinitely
because of the dull laziness of slow energy. You postpone the realisation because
there is not that intense desire. But if you have the intense desire, you have no
wish to postpone. With that intense desire you live every experience that you
come across and assimilate it, and so you are freeing yourself from each
experience. To live in that moment in which is all eternity (every moment is all
eternity), there must be this high concentration, this realisation of inward being,
at which you arrive through ceaseless resistance. Then there is that effortless
being— not in the sense of a sleepy, static condition. You are. You are the whole.
Then, to you, every moment is eternity, because you never step out of that
moment. You are not concerned with the future or with the past, because in that
moment all time exists. Try for once to live with that concentration which
demands impersonal being, the riddance of individual self-conscious effort at
being good. That effort is possible for every one, if only there is the impelling
desire behind it. Therefore look not to disciplines, look not to external guides to
force you to this concentration; but examine every experience, every thought.
Desire in its anxious, impelling, forward movement in search of happiness, will
establish in you that discipline of concentration which is pure conduct.
p. 282-3 (15 March 1931,
Question: If one has inner harmony, does the nature of one’s outer occupation
KRISHNAMURTI: You cannot acquire inner harmony without true
action. True action is essential, for it is the continual dissipation of the illusion
of “myself” as a separate consciousness. This is what I mean by true action. To
act truly you must be free of traditional habit of thought leading to thoughtless
action. You must be master of environment, external and self-created. Please do
not understand this to mean that you must develop a peculiar idiosyncrasy of
your own. This requires great energy of thought, and consistency and strength of
purpose. But most of us prefer to drift, and our civilization helps us to become a
cog in its machine of cruelty, bestiality, war and corruption. If you would find
out your true action, which will enable you to acquire that inward completeness
of harmony, the poise of reason and love, the freedom from consciousness of the
particular, you must become aware, fully self-conscious of your traditional habit
of thought. That demands determination, discrimination and independence of
pp. 341-3 (3 August 1931, Summer, Ommen)
I have been laying emphasis on the self which is a fact but an illusion. In the
minds of the majority of people there is the idea of personal salvation, however
much it may be embellished or concealed. Now Truth is not to be realized
through the cravings of personality, however wonderful, however glorious,
however expanded that personality may be. To me, there is no such thing as
personal salvation. The realization of Truth cannot be confused with personality.
The two are incompatible, one extinguishes the other. But your whole attitude
towards life is based on the idea of personality. The questions that you ask me—
“Shall I find my brother when I die?” “Is there a higher plane?” “Will my soul
live forever?”—these questions arise from the one thought: “What is it that is
conscious when the ‘I’ is removed?” Consciousness is of the ego, and when you
are rid of that consciousness there is a Reality that is free of self-consciousness.
By the questions you have asked I know that you do not understand this; you are
making it sentimental, emotional, irrational.
Self-consciousness ever belongs to the ego, to personality, to individuality.
You must know yourself, wholly, fully, consciously; not by examining the past,
but by being fully conscious in the present. By your concentration on the
present you are dissipating that self-consciousness. So as long as there is the
desire for personal continuation or salvation, there cannot be the full realization
of Truth. You may have a glimpse of it; but I am not talking of the fleeting
glimpses, but of permanency in which alone there can be happiness. The
ultimate realization lies through the full flame of self-consciousness, not by
avoiding self-consciousness. Therefore, mind must become fully conscious of
itself. You must know what you think and why you think it. To have clarity of
understanding the mind must be free, no longer clogged by the action of
yesterday; and so there must be a continual detachment from the past. This is
continual choice. Choice, then, is action, and action is conduct. That conduct,
that action, is now based on self-consciousness. You cannot have true conduct
based on individuality; because to me individuality, though a fact, is an
illusion, and you cannot base your action on an illusion. To me, action,
conduct, must be based, not on the reaction between individuals, but on the
relation between the ultimate Reality and the individual; because the ultimate
Reality is alone of permanent value, the only true standard. Individuality implies
its own continuity, and if you base your action on that there will be conflict and
chaos in the world. But, if the individual guides his thought, his emotion, his
action by that ultimate Reality, which only exists in himself, then his conduct
will bring harmony into the world, not chaos. Therefore his conduct must be
entirely freed of all his personal longings, wishes, hopes. Action based on the
illusion of the continuity of individuality is ever binding. That is what I call
karma, not of the past but of the present—leave the past alone. If I base my
action on the continuance of individuality, that is, egoism, selfishness in the
present, that action, however refined, however subtle, is binding. That action
brings unhappiness inevitably. To me there is no future for the ego. What man
regards as the future for the ego is but the reflection of the past. Future as
eternity cannot exist for the ego. So if you base your conduct, your action, your
whole thought-structure, your civilization on that ego, you will be caught up in
that reflection of the past and you will think that you are progressing, whereas
you are only moving in the same circle, the circle of self-consciousness, of
binding illusion. But if you base your conduct on that ultimate Reality, there is
in that conduct the element which is eternal, not varying according to likes and
Through external laws, the idea of progress controls and exaggerates the self,
the ego. But as I have already explained, the ego has no future; therefore it
cannot progress. If you think that realization is to be found through progress,
you are but exaggerating the illusion.
The ultimate, then, is that completeness in which there is neither separation
nor unity. That completeness is of no time; therefore it is not a duration, but a
timeless becoming. This is immortality, not of the individual but of Truth itself.
It is beyond all direction. There is no action leading to it; because if you look at
life from the point of view of action leading to Truth, you are caught up in
action. If you say: “I shall behave rightly because I want to realize Truth”, you
create a motive, and that motive holds you; you create an ideal which holds you.
Therefore the idea of action as motive leading to Truth is false. If you are seeking
Truth, right action follows. The moving towards completeness is gone, and
there is the tranquillity of search.
When you have direction, an ideal, a motive, there is conflict and therefore
weariness, strain. So motive must entirely disappear, because Truth cannot be
realized through incentive, which but exaggerates your self-consciousness, your
That ultimate Reality, which is happiness, has no direction, no time, no birth
and death, but a re-birth without death. That completeness knows no division,
no unity, in it all things exist, it is tranquillity, it is life, it is intuition raised to
the highest point. This ultimate Reality exists in each one, though it be but a
pin-point, which is the universe.
Through the flame of self-consciousness, comes that perfume which is the
eternal; and when you realize that in your conduct, your attachments and your
detachments all disappear. So, then, become conscious; live constantly in the
present, continually adjusting your action in the present with that ultimate
Out of that flame of self-consciousness is realized the tranquillity of mind
through which alone can you realize felicity, the happiness that comes through
p. 362 (24 January 1932, Ojai)
I will try to explain what I mean by alertness of mind. Experience is, after all, the
way you respond to the incidents of life. To be alert is to be able to distinguish
between pure action and reactions, whether positive or negative. Positive
reaction springs from your own intrinsic individuality or selfishness, and negative
reaction comes from without. All action which is not pure is reaction, for it is
born of sensation, both the positive and the negative. Pure action which is free
of all reaction is without motive, incentive, and free from the centre of
p. 375-7 (14 February 1932, Ojai)
There is an eternal life, of which you all in rare moments have caught a glimpse.
Each one wishes ardently to make this glimpse permanent. Now the realization
of truth can be permanent only when the mind loses its own distinction. People
are under the illusion that they can identify themselves with this eternal reality.
There is no identification. If there were identification, you would be carrying
your personality into the everlasting, which is impossible. That is, a limited
consciousness, which always implies a center, duality, cannot become one with
the eternal. Infinite reality, which has no beginning and no end, which is free of
time, abides in man at all times. He can realize this reality if he gives his mind
and his heart to it. Because I have found this eternal life, I would like to point
out how to dissipate in yourself the center of self-consciousness. Selfconsciousness
covers up reality. In dissolving, in freeing oneself of this center of
all selfishness, there is the ecstasy of that life in which there is no division. This
can be realized only through great effort on the part of the individual. Most
people want to come to that effortless condition of mind, which is life itself,
without making an effort. To free thought from particularity is true effort. Right
endeavor is essential to rid the mind of false ideas, false beliefs and
misconceptions of what is supposed to be the ultimate reality. You have to
make the supreme effort to become aware. You have to become wholly aware of
your actions, thoughts, feelings, and you can do this only through becoming
conscious of your action in the present and not looking to the past. Thus you
free yourself from self-consciousness, which is the past. The mind can renew
itself only when it is wholly detached from yesterday. You cannot look into the
past to become conscious in the present, and only a mind which is free of time
can understand the blessedness of truth.
Effort at present creates greater and greater confusion. The more effort you
make, the more you bind yourself, the more your mind is burdened, clouded,
trapped. It is caught up in its own effort, in its own struggle. True endeavor is
to become conscious in the present, which is to free action of all selfishness.
This conscious effort in the present excludes time, it does not increase the
center of self-consciousness. So true endeavor is essential.
Self-consciousness is the center of selfishness, it is made up of qualities,
attributes, opposites. In your endeavor you try to escape from one quality to
another, and not to be free from all qualities and therefore to be effortless. Your
mind is burdened with fear, so you force yourself to be brave. Bravery contains
the quality of fear. Any quality holds its opposite. If you have fear, do not seek
the opposite; search out the cause of fear, which is division, individuality, egoconsciousness.
Thus you free yourself of this continual struggle, which is called
progress. Effort will always exist unless the very seed of effort is rooted out.
The seed of effort is the limitation caused by the center of selfishness, which
is self-consciousness. To dissolve the cause of sorrow, self-consciousness, you
cannot have any motives or incentives. To understand action, mind must be
free of motives, beliefs, ideals. Understanding lies in action free of belief.
Man lives by action, whether it be thought or work. To me they are both
action. When you are in the ecstasy of thought, there is no incentive, there is no
motive. When you are in the depth of great feeling, all beliefs, ideas, limitations
are brushed away. Man toils because of his self-consciousness. He hopes that
through an incentive and through attraction he will free himself of his
selfishness. I say, on the contrary, you cannot free yourself of that center of selfconsciousness
through incentives or beliefs.
An incentive hinders the spontaneity of action. In it there is no joy. You
merely fashion yourself after a belief, and all beliefs are dead. To act fully you
must dissolve that very center which creates beliefs. Thus you are able to live
more richly, instead of looking to something to guide you, to direct you. This
fullness of life defies the complications of belief. To understand experience, to
find right values, you cannot have any beliefs or motives.
I am laying stress on the mind because, to me, love is its own eternity. It
is the mind that corrupts love. I will not talk about love, which is eternal. It
defies all description, needs no purification, no glorification, is ever free from
“you” and “I.” That love is perverted by the mind with its particularities,
distinctions and divisions. Love is eternal, ever constant, but you can realize it
only when you have freed the mind from self-consciousness, the center of
Thought and feeling are constantly at war, fighting and struggling to master
each other. Therefore you leave the mind and try to overpower it with love. In
this way you cut off the mind from its own fulfillment. When the mind is
complete—When it is freed from its own creation, self-consciousness—then
only is there perfect harmony of mind and heart. The mind must lose, through
action, through full self-consciousness, its own particularity. The mind must lose
its objectivity and not be a mere onlooker. If you are at all aware of yourself, you
will know that your mind is constantly looking; it is creating the object. That is,
the mind is creating duality, “you” and the “non-you,” the opposites. So long as
mind is caught up in its own self-consciousness, there will always be a subject
and an object. The mind must lose the sense of its own center. You are merely
the observer as long as your center of self-consciousness exists, as long as in your
own mind there is selfish thought, duality; and that center can be dissolved only
through full self-consciousness. An imperfect mind, though it may be consumed
by great love, will ever remain imperfect, and that imperfection is the cause of
ceaseless conflict. Only when the mind has dissolved its own center through
action is there harmony. Then there is ecstasy which ever renews itself, which
Will exists as long as there is choice, which is effort; as long as you have to
choose between the essential and the unessential, the false and the true, there is
will. When there is no longer choice, when the mind is free from selfconsciousness
which creates distinctions, then will disappears. When desire,
which is will, is held in bondage through selfishness, then action only
strengthens self-consciousness. To free yourself from the cage of selfconsciousness,
you have to become fully conscious of the false values which
surround you and hence break away from them. To discover true values, action
must be freed from beliefs, incentives and ideals.
If an ideal or an incentive, however noble or magnificent it may be, frees you
from a particular cage of false values, you still have the power to create another
cage. A mind that has not understood right values is ever creating an illusion, a
cage, around itself. Only through right endeavor to become fully self-conscious
in the present, which is to perceive true values, can you ever dispel the center of
To act truly, spontaneously, with that intensity of life, you do not need a
belief which urges you to right action. Action born of belief is not spontaneous,
and there is no joy in it. Imitation excludes happiness. To understand life, which
is all-inclusive, action must be freed of self-consciousness.
“Freedom of consciousness...is life itself”
p. 174 (17 July 1930, Summer, Ommen)
Question: How can I recognize any event in life as a reaction, understand it,
and gather experience in order to avoid such an event in future, if I do not know or
cannot remember the action by which the event or reaction was caused? Further,
kindly explain how reaction is conquered. By an objective and impersonal attitude?
Are all events in life reactions?
KRISHNAMURTI : “How can I recognise any event in life as a reaction?” By
your feeling towards it, whether it is one of enchainment or one of freedom. If
you react from outside, that is a reaction. I will give you an example. You like
someone because that someone likes you. An affection of that kind becomes a
trade, a question of exchange, and then it is a reaction; whereas, if your affection
is spontaneous, if it is “pure action”, it goes outward from you, never comes
inwards. An outward-going affection never enchains, never holds another in its
shadow. We all know what it is to react — to react to kindness, to unkindness,
to anger, jealousy and so on. All these are external contacts which you have to go
through in order to make you more and more dependent on your own pure
action, in order to develop and discover your own pure being. You have to go
through these reactions of like and dislike, until you arrive at that pure action
which is always outward-going. Now, how can you distinguish pure action from
reaction? You can only distinguish it by your own experience, whether you are
dependent for your well-being on reaction or on pure action; whether you can
stand self-sufficient in your pure being, or whether you crave for reaction and
hence depend for your well-being and happiness on external things.
“Further, please explain how reaction is conquered”. By continual struggle.
Take anger — a very stupid thing and a very simple thing. There is a constant
adjustment between your reason, which urges you not to be annoyed, and your
impulse to be annoyed; there is a constant effort at perfect balance. To arrive at
that balance, you have to make a continual effort; there is no short cut to it.
“Are all events in life reactions?” For those people who depend for their wellbeing
on reaction, but not to the person whose life is pure action. It is very
simple, if once the fundamental idea is grasped. This limited life in the
individual, this self-conscious life in the individual, as soon as it awakens to a
conscious realisation of its imperfection, is driven to strive for perfection; and
through this intensity of effort it comes to the cessation of effort, which is pure
being. Until pure being is realised, you depend on the reaction. Reactions are
the limitation of consciousness; pure being is the freedom of consciousness.
p. 193 (23 July 1930, Summer, Ommen)
Truth is unawareness of self-conscious existence. If you are but imitating,
trying to become a type, following a set formula, you are but yielding to fear; and
so fear is multiplied. A man who would have no fear must realise that though
forms of individual existence vary, though the expressions of self-consciousness
change, though life manifests itself in different ways, fundamentally life is one.
When you realise this, all fear ceases. Then there is no longer an attempt to
become, but only an attempt to be. Through this striving there is an intuitive
realisation of the unity of being, which at moments of extreme, highly-awakened
reason (which is intuition) everyone feels and knows within himself. The task of
individual self-conscious existence is to realise the full potentiality of this fact;
and when it is realised fully, then individuality merges in the whole and has
arrived at its fulfillment.
p. 194-195 (24 July 1930, Summer, Ommen)
I will explain the difference between self-consciousness and consciousness.
Self-consciousness is the outcome of individual existence in which there is
separateness, in which there is conflict, one against another; whereas
consciousness is that selfhood in which all individual consciousnesses exist, which
is beyond time and space, although time and space are in that consciousness.
That enduring, conscious happiness is positive being. Individual selfconsciousness
knows decay, perishes, comes into existence and dies; whereas that
enduring consciousness knows no decay. It is continuous. To that changeless
thing you cannot—through your moods, through births and deaths, through this
variety of change—attribute individual self-consciousness. You must look at it
absolutely impersonally, and that impersonal care assures the incorruptibility of
pp. 218-20 (1 August 1930, Summer, Ommen)
In the lives of most people there is a continual groping, a torturing
uncertainty, a never-ceasing boredom with themselves, because in the mind and
the heart of each one there is the sorrow of despair, the sorrow of awaiting death,
the sorrow of loneliness, the sorrow which springs from lack of well-being, from
poverty, from that grinding mechanical existence in which there is no ecstasy of
living, no delight in impersonal existence, no affection, no joy of being. Now
each one is trying to find the cause of this sorrow and the way to attain that
reason, that love, which in their essence are poise and harmony. Sorrow exists
because there is lack of harmony in oneself, disharmony between what one
thinks and what one does, what one feels and how one acts. In a truly cultured
man there is no gap between his thought, his emotion and his actions. That is
the true test by which to judge a cultured man. So sorrow exists because of
limitation. When there is no limitation, when there is that love in which is utter
detachment — not personal love nor indifference — that love which knows no
reaction of like and dislike, of separation, of distinction, in which there is no
longer the “you” and the “I”, the awareness of object and subject — when there
is perfect balance, there is liberation. A liberated man is truly happy, because
happiness is unimpeded being, unhindered life functioning without resistance.
So that quality of liberation — if I may so call it without your attributing
qualities to it — is pure awareness, freedom from all consciousness, not
expansion of consciousness. I am going to explain this, or you will jump to
conclusions about these words with which you are already familiar, and which
have a very definite meaning in your minds. I am using the same words but
giving to them quite a new interpretation.
Consciousness implies self-consciousness. Freedom of consciousness is not
annihilation, it is pure being, it is that exquisite balance which is brought
about when you know the true value of all things; it is illumination. Then you
are no longer entangled in false judgments. True judgment depends on
experience. Experience should and must liberate man from all consciousness,
because consciousness exists only when you are impeded. Limitation causes
consciousness. That is, you are aware of something as impeding you, hence
consciousness comes into being. Therefore consciousness arises from that
limitation which is also the cause of your sorrows and pleasures, your likes and
dislikes, your greed, your envy, your desire for possessions, your cruelty and fear.
When you recognise this, there is an awakened consciousness of limitation.
When you remove all limitation, you are free from consciousness. This is not a
condition of perpetual sleep; neither is it a condition of total annihilation. It is
freedom of consciousness, which to me is unimpeded being, which is life,
which is pure action. The totality of life functions without any impediment.
As an ego — the ego being but your unconquered reactions — you are all the
time aware of limitation and therefore you are conscious. From that limitation
there arises the desire to struggle and conquer. By your struggle against
limitation, you awaken to self-consciousness. Now, as I said before, Nature’s
destiny is fulfilled when it has realised itself in the individual who is selfconscious.
But that self-conscious man is still sub-human as long as he is still in
the clutches of greed, of possessions, of the desire to herd together, as long as he
is still afraid of loneliness, afraid of death. His fulfillment lies in being free from
consciousness, and this is not a state of sleep or annihilation, but that
unimpeded life in action which is pure being, without any special attributes. It
is self-caused, self-existing, and therefore it functions freely and without
impediment. A liberated man is not conscious of living separately; that is, he,
as an individual, has ceased to cast a shadow. He is. He is no longer limited and
therefore there is always the right action, the right conduct, the right perception
of all things, without the differentiation of the special and the particular. He is
like a lighthouse that is always shining, which gives its light clearly to every
object presented to it.
When you, as an individual, have fulfilled the purpose of individual existence
in this freedom of consciousness and are fully aware of all life, then life functions
freely in you. So, there is no such thing for a liberated man as consciousness, for,
as I said before, consciousness implies self-consciousness. He is pure being. If you
like, call it pure awareness of all things, as distinct from consciousness which is
aware of limitation. Pure awareness is not impeded. It works without limitation.
To be that totality of life, there must be pure being, there must be pure
action. To translate that pure action into right conduct — which is to be human
and not sub-human, which is to be completely man, not half-man — you must
have detachment from public opinion. I will explain what I mean by public
opinion. Public opinion exists, not for you to copy, but as something by which
to judge your own opinions. Then you will transcend public opinion, go beyond
it, not be a slave to it. The majority of people who are detached from all public
opinion become eccentric, they give value to things that do not matter — this is
not real detachment. When a man is free from public opinion, he usually
behaves in a different manner — crudely — dresses in an eccentric manner,
indulges himself without restraint, worships strange gods, strange ideas. I do not
call that freedom from public opinion. That is only another way of deluding
yourself with the idea that you are free. Freedom from public opinion is not
shown by the garb you wear, by crude behaviour, by being irresponsible,
inconsiderate, self-indulgent, but by self-imposed, self-realised conduct. That is,
after examining public opinion and its laws of morality, you impose on yourself a
more stringent law of conduct, which is self-discipline.
Then there must be detachment from possessions. You can let things possess
you or you can possess them, but the requirement for pure being is to be
indifferent to possessions. You must put that detachment to the test, and see that
you are not merely self-deluded.
Again, you must be free from opinions. The stronger your opinions are, the
more self-deluded you can be. But you should have the capacity to judge
impersonally, to analyse clearly, detachedly, and then opinions no longer have a
hold on you. Your guiding principle should be the end itself, and not the means
to the end. Then you make the end, the goal of individual existence, the means,
and by being continually aware of that purpose you find the way to realise the
So, freedom of consciousness, in the sense in which I am using it, is not a
state of sleep or annihilation. To me there is no such thing as consciousness in
reality, because consciousness comes into existence when there is an
impediment, a limitation. It is not a question, then, of the expansion of
individual consciousness, but it is a question of being free from all limited, selfconscious
consciousness, a freedom arrived at through continual effort. It is
that unimpeded, unhindered being, which is life itself, which is the realisation
of the totality of all things, in which there is no time. It is a timeless world, a
pathless world, a reality in itself, to which you cannot come by any path
because everything is contained in that reality.
pp. 263-6 (7 March 1931, London)
You, man, the individual, develop your senses, by social struggle, for selfpreservation,
and so begin to acquire the consciousness of separation. From
childhood up there is urged on you the idea that you are a separate entity; and
from that illusion arises division of “yours” and “mine”, not only in thought but
in emotion, in possession, in everything.
From that springs the idea that you will become something great in future,
that you were something in the past, a continual contrast. And from this separate
consciousness arise greed, envy, hatred, the sense of possession, the care of
vanities, fleeting joys, transient sorrows and pleasures; a ruthless, competitive
civilization in which every one is for himself, without benevolence, without
kindliness. It is a world of conflict, corruption, competition, eventually leading
Out of this sense of separateness, the “I” becomes all-powerful; out of this
consciousness of separation fear is begotten. Whenever there is fear, there is at
once the desire to seek comfort, instead of understanding which dispels all fear.
For comfort allays your innate fear of losing your separate identity.
Comfort produces only a transitory adjustment, not a permanent harmony
and equilibrium; an immediate alleviation rather than a comprehensive,
continual understanding; the postponement of effort, a continual evasion, rather
than the struggle to comprehend in the present. Because of this fear you seek
consolation through worship, through prayer, through the setting up of images,
through rites and ceremonies. This illusion of separation is occupied with death,
with what is going to happen in the future, whether you will be reincarnated,
what you were in the past. In other words, the past and the future grip the man
who is in fear—never the comprehension of the present. So long as the present is
not understood, the future will never give its full significance, because the future
does not exist in reality.
All these problems—why was I born, what will happen after death, the
survival of the soul, reincarnation, how can I become something more, how can I
acquire more qualities in order to find truth—all these are born out of the
consciousness of separation.
When the idea is comprehended that truth, that living reality, exists in
everything at all times, in all its completeness, then there is no longer the
thought of progress, of making that which is illusory, the “I”, into something
permanent. In every phase of life, emphasis is laid on the individual—not on the
individuality that becoming fully conscious dispels its own consciousness, but
on the aggrandizement of the “I”.
Look at most people, and you will see that everyone thinks that by
becoming something more, by becoming greater, by enlarging his consciousness
by a series of experiences, by coming back and forth, by being reincarnated, that
he is getting nearer and nearer truth.
To me this conception is entirely false, because reality in its completeness, in
its fullness, in its richness, exists in everything, and therefore it is eternal. That
which is permanent, eternal in everything, cannot progress. What we call
progress can only be applied to some fact, not to reality.
Our chief concern, then, should be by what manner each one can become
aware of that eternal, living reality which sustains, nourishes and upholds
everything, which is in ourselves. While you create an outside world and an
inside world, and endeavor to bring about an adjustment between the two, you
will never find reality.
When a man is conscious of himself as a separate entity, he is continually
seeking outside for his help, for his sustenance, for his well-being; and thereby he
creates disorder, instead of order, and out of that disorder superstitions, illusions,
ceremonies are born.
It is a question, then, by what manner, in what way, each one can realize
that inward reality which assures the tranquility of living, not of stagnation, not
a peace that stultifies, that destroys, but that tranquility which is the source of
living, eternal comprehension.
It is only through individual effort that truth can be realized, not through
associations of any kind. You cannot through an institution find truth, for truth
abides in yourself, and institutions cannot help the individual to find truth. It
does not matter what they are, they tend to become more and more formal, and
reality gets further and further away. You must look for truth to yourself, the
individual; for it abides in yourself, not outside. When the individual has
understood himself, he lives in the world in perfect harmony, and does not
contribute to the disorder of the world.
The moment you as an individual have solved your own particular problem,
have realized truth for yourself, you no longer contribute to the cruelty, to the
wars, to the appalling tyranny and misery of the world.
It is important that each individual should understand, not the superficial
trimmings of life, but how through the continual putting aside the consciousness
which creates separation he may become aware of that inner reality, which abides
in all things.
If you would realize this, you must as an individual, entirely detach yourself
from all traditional, conventional, socialized systems of thought and conduct.
You will see how necessary it is not to rely either on authority of tradition, or on
systematized conduct. Before you can understand truth it is necessary that you
should become fully conscious, that is conscious of your own separateness, and
thereby of all your qualities and their opposites; that is, you must become so
conscious of yourself that all your hidden desires, purposes, conflicts are brought
out, examined and understood by you. By becoming intensely conscious, you
consume all subconsciousness, because when you are fully conscious of your
actions, your thoughts and your emotions, hypocrisy ceases, illusions cease,
secret desires and fancies no longer have sway over you; and then, when you
are so clear and purposeful, you can arrive at that state in which there are no
so-called qualities and therefore no conflicts.
When you introduce the personal element into your judgment, you
inevitably pervert your understanding. You must distinguish between the
personal and the individual. The personal is the accidental, and by accidental
I mean the circumstances of birth, the environment in which you are
brought up, your education, your traditions, your superstitions, national and
class distinctions, and all the prejudices that are developed through these
means. The personal is solely concerned with the accidental, with the
momentary, though that moment may last a lifetime. Modern education
leads to perversion of thought, and the national, class, traditional spirit is
encouraged through fear. When you are judging a fact, do not judge it from
a personal point of view, but judge it from the standpoint of the individual,
which is that of the self.
For qualities—virtues and sins, good and bad, joys and sorrows—belong
to the consciousness of “I”. When I am conscious of myself, I invent virtues
and sins, good and bad, heaven and hell, to give me balance in my struggle
between the opposites.
So long as there is that consciousness of separation, of self, of
personality, there cannot be the realization of truth, but before you can
transcend that consciousness you must become fully, vitally self-conscious.
That means you must become conscious of yourself as an individual, not as a
machine, not as a mere cog in this ruthless, competitive civilization.
Before you can become fully conscious and thereby lose self-consciousness,
there are three conditions of consciousness. In the first condition the individual
is a slave to his senses and to their cravings. In order to satisfy them he becomes
merely selfish, depending wholly for happiness on external things, on sensations
and excitements, and thereby he becomes more and more entangled in sorrow
and in pain. His conduct is guided by selfishness. He undertakes more and more
responsibilities, and so becomes merely a slave to action. Such a man has no time
nor the inclination for quietude of thought, for reflection, for examination. For
true reflection creates doubt, questionings which lead to isolation, seclusion
which he sedulously avoids.
Then there is the second stage when the man is aware of his own
shortcomings, of his own failings, of his own illusions, of his own cruelties.
Becoming thus conscious of his own nature, he tries to disentangle himself, to
free himself from the domination of the senses and begins to liberate his mind
and heart. He begins to diminish gradually his responsibilities, without giving up
his life in the world. Action born out of self-consciousness in which there is
separateness is entangling, limiting, burdensome; but action which is the
outcome of the freedom of individuality is liberation.
The individual who has now the strong desire to free himself begins to
discipline himself. That discipline is not externally imposed, it is not the result of
repression; but rather, because of his desire to be free, to realize truth, he imposes
discipline through understanding—not through fear, not through social
circumstances, urged by environment. He desires to liberate his own mind, his
own heart, and thereby live in harmony. He places upon himself a greater
discipline than any discipline externally imposed.
Then there is the third stage of consciousness, when the man is completely
master of his senses, completely master of his body. This does not mean being
muscularly developed nor that the body will feel no pain, nor that it will not die
and perish, but master of his body in the sense that he no longer becomes
entangled in its cravings, in its sensations, in its excitements.
Then he begins to free himself from fear, and the illusions it creates. Once
you are free of illusions, of fear, of all qualities, there is an inward seclusion born
of joy, a seclusion, not of weariness, nor withdrawal, nor escape from this world
of conflict, but an inward seclusion of joy in the midst of action.
When there is that seclusion, reflection and analysis give place to
tremendous concentration: not concentration on an object, but concentration in
which there is neither object nor subject, but full awareness in which there are no
Further, out of that seclusion there comes inward harmony, the equanimity
of reason and love—thought freed from personal fancies and theories, and love
freed from the particular, love that is as the perfume of a flower.
When there is that harmony, there is no longer any question of either future
or past. There is no longer the question as to whether “I” shall live as a separate
entity. The past with its failures and sorrows disappears, and the future with its
hopes, longings, anticipations, disappears: and out of these two there is born the
harmony of the present, which is the realization of that completeness which
exists in everything. When that is realized, there is tranquility, the living reality
p. 268 (9 March 1931,
Question: You speak of the possessive desires of the savage and the cultured man’s
desire for freedom, and say that between these two extremes there are all degrees of
evolution. A student writes of your teaching, that Truth is everywhere and timeless.
By this conception our ideas of evolution and unfoldment are swept away. Will you
expound this paradox further?
KRISHNAMURTI: In everything, in all men, there is the totality, the
completeness of life. That to me is Truth. That cannot progress. It is only
incompleteness that can progress. But this acquisition of qualities, attributes,
virtues, does not lead to Reality because Reality is always there, fully, in
By completeness I mean freedom of consciousness, freedom from
individuality. That completeness which exists in everything cannot progress: it is
absolute. The effort to acquire is futile, but if you can realise that Truth,
Happiness, exists in all things and that the realisation of that Truth lies only
through elimination, then there is a timeless understanding. This is not a
negation. Most people are afraid to be as nothing. They call it being positive
when they are making an effort, and call that effort virtue. When there is effort,
it is not virtue. Virtue is effortless. When you are as nothing, you are all things,
not by aggrandizement, not by laying emphasis on the “I”, on the personality,
but by the continual dissipation of that consciousness which creates power,
greed, envy, possessive care, vanity, fear and passion. By continually being selfrecollected
you become fully conscious, and then you liberate the mind and heart
and know harmony, which is completeness.
pp. 269-70 (9 March 1931,
Question: You say that evolution as a process of realising Truth is false and
unreal. But have you not come to the realisation of Truth by a process of unfoldment,
of greater and greater understanding and experience, and is not this evolution?
KRISHNAMURTI: Through the accumulation of experiences you think
that you will realise Truth. One experience which creates in your mind either
great love or a desire for understanding, which shakes the very foundation of
your consciousness of individuality, is true experience. One such experience
contains the whole significance of life. An experience of love or of death contains
the whole of life, but to understand the full significance of that experience you
must be concentrated in self-recollectedness.
Take the experience of love. In that there is the desire to possess, there is
envy, jealousy, loneliness, and also the joy of union. By being concentrated,
watching all the time, reflecting, you can realise the full significance of that one
particular experience, and through that you have understood the whole of
Or take death. In death there is sorrow, pain, frightful loneliness, the desire
to be united with the lost one, the desire for sympathy and love. This is one of
the most common experiences of life. Everyone has it. Instead of gathering the
significance of it, the full lesson of it, you seek comfort. You seek guides to the
astral plane, you desire to be united there with your loved ones. You hope for
their rebirth. All this is but postponement of effort to liberate selfconsciousness.
The struggle to adjust loneliness and love is not to be won by
pushing out further into other realms, but by constant self-recollectedness.
Thus one experience can open up to you the whole significance of
completeness. This is not mere intellectual reasoning. I speak from personal
experience. When you are in great sorrow, in loneliness because of death, you are
not satisfied with transient consolations, whether in the future or of the past; you
want to find out the immediate solution of loneliness and therefore to conquer
To conquer sorrow you must realise that inward completeness of being by
becoming reflective every moment of the day, not in sentiment nor by pushing
all those things of which you are afraid into the background. That completeness
which is in everything becomes real, and in that alone there is happiness, not in
p. 276-7 (14 March 1931, Callander)
Many people think that Truth is to be realized by withdrawing from the
world. Man is caught up in action, and he seeks refuge by the flight from life
into romanticism, imagination, and illusion. But to be in action and yet to have
freedom for thought is true solitude; the solitude, not of weariness, of fright, but
the solitude of real joy. In that solitude you learn to adjust your various conflicts
of emotion and thought, so that you may be able to withstand the constant
effect of action. When you have achieved this inward solitude, there will follow
the cessation of reflection, leading to effortless contemplation. From this
contemplation comes the harmony of reason and love, and from that follows
awareness, the intuition which is constant, in which there is neither separation
nor unity. This is the liberation of mind and heart.
p. 280 (15 March 1931, Callander)
The realization of Truth is the only assurance of happiness. Life is its own
creator and creation, in which there is no division of “you” and “I”. You cannot
objectify Life and look to that object for your inspiration, for your well-being;
for completeness lies in all things, in every individual. In the realization of that
completeness which is Life itself is the assurance of tranquility, of the cessation
of conflict, the liberation of mind and heart. So the idea that you, the individual,
are a subject proceeding to an object through experience, an object external to
yourself, is the negation of that Reality which exists in you in completeness.
Throughout the world man has objectified Truth, and thereby regards himself as
separate from it, ever progressing towards that Truth. In other words, he has
conceived Truth to be not eternal, indwelling, but rather something outside of
himself to which he must grow through an accumulation of virtues, qualities and
Truth is without qualities. That which is eternal, which is without any
quality, can only be realized when there is in each individual the absolute
cessation of all particularity, of self-consciousness. Man is self-conscious,
looking at life from his own narrow, limited, egotistical point of view; but in
being free of that self-consciousness is the realization of Truth. A man who
desires to realize Truth must, through self-recollectedness, through great
effort, transcend that consciousness which is the centre of qualities. This will
assure him of that tranquility which will give him the capacity to judge for
himself the true value of all things. This is illumination. A man who knows the
true worth of things, of ideas, becomes free of them all. To know this you must
be free from the bondages of so-called civilization. Be free in yourself and you
will love your neighbor.
From self-recollectedness, then, there follows true behaviour, true action,
and from true action there comes simplicity of life. That simplicity is not
crudeness, but the understanding of true values, from which follows freedom.
Behaviour, conduct, springs from a true outlook, from the true balance of reason
and affection. The man who is hampered, limited, worried by those things which
are unessential, cannot liberate his mind and think impersonally, and so be free
from the limitations of tradition, custom, and from the love which is hedged
about by the particular, in which there is a consciousness of “you and I”, “mine
When you have the purpose, the care to find out the true cause of sorrow
and suffering, there will come the desire to be free of limitation and to realize
Truth which is ever existing, self-caused in all things.
All this will be a superficial intellectual theory, so long as you do not put it
into practice. It is not a theory to me. It is what I have realized, what to me is the
highest Reality, the perfect balance of reason and of love; it is illumination.
p. 281-2 (15 March 1931,
Question: I have understood you to say that one experience, properly understood,
is all that is necessary for the establishment of freedom of consciousness. Would you
please explain this more fully. Is it not necessary first to go through an immense
variety of experiences which are only partly understood; or is there a more direct way
KRISHNAMURTI: I say that through the full significance of one
experience you can understand the whole expression of Life. An experience of
love, the intense love for another, if it is properly understood, fully lived, will
give you the realization of Truth. In love there is lust, envy, possession and
complete unawareness of “you and I”; in it there is loneliness, pain and joy.
When you are in love with someone, all this exists in it. To understand the full
significance of such an experience, you must have great concentration—not
retire from conflict, which is but evasion.
Most people do not care to give their full intelligence to the understanding
of a single experience and so they think that by multiplying the experiences they
will come to understanding. Take death. In that there is the full significance of
Life; there is loneliness, despair, hope, fear, loss, anguish, struggle between
loneliness and love, the search for consolation, leading to many delusions. There
is the desire to be united with the one you love, the desire to find out his state
after death. If you examine it, reflect upon it, you will see that all these
emotions emanate from that consciousness of separation, of “you and I”.
Death cannot be understood by transferring the problem to another plane of
struggle, by saying “we shall be united on another plane”. Truth knows neither
separation nor unity—it is. You give to Truth qualities, attribute to it unity,
because in your mind, in your consciousness, there is “you and I”. Remove that
particularity and there is no death, and the realization of this is immortality.
Then there is no loneliness. The purpose of all experiences, after all, is to
remove that consciousness of separation, of “you and I”, with all its qualities of
envy, greed, passion, care for possessions and so on. The value of experience is to
dispel that illusion of separateness which is the cause of sorrow, the cause of
For a man who realizes Truth, Life, there is immortality, not the infinite
continuance of himself which is but an illusion, but of Truth, of Life, which is
eternal. The more we cling to the particular, to the “I”, to “mine” and “yours”,
the more pain, sorrow, and chaos we shall create. The realization of Truth is the
assurance of immortality in which there is no “you and I”, but only that love
which knows no distinction, which knows no particularity—in which,
therefore, there is neither subject nor object.
pp. 305-8 (1931 Summer, Ommen, VII)
I want to show that although individuality, the ego, must dissolve and
disappear, there is a continuity of that eternal essence which is Life. Though
the body, particular feelings, limited thoughts, must wear out, yet you can realize
that Life which has no division, no distinction of “yours” and “mine,” which is
completeness. Individuality is effort. Effort creates self-consciousness. You
become aware through your effort, aware of yourself as the maker of effort.
Through effort, through choice, through struggle, you are self-conscious, and
that effort conveys to you the impression of living. The struggle between the
opposites gives you the feeling that you are awake, alive, energetic, and creates
the illusion of individuality, separateness. In individuality I include personality,
particularity, ego, self-consciousness. There is effort as long as there is
individuality. You will say to me: “If you take away effort, what is left? Remove
the opposites, and where am I? Take away my self-consciousness, and what more
is there? If my body, if my emotions, if my thoughts disappear, what will
remain?” Such a question, if I may say so, springs from the idea that what is
transient can become eternal. That is, you want your body, your mind, your
thoughts, to be eternal.
Now I say that the understanding of the eternal lies in the transient. The ego
must disappear, and in the process of its dissolution, Truth, completeness, is
realized. Reality, Truth, lies through this gateway of self-consciousness; it is free
of all qualities, of opposites, and yet is the outcome of the understanding of
qualities and opposites. In freeing yourself from the opposites there is harmony,
and out of that harmony there comes a new understanding which is the
beginning of awareness, which is not self-consciousness. Awareness has nothing
of the personality in it, whereas self-consciousness is the summation of
personality. By understanding the opposites and being free of them, the
realization of that Life comes into being.
Life is the harmony of mind and heart. Thought, will, desire, opinion,
passion, sensation, feeling, like and dislike, are but the beginning of
consciousness. When there is harmony the mind is no longer imprisoned in
opinion, because opinions belong to self-consciousness, and all self-consciousness
is limited. Idea, will and imagination belong to individuality. I am describing
the ultimate Truth, which can only be realized through your full selfconsciousness
and through the liberation of that self-consciousness. Do not
think that you are free of will, idea, imagination, when you are still in the fetters
Mind, though it is hedged about by personality, must continually seek to
become effortless by freeing itself from limitation. Life is intelligence, that is, the
summation of all that is essential. It is the mind that corrupts love, and it is by
making the mind perfect through intelligence that you free love. Because love
has in itself no distinction of “you” and “I,” it is complete in itself, it does not
depend for its expression, for its growth, for its happiness, on another. It is its
own subject and its own object. It is free of repulsion and attraction. That love
can be realized, not by suppressing emotion, but only by understanding.
Through the intensity of that continual understanding, personality disappears.
Through intensity alone can you lose your limitations, not through suppression.
The stronger your emotions, the more quickly all sense of egoism, of selfconsciousness,
disappears, yielding place to love. That love has neither sensation
nor emotionalism; sensation being attraction and repulsion, emotionalism
being stimulation from outside. That love is complete, it is its own eternity.
When the mind is consumed by the heart, there is harmony; then only comes
the full realization of Life. That Life is happiness; not happiness as opposed to
sorrow, not the happiness of emotion at its height, but the happiness of
completeness which has no division of “you” and “I,” which is sustained in
itself, which is beyond time, birth and death. It is that undisturbed, inward
stillness which is ever renewing itself. That Life is pure action, freed from all selfconsciousness.
Through full self-consciousness which is true detachment, in the ecstasy of
solitude, man realizes the ultimate Reality. Though he may catch a glimpse of
it, it can only be permanent when there is entire liberation from all selfconsciousness,
the total dissolution of individuality which is the fullness of Life.
Effort is self-consciousness, and as long as there is effort, action is limited.
There is action which has not awakened to self-consciousness, which is born out
of the unessential, out of ignorance; and there is action prompted by a mixture of
the essential and the unessential, of understanding and ignorance. This latter is
binding; it is the beginning of self-consciousness. Then there is pure action, the
essential, freed from all self-consciousness, all ignorance.
Such action is the understanding of Life itself and therefore it has no binding
quality; it is without karma.
Consider action born out of ignorance. It has no knowledge of the opposites
and is concerned only with the unessential. The man who is caught in this action
is suffering in the circle of bondage without knowing the way to free himself.
That is, he surrounds himself with the unessential, and though he suffers in that
circle of ignorance and unessentials, he has no desire for freedom.
Take a man that accumulates wealth. In the process of accumulation he
suffers, he is cruel, he seeks the enjoyment that comes from the unessential.
Continually amassing wealth, he clings to it without learning the true value of
money, which is detachment from it. Though he is active in the accumulation of
wealth, that action is but leading him to ignorance. He has not learned to
distinguish the essential from the unessential. Therefore his action is binding
him to ignorance.
Another example is worship. Worship, when it looks to another, is but action
leading to the unessential, ignorance. In looking to another, which is worship,
you rely on another. The looking to another for salvation, for hope, leads but to
ignorance because it is pursuing the unessential, still living without the
discrimination of action.
Again, there is the sense of possession, not with regard to money, but the
desire to possess another. In that desire you suffer, you are jealous, cruel,
thoughtless; and if you do not understand love, which is detachment without
indifference, you are but pursuing action which leads to ignorance, and you are
still imprisoned by the unessential.
The majority of people are caught up in this sorrow without understanding its
cause. They surround themselves with the unessential, create a wall of unrealities
about them, and suffer in that cage. Though in great sorrow they are not freeing
themselves, and are ever held in close bondage without the ecstasy of liberation.
But such action is not in itself binding because it is born of unconscious
ignorance. Action only binds when there is ignorance and understanding, the
confusion of the essential and the unessential. This is the awakening of selfconsciousness,
when there is discernment between the essential and the
unessential, when there is effort, when there is choice.
The awakening of self-consciousness is the realization of the difference
between the essential and the unessential, between true values and false values.
Then action becomes binding, but through that action alone can you free
yourself. This is not as difficult as it sounds. As soon as you are trying to discover
true values, there is the effort of choice, which causes suffering. When desire is
enslaved by fear and by comfort, the effort of discernment creates illusion.
Through this effort, you are coming to full self-consciousness.
The majority of people are caught up between these two —action which leads
to ignorance, and action in which there is a confusion of the essential and the
unessential. The action of ignorance is that in which there is no discernment
whatsoever, in which there is sorrow but not the understanding of its cause.
Then there is action which includes both the essential and the unessential. To
put it differently; so long as you have no real understanding of your action, there
is no dissipation of ignorance. By becoming aware of the difference between the
essential and the unessential, you know self-consciousness. When there is effort
and choice, there is sorrow; and there must be sorrow as long as man is caught in
the choice of the essential and the unessential. Look at yourself. You will see that
if you have secret desires which you have not understood, and if your action is
born out of these desires then, instead of freeing you, action holds you more and
more in the clutches of sorrow. But by becoming acutely self-conscious, that is,
by examining yourself, by being self-recollected, mindful, you are beginning to
choose, to discern the essential from the unessential. Choice is the continual
discovery of Truth. In true discernment lies freedom, the realization of the
eternal, the ecstasy that ever renews itself. Happiness is to dwell in the essential.
Truth is its own eternity; in it there is no division, in it there are no
opposites, although it is the outcome of all opposites. That completeness, which
is beyond time, exists at all times and in all. That Reality can be perceived only
through individuality, even though individuality must dissolve. All action must
lead to this ultimate Reality, since without that completeness there is sorrow.
Action born out of self-consciousness is a limitation, it is binding, and therefore
does not lead to happiness; it is ceaseless effort. You will be like a squirrel
running round and round in a cage. Before you can realize that pure action
which is Life itself, all action must be freed from self-consciousness. To become
aware of that pure action which is spontaneous, you must find out if your actions
are in the bondage of ignorance, or if they are caught between the essential and
p. 310 (1931 Summer,
Question: You have often spoken of completeness within ourselves. At first sight this
seems to make for more separation. Will you further explain this?
KRISHNAMURTI: Only by becoming aware of the cause of separateness which
is self-consciousness, and freeing that self-consciousness, will you realize
completeness. When you are caught in the limitation of thought and emotion,
you are conscious of separateness. The flame of full self-consciousness comes in
realizing the cause of that self-consciousness, which springs from the senses,
thoughts, ideas. As long as self-consciousness, the “I-ness,” exists, there is not the
full, permanent realization of completeness, which can be realized only through
dissolution of the ego.
pp. 330-1 (30 July 1931,
Question: How is it possible to prevent fear, such as fear of some human beings, of
the invisible, of ghosts, of some animals and nervous fears?
KRISHNAMURTI: You cannot dispel fear by merely setting up an opposite to
that fear. If you are fearful, do not struggle against it and try to acquire a fearless
attitude, but find out why you are afraid. Search; seek; do not avoid it by
introducing another set of fears, but examine it. The fundamental cause of fear is
based on egoism, and from that develop the various subtle forms of fear. But if
you are all the time seeking to be fully self-conscious and therefore free of selfconsciousness,
then fear ceases. But there are nervous fears depending on the
body. So find out if you are properly nourished, if you have proper exercise,
enough sleep, relaxation— which all depends on the mind. A mind in which
there is all the time a conflict between “mine” and “yours”, between opposites,
between acquisition and emptiness, between riches and poverty, cannot relax. It
is caught up in its own imagination, and from that state fears arise; but if you
are all the time seeking to free your self-consciousness, that is, to become so
fully self-conscious that in that flame of self-consciousness you realize the
fulness, the completeness of Life, then fears disappear.
It is useless to fight one opposite with another; that is what I meant
yesterday when I said, do not twist your life to an ideal. An ideal is but an
opposite. You can see so many people around you who have set up ideals,
wonderful ideals, and twist their life to those ideals, because they are afraid of
their own selfishness, and they think that by having an ideal they are going to
conquer that selfishness. That is, the ideal becomes the opposite. Therefore they
are starved of life, they have lost all loveliness of living, of adapting. That is why I
say, be free of your ideals if you would become really self-conscious; then you can
be free of all ideas, opinions, thoughts, imagination, will, and out of that comes
the fullness of being, which is ever renewing itself. That is happiness, not a set of
ideals to which you cling because you are afraid of your own egotism.
p. 341 (1 August 1931, Summer, Ommen)
I repeat that the beginning of knowledge is to know that the cause and the
subject of suffering is the “I”. When you no longer look at life from the point of
view of the “I”, there are no opposites, no acquiring or losing, destroying or
building, continuing or annihilating, possessing or renouncing, detachment or
The mind must be made free, but the way to liberate the self-consciousness
of the “I” is not by making the mind forget the “I” by interesting it with
something else—then you begin to meditate, you have authority, works,
service. Not that you should not serve; but when your mind is free of selfconsciousness
you will serve and help naturally, with grace and effectiveness.
True understanding is the freedom from self-consciousness. Do not think that
you are going to realize the ultimate freedom of self-consciousness without first
going through the flame of self-consciousness. It is through suffering, through
pain, through pleasure, through becoming responsible for yourself that you
understand the ultimate Reality which is the freedom of consciousness, freedom
of responsibility. Then there is absolute effacement of the “I” as an individual;
there is only completeness, and that completeness is ever existent, permanent,
not in time but in itself. You must free the mind of all attachment. You cannot
free it by taking refuge in the opposite. In your search to be complete,
detachment comes naturally, not in your artificial fight against attachment.
Detachment is not indifference. It is but the beginning of the knowledge of selfconsciousness.
It is the “I” which divides life. The mind, in its self-consciousness, in its
separateness, divides life. You cannot kill feeling in order to liberate the mind.
If you are seeking completeness—not completeness in opposition to
incompleteness, but completeness that is in itself its own eternity—there comes
the cessation of opposites. The mind is no longer occupied with time as progress
towards Reality, towards that completeness.
When the mind is free from all sense of attainment, of progress, of opposites
or of sensation, there is then the beginning of true solitude. Not the solitude in
opposition to the many; true solitude knows no loneliness. In that solitude there
comes tranquillity. Though still reflecting, still examining, still choosing, there
is harmony. The mind must be swift as ever-running water that cannot stagnate.
When the mind is so liberated there is harmony, and through that harmony
comes the full realization of that completeness in which there is neither birth nor
death, neither annihilation nor continuity. Being complete, it is no longer
subject to time.
p. 361 (17 January 1932, Ojai)
Some of you may say that what I am asserting is but annihilation, a
nothingness. When the mind is made perfect by intelligence, freed of
individuality, that mind is not nothingness. In that mind there is no longer the
perceiver and perceived, the bondage of duality and of the opposites.
So, having this conception of life, you will see that you can understand every
problem of life, and this understanding is that pathless Reality.
p. 369 (31 January 1932, Ojai)
The past is memory, that is, the incomplete understanding of yesterday’s
experience. The thoughts and emotions of yesterday, if you have not fully
comprehended them, create the memory of incompleteness; today there is the
memory of yesterday. Today’s incompleteness—incompleteness is only lack of
understanding—creates tomorrow, and so there is a continuity of memory
which is time. When action is complete today, there is no tomorrow. Yesterday
dominates if the understanding of yesterday’s experience is not complete. A
desire not understood in the present creates time. Tomorrow is but today’s
incompleteness, so there is the desire for continuity. Examine an experience and
you will understand what I mean. If you love someone, there is in that love the
desire to possess; but in that love there is also an intense feeling which is of no
personality, that clear affection which knows of no distinction. The mind
hedges that love about with attraction, conflict, desire and lust. If you can free
the mind of distinction, you will come to know love which is the very essence of
Reality, which knows neither unity nor separation, which is its own eternity.
Consider the experience of death. The sorrow of death is but loneliness in
conflict with love. Someone that you love is dead, and you are lonely, and so
there is sorrow. The complete understanding of that experience is to know love
without distinction. When you have love that knows not the other as your wife,
your child, your mother, your brother, your friend, then there is no death. If you
do not fully understand the experience of death, you cling to continuity, you
crave to be united with the one you have lost. Hence the idea of life after death,
the idea of reincarnation, the craving for continued self-consciousness. The
memory of yesterday exists only so long as the understanding of action is
incomplete. To have the full comprehension of an experience, you cannot base
thought on belief or on an incentive, but you have to live intensely in the
present. You must have a pliable, alert and unburdened mind, free of ideas,
beliefs, and then only can you gather the full significance of an experience in the
present. Thus you are free of the idea of time.
Self-consciousness, then, is memory, a continuity. Memory does not give
understanding, and understanding is not born out of repetition. What gives you
understanding is to free the mind of the illusion of individuality and to live
intensely in the present, which is to understand fully every experience. I want
you to realize the joy of Life, the fullness of Life, not to be a slave to such varieties
of changing sorrows, anxieties, pains and longings.
p. 404 (4 June 1932, Ojai)
Question: What relationship has art to Life? Does an appreciation of art awaken
understanding of Life and vice versa? I can appreciate one only through the other.
KRISHNAMURTI: All stimulation is transient. I am telling you of something
which does not pass away, which cannot be realized through any stimulation,
but through constant perseverance of intense living. A man who is living fully in
the present is an artist in Life. An appreciation of art does not necessarily mean
the understanding of Life, which is the utter freedom from self-consciousness,
from the bondage of craving. A man who is seeking the realization of Truth
can have no particularity through which he hopes to awaken an understanding
pp. 413-5 (6 June 1932,
Question: What is the real object and need of painfully building up this sense of
separateness, of “I-ness,” if as soon as it is well established, we must commence to wear
KRISHNAMURTI: There is no need whatever, but you are doing it. Your
idea of spirituality, of progress, of achievement, is based on greed, and so you
begin to acquire qualities, and hence distinction, which creates the idea of
“yours” and “mine.” You have your particular type, your particular cravings; your
mind is hedged about with barriers set up through your cravings, which are the
result of sensation and perception. So, through the painful process of acquisition
you create an error, which you call the ego, and you pursue that error for a long
time, until you know through living that it is an illusion, that in itself it has no
reality whatsoever, and you begin, not to tear it down, but to run away from it.
You say that you will seek Truth, but Truth is where thought is, it is not
away from thought and emotion; it is in man himself, and you can wear down
the ego only through the understanding of its cause. You must become aware of
the cause of your own creations, of your own illusions; for without knowing the
cause, you can never free yourself from its effect. Karma is but incomplete selfconsciousness.
True freedom from karma is the realization of the cause of sorrow,
and when you are entirely free from cause, then you are liberated from all its
Question: When the ego is dissipated, when the sense of separateness no longer
exists and there is only the One, when Life just is, what is it that is aware of this?
KRISHNAMURTI: When the ego is dissipated, you will know about it.
When you have dissolved the sense of separateness, when you have freed yourself
from all craving, you will know that there is not “the One.” There is something
else. You are again trying to imagine what Truth is. You say Life is or is not; that
it is unity, it is “the One.” I assure you, you cannot possibly conceive of what
this ecstasy is, or even what it is like; you cannot possibly think of it, because
what you think of is outside of your mind, and your mind is merely an observer.
Mind becomes a mindedness, so it cannot conceive. When a mind has lost its
capacity to be mindful of itself, then it shall know. Intellectually you think of
what Truth is; from reading and listening, you form a conception of it, and try
to mold your life according to that conception, according to that image.
If I may be personal, I never imagined what Truth was, I never craved to
possess it. How can you want something when you do not know what it is? But I
knew the things which were binding me, crippling my thought, my emotion,
wasting my energy. I knew that which it is quite easy to know. So, through the
process of freeing myself from craving, the cause of many hindrances, I know
what Truth is; but if someone had told me what it was, and I had imagined it
and molded my life to that idea, it would not have been Truth, it would have
been a dead thing, an achievement turned to ashes. And that is what you are
trying to do. Your whole structure of thought is based on acquisition and
imitation, and therefore your achievements are but ashes, nothing but emptiness,
and but few see the misery of it.
Do not try to seek out what Truth is, do not try to find out through listening
to me, nor try to feel what it is. Such effort is futile. Even though you may feel it
occasionally, do not try to hold on to it, but remove the cause of resistance, and
you will know. In this way you are freeing yourself and not becoming a machine,
a standardized object. This is the only natural, human way. Becoming aware of
yourself, you are conscious of your own bondages; in the movement of awareness
you find out all that you are holding, and through that movement alone you are
liberated. This is the assurance of true intelligence, of discernment.
So, do not try to imagine what Truth is, saying that it is one flame in many
lamps, and that we shall all be united in the future. These are but cravings, they
are the uniformity and standardization of thought in which you hope there will
be no effort, an utter peace, which is but death. Whereas, if your mind is free
from the idea of the future, not imagining the inconceivable, but living in the
present, then in the very penetration of the many layers of craving there is the
realization of the ecstasy of Life. In this way you bring about order in the world
of chaos. Though you become a supreme individual in your aloneness, you have
lost all its particularity, and you are like the winds that move, that have no
resting place; you are like the waters that fit into any jar. But if your mind is
burdened with the future, with idea, you will die, your peace is but stagnation.
pp. 391-7 (2-3 June 1932, Ojai)
When you are confronted with an intimate crisis, you have to ponder over it,
and in thinking deeply about it you are emotionally stirred; in the intensity of
that feeling you come to a true resolve. In order to think in what way you
should act, thought must be completed in emotional awareness. In that
awareness there is no personal resistance, no personal like or dislike.
Now, if I may make a suggestion, during these days become watchful, aware,
and thus find out whether you are wholly alone, an individual, or merely a
machine, caught up both in collective and individual craving. You have to find
out for yourself whether you think wholly in aloneness; no one can do this for
you. To complete thought in emotional awareness you need to be alone; and I
think that in the camp grounds you have such an opportunity, to be selfrecollected.
I am not using that word in the narrow sense of being selfconscious,
but in the sense of being alertly watchful, finding out if your
emotions and thoughts are the reactions of a collective will or your own
particular cravings. In that watchfulness thought fulfills itself in emotional
awareness. This is intuition.
I would like to make it clear that to realize the essence of Life, mind cannot
be in bondage through idea born of craving. If you are seeking that Reality, that
essence of Life, in which all sense of individuality has wholly ceased, then you
cannot imitate any person, rely on learning or follow a system. You cannot
blindly accept what I am saying. You must think it over and see the reason of it.
Now, Truth, that Life which has neither beginning nor end, is at all times in
man. Man cannot exist without it, but he has created, through craving, the many
layers of what he calls individuality. He can realize the very essence of that Life
only through piercing all these layers of individuality, self-consciousness, which
are illusions though they may be facts. Thought which is individualistic,
personal, egotistic, is a fact, but it is an illusion in the sense that it is brought
about through your personal craving. When there is the cessation of all craving
for anything, including the craving for realization, then there is that stillness,
that concentration of Life. Search, then, is not for something; it is a constant
piercing, an unfaltering alertness, the immediate perception of a mind which is
continually discerning. So there is no longer an end, a conclusion, in which the
mind can happily dwell. There is no beginning and no end to Life, because
through the piercing of this illusion of what you call individuality, which is but
the many layers of craving, there is immediate perception of the infinite; and to
pierce these layers you cannot possibly imitate anyone, follow any system,
meditate upon a particular idea, or have an ultimate goal. If you tell me that I
have been urging you, for the last three years, to establish a goal and follow it, I
say that I have used the word goal to convey my thought, but not to signify an
So, to pierce these layers of craving, you must be rid of collective will. You are
made up of national, social, family and personal will and tradition, and you
cannot, with all these prejudices, judge what you yourself think. You are being
constantly influenced by all these things, and you must be entirely free of them if
you would realize the fulness of Life, because you can find the blessedness of
Truth only through aloneness. Please understand in what sense I use the word
free. I do not mean breaking away from something; that does not free you, nor
does conquering an idea. What you conquer always conquers you. If you have
conquered an idea, you become a slave to that idea, you are not free of that idea,
you have not gone through it, you have not pierced it. Freedom is the full
concentration of Life; not a concentration of ideas, but a concentration of
energy in which all disintegration brought about through self-consciousness
has ceased. To be free, you must become fully self-conscious, and through that
flame of self-consciousness, through that intensity of aloneness, you will come
to the realization of that Life which is not an inclusiveness nor an
exclusiveness, in which the idea of unity and separation is wholly absent, in
which there is no distinction, and therefore no resistance. That Life is eternity,
which is not a point stretched endlessly along a straight line. Eternity is not an
endless climbing of empty heights, whose achievement but brings you dust
upon dust. Eternity is mind and heart in perfect harmony, thought complete in
emotional awareness, the utter cessation of all craving.
You may understand what I am saying intellectually, but you have to fulfil it
through action. This living, this continual adjustment, is meditation; not
locking yourself up in a room and pursuing an idea, which is merely a
contraction. A mind that is contracted in such concentration is dead, as most
minds are. If you watch yourself, you will see that is exactly what is happening to
you; you are pursuing an idea, and so molding your life according to it. Living is
alertness of mind, watchfulness, freedom from all preconceptions, ideas and
To realize that which is eternal, you must go through the miracle of
individuality, which is not individualism. In the ordinary sense of the word,
individualism is to do everything for oneself, to be selfish, egotistic, selfcentered.
I do not mean that at all; I mean that you must become wholly your
own unit, you must become completely responsible for your thoughts, emotions
and actions and know their cause. You become aware through wise
disentanglement from the hindrances set up through craving, from all reactions.
I want you to see that to realize the immeasurable, the ecstasy of Life, you
must become wholly responsible, and that the mind and heart must go through
the intense flame of self-consciousness. I say that the process of going through
that full self-consciousness reveals the joy of wisdom. It is not away from
individuality, but through individuality that you realize completeness.
This concentration of Life can be known only through the joy of solitude. I
do not mean the solitude of running away from every-day existence, going away
into a monastery or into a wood, or to a camp; but the joy of solitude is to face
that inward aloneness, that emptiness which everyone in the world has and
which he tries to conceal, from which he tries to run away. Face that loneliness,
and in the discovery of its cause, and in the freedom from that cause, you will
realize the immensity of concentration. You can never know the plenitude of
Life by running away from loneliness; when you cover it up, when you are
enticed away, stimulated, you are merely deceiving yourself. So, in the
recognition of that loneliness, in the acceptation of that poverty, and in the utter
loss of it through ridding the mind of this idea of “yours” and “mine,” you do
away with the cause of poverty. In piercing through these many layers of
craving, which are the cause of that emptiness, that loneliness, that aching void,
there is the realization of eternal Life.
To come back to the point with which I started, you cannot realize Truth
along any path, through any system, through any learning or teacher, but only
through the flame of self-consciousness. That is the one thing I want to convey
during this camp. If you can realize, not merely intellectually, but with full
emotion, that the whole of eternity exists in yourself, that through yourself
alone you can find it and not through another, then that strong emotion will
complete your thought. Then you will be master of yourself, therefore free of
yourself. There is then neither yourself nor the other, but a completeness, an
intense penetration of discernment, free of all ideas.
You want to realize Truth by some definite means, by some miracle, through
a guide. You want to come to it without shedding a tear. You want Truth made
what you call practical, so that you can follow it. Through your desire to avoid
conflict, to avoid sorrow and the effort of thought, you are creating for yourself a
system. You may throw away a system given by another—many thoughtful
people have done this—but you are creating your own system, which is all the
more subtle, the more difficult to be free of.
What happens to you when you are following someone? You are being
standardized, you become like so many machines, you merely conform. Thus
you need not think at all, you need not go through conflict; instead, you take an
idea which another has thought out, lived, struggled with, given his life to
understand, and you mold your life according to that pattern. But if you really
understand this, you will see that you can no longer have a standard or a system,
either external or your own, and that the search for unity, in which you are all
engaged, is but an evidence of the escape from conflict in uniformity. You want
to be united with God, Truth, Life, and in that unity, which is mere uniformity,
you hope all strife and sorrow will cease. You say Truth is justice, Truth is life,
God is all-powerful or omniscient, and you mold your life to that idea. All your
actions are hedged about by that idea, all your thoughts are being directed
towards that idea; you are conforming to a pattern, and your life is but a
standardized emptiness. That is what happens to people who are seeking a
conclusion, an end, who desire to have their consciousness expanded and are
looking to another for guidance. When the parts of a machine are well-fitting,
there is no friction, it runs most smoothly, and that is what you are trying to do
with Life. To be free from all conflict is not to conform, but it is to be free of all
craving, the cause of individuality. You try to seek freedom through the escape of
standardization, and not through the joy of solitude.
When you seek a master, a guru, a saviour or a teacher, you want to become
an instrument in his hands; you are very proud if you think you have become a
tool in the hands of a man who has supremely evolved, and you consider then
that you have succeeded. You are succeeding in slow death, which is uniformity.
You are succeeding in making yourself as nothing, but that nothing is emptiness,
poverty, not the rich renewing of the nothingness of Life. By following a system,
by craving to become a something, to have your consciousness expanded by
another—all these things are making your mind a slave to an idea; whereas, to
understand the ever living Truth, mind must be infinitely pliable, exquisitely
delicate, sensitive, and therefore free of ideas.
You will understand what I have been trying to convey if you will really
think over it, not merely in an intellectual manner, but with full emotional
awareness of your thought. Awareness cannot be systematized, you cannot form
a group around it. I was told the other day that there are people who have
formed a society of those who do not believe in anything! So do not have a
society of those who are not followers.
I hope you see why I labor with this point about not following, not having
mediators, not craving to have one’s ego expanded, and all the rest. Though you
may feel that your ego is something great, all-inclusive, you will find it is an
illusion; it is an emptiness, a bubble that is soon pricked.
When you have really seen that neither a system nor looking to another can
release you from your own conflict, can liberate the mind from selfconsciousness,
which is a multiplication of cravings, then you will realize that to
understand there must be a mind of infinite pliability. This pliability of mind
and heart is true intelligence; not the intelligence of much learning, of much
knowledge, but the intelligence of a mind that is continually being released
from its own actions, a mind that, through living completely in the present, is
not creating a memory, a mind that is not, through its own action, creating a
resistance which wastes concentration in the present.
As I have said, you need to have intelligence to realize Truth, and most people
avoid being intelligent because it demands action. To be intelligent you must be
free of the pretence of society, of class-consciousness, of egotism. People who are
desirous of it can be intelligent; intelligence is not alone the divine gift of a
genius. It is really very simple, so simple that it avoids you; or rather, it is so
delicate that you avoid it, because you want something concrete to grasp. What
makes a person dull, stupid and slothful? Lack of adaptability, pliability. He is a
slave to his own particular idea, which is himself; whereas, if he is ever watchful,
alert, making his way without a fixed end, without a concrete idea of
achievement, then that one is intelligent. That which is pliable is infinite; that
which yields can never be broken. This intelligence is the discernment of
supreme value and none can give it to you. It is vain to go to shrines, temples, to
worship at another’s feet. You go through all these things to discover but empty
sorrow, an aching void, which never gives you that supreme, living ecstasy of
So, a man who is caught up in his own stupidity, which is the lack of infinite
pliability, who is in the bondage of an idea, can never understand Truth, because
he becomes a slave to another, he is in a state of continual, self-created
limitation. In my talks I want to show how ideas, through craving, become a
bondage of the mind, turning to useless dust. You will never understand the
infinite Life by trying to become something, because that something lies outside
of yourself, so it is not real. Truth is within yourself, and you can come by it
only through your own emotional awareness, your own intensity of action,
through your own utter aloneness and in the fulness of understanding.
June 2nd, 1932.
During this camp I will try to make the generalities perfectly clear, and when
you have understood these generalities, you can translate them practically for
yourself. You will find that this way is much more helpful, much more real, than
if I were to tell you in detail how you should live.
Memory is the result of an incomplete action; that is, if you do not live fully
in the present, concentratedly, completely, then there is the resistance of
memory, a looking back, a thinking of the future. Thus the mind creates a
system for itself which it is all the time trying to follow, and thereby loses alert
concentration, the watchfulness of deliverance.
Realization of Truth cannot be sought through evolution, through the idea of
progress. If there is the desire to achieve, your effort is wasted, you are merely
progressing in acquisition, which is but craving. It is only by penetrating the
layers of self-consciousness, the layers of craving, that you can come to that
fulness of Life, to that
blessedness of Truth.
Question: You seem to speak to us of intuition as synonymous with Life. We
think of intuition generally as a realization of a fact, of a truth, without the process of
reasoning—something which we know within ourselves to be true. Do you mean this
is merely a personal intuition, not the intuition of Life itself? What is this intuition of
KRISHNAMURTI: You have what you call an intuition, as, for example,
that of reincarnation. Intuitively you feel that it must be so, that life after life you
will come back to gather more experience, more understanding, more wisdom,
until you come to the perfection of Life itself. You have heard or read of this
idea, and because it appeals to you, you say this is the voice of intuition. This is
not intuition. If you ponder over it, you will see that it is but the personal
satisfaction of your own prolongation. It gives you happiness to think that you
shall live again next life; it flatters you, it gives you a solution, a comfortable
postponement, and therefore you accept it. I am not concerned with whether
reincarnation is or is not a fact; to me, this is not important. Personal
satisfaction, which you call intuition, is not intuition at all. Intuition, that
instantaneous perception, is at no time personal. To know the very essence of
Life, the mind must be liberated from all cravings, and therefore from all
personality, ego, individuality. This penetration, this instantaneous
understanding of supreme value, is intuition, which must not be confused with
Intuition is the intense, emotional awareness in which thought completes
itself. Now, if you uncover the layer after layer of craving, pierce through
individuality— which is not a vain achievement of success, but a continual
penetration of thought in the fullness of emotion—then you come to that
which may be called intuition, which is not the mere acceptation of an
attractive idea. In any question that is deeply troubling you, what do you do?
You do not consult people, play with ideas. You ponder over your problem
until eventually your thought is complete in emotion, and that is your resolve.
That determination is not will. Will is personal. When craving urges the mind
towards achievement, then there is will. Will is but conscious recognition of
the ego, which causes resistance. In intuition there is no resistance and no will,
but there is that capacity for instantaneous perception— wisdom.
Intuition is awareness in which all distinction has ceased, therefore all
resistance. Instantaneous understanding, which is wisdom, comes only when the
mind begins to throw off the layer after layer of self-consciousness, individuality.
There is Life and there is the illusion of self-consciousness; when you have
pierced the illusion, there is the living of that Life. In that living there is no
longer a continued effort, achievement, progress. I wish you would try this and
see how it works for yourself; but to realize it you must utterly change, you must
be wholly alone, completely yourself. The understanding of eternal Life is not an
intellectual feat or trick which you can learn from another or from me. It is only
when you begin to throw off the many layers of craving that there is the joy of
Question: You speak of emotional awareness. You also say that thought and love
are one, and that you yourself do not know whether you are thinking when you love,
or loving when you think. Why then do you make a distinction between emotional
awareness and mental awareness?
KRISHNAMURTI: You think apart from emotion; you do not think with
feeling. Reaction causes you to think, but you do not dare to think completely
in that emotional awareness, because if you did you would be forced to loosen
all the bonds that hold you. You have to become perfectly simple, intelligent.
When you are truly free from the distinction of thought and emotion as
separate functions, then there is neither mental nor emotional awareness; there
is perfect awareness in which mind and heart are fused into one. In awareness
all distinction has ceased. Personal distinction in action can disappear only
through thought completing itself in emotional awareness; that is, through the
perfect harmony of mind and heart.
pp. 401-3 (4 June 1932,
Question (from the audience) : Is this feeling, this concentration of Life, a cosmic
KRISHNAMURTI: I am glad you asked that question; I will try to explain.
It is like trying to understand what is beyond those mountains before you have
left the valley. You are trying to imagine what it is. You say it is universal
consciousness, it is God, it is Life, it is cosmos, it is this, it is that. You want a
description of it, but that which can be described is not Truth. Whereas, if you
begin to find out the cause of this ever recurring resistance, and seek the freedom
from that bondage, then there is the realization of this concentration, the ecstasy
of Life. This flow of thought is in the present, it is not in the future, or in
another world. You want to find out what Life is, whether it is cosmic
consciousness, whether in it there is justice, equality, whether it is unity, all inclusiveness,
so that you can train your mind according to that conception, so
that you can become like it. Hence it is but your own glorification; whereas,
what I am telling you is the utter freedom from self-consciousness.
When do you think of yourself? When you are frustrated; you become aware
of yourself when you are hindered. From that hindrance you have division, the
cause of resistance, and to conquer it you discipline yourself. Ideas must entirely
disappear before you can discern.
If you cannot discern freely, you are incapable of understanding. To perceive,
mind must not be held in the bondage of an idea. Mind must be without
prejudice; and one of the most difficult things to do is to make the mind so
delicate, so pliable, that it discerns instantaneously, and that discernment is
What creates in you ideas? Craving. You perceive an object, an aim, an end,
and then you form ideas for achievement. For example, you hear of the idea of
the perfect man, and you say to yourself, “I must become his disciple, I must
become like him.” That idea molds your life, you are enslaved by it, your craving
has merely become subtle. You are not freeing your mind of the cause of
limitation, this craving, but are merely transferring it from ordinary, human
selfishness to “spiritual” and refined self-interest, the expansion of your ego. This
process of self-expansion you call spiritual progress. Gradually you drop the
object of your craving. You say to yourself, “There is only the self. I myself am
the whole universe, God.” The object of your inspiration, your mold, has lost for
you its significance, but it is the very same craving that has created in you this
new and glorious idea that you are the universe.
Though you may imagine that you are the universe, that you are cosmic in
your consciousness, you are still caught up in your craving with all its struggles
and limitations. Thus you are forced to find a new explanation, while retaining
all the illusions which have been evolved by your craving. You now say to
yourself, “As there is supreme justice, universal law, God’s love, I will accept
things as they are.” You find yourself in a state of resignation, which is but a
new illusion. From this springs a sensation of comfort, born of this selfsame
Within all these circles of illusion, you pass your days. You remain in one,
imagining that you have found the ultimate, till craving drives you to another.
You create illusion after illusion, wandering from one to the other, ever a slave
to the subtle demands of craving. Thereby you imagine that you are evolving
through endless time. Your mind gives you the satisfaction of distinction as
you wander through these illusions, for you think that you are ever leaving a
lower state of consciousness for a higher. You are merely creating greater and
greater distinctions, thus causing endless separation and resistance. Unity is
but uniformity, for you become the mold in which others are shaped. As long
as there is resistance, there is self-consciousness, craving, no matter how
glorified may be the illusion of expansion, no matter how inclusive may be the
circle of self-identification.
To me, there is but one Truth, the freedom from craving, from selfconsciousness;
in this there is not the distinction of duality. All the rest is but
illusion, infinite in its variety, glory and distinction. The saint, the sinner, the
slave, the conqueror, the man of virtue and of spiritual achievement—all are
alike in their illusion if they are rooted in craving. A vast space and time may
separate one from the other, but the saint who has evolved away from the sinner
has only progressed from the illusion of the lower to the illusion of the higher.
If you realize that all ideas, bondages, are created by craving, by selfconsciousness,
and if you can free your mind from craving, then you need not
go through these illusions of idea. To be free of craving, you must be watchful,
ceaselessly alert, and never slothful. This is true effort.
There is no such thing as a finality. What is final, what can be achieved, is
already dead; so in achievement your mind is digging its own grave. Whereas, if
you think not in terms of images, of ideas, but are ever trying to free the mind
from all bondage, there is then that renewal of Life, which is the everlasting.
pp. 404-5 (4 June 1932,
Question: We realize that you are using words only for convenience, but is there to
you a distinction between a thought and an idea? Must we be free also of your ideas?
If so, does it not seem to you futile to speak to us?
KRISHNAMURTI: Surely there is a difference between idea and thought.
An idea is generally but the arrest of thought-emotion, which has become
crystallised through personal reaction; whereas, thought-emotion is ever
flowing, limitless, and in it there are no personal reactions. It is the lasting
substance of Truth. But the mind that is a slave to an idea is incapable of living
infinitely, so there is a distinction between thought and idea.
This is not an intellectual conception; if only you understand it, live it, you
will know what it means. There is an ecstasy in it. It is not a cold, dry,
intellectual conception nor an emotional sensation. You ask, “Must we be free
also of your ideas?” I hope I have not given you ideas. You are used to “do’s” and
“don’ts.” You are accustomed to systems, to philosophies, to concrete ideas, in
which your thought can carefully wrap itself, and you call that living. I am not
giving you a system. I am telling you the way of living in which there is an ever
present awareness of the flame of thought-emotion. If I were to tell you what
constitutes the minimum of needs, what meditation you should do, what kind of
ideas you should have, how you should live in the present, then you would have
to be free from those ideas, because they would enslave your mind, they would
corrupt your thought. I do not give ideas, but I speak of the pliability of mind emotion
so that you can live in harmony, in that tranquility which is ever
pp. 407-10 (5 June 1932, Ojai)
If you consider your thoughts and feelings, you will see that you are
continually seeking greater and greater ideas, stronger and stronger stimulation,
higher and higher peaks to climb. Through lack of understanding of the present,
you are looking to future achievements, which is but piling dust upon dust. It is
but an intellectual feat, which you call progress. You go on through life from one
sensation to another, from one hope to another, from one idea to another, from
one teacher to another, continually satisfying your craving. The more you yield
to your craving the more it creates objects, ideas, saviours, gurus, for its own
satisfaction. Thus Truth becomes but an enticement, a conception; therefore you
can never realize it. Truth is indescribable, no one can stimulate you towards that
realization; if anyone does, it is not Truth. If anyone gives you an idea of it,
describes it to you, it is not Truth. If anyone explains to you its ecstasy, its
perfume, beware of that person, because he himself is caught in sensation, and
you become but a slave to that sensation.
I hope you understand this, because if you do not, all my talks will be but
wasting your time. You cannot follow anyone, though you can ponder over his
ideas; you cannot possibly conceive of what Truth is, because it is inconceivable,
limitless, something which you can realize only in intense emotional awareness.
It has nothing to do with stimulation, with hysteria; it demands careful thought,
a pliable mind, and an intense alertness of search.
Through seeing and contact, you have sensation, from sensation thinking,
and from thinking you have ideas. Thus you are creating craving through your
perception, through your contact and sensation. There are many layers of
craving, and these layers put together, if I may so express it, make up selfconsciousness,
individuality, the ego, “I-ness,” personality. I am using those
words synonymously to imply that wherever there is craving of any kind, there is
self-consciousness and disharmony; whereas, with the cessation of craving, there
is intelligence and perfect harmony. You will see that what you call the ego,
personality, individuality, self-consciousness, is nothing but a series of hindrances
created through craving. Therefore the “I” is nothing but a frustration, a
recognition through impact, through reaction, of a hindrance. That is, you are
conscious of yourself as a personality, as an ego, only when you are frustrated,
when there is resistance.
So, these layers of craving are brought about through sensation, through
contact, through perception. There is intense longing, and through that there is
the idea of distinction, and therefore resistance. Having created the distinction of
personality, ego, individuality, you think that the realization of Truth, that
eternal blessedness, lies only through the evolution, the progress, of this
hindrance, which you call “I.” This is not just an intellectual remark, a mere
philosophical idea. If you ponder over it, you will see that when you are intensely
interested, when you are fully concentrated, there is not this strain of effort.
What you call the ego, which is but resistance, is an illusion, an error; and an
error projected through infinity, however enlarged, glorified, remains ever an
I do not want you to accept what I say, but please think over it carefully and
you will see how natural it is, how simple it is. The man of supreme intelligence
is he who is free from all resistance in himself, created through the distinction of
idea. That distinction arises from craving—“I want,” “I possess,” “mine” and
“yours.” With that craving as a cause, you build up a whole structure of life; your
whole thought is based on separation, distinction, resistance. When you seek to
be united with Truth, you want to keep your own individuality, your own
distinction, and yet be one with the whole. That is, you desire to retain the
resistance of your own distinction, and you want everyone else to be like
yourself. You long for effortlessness in uniformity, which you call Truth. Truth
cannot thus be measured; it is free, infinitely supple, ever new, never static. To
realize it, you must have a mind exquisitely pliable, free from ideas whose cause
is craving; but you have forgotten the cause, which is craving, and hold on to
the effect, which is the ego, personality, individuality.
Now, this becoming aware of the cause of things is full self-consciousness,
and no one can tell you if you are fully self-conscious; you come to it only
through your own effort. That is true endeavor. Unless you know the cause, you
are a slave to its effect; and I say you can be free from both cause and effect,
which produce the ego. In freeing yourself from craving, whose effect is selfconsciousness,
“I-ness,” duality, hindrance, you are freeing yourself from cause;
and therefore you are free of what you would call karma, cause and effect.
As I have said, you must become aware of the cause of self-consciousness, of
individuality. Do not accept or reject what I say, but find out why this idea of
“I” exists, discover what is the cause that has this disastrous effect. You will see
that through perception, through sensation, through ideas, both collective and
personal, there is craving, and this craving sets up many hindrances, and these
hindrances create self-consciousness.
Now, to realize Truth, to realize this infinite renewal of Life, you must be
utterly free, your mind must be entirely stripped of all craving. You will say,
“How can I, a man of the world, live in the world without craving?” Have you
ever tried to live without craving? Have you ever seen the cause of sorrow and
said to yourself, “I shall be free of that cause”? Intellectually you see the cause,
and intellectually you see how difficult it is to be free of it. Therefore you never
try, but say, “A man in the world cannot live without craving, he must fight for
himself in this civilization; otherwise he is crushed under, destroyed.” You have
not tried it, therefore you cannot say what will happen. You think about it, but
because you have not tried it, your thinking is merely theoretical, and therefore
of very little value. Whereas, if you are emotionally aware with this idea of life
utterly free from craving, then you will see that you are master of
circumstances, because you have such an infinite capacity of pliability that you
do not cling to anything, hence you have no fear. Being free from the sensation
of perception, you perceive without its enticements.
You must be free from the sentimentality of emotion, which does not mean
that you must be free from emotion; on the contrary, you must have great
intensity of emotion without being entangled in it. That is, you must be free
from the clinging, personal emotion. At the same time you must be free from
all ideas, and yet be so pliable, so alert, that you are an ocean of ideas.
These are not mere theories; I am telling you of what I am living, I am telling
you of that which I have permanently realized, whose ecstasy is immeasurable. I
have freed myself from cause and effect, and I know what I am saying. I am
speaking of Life itself, and I know the blessedness of Truth. To you it may
appear as a theory, because you do not live it. If you are vitally awake to life,
instead of pursuing the hereafter or the past, which is but death, you will see the
practicality—of which you are so proud— of what I am saying.
Now, action alone can reveal the innumerable layers of craving in which you
are caught. Action does not teach, it only frees you; but you think that you must
have experience in order to learn. You are searching through experiences,
through action, something that you want to understand. Therefore action has no
value to you at all; you are using action only to make you go further, to increase,
to expand. Thus action is creating greater sorrow, not freeing you from sorrow.
To you action is merely accumulation, not the fullness of wisdom. You are only
piling learning upon learning, which you think is understanding, whereas, you
are really becoming more and more imprisoned in experience. The true function
of action, mental, emotional and physical, is to strip away the layers of craving,
for true action is without motive. Truth is not to be realized through
accumulation of any kind, whether of virtues, of qualities, or of things, but
through continual penetration, which is action ever in the present. If you are
living with that concentration, with that pliability of mind in the present, your
thought and emotion are awakening to awareness of the cause of sorrow, and so
the mind is being freed from the limitation of craving. Whereas, if you have a
motive in action, however varied and innumerable your experiences may be, that
action will destroy the very fulness of Life in the present.
Action, then, is not a process of gathering knowledge, but of understanding,
not of accumulation, but of elimination, which makes the mind infinitely
pliable. Through this denudation there is immediate perception. The idea of
Truth being elsewhere, of God being far away, to whom man can go only
through evolution, through the perpetuation of self-consciousness, individuality,
is an error. True action must become your guide, your light, not action based on
In the process of discovering the cause of sorrow, which is craving, you face
utter loneliness, which until now you have carefully avoided by hiding yourself
in sensation. If you are really endeavoring to free yourself from the cause of
sorrow, which is craving, you will be alone. In facing that loneliness, you become
watchful, alert. You are fully awake only when you are not trying to avoid
something, when you are not trying to escape from the inevitable, which is to be
alone; and through the ecstasy of that solitude, Truth is realized. Until you are
free of both the collective and personal will, craving, you cannot possibly realize
Truth. This requires a marvelously supple mind, and you cannot have it if you
cling to something. In the process of awakening a pliable mind, there is the joy
of solitude in which there is recollection, and non-recollection. In freeing the
mind from ideas, and so from disharmony, you have direct perception, and this
is true intelligence, which is perfect harmony, which is realization of the eternal.
He who is alert and watchful, who is never slothful, will realize the everlasting.
pp. 412-3 (6 June 1932,
Question (from the audience): How can the mind be freed from the opposites?
KRISHNAMURTI: I will tell you. If you are poor, mentally, emotionally,
physically, you want to be rich, do you not? You want to have a rich mind,
strong emotion. Now that is but pursuing an opposite, and the opposite
contains the thing from which you are escaping. What you are pursuing holds
that from which you are running away. When you are poor, you want to be
rich, and you know by contrast what it is to be rich. You are pursuing wealth in
your mind, and thus you are creating the opposite through your craving;
whereas, in the recognition of the fact that you are poor, and in trying to be
free of the very idea of poverty, you destroy the opposite.
If you dislike someone, it is useless for you to say you must love him; that
breeds hypocrisy. But if you try to be free of the idea of dislike, you are
becoming free of the idea of distinction—both like and dislike. You cannot do
this mentally; you cannot say, “I must be free of dislike,” and intellectually
deceive yourself. The recognition of the fact of that which you are, without
trying to escape from it, leads to freedom from the opposites.
If you are lonely, you are continually seeking company, trying to suffocate
your mind with ideas, enjoyment, to run away and lose yourself in good works;
but the wound of loneliness, though you may cover it over with many sensations,
remains ever unhealed. Whereas, if you become aware of your loneliness, face it,
never try to escape from it, in that facing of it, completely, you become watchful.
You begin to see in what manner you are trying to escape from loneliness; you
perceive the subtle deceits of the mind. Each time you are aware of your escape,
you are enriched in wisdom through that awareness.
Though I may vary the terms, it is of this I talk every year. Try to become
aware of your own desires—which is not to become self-conscious. You become
self-conscious only when you are pursuing an opposite through craving, when
you are trying to escape from loneliness into richness, into a multitude of ideas.
When you try, without craving, to free yourself from loneliness through the
action of alertness, then you no longer create a resistance, which is selfconsciousness,
but are freeing the mind from limitation. Pure action is thus a
process of denudation, not acquisition.
The mind is made up of thought, will, conception, consideration, reflection
and understanding. Now, you cannot have understanding if your mind is
burdened with craving, wanting; that wanting creates an idea, and therefore a
memory. But if the mind is not grasping, and is trying to free itself from the
cause of resistance which is contrast, then there is an unburdened mind, and
such a mind alone can understand, for it completes itself in emotional
One of the most difficult things to do is to free the mind from the idea of the
past. If, for instance, you have a delight in an emotional experience, your mind
wants to go back and dwell on it, to enjoy the experience again. Thus you are
creating memory through the perpetuation of an idea, and that memory becomes
self-consciousness, the “I,” which you think is real and which you imagine will
progress until finally it becomes Life itself. The “I” is nothing but a series of
hindrances, brought about through craving; and to be free of that idea of selfconsciousness,
which is death, and of the idea of unity, progress, inclusiveness,
self-identification, the mind must complete itself in each experience. That is, you
must become fully aware each second, which is not to have a slothful mind.
If you will observe your own mind, you will see how it is picking up and
dwelling in idea after idea, incident after incident, memory after memory,
creating a regret of the past and a hope of the future. In this way you spend your
days and years, and you create a habit of thought; in that habit you live, and that
habit becomes your life, your consciousness, your whole make-up. A mind that
dwells continuously in incidents, in memories, in ideas, is ever digging its own
pp. 416-7 (6 June 1932,
Question: Please explain the difference between self-analysis and selfrecollectedness.
KRISHNAMURTI: What is self-analysis? You desire a car, and at the same
time your mind tells you it is not necessary.
There is a battle, and you begin to analyze, why and why not. So, the basis of
self-analysis is craving. When you do not want, you do not analyze; but if you
want something, you will find innumerable reasons to possess it. So, what you
call introspection is brought about through the division of the mind in craving.
Now, self-recollectedness in the true sense is to be alert, to become aware;
and to become aware is to know the cause of division which is craving.
Awareness is the fullness of perception. You can perceive completely when you
have no craving, and so you are free of self-analysis. To become fully aware is not
to yield to the layer after layer of craving, thinking you must go through all
experience, which is but another sensation. Alertness of mind is not self-centeredness.
The mind is alert only when it is trying to free itself from the cause
of limitation, which is craving. If watchfulness is not to discover the cause, then
that watchfulness becomes self-centeredness, self-consciousness. When you
search out the cause, you do not become self-centered, you are not selfconscious,
you are alert, watchful, pliable; you go to the very root of the cause.
p. 419 (7 June 1932, Ojai)
Question: When I think of the Christ I feel immense love in my heart. When I am
in your presence, I am mentally stimulated. I know that this is also the experience of
others. Why do we feel this difference if, as you say, thought and love are the same?
KRISHNAMURTI: Because you are dividing Life into emotion and
thought. If you are looking for comfort, you will have it; if you are looking for
stimulation, you will be stimulated. The fullness of Life is neither comfort nor
stimulation, but the perfect harmony of thought and emotion.
When I am talking to you, I am feeling intensely. Thinking and feeling are
to me the same, because I have lost the distinction of what you call thought
and emotion. To lose that distinction, you must first become aware of it in
yourself, you must know for yourself that you think apart from your feeling;
that is, you must be fully self-conscious. In that flame of self-consciousness
there is utter aloneness, and when you know that solitude, which is an ecstasy,
then thought and feeling are beginning to lose their own distinction. Though
you reflect, that reflection is an emotional awareness; though you feel, it is a
mental awareness. Then thought is ever an awareness.
Man in himself is Life, and he cannot find it through another. He can
realize it only through piercing the many layers of his own self-consciousness. All
following and looking to another is unnatural. You must penetrate your own
mind and heart to realize the ecstasy of Life, and you cannot ultimately escape
from that effort. There is always escape when you are not free from craving, and
no one can deliver you from it except yourself, through your own delight,
through your search. When all craving has ceased, then to think is to feel, there is
no distinction between mind and heart. There is then an intense awareness, a
concentration which has lost all distinction. It is the concentration of a flower.
That concentration is infinite; but what you call love and thought breed
resistance, bondage, laziness of mind and heart, and therefore corruption.
pp. 427-8 (8 June 1932, Ojai)
Simplicity of life is not the opposite of having many things; I do not mean
that at all. When the mind is free from idea, from the memory of craving, you
will find that your life becomes extraordinarily simple, your needs are very few.
There is an utterly different conception of need. There is then neither a giving
nor a sharing, but the perfect simplicity of a flower, which is so supremely
concentrated that it is unconscious of itself.
Now through this intelligent watchfulness there is also the loss of distinction
between thought and love. You are accustomed to think of thought and love as
apart, and so you have made an intellectual path and an emotional path,
intellectual action and emotional action. Whereas, when you lose all
distinction, thought is love, to feel is to think; every thought becomes
completed in emotional awareness, and every emotion is wise, rich in
thoughtful awareness. This is true harmony of mind and heart. This is true
tenderness, the pliability of gentleness, and the brutality of so-called unselfishness
It is the mind that creates distinction through grasping, and when the mind is
freed from resistance, there is perfect harmony. For this reason I have not talked
of love; and if you have thought that I am merely intellectual, you have not
understood what I have been saying. I am showing you how to free the mind.
Only when the mind is free can thought be fused in the intensity of emotional
Truth cannot be approached through any path, either the path of love or the
path of mind. The man who talks of paths and distinctions is at war with
himself; but the man who is harmoniously pliable is complete in the fullness of
Life. To think is to love, and to love is to be supremely intelligent.
Krishnamurti Articles & Quotes