"If you kill your desire, you are like the withered branch of a lovely tree."

"Now desire, contrary to general belief, is the most precious possession of man. It is the eternal flame of life; it 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

fulfilment. 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 fulfilment 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 fulfilment.

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, Summer, Ommen)


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