Think on These Things
MOST OF US cling to some small part of life, and think that through that part we shall discover the whole. Without leaving the room we hope to explore the whole length and width of the river and perceive the richness of the green pastures along its banks. We live in a little room, we paint on a little canvas, thinking that we have grasped life by the hand or understood the significance of death; but we have not. To do that we must go outside. And it is extraordinarily difficult to go outside, to leave the room with its narrow window and see everything as it is without judging, without condemning, without saying, "This I like and that I don't like; because most of us think that through the part we shall understand the whole. Through a single spoke we hope to understand the wheel; but one spoke does not make a wheel, does it? it takes many spokes, as well as a hub and a rim, to make the thing called a wheel, and we need to see the whole wheel in order to comprehend it. In the same way we must perceive the whole process of living if we are really to understand life.
I hope you are following all this, because education should help you to understand the whole of life and not just prepare you to get a job and carry on in the usual way with your marriage, your children, your insurance, your pujas and your little gods. But to bring about the right kind of education requires a great deal of intelligence, insight, and that is why it is so important for the educator himself to be educated to understand the whole process of life and not merely to teach you according to some formula, old or new.
Life is an extraordinary mystery - not the mystery in books, not the mystery that people talk about, but a mystery that one has to discover for oneself; and that is why it is so grave a matter that you should understand the little, the narrow, the petty, and go beyond it.
If you don't begin to understand life while you are young, you will grow up inwardly hideous; you will be dull, empty inside, though outwardly you may have money, ride in expensive cars, put on airs. That is why it is very important to leave your little room and perceive the whole expanse of the heavens. But you cannot do that unless you have love - not bodily love or divine love, but just love; which is to love the birds, the trees, the flowers, your teachers, your parents, and beyond your parents, humanity.
Will it not be a great tragedy if you don't discover for yourselves what it is to love? If you don't know love now, you will never know it, because as you grow older, what is called love will become something very ugly - a possession, a form of merchandise to be bought and sold. But if you begin now to have love in your heart, if you love the tree you plant, the stray animal you pat, then as you grow up you will not remain in your small room with its narrow window, but will leave it and love the whole of life.
Love is factual, it is not emotional, something to be cried over; it is not sentiment. Love has no sentimentality about it at all. And it is a very grave and important matter that you should know love while you are young. Your parents and teachers perhaps don't know love, and that is why they have created a terrible world, a society which is perpetually at war within itself and with other societies. Their religions, their philosophies and ideologies are all false because they have no love. They perceive only a part; they are looking out of a narrow window from which the view may be pleasant and extensive, but it is not the whole expanse of life. Without this feeling of intense love you can never have the perception of the whole; therefore you will always be miserable, and at the end of your life you will have nothing but ashes, a lot of empty words.
Questioner: Why do we want to be famous?
Krishnamurti: Why do you think you want to be famous? I may explain; but, at the end of it, will you stop wanting to be famous? You want to be famous because everybody around you in this society wants to be famous. Your parents, your teachers, the guru, the yogi - they all want to be famous, well known, and so you do too.
Let us think this out together. Why do people want to be famous? First of all, it is profitable to be famous; and it gives you a great deal of pleasure, does it not? If you are known all over the world you feel very important, it gives you a sense of immortality. You want to be famous, you want to be known and talked about in the world because inside yourself you are nobody. Inwardly there is no richness, there is nothing there at all, therefore you want to be known in the world outside; but, if you are inwardly rich, then it does not matter to you whether you are known or unknown.
To be inwardly rich is much more arduous than to be outwardly rich and famous; it needs much more care, much closer attention. If you have a little talent and know how to exploit it, you become famous; but inward richness does not come about in that way. To be inwardly rich the mind has to understand and put away the things that are not important, like wanting to be famous. Inward richness implies standing alone; but the man who wants to be famous is afraid to stand alone because he depends on people's flattery and good opinion.
Questioner: When you were young you wrote a book in which you said: "These are not my words, they are the words of my Master." How is it that you now insist upon our thinking for ourselves? And who was your Master?
Krishnamurti: One of the most difficult things in life is not to be bound by an idea; being bound is called being consistent. If you have the ideal of non-violence, you try to be consistent with that ideal. Now, the questioner is saying in effect, "You tell us to think for ourselves, which is contrary to what you said when you were a boy. Why are you not consistent?"
What does it mean to be consistent? This is really a very important point. To be consistent is to have a mind that is unvaryingly following a particular pattern of thinking - which means that you must not do contradictory things one thing today and the opposite thing tomorrow. We are trying to find out what is a consistent mind. A mind which says "I have taken a vow to be something and I am going to be that for the rest of my life" is called consistent; but it is really a most stupid mind, because it has come to a conclusion and it is living according to that conclusion. It is like a man building a wall around himself and letting life go by.
This is a very complex problem; I may be oversimplifying it, but I don't think so. When the mind is merely consistent it becomes mechanical and loses the vitality, the glow, the beauty of free movement. It is functioning within a pattern. That is one side of the question.
The other is: who is the Master? You don't know the implications of all this. It is just as well. You see, it has been said that I wrote a certain book when I was a boy, and that gentleman has quoted from the book a statement which says that a Master helped to write it. Now, there are groups of people, like the Theosophists, who believe that there are Masters living in the remote Himalayas who guide and help the world; and that gentleman wants to know who the Master is. Listen carefully, because this applies to you also.
Does it matter very much who a Master or a guru is? What matters is life - not your guru, not a Master, a leader or a teacher who interprets life for you. It is you who have to understand life; it is you who are suffering, who are in misery; it is you who want to know the meaning of death, of birth, of meditation, of sorrow, and nobody can tell you. Others can explain, but their explanations may be entirely false, altogether wrong.
So it is good to be sceptical, because it gives you a chance to find out for yourself whether you need a guru at all. What is important is to be a light unto yourself, to be your own Master and disciple, to be both the teacher and the pupil. As long as you are learning, there is no teacher. It is only when you have stopped exploring, discovering, understanding the whole process of life, that the teacher comes into being - and such a teacher has no value. Then you are dead, and therefore your teacher is also dead.
Questioner: Why is man proud?
Krishnamurti: Are you not proud if you write a nice hand, or when you win a game or pass some examination? Have you ever written a poem or painted a picture, and then shown it to a friend? If your friend says it is a lovely poem or a marvellous picture, don't you feel very pleased? When you have done something which somebody says is excellent, you feel a sense of pleasure, and that is all right, that is nice; but what happens the next time you paint a picture, or write a poem, or clean a room? You expect someone to come along and say what a wonderful boy you are; and, if no one comes, you no longer bother about painting or writing, or cleaning. So you come to depend on the pleasure which others give you by their approbation. It is as simple as that. And then what happens? As you grow older you want what you do to be acknowledged by many people. You may say, "I will do this thing for the sake of my guru, for the sake of my country, for the sake of man, for the sake of God", but you are really doing it to gain recognition, out of which grows pride; and when you do anything in that way, it is not worth doing. I wonder if you understand all this?
To understand something like pride, you must be capable of thinking right through; you must see how it begins and the disaster it brings, see the whole of it, which means that you must be so keenly interested that your mind follows it to the end and does not stop half way. When you are really interested in a game you play it to the end, you don't suddenly stop in the middle and go home. But your mind is not used to this kind of thinking, and it is part of education to help you to inquire into the whole process of life and not just study a few subjects.
Questioner: As children we are told what is beautiful and what is ugly, with the result that all through life we go on repeating, "This is beautiful, that is ugly". How is one to know what is real beauty and what is ugliness?
Krishnamurti: Suppose you say that a certain arch is beautiful, and someone else says it is ugly. Now, which is important: to fight over your conflicting opinions as to whether something is beautiful or ugly, or to be sensitive to both beauty and ugliness? In life there is filth, squalor, degradation, sorrow, tears, and there is also joy, laughter, the beauty of a flower in the sunlight. What matters, surely, is to be sensitive to everything, and not merely decide what is beautiful and what is ugly and remain with that opinion. If I say, "I am going to cultivate beauty and reject all ugliness", what happens? The cultivation of beauty then makes for insensitivity. It is like a man developing his right arm, making it very strong, and letting his left arm wither. So you must be awake to ugliness as well as to beauty. You must see the dancing leaves, the water flowing under the bridge, the beauty of an evening, and also be aware of the beggar in the street; you must see the poor woman struggling with a heavy load and be ready to help her, give her a hand. All this is necessary, and it is only when you have this sensitivity to everything that you can begin to work, to help and not reject or condemn.
Questioner: Pardon me, but you have not said who was your Master.
Krishnamurti: Does it matter very much? Burn the book, throw it away. When you give importance to something so trivial as who the Master is, you are making the whole of existence into a very petty affair. You see, we always want to know who the Master is, who the learned person is, who the artist is that painted the picture. We never want to discover for ourselves the content of the picture irrespective of the identity of the artist. It is only when you know who the poet is that you say the poem is lovely. This is snobbishness, the mere repetition of an opinion, and it destroys your own inward perception of the reality of the thing. If you perceive that a picture is beautiful and you feel very grateful, does it really matter to you who painted it? If your one concern is to find the content, the truth of the picture, then the picture communicates its significance.
WE HAVE BEEN discussing how essential it is to have love, and we saw that one cannot acquire or buy it; yet without love, all our plans for a perfect social order in which there is no exploitation, no regimentation, will have no meaning at all, and I think it is very important to understand this while we are young.
Wherever one goes in the world, it does not matter where, one finds that society is in a perpetual state of conflict. There are always the powerful, the rich, the well-to-do on the one hand, and the labourers on the other; and each one is enviously competing, each one wants a higher position, a bigger salary, more power, greater prestige. That is the state of the world, and so there is always war going on both within and without.
Now, if you and I want to bring about a complete revolution in the social order, the first thing we have to understand is this instinct for the acquisition of power. Most of us want power in one form or another. We see that through wealth and power we shall be able to travel, associate with important people and become famous; or we dream of bringing about a perfect society. We think we shall achieve that which is good through power; but the very pursuit of power - power for ourselves, power for our country, power for an ideology - is evil, destructive, because it inevitably creates opposing powers, and so there is always conflict.
Is it not right, then, that education should help you, as you grow up to perceive the importance of bringing about a world in which there is no conflict either within or without, a world in which you are not in conflict with your neighbour or with any group of people because the drive of ambition, which is the desire for position and power, has utterly ceased? And is it possible to create a society in which there will be no inward or outward conflict? Society is the relationship between you and me; and if our relationship is based on ambition each one of us wanting to be more powerful than the other, then obviously we shall always be in conflict. So, can this cause of conflict be removed? Can we all educate ourselves not to be competitive, not to compare ourselves with somebody else, not to want this or that position - in a word, not to be ambitious at all?
When you go outside the school with your parents, when you read the newspapers or talk to people, you must have noticed that almost everybody wants to bring about a change in the world. And have you not also noticed that these very people are always in conflict with each other over something or other - over ideas, property, race, caste or religion? Your parents, your neighbours, the ministers and bureaucrats - are they not all ambitious, struggling for a better position, and therefore always in conflict with somebody? Surely, it is only when all this competitiveness is removed that there will be a peaceful society in which all of us can live happily, creatively.
Now, how is this to be done? Can regulation, legislation, or the training of your mind not to be ambitious, do away with ambition? Outwardly you may be trained not to be ambitious, socially you may cease to compete with others; but inwardly you will still be ambitious, will you not? And is it possible to sweep away completely this ambition, which is bringing so much misery to human beings? Probably you have not thought about it before, because nobody has talked to you like this; but now that somebody is talking to you about it, don't you want to find out if it is possible to live in this world richly, fully, happily, creatively, without the destructive drive of ambition, without competition? Don't you want to know how to live so that your life will not destroy another or cast a shadow across his path?
You see, we think this is a Utopian dream which can never be brought about in fact; but I am not talking about Utopia, that would be nonsense. Can you and I, who are simple, ordinary people, live creatively in this world without the drive of ambition which shows itself in various ways as the desire for power, position? You will find the right answer when you love what you are doing. If you are an engineer merely because you must earn a livelihood, or because your father or society expects it of you, that is another form of compulsion; and compulsion in any form creates a contradiction, conflict. Whereas, if you really love to be an engineer, or a scientist or if you can plant a tree, or paint a picture, or write a poem, not to gain recognition but just because you love to do it, then you will find that you never compete with another. I think this is the real key: to love what you do.
But when you are young it is often very difficult to know what you love to do, because you want to do so many things. You want to be an engineer, a locomotive driver, an airplane pilot zooming along in the blue skies; or perhaps you want to be a famous orator or politician. You may want to be an artist, a chemist, a poet or a carpenter. You may want to work with your head, or do something with your hands. Is any of these things what you really love to do, or is your interest in them merely a reaction to social pressures? How can you find out? And is not the true purpose of education to help you to find out, so that as you grow up you can begin to give your whole mind, heart and body to that which you really love to do?
To find out what you love to do demands a great deal of intelligence; because, if you are afraid of not being able to earn a livelihood, or of not fitting into this rotten society, then you will never find. But,if you are not frightened, if you refuse to be pushed into the groove of tradition by your parents, by your teachers, by the superficial demands of society, then there is a possibility of discovering what it is you really love to do. So, to discover, there must be no fear of not surviving.
But most of us are afraid of not surviving, we say, "What will happen to me if I don't do as my parents say, if I don't fit into this society?" Being frightened, we do as we are told, and in that there is no love, there is only contradiction; and this inner contradiction is one of the factors that bring about destructive ambition.
So, it is a basic function of education to help you to find out what you really love to do, so that you can give your whole mind and heart to it, because that creates human dignity, that sweeps away mediocrity, the petty bourgeois mentality. That is why it is very important to have the right teachers, the right atmosphere so that you will grow up with the love which expresses itself in what you are doing. Without this love your examinations, your knowledge, your capacities your position and possessions are just ashes, they have no meaning; without this love your actions are going to bring more wars, more hatred, more mischief and destruction.
All this may mean nothing to you, because outwardly you are still very young, but I hope it will mean something to your teachers - and also to you, somewhere inside.
Questioner: Why do you feel shy?
Krishnamurti: You know, it is an extraordinary thing in life to be anonymous - not to be famous or great, not to be very learned, not to be a tremendous reformer or revolutionary, just to be nobody; and when one really feels that way, to be suddenly surrounded by a lot of curious people creates a sense of withdrawal. That is all.
Questioner: How can we realize truth in our daily life?
Krishnamurti: You think that truth is one thing and your daily life is something else, and in your daily life you want to realize what you call truth. But is truth apart from daily life? When you grow up you will have to earn a livelihood, will you not? After all, that is what you are passing your examinations for: to prepare yourself to earn a livelihood. But many people don't care what field of work they enter as long as they are earning some money. As long as they get a job it does not matter to them if it means being a soldier, a policeman, a lawyer, or some kind of crooked business man.
Now, to find the truth of what constitutes a right means of livelihood is important, is it not? Because truth is in your life, not away from it. How you talk, what you say, how you smile, whether you are deceitful, playing up to people - all that is the truth in your daily life. So, before you become a soldier, a policeman, a lawyer or a sharp business man, must you not perceive the truth of these professions? Surely, unless you see the truth of what you do and are guided by that truth, your life becomes a hideous mess.
Let us look at the question of whether you should become a soldier, because the other professions are a little more complex. Apart from propaganda and what other people say, what is the truth concerning the profession of a soldier? If a man becomes a soldier it means that he must fight to protect his country, he must discipline his mind not to think but to obey. He must be prepared to kill or be killed - for what? For an idea that certain people, great or petty, have said is right. So you become a soldier in order to sacrifice yourself and to kill others. Is that a right profession? Don't ask somebody else, but find out for yourself the truth of the matter. You are told to kill for the sake of a marvellous Utopia in the future - as if the man who tells you knew all about the future! Do you think that killing is a right profession, whether it be for your country or for some organized religion? Is killing ever right at all?
So, if you want to discover the truth in that vital process which is your own life, you will have to inquire deeply into all these things; you will have to give your mind and heart to it. You will have to think independently, clearly, without prejudice; for truth is not away from life, it is in the very movement of your daily living.
Questioner: Don't images, Masters and saints help us to meditate rightly?
Krishnamurti: Do you know what right meditation is? Don't you want to discover for yourself the truth of the matter? And will you ever discover that truth if you accept on authority what right meditation is?
This is an immense question. To discover the art of meditation you must know the whole depth and breadth of this extraordinary process called thinking. If you accept some authority who says, "Meditate along these lines", you are merely a follower, the blind servant of a system or an idea. Your acceptance of authority is based on the hope of gaining a result, and that is not meditation.
Questioner: What are the duties of a student?
Krishnamurti: What does the word `duty' mean? Duty to what? Duty to your country according to a politician? Duty to your father and mother according to their wishes? They will say it is your duty to do as they tell you; and what they tell you is conditioned by their background, their tradition, and so on. And what is a student? Is it a boy or a girl who goes to school and reads a few books in order to pass some examination? Or is only he a student who is learning all the time and for whom there is therefore no end to learning? Surely, the person who merely reads up on a subject, passes an examination, and then drops it, is not a student. The real student is studying, learning, inquiring, exploring, not just until he is twenty or twenty-five, but throughout life.
To be a student is to learn all the time; and as long as you are learning, there is no teacher, is there? The moment you are a student there is no one in particular to teach you, because you are learning from everything. The leaf that is blown by the wind, the murmur of the waters on the banks of a river, the flight of a bird high in the air, the poor man as he walks by with a heavy load, the people who think they know everything about life - you are learning from them all, therefore there is no teacher and you are not a follower.
So the duty of a student is just to learn. There was once a famous painter in Spain whose name was Goya. He was one of the greatest, and when he was a very old man he wrote under one of his paintings, "I am still learning". You can learn from books, but that does not take you very far. A book can give you only what the author has to tell. But the learning that comes through self-knowledge has no limit, because to learn through your own self-knowledge is to know how to listen, how to observe, and therefore you learn from everything: from music, from what people say and the way they say it, from anger, greed, ambition.
This earth is ours, it does not belong to the communists, the socialists, or the capitalists; it is yours and mine, to be lived on happily, richly, without conflict. But that richness of life, that happiness, that feeling, "This earth is ours", cannot be brought about by enforcement, by law. It must come from within because we love the earth and all the things thereof; and that is the state of learning.
Questioner: What is the difference between respect and love?
Krishnamurti: You can look up `respect' and `love' in a dictionary and find the answer. Is that what you want to know? Do you want to know the superficial meaning of those words, or the significance behind them?
When a prominent man comes around, a minister or a governor, have you noticed how everybody salutes him? You call that respect, don't you? But such respect is phony, because behind it there is fear, greed. You want something out of the poor devil, so you put a garland around his neck. That is not respect, it is merely the coin with which you buy and sell in the market. You don't feel respect for your servant or the villager, but only for those from whom you hope to get something. That kind of respect is really fear; it is not respect at all, it has no meaning. But if you really have love in your heart, then to you the governor, the teacher, your servant and the villager are all the same; then you have respect, a feeling for them all, because love does not ask anything in return.
AMONG SO MANY other things in life, have you ever considered why it is that most of us are rather sloppy - sloppy in our dress, in our manners, in our thoughts, in the way we do things? Why are we unpunctual and, so inconsiderate of others? And what is it that brings about order in everything, order in our dress, in our thoughts, in our speech, in the way we walk, in the way we treat those who are less fortunate than ourselves? What brings about this curious order that comes without compulsion, without planning, without deliberate mentation? Have you ever considered it? Do you know what I mean by order? It is to sit quietly without pressure, to eat elegantly without rush, to be leisurely and yet precise, to be clear in one's thinking and yet expansive. What brings about this order in life? It is really a very important point, and I think that, if one could be educated to discover the factor that produces order, it would have great significance.
Surely, order comes into being only through virtue; for unless you are virtuous, not merely in the little things, but in all things, your life becomes chaotic, does it not? Being virtuous has very little meaning in itself; but because you are virtuous there is precision in your thought, order in your whole being, and that is the function of virtue.
But what happens when a man tries to become virtuous, when he disciplines himself to be kind, efficient, thoughtful, considerate, when he attempts not to hurt people, when he spends his energies in trying to establish order, in struggling to be good? His efforts only lead to respectability, which brings about mediocrity of mind; therefore he is not virtuous.
Have you ever looked very closely at a flower? How astonishingly precise it is, with all its petals; yet there is an extraordinary tenderness a perfume a loveliness about it. Now, when a man tries to be orderly, his life may be very precise, but it has lost that quality of gentleness which comes into being only when, like with the flower, there is no effort. So our difficulty is to be precise, clear and expansive without effort.
You see, the effort to be orderly or tidy has such a narrowing influence. If I deliberately try to be orderly in my room, if I am careful to put everything in its place, if I am always watching myself, where I put my feet, and so on, what happens? I become an intolerable bore to myself and to others. It is a tiresome person who is always trying to be something, whose thoughts are very carefully arranged, who chooses one thought in preference to another. Such a person may be very tidy, clear, he may use words precisely, he may be very attentive and considerate, but he has lost the creative joy of living.
So, what is the problem? How can one have this creative joy of living, be expansive in one's feeling, wide in one's thinking, and yet be precise, clear, orderly in one's life? I think most of us are not like that because we never feel anything intensely; we never give our hearts and minds to anything completely. I remember watching two red squirrels, with long bushy tails and lovely fur, chase each other up and down a tall tree for about ten minutes without stopping - just for the joy of living. But you and I cannot know that joy if we do not feel things deeply, if there is no passion in our lives - passion, not for doing good or bringing about some reform, but passion in the sense of feeling things very strongly; and we can have that vital passion only when there is a total revolution in our thinking, in our whole being.
Have you noticed how few of us have deep feeling about anything? Do you ever rebel against your teachers, against your parents, not just because you don't like something, but because you have a deep, ardent feeling that you don't want to do certain things? If you feel deeply and ardently about something, you will find that this very feeling in a curious way brings a new order into your life.
Orderliness, tidiness, clarity of thinking are not very important in themselves, but they become important to a man who is sensitive, who feels deeply who is in a state of perpetual inward revolution. if you feel very strongly about the lot of the poor man, about the beggar who receives dust in his face as the rich man's car goes by, if you are extraordinarily receptive, sensitive to everything, then that very sensitivity brings orderliness, virtue; and I think this is very important for both the educator and the student to understand
In this country, unfortunately, as all over the world, we care so little, we have no deep feeling about anything. Most of us are intellectuals - intellectuals in the superficial sense of being very clever, full of words and theories about what is right and what is wrong, about how we should think, what we should do. Mentally we are highly developed, but inwardly there is very little substance or significance; and it is this inward substance that brings about true action, which is not action according to an idea.
That is why you should have very strong feelings - feelings of passion, anger - and watch them, play with them, find out the truth of them; for if you merely suppress them, if you say, "I must not get angry, I must not feel passionate, because it is wrong", you will find that your mind is gradually being encased in an idea and thereby becomes very shallow. You may be immensely clever, you may have encyclopaedic knowledge, but, if there is not the vitality of strong and deep feeling, your comprehension is like a flower that has no perfume. It is very important for you to understand all these things while you are young, because then, when you grow up, you will be real revolutionaries - revolutionaries, not according to some ideology, theory or book, but revolutionaries in the total sense of the word, right through as integrated human beings, so that there is not a spot left in you which is contaminated by the old. Then your mind is fresh, innocent, and is therefore capable of extraordinary creativeness. But if you miss the significance of all this, your life will become very drab, for you will be overwhelmed by society, by your family, by your wife or husband, by theories, by religious or political organizations. That is why it is so urgent for you to be rightly educated - which means that you must have teachers who can help you to break through the crust of so-called civilization and be, not repetitive machines, but individuals who really have a song inside them and are therefore happy, creative human beings.
Questioner: What is anger and why does one get angry?
Krishnamurti: If I tread on your toes, or pinch you, or take something away from you, won't you be angry? And why should you not be angry? Why do you think anger is wrong? Because somebody has told you? So it is very important to find out why one is angry, to see the truth of anger, and not merely say it is wrong to be angry.
Now, why do you get angry? Because you don't want to be hurt - which is the normal human demand for survival. You feel that you should not be used, crushed, destroyed or exploited by an individual a government or society. When somebody slaps you, you feel hurt, humiliated, and you don't like that feeling. If the person who hurts you is big and powerful so that you can't hit back, you in turn hurt somebody else, you take it out on your brother, your sister, or your servant if you have one. So the play of anger is kept going.
First of all, it is a natural response to avoid being hurt. Why should anybody exploit you? So, in order not to be hurt, you protect yourself, you begin to develop a defence, a barrier. Inwardly you build a wall around yourself by not being open, receptive; therefore you are incapable of exploration, of expansive feeling. You say anger is very bad and you condemn it, as you condemn various other feelings; so gradually you become arid, empty, you have no strong feelings at all. Do you understand?
Questioner: Why do we love our mothers so much?
Krishnamurti: Do you love your mother if you hate your father? Listen carefully. When you love somebody very much, do you exclude others from that love? If you really love your mother, don't you also love your father, your aunt, your neighbour, your servant? Don't you have the feeling of love first, and then the love of someone in particular? When you say, "I love my mother very much", are you not being considerate of her? Can you then give her a lot of meaningless trouble? And if you are considerate of your mother, are you not also considerate of your brother, your sister, your neighbour? Otherwise you don't really love your mother; it is just a word, a convenience.
Questioner: I am full of hate. Will you please teach me how to love?
Krishnamurti: No one can teach you how to love. If people could be taught how to love the world problem would be very simple, would it not? If we could learn how to love from a book as we learn mathematics, this would be a marvellous world; there would be no hate, no exploitation, no wars, no division of rich and poor, and we would all be really friendly with each other. But love is not so easily come by. It is easy to hate, and hate brings people together after a fashion; it creates all kinds of fantasies, it brings about various types of co-operation, as in war. But love is much more difficult. You cannot learn how to love, but what you can do is to observe hate and put it gently aside. Don't battle against hate, don't say how terrible it is to hate people, but see hate for what it is and let it drop away; brush it aside, it is not important. What is important is not to let hate take root in your mind. Do you understand? Your mind is like rich soil, and if given sufficient time any problem that comes along takes root like a weed, and then you have the trouble of pulling it out; but if you do not give the problem sufficient time to take root then it has no place to grow and it will wither away. If you encourage hate, give it time to take root, to grow, to mature, it becomes an enormous problem. But if each time hate arises you let it go by, then you will find that your mind becomes very sensitive without being sentimental; therefore it will know love.
The mind can pursue sensations, desires, but it cannot love. Love must come to the mind. And, when once love is there it has no division as sensuous and divine: it is love. That is the extraordinary thing about love: it is the only quality that brings a total comprehension of the whole of existence.
Questioner: What is happiness in life?
Krishnamurti: If you want to do something pleasurable, you think you will be happy when you do it. You may want to marry the richest man, or the most beautiful girl, or pass some examination, or be praised by somebody, and you think that by getting what you want you will be happy. But is that happiness? Does it not soon fade away, like the flower that blossoms in the morning and withers in the evening? Yet that is our life, and that is all we want. We are satisfied with such superficialities: with having a car or a secure position, with feeling a little emotion over some futile thing, like a boy who is happy flying a kite in a strong wind and a few minutes later is in tears. That is our life, and with that we are satisfied. We never say, "I will give my heart, my energy, my whole being to find out what happiness is". We are not very serious, we don't feel very strongly about it, so we are gratified with little things.
But happiness is not something that you can seek; it is a result, a by-product. If you pursue happiness for itself it will have no meaning. Happiness comes uninvited; and the moment you are conscious that you are happy, you are no longer happy. I wonder if you have noticed this? When you are suddenly joyous about nothing in particular, there is just the freedom of smiling, of being happy; but, the moment you are conscious of it, you have lost it, have you not? Being self-consciously happy, or pursuing happiness, is the very ending of happiness. There is happiness only when the self and its demands are put aside.
You are taught a great deal about mathematics, you give your days to studying history, geography, science, physics, biology, and so on; but do you and your teachers spend any time at all thinking about these far more serious matters? Do you ever sit quietly, with your back very straight, without movement, and know the beauty of silence? Do you ever let your mind wander, not about petty things, but expansively, widely, deeply, and thereby explore, discover? And do you know what is happening in the world? What is happening in the world is a projection of what is happening inside each one of us; what we are, the world is. Most of us are in turmoil, we are acquisitive, possessive, we are jealous and condemn people; and that is exactly what is happening in the world, only more dramatically, ruthlessly. But neither you nor your teachers spend any time thinking about all this; and it is only when you spend some time every day earnestly thinking about these matters that there is a possibility of bringing about a total revolution and creating a new world. And I assure you, a new world has to be created, a world which will not be a continuation of the same rotten society in a different form. But you cannot create a new world if your mind is not alert, watchful, expansively aware; and that is why it is so important, while you are young, to spend some time reflecting over these very serious matters and not just pass your days in the study of a few subjects, which leads nowhere except to a job and death. So do consider seriously all these things, for out of that consideration there comes an extraordinary feeling of joy, of happiness.
Questioner: What is real life?
Krishnamurti: "What is real life?" A little boy has asked this question. Playing games, eating good food, running jumping pushing - that is real life for him. You see, we divide life into the real and the false. Real life is doing something which you love to do with your whole being so that there is no inner contradiction, no war between what you are doing and what you think you should do. Life is then a completely integrated process in which there is tremendous joy. But that can happen only when you are not psychologically depending on anybody, or on any society, when there is complete detachment inwardly, for only then is there a possibility of really loving what you do. If you are in a state of total revolution, it does not matter whether you garden, or become a prime minister, or do something else; you will love what you do, and out of that love there comes an extraordinary feeling of creativeness.
YOU KNOW, IT is very interesting to find out what learning is. We learn from a book or from a teacher about mathematics, geography, history; we learn where London is, or Moscow, or New York; we learn how a machine works, or how the birds build their nests, care for their young, and so on. By observation and study we learn. That is one kind of learning.
But is there not also another kind of learning - the learning that comes through experience? When we see a boat on the river with its sails reflected on the quiet waters, is that not an extraordinary experience? And then what happens? The mind stores up an experience of that kind, just as it stores up knowledge, and the next evening we go out there to watch the boat, hoping to have the same kind of feeling - an experience of joy, that sense of peace which comes so rarely in our lives. So the mind is sedulously storing up experience; and it is this storing up of experience as memory that makes us think, is it not? What we call thinking is the response of memory. Having watched that boat on the river and felt a sense of joy, we store up the experience as memory and then want to repeat it; so the process of thinking is set going, is it not?
You see, very few of us really know how to think. Most of us merely repeat what we have read in a book, or what somebody has told us, or our thinking is the outcome of our own very limited experience. Even if we travel all over the world and have innumerable experiences, meet many different people and hear what they have to say, observe their customs, their religions, their manners, we retain the remembrance of all that, from which there is what we call thinking. We compare, judge, choose, and through this process we hope to find some reasonable attitude towards life. But that kind of thinking is very limited, it is confined to a very small area. We have an experience like seeing the boat on the river, or a corpse being carried to the burning ghats, or a village woman carrying a heavy burden - all these impressions are there, but we are so insensitive that they don't sink into us and ripen; and it is only through sensitivity to everything around us that there is the beginning of a different kind of thinking which is not limited by our conditioning.
If you hold firmly to some set of beliefs or other, you look at everything through that particular prejudice or tradition; you don't have any contact with reality. Have you ever noticed the village women carrying heavy burdens to the town? When you do notice it, what happens to you, what do you feel? Or is it that you have seen these women going by so often that you have no feeling at all because you have become used to it and, so, hardly notice them? And even when you observe something for the first time, what happens? You automatically translate what you see according to your prejudices, don't you? You experience it according to your conditioning as a communist, a socialist, a capitalist, or some other `ist'. Whereas, if you are none of these things and therefore do not look through the screen of any idea or belief, but actually have the direct contact, then you will notice what an extraordinary relationship there is between you and what you observe. If you have no prejudice, no bias, if you are open, then everything around you becomes extraordinarily interesting, tremendously alive.
That is why it is very important, while you are young, to notice all these things. Be aware of the boat on the river, watch the train go by, see the peasant carrying a heavy burden, observe the insolence of the rich, the pride of the ministers, of the big people, of those who think they know a lot - just watch them, don't criticize. The moment you criticize, you are not in relationship, you already have a barrier between yourself and them, but if you merely observe, then you will have a direct relationship with people and with things. If you can observe alertly, keenly, but without judging, without concluding, you will find that your thinking becomes astonishingly acute. Then you are learning all the time.
Everywhere around you there is birth and death, the struggle for money, position, power, the unending process of what we call life; and don't you sometimes wonder, even while you are very young, what it is all about? You see, most of us want an answer, we want to be told what it is all about, so we pick up a political or religious book, or we ask somebody to tell us; but no one can tell us, because life is not something which can be understood from a book, nor can its significance be gathered by following another, or through some form of prayer. You and I must understand it for ourselves - which we can do only when we are fully alive, very alert, watchful, observant, taking interest in everything around us; and then we shall discover what it is to be really happy.
Most people are unhappy; and they are unhappy because there is no love in their hearts. Love will arise in your heart when you have no barrier between yourself and another, when you meet and observe people without judging them, when you just see the sailboat on the river and enjoy the beauty of it. Don't let your prejudices cloud your observation of things as they are; just observe, and you will discover that out of this simple observation, out of this awareness of trees, of birds, of people walking, working, smiling, something happens to you inside. Without this extraordinary thing happening to you, without the arising of love in your heart, life has very little meaning; and that is why it is so important that the educator should be educated to help you understand the significance of all these things.
Questioner: Why do we want to live in luxury?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by luxury? Having clean clothes, keeping your body clean, eating good food - do you call that luxury? It may seem to be luxury to the man who is starving, clothed in rags, and who can't take a bath every day. So luxury varies according to one's desires; it is a matter of degree.
Now, do you know what happens to you if you are fond of luxury if you are attached to comfort and always want to sit on a sofa or in an overstuffed chair? Your mind goes to sleep. It is good to have a little bodily comfort; but to emphasize comfort, to give it great importance, is to have a sleepy mind. Have you noticed how happy most fat people are? Nothing seems to disturb them through their many layers of fat. That is a physical condition, but the mind also puts on layers of fat; it does not want to be questioned or otherwise disturbed, and such a mind gradually goes to sleep. What we now call education generally puts the student to sleep, because if he asks really sharp, penetrating questions the teacher gets very disturbed and says, "Let us get on with our lesson".
So, when the mind is attached to any form of comfort, when it is attached to a habit, to a belief, or to a particular spot which it calls `my home', it begins to go to sleep; and to understand this fact is more important than to ask whether or not we live luxuriously. The mind which is very active, alert, watchful, is never attached to comfort; luxury means nothing to it. But merely having very few clothes does not mean that one has an alert mind. The sannyasi who outwardly lives very simply may be inwardly very complex, cultivating virtue, wanting to attain truth, God. What is important is to be inwardly very simple, very austere, which is to have a mind not clogged with beliefs, with fears, with innumerable wants, for only such a mind is capable of real thinking, of exploration and discovery.
Questioner: Can there be peace in our life as long as we are struggling with our environment?
Krishnamurti: Must you not struggle with your environment? Must you not break through it? What your parents believe, your social background, your traditions, the kind of food you eat, and the things around you like religion, the priest, the rich man the poor man - all that is your environment. And must you not break through that environment by questioning it, by being in revolt against it? If you are not in revolt, if you merely accept your environment, there is a kind of peace, but it is the peace of death; whereas, if you struggle to break through the environment and find out for yourself what is true, then you will discover a different kind of peace which is not mere stagnation. it is essential to struggle with your environment. You must. Therefore peace is not important. What is important is to understand and break through your environment; and from that comes peace. But, if you seek peace by merely accepting your environment, you will be put to sleep, and then you may as well die. That is why from the tenderest age there should be in you a sense of revolt. Otherwise you will just decay, won't you?
Questioner: Are you happy or not?
Krishnamurti: I don't know. I have never thought about it. The moment you think you are happy, you cease to be happy, don't you? When you are playing and shouting with joy, what happens the moment you become conscious that you are joyous? You stop being joyous. Have you noticed it? So happiness is something which is not within the field of self-consciousness.
When you try to be good, are you good? Can goodness be practised? Or is goodness something that comes naturally because you see, observe, understand? Similarly, when you are conscious that you are happy, happiness goes out of the window. To seek happiness is absurd, because there is happiness only when you don't seek it.
Do you know what the word `humility' means? And can you cultivate humility? If you repeat every morning, "I am going to be humble", is that humility? Or does humility arise of itself when you no longer have pride, vanity? In the same way, when the things that prevent happiness are gone, when anxiety, frustration, the search for one's own security have ceased, then happiness is there, you don't have to seek it.
Why are most of you so silent? Why don't you discuss with me? You know, it is important to express your thoughts and feelings, however badly, because it will mean a great deal to you, and I will tell you why. If you begin to express your thoughts and feelings now, however hesitantly, as you grow up you will not be smothered by your environment, by your parents by society, tradition. But unfortunately your teachers don't encourage you to question, they don't ask you what you think.
Questioner: Why do we cry, and what is sorrow?
Krishnamurti: A little boy wants to know why we cry and what is sorrow. When do you cry? You cry when somebody takes away your toy, or when you get hurt, or when you don't win a game, or when your teacher or your parents scold you, or when somebody hits you. As you grow older you cry less and less, because you harden yourself against life. Very few of us cry when we are older because we have lost the extraordinary sensitivity of childhood. But sorrow is not merely the loss of something, it is not just the feeling of being stopped, frustrated; sorrow is something much deeper. You see, there is such a thing as having no understanding. If there is no understanding, there is great sorrow. If the mind does not penetrate beyond its own barriers, there is misery.
Questioner: How can we become integrated without conflict?
Krishnamurti: Why do you object to conflict? You all seem to think conflict is a dreadful thing. At present you and I are in conflict, are we not? I am trying to tell you something and you don't understand; so there is a sense of friction, conflict. And what is wrong with friction, conflict, disturbance? Must you not be disturbed? Integration does not come when you seek it by avoiding conflict. It is only through conflict, and the understanding of conflict, that there is integration.
Integration is one of the most difficult things to come by, because it means a complete unification of your whole being in all that you do, in all that you say, in all that you think. You cannot have integration without understanding relationship - your relationship with society, your relationship with the poor man, the villager, the beggar, with the millionaire and the governor. To understand relationship you must struggle with it, you must question and not merely accept the values established by tradition, by your parents, by the priest, by the religion and the economic system of the society about you. That is why it is essential for you to be in revolt, otherwise you will never have integration.
I AM SURE we all have sometime or other experienced a great sense of tranquillity and beauty coming to us from the green fields, the setting sun, the still waters, or the snowcapped peaks. But what is beauty? Is it merely the appreciation that we feel, or is beauty a thing apart from perception? If you have good taste in clothes, if you use colours that harmonize, if you have dignified manners, if you speak quietly and hold yourself erect, all that makes for beauty, does it not? But that is merely the outward expression of an inward state, like a poem you write or a picture you paint. You can look at the green field reflected in the river and experience no sense of beauty, just pass it by. If, like the fisherman, you see every day the swallows flying low over the water, it probably means very little to you; but if you are aware of the extraordinary beauty of something like that, what is it that happens within you and makes you say, "How very beautiful"? What goes to make up this inward sense of beauty? There is the beauty of outward form: tasteful clothes, nice pictures, attractive furniture, or no furniture at all with bare, well-proportioned walls, windows that are perfect in shape, and so on. I am not talking merely of that, but of what goes to make up this inward beauty.
Surely, to have this inward beauty, there must be complete abandonment; the sense of not being held, of no restraint, no defence, no resistance; but abandonment becomes chaotic if there is no austerity with it. And do we know what it means to be austere, to be satisfied with little and not to think in terms of 'the more'? There must be this abandonment with deep inward austerity - the austerity that is extraordinarily simple because the mind is not acquiring, gaining, not thinking in terms of `the more'. It is the simplicity born of abandonment with austerity that brings about the state of creative beauty. But if there is no love you cannot be simple, you cannot be austere. You may talk about simplicity and austerity, but without love they are merely a form of compulsion, and therefore there is no abandonment. Only he has love who abandons himself, forgets himself completely, and thereby brings about the state of creative beauty.
Beauty obviously includes beauty of form; but without inward beauty, the mere sensual appreciation of beauty of form leads to degradation, disintegration. There is inward beauty only when you feel real love for people and for all the things of the earth; and with that love there comes a tremendous sense of consideration, watchfulness, patience. You may have prefect technique, as a singer or a poet, you may know how to paint or put words together, but without this creative beauty inside, your talent will have very little significance.
Unfortunately, most of us are becoming mere technicians. We pass examinations, acquire this or that technique in order to earn a livelihood; but to acquire technique or develop capacity without paying attention to the inner state, brings about ugliness and chaos in the world. If we awaken creative beauty inwardly, it expresses itself outwardly, and then there is order. But that is much more difficult than acquiring a technique, because it means abandoning ourselves completely, being without fear, without restraint, without resistance, without defence; and we can thus abandon ourselves only when there is austerity, a sense of great inward simplicity. Outwardly we may be simple, we may have but few clothes and be satisfied with one meal a day; but that is not austerity. There is austerity when the mind is capable of infinite experience - when it has experience, and yet remains very simple. But that state can come into being only when the mind is no longer thinking in terms of `the more', in terms of having or becoming something through time.
What I am talking about may be difficult for you to understand, but it is really quite important. You see, technicians are not creators; and there are more and more technicians in the world, people who know what to do and how to do it, but who are not creators. In America there are calculating machines capable of solving in a few minutes mathematical problems which would take a man, working ten hours every day, a hundred years to solve. These extraordinary machines are being developed. But machines can never be creators - and human beings are becoming more and more like machines. Even when they rebel, their rebellion is within the limits of the machine and is therefore no rebellion at all.
So it is very important to find out what it is to be creative. You can be creative only when there is abandonment - which means, really, when there is no sense of compulsion, no fear of not being, of not gaining, of not arriving. Then there is great austerity, simplicity, and with it there is love. The whole of that is beauty, the state of creativeness.
Questioner: Does the soul survive after death?
Krishnamurti: If you really want to know, how are you going to find out? By reading what Shankara, Buddha or Christ has said about it? By listening to your own particular leader or saint? They may all be totally wrong. Are you prepared to admit this - which means that your mind is in a position to inquire?
You must first find out, surely, whether there is a soul to survive. What is the soul? Do you know what it is? Or have you merely been told that there is a soul - told by your parents, by the priest by a particular book, by your cultural environment - and accepted it?
The word `soul' implies something beyond mere physical existence, does it not? There is your physical body, and also your character, your tendencies, your virtues; and transcending all this you say there is the soul. If that state exists at all, it must be spiritual, something which has the quality of timelessness; and you are asking whether that spiritual something survives death. That is one part of the question.
The other part is: what is death? Do you know what death is? You want to know if there is survival after death; but, you see, that question is not important. The important question is: can you know death while you are living? What significance has it if someone tells you that there is or is not survival after death? You still do not know. But you can find out for yourself what death is not after you are dead, but while you are living, healthy vigorous while you are thinking, feeling.
This is also part of education. To be educated is not only to be proficient in mathematics, history or geography, it is also to have the ability to understand this extraordinary thing called death - not when you are physically dying, but while you are living, while you are laughing, while you are climbing a tree, while you are sailing a boat or swimming. Death is the unknown, and what matters is to know of the unknown while you are living.
Questioner: When we become ill, why do our parents worry and worry about us?
Krishnamurti: Most parents are at least partly concerned to look after their children, care for them, but when they worry and worry it indicates that they are more concerned about themselves than about their children. They don't want you to die, because they say, "If our son or daughter dies, what is going to become of us?" If parents loved their children, do you know what would happen? If your parents really loved you, they would see to it that you had no cause for fear, that you were healthy and happy human beings; they would see to it that there was no war, no poverty in the world, that society did not destroy you or anyone around you, whether the villagers, or the people in the towns, or the animals. It is because parents do not truly love their children that there are wars, that there are the rich and the poor. They have invested their own beings in their children and through their children they hope to continue, and if you become seriously ill they worry; so they are concerned with their own sorrow. But they will not admit that.
You see, property, land, name, wealth and family are the means of one's own continuity, which is also called immortality; and when something happens to their children, parents are horrified, driven to great sorrow, because they are primarily concerned about themselves. If parents were really concerned about their children society would be transformed overnight; we would have a different kind of education, different homes, a world without war.
Questioner: Should the temples be open to all for worship.
Krishnamurti: What is the temple? It is a place of worship in which there is a symbol of God, the symbol being an image conceived by the mind and carved out of stone by the hand. That stone, that image, is not God is it? It is only a symbol, and a symbol is like your shadow as you walk in the sun. The shadow is not you; and these images, these symbols in the temple, are not God, not truth. So what does it matter who enters or who does not enter the temple? Why make such a fuss about it? Truth may be under a dead leaf, it may be in a stone by the wayside, in the waters that reflect the loveliness of an evening, in the clouds, in the smile of the woman who carries a burden. In this whole world there is reality, not necessarily in the temple; and generally it is not in the temple, because that temple is made out of man's fear, it is based on his desire for security, on his divisions of creed and caste. This world is ours, we are human beings living together, and if a man is seeking God he shuns temples because they divide people. The Christian church, the Mohammedan mosque, your own Hindu temple - they all divide people, and a man who is seeking God will have none of these things. So the question of whether or not someone or other should enter the temple becomes merely a political issue; it has no reality.
Questioner: What part does discipline play in our lives?
Krishnamurti: Unfortunately it plays a great part, does it not? A great part of your life is disciplined: do this and don't do that. You are told when to get up, what to eat and what not to eat, what you must know and not know; you are told that you must read, go to classes, pass examinations, and so on. Your parents, your teachers, your society, your tradition, your sacred books all tell you what to do; so your life is bound, hedged about by discipline, is it not? You are a prisoner of do's and don'ts, they are the bars of your cage.
Now, what happens to a mind that is bound by discipline? Surely, it is only when you are afraid of something, when you are resisting something, that there has to be discipline; then you have to control, hold yourself together. Either you do this out of your own volition, or society does it for you - society being your parents, your teachers, your tradition, your sacred books. But if you begin to inquire, to search out, if you learn and understand without fear, then is discipline necessary? Then that very understanding brings about its own true rider, which is not born of imposition or compulsion.
Do think about this; because when you are disciplined through fear, crushed by the compulsion of society, dominated by what your parents and teachers say, there is for you no freedom, no joy, and all initiative is gone. The older the culture, the greater is the weight of tradition which disciplines you, tells you what you must and must not do; and so you are weighed down, psychologically flattened as if a steam-roller had gone over you. That is what has happened in India. The weight of tradition is so enormous that all initiative has been destroyed, and you have ceased to be an individual; you are merely part of a social machine, and with that you are content. Do you understand? You don't revolt, explode, break away. Your parents don't want you to revolt, your teachers don't want you to break away, therefore your education is aimed at making you conform to the established pattern. Then you are not a complete human being, because fear gnaws at your heart; and as long as there is fear there is no joy, no creativity.
Questioner: Just now, when you were talking about the temple, you referred to the symbol of God as merely a shadow. We cannot see the shadow of a man without the real man to cast it.
Krishnamurti: Are you satisfied with the shadow? If you are hungry, will you be satisfied merely to look at food? Then why be satisfied with the shadow in the temple? If you deeply want to understand the real, you will let the shadow go. But, you see, you are mesmerized by the shadow, by the symbol, by the image of stone. Look what has happened in the world. People are divided because they worship a particular shadow in the mosque, in the temple, in the church. There can be the multiplication of shadows, but there is only one reality, which cannot be divided; and to reality there is no path, neither Christian, Moslem, Hindu, nor any other.
Questioner: Examinations may be unnecessary for the rich boy or girl whose future is assured, but are they not a necessity for poor students who must be prepared to earn a livelihood? And is their need less urgent, especially if we take society as it is?
Krishnamurti: You take society as it is for granted. Why? You who don't belong to the poor class, who are fairly well-to-do, why don't you revolt - not as a communist or a socialist, but revolt against the whole social system? You can afford to do it, so why don't you use your intelligence to find out what is true and create a new society? The poor man is not going to revolt, because he hasn't the energy or the time to think; he is wholly occupied, he wants food, work. But you who have leisure, a little free time to use your intelligence, why don't you revolt? Why don't you find out what is a right society, a true society, and build a new civilization? If it does not begin with you, it will obviously not begin with the poor.
Questioner: Will the rich ever be prepared to give up much of what they have for the sake of the poor?
Krishnamurti: We are not talking about what the rich should give up for the sake of the poor. Whatever they give up, it will still not satisfy the poor - but that is not the problem. You who are well-to-do, and who therefore have the opportunity to cultivate intelligence, can you not through revolt create a new society? it depends on you, not on anybody else; it depends on each one of us, not on the rich or the poor, or on the communists. You see, most of us have not this spirit of revolt this urge to break through, to find out; and it is this spirit that is important.
HAVE YOU EVER sat very quietly with closed eyes and watched the movement of your own thinking? Have you watched your mind working - or rather, has your mind watched itself in operation, just to see what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, how you look at the trees, at the flowers, at the birds, at people, how you respond to a suggestion or react to a new idea? Have you ever done this? If you have not, you are missing a great deal. To know how one's mind works is a basic purpose of education. If you don't know how your mind reacts, if your mind is not aware of its own activities, you will never find out what society is. You may read books on sociology, study social sciences, but if you don't know how your own mind works you cannot actually understand what society is, because your mind is part of society; it is society. Your reactions, your beliefs, your going to the temple, the clothes you wear, the things you do and don't do and what you think - society is made up of all this, it is the replica of what is going on in your own mind. So your mind is not apart from society, it is not distinct from your culture, from your religion, from your various class divisions, from the ambitions and conflicts of the many. All this is society, and you are part of it. There is no `you' separate from society.
Now, society is always trying to control, to shape, to mould the thinking of the young. From the moment you are born and begin to receive impressions, your father and mother are constantly telling you what to do and what not to do, what to believe and what not to believe; you are told that there is God, or that there is no God but the State and that some dictator is its prophet. From childhood these things are poured into you, which means that your mind - which is very young, impressionable, inquisitive, curious to know, wanting to find out - is gradually being encased, conditioned, shaped so that you will fit into the pattern of a particular society and not be a revolutionary. Since the habit of patterned thinking has already been established in you, even if you do `revolt' it is within the pattern. It is like prisoners revolting in order to have better food, more conveniences - but always within the prison. When you seek God, or try to find out what is right government, it is always within the pattern of society, which says, "This is true and that is false, this is good and that is bad, this is the right leader and these are the saints". So your revolt, like the so-called revolution brought about by ambitious or very clever people, is always limited by the past. That is not revolt, that is not revolution: it is merely heightened activity, a more valiant struggle within the pattern. Real revolt, true revolution is to break away from the pattern and to inquire outside of it.
You see, all reformers - it does not matter who they are - are merely concerned with bettering the conditions within the prison. They never tell you not to conform, they never say, "Break through the walls of tradition and authority, shake off the conditioning that holds the mind". And that is real education: not merely to require you to pass examinations for which you have crammed up, or to write out something which you have learnt by heart, but to help you to see the walls of this prison in which the mind is held. Society influences all of us, it constantly shapes our thinking, and this pressure of society from the outside is gradually translated as the inner; but, however deeply it penetrates, it is still from the outside, and there is no such thing as the inner as long as you do not break through this conditioning. You must know what you are thinking, and whether you are thinking as a Hindu, or a Moslem, or a Christian; that is, in terns of the religion you happen to belong to. You must be conscious of what you believe or do not believe. All this is the pattern of society and, unless you are aware of the pattern and break away from it, you are still a prisoner though you may think you are free.
But you see, most of us are concerned with revolt within the prison; we want better food, a little more light, a larger window so that we can see a little more of the sky. We are concerned with whether the outcaste should enter the temple or not; we want to break down this particular caste, and in the very breaking down of one caste we create another, a `superior' caste; so we remain prisoners, and there is no freedom in prison. Freedom lies outside the walls, outside the pattern of society; but to be free of that pattern you have to understand the whole content of it, which is to understand your own mind. It is the mind that has created the present civilization, this tradition-bound culture or society and, without understanding your own mind, merely to revolt as a communist, a socialist, this or that, has very little meaning. That is why it is very important to have self-knowledge, to be aware of all your activities, your thoughts and feelings; and this is education, is it not? Because when you are fully aware of yourself your mind becomes very sensitive, very alert.
You try this - not someday in the faraway future, but tomorrow or this afternoon. If there are too many people in your room, if your home is crowded, then go away by yourself, sit under a tree or on the river bank and quietly observe how your mind works. Don't correct it, don't say, "This is right, that is wrong", but just watch it as you would a film. When you go to the cinema you are not taking part in the film; the actors and actresses are taking part, but you are only watching. In the same way, watch how your mind works. It is really very interesting, far more interesting than any film, because your mind is the residue of the whole world and it contains all that human beings have experienced. Do you understand? Your mind is humanity, and when you perceive this, you will have immense compassion. Out of this understanding comes great love; and then you will know, when you see lovely things, what beauty is.
Questioner: How did you learn all that you are talking about, and how can we come to know it?
Krishnamurti: That is a good question, is it not?
Now, if I may talk about myself a little, I have not read any books about these things, neither the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, nor any psychological books; but as I told you, if you watch your own mind, it is all there. So when once you set out on the journey of self-knowledge, books are not important. It is like entering a strange land where you begin to find out new things and make astonishing discoveries; but, you see, that is all destroyed if you give importance to yourself. The moment you say, "I have discovered, I know, I am a great man because I have found out this and that", you are lost. If you have to take a long journey, you must carry very little; if you want to climb to a great height, you must travel light.
So this question is really important, because discovery and understanding come through self-knowledge, through observing the ways of the mind. What you say of your neighbour, how you talk, how you walk, how you look at the skies, at the birds, how you treat people, how you cut a branch - all these things are important, because they act like mirrors that show you as you are and, if you are alert, you discover everything anew from moment to moment.
Questioner: Should we form an idea about someone, or not?
Krishnamurti: Should you have ideas about people? Should you form an opinion, make a judgment about someone? When you have ideas about your teacher, what is important to you? Not your teacher, but your ideas about him. And that is what happens in life, is it not? We all have opinions about people; we say, "He is good", "He is vain", "He is superstitious", "He does this or that". We have a screen of ideas between ourselves and another person, so we never really meet that person. Hawing seen someone do something, we say, "He has done this thing; so it becomes important to date events. Do you understand? If you see someone do something which you consider to be good or bad, you then have an opinion of him which tends to become fixed and, when you meet that person ten days or a year later, you still think of him in terms of your opinion. But during this period he may have changed; therefore it is very important not to say, "He is like that", but to say, "He was like that in February", because by the end of the year he may be entirely different. If you say of anyone, "I know that person", you may be totally wrong, because you know him only up to a certain point, or by the events which took place on a particular date, and beyond that you don't know him at all. So what is important is to meet another human being always with a fresh mind, and not with your prejudices, with your fixed ideas, with your opinions.
Questioner: What is feeling and how do we feel?
Krishnamurti: If you have lessons in physiology, your teacher has probably explained to you how the whole human nervous system is built up. When somebody pinches you, you feel pain. What does that mean? Your nerves carry a sensation to the brain, the brain translates it as pain, and then you say, "You have hurt me". Now, that is the physical part of feeling.
Similarly, there is psychological feeling, is there not? If you think you are marvellously beautiful and somebody says, "You are an ugly person", you feel hurt. Which means what? You hear certain words which the brain translates as unpleasant or insulting, and you are disturbed; or somebody flatters you and you say, "How pleasurable it is to hear this". So feeling-thinking is a reaction - a reaction to a pinprick, to an insult, to flattery, and so on. The whole of this is the process of feeling-thinking but it is much more complex than this, and you can go deeper and deeper into it.
You see, when we have a feeling, we always name it, don't we? We say it is pleasurable or painful. When we are angry we give that feeling a name, we call it anger; but have you ever thought what would happen if you did not name a feeling? You try it. The next time you get angry, don't name it, don't call it anger; just be aware of the feeling without giving it a name, and see what happens.
Questioner: What is the difference between Indian culture and American culture?
Krishnamurti: When we talk about American culture we generally mean the European culture which was transplanted in America, a culture which has since become modified and extended in meeting new frontiers, physical as well as mental.
And what is Indian culture? What is the culture which you have here? What do you mean by the word `culture'? If you have ever done any gardening you know how you cultivate and prepare the soil. You dig, remove rocks, and if necessary you add compost, a decomposed mixture of leaves, hay, manure, and other kinds of organic matter, to make the soil rich, and then you plant. The rich soil gives nourishment to the plant, and the plant gradually produces that marvellously lovely thing called a rose.
Now, the Indian culture is like that. Millions of people have produced it by their struggles, by exercising their will, by wanting this and resisting that, constantly thinking, suffering, fearing, avoiding, enjoying; also climate, food and clothing have had their influence on it. So we have here an extraordinary soil, the soil being the mind; and before it was completely moulded, there were a few vital, creative people who exploded all over Asia. They did not say, as you do, "I must accept the edicts of society. What will my father think if I do not?" On the contrary, they were people who had found something and they were not lukewarm, they were hot about it. Now, the whole of that is the Indian culture. What you think, the food you eat, the clothes you put on, your manners, your traditions, your speech, your paintings and statues, your gods, your priests and your sacred books - all that is the Indian culture, is it not?
So the Indian culture is somewhat different from the European culture, but underneath the movement is the same. This movement may express itself differently in America, because the demands are different there; there is less tradition and they have more refrigerators, cars, and so on. But it is the same movement underneath - the movement to find happiness, to find out what God, what truth is; and when this movement stops, culture declines, as it has done in this country. When this movement is blocked by authority, by tradition, by fear, there is decay, deterioration.
The urge to find out what truth is, what God is, is the only real urge, and all other urges are subsidiary. When you throw a stone into still water, it makes expanding circles. The expanding circles are the subsidiary movements, the social reactions, but the real movement is at the centre, which is the movement to find happiness, God, truth; and you cannot find it as long as you are caught in fear, held by a threat. From the moment there is the arising of threat and fear, culture declines.
That is why it is very important, while you are young, not to become conditioned, not to be held in by fear of your parents, of society, so that there is in you this timeless movement to discover what is truth. The men who seek out what is truth, what is God - only such men can create a new civilization, a new culture; not the people who conform, or who merely revolt within the prison of the old conditioning. You may put on the robes of an ascetic, join this society or that, leave one religion for another, try in various ways to be free; but unless there is within you this movement to find out what is the real, what is truth, what is love your efforts will be without significance. You may be very learned and do the things which society calls good, but they are all within the prison walls of tradition and therefore of no revolutionary value at all.
Questioner: What do you think of Indians?
Krishnamurti: That is really an innocent question, is it not? To see facts without opinion is one thing, but to have opinions about facts is totally another. It is one thing just to see the fact that a whole people are caught in superstition, but quite another to see that fact and condemn it. Opinions are not important, because I will have one opinion, you will have another, and a third person will have still another. To be concerned with opinions is a stupid form of thinking. What is important is to see facts as they are without opinion, without judging, without comparing.
To feel beauty without opinion is the only real perception of beauty. Similarly, if you can see the people of India just as they are, see them very clearly without fixed opinions, without judging, then what you see will be real.
The Indians have certain manners, certain customs of their own, but fundamentally they are like any other people. They get bored, they are cruel, they are afraid, they revolt within the prison of society, just as people do everywhere else. Like the Americans, they also want comfort, only at present they do not have it to the same extent. They have a heavy tradition about renouncing the world and trying to be saintly; but they also have deep-rooted ambitions, hypocrisy, greed, envy, and they are broken up by castes, as human beings are everywhere else, only here it is much more brutal. Here in India you can see more closely the whole phenomenon of what is happening in the world. We want to be loved, but we don't know what love is; we are unhappy, thirsting for something real, and we turn to books, to the Upanishads, the Gita, or the Bible, so we get lost in words, in speculations. Whether it is here, or in Russia, or in America, the human mind is similar, only it expresses itself in different ways under different skies and different governments.