The core of Krishnamurti's
"The core of Krishnamurti's teaching is contained in the statement
he made in 1929 when he said: 'Truth is a pathless land'. Man cannot come
to it through any organisation, through any creed, through any dogma,
priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological
technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through
the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation
and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man
has built in himself images as a fence of security - religious, political,
personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these
images dominates man's thinking, his relationships and his daily life.
These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man.
His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in
his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This
content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the
form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment.
The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete
freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all
mankind. So he is not an individual.
Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man's pretence
that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without
direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive;
freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first
step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack
of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily
existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience
and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the
psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore
time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and
so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological
When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see
the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed,
the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division
is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without
any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about
a deep radical mutation in the mind.
Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation
of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only
then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence."
©1993 The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd,
Brockwood Park, Bramdean, Hampshire, England.
A conversation with a Jain
Is There a Meaning To Life?
"I think we ought to talk over together something that is of fundamental
importance, which every human being should be involved in, because it
concerns our life, our daily activity, the way we waste our days and years.
What is it all about? What is it all for? We are born and we die, and
during those years of pain and sorrow, joy and pleasure, there is the
everlasting struggle and effort, going to the office or the factory for
forty or fifty years, trying to climb the ladder of success, accumulating
money, pleasure, experience, knowledge, and at the end death. Some scientists
say that through knowledge comes the ascent of man. Is that so? We have
an infinite amount of knowledge about many things -- biological, archaeological,
historical and so on -- but apparently knowledge has not changed man radically,
deeply; the same conflict, struggle, pain, pleasure, the everlasting battle
for existence goes on.
Seeing all that continuing in every country and in every climate, what
is it all about? It's very easy to reply with an emotional, romantic,
neurotic explanation, or with an intellectual, rational explanation. But
if you put all these aside as obviously being rather superficial, however
intellectual, I think this is a very important question to ask -- important
to ask and to find an answer for oneself, not depending on some priest,
some guru, or some philosophical concept, not asserting anything, not
believing in anything, not having any ideal, but merely observing very
deeply. Otherwise we lead a very mechanistic life; part of this brain
must be mechanical, necessarily so, in the acquisition of knowledge and
the skillful use of that knowledge in every way of life, in every action
outwardly, technologically. But this knowledge that one has acquired --
and we can pile up knowledge more and more -- does not answer the fundamental
question: what is the meaning, the depth of our life?
One sees that there must be complete unity of mankind, because that is
the only way the human race will survive physically, biologically. Politicians
are not going to solve that problem -- ever! On the contrary, they will
maintain the divisions -- it's very profitable. There must be unity of
all mankind, it is essential for existence, but it cannot be brought about
through legislation, through bureaucratic dogmas, laws and all the rest
of it. So when one observes all this as a human being living in the chaos
of a world that has almost gone mad -- the selling of armaments for profit,
killing people in the name of ideas, countries, God and so on -- what
is one to do? And what is it all for?
Religions have tried to offer the meaning of life -- that is, organized,
propagandistic, ritualistic religions. But, in spite of 2,000 or 10,000
years, man has merely asserted certain principles, certain ideals, certain
conclusions, all verbal, superficial, non-realistic. So I think it becomes
very important to discover a meaning for oneself, if one is at all serious
-- and one must be serious, otherwise one does not really live at all,
which doesn't mean one never laughs or smiles -- serious in the sense
of a total commitment to the whole issue of life. So when we ask what
is the meaning of life, we are faced with the fact that our brain is caught
in a groove, caught in habit, in tradition, in the conditioning of our
education, cultivating only knowledge, information, and so making it more
and more mechanical.
If we are to inquire into this very deeply, there must be great doubt.
Doubt, scepticism are essential, because they bring a certain quality
of freedom of mind through negation of everything that man has put together
-- his religions, rituals, dogmas, beliefs which are all the movements
of thought. Thought is a material process, as even the scientists accept.
But thought has not solved our problems, it has not been able to delve
deeply into itself; it has merely, being itself a fragment, broken up
all existence into fragments. So there is this quality of the brain which
is mechanistic, and necessarily so in certain areas, but inwardly, in
the psychological structure of the human mind, there is no freedom. It
is conditioned, it is bound by belief, by so-called ideals, by faith.
So when one doubts all that, sets all that aside -- not theoretically
but factually, meticulously -- then what is left? One is afraid to do
that because one says to oneself, 'If I deny everything that thought has
put together what is left?' When you realize the nature of thought --
which is a mechanical process of time, measure, the response to memory,
a process which brings more and more suffering, agony, anxiety and fear
to mankind -- and go beyond, negate it, then what is there?
To find out what there is we must begin with freedom, because freedom
is the first and last step. Without freedom -- not the freedom to choose
-- man is merely a machine. We think that through choice we are free,
but choice exists only when the mind is confused. There is no choice when
the mind is clear. When you see things very clearly without any distortion,
without any illusions, then there is no choice. A mind that is choiceless
is a free mind, but a mind that chooses and therefore establishes a series
of conflicts and contradictions is never free because it is in itself
confused, divided, broken up.
So to explore in any field there must be freedom, freedom to examine so
that in that very examination there is no distortion. When there is distortion
there is a motive behind that distortion, a motive to find an answer,
a motive to achieve a desire, a solution to our problems, a motive which
may be based on past experience, past knowledge -- and all knowledge is
the past. Wherever there is a motive there must be distortion. So can
our mind be free of distortion. So can our mind be free of distortion?
And to examine our mind is to examine our common mind, because the content
of our consciousness is the same as that of all human beings, who, wherever
they live, go through the same process of fear, agony, torture, anxiety
and endless conflict inwardly and outwardly. That's the common consciousness
So when you examine your own consciousness, you are looking into the consciousness
of man, and therefore it's not a personal, individualistic examination.
On the contrary you are looking into the consciousness of the world --
which is you. And this is a fact when you go into it very deeply. To have
a mind that is free makes a tremendous demand; it demands that you as
a human being are totally committed to the transformation of the content
of consciousness, because the content makes the consciousness. And we
are concerned with the transformation, with the total psychological revolution
of this consciousness. To explore this you need great energy, an energy
which comes into being when there is no dissipation of energy. One dissipates
energy through trying to overcome 'what is', or to analyse 'what is',
because the analyser is the analysed, the analyser is not different from
that which he analyses. As we have said during these many talks for many
years, this is a fundamental reality.
We are asking what is the meaning and the significance of life, and if
there is any meaning at all. If you say there is, you have already committed
yourself to something, therefore you cannot examine, you have already
started with distortion. In the same way if you say there is no meaning
to life, that is another form of distortion. So one must be completely
free of both, the positive and the negative assertions. And this is the
real beginning of meditation. The mushroom growth of gurus from India
who are springing up all over the world has provided a great many meanings
to that word. There is the transcendental meditation -- and I wish they
hadn't used that lovely word -- which is the repetition of certain words
-- given at a certain price! -- three times a day for twenty minutes.
Constant repetition of any words will certainly give you a quality of
quiet, because you have reduced the brain to a mechanical quietness. But
that's no more transcendental than anything else. And through this we
think we'll experience something that is beyond the material process of
Man seeks experience other than the ordinary daily experience. We are
bored, or fed up with all the experience we have had of life, and we hope
to capture some experience which is not the product of thought. The word
'experience' means 'to go through', to go through with anything and end
it, not remember it and carry it on. But we don't do that. To recognize
an experience you must have already known it; it's not anything new. So
a mind that demands experience, other than the mere physical, psychological
experience, demands something far greater and above all this, will experience
its own projection, and therefore it will still be mechanistic, materialistic,
the product of thought. When you do not demand any experience, when you
have understood the whole meaning of desire, which, as we have gone into
many times, is sensation, plus thought and its image -- then there is
no distortion and illusion. Only then can the mind, the whole structure
of consciousness being free, be capable of looking at itself without any
distorting movement, without effort? Distortion takes place when there
is effort -- right? Effort implies 'me' and something I am going to achieve,
division between me and that. Division invariably brings conflict. Meditation
comes only when there is the complete ending of conflict. Therefore every
form of meditation where there is effort, practice, control, has no meaning.
Please don't accept what the speaker is saying. We are examining together,
therefore it is important not to accept what is being said but to examine
it for yourself.
So we must go into the question of control. We are educated from childhood
to control -- the whole process of controlling our feelings. In control
there is the controller and the controlled, the controller who thinks
he is different from that which he desires to control. So he has already
divided himself, hence there is always conflict. That is, one fragment
of thought says to itself, 'I must control other fragments of thought,'
but the thought which says that is itself a part of thought. The controller
is the controlled, the experiencer is the experienced, they are not two
different entities or movements. The thinker is the thought; there is
no thinker if there is no thought. This is very important because when
this is realized completely, deeply, not verbally, not theoretically,
but actually, then conflict comes to an end. When one realizes this profoundly
as the truth, as a law, then all effort comes to an end, and meditation
can only come into being when there is no effort of any kind.
It is necessary to meditate to find out if there is any meaning to life.
And meditation is also laying the foundation of right conduct, right in
the sense of accurate, not according to an ideal, not according to a pattern,
not according to any formula, but action which takes place when there
is complete observation of that which is going on in oneself. And through
meditation we must establish right relationship between human beings,
which means relationship without conflict. Conflict exists when there
is division between the two images, which we have discussed a great deal,
the image which you have of another and another has of you. And in meditation
there must be no psychological fear whatsoever, and therefore the ending
of sorrow, and there must be what we have previously talked about: compassion
and love. That is the basis, the foundation of meditation. Without that
you can sit cross-legged under a tree for the rest of your life, breathe
properly -- you know all the tricks one plays -- none of these is going
So when you have really, deeply, established a way of life -- which in
itself is not an end, but only the beginning -- then we can proceed to
find out whether the mind, which is the totality, the brain, the entire
consciousness, is quiet without any distortion. It is only when the mind
is quiet, still, that you can hear properly. There are different kinds
of silence: the silence between two noises, the silence between two thoughts,
the silence after a long battle with oneself, the silence between two
wars, which you call peace. All those silences are the product of noise.
That is not silence. There is a silence which is not produced or cultivated,
so that there is no 'me' to observe that silence, but only silence, quietness.
We began with the question: is there any meaning to life or none at all?
In that silence you really don't ask that question; we have prepared the
field of the mind that is capable of finding out. Yet we must find an
answer. Where do we find the answer, and who is going to answer it? Am
I, a human being, going to answer it? Or in that very silence is the answer?
That is, when there is no distortion through motive, through effort, through
a demand for experience, through the division between the observer and
the observed, the thinker and the thought, there is no wastage of energy.
Now in that silence there is that greater strength to see beyond words.
Because the word is not the thing, the description is not the described.
To go to the moon, to create an instrument of a million parts, demands
tremendous energy and the co-operation of 300,000 people to put the thing
together. But that energy is totally different from the energy which we
are talking about.
You see, the speaker is very serious about all this. He has spoken for
fifty years and more on this, and as most minds are caught in grooves,
deep or shallow, one is constantly watching to see if the brain forms
a groove and feels secure in that groove and remains there, for if one
stays in a groove, however beautiful, however pleasant, however comforting,
then the mind becomes mechanical, repetitive, and so loses its depth,
its beauty. So we are asking: is the silence mechanistic, a product of
thought which says, 'There must be something beyond me, and to find that
out I must be silent, I must control myself, I must subjugate everything
to find out'? That is still the movement of thought, right? So we must
understand the difference between concentration, awareness and attention.
Concentration implies the focusing of one's energy in a particular direction
excluding all other directions, building a wall against all other things,
resisting. Awareness is fairly simple -- if you don't make it complicated.
To be aware of everything around you, just to observe. Then there is attention.
Attention implies that there is no centre from which you are attending.
The centre is the 'me', and if you are aware from that centre, then your
attention is limited. The centre exists when there is choice, and where
there is choice there is always the 'me', my experience, my knowledge
- me separate from you.
Now, what we are talking about is attention in which there is no centre
at all. If you attend in that way now, as you are sitting there, you will
see that your attention is vast, there is no boundary, so that your whole
mind, everything, is completely attentive, without choice and therefore
no centre, no 'me' who says, 'I am attentive.' In that attention there
is silence which contains the energy which is no longer dissipated. It
is only such a mind that can find the answer, that can discover -- unfortunately,
if I describe it, it becomes unreal -- something beyond all this travail,
all this misery. If you give your whole energy, time, capacity to this,
you no longer lead a shallow, meaningless life. And the whole of this
is meditation, from the beginning to the end."