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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

EARLY WRITINGS - 1927 1928 1929


Eerde, Holland, 1927

As the questions are mostly on the same subject, I think I will answer them by saying that one can, at any stage of evolution, wherever one may be, attain Liberation. It is perfectly true, whatever one's stage of evolution, that by determining the goal -let us say for the moment that it is Liberation- one alters one's attitude towards life and brings about the correct environment, surroundings, that will help one to attain that Liberation. As long as one sees that goal in its clearness one does alter one's modes of life, and so attains. Of course it is not the mere perception of a thing that makes you part of it; you must struggle for it, you must work for it, and the alteration of your life comes about through the desire to act in such a manner as to attain the goal.

Every big town has many stations from which you can go out. If you did not know where you wanted to go, and you visited every station in that town, you would naturally be lost, but if you made up your mind to go to a particular station, the very making up your mind to go to that station gives you facilities, opportunities of going there. If you are a rich man, you will take a car, which can go in ten minutes; if you are poor you will allow, say, three-quarters of an hour to go by tram, but you both, rich man and poor man, leave the same station if both desire to go to a particular spot. Time, as such, is of no consequence as long as there is the desire.

Imagine that you are on one side of a river and that on the other side are blue fields. The whole of humanity stands on this side looking at the beauty of the other side; very few have the desire to jump into the river. Of the few who jump, there will be some strong ones who can swim directly to their goal. Others will be carried down by the stream; they will be landed lower down and will have to walk up. It does not matter so long as one gets there. If a man has developed strong muscles and can hold his breath, he can battle with the current and swim straight to the goal; whereas a weak man is carried about by the current and will land lower down. But he can walk up - he is on the other side already. The desire to plunge into the river is the main thing. The time taken to cross may be a quarter of an hour, a life, or two lives. It is of no consequence.

In the desire to alter one's course -whether it be the desire to become a millionaire, or to become a painter, a violinist, a musician- you have to sacrifice. If you desire to become a millionaire, you must concentrate all your forces, all your determination, and all your anxiety, everything, to keep your health perfect. If you are a violinist, you must be careful of your arm, your fingers; you must not row too much, because that would mean developing useless muscles; so you sacrifice those things that have no value for those that you think have value. For me, I maintain that Liberation is the end, so I sacrifice everything else to that one particular thing.

QUESTION: Will one who attains Liberation leap over the various evolutionary stages of growth into some formless Nirvana of bliss, to come forth no more? Or must those stages still be traversed -but with the light and joy of the Nirvana consciousness ever present?

KRISHNAJI: You can leap over all the stages of evolutionary growth if you experience all the stages of those growths, paths and experiences, through your imagination, through your process of climbing. Let me put it this way. There is a building with many stories, and a man may work up through those stories, looking through every window on each floor, horizontally progressing until he comes to a staircase, which leads him up to the next floor. Another man knows and conceives the goal which is enticing him, which is calling him; and as he climbs he looks through one window and that gives him sufficient view, sufficient experience, sufficient knowledge of what is contained on that particular floor, and so he need not go through the horizontal process of acquiring experience, and thus attains more quickly. I do not think it matters whether he comes back or remains in the flame. If I am a spark, as a separate individual I enter into that flame and become part of that flame; whether I return and bring others to the flame depends, I think, upon the personal desire. If I desire to come back and conquer the world of Maya again, I can do so. Once I have the centre well established in me, I can do anything from that centre; from that I can go forth, having established it as my home, as the bee which knows its hive can go miles away, certain that there is a home, that there is a flame.

QUESTION: To attain Liberation is it not essential to form a link with a Teacher who is himself liberated, and to feel such a tremendous longing to be one with him, that it carries one to the goal? It seems that a "general" longing for Liberation could not be intense and one-pointed enough

KRISHNAJI: Liberation may be personified in one individual, or in ten individuals, or, as Theosophists would say, in the Teacher Himself, the World-Teacher; but if you have that desire to attain Him who is the embodiment of Liberation and have an intense and tremendous desire, tremendous longing to become part of Him, then it certainly is easier to have such a Teacher to guide you and to help. But again the difficulty arises that if you bring in certain individuals, you will need interpreters of those individuals. There is a question as to whether Krishnamurti is the World-Teacher or not. There will be people who will say that Krishnamurti is the vehicle; others will say he is one in whom the World-Teacher will from time to time visit and through him give forth His message; some will maintain that Krishnamurti will grow into His consciousness and so become one with Him, and hence that there will be no separation between the two. These are thoughts in which for our mental gymnastics we can indulge. You can say Krishnamurti is that and someone else can say Krishnamurti is not that; you will never convince someone who thinks quite the opposite. So the question does not lie in whether Krishnamurti is the vehicle or whether his consciousness has grown into the consciousness of the World-Teacher. The question remains unanswered, because if you accept the authority of one you cannot accept the authority of the other. And so it will go on forever and ever. But if you examine what he says and try to grow into his teaching, then it makes it perfectly simple. I think we shall have incessant wrangles over the corpse of Krishnamurti if we discuss this or that, wondering who is now speaking. Someone asked me: "Do tell me if it is you speaking or someone else". I said: " I really do not know and it does not matter".

What matters is that you should understand, and not wonder what the phenomenon happening is. You do not see, so you are not certain -not that seeing makes anything certain. If some people told you that it is the visitation, you would have to accept that authority, but if that authority changes its opinion tomorrow you will have to change your opinion also and so you will be lost. And to make certain for your own self it must be established in yourself. The desire for Liberation is all that matters. Leave all else for the complicated minds, for the philosophising mind is to wrangle over. That will come eventually. In two thousand years there will probably be another society to discover whether it was this or that.

QUESTION: Does that imply that a person without a Teacher could not attain Liberation?

KRISHNAJI: He may perhaps take longer. Suppose a man has traveled all over the world, and knows the way of the world, and comes back to tell an intending traveler where to stay and what to take with him, it makes it much easier, more comfortable. Hence a Teacher is necessary for those people who are uncertain of the goal, who are not sure, who are doubting, who have no strength, who need their purposes, their determinations, awakened and made strong. But for those people who have already seen the goal, who have already perceived, and have experienced that flame which is Liberation, to them he will act as an encouragement, he will be the embodiment -but they will get there without him.

QUESTION: Can one help others by influencing them consciously?

KRISHNAJI: If you think you are wiser than anybody else, then you interfere. I would never voluntarily interfere with anybody unless they asked me to interfere and asked my advice and questioned me. Then I would give my opinion, but unasked I should never think of interfering. Why should you interfere with another? It may be his karma to walk a different path, to walk in a different direction, to have his mind differently composed from yours; and if you force him to adapt himself to you, you are doing him wrong.

QUESTION: For a practical mystic what would be the most effective way of helping others to reach Liberation? By becoming a fit channel for love and peace?

KRISHNAJI: I think the best way of helping others to reach Liberation is by reaching it yourself. If you had not reached it, and talked vaguely about it, you would soon be found out. The moment you are liberated, or struggling for Liberation, you do become a channel; but I dislike the word channel because it implies that you are acting for somebody else, and that somebody else is master over you, which personally I do not like.

QUESTION: What qualities do you consider most necessary for those who would be your disciples?

KRISHNAJI: It all depends. Suppose you went to a painter and asked him what qualities were necessary to become a painter, it would be very difficult for him to answer you. In the same way it would be difficult if you went to a musician, a composer or a writer and said: "Look here, I want to become what you are." He could only teach you the technique; he cannot give you the qualities of a great artist.

QUESTION: Do you look on the work of the World-Teacher as that of teaching individual men the way to liberation, only, or also as inspiring civilisation with new ideals in all departments -in art and religion, as well as in political and social life?

KRISHNAJI: I will explain my answer with a simile. We go into a garden and see a rose in magnificent bloom. One person who is an artist merely thinks of that rose in terms of painting; another who looks at that rose will go away and meditate; a third will translate that delight into some social activity. People approach religion in the same way as they approach that rose; it depends on the individual, on his temperament, his point of view, his idea of how best he can translate it to the outer world. For instance, say I am interested in education. I want to translate that Liberation in terms of educational ideals and to put it before young people, and children, so as to make them grow according to those ideals. Another person, seeing that Liberation, might be a keen social worker and might translate it in social terms and so help people to attain it.

QUESTION: How should suppression be used in control of the self?

KRISHNAJI: There should be no suppression. You know what happens when you kill some poison on the surface -that same poison will break out again somewhere else. If you try to cure a sore on the body without curing its real cause, it will come out somewhere else. I should never personally suppress anything, for the moment you do so it comes out in another form; but you should learn to control it and to transmute it -and translate it into activity.

QUESTION: What would you define as intelligent revolt?

KRISHNAJI: I feel every person should be in revolt because he should not mould himself to anyone's pattern. You should not mould yourselves to me any more than to somebody else. But in revolting you should be intelligent; that means that you should use the accumulation of your experience, use your intelligence as your guiding point, and revolt with that guide always in view, not just kick blindly, because that means that you are creating karma.

QUESTION: Some of those who in life are acquiring Liberation may have made certain ties which must be fulfilled, but for the younger people who have not formed such ties, would you say it meant not incurring them or incurring them in a new way?

KRISHNAJI: I have always wanted to attain Liberation; I have always wanted to come near the Buddha so that there should be no barrier between Him and myself. I let nothing interfere with that desire: I put aside all other desires; I said, I want to arrive at a certain stage as soon as I can, and anything which interferes must be set aside, must be conquered. I incurred no responsibility, which would come, in the way of my desire, and I have attained it. But do not think I mean that if you are longing to marry, longing to paint, that you should stop yourselves.

QUESTION: Is it not true that action done as duty and with detachment does not make karma?

KRISHNAJI: Yes, I think so.

QUESTION: In The Kingdom of Happiness you said it does not matter what is the degree of evolution of the individual; does that mean that at every degree of evolution one can attain Liberation?

KRISHNAJI: I am sure of it. Take a Sudra (of the lowest caste): if his desire to attain is so burning, so intense, that he throws aside everything, he will attain.

QUESTION: Do you mean by Liberation only a degree or stage of Liberation? Is it union with the Manifested Deity or with the Absolute?

KRISHNAJI: To me Liberation means, as I said yesterday, the destruction of the separate self, because it is the separate self, the self that is so dominant in each one that creates karma that binds. Once you have destroyed that self you are liberated and it does not matter whether you belong to the Manifested or to the Unmanifested, whether you belong to this house or that house, to this stage or that stage, for these are only technical terms.

QUESTION: If Liberation is the cessation of self, why do you associate happiness with it any more than unhappiness?

KRISHNAJI: 'Where the idea to live is a mistake and the idea not to live is an error...' You can call it happiness or unhappiness -Nirvana, Kailas, Heaven- until we find a word that everyone understands.