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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

The Kingdom of Happiness

Talks in Eerde Castle, Holland, 1926


I would like to impress upon you the importance of taking interest in life, because without interest you cannot do anything. You must be intensely interested. I am interested in all things because all life around me gives me understanding. There is nothing else for me in life but to find Truth, to find Happiness, to find peace and tranquillity.

To be really interested you must have your mind and emotions alive all day long, active and not dormant. I would I could give you some of the interest I feel, so that you could awaken that interest in yourselves. For if you have not that interest, that desire to find, that longing to attain, that inclination to set aside everything to reach the ultimate, you will not be able to learn to sacrifice. That interest only comes if you are truly civilized. To the savage who is entering the first stage of life, to whom everything is new, who is accumulating karma, who is learning to suffer, who is beginning to create, to that savage there is only one narrow interest in life. He wants to acquire, to experience, to taste everything physical; whereas the civilized and cultured person, through the evolution of many lives and through his past karma, has stored up knowledge, experience, intuition, and power of discrimination. He is all the time discarding the things that are not important and to him this is the one way to awaken interest in the desire to find Truth.

Now to you and to me, that interest must be in its essence as thrilling and vital as it is to the barbarian who is just beginning to taste the pleasures and sensations of life. But you have set yourselves on a different path possessing new desires, because you have already passed through the stage of the savage to whom the physical everyday happenings of life are all engrossing. He is still creating karma for himself, whereas you should be freeing yourselves from it. You should be strengthening your will and guiding your desires so that you can learn to follow the Tyrant Voice. The only way to hear and to follow that Voice, your guide for all time, is through enthusiasm. If you have this enthusiasm, you will find that your Intuition, that Voice which we are eager to hear, will become your Master, the one authority in your lives.

To awaken the interest, you must watch, you must learn to think, you must learn to use your imagination, you must learn to suffer without actually going through all the processes of ordinary suffering. I will give you an example. The other day, in my imagination, I went out for a walk with my brother. We went along a narrow path, and all the time I was aware that my own shadow was darker than his. I pondered awhile over this. I realized that my consciousness was more centered within myself than in my brother. It was like looking through two glasses; one darker than the other, and the darker one was myself. But I wanted the two shadows to reflect alike; and after a little while the difference disappeared, so that I was able to identify myself, my personality, with my brother. And then I lay down in a garden -in imagination- and was looking at a blade of grass. You know how grass, when it first springs up, grows absolutely tight in a sheath, and a little while after it divides into two or three blades. I felt myself to be that grass which had not yet divided into separate blades. Then I could feel the grass pushing through from under the earth, the sap rising in it, and the blades separating, and I was myself each blade. When I came back I said to myself: I do not want anything more in my life than to have the capacity to lose the sense of separate self. Because then I am able to forget the "I" and identify myself with the rest of the world -with every kingdom, vegetable, animal, and human! I am then nearer the Truth, nearer that perfection. It is the separate self, it is this narrowing down of the self, this division which self creates that stands in the way.

To have imagination and interest, as I have said, you must keep your mind on the alert, you must watch each other, learn from each other; you must grope till your interest is awakened, till your enthusiasm is clear and defined and not weak and vague, till the flame of genius burns within you. To me the genius is the person who sees his goal, whose enthusiasm is ever alive, who walks steadily toward that goal, who struggles all the time to keep the Vision undimmed; who is never submerged by the petty things of life, by family and worldly troubles, but who is all the time pushing them aside and trying to keep that Vision ever before him clear and pure. Whereas the ordinary man, the bourgeois, is smothered by the world; he does not see the Vision, but succumbs to his environment, and so loses the power over life.

In striving to attain the goal you ought to forget the turmoils of the world, you ought to acquire that interest which drives you ever onwards, gives you vitality, mental and moral. If you are going to create, if you are going to help the world -not just a few, but the whole world- you must get that Vision, fill yourself with that Vision; and when you have filled yourself with it, when you are part of it, when it is your own, when you know the Truth for yourself, then you can bring others to it. That is what you have to do and that is the desire that must be awakened within you; not that you may become gods in your own circles, but that you may give others this Vision that alone matters in life.

The Teacher is for all, He is the world Lover, and He will never be satisfied in giving His knowledge and love to a few. He comes for everyone. He longs to awaken the beauty and happiness of life in all, and the more there are of us who understand that attitude, who have something to give, who have struggled, who have lit the candle of genius in ourselves, the better shall we be able to understand, to follow and to serve.

I was speaking about the Buddha and His disciples, and, as I told you, those disciples could not have been ordinary people; they were the exceptions, like the tremendous pine trees in the forest, giving out real love for those who wanted shelter at great heights. Because they understood the great Master, because they breathed the same perfumed air and lived in His world, they were able to give to the world part of that eternal beauty. That is what we have to be: pines on the mountain tops, not the ordinary bushes of the plains, because there are thousands of them; but yet we must be bushes as well. For you can only be a great pine if you know what it is to be a small creeper, or a weed in the garden.

This is what I mean when I say we must take interest in life. We must live every moment of the day. I was reading the Bible yesterday and came to a phrase -"My son, if thou comest to serve God, prepare thy soul for temptation." Your soul, your body, everything, must be alive for temptation of the right kind, so that it gives you delight to serve and to give. That is why you must be cultured. I cannot possibly imagine a real giant being uncultured, uncouth. I do not speak of a giant in body, but of a giant in emotions and in mind.

You can only hear that Voice, its clear tones, its commanding authority, if you have this culture, this interest, this enthusiasm. That is the reason why I always like to urge -though we must pay attention to the physical aspects of life, to beauty, to tidiness, and to well-being- that it is far more important than all these to have emotional and mental culture. You may dress your body as beautifully as you like, but as long as your mind and your emotions are uncivilized you will not be able to hear that Voice. I do not mean that you should not dress nicely, tidily, and really beautifully, but what is of more importance is to get this perfect refinement and sense of culture, both mental and emotional. There is nothing in the world more gratifying, more satisfying, more delightful, than this sense of nobility; and I wish I could give you the interest to acquire that nobility, that intent demand of your soul. Wherever you are, whether in schools or on platforms or in ordinary life, if you have that attitude of mind, if you have an ear that is striving to hear the Voice, it does not much matter what you are, to what class, what type, what temperament you belong, or what religion you adore. After all, these distinctions and divisions are only marks of the passing world. I do not need anybody to tell me what I am, as long as I know that I am free, happy, and straight. I do not need the authority of others. It is those of you who are still uncertain, still striving for the little things of life that need the authority and blessings of others; thereby setting up a new orthodoxy. As long as you walk with a clear vision, as long as you hear that Voice which is universal, and obey that Voice, it does not matter what anyone in the world may say; for you are right when you are obeying the Highest. More and more I want to awaken this desire in you to see for yourself those things that are hidden from your eyes; so that once you have seen, once you have felt, you can go outside and tear the veils from the eyes of others. It is no good merely giving them petty satisfactions, little thoughts, and little doctrines. Each one of you has to become such a messenger, such an example. It is much more important than you realize that you should have this craving to see for yourselves, to hear for yourselves, and not be content with what others declare. First you must have the noble craving, then you will satisfy it, and you will expand and enlarge your souls. Each one of us is the center of his own circle, all the time thinking about himself; but he should think of himself creatively. We should forget, as far as we can, our little selves and feel that we are all one. Though I may have a brown body and black hair, I must be part of you and you must be part of me. For that is the only way to live -to lose ourselves in worlds of others and yet retain our own Vision.