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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

Ojai, Tuesday, 26 April, 1983

Some time ago, staying with a friend high in the hills, a man came and told the host that a tiger had killed a cow last night, and would we like to see the tiger that evening? He could arrange it by building a platform in a tree and tying up a goat, and the bleat of the goat, of the small animal, would attract the tiger and we could see it. We both refused to satisfy our curiosity so cruelly. But later that day the host suggested that we get the car and go into the forest to see the tiger if we could. So towards evening we got into an open car with a chauffeur driving us and went deep into the forest for several miles. Of course we saw nothing. It was getting quite dark and the headlights were on, and as we turned round, there it was sitting right in the middle of the road waiting to receive us. It was a very large animal, beautifully marked, and its eyes, caught by the headlights, were bright, scintillating. It came growling towards the car, and as it passed just a few inches from the hand that was stretched out, the host said, `Don't touch it, it is too dangerous, be quick for it is faster than your hand.' But you could feel the energy of that animal, its vitality; it was a great dynamo of energy. And as it passed by one felt an enormous attraction towards it. And it disappeared into the woods. [Krishnamurti tells of this meeting with a tiger more fully in his Journal, p.40]

Apparently the friend had seen many tigers and had helped long ago in his youth to kill one, and ever since he had been regretting the terrible act. Cruelty in every form is now spreading in the world. Man has probably never been so cruel as he is now, so violent. The churches and the priests of the world have talked about peace on earth; from the highest Christian hierarchy to the poor village priest there has been talk about living a good life, not hurting, not killing a thing; especially the Buddhists and Hindus of former years have said, `Don't kill the fly, don't kill anything, for next life you will pay for it.' That was rather crudely put but some of them maintained this spirit, this intention not to kill and not to hurt another human being. But killing with wars is going on and on. The dog so quickly kills the rabbit. Or the man shoots another with his marvellous machines, and he himself is perhaps shot by another. And this killing has been going on for millennia upon millennia. Some treat it as a sport, others kill out of hatred, anger, jealousy, and organized murder by the various nations with their armaments goes on. One wonders if man will ever live on this beautiful earth peacefully, never killing a little thing, or being killed, or killing another, but live peacefully with some divinity and love in his heart.

In this part of the world, which we call the West, the Christians have perhaps killed more than anyone else. They are always talking about peace on this earth. But to have peace one must live peacefully, and that seems so utterly impossible. There are arguments for and against war, the arguments that man has always been a killer and will always remain so, and those who maintain that he can bring about a change in himself and not kill. This is a very old story. The endless butchering has become a habit, an accepted formula, in spite of all the religions.

One was watching the other day a red-tailed hawk, high in the heavens, circling effortlessly, without a beat of the wing, just for the fun of flying, just to be sustained by the air-currents. Then it was joined by another, and they were flying together for quite a while. They were marvellous creatures in that blue sky, and to hurt them in any way is a crime against heaven. Of course there is no heaven; man has invented heaven out of hope, for his life has become a hell, an endless conflict from birth to death, coming and going, making money, working endlessly. This life has become a turmoil, a travail of endless striving. One wonders if man, a human being, will ever live on this earth peacefully. Conflict has been the way of his life - within the skin and outside the skin, in the area of the psyche and in the society which that psyche has created.

Probably love has totally disappeared from this world. Love implies generosity, care, not to hurt another, not to make another feel guilty, to be generous, courteous, and behave in such a manner that your words and thoughts are born out of compassion. Of course you cannot be compassionate if you belong to organized religious institutions - large, powerful, traditional, dogmatic, that insist on faith. There must be freedom to love. That love is not pleasure, desire, a remembrance of things that have gone. Love is not the opposite of jealousy, hate and anger.

All this may sound rather Utopian, idealistic, something that man can only aspire to. But if you believe that then you will go on killing. Love is as real, as strong, as death. It has nothing to do with imagination, or sentiment, or romanticism; and naturally it has nothing to do with power, position, prestige. It is as still as the waters of the sea and as powerful as the sea; it is like the running waters of a rich river flowing endlessly, without a beginning or an end. But the man who kills the baby seals, or the great whales, is concerned with his livelihood. He would say, `I live by that, that is my trade.' He is totally unconcerned with that something which we call love. He probably loves his family - or he thinks he loves his family - and he is not very much concerned with how he gains his livelihood. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why man lives a fragmentary life; he never seems to love what he is doing - though perhaps a few people do. If one lived by the work one loves, it would be very different - one would understand the wholeness of life. We have broken up life into fragments: the business world, the artistic world, the scientific world, the political world and the religious world. We seem to think that they are all separate and should be kept separate. So we become hypocritical, doing something ugly, corrupt, in the business world and then coming home to live peacefully with our family; this breeds hypocrisy, a double standard of life.

It is really a marvellous earth. That bird sitting on the tallest tree has been sitting there every morning, looking over the world, watching for a greater bird, a bird that might kill it, watching the clouds, the passing shadow, and the great spread of this rich earth, these rivers, forests and all the men who work from morning until night. If one thinks at all, in the psychological world, it is to be full of sorrow. One wonders too if man will ever change, or only the few, the very, very few. Then what is the relationship of the few to the many? Or, what is the relationship of the many to the few? The many have no relationship to the few. The few do have a relationship.

Sitting on that rock, looking down into the valley, with a lizard beside you, you daren't move in case the lizard should be disturbed or frightened. And the lizard too is watching. And so the world goes on: inventing gods, following the hierarchy of god's representatives; and all the sham and the shame of illusions will probably go on, the thousand problems getting more and more complex and intricate. Only the intelligence of love and compassion can solve all problems of life. That intelligence is the only instrument that can never become dull, useless.