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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


Question: Does compassion spring from observation, or thought? Is not compassion an emotional feeling?

I do not know how to answer this. What is compassion? Is it emotion, something romantic? Does it expend itself in some kind of social work? One has to find out what compassion is, what love is. Is love desire? Is love pleasure? And can there be love where there is ambition? Can there be love when one is trying to become something - not only in the outward world but also psychologically where there is this constant struggle to be or to become something? Can there be love when there is jealousy and violence; when there is division between you and me? Can there be love when you are nationalistic? In this nationalistic division and the division of beliefs, images, can there be love? Of course there can be no love when there is such division. But all of us are so heavily conditioned, and we accept that conditioning as normal.

What is the relationship of love to sorrow? Can suffering and love go together - not only personal suffering but the enormous suffering of mankind, the suffering that wars have brought about and are still bringing about, the suffering of people living in totalitarian states - can there be love when there is suffering? Or is it only with the ending of suffering that there is passionate compassion?

After stating all this, where are we? Is love just an ideal - something which we do not know and therefore want to have: that extraordinary sense of great compassion? But we will not pay the price for it. We would like to have this marvellous jewel but are unwilling to make a gesture, do something that will bring it about. If you want peace you must live peacefully, not be divided into nations with wars and all the hideousness that is going on. So what price do we pay for this, not coins and paper, but inwardly? How deeply, profoundly, do I see that nationalism, that all division, must end in myself as a human being? Because one human being - whether you or I - is like the rest of the world, psychologically. We all suffer, we all go through agonies, we all go through great fears, uncertainties, confusion, we are all caught in absurd religious nonsense. We are that. Can we see the totality, not as an idea, not as something longed for, but as a fact, as a burning, actual, daily fact? Then out of that perception the responsibility of compassion comes. Compassion goes with great intelligence. That intelligence is not the operation of knowledge. Knowledge can solve many problems, intellectual and technical, but intelligence is something entirely different. Please do not accept what I am saying, just look at it. You may have read a great deal, be capable of great arguments and of solving problems, but the problem-solving mind is not the intelligent mind. Intelligence comes with compassion, with love. And when that intelligence is an action of compassion it is global, not a particular action.