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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


You remember, yesterday morning we were discussing the complex problem of love. I do not think we shall understand it till we understand an equally complex problem which we call the mind. Have you noticed, when we are very young, how inquisitive we are? We want to know, we see many more things than older people. We observe, if we are at all awake, things that older people do not notice. The mind, when we are young, is much more alert, much more curious, and wanting to know. That is why when we are young we learn so easily mathematics, geography. As we grow older, our mind becomes more and more crystallized, more and more heavy, more and more bulky. Have you noticed in older people how prejudiced they are? Their minds are fixed, they are not open, they approach everything from a fixed point of view. You are young now; but if you are not very watchful, you will also become like that. Is it not then very important to understand the mind, and to see whether you cannot be supple, be capable of instant adjustments, of extraordinary capacities in every department of life, of deep research and understanding, instead of gradually becoming dull? Should you not know the ways of the mind, so as to understand the way of love? Because, it is the mind that destroys love. Clever people, people who are cunning, do not know what love is because their minds are so sharp, because they are so clever, because they are so superficial - which means, to be on the surface; and love is not a thing that exists on the surface.

What is the mind? Do you understand what I am talking about? I am not talking about the brain, the physical construction of the brain about which any physiologist will tell you. The brain is something which reacts to various nervous responses. But you are going to find out what the mind is. What is the mind? The mind says, `I think; it is mine; it is yours; I am hurt; I am jealous; I love; I hate; I am an Indian; I am a Mussulman; I believe in this; I do not believe in that; I know; you do not know; I respect; I despise; I want; I do not want'. What is this thing? Till you understand it, till you are familiar with the whole process of thinking which is the mind, till you are aware of that, you will gradually, as you grow older, become hard, crystallized, dull, fixed in a certain pattern of thinking.

What is this thing which you call the mind? It is the way of thinking, the way you think. I am talking of your mind - not somebody else's mind and the way it would think - the way you feel; the way you look at trees, at a fish; at the fishermen; the way you consider the villager. That mind gradually becomes warped or fixed in a certain pattern. When you want something, when you desire, when you crave, when you want to be something, then you set a pattern; that is, your mind creates a pattern and gets caught. Your desire crystallizes your mind. Say, for example, I want to be a very rich man. The desire of wanting to be a wealthy man creates a pattern and my thinking then gets caught in it; and I can only think in those terms, and I cannot go beyond it. So, the mind gets caught in it, gets crystallized in it, gets hard, dull. Or, if I believe in something - in God, in Communism, in a certain political system - the very belief begins to set the pattern, because that belief is the outcome of my desire and that desire strengthens the walls of the pattern. Gradually, my mind becomes dull, incapable of adjustment, of quickness, of sharpness, of clarity, because I am caught in the labyrinth of my own desires.

So, until I really investigate this process of my mind, the ways I think, the ways I regard love, till I am familiar with my own ways of thinking, I cannot possibly find what love is. There will be no love when my mind desires certain facts of love, certain actions of it, and when I then imagine what love should be. Then I give certain motives to love. So, gradually, I create the pattern of action with regard to love. But it is not love; it is merely my desire what love should be. Say, for example, I possess you as a wife or as a husband. Do you understand `possess'? You possess your saris or your coats, don't you? If somebody took them away, you would be angry, you would be anxious, you would be irritated. Why? Because you regard your saris or your coat or kurtha as yours, your property; you possess it; because through possession you feel enriched. Don't you? Through having many saris, many kurthas, you feel rich, not only physically rich but inwardly rich. So, when somebody takes your coat away, you feel irritated; because, inwardly you are being deprived of that feeling of being rich, that feeling of possession. Owning creates a barrier, does it not? With regard to love. If I own you, possess you, is that love? I possess you as I possess a car, a coat, a sari; because in possessing, I feel very rich; I depend on it; it is very important to me inwardly. This owning, this possessing, this depending, is what we call love. But if you examine it, you will see that, behind it, the mind feels satisfied in possession. After all, when you possess a sari or many saris or a car or a house, inwardly it gives you a certain satisfaction, the feeling that it is yours.

So, the mind desiring, wanting, creates a pattern; and in that pattern it gets caught; and so the mind grows weary, dull, stupid, thoughtless. The mind is the centre of that feeling of the `mine', the feeling that I own something, that I am a big man, that I am a little man, that I am insulted, that I am flattered, that I am clever or that I am very beautiful or that I want to be ambitious or that I am the daughter of somebody or the son of somebody. That feeling of the `me', the `I', is the centre of the mind, is the mind itself. So, the more the mind feels this is mine and builds walls round the feeling that `I am somebody', that `I must be great', that `I am a very clever man', or that `I am very stupid or a dull man', the more it creates a pattern, the more and more it becomes enclosed, dull. Then it suffers; then there is pain in that enclosure. Then it says, `What am I to do?'. Then it struggles to find something else instead of removing the walls that are enclosing it. By thought, by careful awareness, by going into it, by understanding it, it wants to take something from outside and then to close itself again. So, gradually, the mind becomes a barrier to love. So, without the understanding of life, of what the mind is, of the way of thinking, of the way from which there is action, we cannot possibly find what love is.

Is not the mind also an instrument of comparison? You know what is comparison, to compare. You say this is better than that; you compare yourself with somebody who is more beautiful, who is more clever. There is comparison when you say, `I remember that particular river which I saw a year ago, and it was still more beautiful'. You compare yourself with somebody, compare yourself with an example, with the ultimate ideal. Comparative judgment makes the mind dull; it does not sharpen the mind, it does not make the mind comprehensive, inclusive; because, when you are all the time comparing, what has happened? You see the sunset, and you immediately compare that sunset with the previous sunset. You see a mountain and you see how beautiful it is. Then you say, `I saw a still more beautiful mountain two years ago.' What happens when you are comparing is that you are really not looking at the sunset which is there, but you are looking at it in order to compare it with something else. So, comparison prevents you from looking fully. I look at you, you are nice; but I say, `I know a much nicer person, a much better person, a more noble person, a more stupid person; when I do this, I am not looking at you, am I? Because my mind is occupied with something else, I am not looking at you at all. In the same way, I am not looking at the sunset at all. To really look at the sunset, there must be no comparison; to really look at you, I must not compare you with someone else. It is only when I look at you, not with comparative judgment, that I can understand you. But when I compare you with somebody else, then I judge you and I say, `Oh! he is a very stupid man.' So, stupidity arises when there is comparison; you understand? I compare you with somebody else and that very comparison brings about a lack of human dignity. When I look at you without comparing, I am only concerned with you, not with someone else. The very concern about you, not comparatively, brings about human dignity.

So, as long as the mind is comparing, there is no love; and the mind is always judging, comparing, weighing, looking to find out where the weakness is. So, where there is comparison, there is no love. When the mother and father love their children, they do not compare them, they do not compare their child with another child; it is their child and they love their child. But you want to compare yourself with something better, with something nobler, with something richer; so, you create in yourself a lack of love. You are all the time concerned with yourself in relationship to somebody else. So, as the mind becomes more and more comparative, more and more possessive, more and more depending, it creates a pattern in which it gets caught; so it cannot look at anything anew, afresh; and so it destroys that very thing, that very perfume of life, which is love.

Question: What should we ask God to give us?

Krishnamurti: You are very interested in God. Are you not? Why? Because your mind is asking for something, wanting to find out. So, it is constantly agitated. When I am asking something from you, my mind is agitated, is it not?

The boy wants to know what he should ask of God. He does not know what God is; he cannot possibly know what he wants. But there is a feeling of general apprehension, a general feeling `I must find out, I must ask, I must be protected'. The mind is always seeking, searching in every corner; and so the mind is never still; it is always wanting, grasping, watching, pushing comparing, judging. You search your own mind and see what the mind is doing, how it tries to control itself, how it tries to dominate, to suppress, to find out, to search, to ask, to beg, to struggle, to compare. We call that mind very alert; is it alert? An alert mind is a still mind, not a mind that like a butterfly is chasing all over the place, not a mind that is constantly clinging, agitating, asking, begging, praying, petitioning - such a mind is never still. It is only a still mind that can understand what God is. A still mind can never ask of God. It is only an impoverished mind that can beg, that can ask. What it asks, it can never have; and what it wants is security, comfort, certainty. If you seek anything of God, you will never find God.

Question: What is real greatness and how can I be great?

Krishnamurti: You see, the unfortunate thing is that we want to be great. We all want to be great. Why? We want to be Gandhis, Prime Ministers, we want to be great inventors, great writers. Why? You see, in education, in religion, in all the things of our life, we have examples. We have examples of the greatest poet, the greatest orator, the greatest writer, the greatest saint, the greatest hero. We have examples and we want to be like them.

When you want to be like another, you have already created a pattern of action, have you not? You have already set a limitation on your thought. You have already bound your thought within certain limits. So, your thought has already become crystallized, narrow, limited, suffocated. Why do you want to be great? Why are you not prepared to be what you are? You see, the moment you want to be something, there is misery, there is degradation, there is envy and sorrow. I want to be like the Buddha. What happens? I struggle everlastingly. I am stupid, I am ugly; I crave for something; and I wish to leave what I am and to go beyond that. I am ugly, I want to be beautiful; so, I struggle everlastingly, till I die, to be beautiful, or to deceive myself to think that I am beautiful. If I say to myself that I am ugly and I see it as a fact, then I can investigate, then I can go beyond. But if I am always trying to be something other than what I am, then my mind wears itself out.

If you say, `This is what I am, and I am going to understand this', then you will find that the understanding of what you are - not what you should be - brings great peace and contentment, great understanding, great love.

Question: Is there not an end of love? Is love based on attraction. Krishnamurti: Suppose you are attracted by a beautiful river, by a beautiful woman or by a man. What is wrong with that? We are trying to find out. You see, when I am attracted to a woman, to a man or to a child or to truth or to a person, what happens? I want to be with it, I want to possess it, I want to call it my own; I say that it is mine and that it is not yours. I am attracted to that person, I must be near that person, my body must be near that person's body. So, what have I done? What generally happens? The fact is that I am attracted and I want to be near that person; that is a fact, not an ideal. And also the fact is that when I am attracted and I want to possess, there is no love. My concern is with the fact and not with what I should be. Well, when I possess a person, I do not want that person to look at anybody else. When I consider that person as mine, is there love? Obviously not. The moment my mind creates a hedge round that person, as the mine, there is no love.

The fact is my mind is doing that, all the time. That is what we are discussing, to see how the mind is working; and perhaps, being aware of it, the mind itself will be quiet.

Question: Why has the earth been created and why are we on it?

Krishnamurti: You know what the scientists say how the earth has come into being. If you read biology, the beginning of life, they will tell you how the earth has been created, how human beings have grown upon it. That is the answer.

Question: Is that true?

Krishnamurti: The girl wants to know if it is true? Who is going to tell you about what is true? You are here, are you not? There is the earth and you are here. Why speculate about something which you cannot possibly prove? I mean: the scientists, the biologists will tell you how the earth has been created; and some equally clever person will tell you how the earth has been created out of Brahman. He will tell you how you have been created, how you have evolved; and another will tell you how you have been created out of matter. Then, what will happen to you? Which are you going to choose? You will obviously choose something that will please you, you will choose according to your own conditioning. This is a useless process of speculating. It is a waste of time to speculate. But there is the earth to understand, and you have to find out why you are here, what you are thinking, what you are feeling, what your life is. Perhaps you feel you will be able to find out ultimately; but you must begin now to find out.

Question: Why does one feel the necessity of love?

Krishnamurti: You mean why do we have to have love? Why should there be love? Can we do without it? What would happen if you did not have this so-called love? If your parents began to think out why they love you, you might not be here. They might throw you out. They think they love you; therefore, they want to protect you, they want to see you educated, they feel that they must give you every opportunity to be something. This feeling of protection, this feeling of wanting you to be educated, this feeling that you belong to them is what they generally call love. Without it, what would happen? What would happen if your parents did not love you? You would be neglected, you would be something inconvenient, you would be pushed out, they would hate you. So, fortunately, there is this feeling of love, perhaps clouded, perhaps besmirched and ugly; but there is still that feeling, fortunately for you and me; otherwise, you and I would not have been educated, would not exist.

Question: What is prayer? In daily life, what is its importance?

Krishnamurti: I presume you put that question in all seriousness, and not just because you want to be clever; I presume you really put that question in earnestness. Let us find out. Do not listen, but find out. Why do you pray and what is prayer? Most of your prayers are merely a petitioning, an asking. You indulge in this kind of prayer because you suffer, because you are alone, because you are depressed and in sorrow. You pray to God and ask for help; that is a petition; and that, you call prayer. The content of prayer is generally the same although the intent behind it may vary. Prayer, with most people, is a petition, a begging, an asking. Are you doing that? Why are you praying? I am not saying you should or should not pray. But why do you pray? Is it for more knowledge, for more peace, for the world to be free from sorrow? Is there any other form of prayer than that? There is prayer which is really not a prayer but the sending out of good will, the sending out of love, the sending out of ideas. Which is it you are doing?

If your prayer is a supplication, a petition, then what happens? You are asking God or somebody to fill your empty bowl, are you not? You want that bowl to be filled according to your wishes. You want God to fill it according to your wishes; so you are asking God for that which you want. You are not satisfied with what happens, with what is given. So your prayer is merely a petition. It is a demand that you should be satisfied. You want to be satisfied; therefore, your prayer is not prayer at all. You just want to be gratified; so you say to God, `I am suffering; please gratify me; please give me my brother, my son. Please make me rich'. So, you are perpetuating your own demands. That is not prayer.

The real thing is to understand yourself, to see why you are asking and not for what you are asking, to see why there is this demand in you, this urge to beg. Then you will find out that, the more you know about yourself physically as well as psychologically - the more you know what you are thinking, what you are feeling - the more you will find out the truth of `what is'. It is that truth that will help you to be free.

December 19, 1952