Jiddu Krisnamurthi's Public Talks

J. Krishnamurthi

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How to face a fact – whether it’s death, jealousy, whatever it is, even voting – how to face it as though it were new? And therefore, a mind that is not burdened with opinions, evaluations, with the past memories which are always projecting, confusing and making a conflict. As far as I see it, that is the real issue in all this: to not bring the past into the present and destroy the understanding of the present. Because for me the most important thing is not to be in conflict, under any circumstances, not just with regard to voting, or death or love, but whatever it is. Conflict is the very essence of stupidity. And here is a problem, which is that my wife has run away. I understand the whole business of conflict, and here is a situation that I must deal with anew. How am I to do it? That’s the question. Or there is the much greater problem: death, love, and this whole modern drive for ambition and success, in which is included tyranny. I support tyranny if I’m seeking success. So how do I look at these things non-neurotically, without any illusion? That is the real crux of it. So that my mind is a fresh mind, not the stupid old mind that has gone on and on through reactions. As far as I see, that is the real issue: to meet the present without neuroticism, which introduces conflict because of the past, or you have an idea about it and you force the fact to the idea, which creates conflict.

from Small Group Discussion 5 in Saanen, 3 August 1963
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J. Krishnamurti Online

We think society is something totally separate from us. But one of the fundamental truths is that you are responsible for society. Society is shaping you, and you are shaping the society in which you live. Can you, as a human being, radically transform your psychological state? Which is to be aware, to observe, to listen, to learn, not from another, but observing your own relationship with another. That is the mirror in which you can see yourself, actually. In that mirror, it shows you what you are, if you are willing to look. Then by looking at it, objectively, carefully, without any distortion, you see, you have an insight into the whole movement of your mind, the whole content of your mind. By observing it. To observe is to observe without an idea, without direction, without projecting your reactions and prejudices. To observe demands that you be free from this, from all the trivialities, so that you can look very clearly in the mirror of relationship. When you look so carefully, that very insight dissolves all trivialities. And freedom, which is being so misused now, that freedom to observe is to understand the whole nature and structure of the human mind.

from Interview 2 with Gary Null in Brockwood Park, 17 October 1980
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Thought cannot exist without knowledge.

from Dialogue with Geetha Varadan in Madras (Chennai), 23 January 1984

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All time is contained in the present; all time, the past, the future is now. See the inwardness of it immediately. It must be instant, not thought over. To see the depth, the inwardness and the beauty of it you have to have an instant perception, which is not the activity of thought.

from Dialogue 1 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 12 August 1984

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Thought can never be intelligent.

from Dialogue with Asit Chandmal in Brockwood Park, 24 June 1982

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Your consciousness is not different from mine. It may have little variations and modifications, a little more expansion or contraction, but essentially consciousness is yours as well as mine. I am attached to my house, and so are you. I am attached to my knowledge; I am attached to my family; I am in despair whether I live in India, England or America, wherever it is. So that consciousness is common.

from Dialogue 13 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 26 February 1974

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Unless you stop and look, you are a confused entity.

from Students Discussion 3 in Gstaad, 29 July 1966

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In discussing religion, we ought to inquire very, very deeply into the nature of hurt, because a mind that is not hurt is an innocent mind. And you need this quality of innocency to be totally attentive.

from Dialogue 11 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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Most people are terribly lonely, bored with life, and pleasure becomes the means of escape from their loneliness, their depression, their ugliness, their brutality and all the rest of it. So one has to understand this extraordinary principle of pleasure on which most of our culture is based – morally, religiously, sexually, aesthetically, you know, every way that is the principle on which man functions. One can see how pleasure is sustained by thought. You had an extraordinary meal yesterday and it brought you pleasure, and you want that pleasure repeated tomorrow. One had physical pain and you are afraid that it might happen again. The fear comes in when you think what might happen. Like in death, you put it away, as far away as you can because you are afraid of what might happen, and you don’t want to die. Again thought puts it as far away as possible and never understands what death is, nor does it understand pleasure and fear, so it must escape. Thought and fear become mechanical, and our culture is mechanical because most people are second-hand people. I’m not insulting but just saying what is. To really understand the immense thing called love, one has to understand all this.

from Interview by Wilfred Thomas in Brockwood Park, 5 October 1970

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A group of people in a room chattering away is very noisy. Each is shouting, each is talking, each is expressing themself; it is a tremendous noise being generated. If those people were quiet, not only physically quiet but inwardly have understood the nature of silence… See the difference – that silence is equal to that sound of the tree.

from Dialogue 1 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 12 August 1984

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When I approach a problem, the chaos, the misery, the suffering, the violence, all that, I approach it with my conclusions, with my fears, with my despairs. I don’t look at the problem itself.

from Dialogue 3 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 19 February 1974

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Human beings suffer. Being a human being, I suffer. My instinct is to run away from it, suppress it, to seek comfort, to seek all kinds of activity which move away from the fact. But if the brain can remain with the fact, without a single movement of thought involved in it, then that very fact is not, suffering is not.

from Dialogue with Geetha Varadan in Madras (Chennai), 23 January 1984


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Discipline is a form of suppression and control of desire – religious, sectarian, non-sectarian, it is all based on control. Control your appetite. Control your desires. Control your thought. And this control gradually squeezes out the flow of free energy.

from Dialogue 7 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 21 February 1974

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This is what I would do if I were teaching a class, the first thing I would begin with. I would say, ‘You are hurt and I am hurt. Both of us are hurt’. I would point out what hurt does, how it kills people, how it destroys people; how out of that there is violence, how out of that I want to hurt people. I would spend ten minutes talking about that, every day, in different ways, until both of us see it. Then as an educator I will use the right word, and the student will use the right word. There will be no gesture, no irritation; we are both involved in it. But we don’t do that. The moment we come into class we pick up a book, and it goes off. If I was an educator, whether with older or younger people, I would establish this relationship. That is my duty, that is my job, that is my function, not just to transmit information.

from Dialogue 11 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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As long as you fight a habit, you give it vitality. If you don’t fight it, it’ll die down very soon.

from Small Group Discussion 5 in Saanen, 3 August 1963

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The battle to achieve means conflict.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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I never look at my wife or husband. If I have a wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, I never look. I look at her or him through the image I have about her or him. The image is a dead thing. So I never look at a living thing. I never look at nature, with all the marvel of it, the beauty of it, the shape, the loveliness of it. I am always translating it, trying to paint it, write about it or enjoy it.

from Dialogue 16 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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After a thousand millennia, why haven’t we changed? We are still barbarians.

from Dialogue 2 with Radha Burnier in Schönried, 13 August 1984

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Physical survival is only possible when human beings get together, not as communists or socialists but as human beings who say, ‘This is our problem, for God’s sake, let’s solve it.’ But we won’t because we are burdened with problems, with plans of how to solve starvation, for example. You have your plan, I have my plan, he has his plan, and so planning becomes most important. The plans become most important rather than starvation. And so we fight each other. Common sense, affection, care, love can change all this.

from Dialogue 6 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 20 February 1974

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The past is the observer. The past is the accumulated knowledge as the ‘me’ and the ‘we’, ‘they’ and ‘us’. The observer is put together by thought as the past. Thought is the past. Thought is never free. Thought is never new because it is the response of the past, as knowledge, as experience, as memory. And the observer is observing with the memories, experiences, knowledge, hurts, despairs, hope. With all that background he looks at the observed. So the observer then becomes separate from the observed.

from Dialogue 2 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 18 February 1974

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Meditation is a part of cooperation and relationship. You cannot just say, ‘I’ll meditate,’ and not understand the rest of meditation.

from Students Discussion 1 in Schönried, 8 July 1969

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The brain needs security, otherwise it cannot function. So it finds security in a belief, in an image, in rituals, in the propaganda of 2,000 or 5,000 years. And there, there is a sense of safety, comfort, security, wellbeing, an image of somebody greater than me who is looking after me; inwardly they is responsible. When you are asking a human being to negate all that, one is faced with an immense sense of danger and one becomes panicked. So to see all that, to see the absurdity of all the present religions, the utter meaninglessness of it all, and to face being totally insecure, and not be frightened.

from Dialogue 15 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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We are becoming more and more artificial, more and more superficial, more and more verbal, moving in a linear direction. Not vertical at all, but linear. And so artificial things become more important – theatres, cinemas, the whole business of the modern world. And very few have the sense of beauty in themselves, beauty in conduct, beauty in behaviour, beauty in the usage of language, the voice, the manner of walking, the sense of humility. With that humility, everything becomes gentle, quiet, full of beauty. We have none of that and yet we go to museums and galleries. We have lost the delicacy, the sensitivity of the mind, the heart and the body. When we have lost this sensitivity how can we know what beauty is?

from Dialogue 9 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 22 February 1974

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We are frightened of being isolated. But every act a human being does is isolating himself. That is, his ambition is isolating himself. When he is nationalistic, he is isolating himself. When he says, ‘It is my family’ – isolating himself. ‘I want to fulfil’ – isolating himself. When you negate all that, not violently, but see the stupidity of all that, then you are alone. And that has tremendous beauty in it. Therefore that beauty, you can spread it everywhere, but it still remains alone. So the quality of compassion is that. But compassion isn’t a word; it happens; it comes with intelligence.

from Dialogue 12 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 25 February 1974

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If I am aware that I am neurotic, then I am already coming out of that neuroticism. But most of us are not aware of our peculiarities, of our slightly unbalanced states, our exaggerations, our idiosyncrasies and fixations. To be aware of that neurotic condition requires attention, watching. But most of us have not the energy, time or inclination to observe ourselves; we would rather go to an analyst or somebody who will do the job for us, and therefore complicate our life more and more. So if you are aware you are neurotic – not only superficially but deeply, as most of us are – then to bring about a change, one must be aware, one must watch; one must watch every word, the things that you feel and think – go into yourself profoundly. Perhaps then, out of that awareness, comes meditation.

from Public Talk 9 in Saanen, 25 July 1963

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A living thing you can never know; it is moving, it is never the same. And so I can never say that I know my wife, husband or children, because they are living human beings.

from Dialogue 15 with Allan W. Anderson in San Diego, California, 27 February 1974

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Don’t conclude, intellectually, emotionally or in any way. Find out why you conclude, and if you can live without conclusion. Try it; it is the most marvellous thing to find out! When you find out, it is yours. Not yours in the sense of vanity – it is like discovering a new planet or a new mathematical problem.

from Students Discussion 2 in Schönried, 10 July 1969

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There is the necessary conditioning for physical security. But when there is the search and the demand for psychological security, then conditioning becomes tremendously potent.

from Public Talk 1 in Amsterdam, 3 May 1969

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