Jiddu Krishnamurti


Indian Philosopher, Holy Man

Author Quotes

Our response to sorrow is a reaction. We respond by trying to explain the cause of sorrow, or by escaping from sorrow, but our sorrow doesn't end. Sorrow ends only when we face the fact of sorrow, when we understand and go beyond both the cause and the effect. To try to be free of sorrow through a particular practice, or by deliberate thought, or by indulging in any of the various ways of escaping from sorrow, doesn't awaken in the mind the extraordinary beauty, the vitality, the intensity of that passion which includes and transcends sorrow.

To remain, not to escape, not to seek comfort, not to run off to some form of entertainment, religious or otherwise, but to look at it, live with it, understand the nature of it - when you do that, sorrow opens the door to passion.

Now, if in facing sorrow the mind has a motive, that is, if it wants to do something about sorrow, there can be no understanding of sorrow any more than there can be love if there is a motive for love. Do you understand? Most of us have a motive when we look at sorrow; we want to do something about it.

Without understanding sorrow, there is no wisdom; the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. To understand sorrow and to be completely free of it demands an understanding, not only of the particular individualistic sorrows, but also of the enormous sorrow of man. To me, without being totally free of sorrow, there can be no wisdom, nor is the mind capable of really inquiring into that immeasurable something which may be called God, or by any other name.

The collective mind is your mind, you are part of the culture in which you have been brought up, in which you have been educated, you're not separate from the society, from the world, so, unless you as a human being radically change there is very little hope for a peaceful, religious society.

To bring about a total change of man, man has to become aware of himself - that is, he has to learn about himself anew. Man, according to the recent discoveries of anthropology, has lived for two million years; and man has not found a way out of his misery. He has escaped from it, he has run away through some fanciful illusion. But he has not found it, has not built a society that is totally free; he has not built a society which is not a society of conformity.

As an individual, it is your responsibility to bring about a tremendous change in the world. It is your responsibility because you are part of this society, because you are part of this tremendous sorrow of man, this constant effort, struggle, pain, and anxiety. You are responsible. Unless you realize that immense responsibility and come directly in contact with that responsibility and listen to the whole structure, the machinery of that responsibility, do what you will - go to every temple, to every guru, to every Master, to every religious book in the world - your action has no meaning whatsoever because those are mere escapes from actuality.

The society is not different from you - you are society. The very structure of society is the structure of yourself. So when you begin to understand yourself, you are then beginning to understand the society in which you live. It is not opposed to society. So a religious man is concerned with the discovery of a new way of life, of living in this world, and bringing about a transformation in the society in which he lives, because by transforming himself, he transforms society. I think this is very important to understand.

Physical revolution has no meaning; there is only one revolution, psychological, inward revolution because the human being - you - is the society. You have built this society and in that society, in that culture you're caught; therefore, you are the world and the world is you, not verbally, theoretically or intellectually, but actually. You are the world and the world is you and if you are confused, if you are disturbed, if you are neurotic, unbalanced, whatever structure you create as social morality, as law, as ethics or as religion must equally be confused.

Society in which we live, we have created, we are responsible for it - each one of us. It has not come into being because of some fictitious, spiritual forces. It has come about through our greed, through our ambition, through our personal likes and dislikes and enmities, through our frustrations, through our search for pleasure and satisfaction. We have created the religions, the beliefs, the dogmas, out of fear. It is in that society that you live. Either you run away from that society because you cannot understand it, or cannot bring about a change in that society of which you are a part; or you become so completely engrossed in your own particular travail that you lose complete interest in the radical demand of a human mind that says that it must change.

We are society; we are not independent of society. We are the result of the environment - of our religion, of our education, of the climate, of the food we eat, the reactions, the innumerable repetitive activities that we indulge in every day. That is our life. And the society in which we live is part of that life. Society is relationship between man and man. Society is cooperation. Society, as it is, is the result of man's greed, hatred, ambition, competition, brutality, cruelty, ruthlessness - and we live in that pattern. And to understand it - not intellectually, not merely theoretically, but actually - we have to come into contact directly with that fact, which is, a human being - that is you - is the result of this social environment, its economic pressure, religious upbringing, and so on. To come into contact with anything directly is not to verbalize it but to look at it.

As long as you remain within that field of the culture, of society, of greed, of envy, of achievement, you are not a free human being. You may think you have free will, but you are just part of this monstrous society, a conditioned human being.

Society is a process of recognition - one is recognized as a saint, as a writer, as a good man, as a bad man, as a capitalist, a communist, or whatever you like. In breaking away from all that, the mind is completely alone - not lonely, but alone. It is no longer influenced by society, it is completely dissociated from all recognition; therefore, it is capable of being alone.

When there is no love in your heart, you have only one thing left, which is pleasure; and that pleasure is sex, and therefore it becomes a mountainous problem. To resolve it, you have to understand it. When you understand it, you begin to face the mind - don't be afraid, you are human beings, not driven cattle. Then, out of that freedom, comes a beauty in everything, and nothing becomes a problem.

As long as the mind, which is the result, the focal point of sensation, regards sex as a means of its release, sex must be a problem, and that problem will continue as long as we are incapable of being creative comprehensively, totally, and not merely in one particular direction. Creativeness has nothing to do with sensation. Sex is of the mind, and creation is not of the mind. Creation is never a product of the mind, a product of thought, and in that sense, sex, which is sensation, can never be creative. It may produce babies, but that is obviously not creativeness. As long as we depend for release on sensation, on stimulation in any form, there must be frustration, because the mind becomes incapable of realizing what creativeness is.

To most people, sex has become an extraordinarily important problem. Being uncreative, afraid, enclosed, cut off in all other directions, sex is the only thing through which most people can find a release, the one act in which the self is momentarily absent. In that brief state of abnegation when the self, the 'me', with all its troubles, confusions, and worries, is absent, there is great happiness. Through self-forgetfulness there is a sense of quietness, a release, and because we are uncreative religiously, economically, and in every other direction, sex becomes an overwhelmingly important problem.

Right thinking alone can bring about right action; self-knowledge yields right thinking.

There is no path to reality. Reality is not to be found through any path; it is to be found through the uncharted sea of self-knowledge; the immeasurable is not to be measured by the path of the known.

A mind that has self-knowledge is learning, whereas a mind that merely applies acquired knowledge to itself and thinks it is self-knowledge is merely accumulating. A mind that accumulates can never learn.

Without self-knowledge there is no individuality.

Self-knowledge is not a process of the continuity of thinking but the diminishing, the ending of thinking. But you cannot end thinking by any trick, by denial, by control, by discipline, and so on. If you do, you are still caught in the field of thought. Thinking can only come to an end when you know the total content of the thinker, and so one begins to see how important it is to have self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge has no beginning and no end. It is a constant process of discovery, and what is discovered is true, and truth is liberating, creative.

To comprehend the whole we must first understand ourselves. The root of understanding lies in oneself, and without the understanding of oneself, there is no comprehension of the world; for the world is oneself. The other - the friend, the relation, the enemy, the neighbor, near or far - is yourself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of right thinking, and in the process of self-knowledge, the infinite is discovered.

To understand yourself is to understand the giver of values. Without understanding yourself, there is no renunciation of the world; without self-knowledge there can be only escape, called renunciation, which gives birth to endless problems and miseries.

Self-knowledge is not something acquired from a book or from a guru or teacher. Self-knowledge begins in understanding oneself from moment to moment, and that understanding requires one's full attention to be given to each thought at any particular moment without an end in view, because there cannot be complete attention when there is condemnation or justification.

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Indian Philosopher, Holy Man