Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Indian Philosopher, Holy Man

"Meditation is the action of silence. "

"Neither time nor space exists for the man who knows the eternal. Space and time are real for the man who is yet imperfect, and space is divided for him into dimensions; time, into past, present, and future."

"Psychoanalysis is concerned with the past; while one is analyzing the past one is missing the challenges of the present. "

"Real learning comes when the competitive spirit has ceased. "

"Religion is the frozen thought of men out of which they build temples."

"The evil of our time is the loss of consciousness of evil. "

"To die rich is to have lived in vain. "

"Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. "

"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it."

"A consistent thinker is a thoughtless person, because he conforms to a pattern; he repeats phrases and thinks in a groove. "

"A man who is not afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man. "

"All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man. "

"Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem. "

"So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. "

"The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear. "

"There is no need to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. "

"Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay. "

"We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something we are no longer free. "

"Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life."

"In obedience there is always fear, and fear darkens the mind."

"Beauty is complete order. But most of us have not that sense of beauty in our lives. We may be great artists, great painters, expert in various things, but in our own daily life, with all the anxieties and miseries, we live, unfortunately, a very disordered life. It is a fact. You may a great scientist, you may be a great expert in a subject, but you have your own problems, struggles, pain, anxieties and the rest of it. We are asking, is it possible to live in complete order within, not impose discipline, control, but to inquire into the nature of this disorder, what are the causes, and to dispel, move away, wash away the cause. Then there is a living order in the universe."

"Pain itself destroys pain. Suffering itself frees man from suffering."

"Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom."

"The mind has to be empty to see clearly."

"Only in relationship can you know yourself, not in abstraction and certainly not in isolation. The movement of behavior is the sure guide to yourself. It's the mirror of your consciousness: this mirror will reveal its content, the images, the attachments, the fears, the loneliness, the joys and sorrow. Poverty lies in running away from this, either in its sublimations or its identities."

"If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity. If there's no relationship with nature then you become a killer; then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man either for gain, for sport, for food, or for knowledge."

"Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn't merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence."

"By our pontifical assertions, our superior impatience, and our casual brushing aside of their curiosity, we do not encourage their inquiry, for we are rather apprehensive of what may be asked of us; we do not foster their discontent, for we ourselves have ceased to question."

"The description is not the described; I can describe the mountain, but the description is not the mountain, and if you are caught up in the description, as most people are, then you will never see the mountain"

"The fact is there is nothing that you can trust; and that is a terrible fact, whether you like it or not. Psychologically there is nothing in the world, that you can put your faith, your trust, or your belief in. Neither your gods, nor your science can save you, can bring you psychological certainty; and you have to accept that you can trust in absolutely nothing."

"To me, then, true criticism consists in trying to find out the intrinsic worth of the thing itself, and not in attributing a quality to that thing. You attribute a quality to an environment, to an experience, only when you want to derive something from it, when you want to gain or to have power or happiness. Now this destroys true criticism. Your desire is perverted through attributing values, and therefore you cannot see clearly. Instead of trying to see the flower in its original and entire beauty, you look at it through coloured glasses, and therefore you can never see it as it is."

"Order is virtue. And order isn’t a thing to be cultivated; you can’t say I will be orderly, I will do this and I won’t do that - then you are merely disciplining yourself, becoming more and more rigid, mechanical. Such a mind is totally incapable of coming upon this beauty that has no name, no expression. Order, like virtue, cannot be cultivated-if you cultivate humility you are obviously not humble; you can cultivate vanity, but to cultivate humility is not possible any more than to cultivate love. So order which is virtue cannot be practised. All that one can do is to see this total disorder within and outside oneself-see it! You can see this total disorder instantly and that is the only thing that matters-to see it instantly."

"The observer is the observed."

"For the total development of the human being, solitude as a means of cultivating sensitivity becomes a necessity. One has to know what it means to be alone, what it is to meditate, what it is to die; and the implications of solitude, of meditation, of death, can be known only by seeking them out. These implications cannot be taught, they must be learnt. One can indicate, but learning by what is indicated is not the experiencing of solitude or meditation. To experience what is solitude and what is meditation, one must be in in a state of inquiry; only a mind that is in a state of inquiry is capable of learning. But when inquiry is suppressed by previous knowledge, or by the authority and experience of another, then learning becomes mere imitation, and imitation causes a human being to repeat what is learnt without experiencing it."

"Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent. "

"Sorrow is not in death but in loneliness, and conflict comes when you seek consolation, forgetfullness, explanations, and illusions. "

"All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."

"Truth is more in the process than in the result."

"The end is the beginning of all things, suppressed and hidden, awaiting to be released through the rhythm of pain and pleasure."

"Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem."

"If one is aware, one sees how through fear one’s concept of God arose; or perhaps there was a person who had an original experience of reality or of God and communicated it to another who in his greediness made it his own, and gave impetus to the process of imitation. Awareness is the process of completeness, and introspection is incomplete. The result of introspection is morbid, painful, whereas awareness is enthusiasm and joy."

"In awareness there is no becoming, there is no end to be gained. There is silent observation without choice and condemnation, from which there comes understanding. In this process when thought and feeling unfold themselves, which is only possible when there is neither acquisition nor acceptance, then there comes an extensional awareness, all the hidden layers and their significance are revealed."

"The phenomenon of the observer and the observed is not a dual process, but a single one; and only in experiencing the fact of this unitary process is there freedom from desire, from conflict. The question of how to experience this fact should never arise. It must happen; and it happens only when there is alertness and passive awareness. You cannot know the actual experience of meeting a poisonous snake by imagining or speculating about it while sitting comfortably in your room. To meet the snake you must venture out beyond the paved streets and artificial lights. "

"In awareness there is only the present—that is, being aware, you see the past process of influence which controls the present and modifies the future. Awareness is an integral process, not a process of division."

"Awareness is that state of mind which takes in everything—the crows flying across the sky, the flowers on the trees, the people sitting in front, the colors they are wearing— being extensively aware, which needs watching, observing, taking in the shape of the leaf, the shape of the trunk, the shape of the head of another, what he is doing. "

"Awareness is that state of mind which observes something without any condemnation or acceptance, which merely faces the thing as it is. When you look at a flower nonbotanically, then you see the totality of the flower; but if your mind is completely taken up with the botanical knowledge of what the flower is, you are not totally looking at the flower. Though you may have knowledge of the flower, if that knowledge takes the whole ground of your mind, the whole field of your mind, then you are not looking totally at the flower."

"When you are hoping for something positively or negatively, you are projecting your own desire; you will succeed in your desire, but that is only another substitution, and so the battle is on again. This desire to gain or to avoid is still within the field of opposition, is it not? See the false as the false, then the truth is. You don’t have to look for it. What you seek you will find, but it will not be truth. It is like a suspicious man finding what he suspects, which is comparatively easy and stupid. Just be passively aware of this total thought process, and also of the desire to be free of it."

"In self-awareness there is no need for confession, for self-awareness creates the mirror in which all things are reflected without distortion. Every thought- feeling is thrown, as it were, on the screen of awareness to be observed, studied and understood; but this flow of understanding is blocked when there is condemnation or acceptance, judgment or identification. The more the screen is watched and understood—not as a duty or enforced practice, but because pain and sorrow have created the insatiable interest that brings its own discipline—the greater the intensity of awareness, and this in turn brings heightened understanding."

"The right kind of education is concerned with individual freedom, which alone can bring true cooperation with the whole, with the many; but this freedom is not achieved through the pursuit of one's own aggrandizement and success. Freedom comes with self-knowledge, when the mind goes above and beyond the hindrances it has created for itself through craving its own security."

"The purpose of education is to cultivate right relationship, not only between individuals, but also between the individual and society; and that is why it is essential that education should, above all, help the individual to understand his own psychological process. Intelligence lies in understanding oneself and going above and beyond oneself; but there cannot be intelligence as long as there is fear. "