Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Indian Philosopher, Holy Man

"Education has no meaning unless it helps you to understand the vast expanse of life with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary beauty, its sorrows and joys. You may earn degrees, you may have a series of letters after your name and land a very good job; but then what? What is the point of it all if in the process your mind becomes dull, weary, stupid? So, while you are young, must you not seek to find out what life is all about? And is it not the true function of education to cultivate in you the intelligence which will try to find the answer to all these problems?"

"Education is the cultivation of the mind so that action is not self-centred; it is learning throughout life to break down the walls which the mind builds in order to be secure, and from which arises fear with all its complexities. To be rightly educated, you have to study hard and not be lazy. Be good at games, not to beat another, but to amuse yourself. Eat the right food, and keep physically fit. Let the mind be alert and capable of dealing with the problems of life, not as a Hindu, a Communist, or a Christian, but as a human being. To be rightly educated, you have to understand yourself; you have to keep on learning about yourself. When you stop learning, life becomes ugly and sorrowful. Without goodness and love, you are not rightly educated."

"Right education should help the student, not only to develop his capacities, but to understand his own highest interest."

"An educator is not merely a giver of information; he is one who points the way to wisdom, to truth. Truth is far more important than the teacher. The search for truth is religion, and truth is of no country, of no creed, it is not to be found in any temple, church or mosque. Without the search for truth, society soon decays."

"The function of education, then, is to help you from childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be yourself all the time. And this is a most difficult thing to do: whether you are ugly or beautiful, whether you are envious or jealous, always to be what you are, but understand it. To be yourself is very difficult, because you think that what you are is ignoble, and that if you could only change what you are into something noble it would be marvellous; but that never happens."

"What is important is what you are, not what the ideal is, not the ideal student or his qualifications. You are important, not an ideal. In understanding yourself, you will find out how false these ideals are. Ideals are the inventions of the mind which runs away from what the thing is. "

"When the teacher regards each student as a unique individual and therefore not to be compared with any other, he is then not concerned with system or method. His sole concern is with `helping' the student to understand the conditioning influences about him and within himself, so that he can face intelligently without fear, the complex process of living and not add more problems to the already existing mess."

"When one uses another for psychological purposes, then exploitation begins. All exploitation is based on psychological poverty of being. There will be no exploitation of man by man when this poverty of being is understood. Exploitation will not cease through mere legislation. There will be exploitation in different forms - at home, in public - as long as this psychological emptiness exists. You will be content with little, with the necessities of life, when you are inwardly rich."

"To pursue more than what you need becomes exploitation. You need food, clothes, and shelter, but when they become the means of personal aggrandizement, then exploitation begins. To use another to gain power and position, authority and domination, is exploitation. Exploitation is the problem and not who exploits. The capitalist, the ruler, the zamindar are like you; if you had the chance you would become like them. You would lose your generosity, your love, the moment you climb the ladder of success, of gain."

"With acquisition there must ever be exploitation; the craving for acquisition must inevitably bring about exploitation. Acquisition is always psychological. When emphasis is laid on you as an acquiring entity, the individual or the collective, there will be always exploitation. This does not mean that we should not organize for the physical welfare of man, but if the organizer uses the organization as a means of acquisition, then he and the organization will become the means of exploitation."

"If you voluntarily and intelligently put aside this craving to possess, then you will create a society not based on compulsion and exploitation."

"Can we ever live without exploitation? I say we can. There must be exploitation as long as there is the struggle for self-protection; as long as the mind is seeking security, comfort - through family, religion, authority, or tradition - there must be exploitation. And exploitation ceases only when the mind discerns the falseness of security and is no longer ensnared by its own power of creating illusions. If you will experiment with what I say, you will then understand that I am not destroying desire, but that you can live in this world richly, sanely, a life without limitations, without suffering. You can discover this only by experimenting, not by denying, not through resignation, nor by merely imitating. Where intelligence is functioning - and intelligence ceases to function when there is fear and the desire for security - there can be no exploitation."

"What is fear? Fear can exist only in relation to something, not in isolation. How can I be afraid of death, how can I be afraid of something I do not know? I can be afraid only of what I know. When I say I am afraid of death, am I really afraid of the unknown, which is death, or am I afraid of losing what I have known? My fear is not of death but of losing my association with things belonging to me. My fear is always in relation to the known, not to the unknown. "

"You know what fear is? Each one has his own particular form of fear - not one, but multiple fears. A mind that has any form of fear cannot obviously have the quality of love, sympathy, tenderness. Fear is the destructive energy in man. It withers the mind, it distorts thought, it leads to all kinds of extraordinarily clever and subtle theories, absurd superstitions, dogmas, and beliefs. If you see that fear is destructive, then how do you proceed to wipe the mind clean? "

"Fear must exist as long as there is an urge to be or to become, which is the pursuit of success, with all its frustrations and tortuous contradictions. You can teach concentration, but attention cannot be taught, just as you cannot possibly teach freedom from fear, and in understanding these causes there is the elimination of fear."

"I am afraid of anyone who disturbs them. Thus my fear is of the known, I am afraid of the accumulations, physical or psychological, that I have gathered as a means of warding off pain or preventing sorrow. Knowledge also helps to prevent pain. As medical knowledge helps to prevent physical pain, so beliefs help to prevent psychological pain, and that is why I am afraid of losing my beliefs, though I have no perfect knowledge or concrete proof of the reality of such beliefs."

"If you have fear, you are bound by tradition, you follow some leader or guru. When you are bound by tradition, when you are afraid of your husband or your wife, you lose your dignity as an individual human being."

"Freedom of mind comes into being when there is no fear, when the mind has no desire to show off and is not intriguing for position or prestige. Then it has no sense of imitation. And it is important to have such a mind - a mind really free of tradition, which is the habit-forming mechanism of the mind."

"You always choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore, you are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires."

"The guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind. The guru can give you words; he can give you an explanation, the symbols of the mind, but the symbol is not the real, and if you are caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth. To seek rightly is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don't know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbor. When you establish right relationship then you love truth, for truth is not a thing that can be bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only when there is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no problems."

"You must find out for yourself what it is you love to do. Don't think in terms of choosing a vocation in order to fit into society, because in that way you will never discover what you love to do. When you love to do something, there is no problem of choice. When you love, and let love do what it will, there is right action, because love never seeks success, it is never caught up in imitation; but if you give your life to something which you don't love, you will never be free. But merely doing whatever you like is not doing what you love to do. To find out what you really love to do requires a great deal of penetration, insight. Don't begin by thinking in terms of earning a livelihood; but if you discover what it is you love to do, then you will have a means of livelihood."

"There is no such thing as security."

"Surely education is not merely to give you knowledge, but also to give you the capacity to look at the world objectively, to see what is happening - the wars, the destruction, the violence, the brutality. The function of education is to find out how to live differently, not merely to pass exams, to get a degree, become qualified in certain ways. It is to help you to face the world in a totally different, intelligent way, knowing you have to earn a livelihood, knowing all the responsibilities, the miseries of it all."

"Action can only be when there is complete freedom from the past and the future. And when we use the word 'right' it means precise, accurate, action which is not based on motive, action which is not directed, committed. The understanding of all this - what is right action, right action, right relationship, the understanding of it brings about intelligence. You understand? Not the intelligence of the intellect but that profound intelligence which is not yours or mine, and that intelligence will dictate what you will do to earn a livelihood. Vous avez compris? You have understood? Without that intelligence your livelihood will be dictated by circumstances. When there is that intelligence you may be a gardener, a cook, or something, it doesn't matter. You see now our minds are trained to accept status, position, and when one has understood all that, in the very understanding of all that is intelligence which will show what is a right livelihood."

"Loneliness is the result of our daily life. Each one of us, from the highest to the lowest, is completely convinced that he is a separate soul, separate entity, and all his activity is self-centred. The daily activity of this self-centredness will inevitably bring about solitude, loneliness, separatism, division."

"Loneliness is total isolation which is brought about through our daily activity of selfish ambitions or ideological ambitions, competitions, each one out for himself. Those are the activities which bring about loneliness. But if you run away from it, you will never solve sorrow."

"To be lonely, that is to feel oneself isolated, having no relationship with anything; in that sense of loneliness there is despair - there are moods, one is familiar with that sense of loneliness - and one runs away from it by turning on the radio, by reading a book, by sex and ten different activities. That loneliness is the very essence of self-consciousness. And when one goes beyond that, there is this state of attention in which there is complete aloneness, which is not isolation, which is not separation, which is not a withdrawal. Because it is only this aloneness, when the mind is no longer a plaything of thought, when thought has been understood totally - then out of that comes this sense of aloneness. it is that which is innocence, and it is that innocence which is beyond all mortality."

"Love is not identification; it is not thought about the loved. You do not think about love when it is there; you think about it only when it is absent, when there is distance between you and the object of your love. When there is direct communion, there is no thought, no image, no revival of memory; it is when the communion breaks, at any level, that the process of thought, of imagination, begins."

"Love is not to be cultivated. Love cannot be divided into divine and physical; it is only love—not that you love many or the one. That again is an absurd question to ask: "Do you love all?" You know, a flower that has perfume is not concerned who comes to smell it, or who turns his back upon it. So is love. Love is not a memory. Love is not a thing of the mind or the intellect. But it comes into being naturally as compassion, when this whole problem of existence—as fear, greed, envy, despair, hope—has been understood and resolved."

"As long as we possess, we shall never love. We know love as sensation, do we not? When we say we love, we know jealousy, we know fear, we know anxiety. When you say you love someone, all that is implied: envy, the desire to possess, the desire to own, to dominate, the fear of loss, and so on. All this we call love, and we do not know love without fear, without envy, without possession; we merely verbalize that state of love which is without fear, we call it impersonal, pure, divine, or God knows what else; but the fact is that we are jealous, we are dominating, possessive."

"Love is a state of being, and in that state, the 'me', with its identifications, anxieties, and possessions, is absent. Love cannot be, as long as the activities of the self, of the 'me', whether conscious or unconscious, continue to exist. That is why it is important to understand the process of the self, the center of recognition which is the 'me'."

"Love implies great freedom—not to do what you like. But love comes only when the mind is very quiet, disinterested, not self-centered. These are not ideals. If you have no love, do what you will—go after all the gods on earth, do all the social activities, try to reform the poor, the politics, write books, write poems—you are a dead human being. And without love your problems will increase, multiply endlessly. And with love, do what you will, there is no risk; there is no conflict. Then love is the essence of virtue. And a mind that is not in a state of love is not a religious mind at all. And it is only the religious mind that is freed from problems, and that knows the beauty of love and truth."

"Love is not of the mind, it is not in the net of thought, it cannot be sought out, cultivated, cherished; it is there when the mind is silent and the heart is empty of the things of the mind. "

"To understand ourselves in our relationship with another requires intelligence far more swift and subtle than to understand nature. But we seek to understand without intelligence; we want immediate action, an immediate solution, and the problem becomes more and more important. Have you noticed a man whose heart is empty, how his face becomes ugly and how the children he produces are ugly and immature? And because they have had no affection, they remain immature for the rest of their lives."

"Without love, marriage becomes, for man or for woman, a source of gratification, of conflict, of fear and pain. Love comes into being only when the self is absent. Without love, relationship is sorrow, however physically exciting it might be; such relationship breeds contention and frustration, habit and routine. Without love there can be no chastity, and sex becomes an all-consuming problem."

"The meditator is different from meditation. As long as there is a meditator, there is no meditation. You understand all this? Because the meditator is concerned about himself - how he is progressing, what he is doing, 'I hope I will be better tomorrow', anxiety, in meditation there is no meditator. Once you have seen this, sir, for yourself, the beauty, the depth, the subtleties of it."

"Meditation is not something that you practise for an hour or ten minutes and the rest of the day do your mischief. Meditation is the whole of life and that is the beauty of meditation, it is not something set aside, it covers and enters into all our activities and to all our thoughts and feelings. So it is not something that you practise or give attention to once a day or three times a day or ten times a day and the rest of the day live a life that is shoddy, neurotic, mischievous, violent"

"Meditation must enter into every corner of our life, otherwise don't meditate, it has no meaning."

"Meditation is the understanding of the whole structure of the 'me', the self, the ego, and whether it is possible to be totally free of the self, not seek some super-self. The super-self is still the self. So meditation is something which is not a cultivated, determined, activity."

"If you observe your own mind in what you call meditation, you will see that there is always a division, a contradiction between the thinker and the thought. As long as there is a thinker apart from thought, meditation is merely a ceaseless effort to overcome this contradiction."

"One has to be choicelessly attentive, fully aware; and this state of choiceless attention is meditation."

"Awareness is observation without choice, condemnation, or justification. Awareness is silent observation from which there arises understanding without the experiencer and the experienced. In this awareness, which is passive, the problem or the cause is given an opportunity to unfold itself and so give its full significance. In awareness there is no end in view to be gained, and there is no becoming, the 'me' and the 'mine' not being given the continuity."

"Our problem is not, how to make the mind tranquil, still, peaceful, but, to understand, to be free from those problems which agitate the mind. The mind obviously creates the problems. If there is a problem, how do we approach it, with what attitude? How do we experience it? It is that which it is important to understand, and not, how to escape from the problem into tranquillity."

"Gossip is an expression of a restless mind; but merely to be silent does not indicate a tranquil mind, Tranquillity does not come into being with abstinence or denial; it comes with the understanding of what is. To understand what is needs swift awareness, for what is is not static."

"A petty mind can never find that which is beyond the mind, and a conditioned mind is a petty mind whether it believes in God or not. That is why all the beliefs and dogmas that we hold, all the authorities, especially the spiritual authorities, have to be put aside, and only then is there a possibility of finding that which is everlasting, timeless."

"Without understanding the process of thought, how thought comes into being, the ways of your own individual thinking, how your thought is driven by motives, by desires, by anxieties, - without knowing the whole content of thought you cannot possibly bring about tranquillity."

"So the mind, through understanding itself at all its different levels, comes to a state when it is still. And this is not a long, tedious, tiresome, boring process. You know very well what you think and what you feel, if you are at all aware, sensitive to yourself. You do not have to be analysed, dissected, - that is a lazy man's game. But we know, actually inwardly, our own conflicts, and the cause of those conflicts, their significance, what lies behind them. But we don't want to look at it, we don't want to face it. And so, we play around in circles, never coming to the centre."

"The mind which is not calling upon knowledge, which is not living in memory, which is totally emptying itself of the past, dying to every form of accumulation from moment to moment - it is only such a mind that can be in a state of not-knowing, which is the highest form of thinking; and then thinking has a different meaning altogether. It may not be thinking at all, as we know it, but a state of being which is not merely the opposite of not-being."

"A mind that is truly inquiring is not accumulating. It is the accumulating mind that is petty, whether it is accumulating knowledge, or money, power, position. When you see the truth of that totally, there is real transformation of the mind, and it is such a mind that is capable of dealing with the many problems. "

"A mind that is vain, arrogant, full of the desire for power, and that tries to cultivate humility, is occupied with itself; therefore it is a petty mind. The mind that is trying to improve itself through the acquisition of knowledge, that is trying to become very clever, to be more powerful, to have a better job - such a mind is petty. It may occupy itself with God, with truth, with the Atman, or with sitting in the seats of the mighty, but it is still a petty mind."