Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Indian Philosopher, Holy Man

"Do what you will, withdraw to the mountains, sit in a forest, you cannot live in isolation. You can live only in relationship, and as long as relationship is not understood, there can be no right action. Right action comes in understanding relationship, which reveals the process of oneself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, it is a field of affection, warmth, and love, therefore a field rich with flowers."

"Relationship, surely, is the mirror in which you discover yourself. Without relationship you are not; to be is to be related; to be related is existence. And you exist only in relationship; otherwise, you do not exist, existence has no meaning. It is not because you think you are that you come into existence. You exist because you are related, and it is the lack of understanding of relationship that causes conflict."

"Without relationship, there is no existence; to be is to be related. If I merely use relationship without understanding myself, I increase the mess and contribute to further confusion. Most of us do not seem to realize this - that the world is my relationship with others, whether one or many. My problem is that of relationship. What I am, that I project; and obviously, if I do not understand myself, the whole of relationship is one of confusion in ever-widening circles."

"We use relationship as a means of self-forgetfulness, and as long as relationship does not show us what we actually are, we are satisfied. That is why we accept the domination of another."

"Life is relationship with things, people, and ideas; and if we do not meet these relationships rightly, fully, then conflicts arise from the impact of the challenge."

"That capacity to understand life comes into being only when one understands relationship. Relationship is a mirror. It must reflect, not as one wishes oneself to be, ideally or romantically, but what one actually is, and it is very difficult to perceive oneself as one actually is because one is so accustomed to escaping from what is; it is arduous to perceive, to observe silently what is, because one is so used to condemning, justifying, comparing, identifying. And in that process of justification, condemnation, that which is, is not understood. Only in the understanding of what is is there freedom from what is."

"So, life has problems and conflicts and miseries only when you use relationship as a means of becoming, that is, when you gratify yourself through relationship. When I use another, or when I use property or an idea as a means of self-expansion, which is the perpetuation of gratification, then life becomes a series of ceaseless conflicts and miseries. It is only when I understand relationship - which is the beginning of self-knowledge - that self-knowledge brings about right thinking with regard to what is; and it is right thinking that dissolves our problems - not the gurus, not the heroes, not the mahatmas, not the literature, but the capacity to see what is and not escape from what is."

"Since we surround ourselves with inaction, with escape, with ideals, we are running away from what is, which is relationship; but it is only in that relationship that we see ourselves clearly as we are. The more you go into what is, the more you see the deeper layers of consciousness, that is, life at different levels."

"A man who seeks to avoid the world is still related; he is running away from conflict and not understanding it. In relationship, which is activity between you and another, the ways of the self are revealed."

"The relationship of utility is based on violence; the family as a means of mutual inward security makes for conflict and confusion."

"Love alone can bring about a radical revolution or transformation in relationship; and love is not a thing of the mind. Thought can plan and formulate magnificent structures of hope, but thought will only lead to further conflict, confusion and misery. Love is when the cunning, self-enclosing mind is not."

"Religious education in the true sense is to encourage the child to understand his own relationship to people, to things and to nature. There is no existence without relationship; and without self-knowledge, all relationship, with the one and with the many, brings conflict and sorrow. Of course, to explain this fully to a child is impossible; but if the educator and the parents deeply grasp the full significance of relationship, then by their attitude, conduct and speech they will surely be able to convey to the child, without too many words and explanations, the meaning of a spiritual life."

"The inward desire for security expresses itself outwardly through exclusion and violence, and as long as its process is not fully understood there can be no love. Love is not another refuge in the search for security. The desire for security must wholly cease for love to be."

"The desire for security is not only economic, but much more profound and complex. If man destroys the family, he will find other forms of security through the State, through the collective, through belief and soon, which will in turn breed their own problems. We must understand the desire for inward, psychological security and not merely replace one pattern of security with another."

"Using another as a means of satisfaction and security is not love. Love is never security; love is a state in which there is no desire to be secure; it is a state of vulnerability; it is the only state in which exclusiveness, enmity and hate are impossible."

"You see, there is fear as long as you want to be secure- secure in your marriage, secure in your job, in your position, in your responsibility, secure in your ideas, in your beliefs, secure in your relationship to the world or in your relationship to God. The moment the mind seeks security or gratification in any form, at any level, there is bound to be fear; and what is important is to be aware of this process and understand it. It is not a matter of so-called purity. The mind which is alert, watchful, which is free of fear, is an innocent mind; and it is only the innocent mind that can understand reality, truth or God."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"Without self-knowledge there is no individuality."

"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."

"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."

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

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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. "

"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. "

"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."

"Only with the ending of sorrow there is passion. That is total energy, not limited by thought. So it is important to understand the nature of suffering and the ending of it. The ending of it is to hold that sorrow, that pain, too. Look at it. It is a marvellous thing to know how to hold the pain and look at it, be with it, live with it, not get bitter, cynical, but to see the nature of sorrow. There is beauty in that sorrow, depth in that sorrow."

"To end sorrow is to face the fact of one's loneliness, one's attachment, one's petty little demand for fame, one's hunger to be loved; it is to be free of self-concern and the puerility of self-pity."

"Knowledge does not end sorrow. The ending of sorrow begins with the facing of psychological facts within oneself and being totally aware of all the implications of those facts from moment to moment. This means never escaping from the fact that one is in sorrow, never rationalizing it, never offering an opinion about it, but living with that fact completely."

"To live with beauty, or to live with an ugly thing, and not become habituated to it requires enormous energy - an awareness that does not allow your mind to grow dull. In the same way, sorrow dulls the mind if you merely get used to it - and most of us do get used to it. But you need not get used to sorrow. You can live with sorrow, understand it, go into it - but not in order to know about it. You know that sorrow is there; it is a fact, and there is nothing more to know. You have to live with sorrow, and to live with it you must love it; and then you will find, as I said earlier, that love and sorrow and death are one."

"The only way to meet sorrow is to be without any resistance, to be without any movement away from sorrow, outwardly or inwardly, to remain totally with sorrow, without wanting to go beyond it."

"Now, I am not opposed to organizations, but I hold that no organization can lead man to truth. Yet all religious societies, sects, and groups are based on the idea that man can be guided to truth. Organizations should exist for the welfare of man, organizations not divided by nationalities, by class distinctions."

"First of all, to understand truth you must stand alone, entirely and wholly alone. No Master, no teacher, no guru, no system, no self-discipline will ever lift for you the veil which conceals wisdom. Wisdom is the understanding of enduring values and the living of those values. No one can lead you to wisdom."

"To find out what is truth there must be great love and a deep awareness of man's relationship to all things- which means that one is not concerned with one's own progress and achievements. The search for truth is true religion, and the man who is seeking truth is the only religious man."

"The search for truth gives an explosive creativeness to the mind, which is true revolution, because in this search the mind is uncontaminated by the edicts and sanctions of society. Being free of all that, the religious man is able to find out what is true; and it is the discovery of what is true from moment to moment that creates a new culture."