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Teachings -Krishnamurti

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“The Core of the Teachings” contains the essence of Krishnamurti’s work. It was written in London on October 21, 1980, and states in its entirety:

The core of Krishnamurti’s teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said: ‘Truth is a pathless land’. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a fence of security — religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. This content is common to all humanity. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all mankind. So he is not an individual.

Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not a choice. It is man’s pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity. Thought is time. Thought is born of experience and knowledge which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever-limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution.

When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experience and the experiencer. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep radical mutation in the mind.

Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.

In “The Last Talks”, Radhika Herzberger comments,

“He had set his face against the whole paraphernalia of organized religion – its dogma, churches, rituals, sacred books and gurus – since 1929 when he had written: ‘When Krishnamurti dies, which is inevitable, you will set about forming rules in your minds, because the individual, Krishnamurti, had represented to you the Truth. So you will build a temple, you will then begin to have ceremonies, to invent phrases, dogmas, systems of belief, creeds, and to create philosophies. If you build great foundations upon me, the individual, you will be caught in that house, in that temple, and so you will have to have another Teacher come and extricate you from that temple. But the human mind is such that you will build another temple around Him, and so it will go on and on.’
A tremendous volume of material exists documenting the philosophical investigations of Krishnamurti (or simply “K” as he is sometimes referred to) mostly in the form of recorded conversations and talks, although K also wrote several series of short essays and kept a personal journal at least twice in his life. He had dialogues and personal meetings with a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds. An example of the far-ranging and probing dialogues he had is a series of conversations recorded in 1980 with theoretical physicist David Bohm that resulted in the publication of The Ending of Time and The Future of Humanity. These conversations are also available on audio tape and a subset of them on video and DVD as well. Two conversations with Swami Venkatesananda in Saanen explore the role of the guru and the fundamental paths of Hinduism. These conversations are also available on audio tape.

Meditation and Siddhis
Krishnamurti used the word meditation to mean something entirely different from the practice of any system or method to control the mind.

“Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will, and the urge for achievement, and imply conflict and a struggle to arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the limits of a conditioned mind, and in this there is no freedom. All effort to meditate is the denial of meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that there is a different dimension which is beyond time.” [March 1979]

“Meditation is the emptying of the mind of all thought, for thought and feeling dissipate energy. They are repetitive, producing mechanical activities which are a necessary part of existence, but they are only part, and thought and feeling cannot possibly enter into the immensity of life. Quite a different approach is necessary, not the path of habit, association and the known; there must be freedom from these. Meditation is the emptying of the mind of the known. It cannot be done by thought or by the hidden prompting of thought, nor by desire in the form of prayer, nor through the self-effacing hypnotism of words, images, hopes, and vanities. All these have to come to an end, easily, without effort and choice, in the flame of awareness.” Page 125, Meditations.

“So a mind that is in meditation is concerned only with meditation, not with the meditator. The meditator is the observer, the censor, the thinker, the experiencer, and when there is the experiencer, the thinker, then he is concerned with reaching out, gaining, achieving, experiencing. And that thing which is timeless cannot be experienced. There is no experience at all. There is only that which is not nameable.”

“You know, in all this there are various powers like clairvoyance, reading somebody’s thought – which is the most disgusting thing to do: it is like reading letters that are private. There are various powers. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? You call them siddhis, don’t you? Do you know that all these things are like candles in the sun? When there is no sun there is darkness, and then the candle and the light of the candle become very important. But when there is the sun, the light, the beauty, the clarity, then all these powers, these siddhis – developing various centres, chakras, kundalini, you know all that business – are like candlelight; they have no value at all. And when you have that light, you don’t want anything else.” Page 281, The First Step is the Last Step

Krishnamurti founded several schools around the world. When asked, he enumerated the following as his educational aims[As the River Joins the Ocean, Page 64]

1. Global outlook: A vision of the whole as distinct from the part, and that it should never be a sectarian outlook but always a holistic outlook free from all prejudice.

2. Concern for man and the environment: Man was part of nature, and if nature was not cared for, it would boomerang on man. He said that only right education and deep affection between people which was needed everywhere would resolve many human problems.

3. Religious spirit, which includes the scientific temper: The religious mind is alone, not lonely. It is in communion with people and nature.

“The ending of thought is the beginning of wisdom.”
“The observer is the observed.”
“You are the world.”
“Understanding is not an intellectual process.”

Thought and energy: “Thought is matter as much as the floor, the wall, the telephone, are matter. Energy functioning in a pattern becomes matter. That is all life is….Matter and energy are interrelated. The one cannot exist without the other, and the more harmony there is between the two, the more balance, the more active the brain cells are. Thought has set up this pattern of pleasure, pain, fear, and has been functioning inside it for thousands of years and cannot break the pattern because it has created it.” (P 140, Freedom from the Known.)

Thinker and thought: “We feel that the ‘I’ is different from thought, from mind. Is the ‘I’, the thinker, separate from thought? Then the thinker can operate on thought. Is the ‘I’ separate from its qualities? Remove thought, where is the thinker? We feel that the ‘I’ is permanent, because all other thoughts come and go. If the thinker is permanent, then thought can be changed, controlled, transformed by the thinker. But is not the ‘I’ the result of thought? Your mind separates the ‘I’ from thought because it cannot bear impermanency” (P 146, Krishnamurti A Biography)

“Thought cannot, do what it will, free itself from the opposites; thought itself has created the ugly and the beautiful, the good and the bad. So it cannot free itself from its own activities. All that it can do is to be still, not choose. Choice is conflict.”

Love and observation : “I must love the very thing I am studying. If you want to understand a child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with him, watch his movements, his idiosyncrasies, his ways of behaviour; but if you merely condemn, resist, or blame him, there is no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is, one must observe what one thinks, feels, and does from moment to moment. That is the actual.”
“Observation without evaluation is the highest form of intelligence”
“The pursuit of authority only breeds fear.” (p75, The First and Last Freedom.)
“If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious – a petty, shoddy, second-hand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The moment you run away fear begins.” (P 20, Freedom from the Known.)
“Thought is nothing else but reaction.” (p117, The First and Last Freedom.)
“Freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end.” (p118, The First and Last Freedom.)
“If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world, and in this change to awaken a certain vision, and enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty which will give us the necessary impetus for action–if we are to understand that, isn’t it necessary to go into this question of consciousness?” (p136, The First and Last Freedom.)
“Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.”

“If one can really come to that state of saying, ‘I do not know,’ it indicates an extraordinary sense of humility; there is no arrogance of knowledge; there is no self-assertive answer to make an impression. When you can actually say, ‘I do not know,’ which very few are capable of saying, then in that state all fear ceases because all sense of recognition, the search into memory, has come to an end; there is no longer inquiry into the field of the known.”

“Obviously what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money; also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag; and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma. All these are the causes of war; if you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again it depends upon you and not on the leaders – not on so-called statesmen and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me but we do not seem to realize that. If once we really felt the responsibility of our own actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this appalling misery! But you see, we are indifferent. We have three meals a day, we have our jobs, we have our bank account, big or little, and we say, ‘For God’s sake, don’t disturb us, leave us alone’.”
“The description is not the described.”
“Freedom from the Known is death, and then you are living.”
“To divide anything into what should be and what is, is the most deceptive way of dealing with life.”
“If I see very clearly the label ‘poison’ on a bottle, I leave it alone. There is no effort not to be attracted to it. Similarly – and in this lies the greatest difficulty – if I realize that any effort on my part is detrimental, if I see the truth of that, then I am free of effort.” (p47, On God.)
“It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Personal recollections
From The Presence that Stays: Personal Recollections of Jiddu Krishnamurti.

…A beggar came to the door and asked loudly for alms. Somehow K happened to hear him and came out of his room. The beggar asked him for clothes. K walked in and came out with a beautiful silk kurta and a matching jacket. When the beggar received this pair and saw this extraordinary person, he spread the word, for there were quite a few knocking at the door. What did K do but go in and bring out all the clothes from the cupboard, all except one which was somewhat torn. …K had no clothes left for the public talk the next day. Since there wasn’t time to get some stitched, they had some flown in from Bombay. (Many Facets of Krishnaji by Jayalakshmi Ammal)

…For me, every moment with K was a learning experience. I remember once we were assembled in Pupulji’s house in Bombay. She had just lost her husband and was very depressed. She spoke to K of her sorrow. K asked her, “Last night, did you hear that man groaning and crying out in pain on the road outside the window? He was in such agony.” She said that she hadn’t heard him. K told her, (and all of us) ‘Until you can feel another’s pain, you can never get over your own sorrow.’ I have always remembered this. (Real Compassion by K. Nataraja)

It is important to view Krishnamurti in the context of his legacy. Throughout his long life, Krishnamurti exerted a great influence at the confluence of educated philosophical and spiritual thought. Because of his ideas and his era, Krishnamurti has come to be seen as an exemplar for modern spiritual teachers – particularly those who disavow formal rituals and dogma. His conception of truth as a pathless land, with the possibility of immediate liberation, is mirrored in teachings as diverse as those of est, Bruce Lee, and even the Dalai Lama.

Krishnamurti was close friends with Aldous Huxley. Huxley wrote the foreword to The First and Last Freedom. Krishnamurti was also friends with, and influenced the works of, the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the artist Beatrice Wood.

Live’s album Mental Jewelry is based on Krishnamurti’s philosophies.

In India, many prominent personalities came to meet with him including two Prime Ministers- Jawaharlal Nehru and, later, Indira Gandhi. In his meeting with Nehru, Krishnamurti said, “Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action.” Jawaharlal Nehru asked, “How does one start?” K replied, “Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought.” (Krishnamurti: A Biography, P147)

Krishnamurti had a special tenderness for the true sannyasi or Buddhist monk, and he never refused to meet them, however tired he was. His criticism of their rituals, disciplines, and practices, however, was devastating. Anandmai Ma, a guru with a large following in north india, asked him “Why do you deny gurus? You who are the Guru of gurus”. K replied, “People use the guru as a crutch.” (Krishnamurti: A Biography, P149). Maurice Frydman, who compiled and edited ‘Maharshi’s Gospel’, a selection of Ramana Maharshi’s talks, also moved closely with Krishnamurti for several decades. In answer to his question, Ramana Maharshi would tell him that like the Buddha, Krishnamurti’s teachings were ‘beyond expression.’ (Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Page 192).

Criticism of Krishnamurti
Krishnamurti has been accused of personal hypocrisy in concern to certain of his teachings. A number of people who knew him through the years pointed out that Krishnamurti’s life expresses something of the Indian lifestyle, for he was supported, even pampered, through the years by devoted followers. The questions then arise as to whether his attitudes were conditioned by indulgence and privilege. Interestingly, immediately after disbanding the Order of the Star in 1929, Krishnamurti had himself addressed the issue of a liberated human being living in the material world and how such a person might be perceived by others.

“There is nothing in liberation as such to preclude further activity in the phenomenal worlds. There can, of course, be no compulsion since freedom from compulsion is implicit in the idea of liberation. But if the liberated life so wills, it can manifest itself in the world of matter and in so far as it enters into those worlds it will come under the law of those worlds, which is evolution. What we have therefore to grasp if we can – and it is not an easy matter – is the idea of a liberated life building up fresh instruments for its self-expression and those instruments, being in the world of form, have in them the outward appearance of individuality … It does preserve what may be called a sense of self identity, it still looks out on the world through its own eyes and refers all its experience to itself but this Self is not the Ego.” (March 1930)

In her 1991 book, Lives in the Shadow with J. Krishnamurti, Radha Rajagopal Sloss, the daughter of Krishnamurti’s associates, Rosalind and Desikacharya Rajagopal, wrote of Krishnamurti’s relationship with her parents including the secret affair between Krishnamurti and Rosalind which lasted for many years. The public revelation was received with surprise and consternation by many individuals in the Krishnamurti community, and was also dealt with in a rebuttal volume of biography by Mary Lutyens (Krishnamurti and the Rajagopals, 1996).

Sloss’s allegations were centered around the notion that the secret liasion indicated that Krishnamurti had lead a deceptive double life in that he was believed to be celibate by his public following. A later biographical volume by Roland Vernon (Star in the East: Krishnamurti, the Invention of a Messiah), questions the ultimate impact of the revelations when compared to Krishnamurti’s body of work as a whole.

Krishnamurti’s once close relationship to the Rajagopals deteriorated to the point that Krishnamurti in his later years, took Rajagopal (head of Krishnamurti Writings, Inc.) to court in order to recover donated property and funds, publication rights for his works, manuscripts and personal corespondence being withheld by Rajagopal. The resulting litigation and cross complaints continued for many years, and were not resolved until after the death of Krishnamurti in 1986. Krishnamurti’s biographer Mary Lutyens placed the preponderance of responsibility for the acrimony of the lawsuits and resulting damage to Krishnamurti’s reputation on the personal animosity of the Rajagopals resulting from their loss of influence in Krishnamurti’s life (see Lutyens below).

Perhaps the harshest critic of Jiddu Krishnamurti, the way he operated, the things he taught (such as “choiceless awareness” and “the art of listening”), is U. G. Krishnamurti.

Written by Bhushan Kulkarni

May 25, 2007 at 9:06 am

Posted in Krishnamurti

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