Think on These Things
WE HAVE BEEN discussing the question of revolt within the prison: how all reformers, idealists, and others who are incessantly active in producing certain results, are always revolting within the walls of their own conditioning, within the walls of their own social structure, within the cultural pattern of civilization which is an expression of the collective will of the many. I think it would now be worth while if we could see what confidence is and how it comes about.
Through initiative there comes about confidence; but initiative within the pattern only brings self-confidence, which is entirely different from confidence without the self. Do you know what it means to have confidence? If you do something with your own hands, if you plant a tree and see it grow, if you paint a picture, or write a poem, or, when you are older, build a bridge or run some administrative job extremely well, it gives you confidence that you are able to do something. But, you see, confidence as we know it now is always within the prison, the prison which society - whether communist, Hindu, or Christian - has built around us. Initiative within the prison does create a certain confidence, because you feel you can do things: you can design a motor, be a very good doctor, an excellent scientist, and so on. But this feeling of confidence which comes with the capacity to succeed within the social structure, or to reform, to give more light, to decorate the interior of the prison is really self-confidence; you know you can do something, and you feel important in doing it, Whereas, when through investigating, through understanding, you break away from the social structure of which you are a part, there comes an entirely different kind of confidence which is without the sense of self-importance; and if we can understand the difference between these two - between self-confidence, and confidence without the self - I think it will have great significance in our life.
When you play a game very well, like badminton, cricket, or football, you have a certain sense of confidence, have you not? It gives you the feeling that you are pretty good at it. If you are quick at solving mathematical problems, that also breeds a sense of self-assurance. When confidence is born of action within the social structure, there always goes with it a strange arrogance, does there not? The confidence of a man who can do things, who is capable of achieving results, is always coloured by this arrogance of the self, the feeling, "It is I who do it". So, in the very act of achieving a result, of bringing about a social reform within the prison, there is the arrogance of the self, the feeling that I have done it, that my ideal is important, that my group has succeeded. This sense of the `me' and the `mine' always goes with the confidence that expresses itself within the social prison.
Have you not noticed how arrogant idealists are? The political leaders who bring about certain results, who achieve great reforms - have you not noticed that they are full of themselves, puffed up with their ideals and their achievements? In their own estimation they are very important. Read a few of the political speeches, watch some of these people who call themselves reformers, and you will see that in the very process of reformation they are cultivating their own ego; their reforms, however extensive, are still within the prison, therefore they are destructive and ultimately bring more misery and conflict to man.
Now, if you can see through this whole social structure, the cultural pattern of the collective will which we call civilization - if you can understand all that and break away from it, break through the prison walls of your particular society, whether Hindu, communist, or Christian, then you will find that there comes a confidence which is not tainted with the sense of arrogance. It is the confidence of innocence. It is like the confidence of a child who is so completely innocent he will try anything. It is this innocent confidence that will bring about a new civilization; but this innocent confidence cannot come into being as long as you remain within the social pattern.
Please do listen to this carefully. The speaker is not in the least important, but it is very important for you to understand the truth of what is being said. After all, that is education, is it not? The function of education is not to make you fit into the social pattern; on the contrary, it is to help you to understand completely, deeply, fully and thereby break away from the social pattern, so that you are an individual without that arrogance of the self, but you have confidence because you are really innocent.
Is it not a great tragedy that almost all of us are only concerned either with how to fit into society, or how to reform it? Have you noticed that most of the questions you have asked reflect this attitude? You are saying, in effect, "How can I fit into society? What will my father and mother say, and what will happen to me if I don't?" Such an attitude destroys whatever confidence, whatever initiative you have. And you leave school and college like so many automatons, highly efficient perhaps, but without any creative flame. That is why it is so important to understand the society, the environment in which one lives, and, in that very process of understanding, break away from it.
You see, this is a problem all over the world. Man is seeking a new response, a new approach to life, because the old ways are decaying, whether in Europe, in Russia, or here. Life is a continual challenge, and merely to try to bring about a better economic order is not a total response to that challenge, which is always new; and when cultures, peoples, civilizations are incapable of responding totally to the challenge of the new, they are destroyed.
Unless you are properly educated, unless you have this extraordinary confidence of innocence, you are inevitably going to be absorbed by the collective and lost in mediocrity. You will put some letters after your name, you will be married, have children, and that will be the end of you.
You see, most of us are frightened. Your parents are frightened, your educators are frightened, the governments and religions are frightened of your becoming a total individual, because they all want you to remain safely within the prison of environmental and cultural influences. But it is only the individuals who break through the social pattern by understanding it, and who are therefore not bound by the conditioning of their own minds - it is only such people who can bring about a new civilization, not the people who merely conform, or who resist one particular pattern because they are shaped by another. The search for God or truth does not lie within the prison, but rather in understanding the prison and breaking through its walls - and this very movement towards freedom creates a new culture, a different world.
Questioner: Sir, why do we want to have a companion?
Krishnamurti: A girl asks why we want a companion. Why does one want a companion? Can you live alone in this world without a husband or a wife, without children, without friends? Most people cannot live alone, therefore they need companions. It requires enormous intelligence to be alone; and you must be alone to find God, truth. It is nice to have a companion, a husband or a wife, and also to have babies; but you see, we get lost in all that, we get lost in the family, in the job, in the dull, monotonous routine of a decaying existence. We get used to it, and then the thought of living alone becomes dreadful, something to be afraid of. Most of us have put all our faith in one thing, all our eggs in one basket, and our lives have no richness apart from our companions, apart from our families and our jobs. But if there is a richness in one's life - not the richness of money or knowledge, which anyone can acquire, but that richness which is the movement of reality with no beginning and no ending - then companionship becomes a secondary matter.
But, you see, you are not educated to be alone. Do you ever go out for a walk by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree - not with a book, not with a companion, but by yourself - and observe the falling of a leaf, hear the lapping of the water, the fisherman's song, watch the flight of a bird, and of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind. If you are able to be alone and watch these things, then you will discover extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt, and which can never be destroyed.
Questioner: Is it your hobby to give lectures? Don't you get tired of talking? Why are you doing it?
Krishnamurti: I am glad you asked that question. You know, if you love something, you never get tired of it - I mean love in which there is no seeking of a result, no wanting something out of it. When you love something, it is not self-fulfilment, therefore there is no disappointment, there is no end. Why am I doing this? You might as well ask why the rose blooms, why the jasmine gives its scent, or why the bird flies.
You see, I have tried not talking, to find out what happens if I don't talk. That is all right too. Do you understand? If you are talking because you are getting something out of it - money, a reward, a sense of your own importance - then there is weariness, then your talking is destructive, it has no meaning because it is only self-fulfilment; but if there is love in your heart, and your heart is not filled with the things of the mind, then it is like a fountain, like a spring that is timelessly giving fresh water.
Questioner: When I love a person and he gets angry, why is his anger so intense?
Krishnamurti: First of all, do you love anybody? Do you know what it is to love? It is to give completely your mind your heart, your whole being and not ask a thing in return not put out a begging bowl to receive love. Do you understand? When there is that kind of love, is there anger? And why do we get angry when we love somebody with the ordinary, so-called love? It is because we are not getting something we expect from that person, is it not? I love my wife or husband, my son or daughter, but the moment they do something `wrong' I get angry. Why?
Why does the father get angry with his son or daughter? Because he wants the child to be or do something, to fit into a certain pattern, and the child rebels. Parents try to fulfil, to immortalize themselves through their property, through their children and, when the child does something of which they disapprove, they get violently angry. They have an ideal of what the child should be, and through that ideal they are fulfilling themselves; and they get angry when the child does not fit into the pattern which is their fulfilment.
Have you noticed how angry you sometimes get with a friend of yours? It is the same process going on. You are expecting something from him, and when that expectation is not fulfilled you are disappointed - which means, really, that inwardly, psychologically you are depending on that person. So wherever there is psychological dependence, there must be frustration; and frustration inevitably breeds anger, bitterness, jealousy, and various other forms of conflict. That is why it is very important, especially while you are young, to love something with your whole being - a tree, an animal, your teacher, your parent - for then you will find out for yourself what it is to be without conflict, without fear.
But you see, the educator is generally concerned about himself, he is caught up in his personal worries about his family, his money, his position. He has no love in his heart, and this is one of the difficulties in education. You may have love in your heart, because to love is a natural thing when one is young; but it is soon destroyed by the parents, by the educator, by the social environment. To maintain that innocence, that love which is the perfume of life, is extraordinarily arduous; it requires a great deal of intelligence, insight.
Questioner: How can the mind go beyond its hindrances?
Krishnamurti: To go beyond its hindrances, the mind must first be aware of them, must it not? You must know the limitations, the boundaries, the frontiers of your own mind; but very few of us know them. We say that we do, but it is merely a verbal assertion. We never say, "Here is a barrier, a bondage within me, and I want to understand it; therefore I am going to be cognizant of it, see how it came into being and the whole nature of it". If one knows what the disease is, there is a possibility of curing it. But to know the disease, to know the particular limitation, bondage or hindrance of the mind, and to understand it, one must not condemn it, one must not say it is right or wrong. One must observe it without having an opinion, a prejudice about it - which is extraordinarily difficult, because we are brought up to condemn.
To understand a child, there must be no condemnation. To condemn him has no meaning. You have to watch him when he is playing, crying, eating, you have to observe him in all his moods; but you cannot do this if you say he is ugly, he is stupid, he is this or that. Similarly, if one can watch the hindrances of the mind, not only the superficial hindrances but also the deeper hindrances in the unconscious - watch them without condemnation - then the mind can go beyond them; and that very going beyond is a movement towards truth.
Questioner: Why has God created so many men and women in the world?
Krishnamurti: Why do you take it for granted that God has created us? There is a very simple explanation: the biological instinct. Instinct, desire, passion, lust are all part of life. If you say, "Life is God", then that is a different matter. Then God is everything, including passion, lust, envy, fear. All these factors have gone to produce in the world an overwhelming number of men and women, so there is the problem of overpopulation, which is one of the curses of this land. But you see, this problem is not so easily solved. There are various urges and compulsions which man is heir to and, without understanding that whole complex process, merely to try to regulate the birth rate has not much significance. We have made a mess of this world, each one of us, because we don't know what living is. Living is not this tawdry, mediocre, disciplined thing which we call our existence. Living is something entirely different; it is abundantly rich, timelessly changing, and as long as we don't understand that eternal movement, our lives are bound to have very little meaning.
RAIN ON DRY land is an extraordinary thing, is it not? It washes the leaves clean, the earth is refreshed. And I think we all ought to wash our minds completely clean, as the trees are washed by the rain, because they are so heavily laden with the dust of many centuries, the dust of what we call knowledge, experience. If you and I would cleanse the mind every day, free it of yesterday's reminiscences, each one of us would then have a fresh mind, a mind capable of dealing with the many problems of existence.
Now, one of the great problems that is disturbing the world is what is called equality. In one sense there is no such thing as equality, because we all have many different capacities; but we are discussing equality in the sense that all people should be treated alike. In a school, for example, the positions of the principal, the teachers and the house parents are merely jobs, functions; but, you see, with certain jobs or functions goes what is called status, and status is respected because it implies power, prestige, it means being in a position to tell people off, to order people about, to give jobs to one's friends and the members of one's family. So with function goes status; but if we could remove this whole idea of status, of power, of position, prestige, of giving benefits to others, then function would have quite a different and simple meaning, would it not? Then, whether people were governors, prime ministers, cooks, or poor teachers, they would all be treated with the same respect because they are all performing a different but necessary function in society.
Do you know what would happen, especially in a school, if we could really remove from function the whole sense of power, of position, prestige; the feeling, "I am the Head, I am important"? We would all be living in quite a different atmosphere, would we not? There would be no authority in the sense of the high and the low, the big man and the little man, and therefore there would be freedom. And it is very important that we create such an atmosphere in the school, an atmosphere of freedom in which there is love, in which each one feels a tremendous sense of confidence; because, you see, confidence comes when you feel completely at home, secure. Do you feel at ease in your own home if your father, your mother and your grandmother are constantly telling you what to do so that you gradually lose all confidence in doing anything by yourself? As you grow up you must be able to discuss, to find out what you think is true and stick to it. You must be able to stand by something which you feel is right, even though it brings pain, suffering, loss of money, and all the rest of it; and for that you must feel, while you are young, completely secure and at ease.
Most young people don't feel secure because they are frightened. They are afraid of their elders, of their teachers, of their mothers and fathers, so they never really feel at home. But when you do feel at home, there happens a very strange thing. When you can go to your room, lock the door and be there by yourself unnoticed, with no one telling you what to do, you feel completely secure; and then you begin to flower, to understand, to unfold. To help you unfold is the function of a school; and if it does not help you to unfold, it is no school at all.
When you feel at home in a place in the sense that you feel secure, not beaten down, not compelled to do this or that, when you feel very happy, completely at ease, then you are not naughty, are you? When you are really happy, you don't want to hurt anybody, you don't want to destroy anything. But to make the student feel completely happy is extraordinarily difficult, because he comes to the school with an idea that the principal, the teachers and the house parents are going to tell him what to do and push him around, and hence there is fear.
Most of you come from homes or from schools in which you have been educated to respect status. Your father and mother have status, the principal has status, so you come here with fear, respecting status. But we must create in the school a real atmosphere of freedom, and that can come about only when there is function without status, and therefore a feeling of equality. The real concern of right education is to help you to be a vital, sensitive human being, one who is not afraid and who has no false sense of respect because of status.
Questioner: Why do we find pleasure in our games and not in our studies?
Krishnamurti: For the very simple reason that your teachers do not know how to teach. That is all, there is no very complicated reason for it. You know, if a teacher loves mathematics, or history, or whatever it is he teaches, then you also will love that subject, because love of something communicates itself. Don't you know that? If a musician loves to sing and his whole being is in it, doesn't that feeling communicate itself to you who are listening? You feel that you too would like to learn how to sing. But most educators don't love their subject; it has become a bore to them, a routine through which they have to go in order to earn a living. If your teachers really loved to teach, do you know what would happen to you? You would be extraordinary human beings. You would love not only your games and your studies, but also the flowers, the river, the birds, the earth, because you would have this thing vibrating in your hearts; and you would learn much more quickly, your minds would be excellent and not mediocre.
That is why it is very important to educate the educator - which is very difficult, because most educators are already well settled in their habits. But habit does not rest so heavily on the young; and if you love even one thing for itself - if you really love your games, or mathematics, or history, or painting, or singing - then you will find that intellectually you are alert, vital, and you will be very good in all your studies. After all, the mind wants to inquire, to know, because it is curious; but that curiosity is destroyed by the wrong kind of education. Therefore it is not only the student who must be educated, but also the teacher. Living is itself a process of education, a process of learning. There is an end to examinations, but there is no end to learning and you can learn from everything if your mind is curious, alert.
Questioner: You have said that when one sees something to be false, that false thing drops away. I daily see that smoking is false, but it does not drop away.
Krishnamurti: Have you ever watched grown-up people smoking, either your parents, your teachers, your neighbours, or somebody else? It has become a habit with them, has it not? They go on smoking day after day, year in and year out, and they have become slaves to the habit. Many of them realize how stupid it is to be a slave to something, and they fight the habit, they discipline themselves against it, they resist it, they try in all kinds of ways to get rid of it. But, you see, habit is a dead thing, it is an action which has become automatic, and the more one fights it the more strength one gives to it. But if the person who smokes becomes conscious of his habit, if he becomes aware of putting his hand into his pocket, bringing out the cigarette, tapping it, putting it in his mouth, lighting it and taking the first puff - if each time he goes through this routine he simply watches it without condemnation, without saying how terrible it is to smoke, then he is not giving new vitality to that particular habit. But really to drop something which has become a habit, you have to investigate it much more, which means going into the whole problem of why the mind cultivates habit - that is, why the mind is inattentive. If you clean your teeth every day while looking out of the window, the cleaning of your teeth becomes a habit; but if you always clean your teeth very carefully, giving your whole attention to it, then it does not become a habit, a routine that is thoughtlessly repeated.
Experiment with this, observe how the mind wants to go to sleep through habit and then remain undisturbed. Most people's minds are always functioning in the groove of habit, and as we grow older it gets worse. Probably you have already acquired dozens of habits. You are afraid of what will happen if you don't do as your parents say, if you don't marry as your father wants you to, so your mind is already functioning in a groove; and when you function in a groove, though you may be only ten or fifteen, you are already old, inwardly decaying. You may have a good body, but nothing else. Your body may be young and straight, but your mind is burdened with its own weight.
So it is very important to understand the whole problem of why the mind always dwells in habits, runs in grooves, why it moves along a particular set of rails like a streetcar and is afraid to question, to inquire. If you say, "My father is a Sikh, therefore I am a Sikh and I am going to grow my hair, wear a turban" - If you say that without inquiring, without questioning, without any thought of breaking away, then you are like a machine. Smoking also makes you like a machine, a slave to habit, and it is only when you understand all this that the mind becomes fresh, young, active, alive, so that every day is a new day, every dawn reflected on the river is a joyous thing to behold.
Questioner: Why are we afraid when some of our elders are serious? And what makes them so serious?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever thought about what it means to be serious? Are you ever serious? Are you always gay, always cheerful, laughing, or are there moments when you are quiet, serious - not serious about something, but just serious? And why should one be afraid when older people are serious? What is there to be afraid of? Are you afraid they may see something in you which you don't like in yourself? You see, most of us don't think about these matters; if we are afraid in the presence of a grave or serious older person, we don't inquire into it, we don't ask ourselves, "Why am I afraid?"
Now, what is it to be serious? Let us find out. You may be serious about very superficial things. When buying a sari, for example, you may give your whole attention to it, worry about it, go to ten different shops and spend all morning looking at various patterns. That is also called being serious; but such a person is serious only superficially. Then you can be serious about going to the temple every day, placing a garland there, giving money to the priests; but all that is a very false thing, is it not? Because truth or God is not in any temple. And you can be very serious about nationalism, which is another false thing.
Do you know what nationalism is? It is the feeling, "My India, my country, right or wrong", or the feeling that India has vast treasures of spiritual knowledge and is therefore greater than any other nation. When we identify ourselves with a particular country and feel proud of it, we bring about nationalism in the world. Nationalism is a false god, but millions of people are very serious about it; they will go to war, destroy, kill or be killed in the name of their country, and this kind of seriousness is used and exploited by the politicians.
So you can be serious about false things. But if you really begin to inquire into what it means to be serious, then you will find that there is a seriousness which is not measured by the activity of the false or shaped by a particular pattern - a seriousness which comes into being when the mind is not pursuing a result, an end.
Questioner: What is destiny?
Krishnamurti: Do you really want to go into this problem? To ask a question is the easiest thing in the world, but your question has meaning only if it affects you directly so that you are very serious about it. Have you noticed how many people lose interest once they have asked their question? The other day a man put a question and then began to yawn, scratch his head and talk to his neighbour; he had completely lost interest. So I suggest that you don't ask a question unless you are really serious about it.
This problem of what is destiny is very difficult and complex. You see, if a cause is set going it must inevitably produce a result. If a vast number of people, whether Russians, Americans, or Hindus, prepare for war, their destiny is war; though they may say they want peace and are preparing only for their own defence, they have set in motion causes which bring about war. Similarly, when millions of people have for centuries taken part in the development of a certain civilization or culture, they have set going a movement in which individual human beings are caught up and swept along, whether they like it or not; and this whole process of being caught up in and swept along by a particular stream of culture or civilization may be called destiny.
After all, if you are born as the son of a lawyer who insists that you also become a lawyer, and if you comply with his wishes even though you would prefer to do something else, then your destiny is obviously to become a lawyer. But if you refuse to become a lawyer, if you insist upon doing that which you feel to be the true thing for you which is what you really love to do - it may be writing, painting, or having no money and begging - then you have stepped out of the stream, you have broken away from the destiny which your father intended for you. It is the same with a culture or civilization.
That is why it is very important that we should be rightly educated - educated not to be smothered by tradition, not to fall into the destiny of a particular racial, cultural or family group, educated not to become mechanical beings moving towards a predetermined end. The man who understands this whole process, who breaks away from it and stands alone, creates his own momentum; and if his action is a breaking away from the false towards the truth, then that momentum itself becomes the truth. Such men are free of destiny.
HAVE YOU EVER considered why we are disciplined, or why we discipline ourselves? Political parties all over the world insist that the party discipline be followed. Your parents, your teachers, the society around you - they all tell you that you must be disciplined, controlled. Why? And is there really any necessity for discipline at all? I know we are accustomed to think that discipline is necessary - the discipline imposed either by society, or by a religious teacher, or by a particular moral code, or by our own experience. The ambitious man who wants to achieve, who wants to make a lot of money, who wants to be a great politician - his very ambition becomes the means of his own discipline. So everyone around you says that discipline is necessary: you must go to bed and get up at a certain hour, you must study, pass examinations, obey your father and mother, and so on.
Now, why should you be disciplined at all? What does discipline mean? It means adjusting yourself to something, does it not? To adjust your thinking to what other people say, to resist some forms of desire and accept others, to comply with this practice and not with that, to conform, to suppress, to follow, not only on the surface of the mind, but also deep down - all this is implied in discipline. And for centuries, age after age, we have been told by teachers, gurus, priests, politicians, kings, lawyers, by the society in which we live, that there must be discipline.
So, I am asking myself - and I hope you too are asking yourself - whether discipline is necessary at all, and whether there is not an entirely different approach to this problem? I think there is a different approach, and this is the real issue which is confronting not only the schools but the whole world. You see, it is generally accepted that, in order to be efficient, you must be disciplined, either by a moral code, a political creed, or by being trained to work like a machine in a factory; but this very process of discipline is making the mind dull through conformity.
Now, does discipline set you free, or does it make you conform to an ideological pattern, whether it be the utopian pattern of communism, or some kind of moral or religious pattern? Can discipline ever set you free? Having bound you, made you a prisoner, as all forms of discipline do, can it then let you go? How can it? Or is there a different approach altogether - which is to awaken a really deep insight into the whole problem of discipline? That is, can you, the individual, have only one desire and not two or many conflicting desires? Do you understand what I mean? The moment you have two, three, or ten desires, you have the problem of discipline, have you not? You want to be rich, to have cars, houses, and at the same time you want to renounce these things because you think that to possess little or nothing is moral, ethical, religious. And is it possible to be educated in the right way so that one's whole being is integrated, without contradiction, and therefore without the need of discipline? To be integrated implies a sense of freedom, and when this integration is taking place there is surely no need for discipline. Integration means being one thing totally on all levels at the same time.
You see, if we could have right education from the very tenderest age, it would bring about a state in which there is no contradiction at all, either within or without; and then there would be no need for discipline or compulsion because you would be doing something completely, freely, with your whole being. Discipline arises only when there is a contradiction. The politicians, the governments, the organized religions want you to have only one way of thinking, because if they can make you a complete communist, a complete Catholic, or whatever it is, then you are not a problem, you simply believe and work like a machine; then there is no contradiction because you just follow. But all following is destructive because it is mechanical, it is mere conformity in which there is no creative release.
Now, can we bring about, from the tenderest age, a sense of complete security, a feeling of being at home, so that in you there is no struggle to be this and not to be that? Because the moment there is an inward struggle there is conflict, and to overcome that conflict there must be discipline. Whereas, if you are rightly educated, then everything that you do is an integrated action; there is no contradiction and hence no compulsive action. As long as there is no integration there must be discipline, but discipline is destructive because it does not lead to freedom.
To be integrated does not demand any form of discipline. That is, if I am doing what is good, what is intrinsically true, what is really beautiful, doing it with my whole being, then there is no contradiction in me and I am not merely conforming to something. If what I am doing is totally good, right in itself - not right according to some Hindu tradition or communist theory, but timelessly right under all circumstances - then I am an integrated human being and have no need for discipline. And is it not the function of a school to bring about in you this sense of integrated confidence so that what you are doing is not merely what you wish to do, but that which is fundamentally right and good, everlastingly true? you love there is no need for discipline, is there? Love brings its own creative understanding, therefore there is no resistance, no conflict; but to love with such complete integration is possible only when you feel deeply secure, completely at home, especially while you are young. This means, really, that the educator and the student must have abounding confidence in each other, otherwise we shall create a society which will be as ugly and destructive as the present one. If we can understand the significance of completely integrated action in which there is no contradiction, and therefore no need for discipline, then I think we shall bring about a totally different kind of culture, a new civilization. But if we merely resist, suppress, then what is suppressed will inevitably rebound in other directions and set going various mischievous activities and destructive events.
So it is very important to understand this whole question of discipline. To me, discipline is something altogether ugly; it is not creative, it is destructive. But merely to stop there, with a statement of that kind, may seem to imply that you can do whatever you like. On the contrary, a man who loves does not do whatever he likes. It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will.
Questioner: Why do we hate the poor?
Krishnamurti: Do you really hate the poor? I am not condemning you; I am just asking, do you really hate the poor? And if you do, why? Is it because you also may be poor one day, and imagining your own plight then, you reject it? Or is it that you dislike the sordid, dirty, unkempt existence of the poor? Disliking untidiness, disorder, squalor, filth, you say, "I don't want to have anything to do with the poor." Is that it? But who has created poverty, squalor and disorder in the world? You, your parents, your government - our whole society has created them; because, you see, we have no love in our hearts. We love neither our children nor our neighbours, neither the living nor the dead. We have no love for anything at all. The politicians are not going to eradicate all this misery and ugliness in the world, any more than the religions and the reformers will, because they are only concerned with a little patchwork here and there; but if there were love, then all these ugly things would disappear tomorrow.
Do you love anything? Do you know what it is to love? You know, when you love something completely, with your whole being, that love is not sentimental, it is not duty, it is not divided as physical or divine. Do you love anyone or anything with your whole being - your parents, a friend, your dog, a tree? Do you? I am afraid you don't. That is why you have vast spaces in your being in which there is ugliness, hate, envy. You see, the man who loves has no room for anything else. We should really spend our time discussing all this and finding out how to remove the things that are so cluttering our minds that we cannot love; for it is only when we love that we can be free and happy. It is only people who are loving, vital, happy, that can create a new world - not the politicians, not the reformers or the few ideological saints.
Questioner: You talk about truth goodness and integration, which implies that on the other side there is untruth, evil and disintegration. So how can one be true, good and integrated without discipline?
Krishnamurti: In other words, being envious, how can one be free of envy without discipline? I think it is very important to understand the question itself; because the answer is in the question, it is not apart from the question.
Do you know what envy means? You are nice looking, you are finely dressed, or wear a beautiful turban or sari, and I also want to dress like that; but I cannot, so I am envious. I am envious because I want what you have; I want to be different from what I am.
I am envious because I want to be as beautiful as you are; I want to have the fine clothes, the elegant house, the high position that you have. Being dissatisfied with what I am, I want to be like you; but, if I understood my dissatisfaction and its cause, then I would not want to be like you or long for the things that you have. In other words, if once I begin to understand what I am, then I shall never compare myself with another or be envious of anyone. Envy arises because I want to change myself and become like somebody else. But if I say, "Whatever I am, that I want to understand", then envy is gone; then there is no need of discipline, and out of the understanding of what I am comes integration.
Our education, our environment, our whole culture insists that we must become something. Our philosophies, our religions and sacred books all say the same thing. But now I see that the very process of becoming something implies envy, which means that I am not satisfied with being what I am; and I want to understand what I am, I want to find out why I am always comparing myself with another, trying to become something; and in understanding what I am there is no need for discipline. In the process of that understanding, integration comes into being. The contradiction in me yields to the understanding of myself, and this in turn brings an action which is integral, whole.
Questioner: What is power?
Krishnamurti: There is mechanical power, the power produced by the internal combustion engine, by steam, or by electricity. There is the power that dwells in a tree, that causes the sap to flow, that creates the leaf. There is the power to think very clearly, the power to love, the power to hate, the power of a dictator, the power to exploit people in the name of God, in the name of the Masters, in the name of a country. These are all forms of power.
Now, power as electricity or light, atomic power, and so on - all such forms of power are good in themselves, are they not? But the power of the mind that uses them for the purposes of aggression and tyranny, to gain something for itself - such power is evil under all circumstances. The head of any society, church or religious group who has power over other people is an evil person, because he is controlling, shaping, guiding others without knowing where he himself is going. This is true not only of the big organizations, but of the little societies all over the world. The moment a person is clear, unconfused, he ceases to be a leader and therefore he has no power.
So it is very important to understand why the human mind demands to have power over others. The parents have power over their children, the wife over the husband, or the husband over the wife. Beginning in the small family, the evil extends until it becomes the tyranny of governments, of political leaders and religious interpreters. And can one live without this hunger for power, without wanting to influence or exploit people, without wanting power for oneself, or for a group or a nation, or for a Master or a saint? All such forms of power are destructive, they bring misery to man. Whereas, to be really kind, to be considerate, to love - this is a strange thing, it has its own timeless effect. Love is its own eternity, and where there is love there is no evil power.
Questioner: Why do we seek fame?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever thought about it? We want to be famous as a writer, as a poet, as a painter, as a politician, as a singer, or what you will. Why? Because we really don't love what we are doing. If you loved to sing, or to paint, or to write poems - if you really loved it - you would not be concerned with whether you are famous or not. To want to be famous is tawdry, trivial, stupid, it has no meaning; but, because we don't love what we are doing, we want to enrich ourselves with fame. Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action.
You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous; it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.
WE HAVE BEEN talking of so many things, of the many problems of life, have we not? But I wonder if we really know what a problem is. Problems become difficult to solve if they are allowed to take root in the mind. The mind creates the problems, and then becomes the soil in which they take root; and once a problem is well established in the mind it is very difficult to uproot it. What is essential is for the mind itself to see the problem and not give it the soil to grow.
One of the basic problems confronting the world is the problem of co-operation. What does the word `co-operation' mean? To co-operate is to do things together, to build together, to feel together, to have something in common so that we can freely work together. But people generally don't feel inclined to work together naturally, easily, happily; and so they are compelled to work together through various inducements: threat, fear, punishment, reward. This is the common practice throughout the world. Under tyrannical governments you are brutally forced to work together; if you don't `co-operate' you are liquidated or sent to a concentration camp. In the so-called civilized nations you are induced to work together through the concept of `my country', or for an ideology which has been very carefully worked out and widely propagated so that you accept it; or you work together to carry out a plan which somebody has drawn up, a blueprint for Utopia.
So, it is the plan, the idea, the authority which induces people to work together. This is generally called co-operation, and in it there is always the implication of reward or punishment, which means that behind such `co-operation' there is fear. You are always working for something - for the country, for the king, for the party, for God or the Master, for peace, or to bring about this or that reform. Your idea of co-operation is to work together for a particular result. You have an ideal - to build a perfect school, or what you will - towards which you are working, therefore you say co-operation is necessary. All this implies authority, does it not? There is always someone who is supposed to know what is the right thing to do, and therefore you say, "We must co-operate in carrying it out".
Now, I don't call that co-operation at all. That is not co-operation, it is a form of greed, a form of fear, compulsion. Behind it there is the threat that if you don't `co-operate' the government won't recognize you or the Five Year plan will fail, or you will be sent to a concentration camp, or your country will lose the war, or you may not go to heaven. There is always some form of inducement, and where there is inducement there cannot be real co-operation.
Nor is it co-operation when you and I work together merely because we have mutually agreed to do something. In any such agreement what is important is the doing of that particular thing, not working together. You and I may agree to build a bridge, or construct a road, or plant some trees together, but in that agreement there is always the fear of disagreement, the fear that I may not do my share and let you do the whole thing.
So it is not co-operation when we work together through any form of inducement, or by mere agreement, because behind all such effort there is the implication of gaining or avoiding something.
To me, co-operation is entirely different. Co-operation is the fun of being and doing together - not necessarily doing something in particular. Do you understand? Young children normally have a feeling for being and doing together. Haven't you noticed this? They will co-operate in anything. There is no question of agreement or disagreement, reward or punishment; they just want to help. They co-operate instinctively, for the fun of being and doing together. But grown-up people destroy this natural, spontaneous spirit of co-operation in children by saying, "If you do this I will give you that; if you don't do this I won't let you go to the cinema", which introduces the corruptive element.
So, real co-operation comes, not through merely agreeing to carry out some project together, but with the joy, the feeling of togetherness, if one may use that word; because in that feeling there is not the obstinacy of personal ideation, personal opinion.
When you know such co-operation, you will also know when not to co-operate, which is equally important. Do you understand? It is necessary for all of us to awaken in ourselves this spirit of co-operation, for then it will not be a mere plan or agreement which causes us to work together, but an extraordinary feeling of togetherness, the sense of joy in being and doing together without any thought of reward or punishment. That is very important. But it is equally important to know when not to co-operate; because if we are not wise we may co-operate with the unwise, with ambitious leaders who have grandiose schemes, fantastic ideas, like Hitler and other tyrants down through the ages. So we must know when not to co-operate; and we can know this only when we know the joy of real co-operation.
This is a very important question to talk over, because when it is suggested that we work together, your immediate response is likely to be, "What for? What shall we do together?" In other words, the thing to be done becomes more important than the feeling of being and doing together; and when the thing to be done - the plan, the concept, the ideological Utopia - assumes primary importance, then there is no real co-operation. Then it is only the idea that is binding us together; and if one idea can bind us together, another idea can divide us. So, what matters is to awaken in ourselves this spirit of co-operation, this feeling of joy in being and doing together, without any thought of reward or punishment. Most young people have it spontaneously, freely, if it is not corrupted by their elders.
Questioner: How can we get rid of our mental worries if we can't avoid the situations which cause them?
Krishnamurti: Then you have to face them, have you not? To get rid of worry you generally try to escape from the problem; you go to the temple or the cinema, you read a magazine, turn on the radio, or seek some other form of distraction. But escape does not solve the problem, because when you come back it is still there; so why not face it from the very beginning?
Now, what is worry? You worry about whether you will pass your examinations, and you are afraid that you won't; so you sweat over it, spend sleepless nights. If you don't pass, your parents will be disappointed; and also you would like to be able to say, "I have done it, I have passed my examinations". You go on worrying right up to examination day and until you know the results. Can you escape, run away from the situation? Actually, you can't, can you? So you have to face it. But why worry about it? You have studied, you have done your best, and you will pass or not pass. The more you worry about it the more frightened and nervous you become, and the less you are capable of thinking; and when the day arrives you cannot write a thing, you can only look at the clock - which is what happened to me!
When the mind goes over and over a problem and is ceaselessly concerned with it, that is what we call worry, is it not? Now, how is one to get rid of worry? First of all, it is important for the mind not to give soil for the problem to take root.
Do you know what the mind is? Great philosophers have spent many years in examining the nature of the mind, and books have been written about it; but, if one really gives one's whole attention to it, I think it is fairly simple to find out what the mind is. Have you ever observed your own mind? All that you have learnt up to now, the memory of all your little experiences, what you have been told by your parents, by your teachers, the things that you have read in books or observed in the world around you - all this is the mind. It is the mind that observes, that discerns, that learns, that cultivates so-called virtues, that communicates ideas, that has desires and fears. It is not only what you see on the surface, but also the deep layers of the unconscious in which are hidden the racial ambitions, motives, urges, conflicts. All this is the mind, which is called consciousness.
Now, the mind wants to be occupied with something, like a mother worrying about her children, or a housewife about her kitchen, or a politician about his popularity or his position in parliament; and a mind that is occupied is incapable of solving any problem. Do you see that? It is only the unoccupied mind that can be fresh to understand a problem.
Observe your own mind and you will see how restless it is, always occupied with something: with what somebody said yesterday, with something you have just learned, with what you are going to do tomorrow, and so on. It is never unoccupied - which does not mean a stagnant mind, or a kind of mental vacuum. As long as it is occupied, whether with the highest or the lowest, the mind is small, petty; and a petty mind can never resolve any problem, it can only be occupied with it. However big a problem may be, in being occupied with it the mind makes it petty. Only a mind that is unoccupied and therefore fresh can tackle and resolve the problem.
But it is very difficult to have an unoccupied mind. Sometime when you are sitting quietly by the river, or in your room, observe yourself and you will see how constantly that little space of which we are conscious, and which we call the mind, is filled with the many thoughts that come precipitately into it. As long as the mind is filled, occupied with something - whether it be the mind of a housewife or of the greatest scientist - it is small, petty, and whatever problem it tackles, it cannot resolve that problem. Whereas, a mind that is unoccupied, that has space, can tackle the problem and resolve it, because such a mind is fresh, it approaches the problem anew, not with the ancient heritage of its own memories and traditions.
Questioner: How can we know ourselves?
Krishnamurti: You know your face because you have often looked at it reflected in the mirror. Now, there is a mirror in which you can see yourself entirely - not your face, but all that you think, all that you feel, your motives, your appetites, your urges and fears. That mirror is the mirror of relationship: the relationship between you and your parents, between you and your teachers, between you and the river, the trees, the earth, between you and your thoughts. Relationship is a mirror in which you can see yourself, not as you would wish to be, but as you are. I may wish, when looking in an ordinary mirror, that it would show me to be beautiful, but that does not happen because the mirror reflects my face exactly as it is and I cannot deceive myself. Similarly, I can see myself exactly as I am in the mirror of my relationship with others. I can observe how I talk to people: most politely to those who I think can give me something, and rudely or contemptuously to those who cannot. I am attentive to those I am afraid of. I get up when important people come in, but when the servant enters I pay no attention. So, by observing myself in relationship, I have found out how falsely I respect people, have I not? And I can also discover myself as I am in my relationship with the trees and the birds, with ideas and books.
You may have all the academic degrees in the world, but if you don't know yourself you are a most stupid person. To know oneself is the very purpose of all education. Without self-knowledge, merely to gather facts or take notes so that you can pass examinations is a stupid way of existence. You may be able to quote the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Koran and the Bible, but unless you know yourself you are like a parrot repeating words. Whereas, the moment you begin to know yourself, however little, there is already set going an extraordinary process of creativeness. It is a discovery to suddenly see yourself as you actually are: greedy, quarrelsome, angry, envious, stupid. To see the fact without trying to alter it, just to see exactly what you are is an astonishing revelation. From there you can go deeper and deeper, infinitely, because there is no end to self-knowledge.
Through self-knowledge you begin to find out what is God, what is truth, what is that state which is timeless. Your teacher may pass on to you the knowledge which he received from his teacher, and you may do well in your examinations, get a degree and all the rest of it; but, without knowing yourself as you know your own face in the mirror, all other knowledge has very little meaning. Learned people who don't know themselves are really unintelligent; they don't know what thinking is, what life is. That is why it is important for the educator to be educated in the true sense of the word, which means that he must know the workings of his own mind and heart, see himself exactly as he is in the mirror of relationship. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. In self-knowledge is the whole universe; it embraces all the struggles of humanity.
Questioner: Can we know ourselves without an inspirer?
Krishnamurti: To know yourself must you have an inspirer, somebody to urge, stimulate, push you on? Listen to the question very carefully and you will discover the true answer. You know, half the problem is solved if you study it, is it not? But you cannot study the problem fully if your mind is occupied too eagerly with finding an answer.
The question is: in order to have self-knowledge must there not be someone to inspire us?
Now, if you must have a guru, somebody to inspire you, to encourage you, to tell you that you are doing well, it means that you are relying on that person, and inevitably you are lost when he goes away someday. The moment you depend on a person or an idea for inspiration there is bound to be fear, therefore it is not true inspiration at all. Whereas, if you watch a dead body being carried away, or observe two people quarrelling, does it not make you think? When you see somebody being very ambitious, or notice how you all fall at the feet of your governor when he comes in, does it not make you reflect? So there is inspiration in everything, from the falling of a leaf or the death of a bird to man's own behaviour. If you watch all these things you are learning all the time; but if you look to one person as your teacher, then you are lost and that person becomes your nightmare. That is why it is very important not to follow anybody, not to have one particular teacher, but to learn from the river, the flowers, the trees, from the woman who carries a burden, from the members of your family and from your own thoughts. This is an education which nobody can give you but yourself, and that is the beauty of it. It demands ceaseless watchfulness, a constantly inquiring mind. You have to learn by observing, by struggling, by being happy and tearful.
Questioner: With all the contradictions in oneself, how is it possible to be and to do simultaneously?
Krishnamurti: Do you know what self-contradiction is? If I want to do a particular thing in life and at the same time I want to please my parents, who would like me to do something else, there is in me a conflict, a contradiction. Now, how am I to resolve it? If I cannot resolve this contradiction in myself, there can obviously be no integration of being and doing. So the first thing is to be free of self-contradiction.
Suppose you want to study painting because to paint is the joy of your life, and your father says that you must become a lawyer or a business man, otherwise he will cut you off and not pay for your education, there is then a contradiction in you, is there not? Now, how are you to remove that inner contradiction, to be free of the struggle and the pain of it? As long as you are caught in self-contradiction you cannot think; so you must remove the contradiction, you must do one thing or the other. Which will it be? Will you yield to your father? If you do, it means that you have put away your joy, you have wed something which you do not love; and will that resolve the contradiction? Whereas, if you withstand your father, if you say, "Sorry, I don't care if I have to beg, starve, I am going to paint", then there is no contradiction; then being and doing are simultaneous, because you know what you want to do and you do it with your whole heart. But if you become a lawyer or a business man while inside you are burning to be a painter, then for the rest of your life you will be a dull, weary human being living in torment, in frustration, in misery, being destroyed and destroying others.
This is a very important problem for you to think out, because as you grow up your parents are going to want you to do certain things, and if you are not very clear in yourself about what you really want to do you will be led like a sheep to the slaughter. But if you find out what it is you love to do and give your whole life to it, then there is no contradiction, and in that state your being is your doing.
Questioner: For the sake of what we love to do should we forget our duty to our parents?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by that extraordinary word `duty'? Duty to whom? To your parents, to the government, to society? If your parents say it is your duty to become a lawyer and properly support them, and you really want to be a sannyasi, what will you do? In India to be a sannyasi is safe and respectable, so your father may agree. When you put on the ascetic's robe you have already become a great man, and your father can trade on it. But if you want to work with your hands, if you want to be a simple carpenter or a maker of beautiful things of clay, then where does your duty lie? Can anyone tell you? Must you not think it out very carefully for yourself seeing all the implications involved, so that you can say, "This I feel is the right thing for me to do and I shall stick to it whether my parents agree or not"? Not merely to comply with what your parents and society want you to do, but really to think out the implications of duty; to see very clearly what is true and stick to it right through life, even though it may mean starvation, misery, death - to do that requires a great deal of intelligence, perception, insight, and also a great deal of love. You see, if you support your parents merely because you think it is your duty, then your support is a thing of the market place, without deep significance, because in it there is no love.
Questioner: However much I may want to be an engineer, if my father is against it and won't help me, how can I study engineering?
Krishnamurti: If you persist in wanting to be an engineer even though your father turns you out of the house, do you mean to say that you won't find ways and means to study engineering? You will beg, go to friends. Sir, life is very strange. The moment you are very clear about what you want to do, things happen. Life comes to your aid - a friend, a relation, a teacher, a grandmother, somebody helps you. But if you are afraid to try because your father may turn you out, then you are lost. Life never comes to the aid of those who merely yield to some demand out of fear. But if you say, "This is what I really want to do and I am going to pursue it", then you will find that something miraculous takes place. You may have to go hungry, struggle to get through, but you will be a worthwhile human being, not a mere copy, and that is the miracle of it.
You see, most of us are frightened to stand alone; and I know this is especially difficult for you who are young, because there is no economic freedom in this country as there is in America or Europe. Here the country is overpopulated, so everybody gives in. You say, "What will happen to me?" But if you hold on, you will find that something or somebody helps you. When you really stand against the popular demand then you are an individual and life comes to your aid.
You know, in biology there is a phenomenon called the sport, which is a sudden and spontaneous deviation from the type. If you have a garden and have cultivated a particular species of flower, one morning you may find that something totally new has come out of that species. That new thing is called the sport. Being new it stands out, and the gardener takes a special interest in it. And life is like that. The moment you venture out, something takes place in you and about you. Life comes to your aid in various ways. You may not like the form in which it comes to you - it may be misery, struggle, starvation - but when you invite life, things begin to happen. But you see, we don't want to invite life, we want to play a safe game; and those who play a safe game die very safely. Is that not so?
THE OTHER MORNING I saw a dead body being carried away to be burnt. It was wrapped in bright magenta cloth and it swayed with the rhythm of the four mortals who were carrying it. I wonder what kind of impression a dead body makes on one. Don't you wonder why there is deterioration? You buy a brand new motor, and within a few years it is worn out. The body also wears out; but don't you inquire a little further to find out why the mind deteriorates? Sooner or later there is the death of the body, but most of us have minds which are already dead. Deterioration has already taken place; and why does the mind deteriorate? The body deteriorates because we are constantly using it and the physical organism wears out. Disease, accident, old age, bad food, poor heredity - these are the factors which cause the deterioration and death of the body. But why should the mind deteriorate, become old, heavy, dull?
When you see a dead body, have you never wondered about this? Though our bodies must die, why should the mind ever deteriorate? Has this question never occurred to you? For the mind does deteriorate - we see it not only in old people, but also in the young. We see in the young how the mind is already becoming dull, heavy, insensitive; and if we can find out why the mind deteriorates, then perhaps we shall discover something really indestructible. We may understand what is eternal life, the life that is unending, that is not of time, the life that is incorruptible, that does not decay like the body which is carried to the ghats, burnt and the remains thrown into the river.
Now, why does the mind deteriorate? Have you ever thought about it? Being still very young - and if you have not already been made dull by society, by your parents, by circumstances - you have a fresh, eager, curious mind. You want to know why the stars exist, why the birds die, why the leaves fall, how the jet plane flies; you want to know so many things. But that vital urge to inquire, to find out, is soon smothered, is it not? It is smothered by fear, by the weight of tradition, by our own incapacity to face this extraordinary thing called life. Haven't you noticed how quickly your eagerness is destroyed by a sharp word, by a disparaging gesture, by the fear of an examination or the threat of a parent - which means that sensitivity is already being pushed aside and the mind made dull?
Another cause of dullness is imitation. You are made to imitate by tradition. The weight of the past drives you to conform, toe the line, and through conformity the mind feels safe, secure; it establishes itself in a well-oiled groove so that it can run smoothly without disturbance, without a quiver of doubt. Watch the grown-up people about you and you will see that their minds do not want to be disturbed. They want peace, even though it is the peace of death; but real peace is something entirely different.
When the mind establishes itself in a groove, in a pattern, haven't you noticed that it is always prompted by the desire to be secure? That is why it follows an ideal, an example, a guru. It wants to be safe, undisturbed, therefore it imitates. When you read in your history books about great leaders, saints, warriors, don't you find yourself wanting to copy them? Not that there aren't great people in the world; but the instinct is to imitate great people, to try to become like them, and that is one of the factors of deterioration because the mind then sets itself in a mould.
Furthermore, society does not want individuals who are alert, keen, revolutionary, because such individuals will not fit into the established social pattern and they may break it up. That is why society seeks to hold your mind in its pattern, and why your so-called education encourages you to imitate, to follow, to conform.
Now, can the mind stop imitating? That is, can it cease to form habits? And can the mind, which is already caught in habit, be free of habit?
The mind is the result of habit, is it not? It is the result of tradition, the result of time - time being repetition, a continuity of the past. And can the mind, your mind, stop thinking in terms of what has been - and of what will be, which is really a projection of what has been? Can your mind be free from habit and from creating habits? If you go into this problem very deeply you will find that it can; and when the mind renews itself without forming new patterns, habits, without again falling into the groove of imitation, then it remains fresh, young, innocent, and is therefore capable of infinite understanding.
For such a mind there is no death because there is no longer a process of accumulation. It is the process of accumulation that creates habit, imitation, and for the mind that accumulates there is deterioration, death. But a mind that is not accumulating, not gathering, that is dying each day, each minute - for such a mind there is no death. It is in a state of infinite space.
So the mind must die to everything it has gathered - to all the habits, the imitated virtues, to all the things it has relied upon for its sense of security. Then it is no longer caught in the net of its own thinking. In dying to the past from moment to moment the mind is made fresh, therefore it can never deteriorate or set in motion the wave of darkness.
Questioner: How can we put into practice what you are telling us?
Krishnamurti: You hear something which you think is right and you want to carry it out in your everyday life; so there is a gap between what you think and what you do, is there not? You think one thing, and you are doing something else. But you want to put into practice what you think, so there is this gap between action and thought; and then you ask how to bridge the gap, how to link your thinking to your action.
Now, when you want to do something very much, you do it, don't you? When you want to go and play cricket, or do some other thing in which you are really interested, you find ways and means of doing it; you never ask how to put it into practice. You do it because you are eager, because your whole being, your mind and heart are in it.
But in this other matter you have become very cunning, you think one thing and do another. You say, '`That is an excellent idea and intellectually I approve, but I don't know what to do about it, so please tell me how to put it into practice" - which means that you don't want to do it at all. What you really want is to postpone action, because you like to be a little bit envious, or whatever it is. You say, "Everybody else is envious, so why not I?", and you just go on as before. But if you really don't want to be envious and you see the truth of envy as you see the truth of a cobra, then you cease to be envious and that is the end of it; you never ask how to be free of envy.
So what is important is to see the truth of something, and not ask how to carry it out - which really means that you don't see the truth of it. When you meet a cobra on the road you don't ask, "What am I to do?" You understand very well the danger of a cobra and you stay away from it. But you have never really examined all the implications of envy; nobody has ever talked to you about it, gone into it very deeply with you. You have been told that you must not be envious, but you have never looked into the nature of envy; you have never observed how society and all the organized religions are built on it, on the desire to become something. But the moment you go into envy and really see the truth of it, envy drops away.
To ask, "How am I to do it?" is a thoughtless question, because when you are really interested in something which you don't know how to do, you go at it and soon begin to find out. If you sit back and say, "Please tell me a practical way to get rid of greed," you will continue to be greedy. But if you inquire into greed with an alert mind, without any prejudice, and if you put your whole being into it, you will discover for yourself the truth of greed; and it is the truth that frees you, not your looking for a way to be free.
Questioner: Why are our desires never fully realized? Why are there always hindrances that prevent us from doing completely as we wish?
Krishnamurti: If your desire to do something is complete, if your whole being is in it without seeking a result, without wanting to fulfil - which means without fear - then there is no hindrance. There is a hindrance, a contradiction only when your desire is incomplete, broken up: you want to do something and at the same time you are afraid to do it, or you half want to do something else. Besides, can you ever fully realize your desires? Do you understand? I will explain.
Society, which is the collective relationship between man and man, does not want you to have a complete desire, because if you did you would be a nuisance, a danger to society. You are permitted to have respectable desires like ambition, envy - that is perfectly all right. Being made up of human beings who are envious, ambitious, who believe and imitate, society accepts envy, ambition, belief, imitation, even though these are all intimations of fear. As long as your desires fit into the established pattern, you are a respectable citizen. But the moment you have a complete desire, which is not of the pattern, you become a danger; so society is always watching to prevent you from having a complete desire, a desire which would be the expression of your total being and therefore bring about a revolutionary action.
The action of being is entirely different from the action of becoming. The action of being is so revolutionary that society rejects it and concerns itself exclusively with the action of becoming, which is respectable because it fits into the pattern. But any desire that expresses itself in the action of becoming, which is a form of ambition, has no fulfilment. Sooner or later it is thwarted, impeded, frustrated, and we revolt against that frustration in mischievous ways.
This is a very important question to go into, because as you grow older you will find that your desires are never really fulfilled. In fulfilment there is always the shadow of frustration, and in your heart there is not a song but a cry. The desire to become a great man, a great saint, a great this or that - has no end and therefore no fulfilment; its demand is ever for the 'more', and such desire always breeds agony, misery, wars. But when one is free of all desire to become there is a state of being whose action is totally different. It is. That which is has no time. it does not think in terms of fulfilment. Its very being is its fulfilment.
Questioner: I see that I am dull, but others say I am intelligent. Which should affect me: my seeing or their saying?
Krishnamurti: Now listen to the question very carefully, very quietly, don't try to find an answer. If you say that I am an intelligent man, and I know very well that I am dull, will what you say affect me? It will if I am trying to be intelligent, will it not? Then I shall be flattered, influenced by your remark. But if I see that a dull person can never cease to be dull by trying to be intelligent, then what happens?
Surely, if I am stupid and I try to be intelligent, I shall go on being stupid because trying to be or to become something is part of stupidity. A stupid person may acquire the trimmings of cleverness, he may pass a few examinations, get a job, but he does not thereby cease to be stupid. (Please follow this, it is not a cynical statement.) But the moment a person is aware that he is dull, stupid, and instead of trying to be intelligent he begins to examine and understand his stupidity - in that moment there is the awakening of intelligence.
Take greed. Do you know what greed is? It is eating more food than you need, wanting to outshine others at games, wanting to have more property, a bigger car than someone else. Then you say that you must not be greedy, so you practise non-greed which is really silly, because greed can never cease by trying to become non-greed. But if you begin to understand all the implications of greed, if you give your mind and heart to finding the truth of it, then you are free from greed as well as from its opposite. Then you are a really intelligent human being, because you are tackling what is and not imitating what should be.
So, if you are dull, don't try to be intelligent or clever, but understand what it is that is making you dull. Imitation, fear, copying somebody, following an example or an ideal - all this makes the mind dull. When you stop following, when you have no fear, when you are capable of thinking clearly for yourself - are you not then the brightest of human beings? But if you are dull and try to be clever you will join the ranks of those who are pretty dull in their cleverness.
Questioner: Why are we naughty?
Krishnamurti: If you ask yourself this question when you are naughty, then it has significance, it has meaning. But when you are angry, for example, you never ask why you are angry, do you? It is only afterwards that you ask this question. Having been angry, you say, "How stupid, I should not have been angry". Whereas, if you are aware, thoughtful at the moment of anger without condemning it, if you are `all there' when the turmoil comes up in your mind, then you will see how quickly it fades away.
Children are naughty at a certain age, and they should be, because they are full of beans, life, ginger, and it has to break out in some form or other. But you see, this is really a complex question, because naughtiness may be due to wrong food, a lack of sleep, or a feeling of insecurity, and so on. If all the factors involved are not properly understood, then naughtiness on the part of children becomes a revolt within society, in which there is no release for them.
Do you know what `delinquent' children are? They are children who do all kinds of terrible things; they are in revolt within the prison of society because they have never been helped to understand the whole problem of existence. They are so vital, and some of them are extraordinarily intelligent, and their revolt is a way of saying, "Help us to understand, to break through this compulsion, this terrible conformity". That is why this question is very important for the educator, who needs educating more than the children.
Questioner: I am used to drinking tea. One teacher says it is a bad habit, and another says it is all right.
Krishnamurti: What do you think? Put aside for the moment what other people say, it may be their prejudice, and listen to the question. What do you think of a young boy being `used' to something already - drinking tea, smoking, competitive eating, or whatever it is? It may be all right to have fallen into a habit of doing something when you are seventy or eighty, with one foot in the grave; but you are just beginning your life, and already to be used to something is a terrible thing, is it not? That is the important question, not whether you should drink tea.
You see, when you have become used to something, your mind is already on its way to the graveyard. If you think as a Hindu, a communist, a Catholic, a Protestant, then your mind is already going down, deteriorating. But if your mind is alert, inquiring to find out why you are caught in a certain habit, why you think in a particular way, then the secondary question of whether you should smoke or drink tea can be dealt with.