The Book of Jiddu Krishnamurti


(1895 – 1986)

The significance of life is living

To understand life we have to understand ourselves

Do it or don’t do it … but get on with it!

One evening in 1936, at a friend’s home, Alan Watts heard Krishnamurti speak for the first time. Here, from his autobiography, is part of what he remembered being said:

Why – and again why – do you want to know whether there is a God, whether there is life after death, or what method you should follow to be enlightened, liberated or realized. Could it be that you identify yourself with a merely abstract ego based on nothing but memories? That therefore you are not alive and aware in the eternal present, and thus worry interminably about your future.

Furthermore, don’t you realize that when you accept someone as a spiritual teacher, you do so by your own authority and choice. You yourself licence the Bible, the Koran, or the Bhagavad-Gita as infallible. Wake up!…. And without putting it into words, watch what is, now. You thus realize that there is no “feeler”, apart from feelings and no granular billiard-ball “self” confronting the universe.

Note: These latter thoughts were also at the heart of Osho’s teachings many years later.

Next, from Think on These Things (Harper & Row, New York, 1964):

The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another….That is the first thing to learn – not to seek.

The thinker is always the old. So we come back to the same problem in a different way. How to free the mind from itself as a thinker? How to eradicate memory, not factual memory but psychological memory, which is the accumulation of experience…. Only when there is no residue of experience can there be newness and there is residue when experience is not finished, concluded, ended; that is when the understanding of experience is incomplete. When experience is complete, there is no residue – that is the beauty of life….

In other words, when each thought and feeling is thought out, concluded, there is an ending and there is a space between that ending and the next thought. In that space of silence, there is renewal, the new creativeness takes place.

This is not theoretical, this is not impractical. If you try to think out every thought and feeling, you will discover that it is extraordinarily practical in your daily life, for then you are new and what is new is eternally enduring. To be new is creative and to be creative is to be happy… In ending, there is renewal, rebirth, a newness, a freshness, a joy.

It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.

When you see this process, when you are really aware of it without opposition … then you will discover that the mind is capable of receiving the new and that the new is never a sensation; therefore it cannot be recognized, re-experienced. It is a state of being in which creativeness comes without invitation, without memory; and that is reality.

To discover that which is, the mind must die to that which it has experienced.(Emphasis in the original)

You can have a simple mind only when you know how to love. 

And these thoughts about mind are continued in Freedom from the Known (Harper & Row, New York,1969):

To understand anything, any human or scientific problem, what is important, what is essential? A quiet mind, is it not?  A mind that is intent on understanding.

It is that quiet mind, that still mind, which brings about transformation. When the mind is no longer resisting, no longer avoiding, no longer discarding or blaming what is but is simply passively aware, then in that passivity of the mind you will find, if you really go into the problem, that there comes a transformation.

When the mind is still, tranquil, not seeking any answer or any solution, neither resisting nor avoiding – it is only then that there can be regeneration, because then the mind is capable of perceiving what is true; and it is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.

…When the mind is utterly still, that which is sacred can take place.

Note: Gabrielle Roth, the Creator of the 5Rhythms dance practice, teaches “If you want to still the mind, move the body.”

Krishnamurti again:

A living mind is a mind that has no centre and therefore no space and time. Such a mind is limitless and that is the only truth, that is the only reality…. [But] … when the mind is secure, then it is in decay.

The religious mind is something entirely different from the mind that believes in religion… the religious mind is a state of mind in which there is no fear and therefore no belief whatsoever but only what is — what actually is. In the religious mind there is that state of silence we have already examined which is not produced by thought but is the outcome of awareness, which is meditation when the meditator is entirely absent. In that silence there is a state of energy in which there is no conflict. Energy is action and movement. All action is movement and all action is energy.  All desire is energy. All feeling is energy. All thought is energy. All living is energy. All life is energy. If that energy is allowed to flow without any contradiction, without any friction, without any conflict, then that energy is boundless, endless. When there is no friction there are no frontiers to energy. (Emphasis in the original)

The state of mind which is no longer capable of striving is the true religious mind, and in that state of mind you may come upon this thing called truth or reality or bliss or God or beauty or love. This thing cannot be invited. Please understand that very simple fact.

When you are being totally aware of the whole field of consciousness there is no friction. It is only when you divide consciousness, which is all thought, feeling and action, into different levels that there is friction, so you will understand that the only way to look at yourself is totally, immediately, without time; and you can see the totality of yourself only when the mind is not fragmented. What you see in totality is the truth and then there is no room for fear, no room for contradiction, and therefore no conflict. (Emphasis in the original).

Verbally we can go only so far: what lies beyond cannot be put into words because the word is not the thing. Up to now we can describe, explain, but no words or explanations can open the door. What will open the door is daily awareness and attention… it is like cleaning a room and keeping it in order which is to be virtuous for itself, not for what it will bring. To be sane, rational, orderly… and that state of mind can be understood only by never trying to shape it, never taking sides, never opposing, never agreeing, never justifying, never condemning, never judging-which means watching it without any choice. And out of this choiceless awareness perhaps the door will open and you will know what that dimension is in which there is no conflict and no time.

If something is you, what can you do? You cannot rebel against it or run away from it or even accept it. It is there. So all action that is the outcome of reaction to like and dislike has to come to an end! Then you will find that there is an awareness that has become tremendously alive. It is not bound to any central issue or to any image — and from that intensity of awareness there is a different quality of attention and therefore the mind — because the mind is this awareness — has become extraordinarily sensitive and highly intelligent.

You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.

To discover that nothing is permanent is of tremendous importance for only then is the mind free, then you can look, and in that there is great joy.

On being human:

Can you with one breath, with one look, know yourself very simply as you are?

Nobody need tell you how to look. You just look.

If you begin to understand what you are, without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes transformation.

Integrity means being one thing totally on all levels at the same time. 

The man who is not frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands that inwardly, psychologically, there is no security. When there is no security there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same. The man who lives without conflict, who lives with beauty and love, is not frightened of death because to love is to die.

Each one of us is the storehouse of all the past. The whole history of man is written in ourselves.

What is important is not a philosophy of life but to observe what is actually taking place in our daily life, inwardly and outwardly… and when we look at what is taking place in the world we begin to understand that there is no outer and inner process; it is a whole, total movement, the inner movement expressing itself as the outer reacting again on the inner.

A belief is purely an individual matter and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do… it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others.

It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted in a sick society.

On Freedom:

Freedom is entirely different from revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or wrong where there is freedom. You are free and from that center you act. And hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love. And when there is love it can do what it will.

To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this  a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor, so forget all you know about yourself; forget all you have ever thought about yourself; we are going to start as if we knew nothing and begin to understand ourselves for the first time.

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

Lastly, and perhaps his most important teachings of all:

I know the way to achieve enlightenment: I don’t mind whatever happens.

Do not believe anything that anyone tells you, including Krishnamurti!