Questioner: Is it wrong to have a Master, a spiritual teacher on another plane of existence?
Krishnamurti: I have tried to answer the same question put in different ways at different times but apparently few wish to understand. Superstition is difficult to throw off for the mind creates it and becomes its prisoner.
How difficult it is to find what is true in what one reads, in one's daily relationship and thought! Prejudice, tendency, conditioning dictate our choice; to discover what is true these must be set aside; mind must discard its own self-restricting, narrow thoughts-feelings. To discover what is true in our thoughts, feelings and actions is extremely difficult and how much more difficult it is to discern the true in a supposedly spiritual world! If we want a teacher, a guru, it is sufficiently difficult to find a physical one and how much more complex, deceptive, confusing it must be to search out a teacher in a so-called spiritual world, in another plane of existence. Even if a supposedly spiritual teacher chooses you, you are really the chooser - not the supposed teacher. If you do not understand yourself in this world of action and interaction, of lust, ill will and ignorance, how can you trust your judgment, your capacity to discern, in a supposedly spiritual world! If you do not know yourself, how can you discern what is true? How do you know that your own mind which has the power to create illusion has not created the Master, the teacher? Is it not vanity that persuades you to seek the Master and be chosen?
There is a story of a pupil going to a teacher and requesting him to lead him to the Master; the teacher said that he would only if he, the pupil, did exactly as he was told. The pupil was delighted. For seven years he was told he must live in the nearby cave and there follow the teacher's instruction. He was told that first he must sit quietly, peacefully, in concentrated thought; then in the second year he was to invite the Master into the cave; the third he was to make the Master sit with him; in the fourth he was to talk with him; in the fifth year he was to make the Master move about in the cave; in the sixth to make him leave the cave. After the sixth year the teacher asked the pupil to come out and said to him, "Now you know who the Master is."
The mind has the power to create ignorance or to discern what is true. In this search for the Master, there is always in it the desire to gain and so there arises fear; and a mind that is seeking a reward and so inviting fear, cannot understand what is true. It is the height of ignorance to think in terms of reward and punishment, of the superior and the inferior. Besides can anyone help you to discover what is true in your own thoughts-feelings? Others may point out but you yourself have to search out and discover what is true.
If you look to another to be saved from suffering and ignorance, from this chaotic and barbarous world, you will only create further confusion and ill will, further ignorance and sorrow. You are responsible for your own thoughts-feelings-actions; you alone can bring clarity and order; you alone can save yourself from yourself; by your understanding alone can you transcend greed, ill will and ignorance.
Each one of us, here, I hope, is trying to seek the real, the imperishable, and is not to be distracted by the beauty of wayside shrines, by the trimmings of the sign post, by ritualism. There is no authority that can lead you to the ultimate reality and that reality lies in the beginning as in the end. Do not stop at the sign posts nor be caught up in the pettiness of groups, nor become enamoured of the chanting, of the incense, of the ritual. The reliance on another for self-knowledge adds more ignorance, for the other is yourself. The root of understanding is hidden in yourself. The perception of the true lies in right thinking, in humility, in compassion, in simple life, not in the authority of another. The authority of another, however great, leads to further ignorance and sorrow.
8th Public Talk 2nd July, 1944