Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: Do I not owe something to my race, to my nation, to my group?

Krishnamurti: What is your nation, your race? Each people say its nation, its group, its race. Out of this thoughtless assertion there is confusion and conflict, untold sorrow and degradation. You and I are one; there is neither the East nor the West. We are human beings, not labels. We have artificially created nations, races, groups in opposition to other nations; races and groups. We have created them, you and I, in our search for power and fame; in our desire to be exclusive; in our delight in those singularistic, self-enclosing cravings; through greed, ill will and ignorance we have created national, racial and economic barriers. We have artificially separated ourselves from our fellow men. Does a thoughtful man owe something to that which is the out come of ill will and ignorance? If you are still part of the nation, the group, the race, the result of fear and greed, then being of it you are responsible for sorrow and cruelty. Then what you are your race, your nation, your group is. Then how can you owe something to that of which you are a part? Only when you put yourself in opposition to the mass, then in your individualistic, exclusive response debt is incurred. But surely such a reaction is false for you are the group, the nation, the race; out of you it has come into being; without you it is not.

So the question is not whether you are indebted to it but how to transcend it; how to go beyond the causes that have produced this separative, exclusive existence. By asking yourself what is your duty, your karma, your relationship with the mass, with the nation, you are putting to yourself a wrong question which will have only a wrong answer.

You have created the nation in your desire for self-worship, for self-glory and any answer to that will still be conditioned by your craving. An answer to a desire is in the desire itself. So the question is how to transcend the responses of individuality, of the mass or of the nation. You can go above and beyond them only through self-awareness in which the self, the cause of conflict, antagonism and ignorance, is observed disinterestedly and so understood and dissolved. The price of right thinking is its own reward.

Ojai, California
9th Public Talk 9th July, 1944