Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: Will you please talk about death? I do not mean the fear of death but rather the promise and hope which the thought of death must always hold for those who are aware throughout life that they do not belong.

Krishnamurti: Why are we concerned more with death than with living? Why do we look to death as a release, as a promise of hope? Why should there be more happiness, more joy in death, than in life? Why need we look to death as a renewal, rather than to life? We want to escape from the pain of existence into a promise and hope that the unknown holds. Living is conflict and misery and as we educate ourselves to inevitable death, we look to death for reward. Death is glorified or shunned depending on the travail of life; life is a thing to be endured and death to be welcomed. Again we are caught in the conflict of the opposites. There is no truth in the opposites. We do not understand life, the present, so we look to the future, to death. Will tomorrow, the future, death, bring understanding? Will time open the door to Reality? We are ever concerned with time, the past weaving itself into the present and into the future, we are the product of time, the past; we escape into the future, into death.

The present is the Eternal. Through time the Timeless is not experienced. The now is ever existent; even if you escape into the future, the now is ever present. The present is the doorway to the past. If you do not understand the present now, will you understand it in the future? What you are now you will be, if the present is not understood. Understanding comes only through the present; postponement does not yield comprehension. Time is transcended only in the stillness of the present. This tranquillity is not to be gained through time, through becoming tranquil; there must be stillness, not the becoming still. We look to time as a means to become; this becoming is endless, it is not the Eternal, the Timeless. The becoming is endless conflict, leading to illusion. In the stillness of the present is the Eternal.

But thought-feeling is weaving back and forth, like a shuttle, between the past, the present and the future; it is ever rearranging its memories; ever maneuvering itself into a better position, more advantageous and comforting to itself. It is forever dissipating and formulating and how can such a mind be still, creatively empty? It is continually causing its own becoming by endless effort, and how can such a mind understand the still being of the present? Right thinking and meditation only can bring about the clarity of understanding and in this alone is there tranquillity.

The death of someone whom you love brings sorrow. The shock of that sorrow is benumbing, paralysing, and as you come out of it you seek an escape from that sorrow. The lack of companionship, the habits that are revealed, the void and the loneliness that are uncovered through death cause pain, and you instinctively want to run away from it. You want comfort, a palliative to ease the suffering. Suffering is an indication of ignorance, but in seeking an escape from suffering you are only nourishing ignorance. Instead of blunting the mind-heart in sorrow through escapes, comforts, rationalizations, beliefs, be intensely aware of its cunning defence and comforting demands and then there will be the transformation of that emptiness and sorrow. Because you seek to escape sorrow pursues, because you seek comfort and dependence, loneliness is intensified. Not to escape, not to seek comfort, is extremely difficult and only intense self-awareness can eradicate the cause of sorrow.

In death we seek immortality; in the movement of birth and death we long for permanency; caught in the flux of time we crave for the Timeless; being in shadow we believe in light. Death does not lead to immortality; there is immortality only in life without death. In life we know death for we cling to life. We gather, we become; because we gather death comes, and knowing death we cling to life.

The hope and belief in immortality is not the experiencing of immortality. Belief and hope must cease for the immortal to be. You the believer, the maker of desire, must cease for the immortal to be. Your very belief and hope strengthen the self and you will know only birth and death. With the cessation of craving, the cause of conflict, there comes creative stillness and in this silence there is that which is birth-less and deathless. Then life and death are one.

Ojai, California
3rd Public Talk 1945