Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: When I listen to you, all seems clear and new. At home, the old, dull restlessness asserts itself. What is wrong with me?

Krishnamurti: What is actually taking place in our lives? There is constant challenge and response. That is existence, that is life, is it not? - a constant challenge and response. The challenge is always new, and the response is always old. I met you yesterday, and you come to me today. You are transformed, you are modified, you have changed, you are new; but I have the picture of you as you were yesterday. Therefore, I absorb the new into the old. I don't meet you anew, but I have yesterday's picture of you; so, my response to challenge is always conditioned. Here, for the moment, you cease to be a Brahmin, you cease to be high-caste, or whatever it is - you forget everything. You are just listening, absorbed, trying to find out. But, when you go out of this place, you become yourself - you are back in your caste, your system, your job, your family. That is, the new is always being absorbed into the old, into the old habits, customs, ideas, traditions, memories. There is never the new, for you are always meeting the new with the old - the challenge is new, but you meet it with the old. So, the problem in this question is, how to free thought from the old, so as to be new all the time? When you see a flower, when you see a face, when you see the sky, when you see a tree, when you see a car, when you see a smile, how are you to meet it anew? Why is it that we do not meet it anew? Why is it that the old absorbs the new, and modifies it; why does the new cease when you go home?

Now, the old response arises from the thinker. Is not the thinker always the old? Because your thought is founded on the past, when you meet the new it is the thinker who is meeting it; the experience of yesterday is meeting it. 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 the thinker? How to eradicate memory, not factual memory, but psychological memory, which is the accumulation of experience? Because, without freedom from the residue of experience, there can be no reception of the new. Now, to free thought, to be free of the thought process and so to meet the new, is arduous, is it not? Because, all our beliefs, all our traditions, all our methods in education, are a process of imitation, copying, memorizing, building up the reservoir of memory. That memory is constantly responding to the new; the response of that memory we call thinking, and that thinking meets the new. So, how can there be the new? Only when there is no residue of memory 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. Love is not residue, love is not experience, it is a state of being. Love is eternally new.

So, our problem is: Can one meet the new constantly, even at home? Surely, one can. To do that, one must bring about a revolution in thought, in feeling; and you can be free only when every incident is thought out from moment to moment, when every response is fully understood, not merely casually looked at and thrown aside. There is freedom from accumulating memory only when every thought, every feeling is completed, thought out to the end. That is, when each thought and each 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. Now, this is not theoretical, this is not impractical.

If you will try to think out every thought and every feeling, you will discover that it is extraordinarily practical in your daily life; for then you are new, and what is new is eternal, enduring. To be new is creative, and to be creative is to be happy; and a happy man is not concerned whether he is rich or poor, he does not care to what caste he belongs, or to what country. He has no leaders, no gods, no temples, and therefore no quarrels, no enmity. Surely, that is the most practical way of solving our difficulties in this present world chaos. It is because we are not creative, in the sense in which I am using that word, that we are so antisocial at all the different levels of our consciousness,

To be very practical and effective in our social relationship, in our relationship with everything, one must be happy; and there cannot be happiness if there is no ending, there cannot be happiness if there is a becoming. In ending there is renewal, rebirth, a newness, a freshness, a joy. But the new is absorbed into the old, and the old destroys the new, as long as there is background, as long as the mind, the thinker, is conditioned by his thought. To be free from the background, from the conditioning influences, from memory, there must be freedom from continuity; and, there is continuity as long as thought and feeling are not ended completely.

Sir, you complete a thought when you pursue the thought to its end, and thereby bring an end to every thought, to every feeling. Surely, love is not habit, memory; love is always new. There can be a meeting of the new only when the mind is fresh; and the mind is not fresh as long as there is the residue of memory. Memory is factual, as well as psychological. I am not talking of factual memory, but of psychological memory. As long as experience is not completely understood, there is residue, which is the old, which is of yesterday, the thing that is past; and the past is always absorbing the new and therefore destroying the new. It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.

Public Talk 8th February, 1948
Mumbai, India