Question: We have been told that thought must be controlled to bring about that state of tranquillity necessary to understand reality. Could you please tell us how to control thought?
Krishnamurti: First, Sir, don't follow any authority. Authority is evil. Authority destroys, authority perverts, authority corrupts; and a man who follows authority, is destroying himself, and destroying also that which he has placed in a position of authority. The follower destroys the master, as the master destroys the follower. The guru destroys the pupil, as the pupil destroys the guru. Through authority you will never find anything. You must be free of authority to find reality. It is one of the most difficult things to be free of authority, both the outer and the inner. Inner authority is the consciousness of experience, consciousness of knowledge. And outward authority is the State, the party, the group, the community. A man who would find reality must shun all authority, external and inward. So, don't be told what to think. That is the curse of reading: the word of another becomes all-important.
The questioner begins by saying: 'We have been told.' Who is there to tell you? Sir, don't you see that leaders and saints and great teachers have failed, be cause you are what you are? So leave them alone. You have made them failures because you are not seeking truth, you want gratification. Don't follow anyone, including myself; don't make of another your authority. You yourself have to be the master and the pupil. The moment you acknowledge another as a master and yourself as a pupil, you are denying truth. There is no master, no pupil, in the search for truth. The search for Truth is important, not you or the master who is going to help you to find the truth. You see, modern education, and also the previous education, have taught you what to think, not how to think. They have put you within a frame, and that frame has destroyed you; because you seek out a guru, a teacher, a leader, political or other, only when you are confused. Otherwise you never follow anybody. If you are very clear, if you are inwardly a light unto yourself, you will never follow anyone. But because you are not, you follow, you follow out of your confusion; and what you follow must also be confused. Your elders, as well as yourself, are confused, politically and religiously. Therefore, first clear up your own confusion, become a light unto yourself, and then the problem will cease. The division between the master and the pupil is unspiritual.
Now, the questioner wants to know how to control thought. First of all, to control it, you must know what thought is and who is the controller. Are they two separate processes, or a joint phenomenon? You must first understand what thought is, must you not?, before you say, 'I will control thought; and also you must know what the controller is. Is there a controller without thought? If you have no thoughts, is there a thinker? The thinker is the thought, the thought is not separate from the thinker, they form a single process.
5th Public Talk 20th February 1949