Question: Since you do not seek followers, why then do you ask people to leave their religions and follow your advice? Are you prepared to take the consequences of such advice? Or do you mean that people need guidance? If not, why do you preach at all?
Krishnamurti: Sorry, I have never created such a thing as a follower. I have said to no one, "Leave your church and follow me." That would be but asking you to come to another church, into another prison. I say that by following another you become but a slave, unintelligent; you become a machine, an imitative automaton. In following another you can never find out what life is, what eternity is. I say that all following of another is destructive, cruel, leading to exploitation. I am concerned with the sowing of the seed. I am not asking you to follow. I say that the very following of another is the destruction of that life, that eternal becoming.
To put it differently, by following another you destroy the possibility of discovering truth, eternity. Why do you follow? Because you want to be guided, you want to be helped. You think that you cannot understand; therefore you go to another and learn his technique, and to his method you become a slave. You become the exploiter and the exploited, and yet you hope that by continually practising that method you will release creative thinking. You can never release creative thinking by following. It is only when you begin to question the very idea of following, of setting up authorities and worshipping them, that you can find out what is true; and truth shall free your mind and heart.
"Do you mean that people need guidance?" I say that people do not need guidance; they need awakening. If you are guided to certain righteous actions, those actions are no longer righteous; they are merely imitative, compelled. But if you yourself, through questioning, through continual awareness, discover true values - and you can only do this for yourself and none other - then the whole question of following, guidance, loses its significance. Wisdom is not a thing that comes through guidance, through following, through the reading of books. You cannot learn wisdom second hand, yet that is what you are trying to do. So you say, "Guide me, help me, liberate me." But I say, beware of the man who helps you, who liberates you.
"Why do you preach at all?" That is very simple: because I cannot help it, and also because there is so much suffering, so much joy that fades. For me there is an eternal becoming which is an ecstasy; and I want to show that this chaotic existence can be changed to orderly and intelligent co-operation in which the individual is not exploited. And this is not through an oriental philosophy, through sitting under a tree, drawing away from life, but quite the contrary; it is through the action which you find when you are fully awake, completely aware in great sorrow or joy. This flame of awareness consumes all the self-created hindrances that destroy and pervert the creative intelligence of man. But most people, when they experience suffering, seek immediate relief or try, through memory, to catch a fleeting joy. Thus their minds are constantly escaping. But I say, become aware, and you yourselves will free your minds from fear; and this freedom is the understanding of truth.
4th Public Talk, 9th July 1933