Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: After listening to your talk about memory, I have completely lost mine, and I find I cannot remember my huge debts. I feel blissful. Is this liberation?

Krishnamurti: Ask the person to whom you owe the money. I am afraid that there is some confusion with regard to what I have been trying to say concerning memory. If you rely on memory as a guide to conduct, as a means of activity in life, then that memory must impede your action, your conduct, because then that action or conduct is merely the result of calculation, and therefore it has no spontaneity, no richness, no fullness of life. It does not mean that you must forget your debts. You cannot forget the past. You cannot blot it out of your mind. That is an impossibility. Subconsciously it will exist, but if that subconscious, dormant memory is influencing you unconsciously, is moulding your action, your conduct, your whole outlook on life, then that influence must ever be creating further limitations, imposing further burdens on the functioning of intelligence.

For example, I have recently come from India; I have been to Australia and New Zealand where I met various people, had many ideas and saw many sights. I can't forget these, though the memory of them may fade. But the reaction to the past may impede my full comprehension in the present, it may hinder the intelligent functioning of my mind. That is, if my experiences and remembrances of the past are becoming hindrances in the present through their reaction, then I cannot comprehend or live fully, intensely, in the present.

You react to the past because the present has lost its significance, or because you want to avoid the present; so you go back to the past and live in that emotional thrill, in that reaction of surging memory, because the present has little value. So when you say, "I have completely lost my memory", I am afraid you are fit for only one place. You cannot lose memory, but by living completely in the present, in the fullness of the moment, you become conscious of all the subconscious entanglements of memory, the dormant hopes and longings which surge forward and prevent you from functioning intelligently in the present. If you are aware of that, if you are aware of that hindrance, aware of it at its depth, not superficially, then the dormant subconscious memory, which is but the lack of understanding and incompleteness of living, disappears, and therefore you meet each movement of environment, each swiftness of thought anew.

Ojai, California
10th Public Talk 29th June, 1934