Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Ommen Camp, Holland | 5th Public Talk 6th August, 1937

Questioner: What you say leads to a very materialistic form of life.

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by a materialistic form of life?
That there is only this life, that there is no reality, no God, that morality must be based on social and economic convenience, and so on. Now, what is the non-materialistic attitude towards life? That there is God, that there is a soul which continues, that there is a hereafter, that the individual holds within himself the spark of the eternal. What is the difference between the two, the materialistic and the religious?

Questioner: Both are beliefs.

Krishnamurti: But why then do you despise the materialistic form of life?

Questioner: Because it denies persistence.

Krishnamurti: You are merely reacting to prejudice. Your religious life is fundamentally an irreligious one. Though you may cover it up by talking about God, love, the hereafter, in your heart it means nothing, just so many phrases which you have learnt as the materialistic man has learnt his ideas and phrases. Both the religious and the materialistic mind are conditioned by their own prejudices which prevent the integral comprehension of truth and the communion with it.

Tags: belief, conditioning, understanding

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Religion, surely, is the uncovering of reality. Religion is not belief.
As long as mind is caught up in belief, there is no understanding, there is no freedom.
Truth is truth, one, alone; it has no sides, no paths; all paths do not lead to truth.
Freedom cannot be given; freedom is something that comes into being when you do not seek it;
Every habit, repetition, rituals strengthened by belief and dogma, sensory responses, can be and are refined, but the alert awareness, sensitivity, is quite another matter.
A satisfactory explanation, or a comforting belief, can put you soothingly to sleep; but is that what you want?
That is the nature of belief: taking for granted, accepting something to be true when your own enquiry, your own vitality, energy, has not found out, you believe.
Belief implies accepting as true what we don't know.
Do you agree with the teachings of Buddha?
By studying what we consider important in life, those things which we have accepted - the values, the standards, the beliefs, the innumerable things that we hold - by examining them, perhaps we shall find out the ways of our own thinking and thereby know ourselves.
All men, everywhere in the world have a belief, it does not matter what it is, and that belief guides their mind, whereas life should guide and not belief.
You have to believe in God only when there is no understanding, and you cannot have understanding by searching for it.
Where there is a search for comfort, security, there must be a pattern, a mould, in which we take shelter, and therefore we begin to preconceive what God must be, and what truth must be.
As beliefs separate people, condition people, keep them apart, so possessiveness, expressing itself as class-consciousness and growing into nationality, keeps people apart.
I hold that to have a belief is a limitation.
To really think, the mind must not be tethered to a belief.
To me, truth has no aspects; it is one, and that which is complete, whole, has no aspects.
To be a theist or an atheist, to me, are both absurd.
Belief is merely an escape from the present conflict.
Most minds have identified themselves with a belief, and therefore their thought is always circumscribed, limited by that belief or ideal;
Self-discipline implies a mind that is tethered to a particular thought or belief or ideal, a mind that is held by a condition;
Both the believer and the non-believer in God and immortality are wrong, because the mind cannot comprehend reality until it is completely free of all illusions.
Should not traditions, beliefs, dogmas be questioned?
Man is almost suffocated in the prison of false values, of which he is unconscious.
Your traditions and your beliefs are shelters under which you take cover in time of trouble.
When the mind is stagnant, drugged to sleep by beliefs, crippled by limitations, and is awakened by the movement of life, that awakening we call suffering.
To understand and awaken [this] harmonious intelligence, one must begin, not with assumptions and authoritative assertions, but negatively.
When people say that they believe in reincarnation, in immortality, in God, these are but emotional cravings which to them become objectified concepts and facts.
If you have beliefs, you are translating and moulding your experiences according to them, and so you are continuously forcing and limiting thought-emotion, and these limitations become the "I" process.
There are three conditions of mind: "I know", "I believe", and "I do not know."
We begin to discern what is true only when all want has ceased, for want creates beliefs, ideals, hopes, which are mere escapes.
For a man who is truly uncertain, there is hope;
Fundamentally, vicarious experience cannot have integral value.
To inquire into the unconditioned state when one's mind is limited is so utterly futile.
Surely that is another form of conditioning. How do you know that there is the real?
Are you conscious with your whole being that you are protecting yourself in some form or other through belief, acquisitions, virtue, ambition?
It is one of the illusions of the mind that creates the hope of something beyond its own darkness.
Belief and non-belief are definite hindrances to the understanding of reality;
Surely there is a difference between right thinking and right or conditioned thought.
We cannot assume anything, can we?
Questioner: Is not belief in God necessary in this terrible and ruthless world?
By accepting a belief, you exclude all other forms of thinking.
You believe and your belief is merely a condition imposed upon you because it gratifies you and gives you security in society, factually, psychologically and abstractly.
Question: What is the difference between belief and confidence?
If we recognise we are blind, we would be careful and would not make any dogmatic assertion about anything.
Why do you believe and what is there to believe? Do you believe that you are alive? Do you believe that you hear?
If you know God as an idea or as a formula it cannot be real.
To know that I have realized, you also must have realized.
Essentially we believe in order to be secure, not to get lost in the wood, to have a lighthouse, to have a point towards which thought is culminating, progressing, focussing.
The end is of the same nature as the means; if you use wrong means, you create wrong ends.
Are we aware of the fact that we have belief?
Millions of people can be made, by modern propaganda, to believe in anything - as it has been proved over and over again - in war, in nationalism, in butchery, in calling themselves Mohammedans or Hindus and killing each other.
Belief has no importance whatsoever, it is just a marvellous escape.
We use belief as the most gratifying means to guide ourselves.
In belief is implied authority, an authority either imposed by a society, by a tradition, or the authority through experience in oneself, the authority of memory.
A man who is very firmly fixed in a belief is not pliable; and only that which is pliable, is enduring.
To a man who is believing and seeks guidance, there is never a moment when there is an ending.
... there is no meeting ground between you who are full of beliefs, ceremonies and rituals, and I who am without them.
Beliefs throughout history have acted as a barrier between man and man, and any organization based on a belief must inevitably bring war between man and man as it has done over and over again.
As nationalism divides human beings, beliefs break up friendship and create animosity.
If you experience something directly, it would be experience not based on belief;
When belief becomes stronger than affection, stronger than love, when belief is more important than humanity and your whole make-up is one of belief - whether belief in God or in an ideology, in communalism or in nationalism - , obviously you are the very cause of destruction.
The mind can deceive itself and fabricate anything it wishes.
Please don't be on the offensive or the defensive; because, to understand you must explore, and exploration ceases when you are biased, when you are tethered to a tradition or to a belief.
Question: May we request you to state clearly whether there is God or not?
Truth is in the silent observation of what is, and it is truth that transforms what is.
Breaking through is not a matter of time.
Freedom is to stand alone, unattached and unafraid, free in the understanding of desire which breeds illusion.
Freedom cannot be given; freedom is something that comes into being when you do not seek it;
Your mind is conditioned right through; there is no part of you which is unconditioned.
The shallow are ever afraid of what they are; but what they are is the truth.
Can one see that the whole movement of this illusory memory, which appears so real, can end?
Will you please explain what you mean by awareness?
You cannot perceive if you do not ask the right question - and a right question has no answer, because it needs no answer.
When the mind is aware that it is conditioned and does not battle against it, only then is the mind free to give its complete attention to this conditioning.
Right education is surely finding a different way of life, setting the mind free from its own conditioning.
Any movement on my part, any movement, conscious or unconscious is the movement of conditioning
Whatever movement a conditioned mind makes, whatever movement a conditioned mind follows, it is still conditioned; therefore, one asks, can it remain completely with the fact alone and nothing else?
You will say that I have given you no constructive or positive instruction.
The past is the background of conditioned thought-action which is dominating and controlling the present and thereby creating a predetermined future.
Ignorance is the unawareness of the process of conditioning, which consists of the many wants, fears, acquisitive memories, and so on.
Please do not [at the beginning of these talks] expect an immediate solution for your various problems.
Desire can only recondition itself, reshape itself to a new pattern, but it will still be desire, giving birth to fear.
Memory, tradition, value imposed by society, religion, and personal experience, influence our discernment.
It is possible to be a true individual in the highest sense, only if one is not identified with any special conditioning.
When one has liberated oneself from society, group, race, family, and from all separative conditioning, and has become an undivided, integral being the problems which now torment the citizens of various particularized states will have utterly lost their significance.
Surely there is a difference between right thinking and right or conditioned thought.
We translate all experience in terms of our own conditioning, the deeper it is the more alertly aware must we be not to misread it.
You think that you are thinking.
[Experience] is always broken down to constitute a particular condition and therefore, there is never a complete action.
You then realise that you are alone and you have to be alone if you seek Truth.
With regard to every subject, you are misinformed, you are badly educated and badly conditioned; and you try to interpret life through this misinformation.
When your neighbour and yourself are each behind his own wall, how can you understand each other?
The problem at the present moment is: Can I, who am conditioned - whether by the left or by the right is irrelevant -, can I step out of that conditioning?
What is it that conditions you? What is it that limits thought? What is it that creates the pattern in which you are caught?
My thought, which is the outcome of yesterday, can respond only in terms of yesterday; and when it asks, 'how can I go beyond?', it is asking a wrong question.
Can one realize truth immediately, without preparation? I say yes - not out of some fancy of mine, not out of some illusion;
the explanation is never that thing which is explained, that is the word is never the thing.
We don't love children, because we have no love in our own hearts. We just breed children.
The essence of control is suppression.
A mind that is indifferent, is aware of the shoddiness of our civilization, the shoddiness of our thought, the ugly relationships;
Mere reformation of the pattern of society only alters the surface, it brings about a more respectable form of ambition.
Until I, in my relationship to you, understand myself, I am the cause of chaos, misery, destruction, fear, brutality.
Life itself has no system, for it is always in movement;
In the confusion and turmoil of life, in its continual bustle and conflict, every individual is caught.
Criticism is only of value in so far as it trains your observation so that it can eventually be turned on yourself.
Desire, which has been the driving force in man, has created a great many pleasant and useful things; desire also, in man's relationships, has created a great many problems and turmoil and misery - the desire for pleasure.
As fear cannot free itself through any means, for all its efforts spring from its own source, there must be the cessation of all intellectual safeguards.
Conflict at any level, at any depth, indicates immaturity.
There is no essential difference between the old and the young, for both are slaves to their own desires and gratifications.
Is it possible for the mind to be so attentive all the time, so sensitive that every challenge is answered completely and immediately, and to come to a state when there is no challenge and no response, when it is no longer in a state of experiencing?
There is a vast difference, then, between the mental examination of a fact and the understanding of that fact.
We are not concerned with individual salvation or individual liberation, or whatever the individual is trying to seek but rather with the whole movement of life, the understanding of the whole current of existence;
to observe means to observe without the interference of one's background; but one is the background - you follow?-one's whole being which looks is one's background - as a Christian, as a Frenchman, or as an intellectual.
Stillness cannot be cultivated, because if you cultivate a still mind, it is not a still mind, it is a dead mind.
When one merely understands intellectually, verbally or romantically or emotionally, it is just nothing at all.
In action born of choice there is no discernment, choice being calculation, a remembrance of incomplete action.
When you are awakened there is conflict, struggle. which you call suffering; but immediately you want to put away that struggle, that awakening;
In order to fight, you must know what you are fighting, so there must be understanding of the fundamental, not of the divisions between the false things.
Why do you want to eliminate self-consciousness?
Because what you can now discern as God must be limited, since your mind is circumscribed, held in bondage; therefore I will not describe that.
When you understand you don't seek to modify, to alter, to reform.
There is the reaction to environment when the mind does not understand the environment, and acts without understanding, thereby further increasing the limitation of environment
I doubt, if I may say so, that you really understand what I am saying, even intellectually;
There is either deep understanding or the creation of mere theory.
Truth, the beauty of reality, can be discerned only when the mind is fearless; not with the fearlessness of intellectuality, but of utter insecurity.
If you have beliefs, you are translating and moulding your experiences according to them, and so you are continuously forcing and limiting thought-emotion, and these limitations become the "I" process.
The problem of starvation is not solved by merely discovering its causes - the bad economic system, over-production, maldistribution, and so on.
I can give you [also] a very good explanation, but we are trying to go beyond mere explanations.
I have explained what I mean by understanding. This understanding is not an intellectual, analytical process.
Understanding is not brought about through the mere exertion of a one-sided will but through that experimental approach which has that peculiar quality of wholeness.
All overcoming is a form of ignorance and violence; only understanding can free thought from bondage.
To understand the complex causes of conflict and the desire to be free from it, requires not the mere will to be free, but constant awareness in our daily life.
I am talking of understanding which transcends reason and emotion.
What is of primary importance [then] is understanding, in whose wake follows compassion.
Understanding is not a reward; in the very moment of awareness it is born.
Surely there is a difference between right thinking and right or conditioned thought.
It is natural, is it not, to be depressed at this present time when there is so much killing, confusion and sorrow?
To merely deny craving, to merely oppose its many expressions is not to transcend it but to continue in it.
Compulsion does not create understanding, whether it is from outside or from within.
To understand there must be no judgment or comparison, no acceptance or denial, for all identification prevents that passive awareness in which alone the discovery of what is true is made.
These talks will be utterly useless if you do not experience as you are listening.
Condemnation, judgment and comparison do not bring the experience of understanding; on the contrary they will stop experience
In the outer world there is no hope, no clarity, no creative and renewing understanding, there is only bloodshed and confusion and mounting disaster.
Instead of trying to control these wandering thoughts become aware of them, think-out, feel-out every thought, comprehend its significance, however pleasant or unpleasant;
Search to understand, not to know; for in understanding, the dual process of the knower and the known ceases.
Understanding comes when your whole being is deeply and silently aware.
Without understanding oneself meditation becomes a process of self-hypnosis inducing experiences according to one's conditioning, one's belief.
Effort made to be free without the liberating action of Truth is still within the enclosing walls of the self.
If you saw the truth about self-expansion problems would begin to fade away.
Our difficulty lies in that we have built around ourselves conclusions which we call understanding.
Understanding is not substitution; mere change of patterns, of conclusions, does not yield understanding.
It is truth alone that frees, not the activity of will.
As we have got a very difficult subject to deal with it requires a great deal of patience and we must not jump to conclusions.
I am not here to give you ideas but on the contrary, I am here to discuss together with you if we can, seriously and earnestly, the problem of living.
We use the present as a passage to the future.
Understanding is a total responsibility of your entire being, a perception which comes to you of the entire picture and not of a part only.
When the mind is dull, it is unwilling to look at 'what is' but wants to change itself into something else, thus bringing another element into the problem.
[Understanding] involves change of will altogether and not merely change in will.
You cannot overcome a hindrance; the hindrance has to be understood by approaching it without condemnation, without judging, without a desire to alter it.
A truth, probably heard by you, ceases to be a truth when you merely repeat it; it will be a truth to you only when you, for yourself, have discovered it to be true.
As long as the mind is moving from the known to the known, it is 'dead', and a 'dead' thing cannot understand anything.
Is understanding to come through effort, or is there a state in which effort has ceased for understanding to be?
Why do we not realise that our pursuit of drunkenness, God or an ideal is only the pursuit of our escape from facing the actual, and therefore reduces us to a state of dullness and insensitivity?
Is not knowledge different from understanding and does the mere accumulation of knowledge yield understanding?
As it is, our existence is pretty awful and merely to understand verbally what is being said and use it as a pattern to translate everyday existence will not bring about understanding.
You will have understanding only when you consider the problem, when you accept it, look at it, become aware of its significance completely, and even love it.
If I want to understand what is, I must give my whole attention, my whole being to it and not be distracted by the opposites.
There is always in the 'thinker' a sense of permanency, a sense of continuity.
Most of you agree with what we have discussed so far in regard to the falseness of the trick played by the mind on itself; yet you have not seen the real depth of this problem and, therefore, it has not brought about clarification and transformation in you.
I am going to explain presently that truth can be understood instantaneously.
Outward action, when accomplished, is over, is static; and if the relationship between individuals, which is society, is not the outcome of inward revolution, then the social structure, being static, absorbs the individual, and therefore makes him equally static, repetitive.
Question: Can we realize on the spot the truth that you are speaking of, without any previous preparation?
Surely, meditation is understanding - meditation of the heart is understanding.
Self-knowledge is the beginning of meditation - not the knowledge that you pick up from my books, from authorities, from gurus, but the knowledge that comes into being through self-inquiry, which is self-awareness.
Peace can come into being only when the confusion which we have created is completely understood, not on the verbal level, but inwardly;
I cannot understand myself if I am tethered to anything - property, idea or thing.