by Jiddhu Krishnamurti

As a cloud hurried by the winds across the valley, so is man wherever he be, hurried along through life. Man has no fixed purpose, man has no understanding of the meaning of life, but is as the clouds that have no resting place, that are chased from valley to valley, that have no quietude, no tranquillity, no peace. Man has no goal, he is blind to the purpose of life and there is chaos and disintegration in him, and hence in the world.

And what is the purpose of life? It is the freedom of life, the liberation of life from all things, the liberation which comes when you have gone through all experiences and are, therefore, beyond all experience. And I want to show you that in order to fulfil life, as I have fulfilled life, you must welcome to your heart every experience, however unpleasant, however delightful, so as to make your life full as the rain-drop. You are afraid of sorrow, thinking it something fearful, something of which you are ashamed. The experience of sorrow gives you strength, strength to sustain you in your struggle, which is also experience. Invite sorrow out of the abundance of your heart, and do not put it aside, for sorrow gives the perfume of understanding, is the creator of affection, and gives you immense sympathy with life. Sorrow and pleasure, evil and righteousness have a meaning if you have established the goal: for the goal gives constantly the aid of its understanding.

The attainment of Truth consists in unfolding life and in giving to life the fullest possible scope for its expression. To me the only goal, the only world which is eternal, which is absolute, is the world of Truth. A man who has seen this vision, even during his strife in the world, has established for himself this eternal goal. Though he may wander among the transient things, though he may lose himself among the shadows, yet all the time his life will be guided by this goal which is the freedom from all desires, from all experiences, from all sorrows, pain and struggle. For the one who desires to discover the eternal, the establishment of that goal is of primary importance; not the goal of another, not the vision of another, not the outcome of the sorrow of another, but the goal that is born of his own experience, his own understanding. Such a goal, when once he has established it, will throw light on the confusion of his thought and thereby make clear his purpose in life. I want to make this in your minds, as it is in mine, the very foundation for all thought and for all feeling.

When once you have realized that goal, whether you are an artist, a musician, an economist, or an educationalist, you are creating then in the shelter of eternity rather than in the shadow of the present. Most people in the world are caught up in the present. The present has become as a huge shadow, and within that shadow they are creating without the understanding of the Truth. But to understand the eternal they must know that Truth is one, life is one, although that life expresses itself in many ways. But people throughout the world are seeking unity in the expression of life rather than in life itself. Life has no temperament, life has no colour, life has no limitations, life has no barriers; these exist only for the one who tries to utilize life as the background, and not himself as the background, the canvas, upon which life will paint the picture.

I hold that the present chaos, anxiety and struggle, arise because life has been bound and maimed, and Truth has been limited and conditioned. Human beings throughout the world have put a limitation on Truth, they have stepped it down. (I use the term "stepped down" in its technical sense as electricity is stepped down in a powerhouse.) But Truth cannot be thus stepped down. People have placed a limitation on the Truth and so they have betrayed the Truth. The understanding of life has not been the predominating factor but rather the belief in innumerable doctrines, countless gods and religions. But the understanding of life is much more important, much more vital, than the bondage of innumerable creeds, religions, dogmas and theories.

You have had your various beliefs, you have adhered to your various dogmas, you have given your life and your thought to creeds and to the bondage of religions, and in all this you have not found the lasting happiness. You have moved from one limitation to another, from one narrow cage to perhaps a larger cage, but you have not had the desire to shatter all cages, to break the bars that limit, that destroy, that inflict sorrow. Because you have placed beliefs before life, creeds before life, dogmas before life, religions before life, there is stagnation. Can you bind the waters of the sea or gather the winds in your fist? Religion, as I understand it, is the frozen thought of men out of which they have built temples and churches. The moment you attribute to external authority a spiritual and divine law and order, you are limiting, you are suffocating that very life that you wish to fulfil, to which you would give freedom. If there is limitation, there is bondage and hence suffering. The world at present is the expression of life in bondage. So, according to my point of view, beliefs, religions, dogmas and creeds, have nothing to do with life, and hence have nothing to do with Truth.

The web of life is spun out of the common things of life, and those common things you can control. You can give them originality, you can create greatness out of them, or you can destroy them by lack of understanding. The web of life and the understanding thereof is in your own control, and not in the control of another. When you give over the control of your life to another there is unhappiness, there is authority which can be cut down like a tree, and the comfort of its shadow vanishes away.

By thus limiting and betraying the Truth, fear is caused in the mind and in the heart, the fear of good and evil, the fear of narrow morality, the fear of heaven and hell. And on that background of fear you paint innumerable beliefs that place a limitation on life. Because of this fear there is a desire to seek comfort. But I say to you, seek not comfort but understanding. The search for comfort is the bondage of life and the search for understanding is the freedom of life, and you can only gain that freedom through experience. How can there be any comfort other than the understanding of Truth? You want to attain without a struggle, without a tear. A spiritual drug store is what most people are looking for, antidotes for fears — that is why you look for external help to uphold you. You are afraid to face whatever weakness is yours; afraid to face yourself and conquer. Being inexperienced of great heights, of great solitudes, of loneliness, and of eternal life, you think that you must carry with you your friends, your qualities, your churches, your moralities, your dignities, your bonds, your rites and your religions. At these great heights you do not want such things.

In the shadow of the present man is caught, is entangled, and thereby creates sorrow. Life for him is a continual struggle, a continual strife, a continual jostle. To dig through the present to the eternal is the purpose of man. Every human being must go through the process of digging that tunnel, the tunnel which is the direct path to the attainment of life. And that tunnel, which is the only path to the fulfilment of life, lies within yourself. And in that tunnel you cannot turn back, for you have thrown behind you that which you have dug out. You cannot but go forward, and that going forward must be reached by the discovery of Truth, or else progress, as such, ceases. To go forward with the fixed determination in your minds, to discover the eternal beyond the shadow of the present, is the purpose of life.

And when once you have established for yourself this goal, which is the fulfilment of life, the freedom from all desires, from all experiences, from all sorrows, pain and struggle, then that digging through the tunnel becomes an ecstasy.

I know all the questions that will arise in your minds with regard to the things that cannot be reconciled with what I am saying. You will say: We have been told, — we have been urged, — this has been said, — we have been instructed, brought up in this fashion. Against that I have nothing to say. If you are thirsty you will drink the waters of the well; if you are not thirsty you will just pass by. And as the world is really thirsty, and perhaps some of you, it is better not to attempt to reconcile. Why do you want to reconcile? If you are trying to reconcile, you will be lost in the reconciliation. But if you want to understand the purpose of life and desire to experiment, then you must not be led across the lawn of life, the road of life by another.

As the parched lands await the rains that shall nourish, that shall give them cool shades and green lawns, so those who have a desire to understand life, but who have their hearts and minds parched, warped and usurped by fear, to them the tidings of freedom, the news of happiness and the way of attainment of the Truth should be welcome. But to welcome the shade, to welcome the green lawns and the tender leaves, they must have been burnt and have known the struggle, the anxiety of the lack of water. Those who have a desire to see the cool green, to enjoy the fresh breezes from the mountains when the rain comes, must utilize it to its fullest extent, they must be prepared to store it for many summers in their hearts and in their minds. Truth is the only balm, the precious ointment that shall cure the wounds of sorrow, the scars of experience; but if it is not truly taken to the heart and translated greatly by the mind, there will be a gross misunderstanding and a perversion of judgment. I am not concerned with how many followers there shall be of the Truth, but I am concerned with how many will understand the Truth and give of that Truth to every passer-by, I am concerned with those who will really drink of the waters of life rather than gather those waters in a small vessel, where they will stagnate, and then worship that stagnation.

And as I have found, as I have attained, and in me the Truth is well-established, I would show you the way of enlightenment: I would give the waters that shall quench your thirst, that shall bring forth green shoots from the dead stumps of yesterday. But before you can drink of those waters, you must understand intelligently, you must have your mind and your heart clean, unprejudiced, full, at whatever stage of life you may be.

Of the measure of that understanding each one must decide for himself. No one else can give you the knowledge of your advance, of your progress, of your attainment. If any one were able to do that it would be a betrayal of the Truth.

If a man has not ploughed and tilled his land, then when the rain comes it will not bring forth. But when a man has cultivated, has cared for and lovingly developed his land, then the rain shall bring to fruition the seeds he has sown,

This is not mystical or occult; Truth is neither mysticism nor occultism. Occultism and mysticism are the limitations which man puts upon Truth. Truth has nothing to do with the limitations you would impose upon it. You are concerned all the time with compromise, how to reconcile the Truth which I put before you with the lesser things that exist around you. Then there is struggle, there is renunciation and the discontentment not born out of intelligence.

Once in many centuries — this is not a threat or a promise or a hope which I am dangling in front of you for your enticement to Nirvana, heaven or happiness — once in many centuries a human being attains and gives of his understanding of that attainment; once in a hundred years the century plant, gathering its strength, puts forth its flower for the delight of every passer-by. If the passer-by is wise, eager in his search, and puts aside the things that are less important, that are secondary to the perfume of that flower, or to the understanding of him who has attained — if he desires to stop and take the perfume and the understanding to his heart and mind, he will find that with Truth there can be no compromise. It is with the little things, the things that are unessential that you can compromise. And as everyone in the world is concerned with this compromise, with the reconciliation of beliefs strongly instilled into him, the news of attainment, the perfume of freedom and of happiness, passes him by and leaves him parched, empty as a shell.

So I would that I could bind your mind and your heart — I am not using that word in its narrow sense — to the eternal Truth and not to those things that have been stepped down, and which are a betrayal of the Truth.

To the minds of most people it seems necessary to have an intermediary, an interpreter of the Truth. And I want to show that such a mediator must of necessity step down the Truth and that a mediator is unnecessary to life. By a mediator I mean a guru — that a guru, in its narrowest sense of the word is unnecessary, and that in order to have a criterion by which to judge our feelings and our thoughts it is easier. I hold, to use the goal itself as the mediator, as the ultimate guru, and not another, either a person or an ideal, which would help momentarily. Because I hold that the person who helps momentarily is stepping down the Truth, and that the danger of that stepping down of the Truth is the betrayal of the goal, of the ultimate. If each one, therefore, fixes his own goal, which is the goal of the world, and is hence thereby creating order, that will act as the guru, as the mediator, as a necessary requirement in helping each one to go towards the goal.

The manner of my attainment has been — that I have worshipped at every shrine, consciously or unconsciously in this life; I have followed, I have obeyed, I have put a limitation on that very thing which I wished to free. And I have watched others in that struggle to free, to fulfil life. I have seen multitudes in their struggle to free life oppressed by the desire of another. I have seen the people who are wise and yet who lack that eternal happiness, who are lonely because they have not fulfilled life, who are lonely though surrounded by a multitude because they have not realized or attained that life. I have watched all these things. And as with a river, it is the volume of water which drives it towards the sea, so I have been driven by the volume of my own experience, by my own understanding, and hence there has been fulfilment.

Because I am free, not conditioned by any belief, not held by any society, order, religion or creed — and again I say this in all sincerity, and I hope you will believe it in the understanding of your heart — I would make everyone free, not invite them to my particular cage — I have no cage. My fear is that because each one wishes to enter into a larger cage than his own, he will utilize what I am saying to make of it another cage. That would be the denial, would be the betrayal of Truth. I want, if I can, to show you the light, but you must light your own torch at the eternal flame. When once you have established understanding and affection within yourself, you will not be swept off your feet by the wind of authority or be caught up in the net of tradition or in the cloud of beliefs.

Because these ideas are new, there will be many who will hurl themselves against them, there will be many who will question, many who will criticise, many who by their cunning arguments, by their cleverness will upset you individually and hence upset your ideas. And I want this seed which is sown in the mind of each, to grow in spite of the constant winds that tear up, the constant storms that destroy. And to strengthen that seed which shall grow into a mighty tree for the protection of every passer-by, you must, from the very outset, invite doubt. Examine all your beliefs, all your theories, all your knowledge by inviting doubt, not by letting doubt creep into your heart. I hold that doubt is essential for the discovering and the understanding of the Truth. If you merely accept, without the invitation of doubt and its cruelty of examination, then what you have is not real. On a spring day you can watch, how on the roadside, there is a flower which has struggled to express itself all through the winter, and a boy comes along and tears it up and so it is destroyed. Likewise, if your knowledge has not withstood the cruelty of doubt, that knowledge, that understanding of the Truth will be of no value; and as a beautiful thing which a boy destroys, so will all your structure be destroyed. So, to establish that understanding of the Truth for yourselves, you will have to invite doubt and not shun it, but let it come with its tremendous harshness and cruelty, and examine yourselves by that and scrutinize the very knowledge which you are supposed to have gained. For I tell you that orthodoxy is set up when the mind and the heart are in decay. But when the mind and the heart in their fullness invite doubt, then there shall be no orthodoxy, there shall be no authority, there shall be no small, petty beliefs in personalities. You are all, at present, in that stage when you can easily be upset, when all your theories, or rather your new understanding of the Truth will break before the storm of doubt. Because I hold that so far you have worshipped personalities, so far you have held the Truth in the vessels created by humanity, and you have not worshipped the principle itself, the Truth itself. You have only worshipped the Truth that is partially contained in a human individual. But when you invite doubt, it is as the rain that washes away the dust of tradition, which is the dust of the ages, the dust of belief, and leaves you certain of those things which are essential, and the things that are valueless, that are of no importance, are washed away.

You can all be made to doubt by another, doubt the very knowledge, the very understanding that you may have gathered out of your suffering. But doubt which is not of your own does not purify; it only strengthens your narrow beliefs, it only gives permanence to your narrow form of worship of personalities, of clinging to something which is for the moment a comfort and hence a betrayal of the Truth. But if you have invited doubt in the fullness of your heart to test that understanding of the Truth of which you have caught a glimpse, then doubt that very doubt, what remains will be pure, absolute and final.

After all, what I am saying does not depend on Krishnamurti, is not of any person, is not the creation of an individual, but it is the eternal Truth. And in order to understand the absolute and the eternal, you must have had the shadow of doubt cast upon your understanding. And as most people are afraid of doubt, think that it is a crime, a sin, they put doubt away from their minds, and hence grow strong in their narrowness, in their pettiness, in their worship of personalities, in their shelters which breed decay and comfort. Whereas, if you invite doubt into your heart and into your mind, and if you pursue that doubt logically into all the corridors, avenues and shades of the mind and the heart, and relentlessly scrutinize and examine all things, then what remains will be of your own knowledge and hence the absolute, the eternal.

Because 1 have always been doubting, rejecting all things, accepting only those things that have value in the light of the eternal, only taking the kernel and not the frills of the Truth that has been stepped down, only by rejecting personalities and putting aside the pictures that the world worships, I have been able to grow. And when I invited the final doubt, so that it might destroy the very creation that had grown through small doubts, what remained was the Truth without end, the life that is not bound by any barriers, the happiness which cannot be destroyed by any shadows. And as I am certain of my knowledge and of my attainment, so would I make you certain of your knowledge, of your future or present attainment. And if you have the understanding, if you have the courage to invite doubt, then you will be the true disciples of the Truth and not the disciples of an individual — as you are at present. If this individual called Krishnamurti goes away, you will be caught up again in your old traditions, in your old beliefs, in your old forms of worship of personalities, and you will be held in the machinery that is stepping down the Truth.

So I want you to invite doubt and with that doubt logically to examine all that you hold as dear, precious and most vital. And you will realize that all that you hold, your beliefs, your traditions, your second-hand knowledge, passes away, and you will destroy the great structure which you have built vainly, uselessly through the ages. After all, that is what you have to face all the time through life. You do not cling to something that you have built in the past, you do not hold to beliefs that are no longer useful, you no longer take to your heart the personality that has stood between you and your Truth, if you are a true seeker of the understanding of life, which is the Truth and hence eternal happiness. Then these barriers of beliefs, these barriers of personalities and their small understandings, these barriers of authorities and their shelters of decay, will all disappear. Then only will you be able to understand, then only will you be certain, so that you can give the waters of life, which shall quench the thirst of the world.

And the only manner of attainment, of gaining the Truth, is not to be caught up in the shelter of half-truths. The way to the eternal Truth lies in the setting aside of your beliefs and your dogmas, your half-understandings and your timid visions of the Truth: by always rejecting, by always asking; not by being contented, not by merely worshipping personalities and those that are established in the temples, those that are standing between you and the Truth. You must tear away everything in order to find, doubt everything in order to discover. And then only shall the waters of life flow through the entire world and not, as happens in the desert, after a while disappear into the sands.

I do not want you to worship me: I do not want you to believe in the things that I say; I do not want you to create out of me a shrine for your shelter; I do not want you to use me as a crutch; because what you see of me, this personality, this body, is the most unreal, decaying, perishing thing. But when you have understood what lies behind this form, which can only be done by inviting doubt, by constantly rejecting, and in that way establishing within yourself the knowledge of Truth — then only will you be able always to give the Truth in its pristine beauty, without stepping it down. You can see how, throughout the ages, the so-called disciples of the Truth have worshipped personalities, and in worshipping personalities and in urging others to do the same, they have stepped down the Truth and hence they have betrayed the Truth. You all know a very famous saying of the Lord Buddha. He said: Even though I say it. it is not true to you if you do not understand it. And because they have not followed that saying and only worshipped the personality, the form that contained the Truth, they have got all the complexities of beliefs, the warping created by prejudice, the pettiness of worship, the narrowness of shrines. And if you go out — as you have to go out — and give this new idea, and stand, not upon any authority, but upon your own understanding of the Truth, — then you will not betray it, you will not be stepping it down, you will not be creating useless shelters and vain decaying images that only give half-truths, and not the Truth in its entirety. Then you are beyond doubt and that is the criterion of a truly civilized man.

By a civilized man I do not mean a man who has mastered the machinery of modern life. Civilization is the outcome of that culture which is the distinctive expression of the individual perception of Truth.

A civilized man must first of all not ask anything for himself from anyone, and must not want anything for himself. That is the first requirement, according to my point of view, for a civilized man, a cultured man. Now, if he must not ask anything from another, it means that he is a standard unto himself, a lamp unto himself, and then he will cast no shadow across the path of another. He is not limited by fear of external authority, by the fear of an unknown god, by superstitions, by traditions, because the moment he relies upon another, his perception of the Truth will diminish.

Then, he must be dominated by intuition, which is the highest point of intelligence — by intelligence I mean the accumulation, the residue of all experience, — and from that comes intuition. And if you would awaken that intuition, which must of necessity be the only guide, the only influence, you must keep your intelligence enthusiastically awakened.

Then, a civilized man, a cultured man must be tolerant, must be able to discuss any subject impartially, without prejudice, he must be unbiased, capable of a critical examination of anything new before rejecting or accepting it. Most people in the world are dominated by fear, fear of the unknown, fear of superstition, fear of prejudice, fear of desires, fear of gods, fear of beliefs, systems, philosophies. A civilized or cultured man must have no fear, because I hold that the truly cultured man, in the right sense of the word in which I am using it, is the highest form of spiritual attainment. Such a man has truly attained, such a man has truly taken to his heart the waters of life. And as the waters wander, so he wanders in the world, desiring nothing, fearing nothing, wanting nothing for himself. And that can only be arrived at if the goal is the final arbiter, the final authority. Such a man is simple, such a man is pure. He is clear and calm as the mountain in the morning, because he has arrived where he is absolutely free from all experience, because he has been through every experience. Such a man has fulfilled his life, because he has let life paint the picture it wishes, and not he, by his narrowness, by his limitations, warped and corrupted life.

To climb high, you must begin low. To go far, you must begin near. To reach the mountain-top you must first pass through the shadows of the valley.

And, oh friend, because I have wandered in the valley, because I have dwelt among the shadows, because I have suffered and I have loved, out of the fullness of my heart I would tell you that the direct path is the only path, that the simple union is best. And when you have understood this path. when you have achieved this union, time and all the complications of time will cease. Then you will be your own Master, your own God, your own Light. And when once you have realized that, all other things will be secondary and hence unnecessary.

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