By Life Positive
Had he not abdicated, the throne of the biggest spiritual guru of modern times would have been his. While other gurus struggle to build their organizations, a worldwide platform, The Order of the Star of the East, was offered to Jiddu Krishnamurti on a platter by Theosophical Society chieftains Annie Besant and H.W. Leadbeater. They had groomed him since childhood to be a ready vehicle for Lord Maitreya to in carnate. The twist in their script came when Krishnamurti had a profound spiritual awakening.
What he later taught stemmed from his personal realization: that truth cannot be reached by any path, religion or sect. To find it, the seeker must strive to ascend to it through his own discovery. It is possible by casting aside past conditioning, and stilling thought that impedes awareness of what is.
By 1930, Krishnamurti had dissociated himself from the Order and the Theosophical Society. Ironically, though he had refused messiah hood, he went on to become a world-renowned teacher, giving talks occasioned by profound insights into the deepest questions of humanity. He never quoted earlier masters, nor threw the scriptures at you. His style, his compassion and the psychological nature of his inquiry are reminiscent of the Buddha.
A sage-like figure, Krishnamurti died in 1986 in Ojai, USA, at the age of 91. Today, Krishnamurti Foundations continue to disseminate his teachings, and the seven Krishnamurti schools—five in India, set up at his behest—offer his approach to learning and self-discovery. The following excerpt has been taken from Krishnamurti’s Commentaries on Living.
THE KNOWN AND THE UNKNOWN
The long evening shadows were over the still waters, and the river was becoming quiet after the day. Fish were jumping out of the water, and the heavy birds were coming to roost among the big trees. There was not a cloud in the sky, which was silverblue. A boat full of people came down the river; they were singing and clapping and a cow called in the distance. There was the scent of evening. A garland of marigold was moving with the water, which sparkled in the setting sun. How beautiful and alive it all was—the river, the birds, the trees and the villagers.
We were sitting under a tree, overlooking the river. Near the tree was a small temple, and a few lean cows wandered about. The temple was clean and well swept, and the flowering bush was watered and cared for. A man was performing his evening rituals, and his voice was patient and sorrowful. Under the last rays of the sun, the water was the color of newborn flowers.
Presently someone joined us and began to talk of his experiences. He said he had devoted many years of his life to the search for God, had practiced many austerities and renounced many things that were dear. He had also helped considerably in social work, in building a school, and so on. He was interested in many things, but his consuming interest was the finding of God; and now, after many years, his voice was being heard, and it guided him in little as well as big things. He had no will of his own, but followed the inner voice of God. It never failed him, though he often corrupted its clarity; his prayer was ever for the purification of the vessel, that it might be worthy to receive.
Can that which is immeasurable be found by you and me? Can that which is not of time be searched but by that thing which is fashioned of time? Can a diligently practiced discipline lead us to the unknown? Is there a means to that which has no beginning and no end? Can that reality be caught in the net of our desires? What we can capture is the projection of the known; but the unknown cannot be captured by the known. That which is named is not the unnamable, and by naming we only awaken the conditioned responses. These responses, however noble and pleasant, are not of the real. We respond to stimulants, but reality offers no stimulant: it is.
The mind moves from the known to the known, and it cannot reach out into the unknown. You cannot think of something you do not know; it is impossible. What you think about comes out of the known, the past, whether that past be remote, or the second that has just gone by. This past is thought, shaped and conditioned by many influences, modifying itself according to circumstances and pressures, but ever remaining a process of time. Thought can only deny or assert, it cannot discover the new.
Thought cannot come upon the new; but when thought is silent, then there may be the new—which is immediately transformed into the old, into the experienced, by thought. Thought is ever shaping, modifying, coloring according to a pattern of experience. The function of thought is to communicate but not to be in the state of experiencing. When experiencing ceases, then thought takes over and terms it within the category of the known. Thought cannot penetrate into the unknown, and so it can never experience reality.
Disciplines, renunciations, detachments, rituals, the practice of virtue—all these, however noble, are the process of thought; and thought can only work towards an end, towards an achievement, which is ever the known. Achievement is security, the self-protective certainty of the known. To seek security in that which is nameless is to deny it. The security that may be found is only in the projection of the past, of the known.
For this reason the mind must be entirely and deeply silent; but this silence cannot be purchased through sacrifice, sublimation or suppression. This silence comes when the mind is no longer seeking, no longer caught in the process of becoming. This silence may not be built up through practice. This silence must be as unknown to the mind as the timeless; for if the mind experiences the silence, then there is the experiencer who is cognizant of a past silence; and what is experienced by the experiencer is merely a self-projected repetition. The mind can never experience the new, and so the mind must be utterly still. The mind can be still only when it is not experiencing, that is, when it is not terming or naming, recording or storing up in memory.
This recording is a constant process of the different layers of consciousness, not merely of the upper mind. But when the superficial mind is quiet, the deeper mind can offer up its intimations. When the whole consciousness is free from all becoming, which is spontaneity, then only does the immeasurable come into being. The desire to maintain this freedom gives continuity to the memory of the becomer, which is a hindrance to reality. Reality has no continuity; it is from moment to moment, ever new, ever fresh. What has continuity can never be created.
The upper mind is only an instrument of communication; it cannot measure the immeasurable. Reality is not to be spoken of; when it is, it’s no longer reality. This is meditation.
It was a powerful motor and well tuned; it took the hills easily, without a stutter, and the pickup was excellent. The road climbed steeply out of the valley and ran between orchards of orange and tall, wide-spreading walnut trees. On both sides of the road the orchards stretched for full 40 miles, up to the very foot of the mountains. Becoming straight, the road passed through small towns, and then continued into the open country, which was bright green with alfalfa. Again winding through many hills, the road finally came out on to the desert.
It was a smooth road, the hum of the motor was steady, and the traffic was very light. There was an intense awareness of the country, of the occasional passing car, of the road signals, of the clear blue sky, of the body sitting in the car; but the mind was still. It was not the quietness of exhaustion, or of relaxation, but a stillness that was very alert. There was no point from which the mind was still; there was no observer of this tranquility; the experiencer was wholly absent. Though there was desultory conversation, there was no ripple in this silence. One heard the roar of the wind as the car sped along, yet this stillness was inseparable from the noise of the wind, from the sounds of the car, and from the spoken word. The mind had no recollection of previous stillness; it did not say: ‘This is tranquility.’ There was no verbalization, which is only the recognition and the affirmation of a somewhat similar experience. Because there was no verbalization, thought was absent.
There was no recording and therefore thought was not able to pick up the silence or to think about it; for the word ‘stillness’ is not stillness. When the word is not, the mind cannot operate, and so the experiencer cannot store up as a means of further pleasure. There was no gathering process at work, nor was there approximation or assimilation. The movement of the mind was totally absent.
The car stopped at the house. The barking of the dog, the unpacking of the car and the general disturbance in no way affected this extraordinary silence. The wind was among the pines, the shadows were long, and a wildcat sneaked away among the bushes. In this silence there was movement, and the movement was not a distraction. There was no fixed attention from which to be distracted. There is distraction when the main interest shifts; but in this silence there was absence of interest, and so there was no wandering away. Movement was not away from the silence but was of it. It was the stillness, not of death , but of life in which there was a total absence of conflict.
With most of us, the struggle of pain and pleasure, the urge of activity, gives us the sense of life; and if that urge were taken away, we should be lost and soon disintegrate. But this stillness and its movement was creation ever renewing itself. It was a movement that had no beginning and so had no ending; nor was it a continuity. Movement implies time; but here there was no time. Time is yesterday and tomorrow; but in this stillness all comparison ceased. It was not a silence that came to an end to begin again.
If this silence were an illusion the mind would have some relationship to it, it would either reject it or cling to it, reason it away or with subtle satisfaction identify itself with it; but since it has no relationship to this silence, the mind cannot accept or deny it. The mind can operate only with its own projections, with the things, which are of itself; but it has no relationship with things that are not of its origin. This silence is not of the mind, and so the mind becomes identified with it. The content of this silence is not to be measured by words.
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