Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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What does it mean to be serious?

Total Freedom | First Talk at Rajghat School, Varanasi, 1955

KRISHNAMURTI: That involves the whole problem of war and how to prevent war, does it not? Can we discuss that so as to clarify our own minds, pursue it seriously, earnestly, to the end and thereby know the truth of the matter completely?

What do we mean by peace? Is peace the opposite, the antithesis of war? If there were no war, would we have peace? Are we pursuing peace, or is what we call peace merely a space between two contradictory activities? Do we really want peace, not only at one level, economic or spiritual, but totally? Or is it that we are continually at war within ourselves, and therefore outwardly? If we wish to prevent war, we must obviously take certain steps, which really means having no frontiers of the mind because belief creates enmity. If you believe in communism and I believe in capitalism, or if you are a Hindu and I am a Christian, obviously there is antagonism between us. So, if you and I desire peace, must we not abolish all the frontiers of the mind? Or, do we merely want peace in terms of satisfaction, maintaining the status quo after achieving a certain result?

You see, I don't think it is possible for individuals to stop war. War is like a giant mechanism that, having been set going, has gathered great momentum, and probably it will go on and we shall be crushed, destroyed in the process. But if one wishes to step out of that mechanism, the whole machinery of war, what is one to do? That is the problem, is it not? Do we really want to stop war, inwardly as well as outwardly? After all, war is merely the dramatic outward expression of our inward struggle, is it not? And can each one of us cease to be ambitious? Because as long as we are ambitious, we are ruthless, which inevitably produces conflict between ourselves and other individuals, as well as between one group or nation and another. This means, really, that as long as you and I are seeking power in any direction, power being evil, we must produce wars. And is it possible for each one of us to investigate the process of ambition, of competition, of wanting to be somebody in the field of power, and put an end to it? It seems to me that only then can we as individuals step out of this culture, this civilization that is producing wars.

Let us discuss this. Can we as individuals put an end in ourselves to the causes of war? One of the causes is obviously belief, the division of ourselves as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, communists, or capitalists. Can we put all that aside?

Questioner: All the problems of life are unreal, and there must be something real on which we can rely. What is that reality?

KRISHNAMURTI: Do you think the real and the unreal can so easily be divided? Or does the real come into being only when I begin to understand what is unreal? Have you even considered what the unreal is? Is pain unreal? Is death unreal? If you lose your bank account, is that unreal? A man who says, ''All this is unreal; therefore, let us find the real,'' is escaping from reality.

Can you and I put an end in ourselves to the factors that contribute to war within and without? Let us discuss that, not merely verbally, but really investigate it, go into it earnestly and see if we can eradicate in ourselves the cause of hate, of enmity, this sense of superiority, ambition, and all the rest of it. Can we eradicate all this? If we really want peace, it must be eradicated, must it not? If you would find out what is real, what is God, what is truth, you must have a very quiet mind, and can you have a quiet mind if you are ambitious, envious, if you are greedy for power, position, and all that? So, if you are really earnest, really serious in wanting to understand what is true, must not these things be put away? Does not earnestness, seriousness, consist in understanding the process of the mind, of the self, which creates all these problems, and dissolving it?

Questioner: How can we uncondition ourselves?

KRISHNAMURTI: But I am showing you! What is conditioning? It is the tradition that has been imposed upon you from childhood, or the beliefs, the experiences, the knowledge that one has accumulated for oneself. They are all conditioning the mind.

Now, before we go into the more complex aspects of the question, can you cease to be a Hindu, with all its implications, so that your mind is capable of thinking, responding, not according to a modified Hinduism, but completely anew? Can there be in you a total revolution so that the mind is fresh, clear, and therefore capable of investigation? That is a very simple question. I can give a talk about it, but it will have no meaning if you merely listen and then go away agreeing or disagreeing. Whereas, if you and I can discuss this problem and go through it together to the very end, then perhaps our talking will be worthwhile.

So, can you and I who wish to have peace, or who talk about peace, eradicate in ourselves the causes of antagonism, of war? Shall we discuss that?