Questioner: I had son who was killed in this war. He did not want to die. He wanted to live and prevent this horror being repeated. Was it my fault that he was killed?
Krishnamurti: It is the fault of every one of us that this present horror is going on. It is the outward result of our every day inner life of greed, ill will and lust, of competition, acquisitiveness and specialized religion. It is the fault of everyone who, indulging in these, has created this terrible calamity. Because we are nationalistic, singularistic, passionate, each one of us is contributing to this mass murder. You have been taught how to kill and how to die, but not how to live. If you wholeheartedly abhorred killing and violence in any form then you would find ways and means to live peacefully and creatively. If that were your chief and primary interest then you would search out every cause, every instinct that makes for violence, for hatred, for mass murder. Are you so wholeheartedly interested in stopping war? If you are then you must eradicate in yourself the causes of violence and killing for any reason whatsoever. If you wish to stop wars then there must take place a deep, inner revolution of tolerance and compassion; then thought-feeling must free itself from patriotism, from its identification with any group, from greed and those causes that breed enmity.
A mother told me that to give up these things would not only be extremely difficult but also would mean great loneliness and utter isolation which she could not face. So was she not responsible for untold misery? You might agree with her and so by your laziness, thoughtlessness, add fuel to the ever increasing flames of war. If, on the contrary, you attempted seriously to eradicate the causes of enmity and violence in yourself, there would be peace and joy in your heart which would have immediate effect about you.
We must re-educate ourselves not to murder, not to liquidate each other for any cause however righteous it may appear to be for the future happiness of mankind, for an ideology however promising; not merely be educated technically, which inevitably makes for ruthlessness; but to be content with little, to be compassionate and to seek the Supreme.
The prevention of this ever increasing destruction and horror depends on each one of us, not on any organization or planning, not on any ideology, not on the inventions of greater instruments of destruction, not on any leader but on each one of us. Do not think that wars cannot be stopped by so humble and lowly a beginning - a stone may alter the course of a river - to go far you must begin near. To understand the world chaos and misery you must comprehend your own confusion and sorrow, for out of these come the magnified issues of the world. To understand yourself there must be constant meditative awareness which will bring to the surface the causes of violence and hate, greed and ambition, and by studying them without identification, thought will transcend them. For none can lead you to peace save yourself; there is no leader, no system that can bring war, exploitation, oppression to an end save yourself. Only by your thoughtfulness, by your compassion, by your awakened understanding can there be established good will and peace.
10th Public Talk 16th July, 1944