Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: Whom would you call a perfect teacher?

Krishnamurti: Obviously, not the teacher who has an ideal, nor he who is making a profit out of teaching, nor he who has built up an organization, nor he who is the instrument of the politician, nor he who is bound to a belief or to a country; but the perfect teacher, surely, is one who does not ask anything for himself, who is not caught up in politics, in power, in position. He does not ask anything for himself, because inwardly he is rich. His wisdom does not lie in books; his wisdom lies in experiencing, and experiencing is not possible if he is seeking an end. Experiencing is not possible to him for whom the result is far more important than the means; to him who wants to show that he has turned out so many pupils who have brilliantly passed exams, who have come out as first class M.A.s, B.A.s, or whatever it is. Obviously, as most of us want a result, we give scant thought to the means employed, and therefore we can never be perfect teachers. Surely, Sir, a teacher who is perfect must be beyond and above the control of society. He must teach and not be told what to teach, which means, he must have no position in society. He must have no authority in society, because the moment he has authority, he is part of society; and since society is always disintegrating, a teacher who is part of society can never be the perfect teacher. He must be out of it, which means, he cannot ask anything for himself; therefore, society must be so enlightened that it will supply his needs. But we don't want such an enlightened society, nor such teachers. If we had such teachers, then the present society would be in danger. Religion is not organized belief. Religion is the search for truth, which is of no country, which is of no organized belief, which does not lie in any temple, church, or mosque. Without the search for truth, no society can long exist; and while it exists, it is bound to bring about disaster. Surely, the teacher is not merely the giver of information, the teacher is one who points the way to wisdom; and he who points to wisdom is not the guru. Truth is far more important than the teacher. Therefore you, who are the seeker of truth, have to be both the pupil and the teacher. In other words, you have to be the perfect teacher to create a new society; and to bring the perfect teacher into being, you have to understand yourself. Wisdom begins with self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge, mere information leads to destruction. Without self-knowledge, the airplane becomes the most destructive instrument in life; but with self-knowledge, it is a means of human help. So, a teacher must obviously be one who is not within the clutches of society, who does not play power politics or seek position or authority. In himself he has discovered that which is eternal, and therefore he is capable of imparting that knowledge which will help another to discover his own means to enlightenment.

Public Talk, March 13th, 1948
Mumbai, India