Question: I have plenty of money. Can you tell me what is the right use of money? Only don't ask me to squander it by distributing coppers to the poor. Money is a tool to work with, not just a nuisance to be got rid of.
Krishnamurti: Sir, first, how do you have money? How do you accumulate money? Obviously, through exploitation, through cruelty, through barbarity. In the modern world, in which man is out for himself, obviously he must be clever, cunning, dishonest, ruthless, to accumulate money. Don't let us fool ourselves with all this; to be rich implies cruelty. Sir, don't you know that the rich man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven? It is as difficult for him as for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle. When you have accumulated money, what happens? You want to know how to use it; either you become a philanthropist, or you want to use it rightly. That is, you accumulate money wrongly, and then try to use it rightly. (Laughter.) Sirs, this is not a laughable matter. This is what we are doing. Don't laugh at the rich. You want to be rich too. You accumulate, and then want to know how to use money rightly. How can it be done, Sir?
But suppose I have been left money - thank God, I haven't - , suppose I have been left some money. What shall I do with it? What am I to do after getting money, how shall I use it? That is the problem. Shall I give it all away to the poor and become poor also, and be dependent on somebody else? Shall I keep a little, and give the rest away? Shall I use it as a right means to a right end? Shall I become a trustee of it? So, my problem is, having acquired or been left with that thing which is called money, what shall I do with it? Sir, it all depends on your heart, not on your mind; and a mind that has accumulated money is not a generous mind. It is a hard mind, and such a mind cannot deal with that which is material, except on its own level. Therefore, only a heart that knows love can solve this problem, not the mind, not a system. If you have love in your heart, you will know what to do with money - whether to give it all away, because you see it is a nuisance, or to act otherwise, according to the dictates of your heart. But to know the prompting of an affectionate heart is very difficult, especially for those who are rich, because you have never thought in those terms of action. You have always been accustomed to ruthlessness, to hardness; and to look at the problem with affectionate consideration is very difficult. So, more important than money, is love; and when you have money without love, then woe to you. Having money, and realizing that your heart is empty, the problem then is not money, but to awaken the spring, the perfume, the beauty of the heart; and when that is awakened, you will know how to act. Without love, merely to become a philanthropist is another form of exploitation. When there is love, then love will show the way to the rich man and also to the poor man. Because, Sir, love is the solvent; love is the only way out of this contradiction of being rich and knowing what to do with the riches. Without love, mere consideration of what to do with wealth becomes another form of escape from our own misery, our own strife, our own emptiness.
Public Talk, March 14th, 1948