Question: Do you mean to say that there is no help for men when life grows difficult? Are they left entirely to help themselves?
Krishnamurti: I think, if I am not mistaken - if I am, please correct me - I think the questioner wants to know if there is not a source, a person or an idea, to which one can turn in time of trouble, in time of grief, in time of suffering.
I say there is no permanent source that can give one understanding. You know, to me the glory of man is that no one can save him except himself. Please, as you look at man throughout the world, you see that he has always turned to another for help. In India we look to theories, to teachers, for help. Here also you do the same. All over the world man turns to somebody to lift him out of his own ignorance. I say no one can lift you out of your own ignorance. You have created it through fear, through imitation, through the search for security, and hence you have established authorities. You have created it for yourselves, this ignorance that holds each one of you, and no one can free you except you yourselves through your own understanding. Others may free you momentarily, but as long as the root cause of ignorance exists, you merely create another set of illusions.
To me, the root cause of ignorance is the consciousness of "I", from which arise conflict and sorrow. As long as that "I" consciousness exists, there must be suffering from which no one can free you. In your devotion to a person or to an idea you may momentarily sever yourselves from that consciousness, but while that consciousness remains it is like a wound that is always festering. The mind can free itself from that ignorance only when it meets life wholly, when it experiences completely, without prejudice, without preconceived ideas, when it is no longer crippled by a belief or an idea. It is one of the illusions that we cherish, that someone else can save us, that we cannot lift ourselves out of this mire of suffering. For centuries we have looked for help from without, and we are still held by that belief.
5th September, 1933, Talk in University Hall.