Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Questioner: Some say that your teaching is only for the learned and the intellectual and not for the masses, who are doomed to constant struggle and suffering in daily life. Do you agree?

Krishnamurti: What do you say? Why should I agree or disagree? I have something to say, and I say it. I am afraid that it is not the learned who will understand. Perhaps this little story will make clear what I mean: Once a merchant, who had some time on his hands, went to an Indian sage and said, 'I have an hour to spare; please tell me what truth is.' The sage replied, 'You have read and studied many books. The first thing that you must do is to suppress all that you have learned.'

What I am saying is not only applicable to the leisured class, to the people who are supposed to be intelligent, well-educated - and I am purposely using the word 'supposed' - but also to the so-called masses. Who are keeping the masses in daily toil? The intelligent, those who are supposedly learned; isn't that so? But if they were really intelligent, they would find a way to free the masses from daily toil. What I am saying is applicable not only to the learned, but to all human beings. You have leisure to listen to me. Now you may say, 'Well, I have understood a little, and therefore I am going to use that little understanding to change the world.' But you will never change or alter the world that way. You may listen for a while and you may think that you have understood something, and say to yourself, 'I am going to use this knowledge to reform the world.' Such reform would be merely patchwork. But if you really understood what I am saying, you would create disturbance in the world - that emotional and mental disquiet from which there comes about the betterment of conditions. That is, if you understand, you will try to create a state of discontent about you, and that you can do only if you change yourself; you cannot do this if you think that what I say is applicable to the learned only, rather than to yourself. The man in the street is you. So the question is: Do you understand what I am saying?

If you are intensely caught up in conflict, you want to find out the cause of that conflict. Now if you are fully aware of that conflict, you will find that your mind is trying to escape, trying to avoid facing that conflict completely. It is not a question of whether or not you understand me, but whether you as an individual are completely aware, alive to confront life wholly. What prevents you from meeting life wholly? That is the point. What prevents you from meeting life wholly is the continual action of memory, of a standard from which arises fear.

Frognerseteren, Norway
1st Public Talk, 6th September, 1933