Questioner: Do you not agree that man shall gain the kingdom of heaven through a life, like that of Jesus, wholly dedicated to service?
Krishnamurti: I hope you will not be shocked when I say that man will not gain the kingdom of heaven in this way.
Now, see what you are saying: 'Through service I shall obtain something that I want.' Your statement implies that you do not serve completely; you are looking for a reward through service. You say, 'Through righteous behavior I shall know God.' That is, you are really interested, not in righteous behavior but in knowing God, thus divorcing righteous from God. But neither through service, nor love, nor worship, nor prayer, but only in the very action of these, is there truth, God. Do you understand? When you ask, 'Shall I gain the kingdom of heaven through service?' your service has no meaning because you are primarily interested in the kingdom of heaven; you are interested in getting something in return; it is a kind of barter, as much of your life is.
So when you say, 'Through righteousness, through love, I shall attain, I shall realize,' you are interested in the realization, which is but an escape, a form of imitation; therefore, your love or your righteous act has no meaning. If you are kind to me because I can give you something in return, what significance has your kindness?
That is the whole process of our life - we are afraid to live. Only when someone dangles a reward before our eyes do we act, and then we act not for the sake of action itself, but in order to obtain that reward. In other words, we act for what we can get out of action. It is the same in your prayers. That is, because for us action has no significance in itself, because we think that we need encouragement in order to act rightly, we have placed before us a reward, something we desire, and we hope that enticement, that toy, will give us satisfaction. But when we act with that hope of reward, then action itself has no significance.
That is why I say that you are caught up in this process of reward and gain, this hindrance born of fear, which results in conflict. When you see this, when you become aware of this, then you will understand that life, behavior, service - everything - has significance in itself; then you do not go through life with the purpose of getting something else, because you know that action itself has intrinsic value. Then you are not merely a reformer, you are a human being, you know that life which is pliable and therefore eternal.
2nd Public Talk, 8th September, 1933