Question: What is your view concerning religious, ceremonial, and occult practices - to mention only some activities that help mankind? Is your attitude to them merely one of complete indifference, or is it one of antagonism?
Krishnamurti: To take up such practices seems to me a waste of effort. When you say "practice", you mean following a method, a discipline, which you hope will give you the understanding of truth. I have said a great deal about this, and I have not the time to go into it fully again. The whole idea of following a discipline makes the mind and heart rigid and consistent. Having already laid down a plan of conduct and desiring to be consistent, you say to yourself, "I must do this and I must not do that", and your memory of that discipline is guiding you through life. That is, because of the fear of religious dogmas and the economic situation, you meet experiences partially, through the veil of these methods and disciplines. You meet life with fear, which creates prejudices; so there is incomplete understanding, and from this arise conflicts. And in order to overcome these conflicts you find a method, a discipline, according to which you judge, "I must" and "I must not." So, having established a consistency, a standard, you discipline yourself according to it through constant memory, and this you call self-discipline, occult practices. I say that such self-discipline, practice, this continual adjustment to a pattern or not adjusting to a standard, does not free the mind. What liberates the mind is meeting life fully, being fully aware, which does not demand practice. You cannot say to yourself, "I must be aware, I must be aware." Awareness comes in complete intensity of action. When you suffer greatly, when you enjoy greatly, at that moment you meet life with full awareness, and not with a divided consciousness; then you meet all things completely, and in this there is freedom.
With regard to religious ceremonies, the matter is very simple from my point of view. A ceremony is merely a glorified sensation. Some of you probably do not agree with this opinion. You know, it is with religious ceremonial as it is with worldly pomp: when a king holds court, the spectators are tremendously impressed and greatly exploited. The reason the majority of people go to church is to find comfort, to escape, to exploit and to be exploited; and if some of you have listened to what I have been saying during the last five or six days, you will have understood my attitude and action towards ceremonies.
"Is your attitude to them merely one of complete indifference, or is it one of antagonism?" My attitude is neither indifferent nor antagonistic. I say that they must ever hold the seed of exploitation, and therefore they are unintelligent and unrighteous.
4th Public Talk, 9th July 1933