Question: Is the soul a reality?
Krishnamurti: Again I would ask the audience to listen without prejudice, without bigotry, to this point. When you talk about the "soul", you mean a something between the material and the spiritual, between body and God. So you have divided life into matter, spirit, and God. Isn't that so? If I may say this, you who talk about "soul", know nothing about it, you are accepting it merely on authority, or it is based on some hope, on some unfulfilled longing. You have accepted on authority many fundamental ideas, as you have accepted "soul" to be a reality.
Please consider what I am going to say, without any prejudice either in favour of or against the idea of soul, and without any preconceived ideas, in order to discover what is true. The only actuality of which we are fully cognizant, with which we have to concern ourselves, is suffering; we are conscious of that constant unfulfillment, limitation, incompleteness which causes conflict and suffering. This consciousness of sorrow is the only actuality from which you can start, and it is only in understanding the cause of suffering and being intelligently free from it, that there comes the ecstasy of reality. When the mind has disentangled itself from all illusions and hopes, then there is the bliss of reality
Through all this conflict and misery, one feels that there must be a reality, a God, an infinite intelligence, or whatever one may call it. That feeling may be merely a reaction from this agony, and therefore unreal, and so its pursuit must lead to ever increasing illusions; or it may be the intrinsic desire to discover truth which cannot be measured or systematized. If we can discover what creates conflict and who is the creator of sorrow, then in uprooting the cause of this there can be the true felicity of man. This almost ceaseless battle, this seemingly unending sorrow, is created by that limited consciousness which we call the "I". We have created about ourselves many false values, false ideals, to which the mind has become a slave. There is a constant struggle taking place between these illusions and the present, and there must ever be conflict as long as these self-protective illusions exist. This conflict creates in our minds the idea of the particular, the "I". So from this limited consciousness arises division as the "I", the impermanent, and the "I", the permanent, the eternal. When the mind is wholly free from the self-protective illusions and false values which are the cause of limited consciousness and of its many stupidities, then each one shall realize for himself whether there is truth or not.
If I merely said there is a soul, I should but add another belief to your many beliefs. So of what value would it be? Whereas, the only actuality of which we are conscious is this struggle, this suffering, this exploitation to which we have become slaves; and in intelligently freeing ourselves, not escaping from it, we shall discern the lasting in the transient, the real in the illusion.
Public Talk 28th May, 1935