Question: What do you mean by "religion"? I feel myself reunited to God through Christ. And through whom are you reunited to God?
Krishnamurti: I mean by religion, organized belief, creed, dogma and authority. That is one form of religion. Then there is the religion of ceremonies, which is but sensation and pageantry. Then there is the religion of personal experience. The first forces the individual to conform to a certain pattern for his own good through fear, through faith, dogma and creed. The second impresses divinity on the worshipper through show and pageantry. With the third, personal experience, we shall deal presently.
Now, organized religion must inevitably create divisions and conflict between men. You see this throughout the world. Hinduism, like Christianity, Buddhism and other organized religions, has its own peculiar beliefs and dogmas, which are almost impenetrable barriers between men, destroying their love. And what value, what significance have these religions, when they are fundamentally based on fear? If you discern the falseness of organized belief, that through any particular belief you cannot understand reality, nor through any authority whatsoever can intelligence be awakened, then you as individuals, not as an organized group, will free yourselves from this destructive imposition. This means that you must question from the very beginning the whole idea of belief; but this involves great suffering, for it is not a mere intellectual process. A man who only inquires intellectually into the question of belief shall find nothing but dust. If a man who is deeply suffering, questions this whole structure based on fear and authority, then he shall find those waters of life which shall quench his thirst.
Then there is that personal experience which is also called religious experience. It requires greater frankness, greater effort on our part to unravel the illusions that are connected with this. When there is so much confusion, misery and uncertainty, we want to find stabil- ity, peace and happiness. That is, instead of discerning the cause of this suffering, we want to run away from conflict to something that will give us contentment and constant hope. So with this craving we create and develop illusions that give us intense satisfaction, encouragement and happiness, whose sensation and thrill we generally call religious experience. If you really examine impersonally, without any prejudice, these so-called religious experiences, you will see that they are nothing but self-evolved compensations for suffering. So what people call religious experience is merely an escape into an illusion which they call a reality, in which they live, thinking that it is God, truth and so on. If you are suffering, instead of seeking happiness, the opposite, discern the fundamental cause of suffering, and begin to free yourself from that cause; then there is that reality which cannot be measured by words.
A mind that desires to understand truth must be free from these three illusions: from organized belief, with its authority and dogmas; from ceremonies, with their pageantry and sensation; and from those self-created illusions with their satisfactions and destructive happiness. When the mind is really without any prejudice, is not seeking a reward or cultivating a deity or hoping for immortality, then in that clear discernment there is the birth of reality.
2nd Public Talk 26th June, 1935