Question: Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?
Krishnamurti: The idea of the soul is based on authority and hope. Please, before I go further into this, don't be on the defensive. We are trying to find out what is true, not what is traditional, not what you believe; so we must first inquire if there is such a thing as the soul. To discern, you must come without prejudice, either for or against it.
We have created through our desire for immortality, the idea of the soul. As we think that we cannot understand this world, with all its agonies, miseries and exploitations, we want to live in another world more fully, more completely. We think that there must be some other entity which is more spiritual than this. The idea of the soul is based fundamentally on egotistic continuance.
Now reality or truth or God, or whatever name you like to give to it, is not egotistic, personal consciousness. When you seek security, continuance, you think of the soul as different from reality. Having created this separation you ask, "is it immortal?" When the mind is free from its limited consciousness, with its desire for continuance, then there is immortality, not of personal, individual continuance, but of life.
Illusion can divide itself into many, but truth cannot. As the mind creates illusion, it divides itself into the permanent, which it calls the soul, and the impermanent, the transient existence. This division merely creates further illusion.
When the mind is free from all limitation, there is immortality. But you have to discern what are the limitations that prevent the mind from living completely. The very desire for continuance is the greatest of limitations. This desire is the outcome of memory which acts as a guide, as a warning of self-protection against life, experience. Out of this is born the force that makes you imitate, conform, submit yourself to authority, and so there is constant fear. All this goes to make up the idea of the 'I' which craves for continuance. When the mind is free from this egotism, which expresses itself in many ways, then there is reality, or call it what you will. When there is that sense of Godhood, you do not belong to any religion, to any set of people, to any family. it is only when you have lost that sense of Godhood that you become religious, and submit yourself to all the absurdities and cruelties, to exploitation and suffering. As long as mind is not vulnerable to the movement, to the swift current of life. there cannot be reality. Mind must be utterly naked, unprotected, to follow the wanderings of truth.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
3rd Public Talk 19th July, 1935