Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Ojai, California | 1st Public Talk, 1945

Questioner: I am sure most of us have seen authentic pictures in movies and in magazines of the horrors and the barbarities of the concentration camps. What should be done, in your opinion, with those who have perpetrated these monstrous atrocities? Should they not be punished?

Krishnamurti: Who is to punish them? Is not the judge often as guilty as the accused? Each one of us has built up this civilization, each one has contributed towards its misery; each one is responsible for its actions. We are the outcome of each other's actions and reactions; this civilization is a collective result. No country or people is separate from another; we are all interrelated; we are one. Whether we acknowledge it or not, when a misfortune happens to a people, we share in it as in its good fortune. You may not separate yourself to condemn or to praise.

The power to oppress is evil and every group that is large and well organized becomes a potential source of evil. By shouting loudly the cruelties of another country you think you can overlook those of your own. It is not only the vanquished but every country that is responsible for the horrors of war. War is one of the greatest catastrophes; the greatest evil is to kill another. Once you admit such an evil into your heart then you let loose countless minor disasters. You do not condemn war itself but him who is cruel in war.

You are responsible for war; you have brought it about by your everyday action of greed, ill will, passion. Each one of us has built up this competitive, ruthless civilization, in which man is against man. You want to root out the causes of war, of barbarity in others, while you yourself indulge in them. This leads to hypocrisy and to further wars. You have to root out the causes of war, of violence, in yourself, which demands patience and gentleness, not bloody condemnation of others.

Humanity does not need more suffering to make it understand but what is needed is that you should be aware of your own actions, that you should awaken to your own ignorance and sorrow and so bring about in yourself compassion and tolerance. You should not be concerned with punishments and rewards but with the eradication in yourself of those causes that manifest themselves in violence and in hate, in antagonism and ill will. In murdering the murderer you become like him; you become the criminal. A wrong is not righted through wrong means; only through right means can a right end be accomplished. If you would have peace you must employ peaceful means, and mass murder, war, can only lead to further murder, further suffering. There can be no love through bloodshed; an army is not an instrument of peace. Only good will and compassion can bring peace to the world, not might and cunning nor mere legislation.

You are responsible for the misery and disaster that exist, you who in your daily life are cruel, oppressive, greedy, ambitious. Suffering will continue till you eradicate in yourself those causes that breed passion, greed and ruthlessness. Have peace and compassion in your heart and you will find the right answer to your questions.

Tags: responsibility

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