Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Madras, India. | Public Talk 22nd October, 1947

Question: Mahatma Gandhi and others believe that the time has come when men of goodwill, the just, the wise men should join together to organize to fight the present crisis. Are you not escaping from this duty as most of our spiritual leaders are doing?

Krishnamurti: It is obviously necessary that men of goodwill all over the world should come together. That goes without saying. But how can they come together. We want to do something fundamentally and also peacefully. Our function is to do something because we are good at heart. But individually the good at heart have also formulae. They want to act in a certain way and then we begin. Then we find we cannot get on. Men of goodwill should not have formulae. They should be above formulae and not be part of any system. And that is where we find the difficulty. First of all I do not believe in leadership. I think the very idea of leading somebody is antisocial, anti-spiritual, and with that idea I wish to explain my position.

First of all, as I said during the talk, any action on the edge of the precipice will only create further confusion for the very reason that we are at the edge of the precipice, that we are confused. And action out of confusion cannot produce good results but will only further the confusion. So what we can do is to move away from the confusion, that is, the confusion within ourselves. And that is what I am doing; moving away from confusion, political, spiritual, psychological and helping those who want to withdraw from that confusion. But in order to understand the confusion they must look at it and it requires enormous thinking. Surely such a person is not an escapist. How can you act when you yourself are in confusion? How can you bring about clarity if you are blind and how can you lead anybody? When a man realizes that he is blind and confused he should first free himself from confusion and from those bondages which are binding and blinding him. To act without the clarification is to create further misery and the idea of following is really very important. The idea of having a leader should be really understood. We have been led, socially, economically, religiously by our leaders. You may ask negatively: but for them, what would have been our condition? Is it not an important question to ask? is it not the fact that we are being led which shows our incapacity to think for ourselves, to live rightly for ourselves. We depend on somebody to tell us how to act, how to think, in other words our system of upbringing is based on what to think and not how to think and hence we need leaders. And I assure you the present chaos does not demand new leaders. It does demand something totally different, that is, for each individual to become a light to himself and not be dependent on somebody else. And that requires great effort and understanding on the part of each one of us.

So, men of goodwill are many in the world. If you really come down to facts you and I are men of goodwill at moments. We want to live peacefully in the world. But so many influences and conditions have overpowered us and it is from these we have to free ourselves. That depends naturally on each one of us and not on somebody else. So, that means that men of goodwill must also be free from conditioning, from nationalistic and communalistic ideals. They must cease to be nationalistic. They must cease to think as Brahmins, Muslims, Christians and so on. They must have no definite formula. For that is what is preventing us from coming together. If you are a Hindu you want to express your goodwill within the framework of Hinduism and where will that lead you? The same applies to the Christian, the Mussalman and so on. And therefore we are back to the whole problem which is much more difficult than it appears superficially.

By all means men of goodwill should come together. But they do not unfortunately, because they all have the conditioning which society has imposed upon them and that is why I am saying that we should free ourselves from those conditionings and think in new terms. And it is for you to begin and not for the leader or the men of goodwill. It is you who have to live with your neighbour and not the leader.

So in all these questions what is important, it seems to me, is the primary issue; we must not be confused with secondary problems. The primary issue is you and not somebody else. Because we have given ourselves over to the guru, to the political leader, to a theory, we have created in ourselves a state of confusion. Because one theory can be superseded by another theory and one leader can supersede another leader, we get confused. The intellectuals have failed. Their theories have also failed and if we depend on leaders we shall only plunge further into misery and drag humanity too with us. To resist the absurdities of leadership is extraordinarily difficult because we are lazy and because we hope somebody else will solve the problem. So it is important for us to realize the fact that not someone else but we are responsible for this misery and no leader can transform it. To understand this, requires extraordinary effort but we waste our energies in such absurd ways that we cannot tackle the problem fully and completely.

Tags: authority, responsibity

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