Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening

Krishnamurti Quote of the Day

Public Talk 14th December, 1947 | Madras, India

Question: You have talked of exploitation as being evil. Do you not also exploit?

Krishnamurti: I am glad that you have still the capacity to criticize. It is through that we will find Truth and not by hiding behind the defence of words. Yet, most of us have erected walls of words which it is very difficult to penetrate. I am quite willing to expose myself, and I will, and you can have a great deal of fun.

What do you mean by exploitation? Have you thought about it, I wonder, or merely read about it in books and so are able to repeat to me or to yourself assertions of the left or of the right. What does exploitation mean? Does it not mean using another for your own profit either socially or psychologically? Society, as it is established at present, makes it inevitable, unfortunately, to use others; the shirt which I put on and the kurtha I am wearing are the result of exploitation and how can anyone, in a society which is constructed in this manner, cease to exploit? You understand what I mean by exploitation; using another for your own personal benefit, personal gain, personal achievement. All that I can do is to say to myself that I will have a minimum, and I have decided what my minimum shall be. It is of very little importance to me whether I have much or little. To have much is a bothersome thing, as people who have much will tell you. The limiting of the needs can only come about when the needs are not used for psychological purposes, that is, when I do not use the essentials of life as a means to psychological contentment, or psychological gratification. The use of property as a means of self-aggrandizement, I call exploitation. But exploitation ceases when I use the essentials as essentials and no more; I hope you understand that point.

Exploitation begins when needs become greed, when needs become psychological necessities. The needs which are food, clothing and shelter have very little significance in themselves except to feed one, to clothe one and shelter one. Surely exploitation ceases when the needs do not go over into the psychological field because, after all, when you examine the needs they are food, clothing and shelter and a happy man is not bothered by these, because he has other riches, he has other treasures. The man who has no other treasures, makes the sensate values predominant and this creates such havoc in the world. So, if I may be personal, as I do not use the essentials of life for psychological aggrandizement I am really not exploiting anyone. You may call me an exploiter, but in my heart I know I am not.

The problem of psychological exploitation is much more difficult. Psychologically, we depend on things, on beliefs or on ideas. That is, psychologically, things, relationship and ideas become important as long as things, relationship and ideas fill our psychological emptiness; that is, being inwardly poor, insufficient, fearful, uncertain, we seek security in things, or in relationship, or in ideas. That search for security in things, in beliefs, in ideas is the beginning of real exploitation. We know the result of seeking psychological security in things; it leads to war, to destruction, to such social chaos and degradation as exist in India and elsewhere at the present time. Things have become extraordinarily important to you, because they fill your psychological emptiness. You are the things, take away the things, where are you? So, you must have a bank account, it is your bank account, you are the owner. And in relationship too, what happens? Being psychologically empty you depend on your husband, on your wife, on your friends. So, dependence becomes very important, therefore there is jealousy, fear, possessiveness and all the bother of trying to overcome possessiveness. Similarly when you are inwardly empty, ideas and beliefs become extraordinarily important, the leader, the messenger, the saviour become important.

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