An Overview of Krishnamurti’s Life and Work
In the evening it was there: suddenly it was there, filling the room, a great sense of beauty, power and gentleness. Others noticed it.
19th All night it was there whenever I woke up. The head was bad going to the plane [to fly to Los Angeles] – The purification of the brain is necessary. The brain is the centre of all the senses; the more the senses are alert and sensitive the sharper the brain is; it’s the centre of remembrance, the past; it’s the storehouse of experience and knowledge, tradition. So it’s limited, conditioned. Its activities are planned, thought out, reasoned, but it functions in limitation, in space-time. So it cannot formulate or understand that which is the total, the whole, the complete. The complete, the whole is the mind; it is empty, totally empty and because of this emptiness, the brain exists in space-time. Only when the brain has cleansed itself of its conditioning, greed, envy, ambition, then only it can comprehend that which is complete. Love is this completeness.
20th In the car on the way to 0jai,* again it began, the pressure and the feeling of immense vastness. One was not experiencing this vastness; it was simply there; there was no centre from which or in which the experience was taking place. Everything, the cars, the people, the bill-boards, were startlingly clear and colour was painfully intense. For over an hour it went on and the head was very bad, the pain right through the head.
The brain can and must develop; its development will always be from a cause, from a reaction, from violence to non-violence and so on. The brain has developed from the primitive state and however refined, intelligent, technical, it will be within the confines of space-time.
Anonymity is humility; it does not lie in the change of name, cloth or with the identification with that which may be anonymous, an ideal, a heroic act, country and so on. Anonymity is an act of the brain, the conscious anonymity; there’s an anonymity which comes with the awareness of the complete. The complete is never within the field of the brain or idea.
21st Woke up about two and there was a peculiar pressure and the pain was more acute, more in the centre of the head. It lasted over an hour and one woke up several times with the intensity of the pressure. Each time there was great expanding ecstasy; this joy continued – Again, sitting in the dentist’s chair, waiting, suddenly the pressure began. The brain became very quiet; quivering, fully alive; every sense was alert; the eyes were seeing the bee on the window, the spider, the birds and the violet mountains in the distance. They were seeing but the brain was not recording them. One could feel the quivering brain, something tremendously alive, vibrant and so not merely recording. The pressure and the pain was great and the body must have gone off into a doze.
Self-critical awareness is essential. Imagination and illusion distort clear observation. Illusion will always exist, so long as the urge for the continuation of pleasure and the avoidance of pain exist; the demand for those experiences which are pleasurable to continue or be remembered; the avoidance of pain, suffering. Both these breed illusion. To wipe away illusion altogether, pleasure and sorrow must be understood, not by control or sublimation, identification or denial.
Only when the brain is quiet can there be right observation. Can the brain ever be quiet? It can when the brain, being highly sensitive, without the power of distortion, is negatively aware.
All the afternoon the pressure has been on.
22nd Woke up in the middle of the night and there was the experiencing of an incalculable expanding state of mind; the mind itself was that state. The “feeling” of this state was stripped of all sentiment, of all emotion, but was very factual, very real. This state continued for some considerable time – All this morning, the pressure and the pain has been acute.
Destruction is essential. Not of buildings and things but of all the psychological devices and defences, gods, beliefs, dependence on priests, experiences, knowledge and so on. Without destroying all these there cannot be creation. It’s only in freedom that creation comes into being. Another cannot destroy these defences for you; you have to negate through your own self-knowing awareness.
Revolution, social, economic, can only change outer states and things, in increasing or narrowing circles, but it will always be within the limited field of thought. For total revolution the brain must forsake all its inward, secret mechanism of authority, envy, fear and so on.
The strength and the beauty of a tender leaf is its vulnerability to destruction. Like a blade of grass that comes up through the pavement, it has the power that can withstand casual death.
23rd Creation is never in the hands of the individual. It ceases entirely when individuality, with its capacities, gifts, techniques and so on, becomes dominant. Creation is the movement of the unknowable essence of the whole; it is never the expression of the part.
Just as one was getting to bed, there was that fullness of ill.** It was not only in the room but it seemed to cover the earth from horizon to horizon. It was a benediction.
The pressure, with its peculiar pain, was there all the morning. And it continues in the afternoon.
Sitting in the dentist’s chair, one was looking out of the window, looking past the hedge, the TV antenna, the telegraph pole, at the purple mountains. One was looking not with eyes only but with one’s whole head, as though from the back of the head, with one’s entire being. It was an odd experience. There was no centre from which observation was taking place. The colours and the beauty and lines of the mountains were intense.
Every twist of thought must be understood; for all thought is reaction and any action from this can only increase confusion and conflict.
24th The pressure and the pain was there all day yesterday; it is all becoming rather difficult. The moment one’s by oneself, it begins. And desire for its continuance, any disappointment if it does not continue does not exist. It is simply there whether one wants it or not. It’s beyond all reason and thought.
To do something for its own sake seems quite difficult and almost undesirable. Social values are based on doing something for the sake of something else. This makes for barren existence, a life which is never complete, full. This is one of the reasons of disintegrating discontent.
To be satisfied is ugly but to be discontented breeds hatred. To be virtuous in order to gain heaven or the approval of the respectable, of society, makes of life a barren field which has been ploughed over and over again but has never been sown. This activity of doing something for the sake of something else is in essence an intricate series of escapes, escapes from oneself, from what is.
Without experiencing the essence there is no beauty. Beauty is not merely in the outward things or in inward thoughts, feelings and ideas; there is beauty beyond this thought and feeling. It’s this essence that is beauty. But this beauty has no opposite.
The pressure continues and the strain is at the base of the head and it’s painful.
25th Woke up in the middle of the night and found the body perfectly still, stretched out on its back, motionless; this position must have been maintained for some time. The pressure and the pain were there. The brain and the mind were intensely still. There was no division between them. There was a strange quiet intensity, like two great dynamos working at great speed; there was a peculiar tension in which there was no strain. There was a sense of vastness about the whole thing and a power without direction and cause and so no brutality and ruthlessness. And it continued during the morning.
During the past year or so, one would wake up, to experience, in wakened state, what had been going on while asleep, certain states of being. It is as though one woke up merely for the brain to register what was going on. But curiously, the particular experience would fade away quite soon. The brain was not putting it away in its scrolls of memory.
There is only destruction and no change. For all change is a modified continuity of what has been. All social, economic revolutions are reactions, a modified continuation of that which has been. This change does not in any way destroy the roots of egocentric activities.
Destruction, in the sense we are using the word, has no motive; it has no purpose which implies action for the sake of result. Destruction of envy is total and complete; it implies the freedom from suppression, control, and without any motive whatsoever.
This total destruction is possible; it lies in seeing the total structure of envy. This seeing is not in space-time but immediate.
26th The pressure and the strain of it was there, very strongly, yesterday afternoon and this morning. Only there was a certain change; the pressure and the strain were from the back of the head, through the palate to the top of the head. A strange intensity continues. One has to be quiet only for it to begin.
Control in any form is harmful to total understanding. A disciplined existence is a life of conformity; in conformity there is no freedom from fear. Habit destroys freedom; habit of thought, habit of drinking and so on makes for a superficial and dull life. Organized religion with its beliefs, dogmas and rituals denies the open entry into the vastness of mind. It is this entry that cleanses the brain of space-time. Being cleansed, the brain can then deal with time-space.
27th That presence which was at il I. was there, waiting patiently, benignly, with great tenderness. It was like the lightning on a dark night but it was there, penetrating, blissful.
Something strange is happening to the physical organism. One can’t exactly put one’s finger on it but there’s an “odd: insistency, drive; it’s in no way self-created, bred out of imagination. It is palpable when one’s quiet, alone, under a tree or in a room; it is there most urgently as one’s about to go off to sleep. It’s there as this is being written, the pressure and the strain, with its familiar ache.
Formulation and words about all this seem so futile; words however accurate, however clear the description, do not convey the real thing.
There’s a great and unutterable beauty in all this. There is only one movement in life, the outer and the inner; this movement is indivisible, though it is divided. Being divided, most follow the outer movement of knowledge, ideas, beliefs, authority, security, prosperity and so on. In reaction to this, one follows the so-called inner life, with its visions, hopes, aspirations, secrecies, conflicts, despairs. As this movement is a reaction, it is in conflict with the outer. So there is contradiction, with its aches, anxieties and escapes.
There is only one movement, which is the outer and the inner. With the understanding of the outer, then the inner movement begins, not in opposition or in contradiction. As conflict is eliminated, the brain, though highly sensitive and alert, becomes quiet. Then only the inner movement has validity and significance.
Out of this movement there is a generosity and compassion which is not the outcome of reason and purposeful self-denial.
The flower is strong in its beauty as it can be forgotten, set aside or destroyed.
The ambitious do not know beauty. The feeling of essence is beauty.
28th Woke up in the middle of the night shouting and groaning; the pressure and the strain, with its peculiar pain, was intense. It must have been going on for some time and it went on for some time after waking up. The shouting and groaning take place quite often. These do not take place from indigestion. Sitting in the dentist’s chair, while waiting, the whole thing began again and is going on, in the afternoon, as this is being written. It is more noticeable when one is alone or in some beautiful place or even in a dirty, noisy street.
That which is sacred has no attributes. A stone in a temple, an image in a church, a symbol is not sacred. Man calls them sacred, something holy to be worshipped out of complicated urges, fears and longings. This “sacredness” is still within the field of thought; it is built up by thought and in thought there’s nothing new or holy. Thought can put together the intricacies of systems, dogmas, beliefs, and the images, symbols, its projects are no more holy than the blueprints of a house or the design of a new aeroplane. All this is within the frontiers of thought and there is nothing sacred or mystical about all this. Thought is matter and it can be made into anything, ugly – beautiful.
But there’s a sacredness which is not of thought, nor of a feeling resuscitated by thought. It is not recognizable by thought nor can it be utilized by thought. Thought cannot formulate it. But there’s a sacredness, untouched by any symbol or word. It is not communicable. It is a fact.
A fact is to be seen and the seeing is not through the word. When a fact is interpreted, it ceases to be a fact; it becomes something entirely different. The seeing is of the highest importance. This seeing is out of time-space; it’s immediate, instantaneous. And what’s seen is never the same again. There’s no again or in the meantime.
This sacredness has no worshipper, the observer who meditates upon it. It’s not in the market to be bought or sold. Like beauty, it cannot be seen through its opposite for it has no opposite.
That presence is here, filling the room, spilling over the hills, beyond the waters, covering the earth.
Last night, as it has happened once or twice before, the body was just the organism and nothing else, functioning, empty and still.
29th The pressure and the strain of deep ache is there; it`s as though, deep within, an operation was going on. It’s not brought on through one’s own volition, however subtle it might be. One has deliberately and for some time gone into it, deeply. One has tried to induce it; tried to bring about various outward conditions, being alone and so on. Then nothing happens. All this isn’t something recent.
Love’s not attachment. Love does not yield sorrow. Love has no despair or hope. Love cannot be made respectable, part of the social scheme. When it is not there, every form of travail begins.
To possess and to be possessed is considered a form of love. This urge to possess, a person or a piece of property, is not merely the demands of society and circumstances but springs from a far deeper source. It comes from the depths of loneliness. Each one tries to fill this loneliness in different ways, drink, organized religion, belief, some form of activity and so on. All these are escapes but it’s still there.
To commit oneself to some organization, to some belief or action is to be possessed by them, negatively; and positively is to possess. The negative and positive possessiveness is doing good, changing the world and the so-called love. To control another, to shape another in the name of love is the urge to possess; the urge to find security, safety in another and the comfort. Self-forgetfulness through another, through some activity makes for attachment. From this attachment, there’s sorrow and despair and from this there is the reaction, to be detached. And from this contradiction of attachment and detachment arises conflict and frustration.
There’s no escape from loneliness: it is a fact and escape from facts breeds confusion and sorrow.
But not to possess anything is an extraordinary state, not even to possess an idea, let alone a person or a thing. When idea, thought, takes root, it has already become a possession and then the war to be free begins. And this freedom is not freedom at all; it’s only a reaction. Reactions take root and our life is the ground in which roots have grown. To cut all the roots, one by one, is a psychological absurdity. It cannot be done. Only the fact, loneliness, must be seen and then all other things fade away.
30th Yesterday afternoon it was pretty bad, almost unbearable; it went on for several hours. Walking, surrounded by these violet, bare, rocky mountains, suddenly there was solitude. Complete solitude. Everywhere, there was solitude; it had great, unfathomable richness; it had that beauty which is beyond thought and feeling. It was not still; it was living, moving, filling every nook and corner. The high rocky mountain top was aglow with the setting sun and that very light and colour filled the heavens with solitude.
It was uniquely alone, not isolated but alone, like a drop of rain which holds all the waters of the earth. It was neither joyous nor sad but alone. It had no quality, shape or colour; these would make it something recognizable, measurable. It came like a flash and took seed. It did not germinate but it was there in its entirety. There was no time to mature; time has roots in the past. This was a rootless, causeless state. So it is totally “new”, a state that has not been and never will be, for it is living.
Isolation is known and so is loneliness; they are recognizable for they have often been experienced, actually or in imagination. The very familiarity of these breeds certain self-righteous contempt and fear from which arises cynicism and gods. But self-isolation and loneliness do not lead to aloneness; they must be finished with, not in order to gain something, but they must die as naturally as the withering away of a gentle flower. Resistance breeds fear but also acceptance. The brain must wash itself clean of all these cunning devices.
Unrelated to all these twists and turns of self-contaminated consciousness, wholly different is this immense solitude. In it all creation takes place. Creation destroys and so it is ever the unknown.
All the evening of yesterday, this solitude was and is there, and on waking in the middle of the night it sustained itself.
The pressure and the strain continue, increasing and decreasing in continuous waves. It’s pretty bad today, during the afternoon.
July 1st It’s as though everything stood still. There’s no movement, no stirring, complete emptiness of all thought, of all seeing. There’s no interpreter to translate, to observe, to censor. An immeasurable vastness that is utterly still and silent. There is no space, nor time to cover that space. The beginning and the ending are here, of all things. There is really nothing that can be said about it.
The pressure and the strain have been going on quietly all day; only now they have increased.
2nd The thing which happened yesterday, that immeasurable still vastness, went on all the evening, even though there were people and general talk. It went on all night; it was there in the morning. Though there was rather exaggerated, emotionally agitated talk, suddenly in the middle of it, it was there. And it’s here, there’s a beauty and a glory and there’s a sense of wordless ecstasy.
The pressure and the strain began rather early.
3rd Been out all day. All the same, in a crowded town in the afternoon, for two or three hours the pressure and the strain of it was on.
4th Been busy, but in spite of it, the pressure and the strain of it was there in the afternoon.
Whatever actions one has to do in daily life, the shocks and the various incidents should not leave their scars. These scars become the ego, the self, and as one lives, it becomes strong and its walls almost become impenetrable.
5th Been too busy but whenever there’s some quiet, the pressure and the strain was on.
6th Last night woke up with that sense of complete stillness and silence; the brain was fully alert and intensely alive; the body was very quiet. This state lasted for about half an hour. This in spite of an exhausting day.
The height of intensity and sensitivity is the experiencing of essence. It’s this that is beauty beyond word and feeling. Proportion and depth, light and shade are limited to time-space, caught in beauty-ugliness. But that which is beyond line and shape, beyond learning and knowledge, is the beauty of essence.
7th Woke up several times shouting. Again there was that intense stillness of the brain and a feeling of vastness. There has been pressure and strain.
Success is brutality. Success in every form, political and religious, art and business. To be successful implies ruthlessness.
8th Before going to sleep or just going off to sleep, several times there were groans and shouts. The body is too disturbed on account of travelling, as one leaves tonight for London [via Los Angeles]. There is a certain amount of pressure and strain.
9th As one sat in the aeroplane amidst all the noise, smoking and loud talking, most unexpectedly, the sense of immensity and that extraordinary benediction which was felt at il L., that imminent feeling of sacredness, began to take place. The body was nervously tense because of the crowd, noise, etc. but in spite of all this, it was there. The pressure and the strain were intense and there was acute pain at the back of the head. There was only this state and there was no observer. The whole body was wholly in it and the feeling of sacredness was so intense that a groan escaped from the body and passengers were sitting in the next seats. It went on for several hours, late into the night. It was as though one was looking, not with eyes only but with a thousand centuries; it was altogether a strange occurrence. The brain was completely empty, all reaction had stopped; during all those hours, one was not aware of this emptiness but only in writing it is the thing known, but this knowledge is only descriptive and not real. That the brain could empty itself is an odd phenomenon. As the eyes were closed, the body, the brain seemed to plunge into unfathomable depths, into states of incredible sensitivity and beauty. The passenger in the next seat began to ask something and having replied, this intensity was there; there was no continuity but only being. And dawn was coming leisurely and the clear sky was filling with light – As this is being written late in the day, with sleepless fatigue, that sacredness is there. The pressure and the strain too.