There is no Savior but Yourself
Questioner: In my view, the guru is one who awakens me to the truth, to reality. What is wrong with my talking to such a guru?
J. Krishnamurti: This question arises because I have said that gurus are an impediment to truth. Don’t say you are wrong and I am right, or I am wrong and you are right, but let us examine the problem and find out. Let us inquire like mature, thoughtful people, without denying and without justifying.
Which is more important, the guru or you? And why do you go to a guru? You say, ”To be awakened to truth.” Are you really going to a guru to be awakened to the truth? Let us think this out very clearly. Surely, when you go to a guru you are actually seeking gratification. That is, you have a problem and your life is a mess; it is in confusion, and because you want to escape from it, you go to somebody whom you call a guru to find consolation verbally or to escape an ideation. That is the actual process, and that process you call seeking truth.
That is, you want comfort, you want gratification, you want your confusion cleared away by somebody, and the person who helps you to find escapes you call a guru. Actually, not theoretically, you look to a guru who will assure you of what you want. You go guru-hunting as you go window-shopping: You see what suits you best and then buy it. In India, that is the position: You go around hunting for gurus, and when you find one you hold on to his feet or neck or hand until he gratifies you. To touch a man’s feet – that is one of the most extraordinary things. You touch the guru’s feet and kick your servants, and thereby you destroy human beings, you lose human significance.
So, you go to a guru to find gratification, not truth. The idea may be that he should awaken you to truth, but the actual fact is that you find comfort. Why? Because you say, ”I can’t solve my problem, somebody must help me.” Can anybody help you solve the confusion which you have created? What is confusion? Confusion with regard to what? Suffering with regard to what? Confusion and suffering exist in your relationship with things, people, and ideas; and if you cannot understand that confusion which you have created, how can another help you? He can tell you what to do, but you have to do it yourself, it is your own responsibility; and because you are unwilling to take that responsibility, you sneak off to the guru – that is the right expression to use, ”sneak off” – and you think you have solved the problem.
On the contrary, you have not solved it at all; you have escaped, but the problem is still there. And, strangely, you always choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore, you are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires; that is why you create a leader, religious or political, and give yourself over to him, and that is why you accept his authority. Authority is evil, whether religious or political, because it is the leader and his position that are all-important, and you are unimportant. You are a human being with sorrow, pain, suffering, joy, and when you deny yourself and give yourself over to somebody, you are denying reality because it is only through yourself that you can find reality, not through somebody else.
Now, you say that you accept a guru as one who awakens you to reality. Let us find out if it is possible for another to awaken you to reality. I hope you are following all this because it is your problem, not mine. Let us find out the truth about whether another can awaken you to reality. Can I, who have been talking for an hour and a half, awaken you to reality, to that which is real? The term guru implies, does it not, a man who leads you to truth, to happiness, to bliss eternal. Is truth a static thing that someone can lead you to? Someone can direct you to the station.
Is truth like that – static, something permanent to which you can be led? It is static only when you create it out of your desire for comfort. But truth is not static; nobody can lead you to truth. Beware of the person who says he can lead you to truth because it is not true. Truth is something unknown from moment to moment; it cannot be captured by the mind, it cannot be formulated, it has no resting place.
Therefore, no one can lead you to truth. You may ask me, ”Why are you talking here?” All that I am doing is pointing out to you what is and how to understand what is as it is, not as it should be. I am not talking about the ideal but about a thing that is actually right in front of you, and it is for you to look and see it. Therefore, you are more important than I, more important than any teacher, any savior, any slogan, any belief, because you can find truth only through yourself, not through another. When you repeat the truth of another, it is a lie.
Truth cannot be repeated. All that you can do is to see the problem as it is and not escape. When you see the thing as it actually is, then you begin to awaken, but not when you are compelled by another. There is no savior but yourself. When you have the intention and the attention to look directly at what is, then your very attention awakens you because in attention everything is implied. To give attention, you must be devoted to what is, and to understand what is, you must have knowledge of it. Therefore, you must look, observe, give it your undivided attention, for all things are contained in that full attention you give to what is.
So, the guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind. The guru can give you words; he can give you an explanation, the symbols of the mind, but the symbol is not the real, and if you are caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth.
To seek rightly is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don’t know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbor. When you establish right relationship then you love truth, for truth is not a thing that can be bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only when there is self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no problems. When there are no problems, then the mind is quiet, it is no longer caught up in its own creations. When the mind is not creating problems, when it understands each problem immediately as it arises, then it is utterly still, not made still. This total process is awareness, and it brings about a state of undisturbed tranquility which is not the outcome of any discipline, of any practice or control, but is the natural outcome of understanding every problem as it arises.
Problems arise only in relationship, and when there is understanding of one’s relationship with things, with people, and with ideas, then there is no disturbance of any kind in the mind, and the thought process is silent. In that state there is neither the thinker nor the thought, the observer nor the observed.
Therefore, the thinker ceases, and then the mind is no longer caught in time, and when there is no time, the timeless comes into being. But the timeless cannot be thought of. The mind, which is the product of time, cannot think of that which is timeless. Thought cannot conceive or formulate that which is beyond thought. When it does, its formulation is still part of thought.
Therefore, eternity is not a thing of the mind; eternity comes into being only when there is love, for love in itself is eternal. Love is not something abstract to be thought about; love is to be found only in relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbor. When you know that love which is unconditional, which is not the product of the mind, then reality comes into being, and that state is utter bliss.
December 19, 1948, Third Talk in New Delhi
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