Awareness – J. Krishnamurti

j-krishnamurtiQuestioner: I should like to know what you mean by awareness because you have often said that awareness is really what your teaching is about. I’ve tried to understand it by listening to your talks and reading your books, but I don’t seem to get very far. I know it is not a practice, and I understand why you so emphatically repudiate any kind of practice, drill, system, discipline or routine. I see the importance of that, for otherwise it becomes mechanical, and at the end of it the mind has become dull and stupid. I should like, if I may, to explore with you to the very end this question of what it means to be aware. You seem to give some extra, deeper meaning to this word, and yet it seems to me that we are aware of what’s going on all the time. When I’m angry I know it, when I’m sad I know it and when I’m happy I know it.

Krishnamurti: I wonder if we really are aware of anger, sadness, happiness? Or are we aware of these things only when they are all over? Let us begin as though we know nothing about it at all and start from scratch. Let us not make any assertions, dogmatic or subtle, but let us explore this question which, if one really went into it very deeply, would reveal an extraordinary state that the mind had probably never touched, a dimension not touched by superficial awareness. Let us start from the superficial and work through. We see with our eyes, we perceive with our senses the things about us – the colour of the flower, the humming bird over the flower the light of this Californian sun, the thousand sounds of different qualities and subtleties, the depth and the height, the shadow of the tree and the tree itself. We feel in the same way our own bodies, which are the instruments of these different kinds of superficial, sensory perceptions. If these perceptions remained at the superficial level there would be no confusion at all. That flower, that pansy, that rose, are there, and that’s all there is to it. There is no preference, no comparison, no like and dislike, only the thing before us without any psychological involvement. Is all this superficial sensory perception or awareness quite clear? It can be expanded to the stars, to the depth of the seas, and to the ultimate frontiers of scientific observation, using all the instruments of modern technology.

Questioner: Yes, I think I understand that.

Krishnamurti: So you see that the rose and all the universe and the people in it, your own wife if you have one, the stars, the seas, the mountains, the microbes, the atoms, the neutrons, this room, the door, really are there. Now, the next step; what you think about these things, or what you feel about them, is your psychological response to them. And this we call thought or emotion. So the superficial awareness is a very simple matter: the door is there. But the description of the door is not the door, and when you get emotionally involved in the description you don’t see the door. This description might be a word or a scientific treatise or a strong emotional response; none of these is the door itself. This is very important to understand right from the beginning. If we don’t understand this we shall get more and more confused. The description is never the described. Though we are describing something even now, and we have to, the thing we are describing is not our description of it, so please bear this in mind right through our talk. Never confuse the word with the thing it describes. The word is never the real, and we are easily carried away when we come to the next stage of awareness where it becomes personal and we get emotional through the word.

So there is the superficial awareness of the tree, the bird, the door, and there is the response to that, which is thought, feeling, emotion. Now when we become aware of this response, we might call it a second depth of awareness. There is the awareness of the rose, and the awareness of the response to the rose. Often we are unaware of this response to the rose. In reality it is the same awareness which sees the rose and which sees the response. It is one movement and it is wrong to speak of the outer and inner awareness. When there is a visual awareness of the tree without any psychological involvement there is no division in relationship. But when there is a psychological response to the tree, the response is a conditioned response, it is the response of past memory, past experiences, and the response is a division in relationship. This response is the birth of what we shall call the “me” in relationship and the “non-me”. This is how you place yourself in relationship to the world. This is how you create the individual and the community. The world is seen not as it is, but in its various relationships to the “me” of memory. This division is the life and the flourishing of everything we call our psychological being, and from this arises all contradiction and division. Are you very clear that you perceive this? When there is the awareness of the tree there is no evaluation. But when there is a response to the tree, when the tree is judged with like and dislike, then a division takes place in this awareness as the “me” and the “non-me”, the “me” who is different from the thing observed. This “me” is the response, in relationship, of past memory, past experiences. Now can there be an awareness, an observation of the tree, without any judgement, and can there be an observation of the response, the reactions, without any judgement? In this way we eradicate the principle of division, the principle of “me” and “non-me”, both in looking at the tree and in looking at ourselves.

Questioner: I’m trying to follow you. Let’s see if I have got it right. There is an awareness of the tree, that I understand. There is a psychological response to the tree, that I understand also. The psychological response is made up of past memories and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is the division into the tree and the “me”. Yes, I think I understand all that.

Krishnamurti: Is this as clear as the tree itself, or is it simply the clarity of description? Remember, as we have already said, the described is not the description. What have you got, the thing or its description?

Questioner: I think it is the thing.

Krishnamurti: Therefore there is no “me” who is the description in the seeing of this fact. In the seeing of any fact there is no “me”. There is either the “me” or the seeing, there can’t be both. “Me” is non-seeing. The “me” cannot see, cannot be aware. Questioner: May I stop here? I think I’ve got the feeling of it, but I must let it sink in. May I come again tomorrow?

* * *

Questioner: I think I have really understood, non-verbally, what you said yesterday. There is the awareness of the tree, there is the conditioned response to the tree, and this conditioned response is conflict, it is the action of memory and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is prejudice. I also understand that this response of prejudice is the birth of what we call the “me” or the censor. I see clearly that the “me”, the “I”, exists in all relationships. Now is there an “I” outside of relationships?

Krishnamurti: We have seen how heavily conditioned our responses are. When you ask if there is a “me” outside of relationship, it becomes a speculative question as long as there is no freedom from these conditioned responses. Do you see that? So our first question is not whether there is a “me” or not outside of conditioned responses, but rather, can the mind, in which is included all our feelings, be free of this conditioning, which is the past? The past is the “me”. There is no “me” in the present. As long as the mind is operating in the past there is the “me”, and the mind is this past, the mind is this “me”.

You can’t say there is the mind and there is the past, whether it is the past of a few days ago or of ten thousand years ago. So we are asking: can the mind free itself from yesterday? Now there are several things involved, aren’t there? First of all there is a superficial awareness. Then there is the awareness of the conditioned response. Then there is the realization that the mind is the past, the mind is this conditioned response. Then there is the question whether this mind can free itself of the past. And all this is one unitary action of awareness because in this there are no conclusions. When we say the mind is the past, this realization is not a verbal conclusion but an actual perception of fact. The French have a word for such a perception of a fact, they call it “constatation”. When we ask whether the mind can be free of the past is this question being asked by the censor, the “me”, who is that very past?

Questioner: Can the mind be free of the past.

Krishnamurti: Who is putting that question? Is it the entity who is the result of a great many conflicts, memories and experiences – is it he who is asking – or does this question arise of itself, out of the perception of the fact? If it is the observer who is putting the question, then he is trying to escape from the fact of himself, because, he says, I have lived so long in pain, in trouble, in sorrow, I should like to go beyond this constant struggle. If he asks the question from that motive his answer will be a taking refuge in some escape. One either turns away from a fact or one faces it. And the word and the symbol are a turning away from it. In fact, just to ask this question at all is already an act of escape, is it not? Let us be aware whether this question is or is not an act of escape. If it is, it is noise. If there is no observer, then there is silence, a complete negation of the whole past. Questioner: Here I am lost. How can I wipe away the past in a few seconds?

Krishnamurti: Let us bear in mind that we are discussing awareness. We are talking over together this question of awareness.

There is the tree, and the conditioned response to the tree, which is the “me” in relationship, the “me” who is the very centre of conflict. Now is it this “me” who is asking the question? – this “me” who, as we have said, is the very structure of the past? If the question is not asked from the structure of the past, if the question is not asked by the “me”, then there is no structure of the past. When the structure is asking the question it is operating in relationship to the fact of itself, it is frightened of itself and it acts to escape from itself. When this structure does not ask the question, it is not acting in relationship to itself. To recapitulate: there is the tree, there is the word, the response to the tree, which is the censor, or the “me”, which comes from the past; and then there is the question: can I escape from all this turmoil and agony? If the “me” is asking this question it is perpetuating itself.

Now, being aware of that, it doesn’t ask the question! Being aware and seeing all the implications of it, the question cannot be asked. It does not ask the question at all because it sees the trap. Now do you see that all this awareness is superficial? It is the same as the awareness which sees the tree.

Questioner: Is there any other kind of awareness? Is there any other dimension to awareness? Krishnamurti: Again let’s be careful, let’s be very clear that we are not asking this question with any motive. If there is a motive we are back in the trap of conditioned response. When the observer is wholly silent, not made silent, there is surely a different quality of awareness coming into being?

Questioner: What action could there possibly be in any circumstances without the observer – what question or what action?

Krishnamurti: Again, are you asking this question from this side of the river, or is it from the other bank? If you are on the other bank, you will not ask this question; if you are on that bank, your action will be from that bank. So there is an awareness of this bank, with all its structure, its nature and all its traps, and to try to escape from the trap is to fall into another trap. And what deadly monotony there is in all that! Awareness has shown us the nature of the trap, and therefore there is the negation of all traps; so the mind is now empty. It is empty of the “me” and of the trap. This mind has a different quality, a different dimension of awareness. This awareness is not aware that it is aware.

Questioner: My God, this is too difficult. You are saying things that seem true, that sound true, but I’m not there yet. Can you put it differently? Can you push me out of my trap? 9

Krishnamurti: Nobody can push you out of your trap – no guru, no drug, no mantra, nobody, including myself – nobody, especially myself. All that you have to do is to be aware from the beginning to the end, not become inattentive in the middle of it. This new quality of awareness is attention, and in this attention there is no frontier made by the “me”. This attention is the highest form of virtue, therefore it is love. It is supreme intelligence, and there cannot be attention if you are not sensitive to the structure and the nature of these man-made traps.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Urgency of Change, Chapter One

 

A Movement of Great Ecstasy – J. Krishnamurti

 

27308206_86aecb8533_oPerception without the word, which is without thought, is one of the strangest phenomena. Then the perception is much more acute, not only with the brain, but also with all the senses. Such perception is not the fragmentary perception of the intellect nor the affair of the emotions. It can be called a total perception, and it is part of meditation. Perception without the perceiver in meditation is to commune with the height and depth of the immense. This perception is entirely different from seeing an object without an observer, because in the perception of meditation there is no object and therefore no experience. Meditation can, however, take place when the eyes are open and one is surrounded by objects of every kind. But then these objects have no importance at all. One sees them but there is no process of recognition, which means there is no experiencing.

What meaning has such meditation? There is no meaning; there is no utility. But in that meditation there is a movement of great ecstasy which is not to be confounded with pleasure. It is this ecstasy which gives to the eye, to the brain and to the heart, the quality of innocency. Without seeing life as something totally new, it is a routine, a boredom, a meaningless affair. So meditation is of the greatest importance. It opens the door to the incalculable, to the measureless.

-J. Krishnamurti,

From Meditations 1969, Part 2

Self-Realization: A Personal Account – Albert Blackburn

Beginning on page 5:

July 2, 1944 was another beautiful day for a drive to Ojai. This time I was accompanied by my wife and two Theosophical friends from Pasadena. We all had an animated discussion about Theosophy on the way up. Krishnamurti’s talk on this day included reference to the dualistic nature of thought and the mind’s play between the pairs of opposites (good & bad, right & wrong, yours & mind, etc.) After the talk, we had a picnic lunch down by a beautiful stream under the trees. I spent the rest of the afternoon awaiting my 5:00 o’clock interview. The interview was to be given at Arya Vihara at the east end of the Ojai Valley, an old redwood house which had been purchased in the early 1920’s for Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya by Annie Besant and a group calling themselves The Brothers Association.

My wife and friends waited in the car while I went into the house for my interview. I had been trying to think of what to say. I thought I had all of the answers to life’s problems. What could we talk about?

Krishanji—as I later came to call him—met me at the door and asked me to be seated in a chair in the small redwood room. Then he sat down facing me and after a brief period of silence he said, “Well, sir, what do you want to talk about?” This of course was the same question I had been asking myself all afternoon. I began by asking how I could actually live a celibate life under the conditions in which I was living. I brought up the subject of celibacy and the goals I had set for myself.

His response was, “Why do you want to live a celibate life?”

I told him of my wishes to develop my psychic powers and live a spiritual life.

Krishnamurti asked me what my wife thought about my wishes for celibacy an I explained how this proposed way of life was so important to me that I really didn’t care what she thought about it; it was something I felt compelled to do.

“But don’t you feel that she has some rights in this matter?”

Even so, I replied, I still feel that way about it.

Krishnaji apparently saw that I was determined on this course of action; he dropped the subject. He obviously was not going to give me any magical solution to my problem with sex.

The interview came to an end and we both left the room to stand on the outside porch. The afternoon sun was low in the western sky and the scene from this elevation overlooking the Ojai Valley was very beautiful. I remarked to him about this beauty and he replied, “Yes, it is beautiful, but isn’t it a shame that the war is still going on?”

That’s true but I suppose it is all according to The Plan.”

Krishnaji said, “What plan?”

I said, “You know, the Plan of Evolution?”

“All of the great teachers have talked about evolution; Christ, Buddha, and all the others.”

“That’s funny, I don’t remember the Buddha saying anything about evolution. Of course, there is such a thing as physical evolution such as from and oxcart to an airplane, but I don’t think this is what you mean by evolution.”

He was right! I didn’t mean physical evolution. I meant the idea that I had always entertained pertaining to spiritual evolution. He then asked, “Is there such a thing as evolution in the way you mean it?”

Suddenly I saw that a basic idea upon which I had based all my life and hopes was not valid in the way I had believed it to be. There was no spiritual evolution, only the freeing of the consciousness from conditioning.

I was utterly shattered by this discovery and in desperation I asked him, “Is there nothing real in this world outside of the pairs of opposites?”

“Yes, that tree is real and your little dog is real, but what you think about them is not real.”

I suppose he could see the shock and void I was facing, as he kindly said, “Please come and see me again on Thursday afternoon and we will talk more about these things.” He then said goodbye and we parted.

My mind was in utter turmoil. The very foundations of my psychological world had been torn apart. I felt that I was in a void and doubted by ability to drive home. However, Krishnaji had pointed out the obvious fact that physical things did have a reality in themselves. This meant that my car was real and the steering wheel which I could firmly hold onto could be my link with reality. I have no recollection of the trip home.

The next three days are also totally lost to personal memory. I know that I did not eat or sleep during this time. There was no “me” to do these things and I suppose the body was quiet.

When I came back to normal functioning it was with an entirely new perspective. My first conscious act was to resign from the Theosophical Society. It had been the whole basis of  my life; now for me it was dead. I now saw from a new perspective the occult studies that had held such a fascination for me before. Not that these studies represented falseness, only that I had transcended them. They were part of the dualistic thought process. Because of my sudden awareness of the state of being beyond thought, these occult studies no longer held interest for me. Ambition was gone: there was no future so how could there be ambition? Fear was gone: what is there to be afraid of when one is going nowhere and hence has nothing to gain or lose? There were no problems because there was a new discernment moment-by-moment into the true relationship between myself and the environment. There was a direct perception into all relationships and a feeling of oneness with everyone and everything. The word love took on a different meaning. With the personal element removed, there was an integral feeling of love and compassion for every living thing: a knowing what was right and the desire to help. There was the knowing that never again could I consciously escape the facts of life by being dishonest in order to protect myself or in order to gain anything for myself. From that moment on I felt completely responsible for my own actions, aware now that freedom is an intrinsic part of life, and thus I must never again consciously stand in another’s way or cast my shadow across another’s path. All life was really one, and the actuality of it was overwhelming. There was a seeing the virtues spoken of in the Bible were an intrinsic part of this unified consciousness. I no longer needed to worry about expending the effort required to live virtuously. No discipline was required, no effort need be exerted, the path and I were one, constant companions in this new state of being. There was a state of acceptance of whatever life brought and true faith born in the knowledge that in doing my best, with no thought of self, whatever happened would be all right. There was the birth of insight into many things and with it the ability to see the true in the true and the false in the false.

I felt as though I had been living in a very cluttered house surrounded by innumerable “things.” These things were ideas, and conclusions which I had created. Suddenly my house had been swept clean and I was alone—not lonely, but in a state of complete freedom—free to start from scratch to discover the true values in living. Concepts such as right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral were stripped away as absolutes. Now, these judgments were only relative terms. As Krishnaji had said, it was a pathless land. There was no one who could give advice. There was no authority! It was a new dimension: a timeless state. There was no fear.

I remember writing Krishnaji a note in which I told him that I felt as a little bird must feel when it has outgrown its nest: it must fly but doesn’t know how.

Thursday I drove up to see Krishnaji again. The trip helped to bring me down to earth and by the time I had arrived, there was a grounding in physical reality. I tried to explain to him some of the fantastic things that had happened, but he would stop me on each attempt to describe this to him. Each time he would bring me back to the present moment and refused to discuss anything which had happened in the past. This attitude of his applied to all meetings that I have ever had with him over the past 39 years. Though I didn’t appreciate it at that time, his wisdom in this matter was well grounded in fact, as subsequent events have shown.

During this interview he said, “Find the answer to the question, ‘What is the I?’” Naturally at that moment, I could not answer the question. However, the question had been posed, it did register in my mind, and was to bear its own fruit in a most interesting way.

On the way home I tried to analyze the details of all the events of the past few days. I was again in focus with my everyday life in the physical world but a new dimension had been added. All of the qualities and feelings of the experience were present in the deepest part of my consciousness. I could not forget the essence of the event; it was now an intrinsic part of my nature. With all of this, however, there was now also the reality of my actual life situation to be faced. I was married, with its relationships and responsibilities. There were my wife and son, whom I loved and who certainly needed my help and understanding. There was my home and the airport business in Monrovia. There was the Monrovia Flight School operating in Prescott, Arizona, with a contract to train Navy pilots. World War II was in full swing. I knew that I must give my complete attention to every detail of this situation which I had created through my past thoughts and actions.

Krishnaji had challenged me to answer the question, “What is the I?” This question began working inside me like a seed that had been planted. It seemed an impossible question. Where was I to start? I can see now that this is a fundamental question. Our whole life’s activity is based on the premise that we know what we are. There are certainly plenty of professional authorities who have told us about ourselves. I was well familiar with many of these descriptions: medical terminology concerned with the gross physical body; the psychological terms for the various phases of consciousness; and the esoteric terms form the domain of the occult tradition.

For the next few days I found myself busy with my home life and the airport business. The private airports within 150 miles of the coastline had been closed to flight operations shortly after Pearl Harbor. However, there were other activities which needed supervision at the Monrovia airport. My secretary had moved to the flight operations at Prescott, Arizona, so I found myself alone in the office most of the time.

One morning, having taken care of the things that had to be done, I picked up the booklet of the Krishnamurti Talks of 1936. These were the talks that had been given in various locations around the world. I had been reading this booklet in a desultory manner for the last several weeks, and had gotten up to the fourth talk given in Ommen, Holland on July 29, 1936. I had not picked up this book for the past week, as so many things had been happening in my own life. Now, however, there was time and space in which to read. There had been no intimation of any connection between this material and Krishnaji’s question, “What is the I?” Now a new element had been added to my understanding. The words were alive and had a living quality. They no longer were just furnishing “dead” information but as I read, there was a different quality. Each sentence applied directly to me at that moment. This was what I was actually experiencing at that moment. There was again that heightened awareness which had been experienced the previous Sunday, but this time it was happening at my own level and in direct relationship to what I was involved in. What I was reading was like looking at the innermost functioning of my own mind. I was in direct relationship with the words, they were like a mirror in which I saw and understood the workings of my mind.

In this particular talk Krishnaji was continuing to examine the “I” process, and as his description of its dynamics unfolded, there was a direct link between me and this description.

Suddenly it happened! In the midst of the second paragraph there was again that complete stopping of time and an insight into the situation. The “I” had caught itself in action. At this moment there was no longer any mystery. Krishnaji’s question had been answered! There was no “I” existing separate from the thought process. The “ego” as a permanent entity didn’t exist. What did exist was a process! This process had a name, a past, and a future which was the result of time.

When the thought process stopped, time did not exist. There was only experiencing, not the dual process of experience and the person to whom the experience was happening.

[…]

The result of these contacts with Krishnaji led to many changes in my life. I began to experience more and more frequently the state of consciousness which for obvious reasons I have chosen to call Now-Consciousness.

This has become an ongoing state of experiencing for me over the intervening years. It has brought a transformation in behavioral patterns that I have not consciously sought. Neurotic responses to many life experiences have dropped away. Relationships with nature have taken on a depth of meaning hitherto undreamed of. Each detail of life has become meaningful in a new way. All of the insights previously seen have remained in their essence as a sustaining background through which life is met.

To me, the valuable characteristic of Now-Consciousness is its universal availability for anyone. It can be experienced by rich or poor, in a palace or a hovel, by an intellectual or a simple person. It is the common heritage of everyone. Because of its simplicity it is easily overlooked by the erudite.

It is the only approach to the experiencing of reality that is non-dualistic. Therefore the transformative results are not ego induced. What is discovered is true and uniquely understood by each in his own way. This truth becomes an intrinsic part of one’s nature and leads to right behavioral patterns. In this behavioral change, which so subtly comes about, one finds his or her place in the over-all fabric of life. It is a true uniqueness in which there is no competition or exploitation of another.

I have found that it is all too easy to reach conclusions about anything. Any conclusion or definite answer is a blockage to the ceaseless flow of life which gathers around itself other mental debris. This effectively brings to an end further insights into that particular subject. Therefore what I happen to be now observing is only my individual point of view. My findings may be of interest to others who are also seeking the true meaning of life.

In the early years of his teaching, Krishnamurti had reiterated many times his intention to never betray the truth in order to make it more palatable to his listeners. I was deeply touched by his sense of integrity. In speaking with him one day, I remarked, “Krishnaji, I never what to betray this truth, which has become so important in my life.”

He answered, “Don’t worry, you will never betray the truth if you are careful to only speak or write from your own experience and understanding of life. Never quote or use other people’s material as your own.” This made a profound impression on me and since that time, I have been very careful to follow that course.”

-Albert Blackburn

Excerpts from Now Consciousness: Exploring the World Beyond Thought, Part One

This book is available from IdylwildBooks.com

The Movement of Love – J. Krishnamurti

Meditation is one of the most extraordinary things, and if you do not know what it is you are like the blind man in a world of bright color, shadows and moving light. It is not an intellectual affair, but when the heart enters into the mind, the mind has quite a different quality; it is really, then, limitless, not only in its capacity to think, to act efficiently, but also in its sense of living in a vast space where you are part of everything.

Meditation is the movement of love. It isn’t the love of the one or of the many. It is like water that anyone can drink out of any jar, whether golden or earthenware; it is inexhaustible. And a peculiar thing takes place, which no drug or self-hypnosis can bring about; it is as though the mind enters into itself, beginning at the surface and penetrating ever more deeply, until depth and height have lost their meaning and every form of measurement ceases. In this state there is complete peace—not contentment which has come about through gratification—but a peace that has order, beauty and intensity. It can be destroyed, as you can destroy a flower, and yet because of its very vulnerability it is indestructible. This meditation cannot be learned from another. You must begin without knowing anything about it, and move from innocence to innocence.

The soil in which the meditative mind can begin is the soil of everyday life, the strife, the pain and the fleeting joy. It must begin there, and bring order, and from there move endlessly. But if you are concerned only with making order, then that very order will bring about its own limitation and the mind will be its prisoner. In all this movement you must somehow begin from the other end, from the other shore, and not always be concerned with this shore or how to cross the river. You must take a plunge into the water, not knowing how to swim. And the beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, what the end is.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Meditations, page 9-11

My Connection with Krishnamurti – Osho

Can you tell us about your connection with J. Krishnamurti?

It is a real mystery. I have loved him since I have known him, and he has been very loving towards me. But we have never met; hence the relationship, the connection is something beyond words. We have not seen each other ever, but yet… perhaps we have been the two persons closest to each other in the whole world. We had a tremendous communion that needs no language, that need not be of physical presence. […]

You are asking me about my connection with him. It was the deepest possible connection – which needs no physical contact, which needs no linguistic communication. Not only that, once in a while I used to criticize him, he used to criticize me, and we enjoyed each other’s criticism – knowing perfectly well that the other does not mean it. Now that he is dead, I will miss him because I will not be able to criticize him; it won’t be right. It was such a joy to criticize him. He was the most intelligent man of this century, but he was not understood by people.

He has died, and it seems the world goes on its way without even looking back for a single moment that the most intelligent man is no longer there. It will be difficult to find that sharpness and that intelligence again in centuries. But people are such sleep walkers; they have not taken much note. In newspapers, just in small corners where nobody reads, his death is declared. And it seems that a ninety-year-old man who has been continuously speaking for almost seventy years, moving around the world, trying to help people to get unconditioned, trying to help people to become free – nobody seems even to pay a tribute to the man who has worked the hardest in the whole of history for man’s freedom, for man’s dignity.

I don’t feel sorry for his death. His death is beautiful; he has attained all that life is capable to give. But I certainly feel sorry for the whole world. It goes on missing its greatest flights of consciousness, its highest peaks, its brightest stars. It is too much concerned with trivia.

I feel such a deep affinity with Krishnamurti that even to talk of connection is not right; connection is possible only between two things which are separate. I feel almost a oneness with him. In spite of all his criticisms, in spite of all my criticisms – which were just joking with the old man, provoking the old man… and he was very easily provoked. I just had to send my sannyasins to his meetings to sit in the front row, all in red colors, and he would go mad! He could not tolerate the red color. In his past life he must have been a bull; just a red flag and the bull goes crazy. Bulls have their own personality.

But even though he used to become angry – he would forget the subject matter he was going to talk on, and he would start criticizing me and my people – later on he would say about me to the hostess where he was staying, “This guy is something. He disturbs my meetings, sending red-robed people. And the moment I see them, I forget what is the subject I have decided to speak on. It happens every time, and I know that he is simply playing a joke. He is not serious, he is not against me; neither am I against him.”

From many of his intimate people I have been informed, “He is not against you. He wants you to know that howsoever angry he becomes, he is not against you.”

I said to them, “I know it. I love the man. But to love a man and once in a while to joke with him, do you think it is contradictory? In fact, I am trying to help him to become a little less serious. A little more sense of humor will not do any harm to him. Only on that point I do not agree with him – he is too serious.”

Religion needs a certain quality of humor to make it more human. If there is no sense of humor in any religious teaching, it becomes more and more intellectual, mathematical, logical, but it loses the human touch. It becomes more and more a scientific subject. But man cannot be just an object of scientific study. There is something in him which transcends scientific study.

Just look around the world. Trees don’t laugh, buffaloes don’t laugh. No animal laughs; it is only man who has the sense of humor. There must be something in it because it happens at the highest evolutionary point – man.

Krishnamurti’s teaching is beautiful, but too serious. And my experience and feeling is that his seventy years went to waste because he was serious. So only people who were long-faced and miserable and serious types collected around him; he was a collector of corpses, and as he became older, those corpses also became older.

I know people who have been listening to him for almost their whole lives; they are as old as he himself was. They are still alive. I know one woman who is ninety-five, and I know many other people. One thing I have seen in all of them, which is common, is that they are too serious.

Life needs a little playfulness, a little humor, a little laughter.

Only on that point am I in absolute disagreement with him; otherwise, he was a genius. He has penetrated as deeply as possible into every dimension of man’s spirituality, but it is all like a desert, tiring. I would like you back in the garden of Eden, innocent, not serious, but like small children playing. This whole existence is playful. This whole existence is full of humor; you just need the sense of humor and you will be surprised.

I have heard about a man in India who used to sell Gandhi caps. Particularly at election times, everybody wants to prove that he is a Gandhian, because the followers of Gandhi had been ruling the country for forty years. If you are a Gandhian your victory in the election is certain. The Gandhian cap – a white cap – symbolizes who you are, and this man used to earn so much money just by making caps and selling them.

But this year he was sick. He was getting old, and he told his young son, “You will have to go to the marketplace” – which was a few miles away from the village – “and I have to tell you only one thing. The way is beautiful; on both sides are very shady trees so that even in the hot sun you can sit under them and it is cool. And there is one big bodhi tree so huge that hundreds of bullock carts can rest underneath it. Avoid it. If you feel like resting, don’t rest under that tree.”

The son said, “But why? – because that must be the coolest place.”

The father said, “That is the problem. It is the coolest place, but the tree is full of monkeys. And it happened with me; I was resting there and when I woke up my whole bag of caps was empty. I was surprised – what happened? Then I suddenly heard the monkeys enjoying – all were wearing caps just the way I was wearing a cap. So they knew how to put it, where to put it, and it looked as if the whole of New Delhi from the president to prime minister, the cabinet and all the parliamentarians were sitting there – all over the tree! And they were enjoying it so much.

“But I am a poor man. Suddenly I remembered the saying that monkeys always imitate, so I took off my cap so they could all see; they all took off their caps. Then I threw my cap away; they all threw their caps away. I collected the caps and went to the market. So just remember in case something like this happens, take your cap off and throw it – they will all throw theirs.”

The son was in a way excited to rest under the same tree and see what would happen. He found the tree – it was beautiful and it was the most shady, and he saw hundreds of monkeys sitting on it. He rested, went to sleep, and exactly what the father had said, happened. The bag was empty; he looked up and the monkeys were looking very happy, very proud, all Gandhians. But he was not worried because he knew the trick. So he simply took off his cap and threw it, and to his great surprise, one monkey came down and took the thrown cap, went back up the tree and put the cap on his head! They all enjoyed it, because this monkey had missed; one cap had been missing.

This must have been the second generation of the monkeys; perhaps the older generation had taught them that if it happens sometimes, “don’t throw your caps but pick up the cap thrown by the merchant. We have been befooled – once to be befooled is okay; twice to be befooled is unforgivable.”

The son looked in shock – what to do? He came back home and told his father. His father said, “I knew it: monkeys are more capable of learning than men. This is their second generation and they have remembered. And I told you specifically, you should not have thrown it so quickly. First you should have taken it off and seen whether they took theirs off or not; then at least you could have saved one cap. You lost even that.”

Existence is hilarious. Everything is in a dancing mood; you just have to be in the same mood to understand it.

I am not sorry that J. Krishnamurti is dead; there was nothing more for him to attain. I am sorry that his teaching did not reach the human heart because it was too dry, juiceless, with no humor, no laughter.

But you will be surprised to know – whatever he was saying was against religions, was against politics, was against the status quo, was against the whole past, yet nobody was condemning him for the simple reason that he was ineffective. There was no reason to take note of him. In India he used to visit only three places – Delhi, Bombay, Madras. And it was the same way around the world… some big cities, and the same people year after year listening to him saying the same things, and nothing has changed in those people because nothing reached to their hearts. It remained only intellectual. […]

Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human heart; he could only reach the human head. The heart needs some different approaches. This is where I have differed with him all my life: unless the human heart is reached, you can go on repeating parrot-like, beautiful words – they don’t mean anything. Whatever Krishnamurti was saying is true, but he could not manage to relate it to your heart. In other words, what I am saying is that J. Krishnamurti was a great philosopher but he could not become a master. He could not help people; prepare people for a new life, a new orientation.

But still I love him, because amongst the philosophers he comes the closest to the mystic way of life. He himself avoided the mystic way, bypassed it, and that is the reason for his failure. But he is the only one amongst the modern contemporary thinkers who comes very close, almost on the boundary line of mysticism, and stops there. Perhaps he’s afraid that if he talks about mysticism people will start falling into old patterns, old traditions, old philosophies of mysticism. That fear prevents him from entering. But that fear also prevents other people from entering into the mysteries of life.

I have met thousands of Krishnamurti people – because anybody who has been interested in

Krishnamurti sooner or later is bound to find his way towards me, because where Krishnamurti leaves them, I can take their hand and lead them into the innermost shrine of truth. You can say my connection with Krishnamurti is that Krishnamurti has prepared the ground for me. He has prepared people intellectually for me; now it is my work to take those people deeper than intellect, to the heart; and deeper than the heart, to the being.

Our work is one. Krishnamurti is dead, but his work will not be dead until I am dead. His work will continue.

-Osho

Excerpt from Socrates: Poisoned Again After Twenty-Five Centuries, Chapter 25

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Set Them on Fire! – Vimala Thakar

A Portrait of a Modern Sage
An interview by Chris Parish

Vimala Thakar
Vimala Thakar

This interview was published in EnlightenNext magazine.

“I am a simple person, a human being who has loved life and who has seen life as divinity itself. I have lived in love with life, madly in love with the human expression of life as divinity!”

Her voice is deep and confident, ringing with an underlying passion. She enunciates each word very clearly and without hesitation, giving the impression of a person who meets life head-on, someone who is unapologetically and fully present. Her eyes are soft and fearless. She sits on the edge of her seat, alert and leaning towards us, dressed in a clean, crisp, white sari. Immovably still, she has an undeniable power, yet she is in a flash gentle and gracious as she serves us tea.

This is our introduction to Vimala Thakar, the well-known spiritual figure, who traveled the world teaching for over thirty years. I have eagerly awaited this moment, the chance to talk to and interview this unusual woman. I heard her speak once in London twenty years ago and her words left a lasting impression on me. It was my recollection of her integrity and understanding that made me recently resolve to meet her again. She is the only person, as far as I am aware, whom J. Krishnamurti, the great spiritual revolutionary, ever pleaded with to go forth and teach.

Together with my old friend Shanti Adams, I’ve sought out Vimala Thakar here in Mount Abu, a hill station in the remote southern corner of the Indian desert state of Rajasthan, where she spends the winter months. Her house, which has been donated, is tranquil, set among the huge rock formations that dot the landscape.

Vimala meets us punctually at 9:30 a.m. in a small study off the entrance hall of her house, and I mention the proposed interview. My heart sinks when she says that while she is more than happy to have a dialogue with us, she doesn’t wish to be published and photographed. “I’m socially dead,” she adds.

It’s a great relief to us when, after further discussion, she very kindly makes an exception and allows us to interview her for What Is Enlightenment?. It occurs to me that her dislike of publicity is one reason why she is not better known in spiritual circles. I have never seen an interview with her or an article about her. Yet she has traveled and taught in thirty-five countries, has students and friends in all continents and has published many books in a number of languages.

In 1991 she decided to stop traveling outside her native India. But at seventy-four years old, she is still busy seeing the individuals and groups who make their way to her at Mount Abu, or in Dalhousie in the Himalayan foothills, where she stays during the heat of summer. She conducts inquiry groups and meditation camps with people from all over the world, ranging from yoga teachers and Buddhists to industrialists and Indo-Pakistan peace activists.

“Let me live as an invisible teacher—not a master but a teacher,” says Vimala in a voice which commands your attention. “I have been exploring a dimension of the relationship between the inquirer and the enlightened one on the basis of equality. It’s an exploration in a revolutionary relationship. All my life it has been a sharing, like members of a spiritual family, on the basis of friendship, cooperation.”

Her words, spoken so distinctly and unwaveringly, seem to intensify the atmosphere of silence that I feel in the room. I’m aware of a single sparrow on the window ledge keeping up a constant background chirping.

Vimala Thakar’s background is an extraordinary story. She tells us about her childhood and how her spiritual search began at the unusually early age of five. Born into a Brahmin family in India, she used to see her mother engaged in the worship of God and wondered, “How can God be that tiny thing—that statue?” So she asked her grandmother, who told her that God lives in the forest. Vimala ran away from home to the forest, searching for God, imploring God to reveal himself.

She attributes her non-authoritarian approach to spirituality to her father who was a rationalist through and through. From a very early age he knew that her life would be dedicated to liberation. When she was seven he said to her that he didn’t mind her devotion to spirituality, but asked her to promise never to accept any human being as the final authority, since the light of truth was in her own heart. He encouraged her to go to ashrams, to visit every spiritual celebrity, and he himself arranged for these trips. Spirituality was accepted in her family, and her grandfather was a close friend of the famous Swami Vivekananda.

She experimented with spending time in caves doing retreats, exploring concentration and other practices. As a young woman she became involved with the Bhoodan Movement—the Land-gift Movement of Vinoba Bhave, which encouraged rich landowners to voluntarily share their land with the very poor. She toured India constantly, addressing public meetings for a number of years. It was on such a tour in January 1956, when she was in Rajghat, Kashi, that a friend invited her to come to a series of three discourses to be given by J. Krishnamurti, the renowned Indian spiritual figure.

The talks had a very powerful effect on her and she at once understood all that he spoke of. She felt carried to the fountainhead of life, and it didn’t feel like she was listening to a speech. Then she attended his talks in Madras and had private interviews with him, which deeply affected her consciousness, catapulting her into profound silence.

Of her meeting with Krishnamurti, she told us, “I was very glad that a world-famous celebrity was confirming what I had learned. Krishnamurti said nothing new to me when I heard him for the first time. It was a verification of the truth that one had understood, and I was very happy to have met such a person. The verification came through his life, through his communications.” As a result of this meeting, she ultimately felt compelled to give up her work with the Land-gift Movement.

Vimala’s small autobiographical book On an Eternal Voyage, written in 1966, contains a beautiful and moving account of her meetings and experiences with Krishnamurti. In 1959 she started to have terrible ear trouble with unbearable pain, bleeding and fevers. An operation didn’t help, and by the end of 1960 she was prepared for and resigned to death, although at the same time she felt strangely and impenetrably calm within. Her last hope was a trip to England to consult ear specialists there. At this point she met with Krishnamurti again and he offered to help her. He told her that his mother had often said that his hands had healing power. She had mixed feelings about his offer, somehow feeling that she might mar the purity of the reverence and affection she felt for him as a teacher if she were to feel obligated to him. But after reflection she did accept his offer, and his laying on of hands brought her immediate relief. The fever and bleeding ceased and she experienced precious freedom from pain. He gave her more sessions and her hearing returned to normal.

Vimala went ahead with her visit to England, where the ear specialists confirmed her cure, and then went to recuperate in Switzerland at the invitation of Krishnamurti. She spent time with him in the summer resort of Gstaad. She was concerned to understand what had happened in the healing. At the same time she was experiencing a great upheaval in consciousness. “Something within has been let loose. It can’t stand any frontiers. . . . The invasion of a new awareness, irresistible and uncontrollable . . . has swept away everything,” she wrote.

She felt this change was also associated with the healing and was uncomfortable with the sense of indebtedness to Krishnamurti that she felt. He had to convince her that they were unconnected and that he himself didn’t know how the healing had happened. He said, “You have been listening to the talks. You have a serious mind. The talks were sinking deep into your being. They were operating all the time. One day you realized the truth. What have I done to it? . . . Why make an issue of it?”

She wrote an open letter to her colleagues and friends in the Land-gift Movement to explain why she had left: “No words could describe the intensity and depth of the experience through which I am passing. Everything is changed. I am born anew. This is neither wishful thinking nor is it a sentimental reaction to the healing. It is an astounding phenomenon. . . . Everything that has been transmitted to our mind through centuries will have to be discarded. . . . I have dealt with it. It has dropped away.”

Vimala went to meet Krishnamurti in Benares in December 1961. He asked her what she had been doing and she told him that she spent most of her time speaking with friends who were interested in her life.

“That is quite natural,” he replied. “But why don’t you explode? Why don’t you put bombs under all these old people who follow the wrong line? Why don’t you go around India? Is anyone doing this? If there were half a dozen, I would not say a word to you. There is none. . . . There is so much to do. There is no time. . . . Go—shout from the house tops, ‘You are on the wrong track! This is not the way to peace!’. . . Go out and set them on fire! There is none who is doing this. Not even one. . . . What are you waiting for?”

This conversation shook her to the core, but she also felt that “putting bombs under people” was not the whole story. Surely, she felt, one must also show people the right line of action and point out the way to rebuild the house. Further talks with him convinced her, and dispelled ideas which she saw were holding her back—for example, the idea that she should have her own language before starting to speak publicly—and also her fear of making mistakes. This was a pivotal moment, and in her words, “the burning ashes became aflame.”

From this point on she started traveling and addressing meetings in various countries in Europe to which she was invited. She soon encountered opposition both from those who did not like the fact that she spoke on her own authority and not as Krishnamurti’s messenger and from those who accused her of plagiarism.

Krishnamurti was supportive: “I know the whole game. They have played it on me. They want authority. Is not the world sick? I was afraid you would have to go through it. I was hoping that you wouldn’t have to. . . . It is not easy to stand up alone. It is extremely difficult. And yet the world needs such sannyasins, true Brahmins who would stand up alone, who would stand up for truth. You know if I had money I would give it to you. But I have none. I go everywhere as a guest—I have not even a place of my own.”

After this she met with Krishnamurti now and then, but she felt the need to spend time with him was finished, “as you only want to meet a person who is away from you.” Since 1962 she has felt Krishnamurti’s presence within her. From then on she spent her life traveling all over the world giving talks, teaching wherever she was invited, up until 1991, when she decided to remain in one place. She now prefers conducting meditation camps to giving talks, finding the extended time with people a more effective way to share her understanding.

As I sip the lemon tea she has served us, I feel slightly unsure how to interview this powerful woman, but her naturalness and warmth quickly dispel my doubts. Vimala is completely available for any questions so I plow right in.

“Vimalaji,” I say, “these days a lot of people are interested in spirituality and yet it seems that only in very few is there a radical transformation of their consciousness and of their life.”

Vimala immediately responds, “My dear friend, they do not dedicate their lives to the truth they understand. They have desire for worldly pleasure, worldly recognition. Spirituality is one of the desires. It is not the supreme priority. Immediately start living the truth you understand!

“Intellectually people may aspire for emancipation or enlightenment but emotionally they love small bondages around them. They go on weaving the network of bondages. They want to belong somewhere emotionally—to the family, to their religion. In the name of security they create these emotional loyalties and a sense of exclusive belonging, while intellectually they aspire for absolute freedom, enlightenment. How can the two go together?

“They are incompatible, and yet human beings who become sadhakas, inquirers, live a double life. They are not dishonest—I’m talking about an inner division. They feel satisfied by knowing about liberation, reading about it, imagining it. They feel satisfied about this because the word ‘liberation’ has its own intoxication, the emotional feel about the meaning of the word has an intoxication. And they live by that intoxication. But there is no factual content. So this inner division causes the pathetic phenomenon that in the evening of their lives, their hands are empty. They only have the shells of words with them, not the inner substance of liberation.”

Her unequivocal words stop me short. They have the ring of truth, spoken by someone who is deeply intimate with the actual condition of human beings.

“What can a person do if they recognize this divided condition as themselves?” I ask, eager to find out what solution she has for this fundamental issue.

“One has to educate oneself. So first one discovers the division inside. Then, to eliminate the division, purification through education has to take place, because impurity is the only imbalance. Educate and sensitize and refine and purify the biological and the psychological aspects of our being—then I think the inner division disappears.” She suggests that seekers devote a minimum of three, and preferably four, hours each day to their spiritual practice.

We move on to the subject of attachment and I remark that often people can have an understanding of the truth and still remain strongly attached to certain things. Vimala stops me in midstream.

“If attachment cannot be dissolved by the understanding of truth, that understanding is only verbal. If you have had that, how can there be attachment?”

I pursue my point to clarify the matter. “I’ve heard you speak of all attachment just dropping away effortlessly when one understands the truth, but it often happens that someone has had some genuine understanding or realization of the truth and yet the totality of the attachment, all the conditioning, does not drop away immediately and completely.”

“Never mind,” says Vimala, brushing aside my objection. “Even after having understood the truth some people may cling to untruth for the sake of pleasure or security. People are afraid of living, they are afraid of dying. The intellectual aspiration for truth is there, but this fear of life and death is also there. That’s why the dropping of the attachments does not result. If that is the case then at least such a person should be conscious that there is a duality in him or her, that understanding of truth is there on one level and that attachment is also there. If there is a genuine desire that the attachment should be dissolved, eliminated, if that consciousness is there, it will work as a prick. It will keep him awake. Attachment will be there, he will act out of attachment, then he will feel sorry for it. For some time this goes on. It will be gradual. It depends on the earnestness.”

I bring up the fact that various spiritual teachings seem to view the final goal of the spiritual life as abiding in the Absolute and are then not at all concerned with the world of time and space, with relating to people. When one has discovered the limitless, how does one simultaneously live in it and relate to others and to the world?

She replies with passion, “Even after the discovery you are still there in your body, aren’t you? You have to feed it, you have to clothe it, you have to live in the world. So after the discovery, the understanding, then there is the awareness. With that awareness you behave in the limited world. Some people talk about escaping from it, withdrawing, but even after withdrawal you need a place to live.

“After the discovery of the truth—with that inner perfume of the constant awareness that life is a dance between the manifest and the unmanifest, the limited and the limitless, that which is measurable and that which is immeasurable—then you relate to both. With awareness you are related to the absolute and with your body, mind and thought you are related to the relative. Relative and absolute—there is no dichotomy, they are not opposites.

“The limited world and the absolute truth together form the wholeness of life. Life is indivisible, you cannot fragment it, you cannot divide it. So there is no problem in relating to the limited world. The crookedness, the violence—you see them as they are and you relate to them. You have to not cooperate with the violence, you have to discourage the hatred, the possessiveness, the domination. You have to encourage the sharing psychology, the attitude of cooperation, the value of friendship. By your life you do it, by living you do it.”

I ask her about living in relationship with others. Vimala has this to say: “The truth has to be lived in the movement of relationship, it can’t be lived in physical isolation. It can be appreciated, it can be talked about, but that’s not life. To live is to be related and when that truth is allowed to express itself without fear, without ambition, without the desire to assert and dominate, when the truth is allowed to flow in that movement of relationship, then there is the fulfillment that you call enlightenment. It is the consummation. It is easy to perceive the truth, it is very difficult to allow it to consummate in your life. It’s like an unconsummated marriage.” She laughs deeply and freely—whether spontaneously or because she is amused by her unusual analogy, I’m not sure.

I am interested to learn that several of her students live in her house with her and that this is a formal arrangement; they requested to live with her and she views her acceptance of them as a commitment which must be honored. “Commitments are a very precious thing—to say yes to someone, to allow someone to come and live with you. Then you have to understand the person, their likes, their dislikes, their weaknesses, their excellences.”

“Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of your students, is it part of your commitment as a teacher to respond to what you see in them?” I ask, interested to find out to what extent she is involved with students personally.

“My dear, one sees the inexhaustible potential contained in them of which they may not be aware at all. So you respond, you hit at their weaknesses so that their personality is free of that. You try to create situations where the best in them will come out. So the role of teacher and the honoring of the commitment requires that in the light of my perception I strike when striking is necessary and I cooperate where cooperation is necessary, whether they like it or not. If they don’t like it they go away, because there is no binding.

“It’s a very important question you ask, thank you. Because sometimes you have to be very strict. The purpose for which they come has to be honored. They don’t just come because they want a change of place; they come as inquirers. The relationship between the teacher and the student is something sacred. I am involved as far as correcting their imbalances is concerned. I am not involved if they cry. I just ignore their tears. If their ego is hurt, I just ignore it. I am involved to the extent that the purpose for which they come is not forgotten by them. It’s a beautiful way of living.”

I remark that while some people would appreciate this, I’m sure others wouldn’t like it.

“Some would withdraw, some would go away, that’s their right to do so. People do not like self-reliance. When I throw them back on themselves, many don’t like it, they can’t take it. They have come for security. And I say, ‘Look, if you do this, if you do that, this is the result. Now choose, make your own decision.'”

“The reflection that you’re giving reveals how truly genuine is that person’s interest in freedom,” I find myself uttering, more as a spontaneous comment than a question.

After a pause she says with gravity and feeling, “Yes, and if you come across two or three who are genuine, you have lived your life. It’s not the number that matters.”

The atmosphere in the room is vibrant. Amidst our dialogue a tangible current of meditation has come into being and the room pulsates with silence. It’s a rare experience to be with someone who is so present and available and who has such depth to share.

We discuss the value of a sangha, or community of inquirers, based on what she is speaking about. We talk about how much can be learned in such an environment, whereas on one’s own, one cannot receive an accurate reflection from others. In this way, I suggest, a spiritual community can become a very powerful vehicle for evolution.

“I would say the only one,” she says suddenly, stunning me with her absoluteness. Before I can consider the implications of this statement, she continues, “I would just go a step further because here in India, physical isolation and withdrawal have been overemphasized. Retreats and physical solitude are useful and are relevant as a process of education. They are necessary, but not as a dimension to live in.”

I suggest that if the individuals associating together in a community genuinely have a passion for the truth then it seems to me that there’s a possibility for a different dimension of relationship—it’s not just people getting together to escape something or to prop each other up because they are not strong enough to face life.

“That’s right,” she continues with passion. “If inquirers and explorers get together and begin to live together, then one presence fertilizes another presence. You’re vulnerable, exposed, so you are on your toes all the time, there is no self-deception.

“Truth is not a theory, it’s a fact of life. Truth vibrates in the movement of relationship. The perfume of peace can be there when you are with others. I have spent months alone in a cave. I know what that kind of peace means. And when we sit together, the perfume of peace that we feel in togetherness is a different quality. It’s alive.

“In spirituality there is nothing to acquire, only to understand the truth and live it. When you are honestly inquiring, truth reveals itself. The ‘I’ has everything to lose, not get. And in that sacred nothingness and nobody-ness, the wholeness gets revealed. So if the inquirers, those who live together in a sangha, realize that spirituality is not an acquisitive movement but a movement of learning, then it becomes easy. A new dynamic of human relationship will be brought about by this approach to spirituality.”

The morning has passed in what seems like a few moments and I suddenly become aware of the surroundings, of the bright sunlight glancing on the walls of the small room. I realize how enthralled I have been and looking over to my companion, I sense that this is not just my experience. What Vimala Thakar has just been speaking about—the perfume of peace that can be felt in togetherness—is literally true and palpable. And it most definitely feels alive.

Here is the companion interview The Challenge of Emptiness conducted by Shanti Adams for EnlightenNnext.

Here is a PDF of Vimala Thakar’s book On An Eternal Voyage.

In 2006, my wife and I met Vimala Thakar in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India.  You can read my accounting of the meeting here in A Cup of Tea with Vimala Thakar.

Life is Aware of Itself – U.G. Krishnamurti

ug003mThe following is a conversation between U. G. Krishnamurti and David Bohm, recorded in Saanen, Switzerland in 1968. Also present were Mrs. Bohm, David Barry and Valentine.

U.G.: From quite a young age I had this question about religious people and religious experiences. What is there behind or beneath these religious beliefs and practices? And most of the guys I met were frauds, in the sense they didn’t have this real thing in them. You see, I myself went through all kinds of experiences—all within the field of thought. These religious people and mystics didn’t have the real touch of the ‘source’ or the ‘origin’—except perhaps Ramana Maharshi and Krishnamurti.

Not that I have what he has. There is nothing there. But is it the same? Perhaps it can’t be different. I don’t know, the question doesn’t interest me. However, this must be the base—the religious experience is not the thing—which is something beyond thought. The thought can never penetrate here. It is that state where the action takes place. But I have no way of knowing what is happening at that time. But there seems to be some kind of awareness—that is the difference between sleep and this state. Something is aware of something else. The Hindu religious thinkers say the immensity is aware of its own immensity, or that is aware of that. I would simply say life is aware of itself.

The body is in a state of quiet, of relaxation, which you can call bliss, truth, love, god or reality or anything you like, but it is not that, because there is nobody looking at it. I look at that (microphone) and I can bring out the word and say it is a microphone. But here, for this state of being, there is no word you can find to describe it. So the words bliss, love, god, truth, are all inadequate to express this state of being. Here there is no difference between life and death. The continuity (of the self) is gone once and for all.

Bohm: What do you say of time?

U.G.: There is no time, no space. When there is thought, there is time. Thought is time and thought is space.

As long as I am looking at something, there is space—but space of and by itself—because I have what you call Vistavision, I see much more. The eyes take in completely the hundred peer cent of what is there. They say the eye cuts off ninety-eight per cent and takes in only two per cent, but here, since there is no choice of any kind, the eyes take in the whole thing.

But the space that thought creates is different. The moment you say the Palace Hotel (in Gstaad), there is a space. When I close my eyes there is no space at all. Light is the part of the whole space, and the light inside has no frontiers. But to say that I am the space is not correct (laughs).

(To illustrate the point, UG picks up a visor.) This is the social consciousness, the mind, the world, this is the enclosure, this is the eye I have built through the years. Every human cell carries the knowledge built from thousands of years; rather, the whole fourteen million years of the past is embedded in the individual. So the human being is not different from the social consciousness. And what has happened in me is that this whole built-up consciousness somehow and by some process-not through any sadhana or effort or one’s volition—has knocked itself off.

When the explosion takes place, the whole structure of thought collapses. This is not an ordinary thing. It is like a nuclear explosion and it affects the whole human consciousness. It is not just once, but a series of explosions and there is a fallout which affects the human consciousness. This seems to be the only way we can affect the world, by bringing about a structural change within oneself. You can never look at thought. The thought splits itself into two, and one thought or image looks at the other. Only when you step out of the whole structure built over millions of years, you can look at thought, but it has no content. Thought has been a part of the human consciousness right from the beginning. There is this expression in the Bible: In the beginning was the word and word as the flesh. Actually it means matter. Thought is matter and at the same time it is sound and this has been in existence through centuries.

The thinker has no existence; he is an artificially created, built-up thing. He has taken possession of the body and has dominated for centuries… but somehow, here, he has been displaced. He is not there anymore. What you are left with are the body and thought. What is this thought? Here, they are only words, factual memory without psychological content. Only now, after you step out of the social and individual consciousness, there is a possibility of looking at thought. When thought comes, there is a disturbance in awareness and , once you look at it, this very awareness destroys it. There is no scope for the thought to take roots here and bring the thinker in. It is just there in the background for your use and when there is a need you use it and discard it. Sometimes the old memories come, but when you become aware of them, they disappear. The braid becomes tight and they cannot penetrate and take root.

Bohm: As thought comes in it disturbs the awareness, you say. Can we discuss the root of thought, but you say you don’t know.

U.G.: You see, when you put the question, first I am in the state of not-knowing; I really don’t know what mind is. If the exploration of the question should begin, the thinker has to come in and the thought process develops.

All right, let us take an example from the field of science. As long as we were caught up in the Newtonian physics nobody could break through. But Einstein, somehow and by some process, realized the inadequacy of Newtonian thought and that itself acted as a breakthrough. Now we connect them and we know that without Newtonian physics Einstein’s theories would never have come into existence. And now we can see that the process (Newtonian thought) had come to an end, but not actually, rather it caught the experience and created another thought structure. This kind of revolution is within the structure of thought. It could be a mystical experience or a path-breaking discovery and this brings about the changes or conversions. However, all experiences in any field are within the field of thought. A mystical experience can change the individual consciousness. The whole way of looking at life changes and it’ll be like wearing new glasses. Everything you look at, every activity is different, but still within the field of thought. Even bringing the mind to a quiet state is not the end of the mind. That could, at best, be the first loosening process of this whole structure. Every cell has a memory of its own. So the whole human body has to change for this to happen. This silence is of a different quality and kind.

So, you see, it is difficult to answer the question.

Bohm: I also wanted to ask, ‘What is the origin of the continuity of thought?’

U.G.: There is no continuity.

Bohm: If the awareness doesn’t wipe out thought…

U.G.: That means the ‘I’ is there and he carries on. But when the ‘I’, the thinker is absent, there is no continuity and thoughts just come and go and never take root and bring the thinker into operation.

Bohm: But you use thoughts in order to communicate, which it seems you want to.

U.G.: (Laughs) I may not even want to. But I am beginning to feel that even without communicating there is a possibility of being silent in some corner, no matter where, and these fallouts perhaps will affect in their own way. I don’t know; but there is another difficulty for me. I have no way of expressing myself—the whole of my past is wiped out and that past included Krishnamurti. So the Krishnamurtian lingo—if I may use that word—is of no value at all. I can’t use that language. I don’t even know what he is talking now, except the few phrases which are fresh.

The easiest thing would be to fall back on such a lingo. All the religious teachers used the then available literature, they used words like god, beyond, immortal, heavenly and such expressions. In our times Ramana did the same. He read texts of Hinduism in order to understand what he had come into and that coloured his mode of expression and he fell back on the Hindu terminologies to explain things. It must be said to the credit of Krishnamurti that he has come out with this strikingly original approach and has developed a new mode of expression which is very vital. But then there are and were hundreds of Hindu scholars who have tried to strike a new path, use new words or terminologies. So where do all these take one? To me all that seems inadequate. Perhaps it helps others.

This is not a new discovery, not something that comes from outside. When the whole process comes to an end, the search comes to an end, not that you arrive at a point or a destination. The self, the seeker disappears and what is left is the body and the senses operating in an extraordinary way. So—how am I going to create new words to talk about this? I can’t. I have to use the inadequate words we have.

Bohm: But the same words can function differently in different persons.

U.G.: It would be interesting to find out. But, you see, the person who comes here can bring me out. I can’t come prepared. It depends upon the person I am talking to. And one of the difficulties I have is that most of the people who come here are all full of Krishnamurti’s ideas. I am always confronted with this, or if I go to India, There they come with the Hindu terminologies. Anyway, they have to bring me out. Perhaps in this process something will come out.

From The Biology of Enlightenment: Unpublished Conversations of U.G. Krishnamurti after He Came into the Natural State (1967-71), pages 109-113.