Thoughts on J Krishnamurti’s teachings – I

April 28, 2007 at 8:49 am 10 comments

Notes on “Freedom from the Known”, J Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti Foundation India, 1969)

Ch – 1, pp. 3 – 4:

Throughout the theological history we have been been assured by religious leaders that if we perform certain rituals, repeat cetain prayers or mantras, conform to certain patterns, suppress our desires, control our thoughts, sublimate our passions, limit our appetites and refrain from sexual indulgence, we shall, after sufifcient torture of mind and body, find something beyond this little life. And that is what millions of so-called religious people have done through the ages, either in isolation, going off into the desert or into the mountains or a cave or wandering from village to village with a begging bowl, or, in a group, joining a monastery, forcing their minds to conform to an extablished pattern.

I do not seek anything beyond life. I do not seek an escape route. I have questions pertaining to life itself, and I seek answers. I seek reason behind the apparent chaos . . .

But a tortured mind, a broken mind, a mind which wants to escape from all turmoil, which has denied the outer world and been made dull through discipline and conformity – such a mind, however long it seeks, will find only according to its own distortion.

Outright denial of the outer world is akin to closing my eyes at the sight of blood. The blood is real; and the stains shall remain there as a reminder no matter how long I keep my eyes shut.

Discipline. Of what? Of my mind. So that my thoughts are not lost in the turbulences of this outer world. It is the process of focussing on the inner self, not denial of the outer world that is required. To claim that denial is a part of the traditional pedagogy is a most disastrous misinterpretation of tradition.
Conformity. To what? To the teachings and to the tradition which impose this discipline.

I rest my quest for reason for a moment and give in to discipline. I see the distortions rendered vacuous. The mind has, thus, not only not been rendered dull and insensitive, but, in fact, acquired the sharp precision of the point of a surgical needle, that, in spite of the chaotic surroundings, is able to understand the exact problems of the mind and formulate the correct questions.

I cannot but stress on the supreme importance of this first step. I cannot expect to find satisfactory answers without posing the appropriate question.

© Ritwik Banerjee

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Entry filed under: philosophy, religion.

Origins of Indian English Literature Thoughts on J Krishnamurti’s teachings – II

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shripriya  |  May 3, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Interesting… I went to a KFI school for many years – taught a certain irreverence that one doesn’t usually find in an Indian school system…

  • 2. arachnid  |  May 3, 2007 at 7:04 am

    I, on the other hand, started reading this book only recently. Moreover, this is my first exposure to Krishnamurti’s works. I feel uncomfortable with what he has to say; the irreverence that you talk about – I don’t like it. I feel it inculcates the absolute lack of humility.
    But it is too early for me, as an individual student, to conclude my affinity or the lack of it towards Krishnamurti’s teachings. Many people respect him a lot. There must be a reason!

  • 3. Shripriya  |  May 3, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    I am not comfortable with everything he espouses either. But the benefit of attending a KFI school when very young (which I did) is that it teaches you to be bold, but still respectful. For example, the teachers were called “Akka” and “Anna” so, a deference to age, but also that it was not a relationship of fear. On the downside, there was no competition at all. You’d run a race and they’d say “you are all winners!” Which is great in some ways, but not realistic for how competitive Indian high school and collegiate education is.

    There were also no exams. None. When the first batch of students struggled with the public exams since it was the first ever exam they had taken (!), my parents decided to put me in a more “regular” school 🙂

    • 4. patel gayatri  |  June 2, 2010 at 4:36 am

      dear shripriya,
      i am a student of Ph.D. working on J.Krishnamurti’s views on Teacher’s role , responsibilities and development. i think your views and thoughts would be helpful to me as you were the student of his school. please kindly help me to enrich my work.

      thanking you,
      waiting for your reply

      • 5. Shripriya  |  March 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

        I just saw this response. You can reach me on my website and I would be happy to help…

  • 6. arachnid  |  May 4, 2007 at 9:34 am

    I find this problem in many of the philosophical schools. They tend to disregard the real, practical, everyday world. It probably started with the asceticism of Buddhism.

  • 7. Doggerel Maker  |  May 25, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    May I kindly suggest that you read the book again.

    What J K tries to say is that Truth can’t be attained by a path or pattern. Truth is nothing but what is and was, and consequently will be. Nothing more. In the book, he just tries to say that one can’t seek for the truth, for there is no path to it. And for heaven’s sake, he has been so wonderfully modest in saying something to the effect of “Don’t take what I say for granted. Feel it, not at the intellectual level, but at a much more physical level; like you’d feel hunger. And if you do take what I say for granted, as an answer you can trust, you’d be trapped in another pattern, and consequently, not feel any of the Truth.”

    You haven’t understood what this means. Truth is what is. Truth is reality. That is it. There can be no further atomisation.

    In speaking of disciplining the mind, J K reiterated the fact that a given pattern can only extricate responses from a mind; the mind will not be anything but a machine fed with memory and the capacity to retrieve from memory.

    Also, the denial that you speak of is certainly not what J K’s teachings entail. It is what Tradition entails. J K, in fact, acknowledges your reaction to sensing Blood or anything at all, about the outer world.

    Discipline comes out of conformity. Conformity to what one seeks in ANY philosophy or pattern or path to the Truth, for there exists no such path.

    The only thing I dislike about J K’s teachings are that he expects change in the world :); he hopes that there will be lasting peace if human consciousness undergoes a mutation. I think there exists a contradiction here. If the truth is what-is, and I so totally believe this – I can’t impress upon you the rationality that backs this up, and hence “believe” – I don’t see the need to change. It is only natural that the world is in the state it is. Violence, disharmony and all chaos stems from the fact that the timelessness of reality, in fact, renders it impotent, and all chaos is only one of the possibilities that has survived. I don’t understand how one can “tame” this inherent possibility of violence. I believe that one can’t.

    I also take the liberty to suggest that, when publishing thoughts, perhaps you could take a little time off to tone down on the abstraction. More flow will be very helpful. I am not suggesting, oh, not at all, that there is no flow in what you write. I’m just hoping there is more flow, so there is more coherence. I hope you will not be offended.

  • 8. arachnid  |  May 25, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    If truth is actually the lack of any pattern, then the very notion of truth is rendered vacuous. Even if the reality is one surviving possibility of the many presented by the past, it is actually present. No matter what I do to understand this reality, I will always have to follow a path (some path, maybe defined by myself) …. and this very path becomes the pattern that J K has denied (or so I think). By tradition, I mean, in this context, the paths that several people have vouched for. I would rather explore these paths before venturing out there on my own, without any idea of which way to proceed.
    And I don’t agree with the nihilification of intellect. In my humble opinion, intellect is the analogy for feeling. Intellect is to the brain what hunger is for the stomach. What we normally coin as longing or feeling or maybe even impulse is a subconscious or perhaps even unconscious manifestation of this intellect.
    A man who has studied art intellectually may find himself crying before a painting while another man, an engineer, say, feels nothing at all. It is the intellect of the first person that creates the genuine feeling in him. This feeling, no doubt, shall drive him from there.
    Thank you for your comment. I have tried to make my posts very precise – trying my best not to spend a word more than needed – maybe I should change that. I really appreciate your comment.

  • 9. Anuj Dasgupta  |  May 31, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Knowledge, like say from that of Tradition or some form of Training is necessary to move around life, for knowing one’s tradition makes one socially functinal & knowing from some sort of a training, say that of driving helps one to operate certain devices (the car in this case).

    But there must always function in oneself a certain sense of freedom from all such knowledge. As much as knowledge is useful to act in life, the psychological dependance on it, can however become parasitic at times. Knowledge couples with a measure of one’s distance from it, is the key to NOT utilising knowledge as Power, but of using it with a distance so that one can always see the effects of such a knowledge.

    If I am it, how can I see it. Correspondingly, if I get attached to it, & thus, start to take the knowledge as necessary for my psychological survival, then that would mean, that I have almost become made that knowledge merge into me. Henceforth, by this attachment, there remains no more an “I” seperate from the “it” which I know. Now, can there be a dependance on knowledge, without the attachment to it?

    Anuj D.

    PS. Just wanted to know, how did u get my blog url, which I see is mentioned in your page? Curious, as in, do we know each other or something?

  • 10. Amitabh  |  April 26, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Jiddu Krishnamurti – The teachers, the gurus, the mahatmas, the philosophers, have all led us astray, because actually we have not solved our problems, our lives are not different. We are the same miserable, unhappy, sorrow-laden people. So the first thing is never to follow another, including the speaker. Never try to find out from another how to behave, how to live. Because what another tells you is not your life. If you rely or depend on another you will be misled.
    But if you deny the authority of the guru, the philosopher, the theoretician – whether Communist or theological – then you can look at yourself, then you can find the answer. But as long as one relies and depends on another, however wise he may be, one is lost. The man who says he knows, does not know. So the first thing is never to follow another and that is very difficult because we don’t know what to do; we have been so conditioned to believe, to follow.


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