The First And Last Freedom




MAN IS AN amphibian who lives simultaneously in two worlds - the given and the homemade, the

world of matter, life and consciousness and the world of symbols. In our thinking we make use of

a great variety of symbol-systems - linguistic, mathematical, pictorial, musical, ritualistic. Without

such symbol-systems we should have no art, no science, no law, no philosophy, not so much as the

rudiments of civilization: in other words, we should be animals.

Symbols, then, are indispensable. But symbols - as the history of our own and every other age

makes so abundantly clear - can also be fatal. Consider, for example, the domain of science on

the one hand, the domain of politics and religion on the other. Thinking in terms of, and acting

in response to, one set of symbols, we have come, in some small measure, to understand and

control the elementary forces of nature. Thinking in terms of and acting in response to, another

set of symbols, we use these forces as instruments of mass murder and collective suicide. In the

first case the explanatory symbols were well chosen, carefully analysed and progressively adapted

to the emergent facts of physical existence. in the second case symbols originally ill-chosen were

never subjected to thoroughgoing analysis and never re-formulated so as to harmonize with the

emergent facts of human existence. Worse still, these misleading symbols were everywhere treated

with a wholly unwarranted respect, as though, in some mysterious way, they were more real than

the realities to which they referred. In the contexts of religion and politics, words are not regarded as

standing, rather inadequately, for things and events; on the contrary, things and events are regarded

as particular illustrations of words. Up to the present symbols have been used realistically only

in those fields which we do not feel to be supremely important. In every situation involving our

deeper impulses we have insisted on using symbols, not merely unrealistically, but idolatrously, even

insanely. The result is that we have been able to commit, in cold blood and over long periods of time,

acts of which the brutes are capable only for brief moments and at the frantic height of rage, desire

or fear. Because they use and worship symbols, men can become idealists; and, being idealists,



they can transform the animal’s intermittent greed into the grandiose imperialisms of a Rhodes or a

J. P. Morgan; the animal’s intermittent love of bullying into Stalinism or the Spanish Inquisition; the

animal’s intermittent attachment to its territory into the calculated frenzies of nationalism. Happily,

they can also transform the animal’s intermittent kindliness into the lifelong charity of an Elizabeth Fry

or a Vincent de Paul; the animal’s intermittent devotion to its mate and its young into that reasoned

and persistent co-operation which, up to the present, has proved strong enough to save the world

from the consequences of the other, the disastrous kind of idealism. Will it go on being able to

save the world? The question cannot be answered. All we can say is that, with the idealists of

nationalism holding the A-bomb, the odds in favour of the idealists of co-operation and charity have

sharply declined.

Even the best cookery book is no substitute for even the worst dinner. The fact seems sufficiently

obvious. And yet, throughout the ages, the most profound philosophers, the most learned and acute

theologians have constantly fallen into the error of identifying their purely verbal constructions with

facts, or into the yet more enormous error of imagining that symbols are somehow more real than

what they stand for. Their word-worship did not go without protest. ”Only the spirit,” said St. Paul,

”gives life; the letter kills.” ”And why,” asks Eckhart, ”why do you prate of God? Whatever you say

of God is untrue.” At the other end of the world the author of one of the Mahayana sutras affirmed

that ”the truth was never preached by the Buddha, seeing that you have to realize it within yourself”.

Such utterances were felt to be profoundly subversive, and respectable people ignored them. The

strange idolatrous over-estimation of words and emblems continued unchecked. Religions declined;

but the old habit of formulating creeds and imposing belief in dogmas persisted even among the


In recent years logicians and semanticists have carried out a very thorough analysis of the symbols,

in terms of which men do their thinking. Linguistics has become a science, and one may even study

a subject to which the late Benjamin Whorf gave the name of meta-linguistics. All this is greatly

to the good; but it is not enough. Logic and semantics, linguistics and meta-linguistics - these are

purely intellectual disciplines. They analyse the various ways, correct and incorrect, meaningful

and meaningless, in which words can be related to things, processes and events. But they offer

no guidance, in regard to the much more fundamental problem of the relationship of man in his

psychophysical totality, on the one hand, and his two worlds, of data and of symbols, on the other.

In every region and at every period of history, the problem has been repeatedly solved by individual

men and women. Even when they spoke or wrote, these individuals created no systems - for they

knew that every system is a standing temptation to take symbols too seriously, to pay more attention

to words than to the realities for which the words are supposed to stand. Their aim was never to

offer ready-made explanations and panaceas; it was to induce people to diagnose and cure their

own ills, to get them to go to the place where man’s problem and its solution present themselves

directly to experience.

In this volume of selections from the writings and recorded talks of Krishnamurti, the reader will find

a clear contemporary statement of the fundamental human problem, together with an invitation to

solve it in the only way in which it can be solved - for and by himself. The collective solutions, to

which so many so desperately pin their faith, are never adequate. ”To understand the misery and

confusion that exist within ourselves, and so in the world, we must first find clarity within ourselves,

and that clarity comes about through right thinking. This clarity is not to be organized, for it cannot

The First And Last Freedom 3 Jiddu Krishnamurti


be exchanged with another. Organized group thought is merely repetitive. Clarity is not the result of

verbal assertion, but of intense self-awareness and right thinking. Right thinking is not the outcome

of or mere cultivation of the intellect, nor is it conformity to pattern, however worthy and noble. Right

thinking comes with self-knowledge. Without understanding yourself you have no basis for thought;

without self-knowledge, what you think is not true.”

This fundamental theme is developed by Krishnamurti in passage after passage. ‘’There is hope in

men, not in society, not in systems, organized religious systems, but in you and in me.” Organized

religions, with their mediators, their sacred books, their dogmas, their hierarchies and rituals, offer

only a false solution to the basic problem. ”When you quote the Bhagavad Gita, or the Bible, or some

Chinese Sacred Book, surely you are merely repeating, are you not? And what you are repeating

is not the truth. It is a lie, for truth cannot be repeated.” A lie can be extended, propounded and

repeated, but not truth; and when you repeat truth, it ceases to be truth, and therefore sacred books

are unimportant. It is through self-knowledge, not through belief in somebody else’s symbols, that a

man comes to the eternal reality, in which his being is grounded. Belief in the complete adequacy

and superlative value of any given symbol system leads not to liberation, but to history, to more of

the same old disasters. ”Belief inevitably separates. If you have a belief, or when you seek security

in your particular belief, you become separated from those who seek security in some other form

of belief. All organized beliefs are based on separation, though they may preach brotherhood.”

The man who has successfully solved the problem of his relations with the two worlds of data and

symbols, is a man who has no beliefs. With regard to the problems of practical life he entertains

a series of working hypotheses, which serve his purposes, but are taken no more seriously than

any other kind of tool or instrument. With regard to his fellow beings and to the reality in which

they are grounded, he has the direct experiences of love and insight. It is to protect himself from

beliefs that Krishnamurti has ”not read any sacred literature, neither the Bhagavad Gita nor the

Upanishads”. The rest of us do not even read sacred literature; we read our favourite newspapers,

magazines and detective stories. This means that we approach the crisis of our times, not with love

and insight, but ”with formulas, with systems” - and pretty poor formulas and systems at that. But

”men of good will should not have formulas; for formulas lead, inevitably, only to ”blind thinking”.

Addiction to formulas is almost universal. Inevitably so; for ”our system of upbringing is based upon

what to think, not on how to think”. We are brought up as believing and practising members of some

organization - the Communist or the Christian, the Moslem, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Freudian.

Consequently ”you respond to the challenge, which is always new, according to an old pattern; and

therefore your response has no corresponding validity, newness, freshness. If you respond as a

Catholic or a Communist, you are responding - are you not? - according to a patterned thought.

Therefore your response has no significance. And has not the Hindu, the Mussulman, the Buddhist,

the Christian created this problem? As the new religion is the worship of the State, so the old religion

was the worship of an idea.” If you respond to a challenge according to the old conditioning, your

response will not enable you to understand the new challenge. Therefore what ”one has to do,

in order to meet the new challenge, is to strip oneself completely, denude oneself entirely of the

background and meet the challenge anew”. In other words symbols should never be raised to the

rank of dogmas, nor should any system be regarded as more than a provisional convenience. Belief

in formulas and action in accordance with these beliefs cannot bring us to a solution of our problem.

”It is only through creative understanding of ourselves that there can be a creative world, a happy

world, a world in which ideas do not exist.” A world in which ideas do not exist would be a happy

world, because it would be a world without the powerful conditioning forces which compel men to

undertake inappropriate action, a world without the hallowed dogmas in terms of which the worst

The First And Last Freedom 4 Jiddu Krishnamurti


crimes are justified, the greatest follies elaborately rationalized.

An education that teaches us not how but what to think is an education that calls for a governing

class of pastors and masters. But ”the very idea of leading somebody is antisocial and anti-spiritual”.

To the man who exercises it, leadership brings gratification of the craving for power; to those who

are led, it brings the gratification of the desire for certainty and security. The guru provides a kind

of dope. But, it may be asked, ”What are you doing? Are you not acting as our guru?” ”Surely,”

Krishnamurti answers, ”I am not acting as your guru, because, first of all, I am not giving you any

gratification. I am not telling you what you should do from moment to moment, or from day to day,

but I am just pointing out something to you; you can take it or leave it, depending on you, not on me.

I do not demand a thing from you, neither your worship, nor your flattery, nor your insults, nor your

gods. I say,” This is a fact; take it or leave it. And most of you will leave it, for the obvious reason that

you do not find gratification in it.”

What is it precisely that Krishnamurti offers? What is it that we can take if we wish, but in all

probability shall prefer to leave? It is not, as we have seen, a system of belief, a catalogue of

dogmas, a set of ready-made notions and ideals. It is not leadership, not mediation, not spiritual

direction, not even example. It is not ritual, not a church, not a code, not uplift or any form of

inspirational twaddle.

Is it, perhaps, self-discipline? No; for self-discipline is not, as a matter of brute fact, the way in

which our problem can be solved. In order to find the solution, the mind must open itself to reality,

must confront the givenness of the outer and inner worlds without preconceptions or restrictions.

(God’s service is perfect freedom. Conversely, perfect freedom is the service of God.) In becoming

disciplined, the mind undergoes no radical change; it is the old self, but ”tethered, held in control”.

Self-discipline joins the list of things which Krishnamurti does not offer. Can it be, then, that what

he offers is prayer? Again, the reply is in the negative. ”Prayer may bring you the answer you seek;

but that answer may come from your unconscious, or from the general reservoir, the storehouse of

all your demands. The answer is not the still voice of God.” Consider, Krishnamurti goes on, ”what

happens when you pray. By constant repetition of certain phrases, and by controlling your thoughts,

the mind becomes quiet, doesn’t it? At least, the conscious mind becomes quiet. You kneel as the

Christians do, or you sit as the Hindus do, and you repeat and repeat, and through that repetition

the mind becomes quiet. In that quietness there is the intimation of something. That intimation of

something, for which you have prayed, may be from the unconscious, or it may be the response of

your memories. But, surely, it is not the voice of reality; for the voice of reality must come to you;

it cannot be appealed to, you cannot pray to it. You cannot entice it into your little cage by doing

puja, bhajan and all the rest of it, by offering it flowers, by placating it, by suppressing yourself or

emulating others. Once you have learned the trick of quietening the mind, through the repetition of

words, and of receiving hints in that quietness, the danger is - unless you are fully alert as to whence

those hints come - that you will be caught, and then prayer becomes a substitute for the search for

Truth. That which you ask for you get; but it is not the truth. If you want, and if you petition, you will

receive, but you will pay for it in the end.”

From prayer we pass to yoga, and yoga, we find, is another of the things which Krishnamurti does

not offer. For yoga is concentration, and concentration is exclusion. ”You build a wall of resistance

by concentration on a thought which you have chosen, and you try to ward off all the others.” What

The First And Last Freedom 5 Jiddu Krishnamurti


is commonly called meditation is merely ”the cultivation of resistance, of exclusive concentration on

an idea of our choice”. But what makes you choose? ”What makes you say this is good, true, noble,

and the rest is not? Obviously the choice is based on pleasure, reward or achievement; or it is

merely a reaction of one’s conditioning or tradition. Why do you choose at all? Why not examine

every thought? When you are interested in the many, why choose one? Why not examine every

interest? Instead of creating resistance, why not go into each interest as it arises, and not merely

concentrate on one idea, one interest? After all, you are made up of many interests, you have many

masks, consciously and unconsciously. Why choose one and discard all the others, in combating

which you spend all your energies, thereby creating resistance, conflict and friction. Whereas if

you consider every thought as it arises - every thought, not just a few thoughts - then there is no

exclusion. But it is an arduous thing to examine every thought. Because, as you are looking at one

thought, another slips in. But if you are aware without domination or justification, you will see that,

by merely looking at that thought, no other thought intrudes. It is only when you condemn, compare,

approximate, that other thoughts enter in.”

”Judge not that ye be not judged.” The gospel precept applies to our dealings with ourselves no

less than to our dealings with others. Where there is judgement, where there is comparison and

condemnation, openness of mind is absent; there can be no freedom from the tyranny of symbols

and systems, no escape from the past and the environment. Introspection with a predetermined

purpose, self-examination within the framework of some traditional code, some set of hallowed

postulates - these do not, these cannot help us. There is a transcendent spontaneity of life, a

‘creative Reality’, as Krishnamurti calls it, which reveals itself as immanent only when the perceiver’s

mind is in a state of ‘alert passivity’, of ‘choiceless awareness’. Judgement and comparison commit

us irrevocably to duality. Only choiceless awareness can lead to non-duality, to the reconciliation of

opposites in a total understanding and a total love. Ama et fac quod vis. If you love, you may do

what you will. But if you start by doing what you will, or by doing what you don’t will in obedience

to some traditional system or notions, ideals and prohibitions, you will never love. The liberating

process must begin with the choiceless awareness of what you will and of your reactions to the

symbol-system which tells you that you ought, or ought not, to will it. Through this choiceless

awareness, as it penetrates the successive layers of the ego and its associated subconscious, will

come love and understanding, but of another order than that with which we are ordinarily familiar.

This choiceless awareness - at every moment and in all the circumstances of life - is the only effective

meditation. All other forms of yoga lead either to the blind thinking which results from self-discipline,

or to some kind of self-induced rapture, some form of false samadhi. The true liberation is ”an inner

freedom of creative Reality”. This ”is not a gift; it is to be discovered and experienced. It is not an

acquisition to be gathered to yourself to glorify yourself. It is a state of being, as silence, in which

there is no becoming, in which there is completeness. This creativeness may not necessarily seek

expression; it is not a talent that demands outward manifestation. You need not be a great artist or

have an audience; if you seek these, you will miss the inward Reality. It is neither a gift, nor is it

the outcome of talent; it is to be found, this imperishable treasure, where thought frees itself from

lust, ill will and ignorance, where thought frees itself from worldliness and personal craving to be.

It is to be experienced through right thinking and meditation.” Choiceless self-awareness will bring

us to the creative Reality which underlies all our destructive make-believes, to the tranquil wisdom

which is always there, in spite of ignorance, in spite of the knowledge which is merely ignorance in

another form. Knowledge is an affair of symbols and is, all too often, a hindrance to wisdom, to the

uncovering of the self from moment to moment. A mind that has come to the stillness of wisdom

”shall know being, shall know what it is to love. Love is neither personal nor impersonal. Love is

The First And Last Freedom 6 Jiddu Krishnamurti


love, not to be defined or described by the mind as exclusive or inclusive. Love is its own eternity; it

is the real, the supreme, the immeasurable.”


The First And Last Freedom 7 Jiddu Krishnamurti



TO COMMUNICATE with one another, even if we know each other very well, is extremely difficult.

I may use words that may have to you a significance different from mine. Understanding comes

when we, you and I, meet on the same level at the same time. That happens only when there is

real affection between people, between husband and wife, between intimate fiends. That is real

communion. Instantaneous understanding comes when we meet on the same level at the same


It is very difficult to commune with one another easily, effectively and with definitive action. I am

using words which are simple, which are not technical, because I do not think that any technical

type of expression is going to help us solve our difficult problems; so I am not going to use any

technical terms, either of psychology or of science. I have not read any books on psychology or any

religious books, fortunately. I would like to convey, by the very simple words which we use in our

daily life, a deeper significance; but that is very difficult if you do not know how to listen.

There is an art of listening. To be able really to listen, one should abandon or put aside all prejudices,

preformulations and daily activities. When you are in a receptive state of mind, things can be easily

understood; you are listening when your real attention is given to something. But unfortunately most

of us listen through a screen of resistance. We are screened with prejudices, whether religious or

spiritual, psychological or scientific; or with our daily worries, desires and fears. And with these for a

screen, we listen. Therefore, we listen really to our own noise, to our own sound, not to what is being

said. It is extremely difficult to put aside our training, our prejudices, our inclination, our resistance,

and, reaching beyond the verbal expression, to listen so that we understand instantaneously. That

is going to be one of our difficulties.

If during this discourse, anything is said which is opposed to your way of thinking and belief just

listen; do not resist. You may be right, and I may be wrong; but by listening and considering together



we are going to find out what is the truth. Truth cannot be given to you by somebody. You have to

discover it; and to discover, there must be a state of mind in which there is direct perception. There

is no direct perception when there is a resistance, a safeguard, a protection. Understanding comes

through being aware of what is. To know exactly what is, the real, the actual, without interpreting

it, without condemning or justifying it, is, surely, the beginning of wisdom. It is only when we begin

to interpret, to translate according to our conditioning, according to our prejudice, that we miss the

truth. After all, it is like research. To know what something is, what it is exactly, requires research -

you cannot translate it according to your moods. Similarly, if we can look, observe, listen, be aware

of what is, exactly, then the problem is solved. And that is what we are going to do in all these

discourses. I am going to point out to you what is, and not translate it according to my fancy; nor

should you translate it or interpret it according to your background or training.

Is it not possible, then, to be aware of everything as it is? Starting from there, surely, there can be an

understanding. To acknowledge, to be aware of to get at that which is, puts an end to struggle. If I

know that I am a liar, and it is a fact which I recognize, then the struggle is over. To acknowledge, to

be aware of what one is, is already the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of understanding, which

releases you from time. To bring in the quality of time - time, not in the chronological sense, but

as the medium, as the psychological process, the process of the mind - is destructive, and creates

confusion. So, we can have understanding of what is when we recognize it without condemnation,

without justification, without identification. To know that one is in a certain condition, in a certain

state, is already a process of liberation; but a man who is not aware of his condition, of his struggle,

tries to be something other than he is, which brings about habit. So, then, let us keep in mind that we

want to examine what is, to observe and be aware of exactly what is the actual, without giving it any

slant, without giving it an interpretation. It needs an extraordinarily astute mind, an extraordinarily

pliable heart, to be aware of and to follow what is; because what is is constantly moving, constantly

undergoing a transformation, and if the mind is tethered to belief, to knowledge, it ceases to pursue,

it ceases to follow the swift movement of what is. What is is not static, surely - it is constantly moving,

as you will see if you observe it very closely. To follow it, you need a very swift mind and a pliable

heart - which are denied when the mind is static, fixed in a belief, in a prejudice, in an identification;

and a mind and heart that are dry cannot follow easily, swiftly, that which is.

One is aware, I think, without too much discussion, too much verbal expression, that there is

individual as well as collective chaos, confusion and misery. It is not only in India, but right throughout

the world; in China, America, England, Germany, all over the world, there is confusion, mounting

sorrow. It is not only national, it is not particularly here, it is all over the world. There is extraordinarily

acute suffering, and it is not individual only but collective. So it is a world catastrophe, and to limit it

merely to a geographical area, a coloured section of the map, is absurd; because then we shall not

understand the full significance of this worldwide as well as individual suffering. Being aware of this

confusion, what is our response today? How do we react?

There is suffering, political, social, religious; our whole psychological being is confused, and all the

leaders, political and religious, have failed us; all the books have lost their significance. You may go

to the Bhagavad Gita or the Bible or the latest treatise on politics or psychology, and you will find

that they have lost that ring, that quality of truth; they have become mere words. You yourself who

are the repeater of those words, are confused and uncertain, and mere repetition of words conveys

nothing. Therefore the words and the books have lost their value; that is, if you quote the Bible, or

Marx, or the Bhagavad Gita, as you who quote it are yourself uncertain, confused, your repetition

The First And Last Freedom 9 Jiddu Krishnamurti


becomes a lie; because what is written there becomes mere propaganda, and propaganda is not

truth. So when you repeat, you have ceased to understand your own state of being. You are merely

covering with words of authority your own confusion. But what we are trying to do is to understand

this confusion and not cover it up with quotations; so what is your response to it? How do you

respond to this extraordinary chaos, this confusion, this uncertainty of existence? Be aware of it, as

I discuss it: follow, not my words, but the thought which is active in you. Most of us are accustomed

to be spectators and not to partake in the game. We read books but we never write books. It has

become our tradition, our national and universal habit, to be the spectators, to look on at a football

game, to watch the public politicians and orators. We are merely the outsiders, looking on, and we

have lost the creative capacity. Therefore we want to absorb and partake.

But if you are merely observing, if you are merely spectators, you will lose entirely the significance

of this discourse, because this is not a lecture which you are to listen to from force of habit. I am

not going to give you information which you can pick up in an encyclopaedia. What we are trying

to do is to follow each other’s thoughts, to pursue as far as we can, as profoundly as we can, the

intimations, the responses of our own feelings. So please find out what your response is to this

cause, to this suffering; not what somebody else’s words are, but how you yourself respond. Your

response is one of indifference if you benefit by the suffering, by the chaos, if you derive profit from it,

either economic, social, political or psychological. Therefore you do not mind if this chaos continues.

Surely, the more trouble there is in the world, the more chaos, the more one seeks security. Haven’t

you noticed it? When there is confusion in the world, psychologically and in every way, you enclose

yourself in some kind of security, either that of a bank account or that of an ideology; or else you

turn to prayer, you go to the temple - which is really escaping from what is happening in the world.

More and more sects are being formed, more and more ‘isms’ are springing up all over the world.

Because the more confusion there is, the more you want a leader, somebody who will guide you out

of this mess, so you turn to the religious books, or to one of the latest teachers; or else you act and

respond according to a system which appears to solve the problem, a system either of the left or of

the right. That is exactly what is happening.

The moment you are aware of confusion, of exactly what is, you try to escape from it. Those sects

which offer you a system for the solution of suffering, economic, social or religious, are the worst;

because then system becomes important and not man - whether it be a religious system, or a system

of the left or of the right. System becomes important, the philosophy, the idea, becomes important,

and not man; and for the sake of the idea, of the ideology, you are willing to sacrifice all mankind,

which is exactly what is happening in the world. This is not merely my interpretation; if you observe,

you will find that is exactly what is happening. The system has become important. Therefore, as the

system has become important, men, you and I, lose significance; and the controllers of the system,

whether religious or social, whether of the left or of the right, assume authority, assume power, and

therefore sacrifice you, the individual. That is exactly what is happening.

Now what is the cause of this confusion, this misery? How did this misery come about, this suffering,

not only inwardly but outwardly, this fear and expectation of war, the third world war that is breaking

out? What is the cause of it? Surely it indicates the collapse of all moral, spiritual values, and the

glorification of all sensual values, of the value of things made by the hand or by the mind. What

happens when we have no other values except the value of the things of the senses, the value of

the products of the mind, of the hand or of the machine? The more significance we give to the

sensual value of things, the greater the confusion, is it not? Again, this is not my theory. You do not

The First And Last Freedom 10 Jiddu Krishnamurti


have to quote books to find out that your values, your riches, your economic and social existence

are based on things made by the hand or by the mind. So we live and function and have our being

steeped in sensual values, which means that things, the things of the mind, the things of the hand

and of the machine, have become important; and when things become important, belief becomes

predominantly significant - which is exactly what is happening in the world, is it not?

Thus, giving more and more significance to the values of the senses brings about confusion; and,

being in confusion, we try to escape from it through various forms, whether religious, economic or

social, or through ambition, through power, through the search for reality. But the real is near, you

do not have to seek it; and a man who seeks truth will never find it. Truth is in what is - and that

is the beauty of it. But the moment you conceive it, the moment you seek it, you begin to struggle;

and a man who struggles cannot understand. That is why we have to be still, observant, passively

aware. We see that our living, our action, is always within the field of destruction, within the field of

sorrow; like a wave, confusion and chaos always overtake us. There is no interval in the confusion

of existence.

Whatever we do at present seems to lead to chaos, seems to lead to sorrow and unhappiness.

Look at your own life and you will see that our living is always on the border of sorrow. Our work,

our social activity, our politics, the various gatherings of nations to stop war, all produce further war.

Destruction follows in the wake of living; whatever we do leads to death. That is what is actually

taking place. Can we stop this misery at once, and not go on always being caught by the wave of

confusion and sorrow? That is, great teachers, whether the Buddha or the Christ, have come; they

have accepted faith, making themselves, perhaps, free from confusion and sorrow. But they have

never prevented sorrow, they have never stopped confusion. Confusion goes on, sorrow goes on. If

you, seeing this social and economic confusion, this chaos, this misery, withdraw into what is called

the religious life and abandon the world, you may feel that you are joining these great teachers; but

the world goes on with its chaos, its misery and destruction, the everlasting suffering of its rich and

poor. So, our problem, yours and mine, is whether we can step out of this misery instantaneously.

If, living in the world, you refuse to be a part of it, you will help others out of this chaos - not in the

future, not tomorrow, but now. Surely that is our problem. War is probably coming, more destructive,

more appalling in its form. Surely we cannot prevent it, because the issues are much too strong

and too close. But you and I can perceive the confusion and misery immediately, can we not? We

must perceive them, and then we shall be in a position to awaken the same understanding of truth

in another. In other words, can you be instantaneously free? - because that is the only way out of

this misery. Perception can take place only in the present; but if you say, ”I will do it tomorrow the

wave of confusion overtakes you, and you are then always involved in confusion.

Now is it possible to come to that state when you yourself perceive the truth instantaneously and

therefore put an end to confusion? I say that it is, and that it is the only possible way. I say it can

be done and must be done, not based on supposition or belief. To bring about this extraordinary

revolution - which is not the revolution to get rid of the capitalists and install another group - to

bring about this wonderful transformation, which is the only true revolution, is the problem. What

is generally called revolution is merely the modification or the continuance of the right according

to the ideas of the left. The left, after all, is the continuation of the right in a modified form. If

the right is based on sensual values, the left is but a continuance of the same sensual values,

different only in degree or expression. Therefore true revolution can take place only when you, the

individual, become aware in your relationship to another. Surely what you are in your relationship

The First And Last Freedom 11 Jiddu Krishnamurti


to another, to your wife, your child, your boss, your neighbour, is society. Society by itself is nonexistent.

Society is what you and I, in our relationship, have created; it is the outward projection

of all our own inward psychological states. So if you and I do not understand ourselves, merely

transforming the outer, which is the projection of the inner, has no significance whatsoever; that is

there can be no significant alteration or modification in society so long as I do not understand myself

in relationship to you. Being confused in my relationship, I create a society which is the replica, the

outward expression of what I am. This is an obvious fact, which we can discuss. We can discuss

whether society, the outward expression, has produced me, or whether I have produced society.

Is it not, therefore, an obvious fact that what I am in my relationship to another creates society and

that, without radically transforming myself, there can be no transformation of the essential function

of society? When we look to a system for the transformation of society, we are merely evading

the question, because a system cannot transform man; man always transforms the system, which

history shows. Until I, in my relationship to you, understand myself I am the cause of chaos, misery,

destruction, fear, brutality. Understanding myself is not a matter of time; I can understand myself

at this very moment. If I say, ”I shall understand myself to-morrow”, I am bringing in chaos and

misery, my action is destructive. The moment I say that I ”shall” understand, I bring in the time

element and so am already caught up in the wave of confusion and destruction. Understanding is

now, not tomorrow. To-morrow is for the lazy mind, the sluggish mind, the mind that is not interested.

When you are interested in something, you do it instantaneously, there is immediate understanding,

immediate transformation. If you do not change now, you will never change, because the change

that takes place tomorrow is merely a modification, it is not transformation. Transformation can only

take place immediately; the revolution is now, not tomorrow.

When that happens, you are completely without a problem, for then the self is not worried about

itself; then you are beyond the wave of destruction.

The First And Last Freedom 12 Jiddu Krishnamurti



WHAT IS IT THAT most of us are seeking? What is it that each one of us wants? Especially in this

restless world, where everybody is trying to find some kind of peace, some kind of happiness, a

refuge, surely it is important to find out, isn’t it?, what it is that we are trying to seek, what it is that

we are trying to discover. Probably most of us are seeking some kind of happiness, some kind of

peace; in a world that is ridden with turmoil, wars, contention, strife, we want a refuge where there

can be some peace. I think that is what most of us want. So we pursue, go from one leader to

another, from one religious organization to another, from one teacher to another.

Now, is it that we are seeking happiness or is it that we are seeking gratification of some kind from

which we hope to derive happiness? There is a difference between happiness and gratification.

Can you seek happiness? Perhaps you can find gratification but surely you cannot find happiness.

Happiness is derivative; it is a by-product of something else. So, before we give our minds and

hearts to something which demands a great deal of earnestness, attention, thought, care, we must

find out, must we not?, what it is that we are seeking; whether it is happiness, or gratification. I

am afraid most of us are seeking gratification. We want to be gratified, we want to find a sense of

fullness at the end of our search.

After all, if one is seeking peace one can find it very easily. One can devote oneself blindly to some

kind of cause, to an idea, and take shelter there. Surely that does not solve the problem. Mere

isolation in an enclosing idea is not a release from conflict. So we must find, must we not?, what

it is, inwardly, as well as outwardly, that each one of us wants. If we are clear on that matter, then

we don’t have to go anywhere, to any teacher, to any church, to any organization. Therefore our

difficulty is, to be clear in ourselves regarding our intention, is it not? Can we be clear? And does

that clarity come through searching, through trying to find out what others say, from the highest

teacher to the ordinary preacher in a church round the corner? Have you got to go to somebody



to find out? Yet that is what we are doing, is it not? We read innumerable books, we attend many

meetings and discuss, we join various organizations - trying thereby to find a remedy to the conflict,

to the miseries in our lives. Or, if we don’t do all that, we think we have found; that is we say that a

particular organization, a particular teacher, a particular book satisfies us; we have found everything

we want in that; and we remain in that, crystallized and enclosed.

Do we not seek, through all this confusion, something permanent, something lasting, something

which we call real, God, truth, what you like - the name doesn’t matter, the word is not the thing,

surely. So don’t let us be caught in words. Leave that to the professional lecturers. There is a search

for something permanent, is there not?,in most of us - something we can cling to, something which

will give us assurance, a hope, a lasting enthusiasm, a lasting certainty, because in ourselves we

are so uncertain. We do not know ourselves. We know a lot about facts, what the books have said;

but we do not know for ourselves, we do not have a direct experience.

And what is it that we call permanent? What is it that we are seeking, which will, or which we hope will

give us permanency? Are we not seeking lasting happiness, lasting gratification, lasting certainty?

We want something that will endure everlastingly, which will gratify us. If we strip ourselves of all

the words and phrases, and actually look at it, this is what we want. We want permanent pleasure,

permanent gratification - which we call truth, God or what you will.

Very well, we want pleasure. Perhaps that may be putting it very crudely, but that is actually what we

want - knowledge that will give us pleasure, experience that will give us pleasure, a gratification that

will not wither away by tomorrow. And we have experimented with various gratifications, and they

have all faded away; and we hope now to find permanent gratification in reality, in God. Surely, that

is what we are all seeking - the clever ones and the stupid ones, the theorist and the factual person

who is striving after something. And is there permanent gratification? Is there something which will


Now, if you seek permanent gratification, calling it God, or truth, or what you will - the name does

not matter - surely you must understand, must you not?, the thing you are seeking. When you say, ”I

am seeking permanent happiness” - God, or truth, or what you like - must you not also understand

the thing that is searching, the searcher, the seeker? Because there may be no such thing as

permanent security, permanent happiness. Truth may be something entirely different; and I think it

is utterly different from what you can see, conceive, formulate. Therefore, before we seek something

permanent, is it not obviously necessary to understand the seeker? Is the seeker different from the

thing he seeks? When you say, ‘’I am seeking happiness”, is the seeker different from the object of

his search? Is the thinker different from the thought? Are they not a joint phenomenon, rather than

separate processes? Therefore it is essential, is it not?, to understand the seeker, before you try to

find out what it is he is seeking.

So we have to come to the point when we ask ourselves, really earnestly and profoundly, if peace,

happiness, reality, God, or what you will, can be given to us by someone else. Can this incessant

search, this longing, give us that extraordinary sense of reality, that creative being, which comes

when we really understand ourselves? Does self-knowledge come through search, through following

someone else, through belonging to any particular organization, through reading books, and so on?

After all, that is the main issue, is it not?, that so long as I do not understand myself, I have no

basis for thought, and all my search will be in vain. I can escape into illusions, I can run away from

The First And Last Freedom 14 Jiddu Krishnamurti


contention, strife, struggle; I can worship another; I can look for my salvation through somebody

else. But so long as I am ignorant of myself, so long as I am unaware of the total process of myself

I have no basis for thought, for affection, for action.

But that is the last thing we want: to know ourselves. Surely that is the only foundation on which we

can build. But, before we can build, before we can transform, before we can condemn or destroy,

we must know that which we are. To go out seeking, changing teachers, gurus, practicing yoga,

breathing, performing rituals, following Masters and all the rest of it, is utterly useless, is it not? It

has no meaning, even though the very people whom we follow may say: ”Study yourself”, because

what we are, the world is. If we are petty, jealous, vain, greedy - that is what we create about us,

that is the society in which we live.

It seems to me that before we set out on a journey to find reality, to find God, before we can act,

before we can have any relationship with another, which is society, it is essential that we begin to

understand ourselves first. I consider the earnest person to be one who is completely concerned

with this, first, and not with how to arrive at a particular goal, because, if you and I do not understand

ourselves, how can we, in action, bring about a transformation in society, in relationship, in anything

that we do? And it does not mean, obviously, that self-knowledge is opposed to, or isolated from,

relationship. It does not mean, obviously, emphasis on the individual, the me, as opposed to the

mass, as opposed to another.

Now without knowing yourself, without knowing your own way of thinking and why you think certain

things, without knowing the background of your conditioning and why you have certain beliefs about

art and religion, about your country and your neighbour and about yourself how can you think truly

about anything? Without knowing your background, without knowing the substance of your thought

and whence it comes - surely your search is utterly futile, your action has no meaning, has it?

Whether you are an American or a Hindu or whatever your religion is has no meaning either.

Before we can find out what the end purpose of life is, what it all means - wars, national antagonisms,

conflicts, the whole mess - we must begin with ourselves, must we not? It sounds so simple, but it is

extremely difficult. To follow oneself to see how one’s thought operates, one has to be extraordinarily

alert, so that as one begins to be more and more alert to the intricacies of one’s own thinking and

responses and feelings, one begins to have a greater awareness, not only of oneself but of another

with whom one is in relationship. To know oneself is to study oneself in action, which is relationship.

The difficulty is that we are so impatient; we want to get on, we want to reach an end, and so we have

neither the time nor the occasion to give ourselves the opportunity to study, to observe. Alternatively

we have committed ourselves to various activities - to earning a livelihood, to rearing children - or

have taken on certain responsibilities of various organizations; we have so committed ourselves in

different ways that we have hardly any time for self-reflection, to observe, to study. So really the

responsibility of the reaction depends on oneself not on another. The pursuit, all the world over, of

gurus and their systems, reading the latest book on this and that, and so on, seems to me so utterly

empty, so utterly futile, for you may wander all over the earth but you have to come back to yourself.

And, as most of us are totally unaware of ourselves, it is extremely difficult to begin to see clearly

the process of our thinking and feeling and acting.

The more you know yourself the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end - you don’t come

to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. As one studies it, as

The First And Last Freedom 15 Jiddu Krishnamurti


one goes into it more and more, one finds peace. Only when the mind is tranquil - through selfknowledge

and not through imposed self-discipline - only then, in that tranquillity, in that silence,

can reality come into being. It is only then that there can be bliss, that there can be creative action.

And it seems to me that without this understanding, without this experience, merely to read books, to

attend talks, to do propaganda, is so infantile - just an activity without much meaning; whereas if one

is able to understand oneself, and thereby bring about that creative happiness, that experiencing of

something that is not of the mind, then perhaps there can be a transformation in the immediate

relationship about us and so in the world in which we live.

The First And Last Freedom 16 Jiddu Krishnamurti



THE PROBLEM THAT confronts most of us is whether the individual is merely the instrument of

society or the end of society. Are you and I as individuals to be used, directed, educated, controlled,

shaped to a certain pattern by society and government; or does society, the State, exist for the

individual? Is the individual the end of society; or is he merely a puppet to be taught, exploited,

butchered as an instrument of war? That is the problem that is confronting most of us. That is the

problem of the world; whether the individual is a mere instrument of society, a plaything of influences

to be moulded; or whether society exists for the individual.

How are you going to find this out? It is a serious problem, isn’t it? If the individual is merely an

instrument of society, then society is much more important than the individual. If that is true, then

we must give up individuality and work for society; our whole educational system must be entirely

revolutionized and the individual turned into an instrument to be used and destroyed, liquidated, got

rid of but if society exists for the individual, then the function of society is not to make him conform

to any pattern but to give him the feel, the urge of freedom. So we have to find out which is false.

How would you inquire into this problem? It is a vital problem, isn’t it? It is not dependent on any

ideology, either of the left or of the right; and if it is dependent on an ideology, then it is merely a

matter of opinion. Ideas always breed enmity, confusion, conflict. If you depend on books of the left

or of the right or on sacred books, then you depend on mere opinion, whether of Buddha, of Christ,

of capitalism, communism or what you will. They are ideas, not truth. A fact can never be denied.

Opinion about fact can be denied. If we can discover what the truth of the matter is, we shall be able

to act independently of opinion. Is it not, therefore, necessary to discard what others have said?

The opinion of the leftist or other leaders is the outcome of their conditioning, so if you depend for

your discovery on what is found in books, you are merely bound by opinion. It is not a matter of




How is one to discover the truth of this? On that we will act. To find the truth of this, there must be

freedom from all propaganda, which means you are capable of looking at the problem independently

of opinion. The whole task of education is to awaken the individual. To see the truth of this, you will

have to be very clear, which means you cannot depend on a leader. When you choose a leader you

do so out of confusion, and so your leaders are also confused, and that is what is happening in the

world. Therefore you cannot look to your leader for guidance or help.

A mind that wishes to understand a problem must not only understand the problem completely,

wholly, but must be able to follow it swiftly, because the problem is never static. The problem is

always new, whether it is a problem of starvation, a psychological problem, or any problem. Any

crisis is always new; therefore, to understand it, a mind must always be fresh, clear, swift in its

pursuit. I think most of us realize the urgency of an inward revolution, which alone can bring

about a radical transformation of the outer, of society. This is the problem with which I myself

and all seriously-intentioned people are occupied. How to bring about a fundamental, a radical

transformation in society, is our problem; and this transformation of the outer cannot take place

without inner revolution. Since society is always static, any action, any reform which is accomplished

without this inward revolution becomes equally static; so there is no hope without this constant

inward revolution, because, without it, outer action becomes repetitive, habitual. The action of

relationship between you and another, between you and me, is society; and that society becomes

static, it has no life-giving quality, so long as there is not this constant inward revolution, a creative,

psychological transformation; and it is because there is not this constant inward revolution that

society is always becoming static, crystallized, and has therefore constantly to be broken up.

What is the relationship between yourself and the misery, the confusion, in and around you? Surely

this confusion, this misery, did not come into being by itself. You and I have created it, not a capitalist

nor a communist nor a fascist society, but you and I have created it in our relationship with each

other. What you are within has been projected without, on to the world; what you are, what you

think and what you feel, what you do in your everyday existence, is projected outwardly, and that

constitutes the world. If we are miserable, confused, chaotic within, by projection that becomes the

world, that becomes society, because the relationship between yourself and myself between myself

and another is society - society is the product of our relationship - and if our relationship is confused,

egocentric, narrow, limited, national, we project that and bring chaos into the world.

What you are, the world is. So your problem is the world’s problem. Surely, this is a simple and

basic fact, is it not? In our relationship with the one or the many we seem somehow to overlook

this point all the time. We want to bring about alteration through a system or through a revolution

in ideas or values based on a system, forgetting that it is you and I who create society, who bring

about confusion or order by the way in which we live. So we must begin near, that is we must

concern ourselves with our daily existence, with our daily thoughts and feelings and actions which

are revealed in the manner of earning our livelihood and in our relationship with ideas or beliefs.

This is our daily existence, is it not? We are concerned with livelihood, getting jobs, earning money;

we are concerned with the relationship with our family or with our neighbours, and we are concerned

with ideas and with beliefs. Now, if you examine our occupation, it is fundamentally based on envy,

it is not just a means of earning a livelihood. Society is so constructed that it is a process of constant

conflict, constant becoming; it is based on greed, on envy, envy of your superior; the clerk wanting

to become the manager, which shows that he is not just concerned with earning a livelihood, a

means of subsistence, but with acquiring position and prestige. This attitude naturally creates havoc

The First And Last Freedom 18 Jiddu Krishnamurti


in society, in relationship, but if you and I were only concerned with livelihood we should find out the

right means of earning it, a means not based on envy. Envy is one of the most destructive factors

in relationship because envy indicates the desire for power, for position, and it ultimately leads to

politics; both are closely related. The clerk, when he seeks to become a manager, becomes a factor

in the creation of power-politics which produce war; so he is directly responsible for war.

What is our relationship based on ? The relationship between yourself and myself, between yourself

and another - which is society - what is it based on? Surely not on love, though we talk about it. It is

not based on love, because if there were love there would be order, there would be peace, happiness

between you and me. But in that relationship between you and me there is a great deal of ill will

which assumes the form of respect. If we were both equal in thought, in feeling, there would be no

respect, there would be no ill will, because we would be two individuals meeting, not as disciple and

teacher, nor as the husband dominating the wife, nor as the wife dominating the husband. When

there is ill will there is a desire to dominate which arouses jealousy, anger, passion, all of which

in our relationship creates constant conflict from which we try to escape, and this produces further

chaos, further misery.

Now as regards ideas which are part of our daily existence, beliefs and formulations, are they not

distorting our minds? For what is stupidity? Stupidity is the giving of wrong values to those things

which the mind creates, or to those things which the hands produce. Most of our thoughts spring

from the self-protective instinct, do they not? Our ideas, oh, so many of them, do they not receive

the wrong significance, one which they have not in themselves? Therefore when we believe in any

form, whether religious, economic or social, when we believe in God, in ideas, in a social system

which separates man from man, in nationalism and so on, surely we are giving a wrong significance

to belief which indicates stupidity, for belief divides people, doesn’t unite people. So we see that by

the way we live we can produce order or chaos, peace or conflict, happiness or misery.

So our problem, is it not?, is whether there can be a society which is static, and at the same time

an individual in whom this constant revolution is taking place. That is, revolution in society must

begin with the inner, psychological transformation of the individual. Most of us want to see a radical

transformation in the social structure. That is the whole battle that is going on in the world - to bring

about a social revolution through communistic or any other means. Now if there is a social revolution,

that is an action with regard to the outer structure of man, however radical that social revolution

may be its very nature is static if there is no inward revolution of the individual, no psychological

transformation. Therefore to bring about a society that is not repetitive, nor static, not disintegrating,

a society that is constantly alive, it is imperative that there should be a revolution in the psychological

structure of the individual, for without inward, psychological revolution, mere transformation of the

outer has very little significance. That is society is always becoming crystallized, static, and is

therefore always disintegrating. However much and however wisely legislation may be promulgated,

society is always in the process of decay because revolution must take place within, not merely

outwardly. I think it is important to understand this and not slur over it. Outward action, when

accomplished, is over, is static; if the relationship between individuals, which is society, is not the

outcome of inward revolution, then the social structure, being static, absorbs the individual and

therefore makes him equally static, repetitive. Realizing this, realizing the extraordinary significance

of this fact, there can be no question of agreement or disagreement. It is a fact that society is always

crystallizing and absorbing the individual and that constant, creative revolution can only be in the

individual, not in society, not in the outer. That is creative revolution can take place only in individual

The First And Last Freedom 19 Jiddu Krishnamurti


relationship, which is society. We see how the structure of the present society in India, in Europe, in

America, in every part of the world, is rapidly disintegrating; and we know it within our own lives. We

can observe it as we go down the streets. We do not need great historians to tell us the fact that our

society is crumbling; and there must be new architects, new builders, to create a new society. The

structure must be built on a new foundation, on newly discovered facts and values. Such architects

do not yet exist. There are no builders, none who, observing, becoming aware of the fact that the

structure is collapsing, are transforming themselves into architects. That is our problem. We see

society crumbling, disintegrating; and it is we, you and I, who have to be the architects. You and I

have to rediscover the values and build on a more fundamental, lasting foundation; because if we

look to the professional architects, the political and religious builders, we shall be precisely in the

same position as before.

Because you and I are not creative, we have reduced society to this chaos, so you and I have

to be creative because the problem is urgent; you and I must be aware of the causes of the

collapse of society and create a new structure based not on mere imitation but on our creative

understanding. Now this implies, does it not?, negative thinking. Negative thinking is the highest

form of understanding. That is in order to understand what is creative thinking, we must approach

the problem negatively, because a positive approach to the problem - which is that you and I must

become creative in order to build a new structure of society - will be imitative. To understand that

which is crumbling, we must investigate it, examine it negatively - not with a positive system, a

positive formula, a positive conclusion.

Why is society crumbling, collapsing, as it surely is ? One of the fundamental reasons is that the

individual, you, has ceased to be creative. I will explain what I mean. You and I have become

imitative, we are copying, outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly, when learning a technique, when

communicating with each other on the verbal level, naturally there must be some imitation, copy. I

copy words. To become an engineer, I must first learn the technique, then use the technique to build

a bridge. There must be a certain amount of imitation, copying, in outward technique, but when

there is inward, psychological imitation surely we cease to be creative. Our education, our social

structure, our so-called religious life, are all based on imitation; that is I fit into a particular social

or religious formula. I have ceased to be a real individual; psychologically, I have become a mere

repetitive machine with certain conditioned responses, whether those of the Hindu, the Christian, the

Buddhist, the German or the Englishman. Our responses are conditioned according to the pattern

of society, whether it is eastern or western, religious or materialistic. So one of the fundamental

causes of the disintegration of society is imitation, and one of the disintegrating factors is the leader,

whose very essence is imitation.

In order to understand the nature of disintegrating society is it not important to inquire whether

you and I, the individual, can be creative? We can see that when there is imitation there must

be disintegration; when there is authority there must be copying. And since our whole mental,

psychological make-up is based on authority, there must be freedom from authority, to be creative.

Have you not noticed that in moments of creativeness, those rather happy moments of vital interest,

there is no sense of repetition, no sense of copying? Such moments are always new, fresh, creative,

happy. So we see that one of the fundamental causes of the disintegration of society is copying,

which is the worship of authority.

The First And Last Freedom 20 Jiddu Krishnamurti



THE PROBLEMS OF the world are so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so

to resolve them one must approach them in a very simple and direct manner; and simplicity,

directness, do not depend on outward circumstances nor on our particular prejudices and moods.

As I was pointing out, the solution is not to be found through conferences, blueprints, or through

the substitution of new leaders for old, and so on, The solution obviously lies in the creator of that

problem, in the creator of the mischief, of the hate and of the enormous misunderstanding that exists

between human beings, The creator of this mischief, the creator of these problems, is the individual,

you and I, not the world as we think of it. The world is your relationship with another. The world is

not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or

seek to establish between each other.

So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves

and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us;

we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems. This cannot be repeated too often,

because we are so sluggish in our mentality that we think the world’s problems are not our business,

that they have to be resolved by the United Nations or by substituting new leaders for the old. It

is a very dull mentality that thinks like that, because we are responsible for this frightful misery

and confusion in the world, this ever-impending war. To transform the world, we must begin with

ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must

be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about

a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. It is important to understand

that this is our responsibility, yours and mine; because, however small may be the world we live in,

if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence,

then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others.



As I said, we are going to try and find out the process of understanding ourselves, which is not an

isolating process. It is not withdrawal from the world, because you cannot live in isolation. To be is

to be related, and there is no such thing as living in isolation. It is the lack of right relationship that

brings about conflicts, misery and strife; however small our world may be, if we can transform our

relationship in that narrow world, it will be like a wave extending outward all the time. I think it is

important to see that point, that the world is our relationship, however narrow; and if we can bring

a transformation there, not a superficial but a radical transformation, then we shall begin actively

to transform the world. Real revolution is not according to any particular pattern, either of the

left or of the right, but it is a revolution of values, a revolution from sensate values to the values

that are not sensate or created by environmental influences. To find these true values which will

bring about a radical revolution, a transformation or a regeneration, it is essential to understand

oneself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and therefore the beginning of transformation

or regeneration. To understand oneself there must be the intention to understand - and that is where

our difficulty comes in. Although most of us are discontented, we desire to bring about a sudden

change, our discontent is canalized merely to achieve a certain result; being discontented, we either

seek a different job or merely succumb to environment. Discontent, instead of setting us aflame,

causing us to question life, the whole process of existence, is canalized, and thereby we become

mediocre, losing that drive, that intensity to find out the whole significance of existence. Therefore it

is important to discover these things for ourselves, because self-knowledge cannot be given to us by

another, it is not to be found through any book. We must discover, and to discover there must be the

intention, the search, the inquiry. So long as that intention to find out, to inquire deeply, is weak or

does not exist, mere assertion or a casual wish to find out about oneself is of very little significance.

Thus the transformation of the world is brought about by the transformation of oneself, because the

self is the product and a part of the total process of human existence. To transform oneself, selfknowledge

is essential; without knowing what you are, there is no basis for right thought, and without

knowing yourself there cannot be transformation, One must know oneself as one is, not as one

wishes to be which is merely an ideal and therefore fictitious, unreal; it is only that which is that can

be transformed, not that which you wish to be. To know oneself as one is requires an extraordinary

alertness of mind, because what is is constantly undergoing transformation, change, and to follow

it swiftly the mind must not be tethered to any particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern

of action. If you would follow anything it is no good being tethered. To know yourself, there must be

the awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is freedom from all beliefs, from all idealization

because beliefs and ideals only give you a colour, perverting true perception. If you want to know

what you are you cannot imagine or have belief in something which you are not. If I am greedy,

envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value. But to know

that one is greedy or violent, to know and understand it, requires an extraordinary perception, does

it not? It demands honesty, clarity of thought, whereas to pursue an ideal away from what is is an

escape; it prevents you from discovering and acting directly upon what you are.

The understanding of what you are, whatever it be - ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous - the

understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for

it gives freedom. It is only in virtue that you can discover, that you can live - not in the cultivation

of a virtue, which merely brings about respectability, not understanding and freedom. There is

a difference between being virtuous and becoming virtuous. Being virtuous comes through the

understanding of what is, whereas becoming virtuous is postponement, the covering up of what is

with what you would like to be. Therefore in becoming virtuous you are avoiding action directly upon

The First And Last Freedom 22 Jiddu Krishnamurti


what is. This process of avoiding what is through the cultivation of the ideal is considered virtuous;

but if you look at it closely and directly you will see that it is nothing of the kind. It is merely a

postponement of coming face to face with what is. Virtue is not the becoming of what is not; virtue is

the understanding of what is and therefore the freedom from what is. Virtue is essential in a society

that is rapidly disintegrating. In order to create a new world, a new structure away from the old,

there must be freedom to discover; and to be free, there must be virtue, for without virtue there is

no freedom. Can the immoral man who is striving to become virtuous ever know virtue? The man

who is not moral can never be free, and therefore he can never find out what reality is. Reality can

be found only in understanding what is; and to understand what is, there must be freedom, freedom

from the fear of what is.

To understand that process there must be the intention to know what is, to follow every thought,

feeling and action; and to understand what is is extremely difficult, because what is is never still,

never static, it is always in movement. The what is is what you are, not what you would like to

be; it is not the ideal, because the ideal is fictitious, but it is actually what you are doing, thinking

and feeling from moment to moment. What is is the actual, and to understand the actual requires

awareness, a very alert, swift mind. But if we begin to condemn what is, if we begin to blame or

resist it, then we shall not understand its movement. If I want to understand somebody, I cannot

condemn him: I must observe, study him. I must love the very thing I am studying. If you want

to understand a child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with him, watch his

movements, his idiosyncrasies, his ways of behaviour; but if you merely condemn, resist or blame

him, there is no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is, one must observe

what one thinks, feels and does from moment to moment. That is the actual. Any other action, any

ideal or ideological action, is not the actual; it is merely a wish, a fictitious desire to be something

other than what is.

To understand what is requires a state of mind in which there is no identification or condemnation,

which means a mind that is alert and yet passive. We are in that state when we really desire to

understand something; when the intensity of interest is there, that state of mind comes into being.

When one is interested in understanding what is, the actual state of the mind, one does not need to

force, discipline, or control it; on the contrary, there is passive alertness, watchfulness. This state of

awareness comes when there is interest, the intention to understand.

The fundamental understanding of oneself does not come through knowledge or through the

accumulation of experiences, which is merely the cultivation of memory. The understanding

of oneself is from moment to moment; if we merely accumulate knowledge of the self, that

very knowledge prevents further understanding, because accumulated knowledge and experience

becomes the centre through which thought focuses and has its being. The world is not different from

us and our activities because it is what we are which creates the problems of the world; the difficulty

with the majority of us is that we do not know ourselves directly, but seek a system, a method, a

means of operation by which to solve the many human problems.

Now is there a means, a system, of knowing oneself? Any clever person, any philosopher, can invent

a system, a method; but surely the following of a system will merely produce a result created by that

system, will it not? If I follow a particular method of knowing myself, then I shall have the result which

that system necessitates; but the result will obviously not be the understanding of myself. That is

by following a method, a system, a means through which to know myself, I shape my thinking, my

activities, according to a pattern; but the following of a pattern is not the understanding of oneself.

The First And Last Freedom 23 Jiddu Krishnamurti


Therefore there is no method for self-knowledge. Seeking a method invariably implies the desire

to attain some result - and that is what we all want. We follow authority - if not that of a person,

then of a system, of an ideology - because we want a result which will be satisfactory, which will

give us security. We really do not want to understand ourselves, our impulses and reactions, the

whole process of our thinking, the conscious as well as the unconscious; we would rather pursue

a system which assures us of a result. But the pursuit of a system is invariably the outcome of our

desire for security, for certainty, and the result is obviously not the understanding of oneself. When

we follow a method, we must have authorities - the teacher, the guru, the saviour, the Master - who

will guarantee us what we desire; and surely that is not the way to self-knowledge.

Authority prevents the understanding of oneself, does it not? Under the shelter of an authority,

a guide, you may have temporarily a sense of security, a sense of well-being, but that is not

the understanding of the total process of oneself. Authority in its very nature prevents the full

awareness of oneself and therefore ultimately destroys freedom; in freedom alone can there be

creativeness. There can be creativeness only through self-knowledge. Most of us are not creative;

we are repetitive machines, mere gramophone records playing over and over again certain songs of

experience, certain conclusions and memories, either our own or those of another. Such repetition

is not creative being - but it is what we want. Because we want to be inwardly secure, we are

constantly seeking methods and means for this security, and thereby we create authority, the worship

of another, which destroys comprehension, that spontaneous tranquillity of mind in which alone there

can be a state of creativeness.

Surely our difficulty is that most of us have lost this sense of creativeness. To be creative does not

mean that we must paint pictures or write poems and become famous. That is not creativeness - it

is merely the capacity to express an idea, which the public applauds or disregards. Capacity and

creativeness should not be confused. Capacity is not creativeness. Creativeness is quite a different

state of being, is it not? It is a state in which the self is absent, in which the mind is no longer a focus

of our experiences, our ambitions, our pursuits and our desires. Creativeness is not a continuous

state, it is new from moment to moment, it is a movement in which there is not the ‘me’, the ‘mine’,

in which the thought is not focused on any particular experience, ambition, achievement, purpose

and motive. It is only when the self is not that there is creativeness - that state of being in which

alone there can be reality, the creator of all things. But that state cannot be conceived or imagined,

it cannot be formulated or copied, it cannot be attained through any system, through any philosophy,

through any discipline; on the contrary, it comes into being only through understanding the total

process of oneself.

The understanding of oneself is not a result, a culmination; it is seeing oneself from moment to

moment in the mirror of relationship - one’s relationship to property, to things, to people and to

ideas. But we find it difficult to be alert, to be aware, and we prefer to dull our minds by following

a method, by accepting authorities, superstitions and gratifying theories; so our minds become

weary, exhausted and insensitive. Such a mind cannot be in a state of creativeness. That state

of creativeness comes only when the self, which is the process of recognition and accumulation,

ceases to be; because, after all, consciousness as the ‘me’ is the centre of recognition, and

recognition is merely the process of the accumulation of experience. But we are all afraid to be

nothing, because we all want to be something. The little man wants to be a big man, the unvirtuous

wants to be virtuous, the weak and obscure crave power, position and authority. This is the incessant

activity of the mind. Such a mind cannot be quiet and therefore can never understand the state of

The First And Last Freedom 24 Jiddu Krishnamurti



In order to transform the world about us, with its misery, wars, unemployment, starvation, class

divisions and utter confusion, there must be a transformation in ourselves. The revolution must

begin within oneself - but not according to any belief or ideology, because revolution based on an

idea, or in conformity to a particular pattern, is obviously no revolution at all. To bring about a

fundamental revolution in oneself one must understand the whole process of one’s thought and

feeling in relationship. That is the only solution to all our problems - not to have more disciplines,

more beliefs, more ideologies and more teachers. If we can understand ourselves as we are from

moment to moment without the process of accumulation, then we shall see how there comes a

tranquillity that is not a product of the mind, a tranquillity that is neither imagined nor cultivated; and

only in that state of tranquillity can there be creativeness.

The First And Last Freedom 25 Jiddu Krishnamurti



I SHOULD LIKE TO discuss the problem of action. This may be rather abstruse and difficult at the

beginning but I hope that by thinking it over we shall be able to see the issue clearly, because our

whole existence, our whole life, is a process of action.

Most of us live in a series of actions, of seemingly unrelated, disjointed actions, leading to

disintegration, to frustration. It is a problem that concerns each one of us, because we live by

action and without action there is no life, there is no experience, there is no thinking. Thought is

action; and merely to pursue action at one particular level of consciousness, which is the outer,

merely to be caught up in outward action without understanding the whole process of action itself,

will inevitably lead us to frustration, to misery.

Our life is a series of actions or a process of action at different levels of consciousness.

Consciousness is experiencing, naming and recording. That is consciousness is challenge and

response, which is experiencing, then terming or naming, and then recording, which is memory.

This process is action, is it not? Consciousness is action; and without challenge, response, without

experiencing, naming or terming, without recording, which is memory, there is no action.

Now action creates the actor. That is the actor comes into being when action has a result, an end

in view. If there is no result in action, then there is no actor; but if there is an end or a result in

view, then action brings about the actor. Thus actor, action, and end or result, is a unitary process,

a single process, which comes into being when action has an end in view. Action towards a result is

will; otherwise there is no will, is there? The desire to achieve an end brings about will, which is the

actor - I want to achieve, I want to write a book, I want to be a rich man, I want to paint a picture.

We are familiar with these three states: the actor, the action, and the end. That is our daily existence.

I am just explaining what is; but we will begin to understand how to transform what is only when we



examine it clearly, so that there is no illusion or prejudice, no bias with regard to it. Now these three

states which constitute experience - the actor, the action, and the result - are surely a process of

becoming. Otherwise there is no becoming, is there? If there is no actor, and if there is no action

towards an end, there is no becoming; but life as we know it, our daily life, is a process of becoming.

I am poor and I act with an end in view, which is to become rich. I am ugly and I want to become

beautiful. Therefore my life is a process of becoming something. The will to be is the will to become,

at different levels of consciousness, in different states, in which there is challenge, response, naming

and recording. Now this becoming is strife, this becoming is pain, is it not? It is a constant struggle:

I am this, and I want to become that.

Therefore, then, the problem is: Is there not action without this becoming? Is there not action without

this pain, without this constant battle? If there is no end, there is no actor because action with an

end in view creates the actor. But can there be action without an end in view, and therefore no actor

- that is without the desire for a result? Such action is not a becoming, and therefore not a strife.

There is a state of action, a state of experiencing, without the experiencer and the experience. This

sounds rather philosophical but it is really quite simple.

In the moment of experiencing, you are not aware of yourself as the experiencer apart from the

experience; you are in a state of experiencing. Take a very simple example: you are angry. In that

moment of anger there is neither the experiencer nor the experience; there is only experiencing. But

the moment you come out of it, a split second after the experiencing, there is the experiencer and

the experience, the actor and the action with an end in view - which is to get rid of or to suppress

the anger. We are in this state repeatedly, in the state of experiencing; but we always come out of it

and give it a term, naming and recording it, and thereby giving continuity to becoming.

If we can understand action in the fundamental sense of the word then that fundamental

understanding will affect our superficial activities also; but first we must understand the fundamental

nature of action. Now is action brought about by an idea? Do you have an idea first and act

afterwards? Or does action come first and then, because action creates conflict, you build around it

an idea? Does action create the actor or does the actor come first?

It is very important to discover which comes first. If the idea comes first, then action merely conforms

to an idea, and therefore it is no longer action but imitation, compulsion according to an idea. It is

very important to realize this; because, as our society is mostly constructed on the intellectual or

verbal level, the idea comes first with all of us and action follows. Action is then the handmaid of an

idea, and the mere construction of ideas is obviously detrimental to action. Ideas breed further ideas,

and when there is merely the breeding of ideas there is antagonism, and society becomes top-heavy

with the intellectual process of ideation. Our social structure is very intellectual; we are cultivating

the intellect at the expense of every other factor of our being and therefore we are suffocated with


Can ideas ever produce action, or do ideas merely mould thought and therefore limit action? When

action is compelled by an idea, action can never liberate man. It is extraordinarily important for us

to understand this point. If an idea shapes action, then action can never bring about the solution to

our miseries because, before it can be put into action, we have first to discover how the idea comes

into being. The investigation of ideation, of the building up of ideas, whether of the socialists, the

capitalists, the communists, or of the various religions, is of the utmost importance, especially when

The First And Last Freedom 27 Jiddu Krishnamurti


our society is at the edge of a precipice, inviting another catastrophe, another excision. Those who

are really serious in their intention to discover the human solution to our many problems must first

understand this process of ideation.

What do we mean by an idea? How does an idea come into being? And can idea and action be

brought together? Suppose I have an idea and I wish to carry it out. I seek a method of carrying out

that idea, and we speculate, waste our time and energies in quarrelling over how the idea should be

carried out. So, it is really very important to find out how ideas come into being; and after discovering

the truth of that we can discuss the question of action. Without discussing ideas, merely to find out

how to act has no meaning.

Now how do you get an idea - a very simple idea, it need not be philosophical, religious or economic?

Obviously it is a process of thought, is it not? Idea is the outcome of a thought process. Without a

thought process, there can be no idea. So I have to understand the thought process itself before I

can understand its product, the idea. What do we mean by thought ? When do you think? Obviously

thought is the result of a response, neurological or psychological, is it not? It is the immediate

response of the senses to a sensation, or it is psychological, the response of stored-up memory.

There is the immediate response of the nerves to a sensation, and there is the psychological

response of stored-up memory, the influence of race, group, guru, family, tradition, and so on - all of

which you call thought. So the thought process is the response of memory, is it not? You would have

no thoughts if you had no memory; and the response of memory to a certain experience brings the

thought process into action. Say, for example, I have the stored-up memories of nationalism, calling

myself a Hindu. That reservoir of memories of past responses actions, implications, traditions,

customs, responds to the challenge of a Mussulman, a Buddhist or a Christian, and the response

of memory to the challenge inevitably brings about a thought process. Watch the thought process

operating in yourself and you can test the truth of this directly. You have been insulted by someone,

and that remains in your memory; it forms part of the background. When you meet the person, which

is the challenge, the response is the memory of that insult. So the response of memory, which is the

thought process, creates an idea; therefore the idea is always conditioned - and this is important to

understand. That is to say the idea is the result of the thought process, the thought process is the

response of memory, and memory is always conditioned. Memory is always in the past, and that

memory is given life in the present by a challenge. Memory has no life in itself; it comes to life in the

present when confronted by a challenge. And all memory, whether dormant or active, is conditioned,

is it not?

Therefore there has to be quite a different approach. You have to find out for yourself, inwardly,

whether you are acting on an idea, and if there can be action without ideation. Let us find out what

that is: action which is not based on an idea.

When do you act without ideation? When is there an action which is not the result of experience? An

action based on experience is, as we said, limiting, and therefore a hindrance. Action which is not the

outcome of an idea is spontaneous when the thought process, which is based on experience, is not

controlling action; which means that there is action independent of experience when the mind is not

controlling action. That is the only state in which there is understanding: when the mind, based on

experience, is not guiding action: when thought, based on experience, is not shaping action. What

is action, when there is no thought process? Can there be action without thought process? That is I

want to build a bridge, a house. I know the technique, and the technique tells me how to build it. We

The First And Last Freedom 28 Jiddu Krishnamurti


call that action. There is the action of writing a poem, of painting, of governmental responsibilities, of

social, environmental responses. All are based on an idea or previous experience, shaping action.

But is there an action when there is no ideation?

Surely there is such action when the idea ceases; and the idea ceases only when there is love. Love

is not memory. Love is not experience. Love is not the thinking about the person that one loves,

for then it is merely thought. You cannot think of love. You can think of the person you love or are

devoted to - your guru, your image, your wife, your husband; but the thought, the symbol, is not the

real which is love. Therefore love is not an experience.

When there is love there is action, is there not?, and is that action not liberating? It is not the result of

mentation, and there is no gap between love and action, as there is between idea and action. Idea

is always old, casting its shadow on the present and we are ever trying to build a bridge between

action and idea. When there is love - which is not mentation, which is not ideation, which is not

memory, which is not the outcome of an experience, of a practised discipline - then that very love

is action. That is the only thing that frees. So long as there is mentation, so long as there is the

shaping of action by an idea which is experience, there can be no release; and so long as that

process continues, all action is limited. When the truth of this is seen, the quality of love, which is

not mentation, which you cannot think about, comes into being.

One has to be aware of this total process, of how ideas come into being, how action springs from

ideas, and how ideas control action and therefore limit action, depending on sensation. It doesn’t

matter whose ideas they are, whether from the left or from the extreme right. So long as we cling to

ideas, we are in a state in which there can be no experiencing at all. Then we are merely living in

the field of time in the past, which gives further sensation, or in the future, which is another form of

sensation. It is only when the mind is free from idea that there can be experiencing.

Ideas are not truth; and truth is something that must be experienced directly, from moment to

moment. It is not an experience which you want - which is then merely sensation. Only when

one can go beyond the bundle of ideas - which is the ‘me’, which is the mind, which has a partial or

complete continuity - only when one can go beyond that, when thought is completely silent, is there

a state of experiencing. Then one shall know what truth is.

The First And Last Freedom 29 Jiddu Krishnamurti



BELIEF AND KNOWLEDGE are very intimately related to desire; and perhaps, if we can understand

these two issues, we can see how desire works and understand its complexities.

One of the things, it seems to me, that most of us eagerly accept and take for granted is the question

of beliefs. I am not attacking beliefs. What we are trying to do is to find out why we accept beliefs;

and if we can understand the motives, the causation of acceptance, then perhaps we may be able

not only to understand why we do it, but also be free of it. One can see how political and religious

beliefs, national and various other types of beliefs, do separate people, do create conflict, confusion,

and antagonism - which is an obvious fact; and yet we are unwilling to give them up. There is the

Hindu belief the Christian belief, the Buddhist - innumerable sectarian and national beliefs, various

political ideologies, all contending with each other, trying to convert each other. One can see,

obviously, that belief is separating people, creating intolerance; is it possible to live without belief?

One can find that out only if one can study oneself in relationship to a bel1ef. Is it possible to live in

this world without a belief - not change beliefs, not substitute one belief for another, but be entirely

free from all beliefs, so that one meets life anew each minute? This, after all, is the truth: to have the

capacity of meeting everything anew, from moment to moment, without the conditioning reaction of

the past, so that there is not the cumulative effect which acts as a barrier between oneself and that

which is.

If you consider, you will see that one of the reasons for the desire to accept a belief is fear. If we

had no belief, what would happen to us? Shouldn’t we be very frightened of what might happen?

If we had no pattern of action, based on a belief - either in God, or in communism, or in socialism,

or in imperialism, or in some kind of religious formula, some dogma in which we are conditioned -

we should feel utterly lost, shouldn’t we? And is not this acceptance of a belief the covering up of

that fear - the fear of being really nothing, of being empty? After all, a cup is useful only when it is



empty; and a mind that is filled with beliefs, with dogmas, with assertions, with quotations, is really

an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind. To escape from that fear - that fear of emptiness,

that fear of loneliness, that fear of stagnation, of not arriving, not succeeding, not achieving, not

being something, not becoming something - is surely one of the reasons, is it not?, why we accept

beliefs so eagerly and greedily. And, through acceptance of belief, do we understand ourselves?

On the contrary. A belief, religious or political, obviously hinders the understanding of ourselves. It

acts as a screen through which we are looking at ourselves. And can we look at ourselves without

beliefs? If we remove those beliefs, the many beliefs that one has, is there anything left to look at?

If we have no beliefs with which the mind has identified itself, then the mind, without identification, is

capable of looking at itself as it is - and then, surely, there is the beginning of the understanding of


It is really a very interesting problem, this question of belief and knowledge. What an extraordinary

part it plays in our life! How many beliefs we have! Surely the more intellectual, the more cultured,

the more spiritual, if I can use that word, a person is, the less is his capacity to understand. The

savages have innumerable superstitions, even in the modern world. The more thoughtful, the more

awake, the more alert are perhaps the less believing. That is because belief binds, belief isolates;

and we see that is so throughout the world, the economic and the political world, and also in the

so-called spiritual world. You believe there is God, and perhaps I believe that there is no God;

or you believe in the complete state control of everything and of every individual, and I believe in

private enterprise and all the rest of it; you believe that there is only one Saviour and through him

you can achieve your goal, and I don’t believe so. Thus you with your belief and I with mine are

asserting ourselves. Yet we both talk of love, of peace, of unity of mankind, of one life - which means

absolutely nothing; because actually the very belief is a process of isolation. You are a Brahmin, I

a non-Brahmin; you are a Christian, I a Mussulman, and so on. You talk of brotherhood and I also

talk of the same brotherhood, love and peace; but in actuality we are separated, we are dividing

ourselves. A man who wants peace and who wants to create a new world, a happy world, surely

cannot isolate himself through any form of belief. Is that clear? It may be verbally, but, if you see the

significance and validity and the truth of it, it will begin to act.

We see that where there is a process of desire at work there must be the process of isolation

through belief because obviously you believe in order to be secure economically, spiritually, and

also inwardly. I am not talking of those people who believe for economic reasons, because they are

brought up to depend on their jobs and therefore will be Catholics, Hindus - it does not matter what

- as long as there is a job for them. We are also not discussing those people who cling to a belief

for the sake of convenience. Perhaps with most of us it is equally so. For convenience, we believe

in certain things. Brushing aside these economic reasons, we must go more deeply into it. Take

the people who believe strongly in anything, economic, social or spiritual; the process behind it is

the psychological desire to be secure, is it not? And then there is the desire to continue. We are

not discussing here whether there is or there is not continuity; we are only discussing the urge, the

constant impulse to believe. A man of peace, a man who would really understand the whole process

of human existence, cannot be bound by a belief, can he? He sees his desire at work as a means

to being secure. Please do not go to the other side and say that I am preaching non-religion. That

is not my point at all. My point is that as long as we do not understand the process of desire in the

form of belief, there must be contention, there must be conflict, there must be sorrow, and man will

be against man - which is seen every day. So if I perceive, if I am aware, that this process takes

the form of belief, which is an expression of the craving for inward security, then my problem is not

The First And Last Freedom 31 Jiddu Krishnamurti


that I should believe this or that but that I should free myself from the desire to be secure. Can the

mind be free from the desire for security? That is the problem - not what to believe and how much

to believe. These are merely expressions of the inward craving to be secure psychologically, to be

certain about something, when everything is so uncertain in the world.

Can a mind, can a conscious mind, can a personality be free from this desire to be secure? We

want to be secure and therefore need the aid of our estates, our property and our family. We want

to be secure inwardly and also spiritually by erecting walls of belief, which are an indication of this

craving to be certain. Can you as an individual be free from this urge, this craving to be secure,

which expresses itself in the desire to believe in something? If we are not free of all that, we are a

source of contention; we are not peacemaking; we have no love in our hearts. Belief destroys; and

this is seen in our everyday life. Can I see myself when I am caught in this process of desire, which

expresses itself in clinging to a belief? Can the mind free itself from belief - not find a substitute for

it but be entirely free from it? You cannot verbally answer ”yes” or ”no” to this; but you can definitely

give an answer if your intention is to become free from belief. You then inevitably come to the point at

which you are seeking the means to free yourself from the urge to be secure. Obviously there is no

security inwardly which, as you like to believe, will continue. You like to believe there is a God who

is carefully looking after your petty little things, telling you whom you should see, what you should

do and how you should do it. This is childish and immature thinking. You think the Great Father is

watching every one of us. That is a mere projection of your own personal liking. It is obviously not

true. Truth must be something entirely different.

Our next problem is that of knowledge. Is knowledge necessary to the understanding of truth?

When I say ”I know”, the implication is that there is knowledge. Can such a mind be capable of

investigating and searching out what is reality? And besides, what is it we know, of which we are so

proud? Actually what is it we know? We know information; we are full of information and experience

based on our conditioning, our memory and our capacities. When you say ”I know”, what do you

mean? Either the acknowledgement that you know is the recognition of a fact, of certain information,

or it is an experience that you have had. The constant accumulation of information, the acquisition

of various forms of knowledge, all constitutes the assertion ”I know”, and you start translating what

you have read, according to your background, your desire, your experience. Your knowledge is a

thing in which a process similar to the process of desire is at work. Instead of belief we substitute

knowledge. ”I know, I have had experience, it cannot be refuted; my experience is that, on that

I completely rely; these are indications of that knowledge. But when you go behind it, analyse it,

look at it more intelligently and carefully, you will find that the very assertion ”I know” is another wall

separating you and me. Behind that wall you take refuge, seeking comfort, security. Therefore the

more knowledge a mind is burdened with, the less capable it is of understanding.

I do not know if you have ever thought of this problem of acquiring knowledge - whether knowledge

does ultimately help us to love, to be free from those qualities which produce conflict in ourselves

and with our neighbours; whether knowledge ever frees the mind of ambition. Because ambition

is, after all, one of the qualities that destroy relationship, that put man against man. If we would

live at peace with each other surely ambition must completely come to an end - not only political,

economic, social ambition, but also the more subtle and pernicious ambition, the spiritual ambition

- to be something. Is it ever possible for the mind to be free from this accumulating process of

knowledge, this desire to know?

It is a very interesting thing to watch how in our life these two, knowledge and belief, play an

The First And Last Freedom 32 Jiddu Krishnamurti


extraordinarily powerful part. Look how we worship those who have immense knowledge and

erudition! Can you understand the meaning of it? If you would find something new, experience

something which is not a projection of your imagination, your mind must be free, must it not? It

must be capable of seeing something new. Unfortunately, every time you see something new you

bring in all the information known to you already, all your knowledge, all your past memories; and

obviously you become incapable of looking, incapable of receiving anything that is new, that is not

of the old. Please don’t immediately translate this into detail. If I do not know how to get back to

my house, I shall be lost; if I do not know how to run a machine, I shall be of little use. That is quite

a different thing. We are not discussing that here. We are discussing knowledge that is used as a

means to security, the psychological and inward desire to be something. What do you get through

knowledge? The authority of knowledge, the weight of knowledge, the sense of importance, dignity,

the sense of vitality and what-not? A man who says ”I know”, ”There is‘’ or ”There is not” surely has

stopped thinking, stopped pursuing this whole process of desire.

Our problem then, as I see it, is that we are bound, weighed down by belief, by knowledge; and is it

possible for a mind to be free from yesterday and from the beliefs that have been acquired through

the process of yesterday? Do you understand the question? Is it possible for me as an individual

and you as an individual to live in this society and yet be free from the belief in which we have been

brought up? Is it possible for the mind to be free of all that knowledge, all that authority? We read

the various scriptures, religious books. There they have very carefully described what to do, what

not to do, how to attain the goal, what the goal is and what God is. You all know that by heart and

you have pursued that. That is your knowledge, that is what you have acquired, that is what you

have learnt; along that path you pursue. Obviously what you pursue and seek, you will find. But is it

reality? is it not the projection of your own knowledge? It is not reality. Is it possible to realize that

now - not tomorrow, but now - and say ”I see the truth of it”, and let it go, so that your mind is not

crippled by this process of imagination, of projection?

Is the mind capable of freedom from belief? You can only be free from it when you understand the

inward nature of the causes that make you hold on to it, not only the conscious but the unconscious

motives as well, that make you believe. After all, we are not merely a superficial entity functioning

on the conscious level. We can find out the deeper conscious and unconscious activities if we give

the unconscious mind a chance, because it is much quicker in response than the conscious mind.

While your conscious mind is quietly thinking, listening and watching, the unconscious mind is much

more active, much more alert and much more receptive; it can, therefore, have an answer. Can the

mind which has been subjugated, intimidated, forced, compelled to believe, can such a mind be free

to think? Can it look anew and remove the process of isolation between you and another? Please

do not say that belief brings people together. It does not. That is obvious. No organized religion

has ever done that. Look at yourselves in your own country. You are all believers, but are you all

together? Are you all united? You yourselves know you are not. You are divided into so many petty

little parties, castes; you know the innumerable divisions. The process is the same right through the

world - whether in the east or in the west - Christians destroying Christians, murdering each other

for petty little things, driving people into camps and so on, the whole horror of war. Therefore belief

does not unite people. That is so clear. If that is clear and that is true, and if you see it, then it must

be followed. But the difficulty is that most of us do not see, because we are not capable of facing

that inward insecurity, that inward sense of being alone. We want something to lean on, whether

it is the State, whether it is the caste, whether it is nationalism, whether it is a Master or a Saviour

or anything else. And when we see the falseness of all this, the mind then is capable - it may be

The First And Last Freedom 33 Jiddu Krishnamurti


temporally for a second - of seeing the truth of it; even though when it is too much for it, it goes back.

But to see temporarily is sufficient; if you can see it for a fleeting second, it is enough; because you

will then see an extraordinary thing taking place. The unconscious is at work, though the conscious

may reject. It is not a progressive second; but that second is the only thing, and it will have its own

results, even in spite of the conscious mind struggling against it.

So our question is:Is it possible for the mind to be free from knowledge and belief?” Is not the mind

made up of knowledge and belief? Is not the structure of the mind belief and knowledge? Belief and

knowledge are the processes of recognition, the centre of the mind. The process is enclosing, the

process is conscious as well as unconscious. Can the mind be free of its own structure? Can the

mind cease to be? That is the problem. Mind, as we know it, has belief behind it, has desire, the

urge to be secure, knowledge, and accumulation of strength. If, with all its power and superiority,

one cannot think for oneself there can be no peace in the world. You may talk about peace, you may

organize political parties, you may shout from the housetops; but you cannot have peace; because

in the mind is the very basis which creates contradiction, which isolates and separates. A man of

peace, a man of earnestness, cannot isolate himself and yet talk of brotherhood and peace. It is just

a game, political or religious, a sense of achievement and ambition. A man who is really earnest

about this, who wants to discover, has to face the problem of knowledge and belief; he has to go

behind it, to discover the whole process of desire at work, the desire to be secure, the desire to be


A mind that would be in a state in which the new can take place - whether it be the truth, whether it

be God, or what you will - must surely cease to acquire, to gather; it must put aside all knowledge.

A mind burdened with knowledge cannot possibly understand, surely, that which is real, which is not


The First And Last Freedom 34 Jiddu Krishnamurti



FOR MOST OF US, our whole life is based on effort, some kind of volition. We cannot conceive

of an action without volition, without effort; our life is based on it. Our social, economic and socalled

spiritual life is a series of efforts, always culminating in a certain result. And we think effort is

essential, necessary.

Why do we make effort? Is it not, put simply, in order to achieve a result, to become something,

to reach a goal? If we do not make an effort, we think we shall stagnate. We have an idea about

the goal towards which we are constantly striving; and this striving has become part of our life. If

we want to alter ourselves, if we want to bring about a radical change in ourselves, we make a

tremendous effort to eliminate the old habits, to resist the habitual environmental influences and so

on. So we are used to this series of efforts in order to find or achieve something, in order to live at


Is not all such effort the activity of the self? Is not effort self-centred activity? If we make an effort

from the centre of the self, it must inevitably produce more conflict, more confusion, more misery.

Yet we keep on making effort after effort. Very few of us realize that the self-centred activity of

effort does not clear up any of our problems. On the contrary, it increases our confusion and our

misery and our sorrow. We know this; and yet we continue hoping somehow to break through this

self-centred activity of effort, the action of the will.

I think we shall understand the significance of life if we understand what it means to make an effort.

Does happiness come through effort? Have you ever tried to be happy? It is impossible, is it

not? You struggle to be happy and there is no happiness, is there? Joy does not come through

suppression, through control or indulgence. You may indulge but there is bitterness at the end.

You may suppress or control, but there is always strife in the hidden. Therefore happiness does



not come through effort, nor joy through control and suppression; and still all our life is a series

of suppressions, a series of controls, a series of regretful indulgences. Also there is a constant

overcoming, a constant struggle with our passions, our greed and our stupidity. So do we not strive,

struggle, make effort, in the hope of finding happiness, finding something which will give us a feeling

of peace, a sense of love? Yet does love or understanding come by strife? I think it is very important

to understand what we mean by struggle, strife or effort.

Does not effort mean a struggle to change what is into what is not, or into what it should be or should

become? That is we are constantly struggling to avoid facing what is, or we are trying to get away

from it or to transform or modify what is. A man who is truly content is the man who understands

what is, gives the right significance to what is. That is true contentment; it is not concerned with

having few or many possessions but with the understanding of the whole significance of what is;

and that can only come when you recognize what is, when you are aware of it, not when you are

trying to modify it or change it.

So we see that effort is a strife or a struggle to transform that which is into something which you wish

it to be. I am only talking about psychological struggle, not the struggle with a physical problem, like

engineering or some discovery or transformation which is purely technical. I am only talking of that

struggle which is psychological and which always overcomes the technical. You may build with great

care a marvellous society, using the infinite knowledge science has given us. But so long as the

psychological strife and struggle and battle are not understood and the psychological overtones and

currents are not overcome, the structure of society, however marvellously built, is bound to crash,

as has happened over and over again.

Effort is a distraction from what is. The moment I accept what is there is no struggle. Any form of

struggle or strife is an indication of distraction; and distraction, which is effort, must exist so long as

psychologically I wish to transform what is into something it is not.

First we must be free to see that joy and happiness do not come through effort. Is creation through

effort, or is there creation only with the cessation of effort? When do you write, paint or sing? When

do you create? Surely when there is no effort, when you are completely open, when on all levels

you are in complete communication, completely integrated. Then there is joy and then you begin to

sing or write a poem or paint or fashion something. The moment of creation is not born of struggle.

Perhaps in understanding the question of creativeness we shall be able to understand what we mean

by effort. Is creativeness the outcome of effort, and are we aware in those moments when we are

creative? Or is creativeness a sense of total self-forgetfulness, that sense when there is no turmoil,

when one is wholly unaware of the movement of thought, when there is only a complete, full, rich

being? is that state the result of travail, of struggle, of conflict, of effort? I do not know if you have

ever noticed that when you do something easily, swiftly, there is no effort, there is complete absence

of struggle; but as our lives are mostly a series of battles, conflicts and struggles, we cannot imagine

a life, a state of being, in which strife has fully ceased.

To understand the state of being without strife, that state of creative existence, surely one must

inquire into the whole problem of effort. We mean by effort the striving to fulfil oneself, to become

something, don’t we? I am this, and I want to become that; I am not that, and I must become that.

In becoming ‘that’, there is strife, there is battle, conflict, struggle. In this struggle we are concerned

The First And Last Freedom 36 Jiddu Krishnamurti


inevitably with fulfilment through the gaining of an end; we seek self-fulfilment in an object, in a

person, in an idea, and that demands constant battle, struggle, the effort to become, to fulfil. So

we have taken this effort as inevitable; and I wonder if it is inevitable - this struggle to become

something? Why is there this struggle? Where there is the desire for fulfilment, in whatever degree

and at whatever level, there must be struggle. Fulfilment is the motive, the drive behind the effort;

whether it is in the big executive, the housewife, or a poor man, there is this battle to become, to

fulfil, going on.

Now why is there the desire to fulfil oneself? Obviously, the desire to fulfil, to become something,

arises when there is awareness of being nothing. Because I am nothing, because I am insufficient,

empty, inwardly poor, I struggle to become something; outwardly or inwardly I struggle to fulfil myself

in a person, in a thing, in an idea. To fill that void is the whole process of our existence. Being aware

that we are empty, inwardly poor, we struggle either to collect things outwardly, or to cultivate inward

riches. There is effort only when there is an escape from that inward void through action, through

contemplation, through acquisition, through achievement, through power, and so on. That is our

daily existence. I am aware of my insufficiency, my inward poverty, and I struggle to run away from

it or to fill it. This running away, avoiding, or trying to cover up the void, entails struggle, strife, effort.

Now if one does not make an effort to run away, what happens? One lives with that loneliness, that

emptiness; and in accepting that emptiness one will find that there comes a creative state which

has nothing to do with strife, with effort. Effort exists only so long as we are trying to avoid that

inward loneliness, emptiness, but when we look at it, observe it, when we accept what is without

avoidance, we will find there comes a state of being in which all strife ceases. That state of being

is creativeness and it is not the result of strife. But when there is understanding of what is, which is

emptiness, inward insufficiency, when one lives with that insufficiency and understands it fully, there

comes creative reality, creative intelligence, which alone brings happiness.

Therefore action as we know it is really reaction, it is a ceaseless becoming, which is the denial,

the avoidance of what is; but when there is awareness of emptiness without choice, without

condemnation or justification, then in that understanding of what is there is action, and this action

is creative being. You will understand this if you are aware of yourself in action. Observe yourself

as you are acting, not only outwardly but see also the movement of your thought and feeling. When

you are aware of this movement you will see that the thought process, which is also feeling and

action, is based on an idea of becoming. The idea of becom1ng arises only when there is a sense

of insecurity, and that sense of insecurity comes when one is aware of the inward void. If you are

aware of that process of thought and feeling, you will see that there is a constant battle going on, an

effort to change, to modify, to alter what is. This is the effort to become, and becoming is a direct

avoidance of what is. Through self-knowledge, through constant awareness, you will find that strife,

battle, the conflict of becoming, leads to pain, to sorrow and ignorance. It is only if you are aware

of inward insufficiency and live with it without escape, accepting it wholly, that you will discover an

extraordinary tranquillity, a tranquillity which is not put together, made up, but a tranquillity which

comes with understanding of what is. Only in that state of tranquillity is there creative being.

The First And Last Freedom 37 Jiddu Krishnamurti



WE SEE CONTRADICTION in us and about us; because we are in contradiction, there is lack of

peace in us and therefore outside us. There is in us a constant state of denial and assertion - what

we want to be and what we are. The state of contradiction creates conflict and this conflict does

not bring about peace - which is a simple, obvious fact. This inward contradiction should not be

translated into some kind of philosophical dualism, because that is a very easy escape. That is by

saying that contradiction is a state of dualism we think we have solved it - which is obviously a mere

convention, a contributory escape from actuality.

Now what do we mean by conflict, by contradiction? Why is there a contradiction in me? - this

constant struggle to be something apart from what I am. I am this, and I want to be that. This

contradiction in us is a fact, not a metaphysical dualism. Metaphysics has no significance in

understanding what is. We may discuss, say, dualism, what it is, if it exists, and so on; but of what

value is it if we don’t know that there is contradiction in us, opposing desires, opposing interests,

opposing pursuits? I want to be good and I am not able to be. This contradiction, this opposition

in us, must be understood because it creates conflict; and in conflict, in struggle, we cannot create

individually. Let us be clear on the state we are in. There is contradiction, so there must be struggle;

and struggle is destruction, waste. In that state we can produce nothing but antagonism, strife, more

bitterness and sorrow. If we can understand this fully and hence be free of contradiction, then there

can be inward peace, which will bring understanding of each other. The problem is this. Seeing that

conflict is destructive, wasteful, why is it that in each of us there is contradiction? To understand

that, we must go a little further. Why is there the sense of opposing desires? I do not know if we

are aware of it in ourselves - this contradiction, this sense of wanting and not wanting, remembering

something and trying to forget it in order to find something new. Just watch it. It is very simple and

very normal. It is not something extraordinary. The fact is, there is contradiction. Then why does

this contradiction arise?



What do we mean by contradiction? Does it not imply an impermanent state which is being opposed

by another impermanent state? I think I have a permanent desire, I posit in myself a permanent

desire and another desire arises which contradicts it; this contradiction brings about conflict, which

is waste. That is to say there is a constant denial of one desire by another desire, one pursuit

overcoming another pursuit. Now, is there such a thing as a permanent desire ? Surely, all desire

is impermanent - not metaphysically, but actually. I want a job. That is I look to a certain job as a

means of happiness; and when I get it, I am dissatisfied. I want to become the manager, then the

owner, and so on and on, not only in this world, but in the so-called spiritual world - the teacher

becoming the principal, the priest becoming the bishop, the pupil becoming the master.

This constant becoming, arriving at one state after another, brings about contradiction, does it not?

Therefore, why not look at life not as one permanent desire but as a series of fleeting desires always

in opposition to each other? Hence the mind need not be in a state of contradiction. If I regard life

not as a permanent desire but as a series of temporary desires which are constantly changing, then

there is no contradiction.

Contradiction arises only when the mind has a fixed point of desire; that is when the mind does

not regard all desire as moving, transient, but seizes upon one desire and makes that into a

permanency - only then, when other desires arise, is there contradiction. But all desires are in

constant movement, there is no fixation of desire. There is no fixed point in desire; but the mind

establishes a fixed point because it treats everything as a means to arrive, to gain; and there must

be contradiction, conflict, as long as one is arriving. You want to arrive, you want to succeed, you

want to find an ultimate God or truth which will be your permanent satisfaction. Therefore you are not

seeking truth, you are not seeking God. You are seeking lasting gratification, and that gratification

you clothe with an idea, a respectable-sounding word such as God, truth; but actually we are all

seeking gratification, and we place that gratification, that satisfaction, at the highest point, calling it

God, and the lowest point is drink. So long as the mind is seeking gratification, there is not much

difference between God and drink. Socially, drink may be bad; but the inward desire for gratification,

for gain, is even more harmful, is it not? If you really want to find truth, you must be extremely honest,

not merely at the verbal level but altogether; you must be extraordinarily clear, and you cannot be

clear if you are unwilling to face facts.

Now what brings about contradiction in each one of us? Surely it is the desire to become something,

is it not? We all want to become something: to become successful in the world and, inwardly, to

achieve a result. So long as we think in terms of time, in terms of achievement, in terms of position,

there must be contradiction. After all, the mind is the product of time. Thought is based on yesterday,

on the past; and so long as thought is functioning within the field of time, thinking in terms of the

future, of becoming, gaining, achieving, there must be contradiction, because then we are incapable

of facing exactly what is. Only in realizing, in understanding, in being choicelessly aware of what is,

is there a possibility of freedom from that disintegrating factor which is contradiction.

Therefore it is essential, is it not?, to understand the whole process of our thinking, for it is there that

we find contradiction. Thought itself has become a contradiction because we have not understood

the total process of ourselves; and that understanding is possible only when we are fully aware of

our thought, not as an observer operating upon his thought, but integrally and without choice - which

is extremely arduous. Then only is there the dissolution of that contradiction which is so detrimental,

so painful.

The First And Last Freedom 39 Jiddu Krishnamurti


So long as we are trying to achieve a psychological result, so long as we want inward security, there

must be a contradiction in our life. I do not think that most of us are aware of this contradiction; or, if

we are, we do not see its real significance. On the contrary, contradiction gives us an impetus to live;

the very element of friction makes us feel that we are alive. The effort, the struggle of contradiction,

gives us a sense of vitality. That is why we love wars, that is why we enjoy the battle of frustrations.

So long as there is the desire to achieve a result, which is the desire to be psychologically secure,

there must be a contradiction; and where there is contradiction, there cannot be a quiet mind.

Quietness of mind is essential to understand the whole significance of life. Thought can never be

tranquil; thought, which is the product of time, can never find that which is timeless, can never know

that which is beyond time. The very nature of our thinking is a contradiction, because we are always

thinking in terms of the past or of the future; therefore we are never fully cognizant, fully aware of

the present.

To be fully aware of the present is an extraordinarily difficult task because the mind is incapable of

facing a fact directly without deception. Thought is the product of the past and therefore it can only

think in terms of the past or the future; it cannot be completely aware of a fact in the present. So

long as thought, which is the product of the past, tries to eliminate contradiction and all the problems

that it creates, it is merely pursuing a result, trying to achieve an end, and such thinking only creates

more contradiction and hence conflict, misery and confusion in us and, therefore, about us.

To be free of contradiction, one must be aware of the present without choice. How can there be

choice when you are confronted with a fact? Surely the understanding of the fact is made impossible

so long as thought is trying to operate upon the fact in terms of becoming, changing, altering.

Therefore self-knowledge is the beginning of understanding; without self-knowledge, contradiction

and conflict will continue. To know the whole process, the totality of oneself, does not require any

expert, any authority. The pursuit of authority only breeds fear. No expert, no specialist, can show

us how to understand the process of the self. One has to study it for oneself. You and I can help

each other by talking about it, but none can unfold it for us, no specialist, no teacher, can explore

it for us. We can be aware of it only in our relationship - in our relationship to things, to property,

to people and to ideas. In relationship we shall discover that contradiction arises when action is

approximating itself to an idea. The idea is merely the crystallization of thought as a symbol, and

the effort to live up to the symbol brings about a contradiction.

Thus, so long as there is a pattern of thought, contradiction will continue; to put an end to the

pattern, and so to contradiction, there must be self-knowledge. This understanding of the self is not

a process reserved for the few. The self is to be understood in our everyday speech, in the way we

think and feel, in the way we look at another. If we can be aware of every thought, of every feeling,

from moment to moment, then we shall see that in relationship the ways of the self are understood.

Then only is there a possibility of that tranquillity of mind in which alone the ultimate reality can come

into being.

The First And Last Freedom 40 Jiddu Krishnamurti



Do WE KNOW WHAT we mean by the self? By that, I mean the idea, the memory, the conclusion,

the experience, the various forms of nameable and unnameable intentions, the conscious endeavour

to be or not to be, the accumulated memory of the unconscious, the racial, the group, the individual,

the clan, and the whole of it all, whether it is projected outwardly in action or projected spiritually as

virtue; the striving after all this is the self. In it is included the competition, the desire to be. The

whole process of that is the self; and we know actually when we are faced with it that it is an evil

thing. I am using the word ‘evil’ intentionally, because the self is dividing: the self is self-enclosing:

its activities, however noble, are separative and isolating. We know all this. We also know those

extraordinary moments when the self is not there, in which there is no sense of endeavour, of effort,

and which happens when there is love.

It seems to me that it is important to understand how experience strengthens the self. If we are

earnest, we should understand this problem of experience. Now what do we mean by experience?

We have experience all the time, impressions; and we translate those impressions, and we react

or act according to them; we are calculating, cunning, and so on. There is the constant interplay

between what is seen objectively and our reaction to it, and interplay between the conscious and

the memories of the unconscious.

According to my memories, I react to whatever I see, to whatever I feel. In this process of reacting

to what I see, what I feel, what I know, what I believe, experience is taking place, is it not? Reaction,

response to something seen, is experience. When I see you, I react; the naming of that reaction is

experience. If I do not name that reaction it is not an experience. Watch your own responses and

what is taking place about you. There is no experience unless there is a naming process going on at

the same time. If I do not recognize you, how can I have the experience of meeting you? It sounds

simple and right. Is it not a fact? That is if I do not react according to my memories, according to my

conditioning, according to my prejudices, how can I know that I have had an experience?



Then there is the projection of various desires. I desire to be protected, to have security inwardly;

or I desire to have a Master, a guru, a teacher, a God; and I experience that which I have projected;

that is I have projected a desire which has taken a form, to which I have given a name; to that I

react. It is my projection. It is my naming. That desire which gives me an experience makes me say:

”I have experience”, ”I have met the Master”, or ”I have not met the Master”. You know the whole

process of naming an experience. Desire is what you call experience, is it not?

When I desire silence of the mind, what is taking place? What happens? I see the importance

of having a silent mind, a quiet mind, for various reasons; because the Upanishads have said so,

religious scriptures have said so, saints have said it, and also occasionally I myself feel how good it is

to be quiet, because my mind is so very chatty all the day. At times I feel how nice, how pleasurable

it is to have a peaceful mind, a silent mind. The desire is to experience silence. I want to have a

silent mind, and so I ask ”How can I get it?” I know what this or that book says about meditation,

and the various forms of discipline. So through discipline I seek to experience silence. The self, the

‘me’, has therefore established itself in the experience of silence.

I want to understand what is truth; that is my desire, my longing; then there follows my projection

of what I consider to be the truth, because I have read lots about it; I have heard many people

talk about it; religious scriptures have described it. I want all that. What happens? The very want,

the very desire is projected, and I experience because I recognize that projected state. If I did not

recognize that state, I would not call it truth. I recognize it and I experience it; and that experience

gives strength to the self, to the ‘me’, does it not? So the self becomes entrenched in the experience.

Then you say ”I know”, ”the Master exists”,’‘there is God” or ”there is no God; you say that a particular

political system is right and all others are not.

So experience is always strengthening the ‘me’. The more you are entrenched in your experience,

the more does the self get strengthened. As a result of this, you have a certa1n strength of character,

strength of knowledge, of belief, which you display to other people because you know they are not

as clever as you are, and because you have the gift of the pen or of speech and you are cunning.

Because the self is still acting, so your beliefs, your Masters, your castes, your economic system

are all a process of isolation, and they therefore bring contention. You must, if you are at all serious

or earnest in this, dissolve this centre completely and not justify it. That is why we must understand

the process of experience.

Is it possible for the mind, fur the self, not to project, not to desire, not to experience? We see that all

experiences of the self are a negation, a destruction, and yet we call them positive action, don’t we?

That is what we call the positive way of life. To undo this whole process is, to you, negation. Are

you right in that? Can we, you and I, as individuals, go to the root of it and understand the process

of the self? Now what brings about dissolution of the self? Religious and other groups have offered

identification, have they not? ”Identify yourself with a larger, and the self disappears”, is what they

say. But surely identification is still the process of the self; the larger is simply the projection of the

‘me’, which I experience and which therefore strengthens the ‘me’.

All the various forms of discipline, belief and knowledge surely only strengthen the self. Can we

find an element which will dissolve the self? Or is that a wrong question? That is what we want

basically. We want to find something which will dissolve the ‘me’, do we not? We think there are

various means, namely, identification, belief, etc; but all of them are at the same level; one is not

The First And Last Freedom 42 Jiddu Krishnamurti


superior to the other, because all of them are equally powerful in strengthening the self the ‘me’. So

can I see the ‘me’ wherever it functions, and see its destructive forces and energy? Whatever name

I may give to it, it is an isolating force, it is a destructive force, and I want to find a way of dissolving it.

You must have asked this yourself - ”I see the ‘I’ functioning all the time and always bringing anxiety,

fear, frustration, despair, misery, not only to myself but to all around me. Is it possible for that self

to be dissolved, not partially but completely?” Can we go to the root of it and destroy it? That is the

only way of truly functioning, is it not? I do not want to be partially intelligent but intelligent in an

integrated manner. Most of us are intelligent in layers, you probably in one way and I in some other

way. Some of you are intelligent in your business work, some others in your office work, and so on;

people are intelligent in different ways; but we are not integrally intelligent. To be integrally intelligent

means to be without the self. Is it possible?

Is it possible for the self to be completely absent now? You know it is possible. What are the

necessary ingredients, requirements? What is the element that brings it about? Can I find it? When

I put that question ”Can I find it?” surely I am convinced that it is possible; so I have already created

an experience in which the self is going to be strengthened, is it not? Understanding of the self

requires a great deal of intelligence, a great deal of watchfulness, alertness, watching ceaselessly,

so that it does not slip away. I, who am very earnest, want to dissolve the self. When I say that,

I know it is possible to dissolve the self. The moment I say;I want to dissolve this”, in that there is

still the experiencing of the self; and so the self is strengthened. So how is it possible for the self

not to experience? One can see that the state of creation is not at all the experience of the self

Creation is when the self is not there, because creation is not intellectual, is not of the mind, is not

self-projected, is something beyond all experiencing. So is it possible for the mind to be quite still,

in a state of non-recognition, or non-experiencing, to be in a state in which creation can take place,

which means when the self is not there, when the self is absent? The problem is this, is it not? Any

movement of the mind, positive or negative, is an experience which actually strengthens the ‘me’. Is

it possible for the mind not to recognize? That can only take place when there is complete silence,

but not the silence which is an experience of the self and which therefore strengthens the self.

Is there an entity apart from the self which looks at the self and dissolves the self? Is there a spiritual

entity which supercedes the self and destroys it, which puts it aside? We think there is, don’t we?

Most religious people think there is such an element. The materialist says, ”It is impossible for the

self to be destroyed; it can only be conditioned and restrained - politically, economically and socially;

we can hold it firmly within a certain pattern and we can break it; and therefore it can be made to

lead a high life, a moral life, and not to interfere with anything but to follow the social pattern, and to

function merely as a machine”. That we know. There are other people, the so-called religious ones

- they are not really religious, though we call them so - who say, ”Fundamentally, there is such an

element. If we can get into touch with it, it will dissolve the self”.

Is there such an element to dissolve the self? Please see what we are doing. We are forcing the

self into a corner. If you allow yourself to be forced into the corner, you will see what will happen.

We should like there to be an element which is timeless, which is not of the self, which, we hope,

will come and intercede and destroy the self - and which we call God. Now is there such a thing

which the mind can conceive? There may be or there may not be; that is not the point. But when

the mind seeks a timeless spiritual state which will go into action in order to destroy the self is that

not another form of experience which is strengthening the ‘me’? When you believe, is that not what

is actually taking place? When you believe that there is truth, God, the timeless state, immortality, is

The First And Last Freedom 43 Jiddu Krishnamurti


that not the process of strengthening the self? The self has projected that thing which you feel and

believe will come and destroy the self. So, having projected this idea of continuance in a timeless

state as a spiritual entity, you have an experience; and such experience only strengthens the self;

and therefore what have you done? You have not really destroyed the self but only given it a different

name, a different quality; the self is still there, because you have experienced it. Thus our action

from the beginning to the end is the same action, only we think it is evolving, growing, becoming

more and more beautiful; but, if you observe inwardly, it is the same action going on, the same ‘me’

functioning at different levels with different labels, different names.

When you see the whole process, the cunning, extraordinary inventions, the intelligence of the

self, how it covers itself up through identification, through virtue, through experience, through belief,

through knowledge; when you see that the mind is moving in a circle, in a cage of its own making,

what happens? When you are aware of it, fully cognizant of it, then are you not extraordinarily quiet

- not through compulsion, not through any reward, not through any fear? When you recognize that

every movement of the mind is merely a form of strengthening the self when you observe it, see

it, when you are completely aware of it in action, when you come to that point - not ideologically,

verbally, not through projected experiencing, but when you are actually in that state - then you will

see that the mind, being utterly still, has no power of creating. Whatever the mind creates is in a

circle, within the field of the self. When the mind is non-creating there is creation, which is not a

recognizable process. Reality, truth, is not to be recognized. For truth to come, belief, knowledge,

experiencing, the pursuit of virtue - all this must go. The virtuous person who is conscious of

pursuing virtue can never find reality. He may be a very decent person; but that is entirely different

from being a man of truth, a man who understands. To the man of truth, truth has come into

being. A virtuous man is a righteous man, and a righteous man can never understand what is truth

because virtue to him is the covering of the self the strengthening of the self because he is pursuing

virtue. When he says ”I must be without greed”, the state of non-greed which he experiences only

strengthens the self. That is why it is so important to be poor, not only in the things of the world but

also in belief and in knowledge. A man with worldly riches or a man rich in knowledge and belief will

never know anything but darkness, and will be the centre of all mischief and misery. But if you and I,

as individuals, can see this whole working of the self, then we shall know what love is. I assure you

that is the only reformation which can possibly change the world. Love is not of the self. Self cannot

recognize love. You say ”I love; but then, in the very saying of it, in the very experiencing of it, love

is not. But, when you know love, self is not. When there is love, self is not.

The First And Last Freedom 44 Jiddu Krishnamurti



WHAT IS FEAR? Fear can exist only in relation to something, not in isolation. How can I be afraid

of death, how can I be afraid of something I do not know? I can be afraid only of what I know. When

I say I am afraid of death, am I really afraid of the unknown, which is death, or am I afraid of losing

what I have known? My fear is not of death but of losing my association with things belonging to me.

My fear is always in relation to the known, not to the unknown.

My inquiry now is how to be free from the fear of the known, which is the fear of losing my family, my

reputation, my character, my bank account, my appetites and so on. You may say that fear arises

from conscience; but your conscience is formed by your conditioning, so conscience is still the result

of the known. What do I know? Knowledge is having ideas, having opinions about things, having

a sense of continuity as in relation to the known, and no more. Ideas are memories, the result of

experience, which is response to challenge. I am afraid of the known, which means I am afraid of

losing people, things or ideas, I am afraid of discovering what I am, afraid of being at a loss, afraid of

the pain which might come into being when I have lost or have not gained or have no more pleasure.

There is fear of pain. Physical pain is a nervous response, but psychological pain arises when I hold

on to things that give me satisfaction, for then I am afraid of anyone or anything that may take them

away from me. The psychological accumulations prevent psychological pain as long as they are

undisturbed; that is I am a bundle of accumulations, experiences, which prevent any serious form

of disturbance - and I do not want to be disturbed. Therefore I am afraid of anyone who disturbs

them. Thus my fear is of the known, I am afraid of the accumulations, physical or psychological,

that I have gathered as a means of warding off pain or preventing sorrow. But sorrow is in the very

process of accumulating to ward off psychological pain. Knowledge also helps to prevent pain. As

medical knowledge helps to prevent physical pain, so beliefs help to prevent psychological pain, and

that is why I am afraid of losing my beliefs, though I have no perfect knowledge or concrete proof of



the reality of such beliefs. I may reject some of the traditional beliefs that have been foisted on me

because my own experience gives me strength, confidence, understanding; but such beliefs and the

knowledge which I have acquired are basically the same - a means of warding off pain.

Fear exists so long as there is accumulation of the known, which creates the fear of losing. Therefore

fear of the unknown is really fear of losing the accumulated known. Accumulation invariably means

fear, which in turn means pain; and the moment I say ”I must not lose” there is fear. Though my

intention in accumulating is to ward off pain, pain is inherent in the process of accumulation. The

very things which I have create fear, which is pain.

The seed of defence brings offence. I want physical security; thus I create a sovereign government,

which necessitates armed forces, which means war, which destroys security. Wherever there is

a desire for self-protection, there is fear. When I see the fallacy of demanding security I do not

accumulate any more. If you say that you see it but you cannot help accumulating, it is because you

do not really see that, inherently, in accumulation there is pain.

Fear exists in the process of accumulation and belief in something is part of the accumulative

process. My son dies, and I believe in reincarnation to prevent me psychologically from having

more pain; but, in the very process of believing, there is doubt. Outwardly I accumulate things, and

bring war; inwardly I accumulate beliefs, and bring pain. So long as I want to be secure, to have

bank accounts, pleasures and so on, so long as I want to become something, physiologically or

psychologically, there must be pain. The very things I am doing to ward off pain bring me fear, pain.

Fear comes into being when I desire to be in a particular pattern. To live without fear means to live

without a particular pattern. When I demand a particular way of living that in itself is a source of

fear. My difficulty is my desire to live in a certain frame. Can I not break the frame? I can do so only

when I see the truth: that the frame is causing fear and that this fear is strengthening the frame. If

I say I must break the frame because I want to be free of fear, then I am merely following another

pattern which will cause further fear. Any action on my part based on the desire to break the frame

will only create another pattern, and therefore fear. How am I to break the frame without causing

fear, that is without any conscious or unconscious action on my part with regard to it? This means

that I must not act, I must make no movement to break the frame. What happens to me when I am

simply looking at the frame without doing anything about it? I see that the mind itself is the frame,

the pattern; it lives in the habitual pattern which it has created for itself. Therefore, the mind itself is

fear. Whatever the mind does goes towards strengthening an old pattern or furthering a new one.

This means that whatever the mind does to get rid of fear causes fear.

Fear finds various escapes. The common variety is identification, is it not? - identification with

the country, with the society, with an idea. Haven’t you noticed how you respond when you see

a procession, a military procession or a religious procession, or when the country is in danger of

being invaded? You then identify yourself with the country, with a being, with an ideology. There

are other times when you identify yourself with your child, with your wife, with a particular form of

action, or inaction. Identification is a process of self-forgetfulness. So long as I am conscious of

the ‘me’ I know there is pain, there is struggle, there is constant fear. But if I can identify myself

with something greater, with something worth while, with beauty, with life, with truth, with belief, with

knowledge, at least temporarily, there is an escape from the ‘me’, is there not? If I talk about ”my

country” I forget myself temporarily, do I not? If I can say something about God, I forget myself? If I

The First And Last Freedom 46 Jiddu Krishnamurti


can identify myself with my family, with a group, with a particular party, with a certain ideology, then

there is a temporary escape.

Identification therefore is a form of escape from the self, even as virtue is a form of escape from

the self. The man who pursues virtue is escaping from the self and he has a narrow mind. That is

not a virtuous mind, for virtue is something which cannot be pursued. The more you try to become

virtuous, the more strength you give to the self, to the ‘me’. Fear, which is common to most of us in

different forms, must always find a substitute and must therefore increase our struggle. The more

you are identified with a substitute, the greater the strength to hold on to that for which you are

prepared to struggle, to die, because fear is at the back.

Do we now know what fear is? Is it not the non-acceptance of what is? We must understand the

word ‘acceptance’. I am not using that word as meaning the effort made to accept. There is no

question of accepting when I perceive what is. When I do not see clearly what is, then I bring in

the process of acceptance. Therefore fear is the non-acceptance of what is. How can I, who am a

bundle of all these reactions, responses, memories, hopes, depressions, frustrations, who am the

result of the movement of consciousness blocked, go beyond? Can the mind, without this blocking

and hindrance, be conscious? We know, when there is no hindrance, what extraordinary joy there

is. Don’t you know when the body is perfectly healthy there is a certain joy, well-being; and don’t

you know when the mind is completely free, without any block, when the centre of recognition as

the‘me’ is not there, you experience a certain joy? Haven’t you experienced this state when the self

is absent? Surely we all have.

There is understanding and freedom from the self only when I can look at it completely and integrally

as a whole; and I can do that only when I understand the whole process of all activity born of desire

which is the very expression of thought - for thought is not different from desire - without justifying it,

without condemning it, without suppressing it; if I can understand that, then I shall know if there is

the possibility of going beyond the restrictions of the self.

The First And Last Freedom 47 Jiddu Krishnamurti



I WOULD LIKE To discuss what is simplicity, and perhaps from that arrive at the discovery of

sensitivity. We seem to think that simplicity is merely an outward expression, a withdrawal: having

few possessions, wearing a loincloth, having no home, putting on few clothes, having a small bank

account. Surely that is not simplicity. That is merely an outward show. It seems to me that simplicity

is essential; but simplicity can come into being only when we begin to understand the significance

of self-knowledge.

Simplicity is not merely adjustment to a pattern. It requires a great deal of intelligence to be simple

and not merely conform to a particular pattern, however worthy outwardly. Unfortunately most of us

begin by being simple externally, in outward things. It is comparatively easy to have few things and to

be satisfied with few things; to be content with little and perhaps to share that little with others. But a

mere outward expression of simplicity in things, in possessions, surely does not imply the simplicity

of inward being. Because, as the world is at present, more and more things are being urged upon

us, outwardly, externally. Life is becoming more and more complex. In order to escape from that,

we try to renounce or be detached from things - from cars, from houses, from organizations, from

cinemas, and from the innumerable circumstances outwardly thrust upon us. We think we shall be

simple by withdrawing. A great many saints, a great many teachers, have renounced the world;

and it seems to me that such a renunciation on the part of any of us does not solve the problem.

Simplicity which is fundamental, real, can only come into being inwardly; and from that there is an

outward expression. How to be simple, then, is the problem; because that simplicity makes one

more and more sensitive. A sensitive mind, a sensitive heart, is essential, for then it is capable of

quick perception, quick reception.

One can be inwardly simple, surely, only by understanding the innumerable impediments,

attachments, fears, in which one is held. But most of us like to be held - by people, by possessions,



by ideas. We like to be prisoners. Inwardly we are prisoners, though outwardly we seem to be

very simple. Inwardly we are prisoners to our desires, to our wants, to our ideals, to innumerable

motivations. Simplicity cannot be found unless one is free inwardly. Therefore it must begin inwardly,

not outwardly.

There is an extraordinary freedom when one understands the whole process of belief, why the

mind is attached to a belief. When there is freedom from beliefs, there is simplicity. But that

simplicity requires intelligence, and to be intelligent one must be aware of one’s own impediments.

To be aware, one must be constantly on the watch, not established in any particular groove, in any

particular pattern of thought or action. After all, what one is inwardly does affect the outer. Society, or

any form of action, is the projection of ourselves, and without transforming inwardly mere legislation

has very little significance outwardly; it may bring about certain reforms, certain adjustments, but

what one is inwardly always overcomes the outer. If one is inwardly greedy, ambitious, pursuing

certain ideals, that inward complexity does eventually upset, overthrow outward society, however

carefully planned it may be.

Therefore one must begin within - not exclusively, not rejecting the outer. You come to the inner,

surely, by understanding the outer, by finding out how the conflict, the struggle, the pain, exists

outwardly; as one investigates it more and more, naturally one comes into the psychological states

which produce the outward conflicts and miseries. The outward expression is only an indication of

our inward state, but to understand the inward state one must approach through the outer. Most of us

do that. In understanding the inner - not exclusively, not by rejecting the outer, but by understanding

the outer and so coming upon the inner - we will find that, as we proceed to investigate the inward

complexities of our being, we become more and more sensitive, free. It is this inward simplicity

that is so essential, because that simplicity creates sensitivity. A mind that is not sensitive, not

alert, not aware, is incapable of any receptivity, any creative action. Conformity as a means of

making ourselves simple really makes the mind and heart dull, insensitive. Any form of authoritarian

compulsion, imposed by the government, by oneself, by the ideal of achievement, and so on -

any form of conformity must make for insensitivity, for not being simple inwardly. Outwardly you

may conform and give the appearance of simplicity, as so many religious people do. They practise

various disciplines, join various organizations, meditate in a particular fashion, and so on - all giving

an appearance of simplicity, but such conformity does not make for simplicity. Compulsion of any

kind can never lead to simplicity. On the contrary, the more you suppress, the more you substitute,

the more you sublimate, the less there is simplicity, but the more you understand the process of

sublimation, suppression, substitution, the greater the possibility of being simple.

Our problems - social, environmental, political, religious - are so complex that we can solve them

only by being simple, not by becoming extraordinarily erudite and clever. A simple person sees much

more directly, has a more direct experience, than the complex person. Our minds are so crowded

with an infinite knowledge of facts, of what others have said, that we have become incapable of being

simple and having direct experience ourselves. These problems demand a new approach; and they

can be so approached only when we are simple, inwardly really simple. That simplicity comes only

through self-knowledge, through understanding ourselves; the ways of our thinking and feeling; the

movements of our thoughts; our responses; how we conform, through fear, to public opinion, to what

others say, what the Buddha, the Christ, the great saints have said - all of which indicates our nature

to conform, to be safe, to be secure. When one is seeking security, one is obviously in a state of

fear and therefore there is no simplicity.

The First And Last Freedom 49 Jiddu Krishnamurti


Without being simple, one cannot be sensitive - to the trees, to the birds, to the mountains, to the

wind, to all the things which are going on about us in the world; if one is not simple one cannot

be sensitive to the inward intimation of things. Most of us live so superficially, on the upper level

of our consciousness; there we try to be thoughtful or intelligent, which is synonymous with being

religious; there we try to make our minds simple, through compulsion, through discipline. But that

is not simplicity. When we force the upper mind to be simple, such compulsion only hardens the

mind, does not make the mind supple, clear, quick. To be simple in the whole, total process of our

consciousness is extremely arduous; because there must be no inward reservation, there must be

an eagerness to find out, to inquire into the process of our being, which means to be awake to every

intimation, to every hint; to be aware of our fears, of our hopes, and to investigate and to be free

of them more and more and more. Only then, when the mind and the heart are really simple, not

encrusted, are we able to solve the many problems that confront us.

Knowledge is not going to solve our problems. You may know, for example, that there is

reincarnation, that there is a continuity after death. You may know, I don’t say you do; or you may

be convinced of it. But that does not solve the problem. Death cannot be shelved by your theory,

or by information, or by conviction. It is much more mysterious, much deeper, much more creative

than that.

One must have the capacity to investigate all these things anew; because it is only through direct

experience that our problems are solved, and to have direct experience there must be simplicity,

which means there must be sensitivity. A mind is made dull by the weight of knowledge. A mind is

made dull by the past, by the future. Only a mind that is capable of adjusting itself to the present,

continually, from moment to moment, can meet the powerful influences and pressures constantly

put upon us by our environment.

Thus a religious man is not really one who puts on a robe or a loincloth, or lives on one meal a day,

or has taken innumerable vows to be this and not to be that, but is he who is inwardly simple, who

is not becoming anything. Such a mind is capable of extraordinary receptivity, because there is no

barrier, there is no fear, there is no going towards something; therefore it is capable of receiving

grace, God, truth, or what you will. But a mind that is pursuing reality is not a simple mind. A

mind that is seeking out, searching, groping, agitated, is not a simple mind. A mind that conforms

to any pattern of authority, inward or outward, cannot be sensitive. And it is only when a mind is

really sensitive, alert, aware of all its own happenings, responses, thoughts, when it is no longer

becoming, is no longer shaping itself to be something - only then is it capable of receiving that which

is truth. It is only then that there can be happiness, for happiness is not an end - it is the result of

reality. When the mind and the heart have become simple and therefore sensitive - not through any

form of compulsion, direction, or imposition - then we shall see that our problems can be tackled

very simply. However complex our problems, we shall be able to approach them freshly and see

them differently. That is what is wanted at the present time: people who are capable of meeting this

outward confusion, turmoil, antagonism anew, creatively, simply - not with theories nor formulas,

either of the left or of the right. You cannot meet it anew if you are not simple.

A problem can be solved only when we approach it thus. We cannot approach it anew if we are

thinking in terms of certain patterns of thought, religious, political or otherwise. So we must be free

of all these things, to be simple. That is why it is so important to be aware, to have the capacity

to understand the process of our own thinking, to be cognizant of ourselves totally; from that there

The First And Last Freedom 50 Jiddu Krishnamurti


comes a simplicity, there comes a humility which is not a virtue or a practice. Humility that is gained

ceases to be humility. A mind that makes itself humble is no longer a humble mind. It is only when

one has humility, not a cultivated humility, that one is able to meet the things of life that are so

pressing, because then one is not important, one doesn’t look through one’s own pressures and

sense of importance; one looks at the problem for itself and then one is able to solve it.

The First And Last Freedom 51 Jiddu Krishnamurti



TO KNOW OURSELVES means to know our relationship with the world - not only with the world of

ideas and people, but also with nature, with the things we possess. That is our life - life being

relationship to the whole. Does the understanding of that relationship demand specialization?

Obviously not. What it demands is awareness to meet life as a whole. How is one to be aware?

That is our problem. How is one to have that awareness - if I may use this word without making

it mean specialization? How is one to be capable of meeting life as a whole? - which means not

only personal relationship with your neighbour but also with nature, with the things that you possess,

with ideas, and with the things that the mind manufactures as illusion, desire and so on. How is one

to be aware of this whole process of relationship? Surely that is our life, is it not? There is no life

without relationship; and to understand this relationship does not mean isolation. On the contrary, it

demands a full recognition or awareness of the total process of relationship.

How is one to be aware? How are we aware of anything? How are you aware of your relationship

with a person? How are you aware of the trees, the call of a bird? How are you aware of your

reactions when you read a newspaper? Are we aware of the superficial responses of the mind, as

well as the inner responses? How are we aware of anything? First we are aware, are we not?, of

a response to a stimulus, which is an obvious fact; I see the trees, and there is a response, then

sensation, contact, identification and desire. That is the ordinary process, isn’t it? We can observe

what actually takes place, without studying any books. So through identification you have pleasure

and pain. And our ‘capacity’ is this concern with pleasure and the avoidance of pain, is it not? If

you are interested in something, if it gives you pleasure, there is ‘capacity’ immediately; there is

an awareness of that fact immediately; and if it is painful the ‘capacity’ is developed to avoid it.

So long as we are looking to ‘capacity’ to understand ourselves, I think we shall fail; because the

understanding of ourselves does not depend on capacity. It is not a technique that you develop,

cultivate and increase through time, through constantly sharpening. This awareness of oneself can



be tested, surely, in the action of relationship; it can be tested in the way we talk, the way we behave.

Watch yourself without any identification, without any comparison, without any condemnation; just

watch, and you will see an extraordinary thing taking place. You not only put an end to an activity

which is unconscious - because most of our activities are unconscious - you not only bring that to

an end, but, further, you are aware of the motives of that action, without inqui1y, without digging into


When you are aware, you see the whole process of your thinking and action; but it can happen

only when there is no condemnation. When I condemn something, I do not understand it, and it is

one way of avoiding any kind of understanding. I think most of us do that purposely; we condemn

immediately and we think we have understood. If we do not condemn but regard it, are aware of

it, then the content, the significance of that action begins to open up. Experiment with this and you

will see for yourself. Just be aware - without any sense of justification - which may appear rather

negative but is not negative. On the contrary, it has the quality of passivity which is direct action;

and you will discover this, if you experiment with it.

After all, if you want to understand something, you have to be in a passive mood, do you not? You

cannot keep on thinking about it, speculating about it or questioning it. You have to be sensitive

enough to receive the content of it. It is like being a sensitive photographic plate. If I want to

understand you, I have to be passively aware; then you begin to tell me all your story. Surely that

is not a question of capacity or specialization. In that process we begin to understand ourselves -

not only the superficial layers of our consciousness, but the deeper, which is much more important;

because there are all our motives and intentions, our hidden, confused demands, anxieties, fears,

appetites. Outwardly we may have them all under control but inwardly they are boiling. Until those

have been completely understood through awareness, obviously there cannot be freedom, there

cannot be happiness, there is no intelligence.

Is intelligence a matter of specialization? - intelligence being the total awareness of our process.

And is that intelligence to be cultivated through any form of specialization? Because that is what is

happening, is it not? The priest, the doctor, the engineer, the industrialist, the business man, the

professor - we have the mentality of all that specialization.

To realize the highest form of intelligence - which is truth, which is God, which cannot be described

- to realize that, we think we have to make ourselves specialists. We study, we grope, we search

out; and, with the mentality of the specialist or looking to the specialist, we study ourselves in order

to develop a capacity which will help to unravel our conflicts, our miseries.

Our problem is, if we are at all aware, whether the conflicts and the miseries and the sorrows of our

daily existence can be solved by another; and if they cannot, how is it possible for us to tackle them?

To understand a problem obviously requires a certain intelligence, and that intelligence cannot be

derived from or cultivated through specialization. It comes into being only when we are passively

aware of the whole process of our consciousness, which is to be aware of ourselves without choice,

without choosing what is right and what is wrong. When you are passively aware, you will see that

out of that passivity - which is not idleness, which is not sleep, but extreme alertness - the problem

has quite a different significance; which means there is no longer identification with the problem

and therefore there is no judgement and hence the problem begins to reveal its content. If you

are able to do that constantly, continuously, then every problem can be solved fundamentally, not

The First And Last Freedom 53 Jiddu Krishnamurti


superficially. That is the difficulty, because most of us are incapable of being passively aware, letting

the problem tell the story without our interpreting it. We do not know how to look at a problem

dispassionately. We are not capable of it, unfortunately, because we want a result from the problem,

we want an answer, we are looking to an end; or we try to translate the problem according to our

pleasure or pain; or we have an answer already on how to deal with the problem. Therefore we

approach a problem, which is always new, with the old pattern. The challenge is always the new,

but our response is always the old; and our difficulty is to meet the challenge adequately, that is

fully. The problem is always a problem of relationship - with things, with people or with ideas; there

is no other problem; and to meet the problem of relationship, with its constantly varying demands

- to meet it rightly, to meet it adequately - one has to be aware passively. This passivity is not a

question of determination, of will, of discipline; to be aware that we are not passive is the beginning.

To be aware that we want a particular answer to a particular problem - surely that is the beginning:

to know ourselves in relationship to the problem and how we deal with the problem. Then as we

begin to know ourselves in relationship to the problem - how we respond, what are our various

prejudices, demands, pursuits, in meeting that problem - this awareness will reveal the process of

our own thinking, of our own inward nature; and in that there is a release.

What is important, surely, is to be aware without choice, because choice brings about conflict. The

chooser is in confusion, therefore he chooses; if he is not in confusion, there is no choice. Only the

person who is confused chooses what he shall do or shall not do. The man who is clear and simple

does not choose; what is, is. Action based on an idea is obviously the action of choice and such

action is not liberating; on the contrary, it only creates further resistance, further conflict, according

to that conditioned thinking.

The important thing, therefore, is to be aware from moment to moment without accumulating the

experience which awareness brings; because, the moment you accumulate, you are aware only

according to that accumulation, according to that pattern, according to that experience. That is your

awareness is conditioned by your accumulation and therefore there is no longer observation but

merely translation. Where there is translation, there is choice, and choice creates conflict; in conflict

there can be no understanding.

Life is a matter of relationship; and to understand that relationship, which is not static, there must be

an awareness which is pliable, an awareness which is alertly passive, not aggressively active. As

I said, this passive awareness does not come through any form of discipline, through any practice.

It is to be just aware, from moment to moment, of our thinking and feeling, not only when we are

awake; for we shall see, as we go into it more deeply, that we begin to dream, that we begin to

throw up all kinds of symbols which we translate as dreams. Thus we open the door into the hidden,

which becomes the known; but to find the unknown, we must go beyond the door - surely, that is our

difficulty. Reality is not a thing which is knowable by the mind, because the mind is the result of the

known, of the past; therefore the mind must understand itself and its functioning, its truth, and only

then is it possible for the unknown to be.

The First And Last Freedom 54 Jiddu Krishnamurti



FOR MOST OF us, desire is quite a problem: the desire for property, for position, for power,

for comfort, for immortality, for continuity, the desire to be loved, to have something permanent,

satisfying, lasting, something which is beyond time. Now, what is desire? What is this thing that is

urging, compelling us? I am not suggesting that we should be satisfied with what we have or with

what we are, which is merely the opposite of what we want. We are trying to see what desire is,

and if we can go into it tentatively, hesitantly, I think we shall bring about a transformation which is

not a mere substitution of one object of desire for another object of desire. This is generally what

we mean by ‘change’, is it not? Being dissatisfied with one particular object of desire, we find a

substitute for it. We are everlastingly moving from one object of desire to another which we consider

to be higher, nobler, more refined; but, however refined, desire is still desire, and in this movement

of desire there is endless struggle, the conflict of the opposites.

Is it not, therefore, important to find out what is desire and whether it can be transformed? What is

desire? Is it not the symbol and its sensation? Desire is sensation with the object of its attainment.

Is there desire without a symbol and its sensation? Obviously not. The symbol may be a picture,

a person, a word, a name, an image, an idea which gives me a sensation, which makes me feel

that I like or dislike it; if the sensation is pleasurable, I want to attain, to possess, to hold on to its

symbol and continue in that pleasure. From time to time, according to my inclinations and intensities,

I change the picture, the image, the object. With one form of pleasure I am fed up, tired, bored, so I

seek a new sensation, a new idea, a new symbol. I reject the old sensation and take on a new one,

with new words, new significances, new experiences. I resist the old and yield to the new which I

consider to be higher, nobler, more satisfying. Thus in desire there is a resistance and a yielding,

which involves temptation; and of course in yielding to a particular symbol of desire there is always

the fear of frustration.



If I observe the whole process of desire in myself I see that there is always an object towards

which my mind is directed for further sensation, and that in this process there is involved resistance,

temptation and discipline. There is perception, sensation, contact and desire, and the mind becomes

the mechanical instrument of this process, in which symbols words, objects are the centre round

which all desire, all pursuits, all ambitions are built; that centre is the ‘me’. Can I dissolve that centre

of desire - not one particular desire, one particular appetite or craving, but the whole structure of

desire, of longing, hoping, in which there is always the fear of frustration? The more I am frustrated,

the more strength I give to the ‘me’. So long as there is hoping, longing, there is always the

background of fear, which again strengthens that centre. And revolution is possible only at that

centre, not on the surface, which is merely a process of distraction, a superficial change leading to

mischievous action.

When I am aware of this whole structure of desire, I see how my mind has become a dead centre,

a mechanical process of memory. Having tired of one desire, I automatically want to fulfil myself

in another. My mind is always experiencing in terms of sensation, it is the instrument of sensation.

Being bored with a particular sensation, I seek a new sensation, which may be what I call the

realization of God; but it is still sensation. I have had enough of this world and its travail and I want

peace, the peace that is everlasting; so I meditate, control, I shape my mind in order to experience

that peace. The experiencing of that peace is still sensation. So my mind is the mechanical

instrument of sensation, of memory, a dead centre from which I act, think. The objects I pursue

are the projections of the mind as symbols from which it derives sensations. The word ‘God’, the

word ‘love’, the word ‘communism’, the word ‘democracy’, the word ‘nationalism’ - these are all

symbols which give sensations to the mind, and therefore the mind clings to them. As you and I

know, every sensation comes to an end, and so we proceed from one sensation to another; and

every sensation strengthens the habit of seeking further sensation. Thus the mind becomes merely

an instrument of sensation and memory, and in that process we are caught. So long as the mind

is seeking further experience it can only think in terms of sensation; and any experience that may

be spontaneous, creative, vital, strikingly new, it immediately reduces to sensation and pursues that

sensation, which then becomes a memory. Therefore the experience is dead and the mind becomes

merely a stagnant pool of the past.

If we have gone into it at all deeply we are familiar with this process; and we seem to be incapable of

going beyond. We want to go beyond, because we are tired of this endless routine, this mechanical

pursuit of sensation; so the mind projects the idea of truth, or God; it dreams of‘ a vital change

and of playing a principal part in that change, and so on and on and on. Hence there is never a

creative state. In myself I see this process of desire going on, which is mechanical, repetitive, which

holds the mind in a process of routine and makes of it a dead centre of the past in which there is no

creative spontaneity. Also there are sudden moments of creation, of that which is not of the mind,

which is not of memory, which is not of sensation or of desire.

Our problem, therefore, is to understand desire - not how far it should go or where it should come

to an end, but to understand the whole process of desire, the cravings, the longings, the burning

appetites. Most of us think that possessing very little indicates freedom from desire - and how we

worship those who have but few things! A loincloth, a robe, symbolizes our desire to be free from

desire; but that again is a very superficial reaction. Why begin at the superficial level of giving

up outward possessions when your mind is crippled with innumerable wants, innumerable desires,

beliefs, struggles? Surely it is there that the revolution must take place, not in how much you

The First And Last Freedom 56 Jiddu Krishnamurti


possess or what clothes you wear or how many meals you eat. But we are impressed by these

things because our minds are very superficial.

Your problem and my problem is to see whether the mind can ever be free from desire, from

sensation. Surely creation has nothing to do with sensation; reality, God, or what you will, is not

a state which can be experienced as sensation. When you have an experience, what happens? It

has given you a certain sensation, a feeling of elation or depression. Naturally, you try to avoid, put

aside, the state of depression; but if it is a joy, a feeling of elation, you pursue it. Your experience

has produced a pleasurable sensation and you want more of it; and the ‘more’ strengthens the dead

centre of the mind, which is ever craving further experience. Hence the mind cannot experience

anything new, it is incapable of experiencing anything new, because its approach is always through

memory, through recognition; and that which is recognized through memory is not truth, creation,

reality. Such a mind cannot experience reality; it can only experience sensation, and creation is not

sensation, it is something that is everlastingly new from moment to moment.

Now I realize the state of my own mind; I see that it is the instrument of sensation and desire,

or rather that it is sensation and desire, and that it is mechanically caught up in routine. Such a

mind is incapable of ever receiving or feeling out the new; for the new must obviously be something

beyond sensation, which is always the old. So, this mechanical process with its sensations has to

come to an end, has it not? The wanting more, the pursuit of symbols, words, images, with their

sensation - all that has to come to an end. Only then is it possible for the mind to be in that state

of creativeness in which the new can always come into being. If you will understand without being

mesmerized by words, by habits, by ideas, and see how important it is to have the new constantly

impinging on the mind, then, perhaps, you will understand the process of desire, the routine, the

boredom, the constant craving for experience. Then I think you will begin to see that desire has very

little significance in life for a man who is really seeking. Obviously there are certain physical needs:

food, clothing, shelter, and all the rest of it. But they never become psychological appetites, things

on which the mind builds itself as a centre of desire. Beyond the physical needs, any form of desire

- for greatness, for truth, for virtue - becomes a psychological process by which the mind builds the

idea of the ‘me’ and strengthens itself at the centre.

When you see this process, when you are really aware of it without opposition, without a sense of

temptation, without resistance, without justifying or judging it, then you will discover that the mind

is capable of receiving the new and that the new is never a sensation; therefore it can never be

recognized, re-experienced. It is a state of being in which creativeness comes without invitation,

without memory; and that is reality.

The First And Last Freedom 57 Jiddu Krishnamurti



LIFE IS EXPERIENCE, experience in relationship. One cannot live in isolation, so life is relationship

and relationship is action. And how can one have that capacity for understanding relationship which

is life? Does not relationship mean not only communion with people but intimacy with things and

ideas? Life is relationship, which is expressed through contact with things, with people and with

ideas. In understanding relationship we shall have capacity to meet life fully, adequately. So our

problem is not capacity - for capacity is not independent of relationship - but rather the understanding

of relationship, which will naturally produce the capacity for quick pliability, for quick adjustment, for

quick response.

Relationship, surely, is the mirror in which you discover yourself. Without relationship you are not;

to be is to be related; to be related is existence. You exist only in relationship; otherwise you do not

exist, existence has no meaning. It is not because you think you are that you come into existence.

You exist because you are related; and it is the lack of understanding of relationship that causes


Now there is no understanding of relationship, because we use relationship merely as a means of

furthering achievement, furthering transformation, furthering becoming. But relationship is a means

of self-discovery, because relationship is to be; it is existence. Without relationship, I am not. To

understand myself, I must understand relationship. Relationship is a mirror in which I can see myself.

That mirror can either be distorted, or it can be ‘as is’, reflecting that which is. But most of us see

in relationship, in that mirror, things we would rather see; we do not see what is. We would rather

idealize, escape, we would rather live in the future than understand that relationship in the immediate


Now if we examine our life, our relationship with another, we shall see that it is a process of isolation.

We are really not concerned with another; though we talk a great deal about it, actually we are



not concerned. We are related to someone only so long as that relationship gratifies us, so long

as it gives us a refuge, so long as it satisfies us. But the moment there is a disturbance in the

relationship which produces discomfort in ourselves, we discard that relationship. In other words,

there is relationship only so long as we are gratified. This may sound harsh, but if you really examine

your life very closely you will see it is a fact; and to avoid a fact is to live in ignorance, which can never

produce right relationship. If we look into our lives and observe relationship, we see it is a process of

building resistance against another, a wall over which we look and observe the other; but we always

retain the wall and remain behind it, whether it be a psychological wall, a material wall, an economic

wall or a national wall. So long as we live in isolation, behind a wall, there is no relationship with

another; and we live enclosed because it is much more gratifying, we think it is much more secure.

The world is so disruptive, there is so much sorrow, so much pain, war, destruction, misery, that we

want to escape and live within the walls of security of our own psychological being. So, relationship

with most of us is actually a process of isolation, and obviously such relationship builds a society

which is also isolating. That is exactly what is happening throughout the world: you remain in your

isolation and stretch your hand over the wall, calling it nationalism, brotherhood or what you will, but

actually sovereign governments, armies, continue. Still clinging to your own limitations, you think you

can create world unity, world peace - which is impossible. So long as you have a frontier, whether

national, economic, religious or social, it is an obvious fact that there cannot be peace in the world.

The process of isolation is a process of the search for power; whether one is seeking power

individually or for a racial or national group there must be isolation, because the very desire for

power, for position, is separatism. After all, that is what each one wants, is it not? He wants a

powerful position in which he can dominate, whether at home, in the office, or in a bureaucratic

regime. Each one is seeking power and in seeking power he will establish a society which is based

on power, military, industrial, economic, and so on - which again is obvious. Is not the desire

for power in its very nature isolating? I think it is very important to understand this, because the

man who wants a peaceful world, a world in which there are no wars, no appalling destruction, no

catastrophic misery on an immeasurable scale must understand this fundamental question, must he

not? A man who is affectionate, who is kindly, has no sense of power, and therefore such a man is

not bound to any nationality, to any flag. He has no flag.

There is no such thing as living in isolation - no country, no people, no individual, can live in isolation;

yet, because you are seeking power in so many different ways, you breed isolation. The nationalist

is a curse because through his very nationalistic, patriotic spirit, he is creating a wall of isolation.

He is so identified with his country that he builds a wall against another. What happens when you

build a wall against something? That something is constantly beating against your wall. When you

resist something, the very resistance indicates that you are in conflict with the other. So nationalism,

which is a process of isolation, which is the outcome of the search for power, cannot bring about

peace in the world. The man who is a nationalist and talks of brotherhood is telling a lie; he is living

in a state of contradiction.

Can one live in the world without the desire for power, for position, for authority? Obviously one

can. One does it when one does not identify oneself with something greater. This identification

with something greater - the party, the country, the race, the religion, God - is the search for power.

Because you in yourself are empty, dull, weak, you like to identify yourself with something greater.

That des1re to identify yourself with something greater is the desire for power.

Relationship is a process of self-revelation, and, without knowing oneself, the ways of one’s own

The First And Last Freedom 59 Jiddu Krishnamurti


mind and heart, merely to establish an outward order, a system, a cunning formula, has very little

meaning. What is important is to understand oneself in relationship with another. Then relationship

becomes not a process of isolation but a movement in which you discover your own motives, your

own thoughts, your own pursuits; and that very discovery is the beginning of liberation, the beginning

of transformation.

The First And Last Freedom 60 Jiddu Krishnamurti



IN ALL OUR experiences, there is always the experiencer, the observer, who is gathering to himself

more and more or denying himself. Is that not a wrong process and is that not a pursuit which does

not bring about the creative state? If it is a wrong process, can we wipe it out completely and put it

aside? That can come about only when I experience, not as a thinker experiences, but when I am

aware of the false process and see that there is only a state in which the thinker is the thought.

So long as I am experiencing, so long as I am becoming, there must be this dualistic action; there

must be the thinker and the thought, two separate processes at work; there is no integration, there

is always a centre which is operating through the will of action to be or not to be - collectively,

individually, nationally and so on. Universally, this is the process. So long as effort is divided into the

experiencer and the experience, there must be deterioration. Integration is only possible when the

thinker is no longer the observer. That is, we know at present there are the thinker and the thought,

the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experienced; there are two different states.

Our effort is to bridge the two.

The will of action is always dualistic. Is it possible to go beyond this will which is separative and

discover a state in which this dualistic action is not? That can only be found when we directly

experience the state in which the thinker is the thought. We now think the thought is separate from

the thinker; but is that so? We would like to think it is, because then the thinker can explain matters

through his thought. The effort of the thinker is to become more or become less; and therefore, in

that struggle, in that action of the will, in ‘becoming’, there is always the deteriorating factor; we are

pursuing a false process and not a true process.

Is there a division between the thinker and the thought? So long as they are separate, divided, our

effort is wasted; we are pursuing a false process which is destructive and which is the deteriorating



factor. We think the thinker is separate from his thought. When I find that I am greedy, possessive,

brutal, I think I should not be all this. The thinker then tries to alter his thoughts and therefore

effort is made to ‘become; in that process of effort he pursues the false illusion that there are two

separate processes, whereas there is only one process. I think therein lies the fundamental factor

of deterioration.

Is it possible to experience that state when there is only one entity and not two separate processes,

the experiencer and the experience? Then perhaps we shall find out what it is to be creative, and

what the state is in which there is no deterioration at any time, in whatever relationship man may be.

I am greedy. I and greed are not two different states; there is only one thing and that is greed. If I

am aware that I am greedy, what happens? I make an effort not to be greedy, either for sociological

reasons or for religious reasons; that effort will always be in a small limited circle; I may extend the

circle but it is always limited. Therefore the deteriorating factor is there. But when I look a little more

deeply and closely, I see that the maker of effort is the cause of greed and he is greed itself; and I

also see that there is no ‘me’ and greed, existing separately, but that there is only greed. If I realize

that I am greedy, that there is not the observer who is greedy but I am myself greed, then our whole

question is entirely different; our response to it is entirely different; then our effort is not destructive.

What will you do when your whole being is greed, when whatever action you do is greed?

Unfortunately, we don’t think along those lines. There is the ‘me’, the superior entity, the soldier

who is controlling, dominating. To me that process is destructive. It is an illusion and we know

why we do it. I divide myself into the high and the low in order to continue. If there is only greed,

completely, not ‘I’ operating greed, but I am entirely greed, then what happens? Surely then there is

a different process at work altogether, a different problem comes into being. It is that problem which

is creative, in which there is no sense of ‘I’ dominating, becoming, positively or negatively. We must

come to that state if we would be creative. In that state, there is no maker of effort. It is not a matter

of verbalizing or of trying to find out what that state is; if you set about it in that way you will lose and

you will never find. What is important is to see that the maker of effort and the object towards which

he is making effort are the same. That requires enormously great understanding, watchfulness, to

see how the mind divides itself into the high and the low - the high being the security, the permanent

entity - but still remaining a process of thought and therefore of time. If we can understand this as

direct experience, then you will see that quite a different factor comes into being.

The First And Last Freedom 62 Jiddu Krishnamurti



THOUGHT HAS NOT solved our problems and I don’t think it ever will. We have relied on the intellect

to show us the way out of our complexity. The more cunning, the more hideous, the more subtle the

intellect is, the greater the variety of systems, of theories, of ideas. And ideas do not solve any of

our human problems; they never have and they never will. The mind is not the solution; the way of

thought is obviously not the way out of our difficulty. It seems to me that we should first understand

this process of thinking, and perhaps be able to go beyond - for when thought ceases, perhaps we

shall be able to find a way which will help us to solve our problems, not only the individual but also

the collective.

Thinking has not solved our problems. The clever ones, the philosophers, the scholars, the political

leaders, have not really solved any of our human problems - which are the relationship between

you and another, between you and myself. So far we have used the mind, the intellect, to help

us investigate the problem and thereby are hoping to find a solution. Can thought ever dissolve

our problems? Is not thought, unless it is in the laboratory or on the drawing board, always selfprotecting,

self-perpetuating, conditioned? Is not its activity self-centred? And can such thought

ever resolve any of the problems which thought itself has created? Can the mind, which has created

the problems, resolve those things that it has itself brought forth?

Surely thinking is a reaction. If I ask you a question, you respond to it - you respond according to

your memory, to your prejudices, to your upbringing, to the climate, to the whole background of your

conditioning; you reply accordingly, you think accordingly. The centre of this background is the ‘me’

in the process of action. So long as that background is not understood, so long as that thought

process, that self which creates the problem, is not understood and put an end to, we are bound to

have conflict, within and without, in thought, in emotion, in action. No solution of any kind, however

clever, however well thought out, can ever put an end to the conflict between man and man, between



you and me. Realizing this, being aware of how thought springs up and from what source, then we

ask, ”Can thought ever come to an end?”

That is one of the problems, is it not? Can thought resolve our problems? By thinking over the

problem, have you resolved it? Any kind of problem - economic, social, religious - has it ever been

really solved by thinking? In your daily life, the more you think about a problem, the more complex,

the more irresolute, the more uncertain it becomes. Is that not so? - in our actual, daily life? You

may, in thinking out certain facets of the problem, see more clearly another person’s point of view,

but thought cannot see the completeness and fullness of the problem - it can only see partially and

a partial answer is not a complete answer, therefore it is not a solution.

The more we think over a problem, the more we investigate, analyse and discuss it, the more

complex it becomes. So is it possible to look at the problem comprehensively, wholly? How is this

possible? Because that, it seems to me, is our major difficulty. Our problems are being multiplied

- there is imminent danger of war, there is every kind of disturbance in our relationships - and how

can we understand all that comprehensively, as a whole? Obviously it can be solved only when

we can look at it as a whole - not in compartments, not divided. When is that possible? Surely

it is only possible when the process of thinking - which has its source in the ‘me’, the self, in the

background of tradition, of conditioning, of prejudice, of hope, of despair - has come to an end. Can

we understand this self, not by analysing, but by seeing the thing as it is, being aware of it as a

fact and not as a theory? - not seeking to dissolve the self in order to achieve a result but seeing

the activity of the self, the ‘me’, constantly in action? Can we look at it, without any movement to

destroy or to encourage? That is the problem, is it not? If, in each one of us, the centre of the ‘me’ is

non-existent, with its desire for power, position, authority, continuance, self-preservation, surely our

problems will come to an end!

The self is a problem that thought cannot resolve. There must be an awareness which is not of

thought. To be aware, without condemnation or justification, of the activities of the self - just to be

aware - is sufficient. If you are aware in order to find out how to resolve the problem, in order to

transform it, in order to produce a result, then it is still within the field of the self, of the ‘me’. So

long as we are seeking a result, whether through analysis, through awareness, through constant

examination of every thought, we are still within the field of thought, which is within the field of the

‘me’, of the ‘I’, of the ego, or what you will.

As long as the activity of the mind exists, surely there can be no love. When there is love, we shall

have no social problems. But love is not something to be acquired. The mind can seek to acquire it,

like a new thought, a new gadget, a new way of thinking; but the mind cannot be in a state of love

so long as thought is acquiring love. So long as the mind is seeking to be in a state of non-greed,

surely it is still greedy, is it not? Similarly, so long as the mind wishes, desires, and practises in order

to be in a state in which there is love, surely it denies that state, does it not?

Seeing this problem, this complex problem of living, and being aware of the process of our own

thinking and realizing that it actually leads nowhere - when we deeply realize that, then surely there is

a state of intelligence which is not individual or collective. Then the problem of the relationship of the

individual to society, of the individual to the community, of the individual to reality, ceases; because

then there is only intelligence, which is neither personal nor impersonal. It is this intelligence alone,

I feel, that can solve our immense problems. That cannot be a result; it comes into being only when

The First And Last Freedom 64 Jiddu Krishnamurti


we understand this whole total process of thinking, not only at the conscious level but also at the

deeper, hidden levels of consciousness.

To understand any of these problems we have to have a very quiet mind, a very still mind, so that

the mind can look at the problem without interposing ideas or theories, without any distraction. That

is one of our difficulties - because thought has become a distraction. When I want to understand,

look at something, I don’t have to think about it - I look at it. The moment I begin to think, to have

ideas, opinions about it, I am already in a state of distraction, looking away from the thing which I

must understand. So thought, when you have a problem, becomes a distraction - thought being an

idea, opinion, judgement, comparison - which prevents us from looking and thereby understanding

and resolving the problem. Unfortunately for most of us thought has become so important. You say,

”How can I exist, be, without thinking? How can I have a blank mind ?” To have a blank mind is to be

in a state of stupor, idiocy or what you will, and your instinctive reaction is to reject it. But surely a

mind that is very quiet, a mind that is not distracted by its own thought, a mind that is open, can look

at the problem very directly and very simply. And it is this capacity to look without any distraction at

our problems that is the only solution. For that there must be a quiet, tranquil mind.

Such a mind is not a result, is not an end product of a practice, of meditation, of control. It comes

into being through no form of discipline or compulsion or sublimation, without any effort of the ‘me’,

of thought; it comes into being when I understand the whole process of thinking - when I can see a

fact without any distraction. In that state of tranquillity of a mind that is really still there is love. And

it is love alone that can solve all our human problems.

The First And Last Freedom 65 Jiddu Krishnamurti



WHEN YOU OBSERVE your own mind you are observing not only the so-called upper levels of

the mind but also watching the unconscious; you are seeing what the mind actually does, are you

not? That is the only way you can investigate. Do not superimpose what it should do, how it should

think or act and so on; that would amount to making mere statements. That is if you say the mind

should be this or should not be that, then you stop all investigation and all thinking; or, if you quote

some high authority, then you equally stop thinking, don’t you? If you quote Buddha, Christ or XYZ,

there is an end to all pursuit, to all thinking and all investigation. So one has to guard against that.

You must put aside all these subtleties of the mind if you would investigate this problem of the self

together with me.

What is the function of the mind? To find that out, you must know what the mind is actually doing.

What does your mind do? It is all a process of thinking, is it not? Otherwise, the mind is not there.

So long as the mind is not thinking, consciously or unconsciously, there is no consciousness. We

have to find out what the mind that we use in our everyday life, and also the mind of which most of

us are unconscious, does in relation to our problems. We must look at the mind as it is and not as it

should be.

Now what is mind as it is functioning? It is actually a process of isolation, is it not? Fundamentally

that is what the process of thought is. It is thinking in an isolated form, yet remaining collective.

When you observe your own thinking, you will see it is an isolated, fragmentary process. You

are thinking according to your reactions, the reactions of your memory of your experience, of your

knowledge, of your belief. You are reacting to all that, aren’t you? If I say that there must be a

fundamental revolution, you immediately react. You will object to that word ‘revolution’ if you have

got good investments, spiritual or otherwise. So your reaction is dependent on your knowledge, on

your belief, on your experience. That is an obvious fact. There are various forms of reaction. You



say ”I must be brotherly”, ”I must co-operate”, ”I must be friendly”, ‘’I must be kind”, and so on. What

are these? These are all reactions; but the fundamental reaction of thinking is a process of isolation.

You are watching the process of your own mind, each one of you, which means watching your own

action, belief, knowledge, experience. All these give security, do they not? They give security, give

strength to the process of thinking. That process only strengthens the ‘me’, the mind, the self -

whether you call that self high or low. All our religions, all our social sanctions, all our laws are for

the support of the individual, the individual self, the separative action; and in opposition to that there

is the totalitarian state. If you go deeper into the unconscious, there too it is the same process that

is at work. There, we are the collective influenced by the environment, by the climate, by the society,

by the father, the mother, the grandfather. There again is the desire to assert, to dominate as an

individual, as the me.

Is not the function of the mind, as we know it and as we function daily, a process of isolation? Aren’t

you seeking individual salvation? You are going to be somebody in the future; or in this very life

you are going to be a great man, a great writer. Our whole tendency is to be separated. Can the

mind do anything else but that? Is it possible for the mind not to think separatively, in a self-enclosed

manner, fragmentarily? That is impossible. So we worship the mind; the mind is extraordinarily

important. Don’t you know, the moment you are a little bit cunning, a little bit alert, and have a little

accumulated information and knowledge, how important you become in society? You know how

you worship those who are intellectually superior, the lawyers, the professors, the orators, the great

writers, the explainers and the expounders! You have cultivated the intellect and the mind.

The function of the mind is to be separated; otherwise your mind is not there. Having cultivated

this process for centuries we find we cannot co-operate; we can only be urged, compelled, driven by

authority, fear, either economic or religious. If that is the actual state, not only consciously but also at

the deeper levels, in our motives, our intentions, our pursuits, how can there be co-operation? How

can there be intelligent coming together to do something? As that is almost impossible, religions and

organized social parties force the individual to certain forms of discipline. Discipline then becomes

imperative if we want to come together, to do things together.

Until we understand how to transcend this separative thinking, this process of giving emphasis to

the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’, whether in the collective form or in individual form, we shall not have peace;

we shall have constant conflict and wars. Our problem is how to bring an end to the separative

process of thought. Can thought ever destroy the self, thought being the process of verbalization

and of reaction? Thought is nothing else but reaction; thought is not creative. Can such thought

put an end to itself? That is what we are trying to find out. When I think along these lines: ”I must

discipline”, ”I must think more properly”, ”I must be this or that”, thought is compelling itself, urging

itself, disciplining itself to be something or not to be something. Is that not a process of isolation? It

is therefore not that integrated intelligence which functions as a whole, from which alone there can

be co-operation.

How are you to come to the end of thought? Or rather how is thought, which is isolated, fragmentary

and partial, to come to an end? How do you set about it? Will your so-called discipline destroy it?

Obviously, you have not succeeded all these long years, otherwise you would not be here. Please

examine the disciplining process, which is solely a thought process, in which there is subjection,

repression, control, domination - all affecting the unconscious, which asserts itself later as you

grow older. Having tried for such a long time to no purpose, you must have found that discipline

The First And Last Freedom 67 Jiddu Krishnamurti


is obviously not the process to destroy the self. The self cannot be destroyed through discipline,

because discipline is a process of strengthening the self. Yet all your religions support it; all your

meditations, your assertions are based on this. Will knowledge destroy the self? Will belief destroy

it? In other words, will anything that we are at present doing, any of the activities in which we are

at present engaged in order to get at the root of the self, will any of that succeed? Is not all this a

fundamental waste in a thought process which is a process of isolation, of reaction? What do you

do when you realize fundamentally or deeply that thought cannot end itself? What happens? Watch

yourself. When you are fully aware of this fact, what happens? You understand that any reaction is

conditioned and that, through conditioning, there can be no freedom either at the beginning or at the

end - and freedom is always at the beginning and not at the end.

When you realize that any reaction is a form of conditioning and therefore gives continuity to the

self in different ways, what actually takes place? You must be very clear in this matter. Belief,

knowledge, discipline, experience, the whole process of achieving a result or an end, ambition,

becoming something in this life or in a future life - all these are a process of isolation, a process

which brings destruction, misery, wars, from which there is no escape through collective action,

however much you may be threatened with concentration camps and all the rest of it. Are you aware

of that fact? What is the state of the mind which says ”It is so”, ”That is my problem”, ”That is exactly

where I am”, ”I see what knowledge and discipline can do, what ambition does”? Surely, if you see

all that, there is already a different process at work. We see the ways of the intellect but we do not

see the way of love. The way of love is not to be found through the intellect. The intellect, with all

its ramifications, with all its desires, ambitions, pursuits, must come to an end for love to come into

existence. Don’t you know that when you love, you co-operate, you are not thinking of yourself?

That is the highest form of intelligence - not when you love as a superior entity or when you are in

a good position, which is nothing but fear. When your vested interests are there, there can be no

love; there is only the process of exploitation, born of fear. So love can come into being only when

the mind is not there. Therefore you must understand the whole process of the mind, the function of

the mind.

It is only when we know how to love each other that there can be co-operation, that there can be

intelligent functioning, a coming together over any question. Only then is it possible to find out what

God is, what truth is. Now, we are trying to find truth through intellect, through imitation - which is

idolatry. Only when you discard completely, through understanding, the whole structure of the self,

can that which is eternal, timeless, immeasurable, come into being. You cannot go to it; it comes to


The First And Last Freedom 68 Jiddu Krishnamurti



I WOULD LIKE TO discuss or consider the question of self-deception, the delusions that the mind

indulges in and imposes upon itself and upon others. That is a very serious matter, especially in a

crisis of the kind which the world is facing. But in order to understand this whole problem of selfdeception

we must follow it not merely at the verbal level but intrinsically, fundamentally, deeply. We

are too easily satisfied with words and counter-words; we are worldlywise; and, being worldly-wise,

all that we can do is to hope that something will happen. We see that the explanation of war does

not stop war; there are innumerable historians, theologians and religious people explaining war and

how it comes into being but wars still go on, perhaps more destructive than ever. Those of us who

are really earnest must go beyond the word, must seek this fundamental revolution within ourselves.

That is the only remedy which can bring about a lasting, fundamental redemption of mankind.

Similarly, when we are discussing this kind of self-deception, I think we should guard against any

superficial explanations and rejoinders; we should, if I may suggest it, not merely listen to a speaker

but follow the problem as we know it in our daily life; that is we should watch ourselves in thinking

and in action, watch how we affect others and how we proceed to act from ourselves.

What is the reason, the basis, for self-deception? How many of us are actually aware that we are

deceiving ourselves? Before we can answer the question ”What is self-deception and how does it

arise?”, must we not be aware that we are deceiving ourselves? Do we know that we are deceiving

ourselves? What do we mean by this deception? I think it is very important, because the more

we deceive ourselves the greater is the strength in the deception; for it gives us a certain vitality,

a certain energy, a certain capacity which entails the imposing of our deception on others. So

gradually we are not only imposing deception on ourselves but on others. It is an interacting process

of self-deception. Are we aware of this process? We think we are capable of thinking very clearly,

purposefully and directly; and are we aware that, in this process of thinking, there is self-deception?



Is not thought itself a process of search, a seeking of justification, of security, of self-protection, a

desire to be well thought of, a desire to have position, prestige and power? Is not this desire to be,

politically, or religio-sociologically, the very cause of self-deception? The moment I want something

other than the purely materialistic necessities, do I not produce, do I not bring about, a state which

easily accepts? Take, for example, this: many of us are interested to know what happens after

death; the older we are, the more interested we are. We want to know the truth of it. How shall we

find it? Certainly not by reading nor through the different explanations.

How will you find it out? First, you must purge your mind completely of every factor that is in the way -

every hope, every desire to continue, every desire to find out what is on that other side. Because the

mind is constantly seeking security, it has the desire to continue and hopes for a means of fulfilment,

for a future existence. Such a mind, though it is seeking the truth of life after death, reincarnation

or whatever it is, is incapable of discovering that truth, is it not? What is important is not whether

reincarnation is true or not but how the mind seeks justification, through self-deception, of a fact

which may or may not be. What is important is the approach to the problem, with what motivation,

with what urge, with what desire you come to it. The seeker is always imposing this deception

upon himself; no one can impose it upon him; he himself does it. We create deception and then we

become slaves to it. The fundamental factor of self-deception is this constant desire to be something

in this world and in the world hereafter. We know the result of wanting to be something in this world;

it is utter confusion, where each is competing with the other, each is destroying the other in the

name of peace; you know the whole game we play with each other, which is an extraordinary form

of self-deception. Similarly, we want security in the other world, a position.

So we begin to deceive ourselves the moment there is this urge to be, to become or to achieve.

That is a very difficult thing for the mind to be free from. That is one of the basic problems of our

life. Is it possible to live in this world and be nothing? Then only is there freedom from all deception,

because then only is the mind not seeking a result, the mind is not seeking a satisfactory answer,

the mind is not seeking any form of justification, the mind is not seeking security in any form, in

any relationship. That takes place only when the mind realizes the possibilities and subtleties of

deception and therefore, with understanding, abandons every form of justification, security - which

means the mind is capable, then, of being completely nothing. Is that possible?

So long as we deceive ourselves in any form, there can be no love. So long as the mind is capable of

creating and imposing upon itself a delusion, it obviously separates itself from collective or integrated

understanding. That is one of our difficulties; we do not know how to co-operate. All that we know

is that we try to work together towards an end which both of us bring into being. There can be

co-operation only when you and I have no common aim created by thought. What is important to

realize is that co-operation is only possible when you and I do not desire to be anything. When you

and I desire to be something, then belief and all the rest of it become necessary, a self-projected

Utopia is necessary. But if you and I are anonymously creating, without any self-deception, without

any barriers of belief and knowledge, without a desire to be secure, then there is true co-operation.

Is it possible for us to co-operate, for us to be together without an end in view? Can you and I work

together without seeking a result? Surely that is true co-operation, is it not? If you and I think out,

work out, plan out a result and we are working together towards that result, then what is the process

involved? Our thoughts, our intellectual minds, are of course meeting; but emotionally, the whole

being may be resisting it, which brings about deception, which brings about conflict between you

The First And Last Freedom 70 Jiddu Krishnamurti


and me. It is an obvious and observable fact in our everyday life. You and I agree to do a certain

piece of work intellectually but unconsciously, deeply, you and I are at battle with each other. I want

a result to my satisfaction; I want to dominate; I want my name to be ahead of yours, though I am

said to be working with you. So we both, who are creators of that plan, are really opposing each

other, even though outwardly you and I agree as to the plan.

Is it not important to find out whether you and I can co-operate, commune, live together in a world

where you and I are as nothing; whether we are able really and truly to co-operate not at the

superficial level but fundamentally? That is one of our greatest problems, perhaps the greatest. I

identify myself with an object and you identify yourself with the same object; both of us are interested

in it; both of us are intending to bring it about. Surely this process of thinking is very superficial,

because through identification we bring about separation - which is so obvious in our everyday life.

You are a Hindu and I a Catholic; we both preach brotherhood, and we are at each other’s throats.

Why? That is one of our problems, is it not? Unconsciously and deeply, you have your beliefs and

I have mine. By talking about brotherhood, we have not solved the whole problem of beliefs but

have only theoretically and intellectually agreed that this should be so; inwardly and deeply, we are

against each other.

Until we dissolve those barriers which are a self-deception which give us a certain vitality, there can

be no co-operation between you and me. Through identification with a group, with a particular idea,

with a particular country, we can never bring about co-operation.

Belief does not bring about co-operation; on the contrary, it divides. We see how one political party is

against another, each believing in a certain way of dealing with economic problems, and so they are

all at war with one another. They are not resolved in solving, for instance, the problem of starvation.

They are concerned with the theories which are going to solve that problem. They are not actually

concerned with the problem itself but with the method by which the problem will be solved. Therefore

there must be contention between the two, because they are concerned with the idea and not with

the problem. Similarly, religious people are against each other, though verbally they say they have

all one life, one God; you know all that. Inwardly their beliefs, their opinions, their experiences are

destroying them and are keeping them separate.

Experience becomes a dividing factor in our human relationship; experience is a way of deception.

If I have experienced something, I cling to it, I do not go into the whole problem of the process of

experiencing but, because I have experienced, that is sufficient and I cling to it; thereby I impose,

through that experience, self-deception.

Our difficulty is that each of us is so identified with a particular belief, with a particular form or

method of bringing about happiness, economic adjustment, that our mind is captured by that and

we are incapable of going deeper into the problem; therefore we desire to remain aloof individually

in our particular ways, beliefs and experiences. Until we dissolve them, through understanding -

not only at the superficial level, but at the deeper level also - there can be no peace in the world.

That is why it is important for those who are really serious, to understand this whole problem - the

desire to become, to achieve, to gain - not only at the superficial level but fundamentally and deeply;

otherwise there can be no peace in the world.

Truth is not something to be gained. Love cannot come to those who have a desire to hold on to

it, or who like to become identified with it. Surely such things come when the mind does not seek,

The First And Last Freedom 71 Jiddu Krishnamurti


when the mind is completely quiet, no longer creating movements and beliefs upon which it can

depend, or from which it derives a certain strength, which is an indication of self-deception. It is only

when the mind understands this whole process of desire that it can be still. Only then is the mind

not in movement to be or not to be; then only is there the possibility of a state in which there is no

deception of any kind.

The First And Last Freedom 72 Jiddu Krishnamurti



MOST OF US, I think, are aware that every form of persuasion, every kind of inducement, has been

offered us to resist self-centred activities. Religions, through promises, through fear of hell, through

every form of condemnation have tried in different ways to dissuade man from this constant activity

that is born from the centre of the ‘me’. These having failed, political organizations have taken over.

There again, persuasion; there again the ultimate utopian hope. Every form of legislation from the

very limited to the extreme, including concentration camps, has been used and enforced against

any form of resistance. Yet we go on in our self-centred activity, which is the only kind of action we

seem to know. If we think about it at all, we try to modify; if we are aware of it, we try to change the

course of it; but fundamentally, deeply, there is no transformation, there is no radical cessation of that

activity. The thoughtful are aware of this; they are also aware that when that activity from the centre

ceases, only then can there be happiness. Most of us take it for granted that self-centred activity

is natural and that the consequential action, which is inevitable, can only be modified, shaped and

controlled. Now those who are a little more serious, more earnest, not sincere - because sincerity

is the way of self-deception - must find out whether, being aware of this extraordinary total process

of self-centred activity, one can go beyond.

To understand what this self-centred activity is, one must obviously examine it, look at it, be aware

of the entire process. If one can be aware of it, then there is the possibility of its dissolution; but to

be aware of it requires a certain understanding, a certain intention to face the thing as it is and not

to interpret, not to modify, not to condemn it. We have to be aware of what we are doing, of all the

activity which springs from that self-centred state; we must be conscious of if it. One of our primary

difficulties is that the moment we are conscious of that activity, we want to shape it, we want to

control it, we want to condemn it or we want to modify it, so we are seldom able to look at it directly.

When we do, very few of us are capable of knowing what to do.



We realize that self-centred activities are detrimental, are destructive, and that every form of

identification - such as with a country, with a particular group, with a particular desire, the search for

a result here or hereafter, the glorification of an idea, the pursuit of an example, the pursuit of virtue

and so on - is essentially the activity of a self-centred person. All our relationships, with nature, with

people, with ideas, are the outcome of that activity. Knowing all this, what is one to do? All such

activity must voluntarily come to an end - not self-imposed, not influenced, not guided.

Most of us are aware that this self-centred activity creates mischief and chaos but we are only aware

of it in certain directions. Either we observe it in others and are ignorant of our own activities or being

aware, in relationship with others, of our own self-centred activity we want to transform, we want to

find a substitute, we want to go beyond. Before we can deal with it we must know how this process

comes into being, must we not? In order to understand something, we must be capable of looking

at it; and to look at it we must know its various activities at different levels, conscious as well as

unconscious - the conscious directives, and also the self-centred movements of our unconscious

motives and intentions.

I am only conscious of this activity of the ‘me’ when I am opposing, when consciousness is thwarted,

when the ‘me’ is desirous of achieving a result, am I not? Or I am conscious of that centre when

pleasure comes to an end and I want to have more of it; then there is resistance and a purposive

shaping of the mind to a particular end which will give me a delight, a satisfaction; I am aware of

myself and my activities when I am pursuing virtue consciously. Surely a man who pursues virtue

consciously is unvirtuous. Humility cannot be pursued, and that is the beauty of humility.

This self-centred process is the result of time, is it not? So long as this centre of activity exists in

any direction, conscious or unconscious, there is the movement of time and I am conscious of the

past and the present in conjunction with the future. The self-centred activity of the ‘me’ is a time

process. It is memory that gives continuity to the activity of the centre, which is the ‘me’. If you

watch yourself and are aware of this centre of activity, you will see that it is only the process of time,

of memory, of experiencing and translating every experience accord1ng to a memory; you will also

see that self-activity is recognition, which is also the process of the mind.

Can the mind be free from all this? It may be possible at rare moments; it may happen to most of us

when we do an unconscious, unintentional, unpurposive act; but is it possible for the mind ever to

be completely free from self-centred activity? That is a very important question to put to ourselves,

because in the very putting of it, you will find the answer. If you are aware of the total process of

this self-centred activity, fully cognizant of its activities at different levels of your consciousness, then

surely you have to ask yourselves if it is possible for that activity to come to an end. Is it possible

not to think in terms of time, not to think in terms of what I shall be, what I have been, what I am

? For from such thought the whole process of self-centred activity begins; there, also, begins the

determination to become, the determination to choose and to avoid, which are all a process of time.

We see in that process infinite mischief, misery, confusion, distortion, deterioration.

Surely the process of time is not revolutionary. In the process of time there is no transformation; there

is only a continuity and no ending, there is nothing but recognition. It is only when you have complete

cessation of the time process, of the activity of the self, that there is a revolution, a transformation,

the coming into being of the new.

Being aware of this whole total process of the ‘me’ in its activity, what is the mind to do? It is only

The First And Last Freedom 74 Jiddu Krishnamurti


with renewal, it is only with revolution - not through evolution, not through the ‘me’ becoming, but

through the ‘me’ completely coming to an end - that there is the new. The time process cannot bring

the new; time is not the way of creation.

I do not know if any of you have had a moment of creativity. I am not talking of putting some vision

into action; I mean that moment of creation when there is no recognition. At that moment, there is

that extraordinary state in which the ‘me’, as an activity through recognition, has ceased. If we are

aware, we shall see that in that state there is no experiencer who remembers, translates, recognizes

and then identifies; there is no thought process, which is of time. In that state of creation, of creativity

of the new, which is timeless, there is no action of the ‘me’ at all.

Our question surely is: Is it possible for the mind to be in that state, not momentarily, not at rare

moments, but - I would rather not use the words ‘everlasting’ or ‘for ever’, because that would imply

time - but to be in that state without regard to time? Surely that is an important discovery to be made

by each one of us, because that is the door to love; all other doors are activities of the self Where

there is action of the self, there is no love. Love is not of time. You cannot practise love. If you do,

then it is a self-conscious activity of the ‘me’ which hopes through loving to gain a result.

Love is not of time; you cannot come upon it through any conscious effort, through any discipline,

through identification, which is all of the process of time. The mind, knowing only the process of

time, cannot recognize love. Love is the only thing that is eternally new. Since most of us have

cultivated the mind, which is the result of time, we do not know what love is. We talk about love; we

say we love people, that we love our children, our wife, our neighbour, that we love nature; but the

moment we are conscious that we love, self-activity has come into being; therefore it ceases to be


This total process of the mind is to be understood only through relationship - relationship with nature,

with people, with our own projections, with everything about us. Life is nothing but relationship.

Though we may attempt to isolate ourselves from relationship, we cannot exist without it. Though

relationship is painful we cannot run away, by means of isolation, by becoming a hermit and so on.

All these methods are indications of the activity of the self. Seeing this whole picture, being aware of

the whole process of time as consciousness, without any choice, without any determined, purposive

intention, without the desire for any result, you will see that this process of time comes to an end

voluntarily - not induced, not as a result of desire. It is only when that process comes to an end that

love is, which is eternally new.

We do not have to seek truth. Truth is not something far away. It is the truth about the mind, truth

about its activities from moment to moment. If we are aware of this moment-to-moment truth, of this

whole process of time, that awareness releases consciousness or the energy which is intelligence,

love. So long as the mind uses consciousness as self-activity, time comes into being with all its

miseries, with all its conflicts, with all its mischief, its purposive deceptions; and it is only when the

mind, understanding this total process, ceases, that love can be.

The First And Last Freedom 75 Jiddu Krishnamurti



I WOULD LIKE TO TALK a little about what is time, because I think the enrichment, the beauty

and significance of that which is timeless, of that which is true, can be experienced only when we

understand the whole process of time. After all, we are seeking, each in his own way, a sense

of happiness, of enrichment. Surely a life that has significance, the riches of true happiness, is

not of time. Like love, such a life is timeless; and to understand that which is timeless, we must

not approach it through time but rather understand time. We must not utilize time as a means of

attaining, realizing, apprehending the timeless. That is what we are doing most of our lives: spending

time in trying to grasp that which is timeless, so it is important to understand what we mean by time,

because I think it is possible to be free of time. It is very important to understand time as a whole

and not partially.

It is interesting to realize that our lives are mostly spent in time - time, not in the sense of

chronological sequence, of minutes, hours, days and years, but in the sense of psychological

memory. We live by time, we are the result of time. Our minds are the product of many yesterdays

and the present is merely the passage of the past to the future. Our minds, our activities, our being,

are founded on time; without time we cannot think, because thought is the result of time, thought is

the product of many yesterdays and there is no thought without memory. Memory is time; for there

are two kinds of time, the chronological and the psychological. There is time as yesterday by the

watch and as yesterday by memory. You cannot reject chronological time; it would be absurd - you

would miss your train. But is there really any time at all apart from chronological time? Obviously

there is time as yesterday but is there time as the mind thinks of it? Is there time apart from the mind?

Surely time, psychological time, is the product of the mind. Without the foundation of thought there is

no time - time merely being memory as yesterday in conjunction with today, which moulds tomorrow.

That is, memory of yesterday’s experience in response to the present is creating the future - which

is still the process of thought, a path of the mind. The thought process brings about psychological



progress in time but is it real, as real as chronological time? And can we use that time which is

of the mind as a means of understanding the eternal, the timeless? As I said, happiness is not of

yesterday, happiness is not the product of time, happiness is always in the present, a timeless state.

I do not know if you have noticed that when you have ecstasy, a creative joy, a series of bright clouds

surrounded by dark clouds, in that moment there is no time: there is only the immediate present.

The mind, coming in after the experiencing in the present, remembers and wishes to continue it,

gathering more and more of itself, thereby creating time. So time is created by the ‘more; time is

acquisition and time is also detachment, which is still an acquisition of the mind. Therefore merely

disciplining the mind in time, conditioning thought within the framework of time, which is memory,

surely does not reveal that which is timeless.

Is transformation a matter of time? Most of us are accustomed to think that time is necessary for

transformation: I am something, and to change what I am into what I should be requires time. I

am greedy, with greed’s results of confusion, antagonism, conflict, and misery; to bring about the

transformation, which is non-greed, we think time is necessary. That is to say time is considered

as a means of evolving something greater, of becoming something. The problem is this: One is

violent, greedy, envious, angry, vicious or passionate. To transform what is, is time necessary? First

of all, why do we want to change what is, or bring about a transformation? Why? Because what

we are dissatisfies us; it creates conflict, disturbance, and, disliking that state, we want something

better, something nobler, more idealistic. Therefore we desire transformation because there is pain,

discomfort, conflict. Is conflict overcome by time ? If you say it will be overcome by time, you are

still in conflict. You may say it will take twenty days or twenty years to get rid of conflict, to change

what you are, but during that time you are still in conflict and therefore time does not bring about

transformation. When we use time as a means of acquiring a quality, a virtue or a state of being,

we are merely postponing or avoiding what is; and I think it is important to understand this point.

greed or violence causes pain, disturbance in the world of our relationship with another, which is

society; and being conscious of this state of disturbance, which we term greed or violence, we say

to ourselves, ”I will get out of it in time. I will practise non-violence, I will practise non-envy, I will

practise peace.” Now, you want to practise non-violence because violence is a state of disturbance,

conflict, and you think that in time you will gain non-violence and overcome the conflict. What is

actually happening? Being in a state of conflict you want to achieve a state in which there is no

conflict. Now is that state of no conflict the result of time, of a duration? Obviously not; because,

while you are achieving a state of non-violence, you are still being violent and are therefore still in


Our problem is, can a conflict, a disturbance, be overcome in a period of time, whether it be days,

years or lives? What happens when you say, ”I am going to practise non-violence during a certain

period of time”? The very practice indicates that you are in conflict, does it not? You would not

practise if you were not resisting conflict; you say the resistance to conflict is necessary in order to

overcome conflict and for that resistance you must have time. But the very resistance to conflict is

itself a form of conflict. You are spending your energy in resisting conflict in the form of what you

call greed, envy or violence but your mind is still in conflict, so it is important to see the falseness

of the process of depending on time as a means of overcoming violence and thereby be free of that

process. Then you are able to be what you are: a psychological disturbance which is violence itself.

To understand anything, any human or scientific problem, what is important, what is essential? A

quiet mind, is it not?, a mind that is intent on understanding. It is not a mind that is exclusive,

The First And Last Freedom 77 Jiddu Krishnamurti


that is trying to concentrate - which again is an effort of resistance. If I really want to understand

something, there is immediately a quiet state of mind. When you want to listen to music or look at

a picture which you love, which you have a feeling for, what is the state of your mind? Immediately

there is a quietness, is there not? When you are listening to music, your mind does not wander

all over the place; you are listening. Similarly, when you want to understand conflict, you are no

longer depending on time at all; you are simply confronted with what is, which is conflict. Then

immediately there comes a quietness, a stillness of mind. When you no longer depend on time

as a means of transforming what is because you see the falseness of that process, then you are

confronted with what is, and as you are interested to understand what is, naturally you have a quiet

mind. In that alert yet passive state of mind there is understanding. So long as the mind is in conflict,

blaming, resisting, condemning, there can be no understanding. If I want to understand you, I must

not condemn you, obviously. It is that quiet mind, that still mind, which brings about transformation.

When the mind is no longer resisting, no longer avoiding, no longer discarding or blaming what is

but is simply passively aware, then in that passivity of the mind you will find, if you really go into the

problem, that there comes a transformation.

Revolution is only possible now, not in the future; regeneration is today, not tomorrow. If you will

experiment with what I have been saying, you will find that there is immediate regeneration, a

newness, a quality of freshness; because the mind is always still when it is interested, when it desires

or has the intention to understand. The difficulty with most of us is that we have not the intention to

understand, because we are afraid that, if we understood, it might bring about a revolutionary action

in our life and therefore we resist. It is the defence mechanism that is at work when we use time or

an ideal as a means of gradual transformation.

Thus regeneration is only possible in the present, not in the future, not tomorrow. A man who relies

on time as a means through which he can gain happiness or realize truth or God is merely deceiving

himself; he is living in ignorance and therefore in conflict. A man who sees that time is not the way

out of our difficulty and who is therefore free from the false, such a man naturally has the intention to

understand; therefore his mind is quiet spontaneously, without compulsion, without practice. When

the mind is still, tranquil, not seeking any answer or any solution, neither resisting nor avoiding - it is

only then that there can be a regeneration, because then the mind is capable of perceiving what is

true; and it is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.

The First And Last Freedom 78 Jiddu Krishnamurti



WE SEE THAT A radical change is necessary in society, in ourselves, in our individual and group

relationships; how is it to be brought about? If change is through conformity to a pattern projected by

the mind, through a reasonable, well studied plan, then it is still within the field of the mind; therefore

whatever the mind calculates becomes the end, the vision for which we are willing to sacrifice

ourselves and others. If you maintain that, then it follows that we as human beings are merely

the creation of the mind, which implies conformity, compulsion, brutality, dictatorships, concentration

camps - the whole business. When we worship the mind, all that is implied, is it not? If I realize

this, if I see the futility of discipline, of control, if I see that the various forms of suppression only

strengthen the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’, then what am I to do?

To consider this problem fully we must go into the question of what is consciousness. I wonder

if you have thought about it for yourself or have merely quoted what authorities have said about

consciousness? I do not know how you have understood from your own experience, from your own

study of yourself, what this consciousness implies - not only the consciousness of everyday activity

and pursuits but the consciousness that is hidden, deeper, richer and much more difficult to get at.

If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world,

and in this change to awaken a certain vision, an enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty

which will give us the necessary impetus for action - if we are to understand that, isn’t it necessary

to go into this question of consciousness? We can see what we mean by consciousness at the

superficial level of the mind. Obviously it is the thinking process, thought. Thought is the result of

memory, verbalization; it is the naming, recording and storing up of certain experiences, so as to be

able to communicate; at this level there are also various inhibitions, controls, sanctions, disciplines.

With all this we are quite familiar. When we go a little deeper there are all the accumulations of the

race, the hidden motives, the collective and personal ambitions, prejudices, which are the result of

perception, contact and desire. This total consciousness, the hidden as well as the open, is centred

round the idea of the ‘me’, the self.



When we discuss how to bring about a change we generally mean a change at the superficial level,

do we not? Through determination, conclusions, beliefs, controls, inhibitions, we struggle to reach

a superficial end which we want, which we crave for, and we hope to arrive at that with the help of

the unconscious, of the deeper layers of the mind; therefore we think it is necessary to uncover the

depths of oneself. But there is everlasting conflict between the superficial levels and the so-called

deeper levels - all psychologists, all those who have pursued self-knowledge are fully aware of that.

Will this inner conflict bring about a change? Is that not the most fundamental and important

question in our daily life: how to bring about a radical change in ourselves? Will mere alteration

at the superficial level bring it about? Will understanding the different layers of consciousness, of the

‘me’, uncovering the past, the various personal experiences from childhood up to now, examining in

myself the collective experiences of my father, my mother, my ancestors, my race, the conditioning

of the particular society in which I live - will the analysis of all that bring about a change which is not

merely an adjustment?

I feel, and surely you also must feel, that a fundamental change in one’s life is essential - a change

which is not a mere reaction, which is not the outcome of the stress and strain of environmental

demands. How is one to bring about such a change? My consciousness is the sum total of human

experience, plus my particular contact with the present; can that bring about a change? Will the

study of my own consciousness, of my activities, will the awareness of my thoughts and feelings,

stilling the mind in order to observe without condemnation, will that process bring about a change?

Can there be change through belief, through identification with a projected image called the ideal?

Does not all this imply a certain conflict between what I am and what I should be? Will conflict

bring about fundamental change? I am in constant battle within myself and with society, am I not?

There is a ceaseless conflict going on between what I am and what I want to be; will this conflict,

this struggle bring about a change? I see a change is essential; can I bring it about by examining

the whole process of my consciousness, by struggling by disciplining by practising various forms

of repression? I feel such a process cannot bring about a radical change. Of that one must be

completely sure. And if that process cannot bring about a fundamental transformation, a deep

inward revolution, then what will?

How are you to bring about true revolution? What is the power, the creative energy that brings about

that revolut1on and how is it to be released? You have tried disciplines, you have tried the pursuit of

ideals and various speculative theories: that you are God, and that if you can realize that Godhood

or experience the Atman, the highest, or what you will, then that very realization will bring about a

fundamental change. Will it? First you postulate that there is a reality of which you are a part and

build up round it various theories, speculations, beliefs, doctrines, assumptions, according to which

you live; by thinking and acting according to that pattern you hope to bring about a fundamental

change. Will you?

Suppose you assume, as most so-called religious people do, that there is in you, fundamentally,

deeply, the essence of reality; and that if, through cultivating virtue, through various forms of

discipline, control, suppression, denial, sacrifice, you can get into touch with that reality, then the

required transformation will be brought about. Is not this assumption still part of thought? Is it not

the outcome of a conditioned mind, a mind that has been brought up to think in a particular way,

according to certain patterns? Having created the image, the idea, the theory, the belief, the hope,

you then look to your creation to bring about this radical change.

The First And Last Freedom 80 Jiddu Krishnamurti


One must first see the extraordinarily subtle activities of the ‘me’, of the mind, one must become

aware of the ideas, beliefs, speculations and put them all aside, for they are deceptions, are they

not? Others may have experienced reality; but if you have not experienced it, what is the good of

speculating about it or imagining that you are in essence something real, immortal, godly? That is

still within the field of thought and anything that springs from thought is conditioned, is of time, of

memory; therefore it is not real. If one actually realizes that - not speculatively, not imaginatively

or foolishly, but actually sees the truth that any activity of the mind in its speculative search, in its

philosophical groping, any assumption, any imagination or hope is only self-deception - then what is

the power, the creative energy that brings about this fundamental transformation?

Perhaps, in coming to this point, we have used the conscious mind; we have followed the argument,

we have opposed or accepted it, we have seen it clearly or dimly. To go further and experience

more deeply requires a mind that is quiet and alert to find out, does it not? It is no longer pursuing

ideas because, if you pursue an idea, there is the thinker following what is being said and so you

immediately create duality. If you want to go further into this matter of fundamental change, is

it not necessary for the active mind to be quiet? Surely it is only when the mind is quiet that it

can understand the enormous difficulty, the complex implications of the thinker and the thought

as two separate processes, the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed.

Revolution, this psychological, creative revolution in which the ‘me’ is not, comes only when the

thinker and the thought are one, when there is no duality such as the thinker controlling thought; and

I suggest it is this experience alone that releases the creative energy which in turn brings about a

fundamental revolution, the breaking up of the psychological ‘me’.

We know the way of power - power through domination, power through discipline, power through

compulsion. Through political power we hope to change fundamentally; but such power only breeds

further darkness, disintegration evil, the strengthening of the ‘me’. We are familiar with the various

forms of acquisition, both individually and as groups, but we have never tried the way of love, and

we don’t even know what it means. Love is not possible so long as there is the thinker, the centre of

the ‘me’. Realizing all this, what is one to do?

Surely the only thing which can bring about a fundamental change, a creative, psychological release,

is everyday watchfulness, being aware from moment to moment of our motives, the conscious as

well as the unconscious. When we realize that disciplines, beliefs, ideals only strengthen the ‘me’

and are therefore utterly futile - when we are aware of that from day to day, see the truth of it, do

we not to the central point when the thinker is constantly separating himself from his thought, from

his observations, from his experiences? So long as the thinker exists apart from his thought, which

he is trying to dominate, there can be no fundamental transformation. So long as the ‘me’ is the

observer, the one who gathers experience, strengthens himself through experience, there can be

no radical change, no creative release. That creative release comes only when the thinker is the

thought - but the gap cannot be bridged by any effort. When the mind realizes that any speculation

any verbalization, any form of thought only gives strength to the ‘me’, when it sees that as long as

the thinker exists apart from thought there must be limitation, the conflict of duality - when the mind

realizes that, then it is watchful, everlastingly aware of how it is separating itself from experience,

asserting itself, seeking power. In that awareness, if the mind pursues it ever more deeply and

extensively without seeking an end, a goal, there comes a state in which the thinker and the thought

are one. In that state there is no effort, there is no becoming, there is no desire to change; in that

state the ‘me’ is not, for there is a transformation which is not of the mind.

The First And Last Freedom 81 Jiddu Krishnamurti


It is only when the mind is empty that there is a possibility of creation; but I do not mean this

superficial emptiness which most of us have. Most of us are superficially empty, and it shows

itself through the desire for distraction. We want to be amused, so we turn to books, to the radio,

we run to lectures, to authorities; the mind is everlastingly filling itself. I am not talking of that

emptiness which is thoughtlessness. On the contrary, I am talking of the emptiness which comes

through extraordinary thoughtfulness, when the mind sees its own power of creating illusion and

goes beyond.

Creative emptiness is not possible so long as there is the thinker who is waiting, watching, observing

in order to gather experience, in order to strengthen himself. Can the mind ever be empty of all

symbols, of all words with their sensations, so that there is no experiencer who is accumulating? Is

it possible for the mind to put aside completely all the reasonings, the experiences, the impositions,

authorities, so that it is in a state of emptiness? You will not be able to answer this question, naturally;

it is an impossible question for you to answer, because you do not know, you have never tried. But,

if I may suggest, listen to it, let the question be put to you, let the seed be sown; and it will bear fruit

if you really listen to it, if you do not resist it.

It is only the new that can transform, not the old. If you pursue the pattern of the old, any change is

a modified continuity of the old; there is nothing new in that, there is nothing creative. The creative

can come into being only when the mind itself is new; and the mind can renew itself only when it is

capable of seeing all its own activities, not only at the superficial level, but deep down. When the

mind sees its own activities, is aware of its own desires, demands, urges, pursuits, the creation of its

own authorities, fears; when it sees in itself the resistance created by discipline, by control, and the

hope which projects beliefs, ideals - when the mind sees through, is aware of this whole process, can

it put aside all these things and be new, creatively empty? You will find out whether it can or cannot

only if you experiment without having an opinion about it, without wanting to experience that creative

state. If you want to experience it, you will; but what you experience is not creative emptiness, it is

only a projection of desire. If you desire to experience the new, you are merely indulging in illusion;

but if you begin to observe, to be aware of your own activities from day to day, from moment to

moment, watching the whole process of yourself as in a mirror, then, as you go deeper and deeper,

you will come to the ultimate question of this emptiness in which alone there can be the new.

Truth, God or what you will, is not something to be experienced, for the experiencer is the result

of time, the result of memory, of the past, and so long as there is the experiencer there cannot be

reality. There is reality only when the mind is completely free from the analyser, from the experiencer

and the experienced. Then you will find the answer, then you will see that the change comes without

your asking, that the state of creative emptiness is not a thing to be cultivated - it is there, it comes

darkly, without any invitation; only in that state is there a possibility of renewal, newness, revolution.

The First And Last Freedom 82 Jiddu Krishnamurti




Question: You say the present crisis is without precedent. In what way is it exceptional?

Krishnamurti: Obviously the present crisis throughout the world is exceptional, without precedent.

There have been crises of varying types at different periods throughout history, social, national,

political. Crises come and go; economic recessions, depressions, come, get modified, and continue

in a different form. We know that; we are familiar with that process. Surely the present crisis is

different, is it not? It is different first because we are dealing not with money nor with tangible things

but with ideas. The crisis is exceptional because it is in the field of ideation. We are quarrelling with

ideas, we are justifying murder; everywhere in the world we are justifying murder as a means to a

righteous end, which in itself is unprecedented. Before, evil was recognized to be evil, murder was

recognized to be murder, but now murder is a means to achieve a noble result. Murder, whether of

one person or of a group of people, is justified, because the murderer, or the group that the murderer

represents, justifies it as a means of achieving a result which will be beneficial to man. That is we

sacrifice the present for the future - and it does not matter what means we employ as long as our

declared purpose is to produce a result which we say will be beneficial to man. Therefore, the

implication is that a wrong means will produce a right end and you justify the wrong means through

ideation. In the various crises that have taken place before, the issue has been the exploitation of

things or of man; it is now the exploitation of ideas, which is much more pernicious, much more

dangerous, because the exploitation of ideas is so devastating, so destructive. We have learned

now the power of propaganda and that is one of the greatest calamities that can happen: to use

ideas as a means to transform man. That is what is happening in the world today. Man is not

important - systems, ideas, have become important. Man no longer has any significance. We can

destroy millions of men as long as we produce a result and the result is justified by ideas. We

have a magnificent structure of ideas to justify evil and surely that is unprecedented. Evil is evil; it



cannot bring about good. War is not a means to peace. War may bring about secondary benefits,

like more efficient aeroplanes, but it will not bring peace to man. War is intellectually justified as a

means of bringing peace; when the intellect has the upper hand in human life, it brings about an

unprecedented crisis.

There are other causes also which indicate an unprecedented crisis. One of them is the

extraordinary importance man is going to sensate values, to property, to name, to caste and

country, to the particular label you wear. You are either a Mohammedan or a Hindu, a Christian

or a Communist. Name and property, caste and country, have become predominantly important,

which means that man is caught in sensate value, the value of things, whether made by the mind

or by the hand. Things made by the hand or by the mind have become so important that we are

killing, destroying, butchering, liquidating each other because of them. We are nearing the edge

of a precipice; every action is leading us there, every political, every economic action is bringing

us inevitably to the precipice, dragging us into this chaotic, confusing abyss. Therefore the crisis

is unprecedented and it demands unprecedented action. To leave, to step out of that crisis, needs

a timeless action, an action which is not based on idea, on system, because any action which is

based on a system, on an idea, will inevitably lead to frustration. Such action merely brings us back

to the abyss by a different route. As the crisis is unprecedented there must also be unprecedented

action, which means that the regeneration of the individual must be instantaneous, not a process of

time. It must take place now, not tomorrow; for tomorrow is a process of disintegration. If I think of

transforming myself tomorrow I invite confusion, I am still within the field of destruction. Is it possible

to change now? Is it possible completely to transform oneself in the immediate, in the now? I say it


The point is that as the crisis is of an exceptional character to meet it there must be revolution

in thinking; and this revolution cannot take place through another, through any book, through any

organization. It must come through us, through each one of us. Only then can we create a new

society, a new structure away from this horror, away from these extraordinarily destructive forces

that are being accumulated, piled up; and that transformation comes into being only when you as

an individual begin to be aware of yourself in every thought, action and feeling.

The First And Last Freedom 84 Jiddu Krishnamurti



Question: What is it that comes when nationalism goes?

Krishnamurti: Obviously, intelligence. But I am afraid that is not the implication in this question. The

implication is, what can be substituted for nationalism? Any substitution is an act which does not

bring intelligence. If I leave one religion and join another, or leave one political party and later on

join something else, this constant substitution indicates a state in which there is no intelligence.

How does nationalism go? Only by our understanding its full implications, by examining it, by being

aware of its significance in outward and inward action. Outwardly it brings about divisions between

people, classifications, wars and destruction, which is obvious to anyone who is observant. Inwardly,

psychologically, this identification with the greater, with the country, with an idea, is obviously a form

of self-expansion. Living in a little village or a big town or whatever it may be, I am nobody; but

if I identify myself with the larger, with the country, if I call myself a Hindu, it flatters my vanity,

it gives me gratification, prestige, a sense of well-being; and that identification with the larger,

which is a psychological necessity for those who feel that self-expansion is essential, also creates

conflict, strife, between people. Thus nationalism not only creates outward conflict but inward

frustrations; when one understands nationalism, the whole process of nationalism, it falls away.

The understanding of nationalism comes through intelligence, by carefully observing, by probing

into the whole process of nationalism, patriotism. Out of that examination comes intelligence and

then there is no substitution of something else for nationalism. The moment you substitute religion

for national1sm, religion becomes another means of self-expansion, another source of psychological

anxiety, a means of feeding oneself through a belief. Therefore any form of substitution, however

noble, is a form of ignorance. It is like a man substituting chewing gum or betel nut or whatever it is

for smoking, whereas if one really understands the whole problem of smoking, of habits, sensations,

psychological demands and all the rest of it, then smoking drops away. You can understand only



when there is a development of intelligence, when intelligence is functioning, and intelligence is not

functioning when there is substitution. Substitution is merely a form of self-bribery, to tempt you not

to do this but to do that. Nationalism, with its poison, with its misery and world strife, can disappear

only when there is intelligence, and intelligence does not come merely by passing examinations

and studying books. Intelligence comes into being when we understand problems as they arise.

When there is understanding of the problem at its different levels, not only of the outward part but

of its inward, psychological implications, then, in that process, intelligence comes into being. So

when there is intelligence there is no substitution; and when there is intelligence, then nationalism,

patriotism, which is a form of stupidity, disappears.

The First And Last Freedom 86 Jiddu Krishnamurti




Question: You say that gurus are unnecessary, but how can I find truth without the wise help and

guidance which only a guru can give?

Krishnamurti: The question is whether a guru is necessary or not, Can truth be found through

another? Some say it can and some say it cannot. We want to know the truth of this, not my opinion

as against the opinion of another. I have no opinion in this matter. Either it is so or it is not. Whether

it is essential that you should or should not have a guru is not a quest1on of opinion. The truth of

the matter is not dependent on opinion, however profound, erudite, popular, universal. The truth of

the matter is to be found out, in fact.

First of all, why do we want a guru? We say we need a guru because we are confused and the guru

is helpful; he will point out what truth is, he will help us to understand, he knows much more about

life than we do, he will act as a father, as a teacher to instruct us in life; he has vast experience and

we have but little; he will help us through his greater experience and so on and on. That is, basically,

you go to a teacher because you are confused. If you were clear, you would not go near a guru.

Obviously if you were profoundly happy, if there were no problems, if you understood life completely,

you would not go to any guru. I hope you see the significance of this. Because you are confused,

you seek out a teacher. You go to him to give you a way of life to clarify your own confusion, to find

truth. You choose your guru because you are confused and you hope he will give you what you ask.

That is you choose a guru who will satisfy your demand; you choose according to the gratification

he will give you and your choice is dependent on your gratification. You do not choose a guru who

says, ”Depend on yourself; you choose him according to your prejudices. So since you choose your

guru according to the gratification he gives you, you are not seeking truth but a way out of confusion;

and the way out of confusion is mistakenly called truth.



Let us examine first this idea that a guru can clear up our confusion. Can anyone clear up our

confusion? - confusion being the product of our responses. We have created it. Do you think

someone else has created it - this misery, this battle at all levels of existence, within and without?

It is the result of our own lack of knowledge of ourselves. It is because we do not understand

ourselves, our conflicts, our responses, our miseries, that we go to a guru whom we think will help

us to be free of that confusion. We can understand ourselves only in relationship to the present;

and that relationship itself is the guru not someone outside. If I do not understand that relationship,

whatever a guru may say is useless, because if I do not understand relationship, my relationship to

property, to people, to ideas, who can resolve the conflict within me? To resolve that conflict, I must

understand it myself, which means I must be aware of myself in relationship. To be aware, no guru

is necessary. If I do not know myself, of what use is a guru? As a political leader is chosen by those

who are in confusion and whose choice therefore is also confused, so I choose a guru. I can choose

him only according to my confusion; hence he, like the political leader, is confused.

What is important is not who is right - whether I am right or whether those are right who say a guru

is necessary; to find out why you need a guru is important. Gurus exist for exploitation of various

kinds, but that is irrelevant. It gives you satisfaction if someone tells you how you are progressing,

but to find out why you need a guru - there lies the key. Another can point out the way but you have

to do all the work, even if you have a guru. Because you do not want to face that, you shift the

responsibility to the guru. The guru becomes useless when there is a particle of self-knowledge. No

guru, no book or scripture, can give you self-knowledge: it comes when you are aware of yourself in

relationship. To be, is to be related; not to understand relationship is misery, strife. Not to be aware

of your relationship to property is one of the causes of confusion. If you do not know your right

relationship to property there is bound to be conflict, which increases the conflict in society. If you

do not understand the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and your child,

how can another resolve the conflict arising out of that relationship? Similarly with ideas, beliefs and

so on. Being confused in your relationship with people, with property, with ideas, you seek a guru. If

he is a real guru, he will tell you to understand yourself. You are the source of all misunderstanding

and confusion; and you can resolve that conflict only when you understand yourself in relationship.

You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Truth is not something static; it has no

fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be

an end? If truth is a fixed point it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Truth is the unknown,

and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it, for mind is made up of the known, it is the result

of the past, the outcome of time - which you can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the

known, hence it cannot find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known. When the

mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that ‘truth’ is self-projected; for then the mind

is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind

seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After all, an ideal is self-projected; it is

fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking

God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of your own thought,

the result of social influences. You can think only of the known; you cannot think of the unknown, you

cannot concentrate on truth. The moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected

known. God or truth cannot be thought about. If you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be

sought: it comes to you. You can go only after what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the

known, by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in every leaf, in every

tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can lead you to truth; and if anyone leads

The First And Last Freedom 88 Jiddu Krishnamurti


you, it can only be to the known.

Truth can only come to the mind that is empty of the known. It comes in a state in which the known

is absent, not functioning. The mind is the warehouse of the known, the residue of the known; for

the mind to be in that state in which the unknown comes into being, it must be aware of itself, of

its previous experiences, the conscious as well as the unconscious, of its responses, reactions, and

structure. When there is complete self-knowledge, then there is the ending of the known, then the

mind is completely empty of the known. It is only then that truth can come to you uninvited. Truth

does not belong to you or to me. You cannot worship it. The moment it is known, it is unreal. The

symbol is not real, the image is not real; but when there is the understanding of self, the cessation

of self, then eternity comes into being.

The First And Last Freedom 89 Jiddu Krishnamurti



Question: I gather definitely from you that learning and knowledge are impediments. To what are

they impediments?

Krishnamurti: Obviously knowledge and learning are an impediment to the understanding of the

new, the timeless, the eternal. Developing a perfect technique does not make you creative. You may

know how to paint marvellously, you may have the technique; but you may not be a creative painter.

You may know how to write poems, technically most perfect; but you may not be a poet. To be a

poet implies, does it not?, being capable of receiving the new; to be sensitive enough to respond to

something new, fresh. With most of us knowledge or learning has become an addiction and we think

that through knowing we shall be creative. A mind that is crowded, encased in facts, in knowledge

- is it capable of receiving something new, sudden, spontaneous? If your mind is crowded with the

known, is there any space in it to receive something that is of the unknown? Surely knowledge is

always of the known; and with the known we are trying to understand the unknown, something which

is beyond measure.

Take, for example, a very ordinary thing that happens to most of us: those who are religious -

whatever that word may mean for the moment - try to imagine what God is or try to think about what

God is. They have read innumerable books, they have read about the experiences of the various

saints, the Masters, the Mahatma and all the rest, and they try to imagine or try to feel what the

experience of another is; that is with the known you try to approach the unknown. Can you do it?

Can you think of something that is not knowable? You can only think of something that you know.

But there is this extraordinary perversion taking place in the world at the present time: we think we

shall understand if we have more information, more books, more facts, more printed matter.

To be aware of something that is not the projection of the known, there must be the elimination,

through the understanding, of the process of the known. Why is it that the mind clings always to the



known? Is it not because the mind is constantly seeking certainty, security? Its very nature is fixed

in the known, in time; how can such a mind, whose very foundation is based on the past, on time,

experience the timeless? it may conceive, formulate, picture the unknown, but that is all absurd.

The unknown can come into being only when the known is understood, dissolved, put aside. That

is extremely difficult, because the moment you have an experience of anything, the mind translates

it into the terms of the known and reduces it to the past. I do not know if you have noticed that every

experience is immediately translated in1o the known, given a name, tabulated and recorded. So the

movement of the known is knowledge, and obviously such knowledge, learning, is a hindrance.

Suppose you had never read a book, religious or psychological, and you had to find the meaning,

the significance of life. How would you set about it? Suppose there were no Masters, no religious

organizations, no Buddha, no Christ, and you had to begin from the beginning. How would you set

about it? First, you would have to understand your process of thinking, would you not? - and not

project yourself, your thoughts, into the future and create a God which pleases you; that would be

too childish. So first you would have to understand the process of your thinking. That is the only way

to discover anything new, is it not?

When we say that learning or knowledge is an impediment, a hindrance, we are not including

technical knowledge - how to drive a car, how to run machinery - or the efficiency which such

knowledge brings. We have in mind quite a different thing: that sense of creative happiness which

no amount of knowledge or learning will bring. To be creative in the truest sense of that word is to

be free of the past from moment to moment, because it is the past that is continually shadowing

the present. Merely to cling to information, to the experiences of others, to what someone has said,

however great, and try to approximate your action to that - all that is knowledge, is it not? But to

discover anything new you must start on your own; you must start on a journey completely denuded,

especially of knowledge, because it is very easy, through knowledge and belief, to have experiences;

but those experiences are merely the products of self-projection and therefore utterly unreal, false.

If you are to discover for yourself what is the new, it is no good carrying the burden of the old,

especially knowledge - the knowledge of another, however great. You use knowledge as a means

of self-protection, security, and you want to be quite sure that you have the same experiences as

the Buddha or the Christ or X. But a man who is protecting himself constantly through knowledge is

obviously not a truth-seeker.

For the discovery of truth there is no path. You must enter the uncharted sea - which is not

depressing, which is not being adventurous. When you want to find something new, when you

are experimenting with anything, your mind has to be very quiet, has it not? If your mind is crowded,

filled with facts, knowledge, they act as an impediment to the new; the difficulty is for most of us

that the mind has become so important, so predominantly significant, that it interferes constantly

with anything that may be new, with anything that may exist simultaneously with the known. Thus

knowledge and learning are impediments for those who would seek, for those who would try to

understand that which is timeless.

The First And Last Freedom 91 Jiddu Krishnamurti



Question: All religions have insisted on some kind of self-discipline to moderate the instincts of the

brute in man. Through self-discipline the saints and mystics have asserted that they have attained

godhood. Now you seem to imply that such disciplines are a hindrance to the realization of God. I

am confused. Who is right in this matter?

Krishnamurti: It is not a question of who is right in this matter. What is important is to find out the

truth of the matter for ourselves - not according to a particular saint or to a person who comes from

India or from some other place, the more exotic the better.

You are caught between these two: someone says discipline, another says no discipline. Generally

what happens is that you choose what is more convenient, what is more satisfying: you like the man,

his looks, his personal idiosyncrasies, his personal favouritism and all the rest of it. Putting all that

aside, let us examine this question directly and find out the truth of the matter for ourselves. In this

question a great deal is implied and we have to approach it very cautiously and tentatively.

Most of us want someone in authority to tell us what to do. We look for a direction in conduct,

because our instinct is to be safe, not to suffer more. Someone is said to have realized happiness,

bliss or what you will and we hope that he will tell us what to do to arrive there. That is what we

want: we want that same happiness, that same inward quietness, joy; and in this mad world of

confusion we want someone to tell us what to do. That is really the basic instinct with most of us

and, according to that instinct, we pattern our action. Is God, is that highest thing, unnameable

and not to be measured by words - is that come by through discipline, through following a particular

pattern of action? We want to arrive at a particular goal, particular end, and we think that by practice,

by discipline, by suppressing or releasing, sublimating or substituting, we shall be able to find that

which we are seeking.



What is implied in discipline? Why do we discipline ourselves, if we do? Can discipline and

intelligence go together? Most people feel that we must, through some kind of discipline, subjugate

or control the brute, the ugly thing in us. Is that brute, that ugly thing, controllable through discipline?

What do we mean by discipline? A course of action which promises a reward, a course of action

which, if pursued, will give us what we want - it may be positive or negative; a pattern of conduct

which, if practised diligently, sedulously, very, very ardently, will give me in the end what I want. It

may be painful but I am willing to go through it to get that. The self, which is aggressive, selfish,

hypocritical, anxious, fearful - you know, all of it - that self, which is the cause of the brute in