What Krishnamurti Said – Action


Krishnamurti on Action

Krishnamurti said there has to be an ‘Action’ that ends our ‘Conflict’…!!!

In the third part of the interview Bernard picks up on what Krishnamurti said about how we can truly bring an end to ‘Conflict’, as described in our previous post, and asks, “That sounds like we all have to sit around waiting for instant revelation?” To which Krishnamurti shakes his hand and exclaims that it would be totally futile to sit around and wait, as we’ve indeed foolishly done. What we need to do is go on to find out what is ‘Action’?

He asks, “Is there an ‘Action’ which doesn’t create conflict, in which there is no regret, which under all circumstances, whether we live in a poor or affluent society, must be always correct?” and then goes on to explain, “Action may be idealistic, looking towards the future, or it may be based on past memories, which is knowledge.” Then he puts forth a question, “Is there an action that is independent of time?” Bernard literally rolls his eyes as he exclaims, “Well, we can’t stop time in its tracks, it rolls on!” Krishnamurti, “Of course, time by the watch goes on, but is there a psychological time, an inward time? There isn’t, we’ve created that cycle.” This is vaguely making sense and Bernard reflects our thoughts, “So it seems that, whatever the thing is, it is complete and instantaneous, it is not something you can build up layer by layer.” Krishnamurti gets excited as he sees that things are making more and more sense to his critical audience, “Absolutely not”, he exclaims, “Illumination is not a gradual process. Then it is not enlightenment, because you allow time, gradually becoming something.”

Krishnamurti on Action

As the clouds start to clear on this subject, Bernard approaches the discussion from another angle, “You have a school here, what do you teach the children? If you can’t build this up for them, or for any of us, old or young, I presume, what DO you teach?” Krishnamurti realizes what Bernard is doing and his answer is as sharp as a blade of grass, “The academic subjects.” Bernard pounces, “Yes, but in these areas?” Krishnamurti calmly replies, “Of course and also point out all this. How to live correctly. What it means.” This is a point Bernard easily challenges, “Philosophers throughout the ages have discussed that very point, how to live correctly. What is right living? Can you teach that?” Krishnamurti states as-a-matter-of-fact, “You can point it out. You can say – don’t be a slave to society, don’t be this and that. You can only point it out. It’s up to them.”

Krishnamurti on Action

Now that opens up a whole new can of worms, doesn’t it…!!!

Again Krishnamurti has made such a profound statement without even batting an eyelash. Not being a slave to society is something that we just cannot comprehend. This goes back to what we discussed in our first article on the subject. It’s a part of our upbringing. Whether it’s at home or at school. Most of our actions are in fear of getting punishment, if the authoritative persona, be it parents or teachers, is displeased with our activities. Did we finish our homework, are we coming to the class on time, is our dress ironed, is our hair combed, the list goes on. So we get into a mindset which dictates that we must obey authority and must not indulge in activities that are frowned upon by the many. We were never taught as children what is right action, what is wrong action, what are their consequences and knowing them we were free to decide what action we wanted to choose. The means of teaching was – this is right because I said so and this is wrong because I said so. You must always conduct yourself according to what we say is right action, otherwise you’ll be punished.

As if to reflect our thoughts Bernard says, “Can we live in the real world that we do live in, in which we have to catch trains and go to offices and buy bread and all that? How can we combine all the pressures of the mundane around us?” Krishnamurti snaps back, “Yes Sir, I’ve done all those. I wouldn’t do anything under pressure.” Bernard, “You wouldn’t, I would.” Krishnamurti, “No, because I refuse to be under pressure, both intellectually and psychologically. I don’t mind starving, I don’t mind having no job, but I refuse to be put in that position.” This of course begs the question, “What is the secret?” This doesn’t really get a straight answer from Krishnamurti and it’s fair enough as there really cannot be a 1-rule-solution for this situation. Krishnamurti does insist that we must just refuse to be under pressure. That’s easier said than done and the conversation moves towards a gridlock with Bernard insisting that we ARE under pressure and Krishnamurti unmoved on his resolve to convince everyone not to be under pressure just by saying it. Realizing this, Krishnamurti takes a different approach to make us understand. He asks, “Can society be changed?” he explains, “The communist tried it, the socialists are trying it and various systems are trying to change society.” But before we move towards changing it, we need to understand what it is, in the first place. “What is society? It’s an abstraction of our personal relationships. Now, if our personal relationship changes, radically, society changes. But we’re not willing to change. We admit wars and accept all this terrible state of existence.” Bernard, “Yes we do, how do we change it?”

Krishnamurti on Action

This is electrical. We are reaching a state where there might actually be a solution…!!!

Krishnamurti exclaims, “Revolt against it…!!!” Bernard tries to interject some thought, but Krishnamurti is in full swing here, “Not revolt, in the sense become a communist and all that kind of stuff. Psychologically revolt against it.” The conversation takes another turn as Bernard mentions that it, presumably, must be each individual; this is not something that can be done collectively.

Krishnamurti, “What do you mean individual?”

Bernard, “Well, we’re all individual and separate personalities.”

Krishnamurti, “Are we?”

Bernard, “Aren’t we?”

Krishnamurti, “I doubt it.”

Bernard, “Go on.”

Krishnamurti, “We’re not individuals, we’re the result of millions of years of collective experiences, memories, all that. We think we’re individuals, we think we’re free, we’re not. To us freedom means choice, choice means confusion. You don’t choose if you’re clear.”

Krishnamurti on Action

Holy cow…!!! This could mean so much more than just those few words. We always surround ourselves with choices in our action, when it comes to doing anything in life and are always confused about which choice is the right action and which is the wrong action. It brings to mind a coin toss quote we came across a while back.

Action in a coin toss

The idea is to be very clear in our action about what we want in life and not put yourself in a position where one has to choose between options or, for that matter, let others choose and decide for you what is right action and what is wrong action.

Bernard goes on to mention that once Krishnamurti said a very striking phrase that his purpose was to set man free. But how do we set ourselves free, because presumably we’ve to set ourselves free and not that we’ll be shown how to set ourselves free? How DO we set ourselves free. To which Krishnamurti responds, “To be aware of our conditioning.” Bernard, “It varies from individual to individual.” Krishnamurti, “No, we’re conditioned by our fears, our pleasures, our anxieties, our loneliness, by our desperate uncertainties, which is common to all mankind. All these are factors that condition the mind.” We couldn’t agree more, so does Bernard and asks, “And can we simply set them aside?” Krishnamurti corrects Bernard stating that he put a wrong question. “One has to see that there are consequences to all this conditioning, like, pain, sorrow, grief etc., naturally, it stops. There is no entity which says – I’m going to stop it. That is intelligence.” Bernard, “And then we’re free?” Again Bernard loses Krishnamurti, “What do you mean free?” Bernard, “Well, what I mean by it is, to be rid of these fears, these anxieties, these impossible desires, vain yearnings.” Krishnamurti agrees, “Yes, that is freedom. Unless there is that freedom, you cannot be light to yourself. Unless there is that freedom, meditation is meaningless.”

Krishnamurti on Action

We all think it’s the other way round. Krishnamurti reversed it…!!!

Bernard states exactly that, “We think of the systems, the beliefs, the faiths, the work, as a means to getting to this state of freedom. You start with this state of freedom.” Krishnamurti nods his head vigorously as he continues, “That is a fact…!!! Belief brings atrophy to the Brain. If you keep on repeating, repeating, repeating, as they do, your brain is atrophied.”

Bernard, “Then can we just do it by one great leap into freedom?”

Krishnamurti, “YES, that is, to have insight into all this.”

Bernard, “Instantaneously?”

Krishnamurti, “YES.”

Bernard, “And any of us can do it?”

Krishnamurti concludes, “Anybody who is attentive, who is inquiring, exploring, trying to understand this terrible confusion of life. Of course this action can’t be done at any age. A baby can’t do it, a child can’t do it. But we don’t have to wait a lifetime to do it. Death is waiting for all of us.”

Krishnamurti on Action

Bernard, “Thank you very much Krishnamurti.”

The video: