Friday, April 28, 2006

A Light into Oneself

j. Krishnamurti copyright 1999

A New Consciousness

A new consciousness and a totally new morality are necessary to bring about a radical change in the present culture and social structure. This is obvious, yet the Left and the Right and the revolution seem to disregard it. Any dogma, any formula, any ideology is part of the old consciousness; they are the fabrications of thought whose activity is fragmentation-the Left, the Right, the Center. This activity will inevitably lead to bloodshed of the Right or of the left or to totalitarianism. This is what is going on around us. One sees the necessity of social, economic, and moral change but the response is from the old consciousness, thought being the principle actor. The mess, the confusion, the misery that human beings have got into are within the area of the old consciousness, and without changing that profoundly, every human activity-political, economic, religious-will only bring us to the destruction of each other and of the earth. This is obvious to the sane.

One has to be a light to oneself; this light is the law. There is no other law. All the other laws are made by thought and so are fragmentary and contradictory. To be a light to oneself is not to follow the light of another, however reasonably, logical, historical, and however convincing. You cannot be a light to yourself if you are in the dark shadows of authority, of dogma, of conclusion. Morality is the child of love and love is not desire and pleasure. Sexual or sensory enjoyment is not love.

Freedom is to be a light to oneself; then it is not an abstraction, a thing conjured up by thought. Actual freedom is freedom from dependency, attachment, from the craving for experience. Freedom from the very structure of thought is to be a light unto oneself. In this light all action takes place and thus it is never contradictory. Contradiction exists only when that light is separate from action. The ideal, the principle, is the barren movement of thought and it cannot coexist with this light; one denies the other. Where the observer is, this light, this love is not. The structure of the observer is put together by thought, which is never new, never free. There is no "how," no system, no practice. There is only the seeing that is the doing. You have to see, not through the eyes of another. This light, this law, is neither yours nor that of another. There is only light. This is love.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Time has come

the time has come
to break all my promises
tear apart all chains
and cast away all advice

disassemble the heavens
link by link
and break at once
all lovers' ties
with the sword of death

put cotton inside
both my ears
and close them to
all words of wisdom

crash the door and
enter the chamber
where all sweet
things are hidden

how long can i
beg and bargain
for the things of this world
while love is waiting

how long before
i can rise beyond
how i am and
what i am

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Art of Dying

So the first thing, or the most fundamental thing is: how to live.
Let me tell you a few things. First: your life is your life, it is nobody else's. So don't allow yourself to be dominated by others, don't allow yourself to be dictated to by others, that is a betrayal of life. If you allow yourself to be dictated to by others - maybe your parents, your society, your education system - your politicians, your priests, whosoever they are - if you allow yourself to be dominated by others you will miss your life. Because the domination comes from outside and life is within you. They never meet.
I am not saying that you should become a no-sayer to each and everything. That too is not of much help. There are two types of people. One is an obedient type, ready to surrender to any and everybody. They don't have any independent soul in them; they are immature, childish, always searching for a father-figure, for somebody to tell them what to do and what not to do. They are not able to trust their own being. These people are the greater part of the world, the masses.
Then there are, against these people, a small minority who reject society, who reject the values of the society. They think they are rebellious. They are not, they are only reactionaries. Because whether you listen to society or you reject society, if society remains in either way the determining factor, then you are dominated by the society.

Let me tell you an anecdote.
Once Mulla Nasrudin had been away for a while and arrived back in town wearing a long beard. His friends naturally kidded him about the beard and asked him how he happened to acquire the fur-piece. The Mulla with the beard began to complain and curse the thing in no uncertain terms. His friends were amazed at the way he talked and asked him why he continued to wear the beard if he did not like it. 'I hate the blasted thing!' the Mulla told them. 'If you hate it then why don't you shave it off and get rid of it?' one of his friends asked. A devilish gleam shone in the eyes of the Mulla as he answered, 'Because my wife hates it too!'

But that does not make you free. The hippies, the yippies and others, they are not really rebellious people, they are reactionaries. They have reacted against the society. A few are obedient, a few are disobedient, but the centre of domination is the same. A few obey, a few disobey, but nobody looks at his own soul.
A really rebellious person is one who is neither for society nor against society, who simply lives his life according to his own understanding. Whether it goes against society or it goes with society is not a consideration, it is irrelevant. Sometimes it may go with the society, sometimes it may not go with the society, but that is not the point to be considered. He lives according to his understanding, according to his small light. And I am not saying that he becomes very egoistic about it. No, he is very humble. He knows that his light is very small, but that is all the light that there is. He is not adamant, he's very humble. He says, 'I may be wrong, but please allow me to be wrong according to myself.'
That is the only way to learn. To commit mistakes is the only way to learn. To move according to one's own understanding is the only way to grow and become mature. If you are always looking at somebody to dictate to you, whether you obey or disobey makes no difference. If you are looking at somebody else to dictate to you, to decide for or against, you will never be able to know what your life is. It has to be lived, and you have to follow your own small light.
It is not always certain what to do. You are very confused. Let it be so. But find a way out of your confusion. It is very cheap and easy to listen to others because they can hand over dead dogmas to you, they can give you commandments - do this, don't do that. And they are very certain about their commandments. Certainty should not be sought; understanding should be sought. If you are seeking certainty you will become a victim of some trap or other. Don't seek certainty, seek understanding. Certainty can be given to you cheap, anybody can give it to you. But in the final analysis you will be a loser. You lost your life just to remain secure and certain, and life is not certain, life is not secure.
Life is insecurity. Each moment is a move into more and more insecurity. It is a gamble. One never knows what is going to happen. And it is beautiful that one never knows. If it was predictable, life would not be worth living. If everything was as you would like it to be, and everything was certain, you would not be a man at all, you would be a machine. Only for machines is everything secure and certain.
Man lives in freedom. Freedom needs insecurity and uncertainty. A real man of intelligence is always hesitant because he has no dogma to rely upon, to lean upon. He has to look and respond. Lao Tzu says, 'I am hesitant, and I move alertly in life because I don't know what is going to happen. And I don't have any principle to follow. I have to decide every moment. I never decide beforehand. I have to decide when the moment comes!'
Then one has to be very responsive. That's what responsibility is. Responsibility is not an obligation, responsibility is not a duty - it is a capacity to respond. A man who wants to know what life is has to be responsive. That is missing. Centuries of conditioning have made you more like machines. You have lost your manhood, you have bargained for security. You are secure and comfortable and everything has been planned by others. And they have put everything on the map, they have measured everything. This is all absolutely foolish because life cannot be measured, it is immeasurable. And no map is possible because life is in constant flux. Everything goes on changing. Nothing is permanent except change. Says Heraclitus, 'You cannot step in the same river twice.'
And the ways of life are very zig-zag. The ways of life are not like the tracks of a railway train. No, it does not run on tracks. And that's the beauty of it, the glory of it,.the poetry of it, the music of it - that it is always a surprise.
If you are seeking for security, certainty, your eyes will become closed. And you will be less and less surprised and you will lose the capacity to wonder. Once you lose the capacity to wonder, you have lost religion. Religion is the opening of your wondering heart. Religion is a receptivity for the mysterious that surrounds us.
So the first thing is: don't ask anybody how you should live your life. Life is so precious. Live it. I am not saying that you will not make mistakes, you will. Remember only one thing - don't make the same mistake again and again. That's enough. If you can find a new mistake every day, make it. But don't repeat mistakes, that is foolish. A man who can find new mistakes to make will be growing continuously - that is the only way to learn, that is the only way to come to your own inner light.

I have heard.
One night the poet, Awhadi of Kerman (a very great Muslim poet) was sitting on his porch bent over a vessel. Shams-e-Tabrizi, a great Sufi mystic, happened to pass by.
Shams-e-Tabrizi looked at the poet, at what he was doing. He asked the poet, 'What are you doing?'
The poet said, 'Contemplating the moon in a bowl of water.'
Shams-e-Tabrizi started laughing, with an uproarious laughter, a mad laughter. The poet started feeling uncomfortable; a crowd gathered. And the poet said, 'What is the matter? Why are you laughing so much? Why are you ridiculing me?'
Shams-e-Tabrizi said, 'Unless you have broken your neck, why don't you look directly at the moon in the sky?'

The moon is there, the full moon is there, and this poet was sitting with a bowl of water and looking into the bowl of water at the reflection of the moon.
Seeking truth in scriptures, seeking truth in philosophies, is looking at the reflection. If you ask somebody else how you should live your life, you are asking for misguidance, because that man can only talk about his own life. And never, never, are two lives the same. Whatsoever he can say or impart to you will be about his own life - and that too only if he has lived. He may have asked somebody else, he may have followed somebody else, he may have been an imitator himself. Then it is a reflection of a reflection. And centuries pass and people go on reflecting the reflection of the reflection of the reflection - and the real moon is always there in the sky waiting for you. It is your moon, it is your sky, look directly. Be immediate about it. Why borrow my eyes or anybody else's eyes? You have been given eyes, beautiful eyes, to see, and to see directly. Why borrow understanding from anybody? Remember, it may be understanding to me. but the moment you borrow it, it becomes knowledge to you - it is no more understanding,
Understanding is only that which has been experienced by the person himself. It may be understanding for me, if I have looked at the moon, but the moment I say it to you it becomes knowledge, it is no longer understanding. Then it is just verbal, then it is just linguistic. And language is a lie.

Let me tell you an anecdote.
A chicken farmer, dissatisfied with the productivity of his flock, decided to use a bit of psychology on his hens. Accordingly he purchased a gay-coloured, talking parrot and placed him in the barnyard. Sure enough, the hens took to the handsome stranger immediately, pointed out the best tidbits for him to eat with joyous clucks, and generally followed him around like a bevy of teen-age girls following a new singing star sensation. To the delight of the farmer even their egg-laying capacities improved.
The barnyard rooster, naturally jealous of being ignored by his harem, set upon the attractive interloper, assailed him with beak and claws, pulling out one green or red feather after the other. Whereupon the intimidated parrot cried out in trepidation, 'Desist sir! I beg of you, desist! After all, I am only here in the capacity of a language professor!'

Many people live their life as language professors. That is the falsest kind of life. Reality needs no language, it is available to you on a non-verbal level. The moon is there; it needs no bowl and no water, it needs no other medium. You have just to look at it; it is a non-verbal communication. The whole of life is available - you just have to learn how to communicate with it non-verbally. That's what meditation is all about - to be in a space where language does not interfere, where learned concepts don't come in between you and the real.
When you love a woman don't be bothered about what others have said about love, because that is going to be an interference. You love a woman, the love is there, forget all that you have learned about love. Forget all Kinseys, forget all Masters and Johnsons, forget all Freuds and Jungs. Please don't become a language professor. Just love the woman and let love be there, and let love lead you and guide you into its innermost secrets, into its mysteries. Then you will be able to know what love is.
And what others say about meditation is meaningless. Once I came upon a book written by a Jaina saint about meditation. It was really beautiful but there were just a few places by which I could see that the man had never meditated himself - otherwise those places could not be there. But they were very few and far between. The book on the whole, almost ninety-nine per cent, was perfect. I loved the book.
Then I forgot about it. For ten years I was wandering around the country. Once in a village of Rajasthan, that saint came to meet me. His name sounded familiar, and suddenly I remembered the book. And I asked the saint why he had come to me. He said, 'I have come to you to know what meditation is.' I said, 'I remember your book. I remember it very well, because it really impressed me. Except for a few defects which showed that you have never meditated, the book was perfectly right - ninety-nine per cent right. And now you come here to learn about meditation. Have you never meditated?'
He looked a little embarrassed because his disciples were also there. I said, 'Be frank. Because if you say you know meditation, then I am not going to talk about it. Then finished! You know. There is no need. If you say to me frankly - at least be true once - if you say you have never meditated, only then can I help you towards meditation.' It was a bargain, so he had to confess. He said, 'Yes, I have never said it to anybody. I have read many books about meditation, all the old scriptures. And I have been teaching people, that's why I feel embarrassed before my disciples. I have been teaching meditation to thousands, and I have written books about it, but I have never meditated.'
You can write books about meditation and never come across the space that meditation is. You can become very efficient in verbalising, you can become very clever in abstraction, in intellectual argumentativeness, and you can forget completely that all the time that you have been involved in these intellectual activities has been a sheer wastage.
I asked the old man, 'How long have you been interested in meditation?' He said, 'My whole life.' He was almost seventy. He said, 'When I was twenty I took sannyas, I became a Jaina monk, and those fifty years since then I have been reading and reading and thinking about meditation.' Fifty years of thinking and reading and writing about meditation, even guiding people into meditation, and he has not even tasted once what meditation is!
But this is the case with millions of people. They talk about love, they know all the poetries about love, but they have never loved. Or even if they thought they were in love, they were never in love. That too was a 'heady' thing, it was not of the heart. People live and go on missing life. It needs courage. It needs courage to be realistic, it needs courage to move with life wherever it leads, because the paths are uncharted, there exists no map. One has to go into the unknown.
Life can be understood only if you are ready to go into the unknown. If you cling to the known, you cling to the mind, and the mind is not life. Life is non-mental, non-intellectual, because life is total. Your totality has to be involved in it, you cannot just think about it. Thinking about life is not life. Beware of this 'about-ism'. One goes on thinking about and about: there are people who think about God, there are people who think about life, there are people who think about love. There are people who think about this and that.

Mulla Nasrudin became very old and he went to his doctor. He was looking very weak so the doctor said, 'I can say only one thing. You will have to cut your love-life to half.'
The Mulla said, 'Okay. Which half? Talking about it or thinking about it?'

That's all. Don't become a language professor, don't become a parrot. Parrots are language professors. They live in words, concepts, theories, theologies, and life goes on passing, slipping out of their hands. Then one day suddenly they become afraid of death. When a person is afraid of death, know well that that person has missed life. If he has not missed life there cannot be any fear of death. If a person has lived life, he will be ready to live death also.

The Art of Dying, chapter 1 - October 1976 in Buddha Hall

The Art of Dying - part 2

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Peanut Butter Jar

Cleaning out the peanut butter jar is a solitary pleasure. I liken it to
a sort of zazen where you sit in silence and savor the flavor and then
ker-plunk...into the trash goes the empty jar.

For some reason, cleaning out the jar with a teaspoon is a favorite
memory of mine. No matter how old you get or how many steaks you may
have eaten, the last couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in the jar
are magical. They must be garnered from each side, the bottom and around
the rim. They taste slightly grainy and always like...more. But alas,
the jar will yield up no more and it is thrown away with a sigh.
Meditation is like that.

Sitting with the basic staple of one’s ego is at last delicious when all
hope of enlightenment has been given up. You realize that when you first
took the top off of the jar, the peanut butter had a glaze and a sheen
that beckoned. “Look everyone, it’s me. Aren’t I swell?” But then many
spoons dipped into the jar and before you know it, the jar was almost
empty. Everyone had left and you sat alone with your essential self
intact. Just you and the lowly spoon.

When all is said and done, cleaning out the peanut butter jar should
never be done by experts or those who would give it a media spin. No,
let us do it alone and in silence, as if God Himself were waiting for
the next bite, or lick. In that moment of supreme ecstacy, would He
reveal Himself to you or would He just gently say, “No thanks, you
finish it.”

--Vicki Woodyard

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Mary Zimbalist: Do you ever feel used, feel something coming into  you?

K: I wouldn't say that. It comes into the room when we are talking seriously.

ML: How is it related to the pain?

K: Pain comes when I am quiet, not talking. It comes slowly until the body
says, 'That is enough'. After reaching a crisis the body faints; the pain
peters out or there is some interruption and it goes.

ML: Can we rule out something from outside?

K: I don't. But what is the truth? There is an element in all this which is
not man-made, thought-made, not self-induced. I am not like that. Is this
something which we cannot discover, mustn't touch, is not penetrable? I am
wondering. I have often felt it is not my business, that we will never find out.
When we say it comes into being because the mind is vacant, I don't think it is
that either. We have come to impasse. I have talked to you, to her [MZ], to
Subba Rao [who had known him since the early days]. He said, 'You have been
as you since the beginning'. I ask myself, 'Is this true?' If it is, there is
no hope for others. Is it all something which we cannot touch? We are trying
with our minds to touch that. Try to find out what that is when your mind is
completely quiet. To find out the truth of the matter you have to have your
mind empty. Not my mind which is in emptiness. But there is a factor we are
missing. We have come to a point where our brains, our instruments of
investigation, have no meaning.

ML: Might someone else be able to find out? And would it be right to enquire?

K: You might be able to because you are writing about it. I cannot. If you
and Maria [MZ] sat down and said, 'Let us enquire, I'm pretty sure you could
find out. Or do it alone. I see something: what I said is true—I can never
out. Water can never find out what water is. That is quite right. If you
find out I'll corroborate it.

ML: You would know if it were right?

K: Can you feel it in the room? It is getting stronger and stronger. My head
is starting. If you asked the question and said, 'I don't know', you might
find it. If I was writing it I would state all this. I would begin with the boy
completely vacant.

ML: Do you mind it said that you want it explained?

K: I don't care. Say what you like. I'm sure if others put their minds to
this they can do it. I am absolutely sure of this. Absolutely, absolutely. Also
I am sure I can't find it.

ML: What if one could understand it but not be able to put it into words?

K: You could. You would find a way. The moment you discover something you
have words for it. Like a poem. If you are open to enquire, put your brain in
condition, someone could find out. But the moment you find it, it will be
right. No mystery.

ML: Will the mystery mind being found?

K: No, the mystery will be gone.

Mary Zimbalist: But the mystery is something sacred.

K: The sacredness will remain.

ML: Your teaching is complicated.

K: Very complicated.

ML: If you read it would you understand it?

K: Oh, yes, yes.

ML: Who made the teachings? You? The mystery?

K: A good question, Who made the teachings?

ML: Knowing you as K, the man, it is hard for me to think of you making the

K: You mean without study, did you or some other person make them?

ML: Something manifests in you which does not seem to be part of your own

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Discover your Soul

Imagine yourself marooned on a vast deserted island. You have been there for years, struggling just to survive, gathering food, using only your hands and makeshift tools to scratch out an existence.

Most of your days are fully taken up with satisfying the basic needs of life. Having proved to yourself that you can survive with just the bare essentials you resign yourself to the fact that you will never be rescued.

Anger turns to quiet desperation, then to acceptance as you carry on with your life. Several years have passed and you have become accustomed to your lifestyle and feel comfortable enough to start exploring your island.

You have settled in and your attention lately has been directed towards the mountains and what is beyond. As you begin to move further inland and away from your comfort zone, you develop a sense of strength for having survived the years on your own.

Along the way you are making many discoveries that will enhance your life. You are gathering an abundance of knowledge about the environment that you live in.

By this time you have convinced yourself that there is nothing you cannot do, and that there is nothing you really have to do to survive. Everything has been provided for you. You simply reach out and take it as you need it.

After 40 years of wandering the island, you finally reach the top of the mountain and turn away from the direction in which you came.

In the distance and time that separates you, you discover a huge modern city with all the amenities that such a place could hold. You discover that your island was not an island and that the city has always been there.

As your mind races over the circumstances of the last 40 years, you fall to your knees weeping. The discovery of your soul is very much the same overwhelming experience. It’s not a religious experience unless you want it to be.

It's natural and simply a discovery of another part of you, that was there all along, that you didn't know. Think of the possibilities. Where there was one, now there are many.

And there is always that one question, "Why?" How could I have not known? How would my life have been different? The human species is a three part being — mind, body and spirit.

The mind is what drives us, the spirit is our personality or ego, and the body is the vehicle that is used to experience the physical world. To experience physicality, one needs to be physical, it's natural then to be focused on the body and its needs.

Most all of our waking hours are centred on what the body wants to experience. There is nothing wrong with this arrangement, and it works flawlessly and on auto-pilot throughout our lifetimes with or without our awareness of what makes it tick.

So why am I bringing this up? If the system works perfectly, then leave it alone. Don't try to fix that which doesn't need fixing. Is ignorance not bliss? These notions of being alone and powerless, limit our experience of the physical world and our own personal growth.

With a certain amount of awareness, our lives can be enhanced a thousand fold and more, with the discovery of our souls. Denial of the soul has far reaching ramifications. Awareness of it, augments the quality of our lives.

It's like discovering that city that was always there, and you are given the key to access any part of it. I am not talking about some hypothetical element of our person, rather of something that actually exists.

This soul that we are all part of, is only available to you on a conscious level when you recognise that it is there, when you discover it. Acceptance of the knowledge of your soul brings with it all the benefits, amenities and power that is rightfully yours.

The soul is self discovery. You do not have to pay penance or get down on your knees to another to bring it into your awakened life. There is no prayer or affirmation that will bring it to you. Your soul is always was.

The only thing that will deny you access to your soul is your own thoughts. You can walk on water, turn water into wine, perform all kinds of miracles if you desire. Your thoughts are the key to the soul.

As you think, so shall your reap. That which you would call "God," or anything else, is who you are. You are an individualised piece of that power. You have the power of the whole at your disposal in any given second through your thoughts.

Discover your soul and you discover another natural piece of who you are. You are never lost, you just are not there yet. Open the door to discovery and double or more what you think you are.

Courtesy: Times of India