‘Our lives are very empty now, are they not? You may have a college degree, you may get married and be well off, you may be very clever, have a great deal of information, know the latest books; but as long as you fill your heart with the things of the mind, your life is bound to be empty, ugly, and it will have very little meaning. There is beauty and meaning in life only when the heart is cleansed of the things of the mind.’
Website of the four Krishnamurti foundations
Krishnamurti in conversation with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Krishnamurti in conversation with Huston Smith
Think on These Things (1964)
Jiddu Krishnamurti
In Summary

Stop trying to fit in a box. The limitations of society, family and ideology prevent you from discovering the world for yourself and finding out what truly is.


The pressure placed upon child stars can be immense and corrosive. Yet they pale in comparison to those placed upon Jiddu Krishnamurti, who, at the age of 14, was informed that he was the saviour of the entire planet! Discovered in 1909 by Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater (who said Krishnamurti had the most ‘wonderful aura he had ever seen’), Krishnamurti became the Theosophical Society’s poster boy as the next ‘World Teacher.’ His discovery led to the creation of the Order of the Star in the East which was founded to prepare the way for this coming messiah.  


Initially said to be a rather submissive child, Krishnamurti soon bucked against the rigorous mix of British and mystical education imposed upon him by the Society, as well as the publicity that came with it. The final straw seems to have been the death of his sick brother, whom the Society and its Masters had promised would live.  

Krishnamurti soon rejected his mantle and dissolved the Order of the Star in the East, maintaining that everyone should find their own path rather than listening to a World Teacher or organisation. This rejection of the spotlight only seems to have intensified the cultural infatuation surrounding him, leading to a long and successful career as an independent spiritual writer and speaker. Indeed, he continued to teach right up until the month before he died at the age of 90. Multiple anthologies of his lectures and conversations have been compiled, including Think on These Things in 1964.  


Amid the instability and ambiguity of life, most of us turn to teachers instead of allowing ‘life itself’ to be our teacher. This is the problem of modern education: instead of learning how to think, we are taught what to think, which is always transmitted through the prism of a particular teacher, philosopher or guru. But there can be no freedom when you attempt to imitate a noble example, for then you are trying to be someone else rather than yourself. The life of truth is one of constant rebellion against others and their cognitive shackles. Submitting to an ideological prison might bring a ‘kind of peace’ it is only ‘the peace of death.’  


We should not only avoid all teachers but also all teachings, for traditions and ideologies confine reality to a pre-conceived box and inhibit us from discovering anything genuinely new beyond it. ‘When you have become used to something, your mind is already on its way to the graveyard. If you think as a Hindu, a communist, a Catholic, a Protestant, then your mind is already going down.’


With this in mind, Jiddu evaluates several subjects throughout the book, including shyness, anger, respect, love, beauty, confidence, equality, discipline, cooperation, self-knowledge and duty. In doing so, he aims to reform rather than inform, condemning our false images of such subjects. Echoing Socrates, he believes that anyone who thinks they know something is ‘already dead’, for the life of truth embraces the wild journey of not knowing, rather than settling into a fatal and false ‘arrival’. Ironically, it is when we surrender to the journey – enjoying the moment and simply dwelling in it rather than trying to understand, change or control it – that we come closest to any sort of spiritual catharsis. The goal is not to know something but to simply exist in it, for ‘the moment you are conscious that you are happy, you are no longer happy.’


By reading this report, you are likely seeking to discover for yourself a spiritual path of some kind. According to the Krishnamurti, this path is found not in temples, scriptures or the minds of gurus but within your own heart. Now, ‘Think for yourself’ was emblazoned upon the lifeless gates of the Enlightenment, becoming something of a motto for the ‘educated,’ ‘modern’ and ‘civilised.’ Yet when Krishnamurti expresses such a sentiment, it seems so free of the baggage of Western thought, opening one up to not only think but also feel, pray, encounter or meditate for oneself. Accordingly, one might expect him to seek refuge in the East, but instead, he consistently rejects the many ‘-isms’ and ‘ancient Masters’ of his youth. Indeed, Krishnamurti truly refuses to find a place to lay his head and welcomes you to join him in his discomfort. And it is precisely this constant refusal to acquiesce or take the comfortable path that might make him a compelling teacher (or rather, fellow questioner) for the spiritual seeker.

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