I hope you can tell I’m starting to dig spiritual books 😉
I place Krishnamurti in the same genre as Osho: both are Enlightened spiritual masters who present their material in provocative ways. Which is probably why these books are very popular among not-so-spiritual people.
Both authors deal with big societal problems in their books, saying how it’s a lack of consciousness that is the root of the world going to hell, and that the only way to fix it is for each individual to raise their consciousness.
Anyway, these parallels aside, let’s get into the meat of the book.
Krishnamurti is “trying to understand violence, not as an idea, as a fact which exists in the human being.”
He lays out how most people are violent, which, OK, are pretty obvious if you’ve looked into it: violence in jealousy, in greed, in relationships, and so on.
What I liked what how he even says labelling yourself as a Hindu or a Muslim is being violent. How? “Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind.” Any judgement, nationality, tradition breeds this kind of violence because it separates you from the world.
He lays out the state of humankind pretty blatantly: “We are afraid of the known and afraid of the unknown.”
In order to remedy the world, Krishnamurti, recommend knowing ourselves and becoming aware of all the stupid stuff we do in our lives.
How to do this? Simply look. Look at the processes, outer and inner, and come to the realization that they are one.
But, wait! Something I find very intriguing about Krishnamurti and Osho is that they both vehemently reject teachings and religions. In this book, Krishnamurti talks at length about why you cannot depend on ANY teacher to show you how to do this work, even the wisest old sage in the mountain you could possibly imagine. Why? Because outward authority cannot bring inward order. You need to know yourself for yourself.
Speaking of authority, he also makes a point about inward authority. Effectively, all the beliefs, dogmas, judgements, condemnations, justifications, ideas, and principles you hold will get in the way of clear seeing. To reject authority, outer and inner, will render your mind “always fresh, always innocent, full of vigor and passion.” In this clear state can we truly see.
The author makes a point about rebels, people that vilify tradition. In order to transcend society, we can’t reject it, because again what is it doing? Separating us from reality. So rejecting the world is not the answer, despite what many people wishing for a better world think.
I love what he has to say about this process: it’s an understanding, not an intellectual learning about this stuff. The difference is that understanding is always in the present, learned knowledge is the past. And coming from the past modifies how you see the present.
We also need a great deal of humility on this journey. We must start by accepting that we don’t know squat about ourselves.
The last point I’ll make about this book is that Krishnamurti’s point on the mind being conditioned.
The mind is a conditioned machine. It picks up ideas, beliefs, and never lets them go.
Have you noticed how robotic you are in life? Running the same patterns, most of them picked up from culture. Even the ones rejecting culture are just conditioned reactions against culture.
The point is to put less faith in the mind because the mind is of the past. What is past is past.
Awareness is now. It is looking as something in the present without any biases, beliefs, judgements, or pre-disposed emotional reactions.
Only with this tool, awareness, can we truly live from a place of wisdom, authenticity, and love.
So that’s all I’ll say about the content of this book. Just note that, like most spiritual books, it’s pretty abstract, but surprisingly practical at the same time if you let these ideas into your life. It doesn’t lay out the techniques, but just states that awareness is the only technique you need.
After all, what else do you have? 😉
Pretty good book on spirituality. Provides a good basis for the work to follow.
“To understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom.”