KRISHNAMURTI AUSTRALIA

 

Freedom and Authority


Freedom implies dropping the bondage of the past, abandoning authority, exploring relationships in the present. The following quotations from Krishnamurti may be found relevant.

‘.....If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitation, conforming, accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourself--whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to another you will always remain a second-hand human being.

‘A man who says, "I want to change, tell me how to", seems very earnest, very serious, but he is not. He wants an authority whom he hopes will bring about order in himself. But can authority ever bring about inward order? You may see the truth of this intellectually but can you actually apply it so that your mind no longer projects any authority, the authority of a book, a teacher, a wife or husband, a parent, a friend or of society? Because we have always functioned within the pattern of a formula, the formula becomes the ideology and the authority; but the moment you really see that the question, "How can I change?" sets up a new authority, you have finished with authority for ever.

‘Let us state it again clearly: I see that I must change completely from the roots of my being; I can no longer depend on any tradition because tradition has brought about this colossal laziness, acceptance and obedience; I cannot possibly look to another to help me to change, not to any teacher, any God, any belief, any system, any outside pressure or influence. What then takes place?

Freedom implies dropping the bondage of the past, abandoning authority, exploring relationships in the present. The following quotations from Krishnamurti may be found relevant.

‘.....If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitation, conforming, accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourself--whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to another you will always remain a second-hand human being.

‘A man who says, "I want to change, tell me how to", seems very earnest, very serious, but he is not. He wants an authority whom he hopes will bring about order in himself. But can authority ever bring about inward order? You may see the truth of this intellectually but can you actually apply it so that your mind no longer projects any authority, the authority of a book, a teacher, a wife or husband, a parent, a friend or of society? Because we have always functioned within the pattern of a formula, the formula becomes the ideology and the authority; but the moment you really see that the question, "How can I change?" sets up a new authority, you have finished with authority for ever.

‘Let us state it again clearly: I see that I must change completely from the roots of my being; I can no longer depend on any tradition because

‘First of all, can you reject all authority? If you can it means that you are no longer afraid. Then what happens? When you reject something false which you have been carrying about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden of any kind, what takes place? You have more energy, haven’t you? You have more capacity, more drive, greater intensity and vitality. If you do not feel this, then you have not thrown off the burden, you have not discarded the dead weight of authority.

‘But when you have thrown it off and have this energy in which there is no fear at all--no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong--then is not that energy itself the mutation? We need a tremendous amount of energy and we dissipate it through fear but when there this energy which comes from throwing off every form of fear, that energy itself produces the radical inward revolution. You do not have to do a thing about it.

‘So you are left with yourself, and that is the actual state for a man to be who is very serious about all this; and as you are no longer looking to anybody or anything for help, you are already free to discover. And when there is freedom, there is energy; and when there is freedom it can never do anything wrong. Freedom is entirely different from revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or wrong when there is freedom. You are free and from that centre you act. And hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love. And when there is love it can do what it will.’

Freedom From the Known, pp. 17-19.


‘.....I think we should also consider the question of authority. You know what authority is; but do you know how authority comes into being? The government has authority, has it not? There is the authority of the State, of the law, of the policeman and the soldier. Your parents and your teachers have a certain authority over you, they make you do what they think you ought to do--go to bed at a certain time, eat the right kind of food, meet the right kind of people. They discipline you, do they not? Why? They say it is for your own good. Is it? We will go into that. But first we must understand how authority arises--authority being coercion, compulsion, the power of one person over another, of the few over the many or the many over the few.

‘Because you happen to be my father or mother, have you a right over me? What right has anyone to treat another like dirt? What do you think creates authority?

‘First, obviously, there is the desire on the part of each one of us to find a safe way of behaviour; we want to be told what to do. Being confused, worried, and not knowing what to do, we go to a priest, to a teacher, to a parent or to somebody else, seeking a way out of our confusion. Because we think he knows better than we do, we go to the guru, or to some learned man, and we ask him to tell us what to do. So, it is the desire in us to find a particular way of life, a way of conduct that creates authority, is it not?

‘Say, for instance, I go to a guru. I go to him because I think he is a great man who  knows the truth, who knows God, and who can therefore give me peace. I don’t know anything about this for myself, so I go to him, I prostrate myself, I offer him flowers, I give him my devotion. I have the desire to be comforted, to be told what to do, so I create an authority. That authority does not really exist outside of me.

‘While you are young, the teacher may point out that you do now know. But if he is all intelligent he will help you to grow to be intelligent also; he will help you to understand your confusion so that you do not seek authority, his own or any other.

‘There is the outward authority of the State, of the law, of the police. We create this authority outwardly because we have property which we want to protect. The property is ours and we don’t want anyone else to have it, so we create a government which protects what we own. The government becomes our authority; it is our invention, to protect us, to protect our way of life, our system of thought. Gradually, through centuries, we establish a system of law, of authority--the State, the government, the police, the army--to protect ‘me’ and ‘mine’.

‘There is also the authority of the ideal, which is not outward but inward. When we say, "I must be good, I must not be envious, I must feel brotherly to everybody" we create in our minds the authority of the ideal, do we not? Suppose I am intriguing, stupid, cruel, I want everything for myself, I want power. That is the fact, it is what I actually am. But I think I must be brotherly because religious people have said so, and also because it is convenient, it is profitable to say so; therefore I create brotherhood as an ideal. I am not brotherly, but for various reasons I want to be, so the ideal becomes my authority.

‘Now, in order to live according to that ideal, I discipline myself. I feel very envious of you because you have a better coat, or a prettier sari, or more titles; therefore I say, "I must not have envious feelings, I must be brotherly." The ideal has become my authority, and according to that ideal I try to live. So what happens? My life becomes a constant battle between what I am and what I should be. I discipline myself--and the State also disciplines me. Whether it is communist, capitalist or socialist, the State has ideas as to how I should behave. There are those who say the State is all-important. If I live in such a State and do anything contrary to the official ideology, I am coerced by the State-0-that is, by the few who control the State . . . . .

‘To come back: we create authority--the authority of the State, of the police, the authority of the ideal, the authority of tradition. You want to do something, but your father says, "Don’t do it." You have to obey him, otherwise he will get angry, and you are dependent on him for your food. He controls you through your fear, does he not? Therefore he becomes your authority. Similarly, you are controlled by tradition--you must do this and not that, you must wear your sari in a certain way, you must not look at the boys or at the girls. Tradition tells you what to do; and tradition, after all, is knowledge, is it not? There are books which tell you what to do, the State tells you what to do, your parents tell you what to do, society and religion tell you what to do. And what happens to you? You get crushed, you are just broken. You never think, act, live vitally, for you are afraid of all these things. You say that you must obey, otherwise you will be helpless. Which means what? That you create authority because you are seeking a safe way of conduct, a secure manner of living. The very pursuit of security creates authority, and that is why you become a mere slave, a cog in a machine, living without any capacity to think, to create.’              
                                                                                                                                           Life Ahead
pp 35-38


Krishnamurti: The associations and reactions to what is happening is the conditioning of the mind. This conditioning prevents the observation of what is taking place now. What is taking place now is free of time. Time is the evolution of our conditioning. It is man’s inheritance, the burden that has no beginning. When there is this passionate observation of what is going on, that which is being observed dissolves into nothingness.

The observation of the anger that is taking place now reveals the whole nature and structure of violence. This insight is the ending of all violence. It is not replaced by anything else and therein lies our difficulty. Our whole desire and urge is to find a definite end. In that end there is a sense of illusory security.

Questioner: There is a difficulty for many of us in the observation of anger because emotions and reactions seem inextricably part of that anger. One doesn’t feel anger without associations, content.

Krishnamurti: Anger has many stories behind it. It isn’t just a solitary event. It has, as you pointed out, a great many associations. These very associations, with their emotions, prevent the actual observation. With anger the content is the anger. The anger is the content; they are not two separate things. The content is the conditioning. In the passionate observation of what is actually going -- that is, the activities of the conditioning -- the nature and structure of the conditioning are dissolved.

Questioner: Are you saying that when an event is taking place there is the immediate, racing current of associations in the mind? And if one instantly sees this starting to happen, that observation instantly stops it and it is gone? Is this what you mean?

Krishnamurti: Yes. It is really very simple, so simple that you miss its very simplicity and so its subtlety. What we are saying is that whatever is happening -- when you are walking, talking, "meditation" -- the event that is taking place is to be observed. When the mind wanders, the very observation of it ends its chatter. So there is no distraction whatsoever at any time.

Questioner: It seems as if you are saying that the content of thought essentially has no meaning in the art of living.

Krishnamurti: Yes. Remembrance has no place in the art of living. Relationship is the art of living. If there is remembrance in relationship, it is not relationship. Relationship is between human beings, not their memories. It is these memories that divide and so there is contention, the opposition of the you and the me. So thought, which is remembrance, has no place whatsoever in relationship. This is the art of living.

Relationship is to all things -- to nature, the birds, the rocks, to everything around us and above us -- to the clouds, the stars and to the blue sky. All existence is relationship. Without it you cannot live. Because we have corrupted relationship we live in a society that is disintegrating.

The art of living can come into being only when thought does not contaminate Love.

Letters to Schools Volume One, 1st August 1977  pp. 68-71.


‘.....Authority and tradition may be wrong, they may be a comforting illusion. To discover whether that void is true or false, whether it exists or is merely another invention of the mind, the mind must be free from the net of authority and tradition.

‘"Can the mind ever free itself from this net?"

‘The mind cannot free itself, for any effort on its part to be free only weaves another net in which it will again be caught. Freedom is not an opposite; to be free is not to be free from something, it’s not a state of release from bondage. The urge to be free breeds its own bondage. Freedom is a state of being which is not the outcome of the desire to be free. When the mind understands this, and sees the falseness of tradition, then only does the false wither away.’

Commentaries on Living III, pp.34.


‘...But you see, most of us are afraid to find out for ourselves what is true and what is false, and that is why we merely accept what somebody else says. The important this is to question, to observe, never to accept. Unfortunately, most of us only listen to those whom we regard as great people, to an established authority, to the Upanishads, the Gita, of whatever it is. We never listen to the birds, to the sound of the sea, or to the beggar. So we miss what the beggar is saying -- and there may be truth in what the beggar is saying, and none at all in what is said by the rich man or the man in authority.’

Life Ahead, pp. 174.


‘...Discontent is the means to freedom; but in order to inquire without bias, there must be none of the emotional dissipation which often takes the form of political gatherings, the shouting of slogans, the search for a guru or spiritual teacher, and religious orgies of different kinds. This dissipation dulls the mind and heart, making them incapable of insight and there easily moulded by circumstances and fear. It is the burning desire to inquire, and not the easy imitation of the multitude, that will bring about a new understanding of the ways of life.

‘The young are so easily persuaded by the priest or the politician, by the rich or the poor, to think in a particular way; but the right kind of education should help them to be watchful of these influences so that they do not repeat slogans like parrots or fall into any cunning trap of greed, whether their own or that of another. They must not allow authority to stifle their minds and hearts. To follow another, however great, or to give one’s adherence to a gratifying ideology, will not bring about a peaceful world.’

Education and the Significance of Life, pp.42.

 


Krishnamurti Articles & Quotes

Krishnamurti Australia