Krishnamurti: On Religion

By April 18, 2006NonDuality, Reflections
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With J. Krishnamurti

Religion, then, is something that cannot possibly be put into words; it cannot be measured by thought

WE SAID WE would talk about religion and meditation this evening. They form a really quite complex subject, needing a great deal of patience and hesitant inquiry, never assuming anything, never accepting or believing anything. Man has always sought something more than the daily living, with its pain, pleasure and sorrow; he has always wanted to find something more permanent. And in his search for this unnameable thing, he has built temples, churches, mosques. Extraordinary things have been done in the name of religion. There have been wars for which religions are responsible; people have been tortured, burned, destroyed; for belief was more important than truth, dogma more vital than the direct perception. When belief becomes all-important, then you are willing to sacrifice everything for that; whether that belief is real or has no validity does not matter as long as it gives comfort, security, a sense of permanency.

It is very easy, if you seek something, to find it; but that means that before one begins to search one must have a basis, an idea of what is sought. In seeking, there are several processes involved; there is not only the desire and the hope that what you recognize will be the truth, but there is also the motive behind that search. If there is a motive of escape from fear, a longing for comfort and security, then you will inevitably find something that will gratify you; it may be the most absurd belief, but as long as it is satisfactory and completely comforting, however ridiculous the illusion be, you cling to it. So there is great danger for those who are seeking to find.

If there is fear of any kind, hidden or open, searching becomes an evasion, a flight from the actual. And if in your search you discover something, that discovery is based on recognition; you must recognize it, otherwise it has no value. But recognition, if you observe, is of past memory, of something you have already known, otherwise you cannot possibly recognize it. All this is involved in this everlasting search for what one considers to be the truth; but something that is beyond the measure of the mind, is not based on recognition.

Religion, in the accepted sense of that word, has now become a matter of propaganda, of vested interest, with much property, with a great hierarchical, bureaucratic system of `spirituality. Religion has become a matter of dogma, belief and ritual, something which is totally divorced from daily living. You may, or you may not, believe in God, but that belief has very little meaning in daily life, where you cheat, where you destroy, are ambitious, greedy, jealous, violent. You believe in God or in a saviour, or in some guru, yet keep that far away so that it does not actually touch your daily life.

Religion, as it is now, has become an extraordinary phenomenon which has no validity at all. The Christian, for the last two thousand years, has been conditioned to believe. Please observe in yourself, not criticizing, not condemning, just observing. One may not like it, but one must face the fact that one is, if one is a Christian, as conditioned as the Communist or the atheist. The believer and the non-believer are both conditioned by the culture of their time, by society, by the extraordinary process of propaganda. It has also been going on in Asia for thousands of years.

All the physical structure, the psychological assertions, the strong beliefs, for which one is willing to destroy and be destroyed, are based on dialectical, assertive opinion, as to how to find out what is true; but true opinion, however clever, however argumentative, has no reality whatsoever; it remains merely an opinion. Religions throughout the world now are utterly meaningless. We want to be entertained spiritually and so we go to the church or the temple or the mosque and that has nothing whatsoever to do with our daily sorrow, confusion and hatred. A man who is really serious, who really wants to find out if there is something more than this terrible thing called existence, must obviously be completely free from dogma, from belief, from propaganda, he must be free from the structure in which he has been brought up to be a religious man.

Through the negation of what is, in the so-called religions, you come to the positive. We are going to find out, if we can, what the thing is that man has sought not through any belief, not through any saviour or through a guru, or through the speaker. We are going to find out for ourselves if there is, or if there is not, something that is not the projection of ones own hopes, of ones own fears, something that is not invented by a cunning mind or is bred from our intense loneliness. To find out, one must be free of belief; for belief is the quality of mind that invests in something that will give it some hope, comfort, security, a sense of permanency.

To be free to inquire, one must be free from fear, from anxiety, from the desire to be psychologically secure. These are the obvious requirements for a very earnest and serious person who wants to find out. The instrument that is capable of inquiry is a mind that is clear, that has no distortions, or prejudice of conclusion, of formula, or belief. See how extraordinarily difficult it is to have a mind that is not in conflict, for it means a mind that has understood conflict and is free from it.

The mind, which means not only the mind but also the heart, the whole psychosomatic nature of man, must be highly sensitive; for sensitivity implies intelligence. We are going to go into that a little, because all this is laying the foundation for meditation. If you do not lay the foundation of order, then meditation, which is one of the most extraordinary things in life, becomes merely an escape leading to self-delusion, self-hypnosis. A shoddy mind can learn the tricks, can practise so-called meditation, but it will still remain a shoddy, stupid mind.

Most of us have very little energy; we spend it in conflict, in struggle, we waste it in various manner not only sexually, but also a great deal of it is wasted in contradictions and in the fragmentation of ourselves which brings about conflict. Conflict is definitely a great waste of energy; the voltage decreases. Not only is physical energy necessary, but so also is psychological energy, with a mind that is immensely clear, logical, healthy, undistorted, and a heart that has no sentiment whatsoever, no emotion, but the quality of abundance of love, of compassion. All this gives a great intensity, passion. You need that, otherwise you cannot take a journey into this thing called meditation. You may sit cross-legged, breathe, do fantastic things, but you will never come to it.

The body must be extraordinarily sensitive; that is one of the most difficult things, because we have spoiled the intelligence of the body through drink, through smoking, through indulgence, through pleasure; we have made the body coarse. Look at the body which should be extraordinarily alive and sensitive, and you will see what we have reduced it to! The body affects the mind and the mind affects the body, and for this reason, sensitivity of the body, the organism, is essential. This sensitivity is not brought about through fasting, through playing all kinds of tricks on it. The mind has to watch it dispassionately. (I hope you are doing it now, as the speaker is going into the problemnot tomorrow or the next daybecause as we said, we are partaking together in the journey, in the exploration.)

Observation of what is is the understanding of that event. Understanding is derived from the observation of what is; testing it out in everyday living leads to the understanding of experience. Most of us want great experiences because our own lives are so limited, so unspeakably dull. We want deep, lasting, beautiful experiences. But we have not even understood what that word experience means, and the mind that is seeking an experience is incapable of understanding what truth is. The life that we lead every day has to be transformed; there must be an end to this hatred, this violence in oneself, the anxiety, the guilt, the drive to succeed, to be somebody; and without changing all that radically, to try to seek some experience has no meaning whatsoever.

A mind that hopes to see truth through drugs, to have extraordinary experiences, or to be entertained through drugs, becomes a slave to them and they ultimately make the mind dull and stupid.

We are inquiring together into the question of the religious mind not what religion is, but what a mind is that is religious, that is capable of finding out truth. The root meaning of the word religion is rather uncertain; we can give any meaning to it we like, and we generally do. But to have no opinion of what religion is, is to be free to inquire into it, into the quality of the mind that is religious. That quality of mind is not separated from the daily living of pain, pleasure, sorrow and confusion.

To inquire into this, there must be freedom from all authority. You are alone to find out, there is no book, nobody to help you. Please see how important it is, because we have given our trust, our faith to othersto the priest, to the saviours, to the teachers and so onand having given over our faith, we have looked to them to lead us and they have led us nowhere. In this inquiry there is no question of authorityyou are inquiring, like a true scientist, without seeking a result. When there is no authority whatsoever, then there is no system, no practice. A system, a method, implies a routine, a forming of habit. If you practise a certain system daily, your mind invariably becomes dull. This is so simple and obvious.

So systems, methods, practices, must completely disappear. See what is happening to a mind that is not afraid, that is not seeking pleasure or pursuing entertainment, a mind that has no dependence on authority, but is really inquiring; to a mind that does not depend on anything there is no fear and therefore it can inquire. Such a mind has already become extraordinarily sharp, alive, intense, earnest. (When we use the word mind, we mean the whole of it, including the organism, the heart.) That quality of mind has beauty; using no method, it is clear, inquiring, observing, and learning as it is observing. Learning is not different from action. To learn is to act. If you learn about nationality, the danger of separation, of division of people, if you observe it and understand it, then the very understanding of it puts an end to this division in action. So observation is astonishingly important.

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