Saturday, April 6, 2013

J.Krishnamurti : Key Thoughts

  •   Life: It’s like a river, endlessly moving on, ever seeking, exploring, pushing and overflowing its banks.

  •   Relationship: It’s a mirror in which you see yourself. In relationship, conflicts arise as two individuals are not relating but their images about themselves and each other, relate.
  •  Observer is the observed: An insight that thought and the thinker are the same. That thinker appears separate due to inattention and that it’s an illusion.
  •  Mutation of brain cells: When there is insight that observer is observed then the behaviour of brain is altered. The pattern of brain cells mutate to yield a new mind.
  •  Choiceless awareness: It is a state of awareness in which there is no chooser who judges or condemns. There is non-judgemental observation.
  •  Meditation: it is a state of no mind in which the meditator is absent. There is no recognition of a centre called "me". It’s a state of being and nothingness.
  •   Total freedom: There is no partial freedom. When the centre called "me" dissolves there is total freedom. “Me” is the psychological being- The conditioned self. In the state of total freedom man is not a slave of past. Its freedom " Known."
  •  Insight: It’s a flash in a state of mind in which thought is absent. There is immediate perception and action without any intervention of "me".
  •  Conditioning: Layers of identity created from birth and accumulated by knowledge, experience and stored in memory. It gives birth to the psychological "me". It includes our likes, dislikes hurts insults, pride, Self image etc. Its the "known" in which man lives.
  •   Security and fear: The conditioned self always seeks continuity of existence and fears its loss of identity. 
  •  God: It is not a concept or imagination. It is creation.
  •  “You are the world”: When you change, the world changes. Consciousness
    is contagious and society is not different from the individual constituents.
    Change begins within oneself.
  •   Love and compassion: Love cannot be cultivated. Along with compassion it
    exists when the sense of  limited self is dissolved. 

Sartre , Existentialism and J. Krishnamurti

Jean Paul Sartre is the most influential 20 th century thinker and writer. Credited with having coined the word Existentialism he is the architect of his famous treatise , Being And Nothingness. Heidegger alongwith Husserl was the principal source of inspiration to him. Sartre read Heidegger as a prisoner of war during world war 2 and soon authored Being and Nothingness. In this paper I shall briefly talk about sartre's main concepts and then relate it withKrishnamurti`s philosophy.

Being and Nothingness:
Sartre's main ontological proposition was Existence precedes essence.

What is it to be human? Are we our qualities such as intelligence or hardworking or a writer? Is there an existence irrespective of our essence? Though sartre was cartesian he didnot strictly mean," I think therefore I am". While  thinking precedes action it is one of the proof of my existence as it emerges in a reflective state of consciousness. Human existence is charecterised by two types of reality. One is consciousness being aware of it being conscious and other is consciousness about something. The former ,sartre called pre reflective state or for- itself consciousness and the latter as reflective state or in-itself consciousness. In layman's language for-itself is the indescribable, nameless reality. Just awareness of Being ,sheer consciousness or existence as it is.The in-itself is borne out of our choices and action, our self identity and is independent of for- itself consciousness.Thus sartre created a duality in reality and concentrated on the study of in- itself reality. Since identity of self is something it brings in the possibility of destructing this something. That which is not something is no-thing and is negation of self. Consciousness for itself is that Being which is nothing because by definition consciousness cannot grasp itself. 
Implication of Sartre's Philosophy :


Since existence precedes essence, man is free to choose. If he doesnot choose thats a choice he makes.Rather he is condemned to be free. He therefore constantly chooses and is responsible for his action. There is no God or determinism which drives man's action. He is spontaneously propelled to act. He finds his meaning in his action though the outside world defies any meaning or is simply existing.

Angst and Despair:

Since existence is no-thing vs essence which is something, there is a feeling of absurdity. A meaninglessness which is overcome by intentional motivation to act. Despair is inevitable outcome of choice when the fulfillment is incomplete. Something similar to what Krishnamurti says "ME" is disorder. The content of mind creates "ME" which is actually a disorder.

To live authenthic life that is a life without conscious of any self image or other people's image about oneself is a life of spontaneity that springs from Being and nothingness. Anyone living an inauthenthic life lives in bad faith and violates existence.

The direct implication sartre's existentialism is humanism. To live freely without any inauthencity of society, past ,state, politics, divine intervention, beliefs etc. Similarly let other people live freely thereby creating a humanistic society. One is fully responsible for one's action. In his words:

We are a plan aware of itself. "Man is nothing else than his plan: he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life."

J.Krishnamurti`s core teachings :
:“The core of Krishnamurti’s teaching is contained in the statement he made in 1929 when he said, “Truth is a pathless land”. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.

Man has built in himself images as a fence of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships, and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind. The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all humanity. So he is not an individual. Freedom is not a reaction; freedom is not choice. It is man’s pretence that because he has choice he is free. Freedom is pure observation without direction, without fear of punishment and reward. Freedom is without motive; freedom is not at the end of the evolution of man but lies in the first step of his existence. In observation one begins to discover the lack of freedom. Freedom is found in the choiceless awareness of our daily existence and activity.

Thought is time. 
Thought is born of experience and knowledge, which are inseparable from time and the past. Time is the psychological enemy of man. Our action is based on knowledge and therefore time, so man is always a slave to the past. Thought is ever limited and so we live in constant conflict and struggle. There is no psychological evolution. When man becomes aware of the movement of his own thoughts, he will see the division between the thinker and thought, the observer and the observed, the experiencer and the experience. He will discover that this division is an illusion. Then only is there pure observation which is insight without any shadow of the past or of time. This timeless insight brings about a deep, radical mutation in the mind.
Total negation is the essence of the positive. When there is negation of all those things that thought has brought about psychologically, only then is there love, which is compassion and intelligence.” 


Thus both examine human beings and reveal the nothingness of primordial Being or consciousness.Both accept primacy of existence before essence. Both concur about to be human is to be free . However,there are subtle differences in the terminology used . 

You can say some similarity is  found in  sartre`s facticity which is more like conditioned existence of life. Living authenthic life is living without projecting images and in reality as it is. This finds echo in krishnamurti's choiceless awareness in which one doesnot ascribe any value to one's behaviour.

Both the school believe in freedom with responsibility and the choice one makes determines one's life.

Contrasts : 

Existentialists believe life is absurd and has no meaning whereas k says living itself is the meaning of life. They start at opposites poles  of life. Life according to existentialists is nasea and despair. K finds life as beautiful and joyful if lived with understanding. Existentialists donot believe in God whereas k says donot start with belief or disbelief. Find out and a mind which is not touched by thought is sacred. Then truth or god is revealed which cannot be described.

Both existentialist and k are committed to humanism and freedom. Existentialist are cartesian who believe that I think, therefore I am. K perhaps means that I am and therefore I think. But could be saying existence precedes essence.

Existentialists are concerned with material living as a choice. Whereas "K"is concerned with pursuit of truth and setting man unconditionally free. Unlike Sartre who feels man is chained in his choice.


Note some interpretations say that Satre's freedom is the inarticulable, nameless and is borne out of nothingness. Activity is the action in the physical world borne out of choice . They also say that sartre didnot mean descartes cogito but cogito of existence or awareness of consciousness as non thingness. Such being the case it echoes what "K" talks about truth. He says, truth is that which is cannot be touched by thought.
Both existentialist and k are committed to humanism and freedom. Existentialist are cartesian who believe that I think, therefore I am. K perhaps means that I am and therefore I think. He could be saying existence precedes essence.

My Perpective:

Acording to me Sartre is more interesting at a surface level  because he has expressed himself not only through his abstract philosophies but also through absurd plays like Nausea and No exit. Sartrean study of human beings through his primordial action is more interesting and humanlike but not truly emancipating.It exposes human being in relationship with others like a mirror reflection .Sartrean view that man is condemned to be free and is solely responsible for his actions is pertaining to the thinking man.It does add to the meaning of life but at subject level. Authencity of life and ethical value follow sartrean interpretation in which hope for life fulfillment overcomes despondency of despair. 

Whereas "K" goes to the roots of Being and unless we understand the roots we can never understand ourselves as man. We would then risk treating subjects as objects and pose wrong metaphysical question. The sartrean fallacy lies in studying the thinking man which is an effect. Our true motto is to study the primordial state.To study huamans before he became a subject of Being. (the bringing forth of possibilities from nothingness). Existence in world , essence of man and thinking man follow much later.  Truth is something that is not touched by thought. Do we realise that thinker and the thought is the same and in the process realise the primordial state of Being. 

Like Sartre's existentialism kirishnamurti philosophy is also about Being and nothingness. K’s nothingness, however, is no-thingness. Life is spontaneous existence like the blossoming of the flower. It is living in the present moment in the here and now of awareness. Krishnamurti's being is the unconditioned self. Whereas Sartre and other existentialists say nothing matters but life and yet there is no awareness of conditioning and rising above conditioning. Therefore it is more in the materialistic context and perhaps has got little to do with pursuit of truth itself. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Nuggets of J.Krishnamurti`s Teachings

  J.Krishnamurti is a well respected philosopher, seer and mystic. Though labeled as mystic by his friends in Europe and America his philosophy is far from it. Famous for his plain speaking and ruthless approach to man`s problems in living .He espouses a way of life for each individual  which can usher the entire mankind into a new consciousness.Krishnamurti didnot propagate any belief system .
Nuggets of his  philosophy:

1) Existence itself is beautiful. Reality is is. Accept the isness  of is. Anything that isnot is is fiction.

2) existence and living is the same which is the same as spontaneity.Life is a flowering process.It simply unfolds.

3) Living itself is the meaning of life. There is no purpose seperate from living.

4) Man has rational faculty but he has somehow failed to act rationally.

5) The chief  reason why man is irrational is because he is a conditioned being. A victim of his repetetive mind patterns.

6) Human beings are conditioned by habit, by beliefs, by fears, anxieties,pride, prestige, sorrow and so on. Thats his psychological being.

7) The human brain and the consequent functioning of human mind leads not only to  external division between human beings of different creed,caste, religion and race but also creates an internal conflict within himself.  . In reality there is  no division as existence is unitary and homogenous.

8) Man ,internally is in conflict because he seperates himself from his being. For instance thought creates a thinker. Thats the irrationality. Thinker and the thought is the same. There is only thinking.There is only thought This nondualism vs rene descartes who said I think therefore I am. descartes is right in a way but that led to dualism whereby thinker was seperated from thought. Better way to put it waould have been, I am and therefore I think..

9) Creation of seperate identity called thinker creates a new identity . This dichotomy is everywhere. Experience is seperated from experiencer. Descriptipn is seperate from described or describer. Actually , there is only living and  only experiencing . A seperate thinker invariably compares himself with another . Comparison leads to competetion and inferiority complex. It leadsto human misery and ultimately war.

10) Fear, anxiety, despair, sorrow all occur because the thinker assumes itself to be a real self, a real identity. Anything that threatens the identity of the thinker creates fear response. Similarly pleasure and desires are sought for its continuity. Anything that disrupts the continuity of pleasure is resisted by the thinker. In a way artificial identity of thinker assumes the proportion of real person hijacking human beings on the path of violence and suffering. Does this sound familiar? Heard of Matrix?
11) Freedom from  conditioning can be found here and now. It is immediate if one sees thru the falsity of the the whole phenomenon. Its is like  a rope in a dark corner. It appears to be a snake. When the light is switched on it becomes clear that its a rope and not a snake. Real freedom is freedom from comparison.
Now a mind that doesn't compare at all - you understand? - is a totally different kind of mind. It has got much more vitality.

12) Total freedom from predictable human behaviour can be obtained by choiceless awareness. It is a way of observing inwards in which there is  no judge or censor. There is only observation. Suppose a man observes that he is violent or greedy or envious he simply records it and let it pass. He doesnot resist or attempt to be judgemental about it. This is called choiceless awareness. The observer realises that he is the observation. He is greed. He is envy. He is violence. In  this way he neither encourages it nor resists any behaviour. In a natural way the negative traits evaporates and good traits which are inherent ,intrinsic and innate surface.

When there is no judge, no chooser there is no past or future . It's everlasting Present. Timelessness. Real freedom is in timelessness and not in past or future. Real freedom therefore lies is in choicelessness and not in choice.
 Real freedom  is freedom from the known. The known is my psychological identity, my belongings, my possession, my pride ,my trauma, my fears, my achievements. Real freedom is freedom from this knowledge. This knowledge gets continuity by memory function. Memory to remeber the past is required for learning skillsets. To remeber that fire burns is an useful part of memory. To remeber that somebody insulted me is useless piece of information not to be stored. Not to be a slave of memory is  the function of choiceless awareness. It enables man to live in the present moment . He neither wallows in past nor lives in the fantasy of future. To realise that brain or mind slips into past or future is the function of choiceless awareness. You are the world. You change the world changes.Choiceless awarenes is meditation.

13) In meditation there is no meditator. Meditation is not concentration. It is complete attention. In that state there is no attender.
14) Love , joy, beauty, and compassion exists by itself. It is humanity. It cannot be cultivated. When observer vanishes there is love and compassion.

15) Love and compassion provides the path to life. Every human being is endowed with insight on the path of choiceless awareness.

16) The entire preaching is based on factual observation and is not an  imagination or belief. Renowned scientist such as Dr David Bohm have had enormous dialogue with Krishnamurti to provide scientific bulwark to his preaching. For instance, krishnamurti said that brain cell mutates under choiceless awareness and new bran emerges out of regeneration of braincells. It was heretic to say so in the early 20 th century. Dr. David Bohm , a physicist confirmed that its possible. Today Brain Plasticity is the key concept in neuroscience..

17) Albert Einstein and J. Krishnamurti: A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."Albert Einstein

Neither Co-operate with it.
Nor confront against it
Observe mind
Watch it by being simply aware
Slowly it is subjugated
Lead your life thru unmotivated energy i.e. Action

19) Is there an area in the human brain, or in the very nature and structure of a human being, not merely in the outer world of his activities but inwardly, deep in the vast quiet recesses of his own brain, something that is not the outcome of memory, not the movement of a continuity?"… "There is most certainly, definitely, an area where the past doesn’t cast a shadow, where time, the past or the future or the present has no meaning."… "You can’t ascend through knowledge; there must be an end to knowledge for the new to be. New is a word for something which has never been before. And that area cannot be understood or grasped by words or symbols; it is beyond all remembrances."