VI. Efforts of Comprehension
VI. EFFORTS OF COMPREHENSION.
An intense and prolonged effort of the mind to get
behind the words of Krishnamurti, to arrive somewhere,
produces strange mental sensations. I confess that,
apart from rare moments of illumination for which
I am profoundly grateful, I find myself for the most
part in a maze of somewhat resentful hopelessness.
Resentful, when individuals whom I respect and love
are vilified and when proven truths are denied. Hopeless,
when long-continued study fails to elucidate the teachings.
On occasion, however, one has the impression of moving
in a very rare atmosphere, a sort of summit-of-Everest
consciousness. The very altitude makes everything
seem elusive, intangible. Understanding seems near
sometimes. One listens or reads on expectant, hoping
for the re-solution, for the emergent formula or synthesis;
but, alas! it seldom, if ever, comes. It is lost
at least for me in general and sweeping denunciations
of some very beautiful things in life, of basic and
educative experiences of my own. Premises are thus
often unacceptable and this vitiates the conclusions.
Always expectant, always hoping, one so often experiences
not illumination, but profound disappointment. This
may be one's own fault. By his condemnatory attitude
to all other spiritual and philosophic teachings than
his own, Krishnamurti leads one to expect something
utterly different, something unique and new. He seems
always to be promising a great illumination, and this
it is which produces the heightened sense of expectancy.
When after days of listening or hours of reading
every allowance being made
for the stupidity with which he charges those who
cannot understand him nothing happens, disappointment
becomes inevitable. The mind falls away from the sustained
effort to understand that which for it proves incomprehensible.
Such are the psychological processes which Krishnamurti
induces in me. He will say, no doubt, that this is
my fault, not his; that my mind is cluttered up with
beliefs, ideals and ideas which completely prevent
me from using it intelligently.
I have examined this postulated charge, and find
that there are four conditions which I demand before
I can listen receptively to' an exposition of anyone's
ideas. These are: First: That people whom I
love and revere shall not be unjustly vilified. Second:
Reason and logic must not be outraged by self-contradictions
and arguments based on premises which are patently
unsound. Third: The fact and the value of basic interior
experiences, intellectual and spiritual, must not
be denied to me. Fourth: I must be permitted to challenge
and seek logical bases for dogmatic utterances.
Surely these four conditions are not unfair. Yet
whether listening to or reading Krishnamurti or discussing
his teachings with those who proclaim them as a new
light, these conditions are never met. In consequence,
I find that one Beethoven Symphony, for example, does
more for me in an hour than my seven years of study
of Krishnamurti's later teachings have done.
One great difficulty is that words are not used as
men ordinarily use them. Furthermore, affirmations
are constantly made which contradict proven knowledge;
seem to display both
prejudice and ignorance. The presence of personal
bitterness shakes one's confidence in the value of
the illumination which Krishnamurti claims for himself.
All this has been going on for some fourteen years,
and we are still no nearer to comprehension. It almost
seems a pity that Krishnamurti began his later mission
by first denying the validity of the accumulated wisdom
of the ages; and, second, by implying that he had
discovered and was going to give to the world the
only true light. For it is this which produces expectancy
of revolutionary teachings and causes the consequent
disillusionment when so little emerges.
Even so, I am prepared to go on trying. For I have
found that by resisting the tendency mentally to leap
up and deny, one does sometimes come very near to
grasping something of value.
Here is an example of an utterance which, whilst
almost comprehensible, nevertheless eludes sharply
defined apprehension. If it rang true through and
through it would solve every problem both of the individual
and the race. It may be true, but this expression
of it somehow fails to convince at least, with
the admitted limitations of my mind. Question: "How
can one be free of the primitive reactions of which
Krishnamurti: "The very desire to be free creates
its own limitation. These primitive or ignorant reactions
create conflicts, disturbances and sorrow in your
life, and by getting rid of them you hope to acquire
something else happiness, bliss, peace, and
so on. So you put to me the question: How am I to
get rid of these reactions) That is, you want me to
give you a
method, lay down a system, a discipline, a mode of
"If you understand that there is no separate
consciousness apart from the 'I' process; that the
'I' is consciousness itself; that ignorance creates
its own limitations, and that the 'I' is but the result
of its own action, then you will not think in terms
of denudation and acquisition.
"Take, for example, the reaction towards nationalism.
If you think about it, you will see that this reaction
is ignorant and very harmful, not only to yourself,
but to the world. Then you will ask me: 'How is one
to get rid of it'?' Now, why do you want to get rid
of it? When you perceive why you want to get rid of
it, you will then discern how it has come into being
artificially, with its many cruel implications;
and when you deeply comprehend it, then there is not
a conscious effort to get rid of this ignorant reaction;
it disappears of itself.
"In the same way, if mind-heart is bound by
fears, beliefs, which are so dominant, potent, overwhelming
that they pervert clear perception, it is no good
making great efforts to get rid of them. First you
have to be conscious of them; and instead of wanting
to get rid of them, find out why they exist. If you
try to free yourself from them, you will unconsciously
create or accept other and perhaps more subtle fears
and beliefs. But when you perceive how they have come
into being, through the desire for security, comfort,
then that very perception will dissolve them. This
requires great alertness of mind-heart.
"The struggle exists between those established
values and the ever changing, indefinite values, between
the fixed and the free movement of life,
between standards, conventionalities, accumulated
memories, and that which has no fixed abode. Instead
of trying to pursue the unknown, examine what you
have, the known, the established prejudices, limitations.
Comprehend their significance; then they disappear
like the mists of a morning. When you perceive that
what you thought was a snake in the grass is only
a rope, you are no longer afraid, there is no longer
a struggle, an overcoming. And when, through deep
discernment, we perceive that these limitations are
self-created, then our attitude towards life is no
longer one of conquering, of wanting to be freed through
some method or miracle, of seeking comprehension through
another. Then we will realise for ourselves that though
this process of ignorance appears to have no beginning,
it has an end." *
I have read this reply many times, have indeed pondered
upon it for a long time. I find that its full significance
eludes me. The concept of ignorance, for example,
is confusing; for that which exists and has no beginning
must be eternal. Therefore, it can have no end. Furthermore,
ignorance is hardly an entity, a positive power; surely
it is a negation.
Nevertheless, in this reply, Krishnamurti comes very
near to "letting me through." For one perceives
in this teaching a resemblance to the inner significance
of the account of Christ stilling the tempest. The
disciples every man did not fight the
storm of life and passion. They awoke the sleeping
Passenger, symbol of the Divine within every man as
will, as wisdom and clear perception. Once "He"
* Ojai Talks, 1936, pp. 21-22.
the storm could not continue to exist. In "His"
Presence peace reigned.
But I expect that Krishnamurti would deny vehemently
that this was what he intended to convey! He and his
followers with apologies for the word used
occasionally, faute de mieux would most
probably say that a shallow brain and thought biased
by all kinds of fears, beliefs, superstitions, ideals
and ideas about Masters could never comprehend. I
accept the charge humbly and beg for
light but not at the cost of denial either
of reason or of what I know to be true.