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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 you speak?"

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 conduct.

"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" was awake,

* 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.








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