Jiddu Krishnamurti: One of the Greatest Philosophers of the 20th Century

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti was a world renowned Indian speaker and writer on spiritual and philosophical subjects that included human relationship, state of mind, psychological revolution, personal insight, self-discipline, and meditation. His teachings were aimed at instilling positive changes in mankind and were based on both Western as well as Indian philosophical and psychological principles. Instead of emphasizing on external changes – political, social or religious – Jiddu initiated on changing the mindset of every individual to have a better society.

Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895 in the small town of Madanapalle in Madras Presidency to devout Brahmin Hindus Jiddu Sanjeevamma and Jiddu Narianiah, a Telugu Brahmin family in the colonial India. His childhood was not trouble free; he would often suffer from weakness and different diseases, he witnessed the deaths of his sister in 1904 and mother in 1905 when he was barely ten years old. His father was abusive and beat him almost everyday. Little Jiddu had no relief at school either as some of his teachers would thrash him for no reasons. Later in 1925, he lost his brother Nitya (whom he describes to be the nearest star in a naked sky) who died at the age of 27 from tuberculosis. Jiddu felt alone and gradually developed a deep relationship with nature.

At the age thirteen, he was adopted by the Theosophical Society and later came across the prominent occultist and one of the heads of the Theosophical Society Charles Webster Leadbeater who envisioned him to be the “World Teacher”. Soon, Jiddu was taken to England for education. At such a young age of 34, he became a prolific author and a widely famous speaker especially on philosophical and spiritual subjects. He spent his life traveling across the world demonstrating the significance of self-knowledge, self-discipline and self-judgment. He never believed to play any role of guru, he rather wanted to help people to enlighten their souls. He died on February 17, 1986 at the age of 91 of pancreatic cancer.

Greatest personalities from all fields such as Joseph Campbell, Van Morrison, Bruce Lee, the Dalai Lama Eckart Tolle and Deepak Chopra consider him to be one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. His language was described as –

“language is naked, revelatory and inspiring. It pierces the clouds of philosophy which confound our thought and restores the springs of action. … He initiated no new faith or dogma, questioned everything, cultivated doubt and perseverance, freed himself of illusion and enchantment of pride, vanity, and every subtle form of domination over others. … I know of no other living man whose thought is more inspiring.”

by one of the famous American novelist and painter Henri Miller. He authored a couple of books including The First and Last Freedom, The Only Revolution, and Krishnamurti’s Notebook and his lectures and discussions were published later. In 1984, he was awarded the UN Peace Medal.

Jiddu Krishnamurti Quotes:

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.

There is no need to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.

Do not think about yourself, but be aware of the thought, emotion, or action that makes you think of yourself.

If you lose touch with nature you lose touch with humanity. If there’s no relationship with nature then you become a killer; then you kill baby seals, whales, dolphins, and man either for gain, for sport, for food, or for knowledge. Then nature is frightened of you, withdrawing its beauty. You may take long walks in the woods or camp in lovely places but you are a killer and so lose their friendship. You probably are not related to anything to your wife or your husband

Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence.

Without freedom from the past, there is no freedom at all, because the mind is never new, fresh, innocent.

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.

Life lessons from Jiddu Krishnamurti:

1. To transform the world we don’t have to settle or arrange the external settings, feel the love in deep within and the world will automatically be a peaceful and wonderful transformation for us.

“The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed.”

2. God is the representation of good, love, honesty, integrity and peace; love and respect for God should be expressed in our true love for nature and people around, nurturing the good within us, taking the life to a positive direction and sharing the wisdom to enlighten life. Unfortunately, our faith in God is now escaping due to monotonous lifestyle, sheltering cruelty, retaining sin and reasoning stupidity.

“Your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life.”

3. Education is not about finishing some academic books and passing the examination with higher degrees, it has much more broader prospect than we define and demonstrate today. Education that has been confined in a narrow place gives birth to the fragmentary knowledge, avarice, prejudices, vanities and delusional information about the most unimportant materialistic life. Education is a life-long progressive process of learning, where you evolve as a wise and better person till death through every good as well as bad experiences of life.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

4. Watching out the movements of our every thought is important as it results into something – destructive or constructive. It is like comprehending the proper functioning of a machine, if you don’t understand you will never master it. It can nourish and nurture your self-knowledge to govern yourself in right direction or enslave yourself throughout your life.

“Self-knowledge is not knowing oneself, but knowing every movement of thought. Because the self is the thought, the image, the image of K and the image of the `me.’ So, watch every movement of thought, never letting one thought go without realizing what it is. Try it. Do it and you will see what takes place.”

5. Fear is the strongest emotion that has substantial psychological impact, it breeds negativity and summons several little deaths before our final obliteration. More importantly, fear has no external source; we require deep insight to see the path of freedom from it. Until we conquer our fear, there is freedom.

“Fear is a source of corruption, it is the beginning of degeneration, and to be free of fear is more important than any examination or any scholastic degree.”

6. Emphasize on living every instant of present moment instead of wasting precious time in clutching the past or using the present as a medium of becoming something. We could have cherished more or enriched our lives more if the time wasted were used wisely. When we completely understand ourselves, our memories seize to pain us because it’s the memory that takes us to the past, forms wrong perceptions and prevents our efforts to know ourselves.

“We cannot live in the present because we are using the present as a passage to the future. Because I am going to become something, there is never a complete understanding of myself, and to understand myself, what I am exactly now, does not require the cultivation of memory. On the contrary, memory is a hindrance to the understanding of what is.”

7. We are inseparable part of nature whose spontaneous changes reflect in our lives and sorrows emerge from our resistance to accept the changes in any point of time as changes are inevitable. The circle of sorrow and happiness is an unavoidable division of life and it will continue regardless of our impossible confrontation of it. Resistance will summon suffering and acceptance will lighten our path to move forward.

“Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is? All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness there is a poem, there is a song. Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring. When the spring comes it again fills the tree with the music of many leaves, which in due season fall and are blown away. And that is the way of life.”

8. To be creative, mind has to be observant and responsive and heart to be complete and compassionate. It’s fact that when we aren’t creative we seek happiness in external circumstances – movies, theaters and watching other play – to eliminate the monotonous part of life. In the process we never become a part of it and remain a viewer throughout our lives.

“A mind that is not alert, vital, a heart that is not affectionate, full, how can it be creative? And not being creative, you seek stimulation through sex, through amusement, cinemas, theaters, through watching others play while you remain a spectator; others paint the scene or dance, and you yourself are but an observer.”

9. Seeking pleasure, regardless of what we do or wish for, is the most single significant purpose of our whole life. In the name of God, in order to become something or accomplish goals, or in the demand of urgencies we hunt for our own selfish happiness, security, power, own satisfaction and gratification and in the process we can’t experience the beauty of life. Our detachment from anything or anybody is also for own pleasure. Our selfish desire has made us inwardly injured forever.

“Most of us are pursuing, outwardly and inwardly, pleasure, and pleasure is the structure of society. I think it is important to find this out, because from childhood till death, deeply, surreptitiously, cunningly and also obviously, we are pursuing pleasure, whether it be in the name of God, in the name of society, or in the name of our own demands and urgencies.”

10. There is a selfish cause behind the intense desire of pursuing our passion – earning name and fame – we don’t practice it selflessly and we want something materialistic out of it. When the purpose is self-interested, then it’s become painful because we get attached to it so deeply that passion loses its own importance.

“In the state of passion without a cause, there is intensity free of all attachment; but when passion has a cause, there is attachment and attachment is the beginning of sorrow. Most of us are attached; we cling to a person, to a country, to a belief, to an idea, and when the object of our attachment is taken away or otherwise loses its significance, we find ourselves empty, insufficient. This emptiness we try to fill by clinging to something else, which again becomes the object of our passion”