21 February 2015

Truth is a Pathless Land - Jiddu Krishnamurti


The Order of the Star in the East was founded in 1911 to proclaim the coming of the World Teacher. Krishnamurti was made Head of the Order. On August 3, 1929, the opening day of the annual Star Camp at Ommen, Holland, Krishnamurti dissolved the Order before 3000 members. Below is the full text of the talk he gave on that occasion. 

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We are going to discuss this morning the dissolution of the Order of the Star. Many people will be delighted, and others will be rather sad. It is a question neither for rejoicing nor for sadness, because it is inevitable, as I am going to explain. You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, “What did that man pick up?” “He picked up a piece of Truth,” said the devil. “That is a very bad business for you, then,” said his friend. “Oh, not at all,” the devil replied, “I am going to let him organize it."

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

So that is the first reason, from my point of view, why the Order of the Star should be dissolved. In spite of this, you will probably form other Orders, you will continue to belong to other organizations searching for Truth. I do not want to belong to any organization of a spiritual kind, please understand this. I would make use of an organization which would take me to London, for example; this is quite a different kind of organization, merely mechanical, like the post or the telegraph. I would use a motor car or a steamship to travel, these are only physical mechanisms which have nothing whatever to do with spirituality. Again, I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality.

If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth. So that is another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, to dissolve it. No one has persuaded me to this decision. This is no magnificent deed, because I do not want followers, and I mean this. The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. I am not concerned whether you pay attention to what I say or not. I want to do a certain thing in the world and I am going to do it with unwavering concentration. I am concerning myself with only one essential thing: to set man free. I desire to free him from all cages, from all fears, and not to found religions, new sects, nor to establish new theories and new philosophies. Then you will naturally ask me why I go the world over, continually speaking. I will tell you for what reason I do this: not because I desire a following, not because I desire a special group of special disciples. (How men love to be different from their fellow-men, however ridiculous, absurd and trivial their distinctions may be! I do not want to encourage that absurdity.) I have no disciples, no apostles, either on earth or in the realm of spirituality. Nor is it the lure of money, nor the desire to live a comfortable life, which attracts me. If I wanted to lead a comfortable life I would not come to a Camp or live in a damp country! I am speaking frankly because I want this settled once and for all. I do not want these childish discussions year after year.

One newspaper reporter, who interviewed me, considered it a magnificent act to dissolve an organization in which there were thousands and thousands of members. To him it was a great act because, he said: “What will you do afterwards, how will you live? You will have no following, people will no longer listen to you.” If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity, it will be sufficient. Of what use is it to have thousands who do not understand, who are fully embalmed in prejudice, who do not want the new, but would rather translate the new to suit their own sterile, stagnant selves? If I speak strongly, please do not misunderstand me, it is not through lack of compassion. If you go to a surgeon for an operation, is it not kindness on his part to operate even if he cause you pain? So, in like manner, if I speak straightly, it is not through lack of real affection–on the contrary.

As I have said, I have only one purpose: to make man free, to urge him towards freedom, to help him to break away from all limitations, for that alone will give him eternal happiness, will give him the unconditioned realization of the self.

Because I am free, unconditioned, whole–not the part, not the relative, but the whole Truth that is eternal–I desire those, who seek to understand me to be free; not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect. Rather should they be free from all fears–from the fear of religion, from the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself. As an artist paints a picture because he takes delight in that painting, because it is his self-expression, his glory, his well-being, so I do this and not because I want anything from anyone. You are accustomed to authority, or to the atmosphere of authority, which you think will lead you to spirituality. You think and hope that another can, by his extraordinary powers--a miracle–transport you to this realm of eternal freedom which is Happiness. Your whole outlook on life is based on that authority.

You have listened to me for three years now, without any change taking place except in the few. Now analyze what I am saying, be critical, so that you may understand thoroughly, fundamentally. When you look for an authority to lead you to spirituality, you are bound automatically to build an organization around that authority. By the very creation of that organization, which, you think, will help this authority to lead you to spirituality, you are held in a cage.

If I talk frankly, please remember that I do so, not out of harshness, not out of cruelty, not out of the enthusiasm of my purpose, but because I want you to understand what I am saying. That is the reason why you are here, and it would be a waste of time if I did not explain clearly, decisively, my point of view. For eighteen years you have been preparing for this event, for the Coming of the World Teacher. For eighteen years you have organized, you have looked for someone who would give a new delight to your hearts and minds, who would transform your whole life, who would give you a new understanding; for someone who would raise you to a new plane of life, who would give you a new encouragement, who would set you free–and now look what is happening! Consider, reason with yourselves, and discover in what way that belief has made you different–not with the superficial difference of the wearing of a badge, which is trivial, absurd. In what manner has such a belief swept away all the unessential things of life? That is the only way to judge: in what way are you freer, greater, more dangerous to every Society which is based on the false and the unessential? In what way have the members of this organization of the Star become different? As I said, you have been preparing for eighteen years for me. I do not care if you believe that I am the World–Teacher or not. That is of very little importance. Since you belong to the organization of the Order of the Star, you have given your sympathy, your energy, acknowledging that Krishnamurti is the World–Teacher– partially or wholly: wholly for those who are really seeking, only partially for those who are satisfied with their own half-truths.

You have been preparing for eighteen years, and look how many difficulties there are in the way of your understanding, how many complications, how many trivial things. Your prejudices, your fears, your authorities, your churches new and old–all these, I maintain, are a barrier to understanding. I cannot make myself clearer than this. I do not want you to agree with me, I do not want you to follow me, I want you to understand what I am saying. This understanding is necessary because your belief has not transformed you but only complicated you, and because you are not willing to face things as they are. You want to have your own gods–new gods instead of the old, new religions instead of the old, new forms instead of the old–all equally valueless, all barriers, all limitations, all crutches. Instead of old spiritual distinctions you have new spiritual distinctions, instead of old worships you have new worships. You are all depending for your spirituality on someone else, for your happiness on someone else, for your enlightenment on someone else; and although you have been preparing for me for eighteen years, when I say all these things are unnecessary, when I say that you must put them all away and look within yourselves for the enlightenment, for the glory, for the purification, and for the incorruptibility of the self, not one of you is willing to do it. There may be a few, but very, very few. So why have an organization?

Why have false, hypocritical people following me, the embodiment of Truth? Please remember that I am not saying something harsh or unkind, but we have reached a situation when you must face things as they are. I said last year that I would not compromise. Very few listened to me then. This year I have made it absolutely clear. I do not know how many thousands throughout the world–members of the Order–have been preparing for me for eighteen years, and yet now they are not willing to listen unconditionally, wholly, to what I say.

As I said before, my purpose is to make men unconditionally free, for I maintain that the only spirituality is the incorruptibility of the self which is eternal, is the harmony between reason and love. This is the absolute, unconditioned Truth which is Life itself. I want therefore to set man free, rejoicing as the bird in the clear sky, unburdened, independent, ecstatic in that freedom . And I, for whom you have been preparing for eighteen years, now say that you must be free of all these things, free from your complications, your entanglements. For this you need not have an organization based on spiritual belief. Why have an organization for five or ten people in the world who understand, who are struggling, who have put aside all trivial things? And for the weak people, there can be no organization to help them to find the Truth, because Truth is in everyone; it is not far, it is not near; it is eternally there.

Organizations cannot make you free. No man from outside can make you free; nor can organized worship, nor the immolation of yourselves for a cause, make you free; nor can forming yourselves into an organization, nor throwing yourselves into works, make you free. You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on an altar and worship it. But that is what you are doing when organizations become your chief concern.

"How many members are there in it?” That is the first question I am asked by all newspaper reporters. “How many followers have you? By their number we shall judge whether what you say is true or false.” I do not know how many there are. I am not concerned with that. As I said, if there were even one man who had been set free, that were enough.

Again, you have the idea that only certain people hold the key to the Kingdom of Happiness. No one holds it. No one has the authority to hold that key. That key is your own self, and in the development and the purification and in the incorruptibility of that self alone is the Kingdom of Eternity.

So you will see how absurd is the whole structure that you have built, looking for external help, depending on others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your strength. These can only be found within yourselves.

You are accustomed to being told how far you have advanced, what is your spiritual status. How childish! Who but yourself can tell you if you are beautiful or ugly within? Who but yourself can tell you if you are incorruptible? You are not serious in these things.

But those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and without an end, will walk together with a greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand. Such a body we must create, and that is my purpose. Because of that real understanding there will be true friendship. Because of that true friendship–which you do not seem to know–there will be real cooperation on the part of each one. And this not because of authority, not because of salvation, not because of immolation for a cause, but because you really understand, and hence are capable of living in the eternal. This is a greater thing than all pleasure, than all sacrifice.

So these are some of the reasons why, after careful consideration for two years, I have made this decision. It is not from a momentary impulse. I have not been persuaded to it by anyone. I am not persuaded in such things. For two years I have been thinking about this, slowly, carefully, patiently, and I have now decided to disband the Order, as I happen to be its Head. You can form other organizations and expect someone else. With that I am not concerned, nor with creating new cages, new decorations for those cages. My only concern is to set men absolutely, unconditionally free.


Krishnamurti Online: Truth is a Pathless Land
http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/about-krishnamurti/dissolution-speech.php

Wikipedia: Jiddu Krishnamurti
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiddu_Krishnamurti


12 February 2015

O Me! O Life! - Walt Whitman


Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring – What good amid these, O me, O life?

                                       Answer.
That you are here – that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.


11 February 2015

The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


31 January 2009

Success - Ralph Waldo Emerson


To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.


The Flowers of Evil - Charles Baudelaire


A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

A frenzied passion for art is a canker that devours everything else

A sweetheart is a bottle of wine, a wife is a wine bottle

All which is beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation.

Always be a poet, even in prose.

Any healthy man can go without food for two days - but not without poetry.

Any man who does not accept the conditions of life sells his soul.

Any newspaper, from the first line to the last, is nothing but a web of horrors, I cannot understand how an innocent hand can touch a newspaper without convulsing in disgust.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself.

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life.

Beauty is the sole ambition, the exclusive goal of Taste.

But a dandy can never be a vulgar man.

Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams.

Even if it were proven that God didn't exist, Religion would still be Saintly and Divine.

Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.

Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.

Everything for me becomes allegory.

Everything that is beautiful and noble is the product of reason and calculation.

Evil is committed without effort, naturally, fatally; goodness is always the product of some art.

Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art.

For each letter received from a creditor, write fifty lines on an extraterrestrial subject and you will be saved.

For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.

France is not poetic; she even feels, in fact, a congenital horror of poetry. Among the writers who use verse, those whom she will always prefer are the most prosaic.

God is the only being who, in order to reign, doesn't even need to exist.

How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering.

Hypocrite reader my fellow my brother!

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.

I can barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no Melancholy.

I have cultivated my hysteria with pleasure and terror.

I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old.

I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.

If the poet has pursued a moral objective, he has diminished his poetic force.

In literature as in ethics, there is danger, as well as glory, in being subtle. Aristocracy isolates us.

In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men.

Inspiration comes of working every day.

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.

It is from the womb of art that criticism was born.

It is the hour to be drunken! to escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.

It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan, as portrayed by Milton.

It would perhaps be nice to be alternately the victim and the executioner.

Let us beware of common folk, of common sense, of sentiment, of inspiration, and of the obvious.

Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.

Modernity signifies the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art of which the other half is the eternal and the immutable.

Music fathoms the sky.

Nature is a temple in which living columns sometimes emit confused words. Man approaches it through forests of symbols, which observe him with familiar glances.

Nature... is nothing but the inner voice of self-interest.

Nearly all our originality comes from the stamp that time impresses upon our sensibility.

Nothing can be done except little by little.

Our religion is itself profoundly sad - a religion of universal anguish, and one which, because of its very catholicity, grants full liberty to the individual and asks no better than to be celebrated in each man's own language - so long as he knows anguish and is a painter.

Progress, this great heresy of decay.

Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.

The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.

The insatiable thirst for everything which lies beyond, and which life reveals, is the most living proof of our immortality.

The life of our city is rich in poetic and marvelous subjects. We are enveloped and steeped as though in an atmosphere of the marvelous; but we do not notice it.

The lover of life makes the whole world into his family, just as the lover of the fair sex creates his from all the lovely women he has found, from those that could be found, and those who are impossible to find.

The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels. He can sleep.

The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.

The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege of being able to be himself and others, as he wishes.

The priest is an immense being because he makes the crowd believe astonishing things.

The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated.

The unique and supreme voluptuousness of love lies in the certainty of committing evil. And men and women know from birth that in evil is found all sensual delight.

The world only goes round by misunderstanding.

There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.

There are moments of existence when time and space are more profound, and the awareness of existence is immensely heightened.

There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create.

There is no dream of love, however ideal it may be, which does not end up with a fat, greedy baby hanging from the breast.

There is no more steely barb than that of the Infinite.

There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.

This life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed with a desire to change his bed.

Those men get along best with women who can get along best without them.

To be a great man and a saint for oneself, that is the only important thing.

To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art - that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.

Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.

We are all born marked for evil.

We are weighed down, every moment, by the conception and the sensation of Time. And there are but two means of escaping and forgetting this nightmare: pleasure and work. Pleasure consumes us. Work strengthens us. Let us choose.

What is art? Prostitution.

What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.

Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!

Who would dare assign to art the sterile function of imitating nature?


The Art of Worldly Wisdom - Baltazar Gracian


A bad manner spoils everything, even reason and justice; a good one supplies everything, gilds a No, sweetens a truth, and adds a touch of beauty to old age itself.

A beautiful woman should break her mirror early.

A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.

A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

Advice is sometimes transmitted more successfully through a joke than grave teaching.

Always leave something to wish for; otherwise you will be miserable from your very happiness.

Aspire rather to be a hero than merely appear one.

At 20 a man is a peacock, at 30 a lion, at 40 a camel, at 50 a serpent, at 60 a dog, at 70 an ape, and at 80 nothing.

At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all.

Attempt easy tasks as if they were difficult, and difficult as if they were easy; in the one case that confidence may not fall asleep, in the other that it may not be dismayed.

Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.

Begin with another's to end with your own.

Better mad with the rest of the world than wise alone.

Don't show off every day, or you'll stop surprising people. There must always be some novelty left over. The person who displays a little more of it each day keeps up expectations, and no one ever discovers the limits of his talent.

Don't take the wrong side of an argument just because your opponent has taken the right side.

Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.

Even knowledge has to be in the fashion, and where it is not, it is wise to affect ignorance.

Evil report carries further than any applause.

Fortunate people often have very favorable beginnings and very tragic endings. What matters isn't being applauded when you arrive - for that is common - but being missed when you leave.

Fortune pays you sometimes for the intensity of her favors by the shortness of their duration. She soon tires of carrying any one long on her shoulders.

Friendship multiplies the good of life and divides the evil.

Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment.

Have friends. 'Tis a second existence.

He that can live alone resembles the brute beast in nothing, the sage in much, and God in everything.

He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave.

He that has satisfied his thirst turns his back on the well.

Hope has a good memory, gratitude a bad one.

Hope is a great falsifier. Let good judgment keep her in check.

I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.

It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.

It is better to have too much courtesy than too little, provided you are not equally courteous to all, for that would be injustice.

It is better to sleep on things beforehand than lie awake about them afterwards.

It is good to vary in order that you may frustrate the curious, especially those who envy you.

Know or listen to those who know.

Let him that hath no power of patience retire within himself, though even there he will have to put up with himself.

Let the first impulse pass, wait for the second.

Little said is soon amended. There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.

Luck can be assisted. It is not all chance with the wise.

Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies.

Nature scarcely ever gives us the very best; for that we must have recourse to art.

Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose.

Never do anything when you are in a temper, for you will do everything wrong.

Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.

Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.

One must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the center of opportunity.

Quit while you're ahead. All the best gamblers do.

Respect yourself if you would have others respect you.

The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause.

The things we remember best are those better forgotten.

The wise does at once what the fool does at last.

There is always time to add a word, never to withdraw one.

There is none who cannot teach somebody something, and there is none so excellent but he is excelled.

Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets.

Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.

To be at ease is better than to be at business. Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else.

To equal a predecessor, one must have twice they worth.

To oblige persons often costs little and helps much.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island... to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

True knowledge lies in knowing how to live.

We often have to put up with most from those on whom we most depend.

When desire dies, fear is born.

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.

Work is the price which is paid for reputation.

24 January 2009

My Living Faith - Terry Tempest William


This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.