Hope in challenging times
Anthologies of J.Krishnamurti’s public talks and, question and answer sessions on the human condition
IN THE PROBLEM IS THE SOLUTION — Question and Answer Meetings in India: Rs. 150.
FACING A WORLD IN CRISIS — What Life Teaches us in Challenging Times: Edited by David Skitt;
THINK ON THESE THINGS: Edited by D. Rajagopal;
Rs. 300. All by J.Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti Foundation India, Vasanta Vihar, 124, Greenways Road, Chennai-600028.
Jiddu Krishnamurti defies categorisation and it wouldn’t be doing justice to either him or his message, which he tried to convey through his lifelong public talks and freewheeling dialogues with all who flocked to him, by an analysis of these three books under review. But every new title that is published from the archives of his phenomenal legacy of writings and speeches is a tempting invite to probe into the perennial questions of life and existence along with an a
lert, enquiring mind that never settled for anything but the truth, truth laid bare, maybe difficult to digest for one reading his book or listening to him for the first time but certainly a joyous self-discovery to those have traversed the path with him before.
In his own words Krishnamurti reaffirmed his message late in his life in the following statement that has come to be known as the “Core of the Teaching”: “Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor 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 sense of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man’s thinking, relationships and his daily life. These are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man in every relationship."
In the Problem is the Solution, the latest of these three books, comprises 14 question and answer meetings that he held between 1981 and 1985 in Chennai, Mumbai and Varanasi during which he responded to 75 questions. They span a range of themes: poverty, corruption, decline of values, individual and collective apathy to these, conflicts in society, general degeneration of man despite technological progress, absence of true relationships, loneliness, fear, sorrow and lack of love. Also featured in this collection are the inevitable questions that arose during these sessions out of his radical insights reflecting the genuine doubts and difficulties encountered by the audience.
Think on These Things is a re-publication of the title This Matter of Culture, which serves as an introduction to Krishnamurti’s teachings. It is basically an anthology of his talks and discussions with students, teachers and parents in India. In unmistakeable terms he shows that the function of education is not different from the purpose of human life itself. “The function of education is to bring about a release of energy in the pursuit of goodness, truth, or God, which in turn makes the individual a true human being and therefore the right kind of citizen.”
Though several decades have passed since his talks in Saanen, Switzerland in 1972 and in England in 1985, a selection of which has been compiled in Facing a World in Crisis- What Life Teaches us in Challenging Times, they will offer hope and, find resonance and relevance in today’s world wherein the spin-off of global media coverage is an invitation to bring home live every natural or manmade disaster, act of terrorism, and war. What are the choices before one in a situation where there is a constant bombardment of violence on one’s consciousness? Remain mute spectators or be apathetic or come to terms with it? There is no choice if one turns to Krishnamurti for guidance for he says, “If ever we are to understand ourselves, we must look at the state of the world with all its violence and conflict.” To turn away from world events is for him not to be alive to what life has to teach us. In the opening lecture of this book he says that having spoken for over 50 years in nearly all parts of the world, and also after observing the state of the world, human beings and their relationships with each other, he could see very clearly that the problem is not only external but much more deeply inward. And, without solving the complex, inner issues, merely to be concerned with the outward phenomena has very little significance, according to him.
To sum up his approach to any question, situation and life in general: without an understanding of oneself it is not possible to deal with any social issue for all of them involve relationship and therefore interrelated. Krishnamurti’s talks were always explorations along with the listeners, for as speaker he denied being an authority, a ‘beastly guru’ or that they were his followers. So the choice still remains with every individual “to be, or not to be.” Is that really a choice? To be human is to be.
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