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The Way Home

TRUTH IS A PATHLESS LAND

J. Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in India in 1895. While still a young boy, he was identified by the Theosophical Society as the vehicle for a new World Teacher, a reincarnation of Lord Maitreya, who, the Theosophists believed, had earlier incarnated as Jesus; and for years he was groomed by the Theosophical Society to perform that function. Then, in a talk on August 2, 1929, in Ommen, Holland, before three thousand surprised, even dismayed followers, Krishnamurti renounced the title and all its trappings, dissolved the organization which had been formed to proclaim and sustain him in that role, and embarked upon a life-long mission to set man “absolutely, unconditionally free.” The text presented here consists of extended excerpts from that talk. Jiddu Krishnamurti died in Ojai, California in 1986.

This material is copyrighted by the Krishnamurti Foundation of America, whose generous permission for our use of it is gratefully acknowledged. Suggested reading: The Awakening of Intelligence by J. Krishnamurti, and Krishnamurti, A Biography, by Pupul Jayakar (both Harper & Row). For those and other titles, and additional information, write to: Krishnamurti Foundation of America, PO Box 1560, Ojai, California 93024, or visit their website.

Ampersand at The Zoo Fence

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 mountaintop to the valley. If you would attain to the mountaintop, you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices. You must climb towards the Truth; it cannot be ‘stepped down’ or organized for you. Interest in ideas is mainly sustained by organizations, but organizations only awaken interest from without. Interest which is not born out of love of Truth for its own sake, but aroused by an organization, is of no value. The organization becomes a framework into which its members can conveniently fit. They no longer strive after Truth or the mountaintop, but rather carve for themselves a convenient niche in which they put themselves, or let the organization place them, and consider that the organization will thereby lead them to 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. ... The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth. ...

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. ...

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. ... 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. ...

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. ... For this you need not have an organization based on spiritual belief. ... Truth is in everyone; it is not far, it is not near; it is eternally there. ...

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? ...

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 ... 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. ... .

Ampersand at The Zoo Fence

The Zoo Fence

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