“Truth is a Pathless Land”

Jiddu Krishnamurti first came to my attention through a Facebook share.  My friend, Roger Dundas of byblacks.com shared this quote by him:

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.

I agree with him in principle.  However, I don’t believe that adhering to non-definition, will necessarily help marginalized people of the world.  They may recognize the humanity in us all, but their exploiters might not.  Take for example, white cops who kill innocent, black men and children in the USA all the time.  There is no US in the USA.  (Or in the world for that matter)  It’s more like “US” and “THEM.”   If Black people did not organise themselves and raise awareness of these issues, I doubt any attention would be accorded to them.  Black solidarity is what ensures human solidarity, and is the catalyst for movements and actions to address these issues.

But commenting on American race-relations is not the point of this article.  My wish is to share segments of Krishnamurti’s farewell speech, when he dissolved The Order of the Star in the East.  Krishnamurti was born on May 11, 1895, in Madanapalle, southern India. He and his brother were adopted as youths by Dr Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society.  Dr Besant and some others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was going to be a world teacher, whose coming had been predicted by the Theosophists.  In 1911, a world-wide organization called the Order of the Star in the East, was founded to prepare the world for this coming.  A very young Krishnamurti was made its head.  However, in 1929, he relinquished his role and dissolved the Order.  He returned all the money and property that had been donated for its work.  From then on, for nearly sixty years until his death in 1986, he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences as well as individuals.  He addressed the need for a radical change in individual and collective human thinking.  Here are some excerpts from “Truth is a Pathless Land.”

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 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.

…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.

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?

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…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.

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?

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…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.

Another quote from Krishnamurti made me realise something:  Whilst I do identify as a Tantrik, it is simply a label.  It does not define me.  Indeed, I chose it to define my beliefs, in the same way that others choose it to define theirs.  We may not define or interpret it in the same way.  By itself, it is a meaningless label until we infuse it with meaning.  In The Krishnamurti Reader he pointed out:

There are those who don’t believe in God and yet do good. There are those who believe in God and kill for that belief; those who prepare for war because they claim they want peace, and so on.  So one has to ask oneself what need there is to believe at all in anything, though this doesn’t deny the extraordinary mystery of life. But belief is a word, a thought, and this is not the thing, anymore than your name is actually you.  Through experience you hope to touch the truth of your belief, to prove it to yourself, but this belief conditions your experience. It isn’t that the experience comes to prove the belief, but rather that the belief begets the experience. Your belief in God will give you the experience of what you call God. You will always experience what you believe and nothing else.

Bearing this in mind, I simply seek truth, peace and happiness.

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