Jiddu Krishnamurti – What Love is NOT (1979)
Salepage : Jiddu Krishnamurti – What Love is NOT (1979)
The deepest underlying precept in all religions is to love your neighbor. Why is it so difficult to live this basic truth?
Krishnamurti: Why are we incapable of loving? What does it mean to love your neighbor? Is it a commandment, or simply a truth, that if I do not love you and you do not love me, there can only be hatred, violence, and destruction? What hinders us from perceiving the obvious: this globe is ours, that this earth is yours and mine to live on, undivided by nations or borders, to live on joyfully, productively, with enjoyment, affection, and compassion? Why are we oblivious to this? I may give you a lot of reasons, and you can offer me even more, but explanations can never change the reality that we do not love our neighbors. On the contrary, we avoid facing the truth because we are always providing reasons and causes. You present one cause, I present another, and we argue about causes and explanations. We are classified as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and so on. We claim we don’t love because of societal circumstances, our karma, or because someone has a lot of money while we have very little. We provide several explanations, many words, and get ensnared in the net of words. We do not love our neighbor, and we are reluctant to confront that reality, so we engage in explanations, words, and descriptions of the causes; we reference the Gita, the Bible, the Koran, and anything else to avoid facing the basic fact.
With that realization comes a new quality, and it is this quality that saves the planet.
What happens when you admit to yourself that you do not love your neighbor or your son? If you loved your kid, you would educate him in a completely different manner; you would educate him not to fit into this rotten society, but to be self-sufficient, educated, and aware of all the forces around him that trap, suffocate, and never enable him to be free. There would be no wars if you loved your kid, who is also your neighbor, because you would want to defend him, not your property, your small little religion, your money account, your ugly nation, or your limited ideology. So you do not love, and this is true.
You may be told in the Bible, the Gita, or the Koran to love your neighbor, but the truth is that you do not. What happens when you confront that fact? What happens when you are aware that you are not loving and do not offer explanations or reasons for why you are not loving? It is very clear. You are confronted with the stark reality that you do not love, that you have no compassion. The rude way you speak to others, the reverence you offer your boss, the deep, reverent salute with which you meet your guru, your desire for power, affiliation with a nation, your searching – all of this suggests that you do not love. You can do something if you start there. What happens if you are truly blind and do not pretend to be able to see? You move gently, touch, and feel; a new sensitivity emerges. Similarly, when I see that I lack love and do not pretend to love, when I recognize that I lack compassion and do not chase the ideal, a different character emerges; and it is this quality that saves the world, not organized religion or smart dogma. The things of the mind fill the heart when it is empty, and the things of the mind are the explanations for that emptiness, the words that define its origins.
So, if you truly want to end wars, if you truly want to eliminate societal turmoil, you must confront the truth that you do not love. You can go to a temple and present flowers to a stone figure, but this will not give your heart the remarkable quality of compassion and love that comes only when your mind is tranquil and not selfish or envious. When you become aware of the fact that you lack love and do not try to justify it or uncover its source, that knowledge begins to accomplish something; it gives gentleness and compassion. Then there is the prospect of building a universe that is completely different from the chaotic and cruel existence that we presently refer to as life.
Talk 5 by Krishnamurti in Bombay in 1956
AUDIO: Understanding the Meaning of Love
Our hearts are loaded with mental stuff.
If we let it, connection may be a journey of self-discovery; if we don’t, relationship becomes just a pleasant pastime. Relationships are guaranteed to cause uncertainty and animosity as long as the mind just utilizes them for its own security. Is it possible to be in a relationship without thinking about demand, want, or gratification? Is it thus possible to love without the involvement of the mind? We love with the mind, and our hearts are full with mind-made things, yet mind-made things cannot be love. You can’t even think about love. You can think about the person you love, but that thinking is not love, and thus thought progressively replaces love. When the mind becomes dominant and all-powerful, there can be no attachment. We have filled our souls with mental things, and mental things are simply notions – what should and should not be. Can a relationship be built on an idea? If it is, isn’t it a self-contained activity in which conflict, struggle, and sorrow are unavoidable? But if the mind does not intervene, it is not creating a barrier, repressing, or sublimating itself. This is incredibly tough since the mind will cease to intervene only when there is complete awareness of its own process, not by determination, practice, or discipline. Only then would it be able to have a harmonious connection with both the one and the many.
Talk 2 by Krishnamurti in Ojai, 1949
VIDEO: Is love a movement of thinking and time?
Two young men had arrived from a neighbouring town. They entered the room smiling but nervously, their demeanor cautiously courteous. They quickly lost their timidity once seated, and one offered, ‘May I ask a question, sir?’
Without a doubt.
‘What exactly is love? There are so many different conceptions about what love should be that it’s difficult to keep track of them all.’
What kind of concepts?
‘That love should not be passionate or lusty; it should love one’s neighbor as oneself; it should love one’s father and mother; it should be God’s impersonal love.’ Everyone expresses an opinion based on their personal preferences.’
What are your thoughts, aside from the opinions of others? Do you have feelings regarding love?
‘It’s difficult to put what one feels into words,’ said the second. ‘I believe that love must be universal; one must love all without discrimination.’ Prejudice ruins love, and class consciousness creates barriers and divides individuals. The religious scriptures indicate that we must love one another without becoming personal or restricted in our love, yet this can be difficult at times.’
‘To love God is to love everybody,’ the first one added. ‘There is only heavenly love; all else is carnal and personal.’ This bodily love stands in the way of divine love, and without divine love, all other love is only barter and exchange. Love is not a feeling. Sexual sensations must be checked and disciplined, which is why I am opposed to birth control. Physical desire is detrimental; the path to God is through chastity.’
Before we move any farther, don’t you think we should check to see if all of these viewpoints are valid? Isn’t one opinion as valid as the next? Isn’t opinion, regardless of who holds it, a sort of prejudice, a bias generated by one’s temperament, experience, and the way one was raised?
Understand why we have different perspectives, beliefs, and conclusions regarding love.
‘Do you believe that having an opinion is wrong?’ enquired the second.
Saying it’s bad or right is just another point of view, isn’t it? However, if one learns to examine and comprehend how views are formed, one may be able to recognize the true significance of opinion, judgment, and agreement. Isn’t thought the outcome of influence? Your ideas and attitudes are shaped by the way you were raised. According to the moral pattern of your unique indoctrination, you declare, ‘This is right, that is wrong.’ For the time being, we are not concerned with what is true beyond any influence, or whether such truth exists. We are attempting to understand the relevance of opinions, beliefs, and claims, whether communal or personal. Opinion, belief, agreement, or disagreement are reactions based on one’s limited or broad background. Isn’t that correct?
‘Yes, but is that correct?’
Again, whether you claim it is correct or incorrect, you are still in the realm of views. Truth is not subjective; it is independent of agreement or conviction. You and I could agree to call this thing a watch, but it would still be what it is. Your belief or viewpoint is something that you have received from the culture in which you live. You may adopt a new viewpoint, a different belief as a result of revolting against it, but you are still on the same level, aren’t you?
‘I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re saying,’ said the second.
You’ve got some views and beliefs on love, don’t you?
How did you obtain them?
‘I have read what the saints and great religious leaders have taught about love, and after much deliberation, I have come to my own conclusions.’
Which are influenced by your likes and dislikes, aren’t they? You like or dislike what others have said about love, and you judge which assertion is correct and which is incorrect based on your own preferences.
‘I pick what I believe to be true.’
What factors influenced your decision?
‘On the basis of my own knowledge and judgement.’
What exactly do you mean by “knowledge”? I’m not trying to trip you up or corner you, but we’re attempting to figure out why we have different perspectives, thoughts, and conclusions about love. Once we comprehend this, we can delve much deeper into the subject. So, what exactly do you mean by “knowledge”?
‘By knowledge, I mean what I have learned from the sacred scriptures.’
‘Knowledge also includes contemporary science procedures and all information accumulated by man from ancient times to the present,’ said the other.
So knowledge is an accumulating process, isn’t it? It is the practice of cultivating memory. Our knowledge as scientists, singers, academics, and engineers qualifies us as technical in a variety of fields. We think like engineers when we have to build a bridge, and this knowledge is part of the tradition, part of the background or training that informs all of our thinking. Living, which includes the ability to construct a bridge, is a comprehensive action, not a separate, partial activity; nonetheless, our perspectives on life and love are formed by ideas, conclusions, and tradition. If you were raised in a culture that taught you that love is merely physical and that heavenly love is nonsense, you would undoubtedly repeat what you were taught, wouldn’t you?
‘Not usually,’ said the second. ‘I realize it’s uncommon, but some of us rebel and think for ourselves.’
Thought may rebel against the established pattern, but this revolt is usually the result of another pattern; the mind remains trapped in the process of knowledge and tradition. It’s like to revolting inside the confines of a jail for greater comforts, better food, and so on. So your mind is conditioned by opinions, tradition, information, and your own concepts, which cause you to act in a specific way. That’s obvious, isn’t it?
‘Yes sir, that’s obvious enough,’ said the first. ‘But what is love then?’
You may seek up a definition in any dictionary, but the words that define love are not love. Simply seeking an explanation for what love is is still stuck in words and ideas that are accepted or rejected based on your training.
‘Aren’t you making it impossible to investigate the nature of love?’ enquired the second.
Is it feasible to elicit information from a sequence of views or conclusions? To properly inquiry, thinking must be liberated from conclusion, from the safety of knowing and tradition. The mind may break out from one set of conclusions and construct another, which is only a modified continuation of the old. Isn’t mind, after all, a journey from one outcome to another, from one influence to another? Do you understand what I mean?
‘I’m not really certain,’ said the first. ‘I don’t get it at all,’ the second responded.
Perhaps you will as time goes on. To put it another way, is thinking the instrument of investigation? Will contemplation help one comprehend what love is?
‘How am I supposed to discover what love is if I am not permitted to think?’ questioned the second one sternly.
Please be a bit more understanding. You’ve considered love, haven’t you?
‘Yes. ‘My friend and I have given it a lot of thought.’
If I may inquire, what do you mean when you say you have considered love?
‘I read about it, spoke about it with my pals, and came to my own views.’
Has it aided you in discovering what love is? You have read, discussed, and reached some conclusions about love, which is referred to as thinking. You have characterized love in both good and negative terms, sometimes adding to and sometimes subtracting from what you already knew. Isn’t that correct?
‘That’s precisely what we’ve been doing, and our thinking has helped us clarify our thoughts.’
Has it? Or have you gotten increasingly fixated on a point of view? Clarification is undoubtedly a process of reaching a certain verbal or intellectual conclusion.
‘That’s correct; we’re not as perplexed as we once were.’
Amid other words, in this muddle of teachings and different beliefs about love, one or two notions stand out clearly. Isn’t that correct?
‘Yes, the more we discussed the topic of what love is, the clearer it became.’
Is it love that has become evident, or your thoughts about it? Let us delve a bit more into this, shall we? A clever mechanism is called a watch because we have all agreed to use that word to describe it, yet the term watch is plainly not the mechanism itself. Similarly, we have all agreed on a feeling or state that we term love, yet the word is not the real experience. And the word “love” may signify a variety of things. You can use it to express a sexual sensation one moment, heavenly or impersonal love the next, or to proclaim what love should or should not be, and so on.
‘If I may interrupt, sir, could it be that all of these emotions are merely different manifestations of the same thing?’ enquired the first. ‘There are times when love looks to be one thing, but then it appears to be something quite other.’ It’s all really perplexing. ‘One has no idea where one is.’
That’s the only thing. We want to be certain of love, to nail it down so it doesn’t evade us. We reach a decision and achieve an agreement. We call it by different names, each with its own meaning. We talk about “my love” in the same way that we talk about “my property,” “my family,” or “my virtue,” and we want to lock it safely away so that we may turn to other things and ensure them as well. But it always seems to slip away when we least expect it.
‘I’m not sure I understand all of this,’ remarked the second, perplexed.
As we have seen, the emotion is not what the books describe; the feeling is not the description, it is not the term. That much is obvious, isn’t it? Can you now remove the emotion from the term, as well as your preconceived notions of what it should and should not be?
‘What exactly do you mean by “separate”?’ enquired the first.
There is the sensation, and then there is the word or words that define that feeling, either positively or negatively. Can you separate the sensation from the verbal description? It is very simple to separate an objective thing, such as this watch, from the word that defines it, but it is considerably more difficult and time-consuming to separate the sensation itself from the term love, with all of its implications.
‘What will that accomplish?’ enquired the second.
We are continuously looking for a return on our efforts. This drive for a result, which is a type of conclusion seeking, hampers comprehension. When you question, ‘What good would it do me if I disassociate the sensation from the term love?’ you are thinking about a consequence rather than enquiring about what that feeling is.
‘I want to know, but I also want to know what will happen if I separate the sensation from the word.’ Isn’t this completely natural?’
Everything works out when you love. Love has its own mechanism.
Perhaps, but understanding requires your attention, and there is no attention when one half of your mind is obsessed with outcomes and the other with understanding. You receive neither, and as a result, you grow increasingly confused, resentful, and unhappy. If we do not separate the word, which is memory and all its emotions, from the sensation, the word destroys the feeling, and the word, or memory, becomes ash without fire. Isn’t this what happened to both of you? You’ve been so enmeshed in a web of words and hypotheses that the sensation itself, which is the only thing of deep and fundamental value, has been lost.
‘I’m starting to see what you mean,’ the first one murmured slowly. ‘We are not simple; we do not discover anything for ourselves but just regurgitate what has been given to us.’ Even as we revolt, we create new conclusions that must be dismantled. We don’t know what love is; we just have views about it. Is that all?’
Don’t you agree? To know love, truth, or God, there must be no ideas, beliefs, or hypotheses about it. When you have an opinion regarding a fact, the opinion takes precedence over the fact. If you want to know if a thing is true or untrue, you must not dwell in the word, in the intellect. You may have a lot of information and expertise about the subject, but the actual fact is completely different. Put the book, the description, the tradition, and the authority aside and go on a voyage of self-discovery. Love without getting caught up in notions and beliefs about what love is or should be. Everything works out when you love. Love has its own mechanism. Love, and you will reap the benefits. Avoid authoritative figures who teach you what love is and is not. Nobody knows, and no one who knows can tell. There is love, and there is comprehension.
J. Krishnamurti’s book Commentaries on Living III
LOVE AND DEATH VIDEO
Love is a smokeless flame.
Question: I can’t imagine a love that isn’t felt or thought about. You’re probably referring to something different when you say “love.” Isn’t that correct?
Krishnamurti: What exactly do we mean by love? What do we mean, actually, not theoretically? Isn’t it a process of feeling and thought? That is what we understand by love: a mental and emotional activity.
Is it thought, or love? Is it love when I think about you? Is it love if I argue that love must be impersonal or universal? Thought, without a doubt, is the product of an emotion, of sensation, and as long as love is retained inside the sphere of sensation and thought, there must be conflict in that process. And cannot we not investigate whether there is something outside the realm of thought?
We don’t know how to love; all we know is how to think about it.
In the conventional sense, we understand love to be a process of cognition and experience. If we don’t think about someone, we assume we don’t love them; if we don’t feel, we assume there is no love. Is that it, though? Is love something more? And, in order to discover, must not thinking as experience come to an end? After all, when we love someone, we think about them and have a picture of them in our minds. That is, love is a thought process, an emotion, and memory: the recollection of what we did or did not do with him or her. So memory is what we call love since it is the outcome of sensation becoming verbalized cognition. Even if we believe that love is impersonal, cosmic, or whatever, it is still a mental function.
Is love now a mental process? Can we consider love? We can think about the individual or recall memories about the person, but is that love? Love, without a doubt, is a flame without smoke. The smoke is known to us – the smoke of envy, wrath, dependency, calling it personal or impersonal, the smoke of connection. We lack the flame, but we are well familiar with the smoke; and the flame is only possible when the smoke is absent. As a result, our concern is not with love, whether it be something beyond the intellect or something beyond feeling, but with being rid of the smoke: the smoke of jealously, envy, separation, sadness, and agony. We won’t know what the flame is until the smoke is gone. And the flame is neither personal nor impersonal, universal nor specific – it is just a flame; and the actuality of that flame exists only when the mind, the entire process of thought, is comprehended. So, there can be love only when the smoke of rivalry, strife, and jealousy clears, since that process generates resistance, which breeds dread. There can be no communion as long as there is fear, since one cannot converse through the smoke screen.
So it is evident that love is only conceivable without the smoke; and because we are familiar with the smoke, let us delve into it entirely and thoroughly grasp it in order to be free of it. Only then can we understand that flame, which is neither personal nor impersonal and has no name. That which is new cannot be named. Our question is not what love is, but what is keeping it from reaching its full potential. We don’t know how to love; all we know is how to think about it. We are ensnared in the process of thinking because we produce the smoke of “me” and “my.” There is a potential of having that spark only when we are capable of liberating ourselves from the process of thinking about love and all the problems that result from it.