A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Truth Is A Pathless Land

Don't follow leaders/Watch the parkin' meters Subterranean Homesick Blues BOB DYLAN

In half a lifetime's reading the 2 books which have affected me the most profoundly and have influenced me the most strongly are the collections The Penguin Krishnamurti Reader and The Second Penguin Krishnamurti Reader published by Penguin in the early 1970s. I remember vividly the incredible, life-changing impact these books had on me in my late teens/early 20s. Here was a writer and spiritual thinker who positively encouraged you to think for yourself, who rejected all gurus and teachers, and jettisoned any allegiance to nationality, caste, and religious and philosophical systems - regarding them all as man-made, mind-made constructs.

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) was born in India, and in his early years had been groomed by Annie Besant of the rather batty Theosophical Society for the role of World Teacher and bodhisattva, that is an Enlightened One who could teach the dharma to the rest of us (dharma being the teachings of the Buddha, or in a wider sense the Truth, or The Way Things Are, a concept akin to the Christian Logos or the Chinese Tao). After undergoing a profound spiritual crisis, Krishnamurti repudiated entirely this role, and spent the rest of his life speaking to groups around the world about his own revolutionary philosophy. Except he would not call it a 'Philosophy'. And he would not call himself a 'Teacher' of it. He saw that all theologies, philosophies and ideologies were intellectual houses of cards, comfort blankets created out of our own insecurities. He realised that all leaders, gurus and teachers brought about a dependency in their disciples and followers which was a block to gaining true self-awareness and freedom.

I can't possibly summarize all his thoughts and ideas here - you'll have to read his works - but if you 'get' what he is talking about, I assure you your life will never be the same again. At the age of 90 Krishnamurti addressed the UN on World Peace, and in 1984 was awarded the UN Peace Medal. In 1929 he made this statement:

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 and 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.


Alan Sloman said...

Hi there - a bit 'off topic' but this has just been pointed out to me by Mark Alvarez:


Should be a great read!

am said...

tsGood to hear about Krishnamurti today, solitary walker.

A college friend told me about Krishnamurti in 1968. I carried around a paperback copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION until it fell apart, at which point I put a rubber band around it. I underlined these words:

"The impossible question is this: can the mind empty itself of the known? ~ ITSELF, not YOU empty the mind. That is an impossible question. If you put tremendous earnestness, with seriousness, with passion, you'll find out. But if you say, 'Oh, it is possible', then you are stuck."

And then there's:

"I believe in the impossible, you know that I do."

(Bob Dylan, from "Something's Burning, Baby"; EMPIRE BURLESQUE, 1985)

As you have said, it does appear that there is a Dylan quote for every occasion :-)

The Solitary Walker said...

The impossible is possibly there for the taking...

Dave King said...

I like the sound of this. It makes sense straight away.