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International Self-preparation Group

Message from Krishnaji V

I think we have now got an idea, at least a general conception, of what the Master is, and we can perceive the beauty of that idea, and I know we also have the desire, the longing to become part of that beauty. But before we can achieve, before we can attain, we must develop naturally certain essential qualities. In some cases we may have to spend years and in others only a few months at this work. You may have to spend only a few weeks in acquiring the necessary qualities, if you are sufficiently observant and have the capacity and the desire to adapt yourselves quickly and to change. But the first thing above all else as I said in my last message, is to be happy. We must be so supremely happy that the qualifications, desires and everything else come as a natural consequence of that happiness.
A friend of mine told me that when I was a small boy I used to be very miserable and often got upset and unhappy. I am sure I was often depressed and easily made unhappy, but now I have utterly forgotten that I could ever be depressed. Now I am happy, and the happiness which I have gained has produced so strong an effect that it is impossible for me to revert to that earlier stage. We all tend to get depressed occasionally - that is to be expected - but that depression should not be a prominent feature in us, and should not conquer us. Happiness and joyousness, should be our dominant note. When once you have tasted something really nice, something that gives you real physical pleasure, then if you taste anything bitter you instinctively make a comparison with what you enjoyed on a former occasion. It should be like that with us when once we have tasted real happiness. We should always revert to it, and the reversion should come quickly, and not take weeks and months. It is the satisfaction and the after-effect of that satisfaction that matters, and that is why to me happiness is the first requisite for a disciple, or for anyone in the world who is striving. Do not let us think that this is limited to those who are labelled as Initiates or anything of that kind. For anyone who wants to be beautiful, who wants to enjoy himself in life, who wants to create, the first thing he must acquire is happiness. He must be happy and then, as I said, the other necessary qualities will come naturally, without struggle.
To me then happiness is the first quality. Then comes desire . . . desire of the right kind. I am not an exception: I know I have innumerable desires all day long. I have the desire to go away sometimes and not see anybody . . . and also other ordinary desires that all of us have. I think we should have those desires, but we should use them, to change the quality of our desires. It is no use crushing out all desires and being desireless. To be desireless is certainly the final stage of perfection, but we have none of us reached it yet, and if we, at our stage, have the idea that we must become desireless, that we must kill out all desire, we become vaguely nebulous and weak. Then we have no will to drive us on, and that is why, we must have desires even if, for the time being, they happen to be of the wrong kind. But the nobler and the purer the desire, the nobler will be our attitude towards life.
In India there is the idea that if you are to be a spiritual man or woman you must be absolutely desireless, that nothing must affect you, neither likes nor dislikes. But you can only come to that stage when you have tasted what the desires bring you in their fruition, when you have gone through the various results of desire, when you know what each desire brings. You cannot arrive at perfection in a day. If you have desires, you can use them to get the right desires; but if you have not any desire, you will not arrive anywhere, because it simply means, unless you are quite an exceptional person, that your mentality, your will, cannot stand up against things.
You generally find that a person who has no desires is weak. I am referring to the ordinary sort of person who is in the world and loves the world. When such a person says he has no desires, I do not believe it. He is not what he pretends to be. He has desires, but he thinks that he has conquered them all. It is like some of us saying, "I should like to give up everything to the Masters." If such a person can do so it is because he has nothing to give, neither money, nor wealth, nor capacity of any kind, so naturally he can give up everything. But when a rich man like Henry Ford gives up, it means something. For such people it means that they have conquered so much of the physical desires, and that they have realised what it is to conquer, and what it is to sacrifice. You see so many sanyasis, so many people in the world professing that they have given up everything. They can do it easily because they have nothing to give up! They have not got the capacity to lead, or to follow, to admire, to worship or to adore. It is these many weak followers that hamper every cause. This sort of giving up is all based on a wrong conception. If you are really willing to give up everything to the Master, you must first be sure you have something to give. You have your body, your mind, your capacities, your devotion, but they must be tested in the fire of experience. You must have suffered, you must have evolved, you must have created before you can be worthy to give. But the "giving up" of most people is no better than it would be if I were to go to one of these Orders which has plenty of money behind it, and offer myself up, knowing I should then live comfortably all the rest of my life. That is not the proper desire, the proper motive. We may camouflage our motive, we may hide it in whatever way we like, but if we are weak and have no real capacities we have nothing to give. I assure you there are thousands in the Theosophical Society like that, as well as in the Star and other organisations.
That is why it is so essential to have desires of the right kind, desires that produce, that create, that give you energy to act. Then you can do things; then you can give qualities that are worth while, even though you have nothing else to give. Then your gift will be welcome, for the Master does need each one of us. He needs us with the qualities we have evolved, The things that we have experienced, for He knows then that we are capable of a certain definite usefulness to Him.
Just imagine a man of the world, one who has really conquered, who has mastered the world, who has gained all that the world can give of honour, of glory, of university degrees, and of distinction. If such a person gives it all up it really means something. I do not say that you should chase after those glories and wait till you have acquired them, before you can give yourselves up to the Master; but I do say this: We must have capacities, a right sort of devotion, and a right attitude of mind before we can give up ourselves or the world.
It is so much easier to give up the world than to live in it. I often want to retire into the mountains, for that would be much nicer, much pleasanter than getting tired out in trying to adjust oneself to one's environment, or being tactful when one is surrounded by a number of people. When one gives it all up and retires, one has not to face any of these things. It is much the easiest path, but through the easiest path one does not evolve. It is through knocks, through suffering, through being uncomfortable in mind and emotion that we evolve. It is the constant friction that matters in life, and the moment we seek a comfortable path of self-satisfaction or contentment we make no further headway. You know what happens to a river which is a side branch or backwater. It just goes in there and stagnates. It has no outlets. There it breeds mosquitoes and collects green slime and there it remains for ever and ever until an outlet is dug by somebody. And this is what happens to all of us unless we have the right sort of desire, the constant urge to go and hurl ourselves against things.
That is why desire is so essential, not the wrong kind of desire, not the commoner desires, the usual physical desires, desires of passion and all that kind of thing. Those also we have to go through and get them over as soon as possible. For most of us they are over - at least I hope so. When you have experienced those desires you know that they are useless, for they can never give you real and lasting satisfaction. Most of you know that; hence you must have gone through those desires and passed beyond them. But to have experienced and conquered them develops your will and gives you a certain amount of understanding and sympathy with other people.
To have no desires, to be utterly desireless, is an ideal which we shall attain the more quickly because we have gone through so many desires. For my part I feel that the physical desires do not attract me any more, that they no longer cling to me, but there are other and subtler desires too which I shall soon overcome. But I am very glad I have had those desires for I know now what it means to struggle, what it means to avoid them; I have learned by experience how to be clever in avoiding them and what to do and what not to do. That experience gives me strength and when I see those desires coming along, they leave me absolutely unaffected. I am not saying this to put myself on a pedestal or to pose as a big person; on the contrary these things are supremely easy if we but exercise our will: We can leave all these desires behind us and forget them.
Another thing which we should all have is common sense. You have read over and over again in Bishop Leadbeater's and in Dr. Besant's books about common sense and how you should use your own intelligence and your own judgment and never be carried away by anything that happens, and how you should not accept anything until your mind and your intuition, until your whole being accepts it. We think - I don't know why - that if certain people make statements that we must accept them or else our souls will go to perdition. Yes: they will go to perdition if we accept them without reason, without feeling convinced about them. It does not matter who makes the statements, they may even come from the very highest source. If you do not agree, be honest. Use your common sense and try to understand the meaning before you accept anything.
Spirituality does not mean that you should accept anything or admit anything before your mind and your emotions have accepted it. The explanation of this is simple. Until a statement becomes a part of your very nature, acceptance of it is mere hypocrisy and that is the last thing the Master wants from us, for it is an unbeautiful thing. You are beautiful when you are natural, and you are certainly not natural when you are hypocritical, when you just follow blindly something which you do not feel, which you do not understand, which does not really appeal to you. I assure you it does not matter who says it, what messenger or what writer gives it out, you must use your own common sense and your judgment before accepting it. Blind obedience or blind following, no Master, no Teacher has ever asked. One can see why; it is because He wants beauty; He demands that you shall evolve; that you shall develop yourselves so that you shall become creators of the beautiful; that you may be examples and not mere copies. You must develop; that is the fundamental thing; and when you accept and swallow ideas blindly, you do not develop; you just stagnate; you become narrow; and that is why it is so essential to have and to stand by common sense. It does not mean that when you do not accept you should create trouble, that you should shout from housetops that you think everybody is wrong! No: you should just keep quiet until you are convinced for yourself. Everything will come right; nothing can go wrong; even though we all think everything will go wrong, I assure you nothing will go wrong if we have the right attitude. A river may go through filthy soil, yet in the end it will reach the sea. So that is why I say that we all need to use common sense. And using common sense does not mean that we should become obstinate, that we should become dogged or aggressive. It simply means that we must not throw ourselves into anything that we do not accept or change ourselves into something of which we cannot see the object and meaning.
If someone tells you to do a certain thing against your conscience, (and you know and I know that the Masters never do that) please take it for granted he is not a Master. No Master would ever say, "If you do not do this, you will go to damnation." And another thing is, we should never accept any labels, unless we feel that they represent a reality for ourselves. But if you do not accept them, keep quiet. Give the other person every opportunity to prove himself worthy of the label attached to him. You will see as time goes on, there will be more and more of this sort of thing, of these distinctions and these segregations. In a way it is natural; they are bound to be, and they are right. Even if you dislike labels or consider those that have them, unworthy, keep quiet and do not make trouble. It is so much better to keep quiet about things with which you do not agree; it is so much more beautiful, and all will come out right in the end; - things always do, I assure you.
And that is how we must learn to use our common sense. We must train our minds not to accept anything passively or blindly, no matter how great the person who speaks to us. You cannot work effectively, you cannot become spiritual, if you merely walk blindly by the instructions of another. You must be able to trace the road by the river, you must be able to see the signposts, you must be able to see the path for yourself before you can tread it properly. And we must use our minds, not to stir up discontent in others, but to produce an inner dissatisfaction in ourselves, so that we may become eager to change of our own accord. That is where our work lies. Reformation must come from the intimate knowledge which each one of us possesses and from the desire to change, to become more beautiful, more glorious and more noble. And you can only do this if you use common sense all the time.
Occultism or spirituality is the essence of common sense, and the simplicity of it is so natural. A thing is beautiful because it is simple and not complicated; a complicated thing is rarely beautiful. The simplest method, the direct method is the quickest method of taking us to the heights of spirituality and we can only find it through common sense and not by high-sounding words, or extraordinary labels.
I do not want to make you put your hands to your heads and feel that you should get discontented with things as they are. But if you are discontented, then find out the quickest means to get out of that state. If you are contented, go ahead. But mind that your contentment is natural, that you have solved the difficulty for yourselves, that you have conquered the problem, and that you have got on top of the difficulties and not merely shirked them. Contentment should not mean that you just shut your eyes to the difficulties. The mind that is always questioning, though it is dangerous to do so, has its value, because it means that you will find, you will know for yourself what perfection means. That is why you have got to note these things with a mind that is the ultimate perfection of common sense. And you must have desires of the right kind so that through desires you can train your will which must be like steel, literally like steel, so that it does not bend to anything. I do not mean that you should develop obstinacy; anyone in the world can easily develop that. But you must have a will of the right type, that will carry you forward the moment you have seen your goal, that will put aside everything that stands in the way. Then you will attain the ideal.

J. Krishnamurti


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