Indian Spiritual Teacher, Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1985)
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1985)

What is Love?

MADRAS 2ND Lecture - 1/1986 by J. Krishnamurti

1ST JANUARY 1986, PUBLIC TALK - Madras, India, 1986

On a week-day to see so many people seems rather absurd, doesn't it? I hope - one hopes that you will all take the trouble to listen to each other.

Last time that we met here, it was on Saturday, we talked about what is love. You may remember it, if you were here. And we are going to enquire together, I mean together, into this whole problem, which is very, very complex. And so, if you don't mind, you have to think, not just agree, not say, 'Yes, it is all right', and then go your own way. So we are going to enquire together into this problem of what is love. Together, not that the speaker is the only talker but together we are going to examine. This is not a lecture, not to instruct, or guide, or help. That would be too stupid because we have had all that kind of help for generations upon generations and we are what we are now. We must start with what we are now, not what we have been in the past, or what we shall be in the future. What we shall be in the future is what you are now. Right? What we are now, our greed, our envy, our jealousy, our great superstitions, our desire to worship somebody, to say 'You are a holy man' and all that tommy rot. So this is not a lecture, not an entertainment, not something you just accept, or deny, but we are talking over like two friends, if you like two enemies across the border. But we are talking together. So you have to exercise your brain, drive it, force it, think it out.

So we are going to go into these questions: what is love? And to enquire very deeply, profoundly into it, we must also enquire first: what is energy? Energy. Every gesture you make is based on energy. While you are listening to the speaker you are exercising your energy. To come here from a long distance, from Benares, or still further up, you have to use a great deal of energy. Right? To build a house, to plant a tree, to make a gesture, to talk. From childhood, from the baby, the first cry of a baby is based on energy, supplied for the moment by the mother and so on. I won't go into all that.

So we must enquire what is energy? Are you all right, can one go on? I can go on, the speaker can go on indefinitely because he has been at it for sixty years, or seventy years, putting the same thing in different words. So if you will kindly, seriously listen because hearing is a great art, perhaps one of the greatest arts, to listen to what the other person has to say, not to interrupt, not to say, 'Yes, I agree with you and let's talk about something else'. We have to enquire first if you can listen at all. This is not a lecture, or an instruction, and all that stuff, we are together examining, questioning, doubting, never, never accepting what the speaker says, never. Right? Don't say, 'Yes we agree' but then go on accepting. He has no authority. So we will start.

What is energy? This has been one of the questions of the scientists. And they say energy is matter. Right? But previous to that: what is energy? You understand? It may be matter. It may be every kind of thing. But what is energy? Primordial energy? Who brought this energy about? Are you understanding what I am talking about? I am not sure. Because this has been a very, very serious question. So we are together taking a long journey into this; together, you and I walking by the same stream. You are not just following the speaker, you are not just saying, 'Yes, that sounds very good, so does the Upanishads, and the Gita and all that bilge that has been said, so we understand'. It isn't a bit like that. First of all one has to have great doubt. Right? Great scepticism. Right sirs? No, don't agree please, don't agree. You don't doubt anything, you accept everything. So doubt, scepticism of your own experience, of your own thoughts, of your own conclusions, doubt it, question it, not accepting a thing from any book, including my own. I am just a passer-by, he is not important.

And we are going to enquire together, it is very important please, together. You know what that means? Co-operating together to build something, to enquire into something, to see what is clear, what is doubtful, what is not clear. You are doing it. And the speaker has done this but you have to do this. So we are together, walking up a very long stream, you can make that stream a very, very, very strong current that will wipe you away, throw you on to the banks, or you can deal with it. So it requires your energy. Right? It requires your energy.

So we are asking: what is energy? (Sound of crows) That crow calling is part of energy. Right? The trees, the birds, the stars, the moon, the rising of the sun, and setting of the sun, it is all energy. Right? Probably you doubt it but it doesn't matter. And whatever you speak requires energy, the first cry of the baby out of the womb, that cry is part of that energy. Right? To play a violin, to speak, to marry, sex, everything on earth requires energy. Right? So we're enquiring together what is this energy, what is the origin, what is the source, how has it begun, who created this energy? Please, carefully, don't say, 'God' and that will be that. I don't accept god. The speaker has no gods - is that all right? You accept that? You will accept anything, so it doesn't matter, I will go on.

Please don't allow yourselves to accept what the speaker is saying at any moment - in his books, in his talks, in his videos, and all that business. So what is this energy? We cannot possibly exist without this energy. There is no existence on earth without this energy: the trees, tremendous energy to pull up water right to the top, tons of it. That is tremendous energy. To build an aeroplane, hundreds of people are responsible for it. To go to the moon and so on. So whatever we do, or don't do, is energy. Right? The dancer, the violinist, the painter, the house-mother, the army general, everything requires energy. Right? That is a fact whether you accept it or not, it doesn't matter. And we are enquiring: what is that energy? The origin of it, not just energy, or accept what the scientists say, which is, energy is matter and so on. I won't go into all that because the speaker has talked to many of them about this matter. And the religious people say `God' and that ends it. Or some guru says... and that also ends it. They don't enquire, they don't doubt, they don't question, they don't have scepticism. Right?

So here we are saying, if you can, abandon all that; what the ancient people have said, abandon all that and leave it at the roadside and we will take a journey together. If you can't put all that aside, or leave it on the roadside, you can't follow the speaker, you can't understand the speaker. Right? Don't bother to understand him, it doesn't matter. But unfortunately you hear a lot of words and you say, `Yes, that sounds reasonable' and so on and so on. We are not dealing with words. Words are not the mountain. The word mountain is not the mountain. The word K is not K. You understand all this? So your name is not you. To recognize that your name is not you. I think this is important to understand. The word is not the actual. Right? Is that clear? The word is not the tree. The word tree is not that. Right? So we have to be very careful now, not to be entangled with words. I wonder if you follow all this. Right? I can go on. My friend has given me a signal, my old friend.

And we are going into something that requires all your energy, all your brain, which is matter, which is the accumulated experience of a million years. And all that evolution means energy. Right? So I am saying - I am asking myself, you are asking for yourself, so I begin to ask myself, is there energy that is not contained, or stimulated, or held within the field of knowledge? You understand my question? Within the field of knowledge. That is, within the field of thought. Please don't agree with it. You agree with everything that is said.

So I ask myself: is there an energy which is not put together, stimulated, arranged by thought? You understand? Thought gives a you great deal of energy, to go to the office every morning at 9.0 o`clock, or 8.30, thought gives you that energy. Right? I must earn more money, I have a better house. Right? Thought, thinking, gives you the energy. I believe it took two or three hundred people, or three thousand people, to build a rocket that went to the moon. Right? So all that requires energy. To shake hands with you, to say, `How are you?', to recognize old friends sitting across there. I am glad they have found a place, we can see each other. So I ask myself, I know thought, thinking, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, planning for the present, that gives a tremendous energy. Right? Right sirs? Thinking I must build a house, so I go to the office, I agree with him, and so on and so on. And you require a great deal of energy to be educated. Right? From ignorance, as they call it, I am not saying it is ignorance - from not knowing mathematics you gradually learn, and energy, to college, university and then you become some kind of something or other. And you have a job, to that every day of your life you go. Or you retire at an early age and die. So thought, please understand this, it is very important if you will, thought creates this energy, to build an aeroplane, think of what has gone into that. Hundreds of people have worked at it, step by step, by step, constructed it, and they have produced 747s, or whatever it is, it is a most marvellous machine that can never go wrong, or man can make it go wrong. And so on and so on. So thought is an extraordinary instrument of creating energy. Right? May I go on? Right?

If one doesn't see that as an actual fact then you are off the mark. Right? If you don't see it as an actual fact that thought creates tremendous energy; you want to become a rich man and you work like blazes to get to be a rich man. Right? You want to do some kind of crazy propaganda and you work very hard, you join groups, sects, gurus and all the rest of that business. So thought is an extraordinary instrument of engendering thought. Right? Thought engendering energy. Right? Don't agree.

So then we have to enquire into the very, very, very nature of thought. Right? Not say all the excuses. (Don't bother about this. I fell yesterday and I hurt myself, that is all, that is over. You can give your attention to something else.) So thought, which has planned this society, which has divided the world into Asia and Europe, the communist, the socialist, the capitalist, and the democratic republican, all that is created by thought. It is simple. The army, the navy, the airforce, to kill, not only for transportation but also to kill. This is so obvious, isn't it? So thought is very important in our life because without thought we can't do anything. Right? For you to come here from a distance required planning, adjusting, taking a train, aeroplane, taking a bus, etc., etc., all that is part of your thinking. Right? So what is thinking? You work it out, don't listen to me. What is thinking? You can't live without a certain kind of thinking. Right? Planning, going back to your house, going back to do your work and so on, get married, sex and everything is contained in the process of thought. So what is thinking? The speaker has talked about it a lot, so don't go back to his books. Don't say, `Yes, I have heard that before'. But here you forget all the books, all the things you have read because we must approach this each time anew. So thinking is based on knowledge. Right? If you had no knowledge, how to come here, or take a bus or this or that, you wouldn't be here. So knowledge, memory, thought. Right? Agree? And we have accumulated tremendous knowledge, how to sell each other, how to exploit each other, how to build bridges, how to create gods and temples, we have done all that. The various ashrams, you know all that business, concentration camps of a certain kind. So thought has done all this: created the army, the navy, the aeroplanes. Thought has also, through knowledge, temples and all that business. So without experience there is no knowledge. Right? Be logical sirs. Logic is necessary up to a certain point. But if you start without logic, clarity then you become superstitious, imaginative, coming to conclusions, building temples and all that kind of nonsense.

So without experience there is no knowledge. The scientists are adding everyday something new. Please follow this carefully, if you don't mind. Experience is limited. Right? Because we are adding more and more to it, through knowledge. Experience, knowledge stored in the brain as memory and then that is the beginning of thought. Right? Am I right? Or are you right? What do you say? God, don't you feel anything? So experience is always limited. Right? Because you are adding more and more and more everyday in the scientific world, in your own life you can learn something more. So experience is limited, therefore knowledge is limited, memory is limited and therefore thought is limited. Right? Am I sane or insane? And we live by thought. So we never recognize, though thought can imagine the most extraordinary heaven and hell, the Olympic gods of the Greeks, the Egyptian gods - do you know anything about all that? No, it doesn't matter.

So your thought is always limited and your gods whom thought has created will always be limited. Right? I know you don't like this but I am going ahead. So your gods, your thinking, however wide it may be, however narrow it may be, all this is limited. And from this limitation we try to find the energy. You understand what I am saying? We try to find the origin, the beginning of creation.

So thought has created fear. Right? No? Hasn't it? Aren't you frightened of what may happen two years later - no? Aren't you frightened of losing a job, of not passing exams, of not climbing the ladder - you know what I mean by climbing the ladder? Getting more and more and more successful. And you are frightened of not being able to fulfil. You are frightened of not being able to stand alone, being strong for yourself. You always depend on somebody. All that breeds tremendous fear. Right? Won't you wink at me! So it is one of our daily facts that we are frightened people. Right? Would you agree to that very simple fact that we are frightened people? And fear arises when we want security. Right? You just listen. All right, I will go on. Don't bother. I will go on.

Fear destroys love. You cannot have love - love cannot exist where fear is. Fear is a tremendous energy. And love has no relationship with fear. They are totally divorced. Right? So what is the origin of fear? Right? All this is to understand, to be alive to the nature of love. If you don't understand all this then go and carry on whatever you are doing. Be happy with it, enjoy yourself, making money, positions and all that. But if you want to go into this very carefully you have not only to examine what is thinking, and the machines, the computers are doing that marvellously - you don't know anything about it. I talked to some of the professors in England just before I came to India, before the speaker came to India. There are computers that can think backwards and forwards. You understand what that means? They can think what? One has to get up at six therefore one has to plan to get up at six. Right? And after six what it has to do. And I believe that is called - I have forgotten, it will come back. So the machines, please understand this for god's sake, the machines, which is the computer - you know that joke? One is praying for god, and there is a computer next door, and the computer says, `Whom are you praying to? God is here.' No sir, you don't know how serious it is. So - architecture, that's the word. I only learnt this recently and it may be wrong, it may be right, a computer can think what has happened and plan what will happen for the future. Which the brain is doing. You understand? You plan to come here, you spend so much money, so much time and then go back, go forward. So the computers can think forwards and backwards, which is call architecture - they may have changed the name by now. I am going to ask one of the specialist here.

So thinking has created fear. Right? Thinking about the future, thinking about the past and not being able to adjust quickly to the environment and so on and so on. So thought and time. Right? No, you don't understand. I will go on. Thought of tomorrow, what might happen, my wife might leave me, or might die. I am a lonely man, then what am I to do? I have several children so I had better marry - remarry someone or other because at least they can look after my children. And so on. That is thinking of the future, based upon the past, right, and so thinking and time are involved in this. Right? Thinking about the future, future being the day after tomorrow, or tomorrow, and thinking about that causes fear. Right? So time, thought, are the factors of fear. And we have examined thought, we have examined time. Time is the past, the present and the future, the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun, planting a seed and it becoming a huge tree. That is time. And also we have got inward time, I am this but I will become a rich millionaire. I am greedy but give me time, I won't be, next life perhaps. And so on and so on. So time and thought are the central factors of fear.

I am looking for a clock.
Audience: Ten past six.
K: Thank you. So I have talked for a hour and a quarter.
Audience: Forty minutes.

K: Is that all, too bad! So, let me finish this. Allow me another twenty minutes, if you don't mind. Do you mind? I won't keep you very long. It won't make any difference if you listen to me or not. You will carry on in exactly the same way as you have been living. You won't change, you won't do a thing because you are caught in a rut, in a groove, in a pattern. And you will go on and death is there. Right?

So we are enquiring into something which you may not understand but it doesn't matter. Time, thought are our principle factors of life. And both time inwardly, I am this but I will be that, or I have been, I shall be, I am, I shall be, all that involves time. And time is thought. They are not two separate things. They are both movements. Then what place has death? You understand sirs? What place in my life has death, suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, all those terrible things I have gone through? That is enough.

Sir, I had better take your watch, whoever will give it to me. I might lose it, or you might lose it.

You understand sirs. Please understand this very carefully. Time, thought are central factors of life. And we are saying thought and time are the factors of fear. That is a fact whether you like it or not. So what has suffering to do with time? You are following all this? What has suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, despair and all the travail that man goes through, is that all our life? You understand what I am asking you? We are journeying together. You are not just sitting there and listening to a nonsensical speaker. I am asking you. This is your life, right sirs, facts, not imagination. You are born, educated and you fit into BAs, MAs, and all the rest of it, PhDs, in order to get a job, or you become a great Prime Minister, or minister, for god's sake, you understand? This is your life. This is your consciousness, your consciousness is composed of your fears, of your knowledge, of your time, you know consciousness. Your knowledge, everything is in your consciousness. And in that consciousness, of which you are, that consciousness you have always thought is yours, mine. My consciousness. You understand my question?

Don't cross your legs, just sit comfortably as you were. Don't suddenly change.

Your consciousness, if you examine it very carefully, not examine it through judgements, evaluations, what you know, but if you examine it very carefully, your consciousness is made up of its content. Right? Do you understand what I am saying? What you think, your tradition, your education, how many fears, whether you want to exchange your wife for a new wife, or whether you go to a certain temple, all that, loneliness, fear, is what you are. You may think you are divine inside but still you are thinking. When you say, 'Yes, there is god in me', it is still the product of thought. So your consciousness, which is what you are, not physically, but psychologically, inwardly which is your consciousness, is the consciousness of mankind.

This we carefully went into. Don't accept anything he says. Every human being on this earth goes through sorrow, pain, anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, quarrels, coaxing, wanting this, not wanting. All that is what you are. If you imagine that you are a god incarnate, that is part of thought. Right? Thought, as we pointed out, is limited. So your consciousness, what you are, is the rest of mankind. Every man goes through this. Or every woman. Every human being goes through this. Right? Every human being: your neighbour, your father, your grandfather, and the past generations all over the world. So you are not individuals. This is a blow. Don't accept it. Examine it, don't say 'It is rot', or 'It is not a fact because the Gita says something', or the Upanishads say something, or the Bible says something - it is a fact that you, your suffering, your pain, your anxiety, your loneliness, your knowledge, is common - I won't use common - is shared by every human being. Right? So you are not a separate soul, a separate atman. I know you don't like this because you were brought up to swallow anything that goes along.

So there must be freedom from fear, from hurts, from every kind of thing human beings have put together. There must be freedom, you understand, not just words. 'India must be free from the rest of the world'. That is just nonsense. Nobody can live by themselves, they need a friend, they need somebody to help them.

So, we are trying to find out, enquire, into what is love. Right? We are saying, as long as there is fear of any kind, biologically, fear of attachment, fear of loss, fear of any kind, the other cannot exist. If there is any kind of attachment the other cannot exist - the other being love. So we are going to enquire, if time allows. Then seeing all this, from the beginning, from the baby to the grown man, seeing what the world is, and enquiring into what is death, why are we all so frightened of death? You understand? You know what it means to die? Haven't you seen dozens of people killed, or hurt, haven't you? No? Are you strange people, or what? Belong to a different planet? We have seen death. We have never enquired very deeply into what is death? It is a very important question, as what is life. You understand? We said life is all this rot. We have said life is knowledge, learning, you know, all that stuff, going to the office regularly every day at 9.0 o`clock, or 10.0 o`clock, quarrelling, battling, wanting this and not wanting, you follow? We know what living is. Right? A series of actions produce a series of reactions and sorrow, pain, that is our life. Then if that is living, which it is, don't say, 'Yes, living is something extraordinary' - this is living, quarrelling, divorcing, fighting. But we have never enquired seriously into what is death. You understand what I am talking about? We know what is living, if you are honest, and you can imagine anything you like but this is living. You can imagine heaven is there and god sort of looking after you, every prayer is answered and all that rot. At least for me, for the speaker. But we have never seriously enquired into what is dying. All right sir?

What is dying? It must be an extraordinary thing to die. No? Extraordinary thing. Everything has been taken away from you: your attachments, your money, your wife, your children, your country, your superstitions, your gurus, your gods, everything is gone. Right? You may wish to take it to the other world but you can't take your money, your bank account. Right? - your attachments, your gurus, your temples. You can invent temples up there, not after you are dead but while living you can invent all the gods on earth. But when death comes it says, 'Look, you cannot take anything with you, all your attachments, all your affections, all your hurts, all the things that you have gathered in life, you can't carry, there is no space for that'. Right? So death says, 'Be totally detached'. Right? That is what happens when death comes. You have no person to lean on, nothing. Right? Have you understood this? You can believe what you will, be reincarnated next life, that is a very comforting idea, but it may not be a fact, it may be your imagination, your longing, your 'I can't leave my wife', I have left so much for my son but I will meet him next life so I'll tell him off and so on.

So we are trying to find out what it means to die, while living, not committing suicide, I am not talking about that kind of nonsense. I want to find out what it means to die. Not jump in the river, I don't mean that, or go off to the Himalayas and die there. But I want to find out for myself what it means to die. Which means can I be totally free from everything that man has created, including myself? You know there is an Italian joke, sorry to repeat it: the whole world will die, perhaps including me! So I want to find out the actual fact when death says, enough. Right? Do you want to find out? No. Do you really want to find out?

What does it mean to die? Give up everything. Right? Not sacrifice, death, sensation, don't use those silly words. It cuts you off with a very, very, very sharp razor from your attachments, from your gods, from your superstitions, from your desire for comfort next life and so on and so on. So I am going to find out what death is because it is as important as living. So how can I find out, actually, not theoretically, make evaluations about it and form societies, and you know, all that circus? But I actually want to find out, as you want to find out, I am speaking for you, so don't go to sleep. So what does it mean to die? One is very healthy, the body is functioning, there is no disease, like K - at ninety one, he has no disease, no pain etc., because I have seen experts, doctors. So what does it mean to die? Put that question to yourself, don't listen to me. While you are young, or when you are very old, this question is always there. Right? It is always asking, demanding what it means to die. Are you interested in this? Are you? Oh no, don't shake your heads. You know what it means? To be totally free, to be totally unattached to everything that man has put together, or what you have put together, totally free. No attachments, no gods, no future, no past. You don't know what it all means either. You don't see the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the extraordinary strength of it. So while living to be dying. You understand what that means? While you are living, every moment you are dying. So throughout life you are not attached to a thing, your wife, your father, your mother, your grandmother, your country, nothing - because that is what death means. Right? You may wish for another life. That is all too easy, too simple, too idiotic.

So living is dying. You understand? Living means every day you are abandoning everything that you are attached to. What you worship, what you think, what you don't think, your gods, your country, nothing. Can you do this? Can you do this? A very simple fact but it has got tremendous implications. So that each day is a new day. You understand? Each day you are dying and incarnating. Oh, you don't understand. There is tremendous vitality, energy there. You understand? Because there is nothing you are afraid of. There is nothing that can hurt, being hurt, it doesn't exist. Thought is limited, therefore it has no importance; it has importance because I have to get up and go in five minutes, but time, thought, fear, attachment, and all the things that man has put together has to be totally abandoned. That's what it means to die. God may be waiting to save you in heaven - it all sounds so ridiculous. So can you do it? Will you try it? Will you experiment with it? Not for just a day; every day. No, sir, you can't do it. Your brains are not trained for this. Your brains have been conditioned so heavily, by your education, by your tradition, by your books, by your professors, all the rest of it. This requires to find out what is love; love and death go together. Because death says be free, non-attached, nothing you can carry with you. And love says - there is no word for it. So love can exist only when there is freedom, not from your wife, for a new girl, or a new husband, but the feeling, the enormous strength, the vitality, the energy of complete freedom.

Next time we meet we will talk about religion and meditation. I hope that is all right. I am sorry there are only three talks but the speaker cannot carry on. You understand? He is ninety one and that is good enough.