What are my rules and principles of life?


J. Krishnamurti


What are my rules and principles of life?


Please follow what I say, critically and intelligently. Don't object, "Must we not have rules? Otherwise our lives would be chaos." Don't think in terms of opposites. Think intrinsically with regard to what I am saying. Why do you want rules and principles? Why do you want them, you who have so many principles by which you are shaping, controlling, directing your lives? Why do you want rules? "Because," you reply, "we cannot live without them. Without rules and principles we would do exactly the things that we want to do; we might overeat or overindulge in sex, possess more than we should. We must have principles and rules by which to guide our lives." In other words, to restrain yourselves without understanding, you must have these principles and rules. This is the whole artificial structure of your lives - restraint, control, suppression - for behind this structure is the idea of gain, security, comfort, which causes fear.

But the man who is not pursuing acquisitiveness, the man who is not caught up in the promise of reward or the threat of punishment, does not require rules; the man who tries to live and understand each experience completely does not need principles and rules, for it is only conditioning beliefs which demand conformity. When thought is unbound, unconditioned, it will then know itself as eternal. You try to control thought, to shape and direct it, because you have established a goal, a conclusion towards which you wish to go, and that end is always what you desire it to be, though you may call it God, perfection, reality.

You ask me concerning my conception of God, truth, beauty, love. But I say, if someone describes truth, if someone tells you the nature of truth, beware of that person. For truth cannot be described; truth cannot be measured by words. You nod your heads in agreement, but tomorrow you will again be trying to measure truth, to find a description of it. Your attitude towards life is based on the principle of creating a mold, and then fitting yourselves into that mold. Christianity offers you one mold, Hinduism offers another, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Theosophy offer still others. But why do you want a mold? Why do you cherish preconceived ideas? All that you can know is pain, suffering, and passing joys. But you want to escape from them; you don't try to understand the cause of pain, the depth of suffering. Rather, you turn to its opposite for your consolation. In your sorrow, you say that God is love, that God is just, merciful. Mentally and emotionally you turn to this ideal of love, justice, and shape yourselves after that pattern. But you can understand love only when you are no longer possessive; from possessiveness arises all sorrow. Yet your system of thought and emotion is based on possessiveness, so how can you know of love?

So your first concern is to free the mind and heart from possessiveness, and you can do that only when that possessiveness becomes a poison to you, when you feel the suffering, the agony which that poison causes. Now you are trying to escape from that suffering. You want me to tell you what my ideal of love is, my ideal of beauty, so that you can make of it another pattern, another standard, or compare my ideal with yours, hoping thereby to understand. Understanding does not come through comparison. I have no ideal, no pattern. Beauty is not divorced from action. True action is the very harmony of your whole being. What does that mean to you? It means nothing but empty words, because your actions are disharmonious, because you think one thing and act another.

You can find enduring freedom, truth, beauty, love - which are one and the same - only when you no longer seek them. Please try to understand what I am saying. My meaning is subtle only in the sense that it can be carried out infinitely. I say that your very search is destroying your love, destroying your sense of beauty, of truth, because your search is but an escape, a flight from conflict. And beauty, love, truth, that Godhead of understanding, is not found by running away from conflict; it lies in the very conflict itself.

(Photo courtesy of The Essential U.G.)



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