Krishnamurti, Zimbalist, McCoy – Religion Is an Enquiry

Krishnamurti, Zimbalist, McCoy – Religion Is an Enquiry

MZ: Sir, if you were willing, we would like
to ask what to you is religion? You differ so fundamentally from most people’s concepts
of religion, we would like you to go into that, if you will. RMc: You often speak of religion and the religious
life but it seems not to be in the way that people generally speak or think of religion. K: First of all it is really rather a beautiful
day today, especially in the middle of October to have such a marvellous clear blue sky,
with all the trees gradually turning into marvellous colours. It is really a very beautiful
day. And I think religion is concerned with that too. RMc: With beauty? K: With beauty. I don’t know what we mean
by the word religion. There are so many interpretations of that word. There is the Catholic religion,
the Christian, the Protestant and the innumerable divisions of Protestantism, and there is Buddhism,
Hinduism, Sikhs and so on. So many religions in the world, organized, some are brutal,
the Islamic world and so on. So what do you consider is religion, the word? Is it the
search for human beings something outside of their own daily life, something other than
their petty self-centred activity, beyond their cruelty, bestiality and their vulgarity
and all the rest of that? Is it that human beings have always sought from the most ancient
of times something beyond themselves? If we consider that, something beyond themselves,
beyond their daily life, then that becomes a religion of escape, which probably most
religions are, as they are now. It is not connected with their daily existence. It is
based on belief, on a book, or on faith, or on some dogma, rituals, the repetition of
daily rituals which goes on practically all over the world – incense, dressing up, fancy
dress and all that. All that, prayer included, is called leading a religious life, going,
as they do in India at one time three times a day to the temple, and the Islamic world
five times prayer, and the Sunday mass and so on. So this is considered religious, or
rather a religious attitude. We are questioning that. I would like rather to question the whole
nature and the structure of present day religion. There are so many sects. They have found that
Christianity is very limited, so they go off to Buddhism, or to some kind of sectarian
gurus and so on, the multiplication of this search for something other than the daily
boredom, daily loneliness, the constant conflict and so on. This has been the pattern. Would
you agree to that? RMc: But underlying this that goes on in the
name of religion, still it seems to be aimed at something that we need, that we want. K: Yes, we said that. There is something that
man is seeking, and gets caught in all this nonsense really, invented by various priests
from the beginning, between god and man and they were the interpreters. At one time they
were, they were the scholars, they were the people who wrote, who studied, who invented
the language and so on. And there has been all the interpreters in between. If one rejects
all that, as I do personally because it seems to me rather immature, rather trying to play,
or pacify, or gratify human demand for something or other than this mundane life, so-called
spiritual life. MZ: Sir, are you saying that the fundamental
search, the fundamental moving towards something, is a real one, it is not… K: …a real one, it is natural. MZ: …just an escape from the difficulties
and the pains and miseries of life. It is something real in the human psyche? K: I think really it is something in the human
psyche, which is in constant conflict, facing constant problems and their solutions, the
pressures, the poverty, the unemployment, the whole human modern existence. In spite
of all this any thoughtful person wants to find out if there is something more. And he
turns to parapsychology, miracles, you know, all that becomes extraneous as far as I am
concerned. So if one discards all this, if it is possible, discard rituals, discard totally
faith, belief, altogether put aside the spiritual hierarchal system. RMc: Any authority. K: The authority, which to me is a criminal
act, to have in the world of so-called spirit an authority. That seems to be an anathema
to me. So if we can put aside all that, if it is possible, and I think it is possible,
not only possible, it is actual, then we have to enquire what is religion? What is the religious
mind, or the religious activity of a human being, not away from daily life, not something
outside our activity from morning until night? If it is concerned with life then we have
to enquire: is it possible living in this modern world, with all the noise that is going
on, preparation for wars, violence, and so on, we all know that, living in this world,
in this state, wherever you are, is it possible to find out, not through others, not through
some book, whether it be the Koran, or the Bible, or some ancient Hindu literature, sacred
literature, but for oneself. And the enquiry into that is not a selfish activity. The enquiry,
or the exploration, or if you like to use the word research, to find out if there is
something beyond man’s process of thought. Because after all thought has put all this
together – the robes, the rituals, the demand for faith, the dogma, the whole thing has
been built up carefully, with great deliberation, the whole structure of so-called religious
way. Would you agree to that? RMc: Yes, but religion seems to say in its
commonly accepted sense that thought must be used to approach whatever it is that man
is trying to find. K: That is what we are asking. That we are
saying, and also questioning whether thought, which has built this whole so-called religious
structure, and also thought has built the extraordinary world of technology. It is the
same thought. Thought in one direction, the technological direction, and thought seeking
out something other than the daily boredom of existence, or the loneliness of existence,
or the suffering of existence. Is thought the instrument? Because thought, perhaps you
will disagree with this, but thought is essentially limited because thought is based on knowledge,
memory and experience. So experience is limited, knowledge is limited now or in the future,
as you can see in the scientific world it is always gathering more and more and more,
and therefore when there is more it is limited. I hope I am making myself clear on this point. RMc: Yes. Whatever there can be more of… K: …obviously. So thought is limited. And
thought is trying to find out the limitless. It can invent, it can imagine and build on
that imagination. Or say there is something and have faith about that. MZ: So many people turn to, or come up with
what they would consider perhaps revelation. K: A revelation. MZ: Which is what in your view? K: These are words which have to be very carefully
considered. What do we mean by revelation? Revealing what? Either a conditioned experience
and therefore limited experience. And if I am devout Catholic and believe in what they
say, dogmas, and all that, saviour, my thought is limited with regard to religion, being
a Catholic – or a Protestant or whatever you will. And that limited thought, limited enquiry
can never put, understand, or grasp the immense significance of that which is immense, immeasurable. MZ: Then what can a person who wants to make
this very fundamental enquiry, what is a person to do? K: That is what I would like to discuss. Suppose
I am one of those who has put aside completely all the religious structure, and hierarchical
authority and all spiritual authority – they have no meaning to me personally – and so
if a man like me says, now I want to find out, I want to really find out if there is
something which thought has not put together. Thought has put together the computer, thought
has put together the whole church, the books, the rituals. They are all limited. So a man
like me says is there something that is not measured by words, first. Right? Because words
are an expression of thought. RMc: And are limited. K: And so words have themselves become very
limited. So one has to be greatly aware of the limitation of thought, of the limitation
of words. And is the brain free from all this? Or it is still conditioned by the tradition,
by the past, the background, as a Christian, a Hindu, Buddhist, Islam and so on, is one
free of all that? If one is not free from all that then your enquiry has no meaning.
You are going round and round in circles. MZ: How can that be determined by the person? K: That requires another enquiry which is,
to do something per se, for itself, not with a motive. I do something in order to get something
else. That is a very limited attitude or activity. So can the brain of an enquirer who has put
aside all this, not because of a reward or punishment, but sees the futility of all this,
the utter meaninglessness of all this, if he puts that aside, deeply, not just verbally
or intellectually, or be caught emotionally, hooked up, as they say, in a belief and pretend
that he is free. That has no meaning. MZ: But that is a very dangerous moment for
the enquirer, it seems to me, because he is apparently giving up certainties and beliefs,
etc. and yet the subtle danger of something else still in that category coming in is very
great. K: No, you are saying something that he has
given up, which is a certainty. But belief isn’t a certainty. MZ: People think of it as so. K: Look, if you face Islamic religion, Hindu,
Tibetan, Christianity and so on, it is now being shattered. People are running away from
all this. And there is no certainty in all this, no security in all this, one may pretend,
one may hope for, but in actuality there is no security, certainty. So the urge for security,
psychically, subjectively, is one of the most dangerous things because one wants security,
one wants to be certain, and that is the pitfall because you can find something and stick to
it and say, “I am certain. I have had marvellous experiences and I am quite sure it is so.” So one has to have this quality of doubt.
Doubt everything, your own experience, your own thinking and all the inhibitions, all
the aspirations, all the imagination, doubt all that because it is one of the strange
factors in certain religions, like Buddhism and Hinduism, doubt is encouraged, doubt.
They say you must doubt, you must question. In Christianity that is taboo altogether.
If you doubted the whole thing would collapse. The heretics, those who doubted were burnt,
destroyed and so on. We won’t go into all the past. So can a human being, who has been nurtured
in all this, educated, conditioned in all this, put aside all that? That is the first
question, to me. To have a brain that has no problems, because a problem that is not
resolved totally creates other problems, so the brain is constantly faced with problems,
and so it is in travail, it is in conflict, it is perpetually battling with itself. So
not to have conflict, then the brain begins to be free, and then begin to enquire. Otherwise
you can’t enquire. If you are a student, or a research professor, or enquirer into any
material thing, you enquire, you research, you don’t cling to anything. You don’t cling
to a former knowledge, or former experience, that is limited, you move on. But we don’t
do that. So religion then is an enquiry and that enquiry
has no path, no direction – you follow – it becomes extraordinary subtle. There must be
no motive. If you have a motive you have already set the course. MZ: Sir, are you also saying that the enquiry
must continue, that you don’t arrive at a point where you stop enquiring, or where you
have an answer, so-called, but that spirit of continuing the enquiry? K: This is rather a difficult question to
answer. Do you enquire further if you come to something that has no space, no time? Do
you understand? When we talk about enquiry, who is the enquirer? We come back to that
old thing. The enquirer is the enquired. I don’t know if I am making myself clear on
that point. That is, I enquire into matter, through telescopes, through all kinds of experiments,
I enquire. But the person who enquires is different from the thing he is enquiring.
Right? That’s clear. But here, in the subjective world, in the world of the psyche, the enquirer
is part of the psyche, he is not separate from the psyche. If that is clear, then the
enquirer has quite a different meaning. MZ: Are you saying that then there is only
enquiry, there is no enquired, or enquirer? K: No, I would say there is only infinite
watching. There is no watcher in watching, but the extraordinary vitality, and the energy
in watching, because you have watched the whole psychological world, subjective world
before you come to that point. And now when you are watching there is no background which
is watching, there is only watching ‘as is’. I don’t know if I am making myself clear?
Because you see that means in great attention, in that attention there is no entity who is
attending, there is only the attention that has space, the attention that is totally quiet,
silent, attention that has tremendous gathering of energy, and therefore there is total absence
of the self-interest. And is that possible for a human being to reach that point? And
human beings find this is terribly difficult, therefore you come along and say, “Look my
friend, do this, do this, do this and you get that. I am your guru,” – you are my spiritual
authority and I am lost, I am caught in again. This has been the process, you can see it
wherever there are the saints, the spiritual hierarchy which recognizes the saint, and
this process goes on all the time. So man has been incapable of standing on his own
feet, he wants to rely on something, whether it is his wife, or in a job, or belief, or
on some extraordinary experience that he may have had. So we are saying, I am saying, there must
be complete freedom. That freedom is not so complicated. There is that freedom when there
is no self-interest at all. Because self-interest is very small, very petty, very narrow and
unless there is complete freedom of that, truth becomes impossible. And truth cannot
be through any path, it is a pathless land. You can’t go through any system, through any
method, through any form of meditation to reach that. There is really no reaching, it

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  1. Truth is a Pathless Land! When pieces of Truth are categorized, organized, possessed, claimed and unconditionally accepted ( blind faith) then they pollute, pause and hurt the indivisibility nature of humanity. While Love, Beauty, Goodness and Truth is dynamic, limitless and exist in each of us. Our rights and responsibilities to put this realization into actions. Thanks K and friends.

  2. So what is man seeking ? What man is truly seeking is an escape from their daily sorrow, misery of existence … in the name of religion.

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