When we speak of philosophy we usually think of the great classics such as Socrates or Plato, Descartes, Bacon, Hume, Kant… But although they are not usually so quoted and named in comparison, there have also been great thinkers in recent centuries.
One of them was Jiddu Krishnamurti, a Hindu writer and philosopher , who throughout his life had made many reflections on various aspects of human existence and condition.
In this article we present a series of phrases by Jiddu Krishnamurti that allow us to understand his thinking and that in turn allow us to reflect on what we think about these issues.
70 quotes from Jiddu Krishnamurti
This is a small selection of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s great phrases on such relevant topics as love and feelings, education, or beliefs and opinions.
1. One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end
What we fear is not that new things will happen, but that we will lose the things we love.
2. The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. There is no end to self-knowledge. You don’t reach an achievement, you don’t reach a conclusion. It is a river without end
We will always be able to discover new things about ourselves that surprise us, helping us to have a clearer vision of who we are and what we want.
3. Education is not simply the acquisition of knowledge, nor the collection and correlation of data, but rather seeing the meaning of life as a whole
The role of education is not only to give data to the learner but to help him/her to structure his/her world and to accept the different facets and perspectives of life.
4. The whole cannot be understood from a single point of view, which is what governments, organized religions and authoritarian parties try to do
A phrase that reflects that there are always multiple perspectives regarding situations and different aspects and elements present in our lives.
5. Only if we listen can we learn. And listening is an act of silence; only a serene but extraordinarily active mind can learn
Listening is much more complex than it seems, and requires a great deal of activity to understand what the other person is telling us and what he or she is not telling us, as well as what he or she wants to tell us or not.
6. Throughout life, from childhood, to school, to death, we are educated by comparing ourselves with others; however, when I compare myself with another, I destroy myself
Competitiveness is something that is instilled in us already in childhood , comparing us continuously with each other. We forget, however, who we are and what makes us special.
7. The word "reach" again implies time and distance. The mind is therefore a slave to the word attain. If the mind can get rid of the words "reach", "reach" and "reach", then seeing can be immediate
The author indicates the importance of not focusing so much on the long term and on those we lack in order to enjoy the here and now and what we already have.
8. The religion of all men should be to believe in themselves
Krishnamurti reflected in this sentence that we should believe in our possibilities and love each other.
9. Have you noticed that inspiration comes when you are not looking for it? It comes when all expectation stops, when the mind and heart become calm
Things usually come up when we don’t look for them desperately. They arise when we are relaxed and at ease with the world and with ourselves.
10. Avoiding a problem only serves to intensify it, and in this process self-understanding and freedom are abandoned
Running away from something does not solve it, it only prolongs the problem and generates anxiety and frustration that in the long run limits us.
11. Learning about oneself requires humility, it requires never assuming that one knows something, it is about learning about oneself from the beginning and never accumulating
It is not so easy to know oneself, and we often start from conceptions that are biased towards how we are. As with our relationship with others, understanding requires not prejudging oneself .
12. One is the world, not separated from the world. It is not American, Russian, Hindu or Muslim. One is none of these labels and words, one is the rest of humanity because their consciousness, their reactions are similar to those of others. You may speak a different language, you may have different customs, that is the superficial culture, all cultures apparently are superficial but your consciousness, your reactions, your faith, your beliefs, your ideologies, your fears, anxieties, your loneliness, suffering and pleasure are similar to the rest of humanity. If you change, it will affect all of humanity
We are all part of the world, and we share our being with the rest of it.
13. Fear corrupts intelligence and is one of the causes of egocentricity
Fear can paralyze us and prevent us from acting.
14. It is not a sign of good health to be well adapted to a deeply ill society
Adapting to something is not always good, when it goes against the grain.
15. Love gives itself as a flower gives its perfume
The author proposes that love corresponds to love by nature , although it may not be the same kind we would like.
16. Sow wheat once, you reap once. Plant a tree, you will reap ten times. By instructing the people, you shall reap a hundred times
Krishnamurti points out the importance of instruction and training on how to solve problems in order to solve them, rather than providing a temporary patch.
17. For the hope of tomorrow we sacrifice today, yet happiness is always in the now
We cannot be happy if we think only of the future, for it is now that we are living.
18. Freedom is essential to love; not freedom from revolt, not freedom to do what we like or to give in openly or secretly to our desires, but rather the freedom that comes with understanding
Krishnamurti indicates that love comes from understanding of oneself and the other.
19. Only when the mind is free of ideas and beliefs can it act correctly
The author states that our opinions and prejudices make it difficult and difficult for us to see the world and to make judgments.
20. Virtue is freedom, not a process of isolation. Only in freedom can there be truth. It is therefore essential to be virtuous, and not respectable, because virtue produces order. Only the respectable is confused, in conflict: only the respectable exercises his will as a means of resistance, and such a person can never find the truth because he is never free
The author expresses that to know the truth it is necessary to walk a path of virtue and self-liberation.
21. What is decisive for bringing peace to the world is our daily behavior
While we can do great momentary acts, it is what we do every day that marks the future and our role in the world.
22. Life is an extraordinary mystery. Not the mystery that is in books, not the mystery that people talk about, but a mystery that one has to discover for oneself; and that is why it is so important for you to understand the small, the limited, the trivial, and to go beyond all that
Each of us has to understand himself and his role in the world.
23. The way you eat is very important: if you make noise while eating, that matters a lot. The way you behave, the manners you have when you are with your friends, the way you talk about others… All these things matter because they indicate what you are internally, they indicate whether or not there is internal refinement. A lack of internal refinement is expressed in the external degeneration of form
The author refers to the significance that can have what we express with our behavior.
24. Happiness is strange; it comes when you do not seek it. When you are not making an effort to be happy, unexpectedly, mysteriously, happiness is there, born of purity
Happiness usually appears in a pure form at often unexpected moments , when we are ourselves and appreciate the now without worrying about looking for it.
25. The meaning of life is to live
Many people throughout history have been concerned about why we live. The answer lies in the question itself: we live to live.
26. Wisdom is not an accumulation of memories, but a supreme vulnerability to the true
The author expresses that it is not age that makes us wise, but rather open to accepting and understanding the different perspectives on life.
- You may be interested in: “Wise people: these are the 6 characteristics that define them”
27. When there is no love in our heart, there is only one thing left: pleasure; and that pleasure is sex, so it becomes a huge problem
Krishnamurti considers that using sex as a substitute for love makes us suffer. He refers to sex that is maintained by mere compensation of emotional deficiencies.
28. The search becomes another escape from what we really are
To be continually searching means that we do not focus on the present or on what we already have, nor on who, what or how we are. Some people spend their lives searching to avoid facing themselves.
29. The end is the beginning of all things, suppressed and hidden. Waiting to be released through the rhythm of pain and pleasure
The author considers that beginning and end are equal concepts, establishing an endless cycle. The end allows the beginning.
30. No matter how intense the storm, the spirit must always remain impassive
This phrase pushes us to remain calm even though the circumstances may be very adverse .
31. Discipline can only build walls around us; it is always exclusive, and always provokes conflict. Discipline does not lead to understanding, because understanding is reached through observation, through study, without prejudice of any kind
Although the discipline is socially desirable, it is easy to generate conflict by not allowing a true understanding of what is happening.
32. No book is sacred, I can assure you. Just like the newspaper, they are only pages printed on paper, and there is nothing sacred in them either
Krishnamurti was critical of the idea of the existence of books considered sacred.
33. What is important, especially while one is young, is not to cultivate memory but to awaken a critical spirit and analysis; for only in this way can one come to understand the real meaning of a fact rather than rationalize it
This phrase expresses that the important thing is to know how to understand, make sense of and doubt the things that are presented to us, not to memorize them by accepting them without further ado.
34. To love is not to ask for something in return, not even to feel that you are giving something, and that is the only love that can know freedom
The one who truly loves does not ask or demand anything of the other, not even to be loved. To love implies the desire for freedom for both parties, without imposing one’s own feelings.
35. The world is as full of opinions as it is of people. And you know what an opinion is. You say this, and someone else says that. Everyone has an opinion, but the opinion is not the truth; therefore do not listen to a mere opinion, no matter whose it is, but find out for yourself what is true. Opinion can change overnight, but we cannot change the truth
The author points out the importance of taking into account that opinions are fickle and not objective, so we should not get carried away by them.
36. When you listen to someone, completely, attentively, you are listening not only to the words but also to the feeling of what they are conveying, to the whole, not just part of it
Understanding someone means not only listening to what they say, but also to what they don’t say and the emotions involved in their interaction with you.
37. If one observes, one will see that the body has its own intelligence; it requires a great deal of intelligence to observe the intelligence of the body
Our body is wise and most of the time it knows what it is doing: it reflects our needs, informs us of its state and acts so that we move in the right direction.
38. When one loses his relationship with nature and the open skies, he loses his relationship with other human beings
The connection with the world around us is an element that we are losing more and more, and that means the loss of a great part of our being.
39. We always cover the inner nothingness with one of the so-called deadly sins
The author states that excesses are only one way of trying to make up for our internal shortcomings.
40. One of the strange things about love is that whatever we can do, it will be right if we love. When there is love the action is always right, in all circumstances.
True love (not to be confused with possessiveness) leads us to act for the well-being of the loved one.
41. We cultivate the mind by making it more and more ingenious, more and more subtle, more cunning, less and less sincere, and more and more incapable of facing facts
It criticizes the tendency to try to boost some capacities at the price of ceasing to be authentic.
42. The desire that is not realized ends up becoming rage, anguish and human misery. Our great enemies in life are precisely those friends and relatives from whom we expect too much and who expect a perfect correspondence to what we gave them.
We often tend to believe that others should reciprocate our affections and efforts. And when this does not correspond to reality pain and suffering arise .
43. If we remain totally attentive to what is, we will understand it and be free of it; but to be attentive to what we are, we have to stop fighting for what we are not
We must stop shutting ourselves up in what we think we should be and be able to accept who we really are.
44. When one is attentive to everything, one becomes sensitive, and to be sensitive is to have an inner perception of beauty, is to have a sense of beauty
To be able to see beauty it is necessary to be sensitive , for which it is necessary to observe the world with curiosity.
45. If you possess clarity, if you are an inner light for yourself, you will never follow anyone
The author proposes that we be ourselves and think and be guided by what we create, without depending on third parties.
46. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, there’s a simple deal, something you can buy at the market; that’s not love
Jiddu Krishnamurti lets us see that love arises from correspondence between two people who love each other and not only because one loves the other.
47. Only the individual who is not trapped in society can influence it in a fundamental way
This phrase indicates that the one who is not influenced by what society dictates is the one who will have a vision that can change things.
48. One does not first understand and then act. When we understand, that absolute understanding is action
The author indicates that understanding is a complete action in itself.
49. The idea of ourselves is our escape from the fact of who we really are
This phrase refers to our ideal self, which prevents us from really approving of who we are.
50. Passion is a pretty scary thing because if you have passion you don’t know where it will take you
The author reflects the fears of being carried away that much of the population has.
51. Beware of the man who says he knows
He who is wise does not need to proclaim it, and he who does is probably not wise and intends to benefit from what it would mean to be wise.
52. What is needed, instead of escaping, controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is to understand fear; this means looking at it, learning about it, going to contact it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it
Again the author expresses the need not to try to avoid emotions like fear but to try to learn from it and how to cope successfully.
53. It is because we are so dry ourselves, so empty and unloved, that we have allowed governments to take over the education of our children and the direction of our lives
Krishnamurti criticizes the excessive directivity on the part of governments with regard to our way of living life.
54. We waste our energy because of conflict, quarrels, fear and vanity. When our energy is not wasted at all, we have all the energy in the world. As long as our brain does not deteriorate because of conflict, ambition, effort, struggle, feelings of loneliness, discouragement, etc. we have energy in abundance
Krishnamurti reflects in this sentence the great level of energy we have, which is nevertheless wasted in such matters.
55. If one wants to understand and free oneself from fear, one must also understand pleasure; both are related to each other. They are two sides of the same coin. One cannot be free of one without being free of the other: if we are denied pleasure, all psychological tortures will appear
This phrase reflects the need to feel both fear and pleasure in our lives, since they are related. It also reflects the need to allow ourselves to feel pleasure and the possible appearance of problems and suffering linked to their absence.
56. The process of fighting something only feeds and strengthens what we are fighting
Active avoidance of a thought or fear only makes it stronger.
57. I hold that the truth is a land without a path and you cannot reach it by any path, by any religion, or by any sect
The truth is something that everyone must achieve on their own, and we cannot be guided by any kind of dogma or ideology.
58. Without love, life is very sterile; without love the trees, the birds, the smiles of men and women, the bridge that crosses the river, the boatmen who sail on it, the animals, have no meaning. Without love life is like a shallow well. In a deep river there is wealth and many fish can live; but the shallow well is soon dried up by the intense sun and nothing remains in it except mud and dirt.
The fact of loving is discovered as one of the great forces that govern our life and allow us to give it meaning.
59. When the mind is completely silent, on both the superficial and the deep levels; the unknown, the immeasurable can be revealed
This phrase expresses the need to stop forming preconceived ideas and to silence our minds in order to grasp and observe the unknown cleanly.
60. By giving a name to something we have merely put it in a category, and we think we have understood it; we do not look at it more closely. But if we do not name it, we are obliged to look at it. In other words, we approach the flower, or whatever it is, with a sense of novelty, with a new quality of examination: we look at it as if we had never looked at it before
Classifying the world makes us stop paying attention to all its details. This phrase pushes us to not do it in order to learn and enjoy every little aspect of life.
61. Between two solutions, always opt for the more generous one
Generosity is a rare virtue, but one that involves benefiting not only oneself but also the rest of the world.
62. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, what “is”, and education is the process of awakening this capacity in ourselves and in others
The author considers intelligent not the one who has knowledge but the one who is able to see beyond the observable. He also highlights the role that education should have in facilitating this.
63. Do not repeat after me what you do not understand. Don’t merely put on a mask of my ideas, because that will be an illusion and you will be lying to yourself
This phrase asks us to be ourselves and think for ourselves, without assuming the ideas and thoughts of others as our own .
64. To transform the world we must begin with ourselves and what is important to begin with ourselves is the intention
If we want to change things, we must be willing to change ourselves and accept those changes.
65. Tell your friend that in his death a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you go too. You will not be alone
We are united with the people we truly love and value. Even beyond death, we have given a part of ourselves to those people and we will never leave them behind.
66. Self-perfection is the very antithesis of freedom and learning. Discover how to live without comparing and you will see that something extraordinary happens
Trying to perfect ourselves starts with comparing the real me with the ideal one. To accept oneself totally is incompatible with this, and would allow us to be free.
67. To understand life is to understand ourselves, and this is jointly the beginning and the end of education
Education has to serve us to get in touch with ourselves, to understand us and to build us up.
68. True freedom is not something that can be acquired; it is the result of intelligence.
Freedom is not “learned”, but is achieved throughout life if we gain the ability to reflect on what is important and understand ourselves.
69. When a boy is told an interesting story, he listens with an enormous sense of curiosity and energy. He wants to know what will happen, and he waits anxiously until the end. But we, adult people, have lost all curiosity and the energy to discover, that energy needed to see things clearly as they are, without distorting them
The author expresses and criticizes that over the years we stop listening for real to focus on interpreting what they intend to say to us according to what we believe.
70. All life is a movement in relationship. There is nothing living on Earth that is not related to one thing or another. Even the hermit, a man who goes off to a lonely place, remains in relation to the past and to those around him. It is not possible to escape from the relationship. In that relationship, which is the mirror that allows us to see ourselves, we can discover what we are, our reactions, our prejudices and fears, the depressions and anxieties, the loneliness, the pain, the grief, the anguish
We are all related to everything, and it is that relationship with the world that allows us to see who we are.