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Freedom from the Known

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Krishnamurti shows how people can free themselves radically and immediately from the tyranny of the expected, no matter what their age--opening the door to transforming society and their relationships.

124 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1969

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About the author

J. Krishnamurti

1,038 books3,703 followers
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895 in Madanapalle, a small town in south India. He and his brother were adopted in their youth by Dr Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society. Dr Besant and others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be a world teacher whose coming the Theosophists had predicted. To prepare the world for this coming, a world-wide organization called the Order of the Star in the East was formed and the young Krishnamurti was made its head.

In 1929, however, Krishnamurti renounced the role that he was expected to play, dissolved the Order with its huge following, and returned all the money and property that had been donated for this work.

From then, for nearly sixty years until his death on 17 February 1986, he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to individuals about the need for a radical change in humankind.

Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual's search for security and happiness, and the need for humankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.

Krishnamurti belonged to no religious organization, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On the contrary, he maintained that these are the very factors that divide human beings and bring about conflict and war. He reminded his listeners again and again that we are all human beings first and not Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that we are like the rest of humanity and are not different from one another. He asked that we tread lightly on this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He communicated to his listeners a deep sense of respect for nature. His teachings transcend belief systems, nationalistic sentiment and sectarianism. At the same time, they give new meaning and direction to humankind's search for truth. His teaching, besides being relevant to the modern age, is timeless and universal.

Krishnamurti spoke not as a guru but as a friend, and his talks and discussions are based not on tradition-based knowledge but on his own insights into the human mind and his vision of the sacred, so he always communicates a sense of freshness and directness although the essence of his message remained unchanged over the years. When he addressed large audiences, people felt that Krishnamurti was talking to each of them personally, addressing his or her particular problem. In his private interviews, he was a compassionate teacher, listening attentively to the man or woman who came to him in sorrow, and encouraging them to heal themselves through their own understanding. Religious scholars found that his words threw new light on traditional concepts. Krishnamurti took on the challenge of modern scientists and psychologists and went with them step by step, discussed their theories and sometimes enabled them to discern the limitations of those theories. Krishnamurti left a large body of literature in the form of public talks, writings, discussions with teachers and students, with scientists and religious figures, conversations with individuals, television and radio interviews, and letters. Many of these have been published as books, and audio and video recordings.

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Profile Image for Rakhi Dalal.
212 reviews1,438 followers
November 3, 2014
What is “freedom”? When I have the right to do things as I wish them to, is that called freedom? Or when I can think and speak about issues on my mind, is that freedom? Are we ever actually free? What we do, the things we do, either according to the acceptable notions of society, according to societal idea of virtue, fame or success, or according to our own notions of pleasure, can we say we do it by being entirely free? Can we? Isn’t a free mind also free from the burden of accumulated thoughts of all these years of human existence? Can we put aside the long fed ideals from our psyche and look at everything afresh? Can we? If we can do that, only then can we be free from the known.

This is the crux of J. Krishnamurti’s Freedom from the Known. He asks you to be free from whatever has been known to you in this world through the assistance of religion/society/ideologies and be constantly aware of yourself, of your own thoughts and actions, observing things as they appear to you, not seeing them from a prejudiced mind or under the influence of what is already known to you.

This is a tough book to review. Not because it is difficult to understand but because you do stand the chance of comparing it with other works/authors and also with that which has already been known to you, your own experiences, something which may altogether defy that which Krishnamurti proposes through this work.

He speaks on the topics of faith, truth, fear, conditioning, pleasure, pain, love, meditation and asks you to look within, observe yourself as you really are, not as what you think you are or want to be. What he proposes is something entirely (and refreshingly) different from the ideals of Hindu philosophy pertaining to religion, dharma, atman and God.

Time is the interval between the observer and the observed. That is, the observer, you, is afraid to meet this thing called death. You don't know what it means; you have all kinds of hopes and theories about it; you believe in reincarnation or resurrection, or in something called the soul, the atman, a spiritual entity which is timeless and which you call by different names. Now have you found out for yourself whether there is a soul? Or is it an idea that has been handed down to you? Is there something permanent, continuous, which is beyond thought? If thought can think about it, it is within the field of thought and therefore it cannot be permanent because there is nothing permanent within the field of thought. To discover that nothing is permanent is of tremendous importance for only then is the mind free, then you can look, and in that there is great joy.

He reminded me of Joyce here:

So if you understand that where there is a search for pleasure there must be pain, live that way if you want to, but don't just slip into it. If you want to end pleasure, though, which is to end pain, you must be totally attentive to the whole structure of pleasure - not cut it out as monks and sannyasis do, never looking at a woman because they think it is a sin and thereby destroying the vitality of their understanding - but seeing the whole meaning and significance of pleasure. Then you will have tremendous joy in life. You cannot think about joy. Joy is an immediate thing and by thinking about it, you turn it into pleasure. Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.

And of Camus here:

When you are alone, totally alone, not belonging to any family, any nation, any culture, any particular continent, there is that sense of being an outsider. The man who is completely alone in this way is innocent and it is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.

By asking us to be free from the already known, he is proposing to bring about a revolution in this world in order to make it a better place to live in.

We have reduced the world to its present state of chaos by our self-centered activity, by our prejudices, our hatreds, our nationalism, and when we say we cannot do anything about it, we are accepting disorder in ourselves as inevitable. We have splintered the world into fragments and if we ourselves are broken, fragmented, our relationship with the world will also be broken. But if, when we act, we act totally, then our relationship with the world undergoes a tremendous revolution.

But what he says, though is very appealing, it nonetheless seems to be unattainable. Not because he asks you to be free from the shackles of known and look for yourself but because by the very act of suggesting that, he is proposing a thought, a principle to follow, by making us aware of it, which is contradictory to his ‘ideal’ of the unknown. Now the question which arises is – Can there be anything which is not known? Haven't we, at some times, found ourselves thinking in contradiction to what has been exposed to us in this world? Haven't philosophers or even common people, have thought and expressed it( perhaps in different ways)? And though this question did arise but I cannot deny that the work did really influence me tremendously. For he also says:

If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to follow it, you would merely be copying, imitating, conforming, accepting, and when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of doing it. You have your own particular inclinations, tendencies and pressures which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you suppress yourself - whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you are. If you try to study yourself according to another you will always remain a secondhand human being.

Very intriguing. I cannot say I understand him completely but I do look forward to reading more of him.

Profile Image for Bethan.
166 reviews76 followers
July 11, 2014
My friend died while I was reading this - he killed himself at 25, almost 26-years-old - and this book ties into so much of what I think was wrong about what he was thinking and why he killed himself, and it also helped me to be reading it, because it centered me and gave me perspective - to meditate, to neither be attached nor detached, to understand how violent and toxic society, religion, family, authorities, jobs and other values are.

My friend was too tied to those things and it ultimately killed him because he could not fit well into it, achieve success, happiness, or whatever else that Western society tells you you ought to be. There's that phrase "first world problems", so I don't think it's irrelevant. For example, rates of depression continue to be high in modern society despite wealth and other 'mechnical' solutions like medicine or psychological therapy. Modern society is spiritually sick.

He was South Asian and he told me of the trope of the 'wise Asian' and even though it's a cliche, in this one case I'll concur.. Krishnamurti has extraordinary wisdom.

Having said that, while Krishnamurti thankfully writes simply, it's still quite a radical and difficult philosophy to process and practice. I don't know.. I like the idea of it and I would like to practice it but it seems extraordinarily hard and perhaps it is not even attainable - the world and the pettiness of self always come crashing in - but he has many good things to say and his concept of meditating all the time in terms of being aware of all thoughts and feelings, and understanding their structures, along with rejecting many values, is a good one.

Profile Image for باقر هاشمی.
Author 1 book247 followers
April 21, 2019
چقدر این کتاب خوبه و چقدر دوستش دارم. اولین بار، بعد از خوندن کتابِ تفکر زائد با کریشنا مورتی آشنا شدم و زمانی که "رهایی از دانستگی" رو خوندم مشغول خدمت سربازی بودم. هر فرصتی که توی آسایشگاه پیش می اومد شروع می کردم به خوندنش و در اون فواصل، مطالبش رو توی ذهنم مرور می کردم.
حیف که این کتاب دیگه چاپ نمیشه و تا جایی که من پرس و جو کردم، از کتابخونه ها هم جمع‌اش کردن. فکر کنم این کتاب رو جزو «عرفان های نوظهور» دونستن، مثل کتابهای کارلوس کاستاندا و اوشو. در صورتی که اصلاً اینجوری نیست. مورتی اصلاً دنبال پیرو و مرید جمع کردن نبوده.
اگه بگم کریشنا مورتی در همه‌ی کتابهاش یک چیز رو گفته(اما به شکل های مختلف)، بیراه نگفتم. خیلی از کتابهاش هم متن سخنرانی هاش هستند؛ اون میگه انسان خودش رو به وسیله ی فرهنگ و مذهب و واژه ها و در کل: "تفکر"، به بند کشیده و محدود کرده. برای همین از سطح زندگی نمی تونه به عمق زندگی بره. مثلاً وقتی کسی میگه من مهندس هستم، یعنی فقط مهندس هستم و از بیکرانْ توانایی های دیگه ای که دارم چشم پوشی می کنم. وقتی کسی میگه من فارس هستم، خودش رو از پیوستگی با دنیای انسان ها و م��جودات جدا می کنه و محدود می کنه. و مثال های بیشمار دیگه ای که میشه آورد.
همچنین، مورتی در همه ی کتابهاش روی مسأله خشونت و ترس و عواملی که منجر به ترس میشن تأکید داره و درباره اش صحبت می کنه. در قسمتی از همین کتاب میگه: «آیا ترس نتیجه ی فکر است؟ اگر چنین است می دانیم که فکر همواره کهنه است و در نتیجه ترس نیز همواره کهنه خواهد بود. همانگونه که گفتیم هیچ تفکر جدیدی وجود ندارد. اگر ما این موضوع را تشخیص دهیم، این مسأله نیز حالا کهنه است. بنابراین آنچه که ما از آن می ترسیم در واقع تکرار چیزی کهنه است. تفکر درباره ی آنچه که به سوی آینده فرافکنی شده است. در نتیجه فکر مسئول ایجاد ترس است. شما می توانید به وضوح صحت این امر را در خود ببینید. وقتی شما به طور غیر منتظره با چیزی روبرو می شوید در آن زمان ترسی وجود ندارد. تنها زمانی که فکر شروع می شود، ترس نیز وجود پیدا می کند... یکی از عملکردهای فکر، اشتغال دائم خود با چیزی است. اکثر ما می خواهیم ذهنمان را را دائماً مشغول نگه داریم تا خود را آنگونه که هستیم نبینیم. ما از ذهنِ خالیِ خود می ترسیم و از نگاه کردن به ترس هایمان نیز دچار وحشت می شویم.»
همچنین معتقده که نباید به مورتی نباید به چشم یک راهنما نگاه کنیم چون در اون صورت خودمون رو نادیده گرفتیم: «انسانی که می گوید من می خواهم تغییر کنم اما شما بهمن بگویید چگونه؟ به نظر مشتاق و جدی می اأید. اما این طور نیست. بلکه او مایل به داشتن مرجع قدرت یا سروری است که امیدوار است برای او نظمی درونی به ارمغان بیاورد. اما آیا هیچ مقامی تاکنون توانسته است باعث ایجاد نظمی درونی شود؟ نظمی که از بیرون تحمیل می شود، همیشه ناگزیر آبستن بی نظمی است.»
در کل، خیلی از ابهاماتی که در ادبیات اسلامی داریم و کلید باز کردن خیلی از اون ها و اشعاری که به نظر مبهم و رازآلود میان رو مورتی به ما میده و از اون به بعد، خوندن حافظ و مولانا و ملاصدرا و شمس و ابن عربی لذت دیگه ای پیدا می کنه.
مفاهیمی مثل حجاب، مردن در زندگی، عشق و... مثلاً داستان «طوطی و بازرگان» در مثنوی رو یادتونه؟ که طوطی خودش رو به مردن میزنه و صاحبش وقتی می بینه مُرده از قفس بیرونش میاره و طوطی ناگهان پرواز می کنه و به رهایی و آزادی میرسه؛ مورتی این طور میگه: «وقتی مرگی وجود داشته باشد ناگزیر چیزی کامل و نو نیز وجود خواهد داشت، رهائی از دانستگی، مرگ است و از آن پس شما به مفهوم واقعی، زندگی خواهید کرد.»
27 reviews2 followers
June 9, 2010
I am not going to write reviews of all Krishnamurtis book because my understanding of what he was saying seems to be encompassed in this one.
Many years ago I was on a boat crossing from Greece to Egypt and got talking to an enigmatic lady called Erica. We talked for hours and she suggested that I must be interested in Krishnamurti. I had never heard of him so she wrote down the title of this book
Soon after I got back I bought the book and was mesmerized by the simple and profound truth of what he was saying .No cult, no religion no dogma just a spotlight shone back on to my own conditioning.He does not give you any answers but seems to point out that we have to find our own truth. It is so hard to do this justice but it changed my life. I sometimes jokingly say that understanding Krishnamurti works as a sort of anti viral program against all the nonsense that society fills our heads with.
Profile Image for Chris Chester.
571 reviews84 followers
March 23, 2012
I really don't know how one is supposed to go about reviewing a book like "Freedom from the Known." Krishnamurti is fairly explicit that learning from others is antithetical to true knowledge. Even consciously pursuing truth, he says, only puts a further barrier in front of it. So what's a reader to do?

His advice is essentially to live in the moment. Stop thinking and start experiencing. Don't look for truth, see truth. Instead of trying to improve yourself by consciously aspiring to a greater good, live with your natural anger, jealousy, and loneliness. Don't sink into your vices, and at the same time, don't try and deny them.

If this is sounding like nebulous spiritual hogwash, it's because that's basically what it is. For those stuck in a cage of dogma or preconception, I could see how this work could be life-changing. For anyone with any sense, it's probably not worth the effort, because you've been trying to live this way for some time. Like he says, simply listening to some guru isn't going to help you accomplish your goal.
Profile Image for Alok Mishra.
Author 9 books1,194 followers
April 10, 2019
Exactly the one I was looking for... it challenged my beliefs and also my assumptions. However, there are many things in the book that cannot be followed by human beings who are accustomed to living in the 'world'. Emotions are inevitable as far as we don't want to lead the identity of being human... however, yet, there are many things in the book that, to an extent, give the readers a spur to try and to make things possible.
Profile Image for rahul.
105 reviews260 followers
May 22, 2017

But we do not ask. We want to be told. One of the most curious things in the structure of our psyche is that we all want to be told because we are the result of the propaganda of ten thousand years. We want to have our thinking confirmed and corroborated by another, whereas to ask a question is to ask it of yourself. What I say has very little value. You will forget it the moment you shut this book, or you will remember and repeat certain phrases, or you will compare what you have read here with some other book - but you will not face your own life.

And that is all that matters - your life, yourself, your pettiness, your shallowness, your brutality, your violence, your greed, your ambition, your daily agony and endless sorrow - that is what you have to understand and nobody on earth or in heaven is going to save you from it but yourself.

Profile Image for -uht!.
127 reviews10 followers
July 4, 2008
A few of my favorite quotes from this book. Hopefully I'll come back and put them all in here:

"A man who says, 'I want to change, tell me how to', seems very earnest, very serious, but he is not. He wants an authority whome he hopes will bring about order in himself. But can authority ever bring about inward order? Order imposed from without must always breed disorder."

"To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this, a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor."

"Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders."

"If you start by saying, 'I know myself', you have already stopped learning about yourself"
Profile Image for P.E..
776 reviews558 followers
April 6, 2021
Ici et maintenant

“Truth has no path, and that is the beauty of truth, it is living. A dead thing has a path to it because it is static, but when you see that the truth is something living, moving, which has no resting place, which is in no temple, mosque or church, which no religion, no teacher, no philosopher, nobody can lead you to - then you will also see that this living thing is what you actually are.”

“In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other and these two images have relationship, not the human beings themselves... The actual relationship between two human beings or between many human beings completely ends when there is the formation of images.”

“You say you love your wife. You depend on her; she has given you her body, her emotions, her encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away from you; she gets bored or goes off with someone else, and your whole emotional balance is destroyed, and this disturbance, which you don’t like, is called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are really saying is, ‘As long as you belong to me I love you but the moment you don’t I begin to hate you.”

“The demand to be safe in relationship inevitably breeds sorrow and fear. This seeking for security is inviting insecurity. Have you ever found security in any of your relationships? Have you? Most of us want the security of loving and being loved, but is there love when each one of us is seeking his own security, his own particular path? We are not loved because we don't know how to love.”

“All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society.”

“To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigour and passion. It is only in that state that one learns and observes. And for this, a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another authority, a censor.”


Autant je peux rejoindre l'auteur sur l'impératif d'autonomie, de simplicité et de vraie présence attentive à ce qui est, autant il me paraît très difficile de commencer chaque journée comme une renaissance, de mourir à chaque jour passé. Jiddu Krishnamurti ne tait pas cette difficulté dans son texte. Réapprendre à voir les choses sans les interpréter, sans les faire passer par la médiation de la culture, du langage, de la pensée, donc du jugement ; surtout, se fondre dans l'attention portée à un objet au point d'abolir la frontière entre observateur et observé me paraît assez vague et abstrait à ce stade. D'accord, à porter une attention constante dans une activité comme la lecture par exemple, on en vient à s'oublier dans l'acte de lire, mais quand bien même j'étends l'application de mon attention à une autre subjectivité (celle de l'auteur, de son narrateur, de ses personnages), c'est encore moi qui observe, à partir d'un point de vue qui m'est propre, et en ayant conscience de cette partialité, de cette limite qui me fonde comme subjectivité et permet justement le vertige propre à toute activité attentive, à toute passion.

Dans les temps forts de cette lecture :

- Les ressorts indissociables du plaisir, de la douleur, de la peur, de l'ennui.

- La décomposition du mécanisme de la peur, qui procède de l'attachement à la pensée, et donc à ce qui est déjà arrivé, au connu.

- Les prérequis de la cessation de la violence au point de vue individuel.

- L'enracinement dans le présent comme notre meilleure ressource pour dépasser le connu, ne serait-ce que temporairement.

Lectures voisines :

Sur le vide, le non-agir,
Livre de la Voie Et de la Vertu: Tao Te King

Une traduction du Tao Te King/TaoTeChing/Daodejing sur Wikisource

Piste sonore :
Devonian: Nascent - The Ocean + Katatonia
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books346 followers
August 3, 2023
if you like this review i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com

061018: engaging, concise, insightful, awareness. it is perhaps helpful to have carefully read, thought of, explored, many books or other sources of particularly ‘eastern’ ways of being. this includes, through history and thought, ways religious, philosophical, emotional. perhaps helpful but only in critical manner able for the reader to ‘bracket’ these ‘suppositions’ (phenomenological way) and go ‘beyond’ embedded human senses (bergson) that this or that ‘way’ is final word on how to be...

so, have some reading, that you the reader are aware of exactly how he incorporates, interprets, critiques, these ‘eastern’ ways. his key insight seems to be we individual humans must each become ‘aware’ not simply intellectually ‘know’, not emotionally, not philosophically, not religiously, but by enacting in living- that each of us alone has the possibility and responsibility of absolute freedom of all conditioning: from personal admiration, class, culture, education, expectation, family, genetics, history, ideals, ideology, images, knowledge, nationalism, politics, power, prejudice, racism, sexism, sorrow, and so on. and most importantly, the idea we can be ever free according to or reacting to another’s way of being, so krishnamurti is in fact thus ‘anti-guru’ who refuses to believe he or any other can necessarily ‘teach’ or ‘give’ this awareness...
7 reviews
January 9, 2008
This was the first book (aside from children's shorts, of course!) I read from cover-to-cover out loud. I don't know why, but it occurred to me to take it very slow and allow each word, each sentence to sink in.

My experience through this journey that Krishnamurti invites was a reclaiming of my sense of authority/responsibility over my own life. For me, it was a soul-blooming experience: I opened even wider to the possibility that simply engaging in the direct experience of living might be "where it's at."

Reading through this book deepened my commitment to my personal spiritual practice...already heavily influenced by Buddhism. In a way, Krishnamurti helped me let go of considering that big world religion as any authority I should subject myself to. Instead, take it as informative...an aide/resource.
Profile Image for Raha.
186 reviews184 followers
June 5, 2017
خوندن این کتاب تقریبا 2ماه طول کشید .دلیل اصلیش هم بیشتر این بود که هیچ جوره نمی تونستم با نوشته های کتاب ارتباط برقرار کنم ... هر چند خط یه بار فورا" در مقابل نوشته ها جبهه می گرفتم و تو ذهنم یه بحث مفصل با نویسنده میکردم که "چرا و چطور؟!! "...خلاصه اینکه برای من کتاب جالبی نبود.بیشتر از اینکه به سوالات شما جوابی داده بشه سوالهای بیشتری ی مطرح شده که اکثرا هم بی جواب گذاشته شده یا از خواننده خواسته شده که خودش جواب این سوال ها رو پیدا کنه...یعنی انقدری که تو این کتاب سوال مطرح شده بیشتر شبیه پرسشنامه شده تا چیز دیگه ای
Profile Image for Divya.
31 reviews26 followers
February 1, 2015
Reading Krishnamurthy is a humbling experience. The clarity of his thought is amazing.
I read many philosophers,I would not consider him one. Most people take him for a philosopher but to me he is not. K is an educator.He is a world teacher.Most speakers or writers I know, take you to this mystic world and bring you back. K does not do that. He mastered the art of answering your questions without bringing in mysticism. I truly enjoy that.One of my favorite parts of this and many more of his books - are his inquires on Love. What is Love?He says love is not different from truth. He says love is that state in which the thought process, as time, has completely ceased. He says where there is love there is revolution coz love is Transformation from moment to moment. His meditation techniques are amazing. Stillness!!! I love the fact that he is attributed to coming up with this word ‘Choice less awareness’.So much to inquire!!! Even after years - I read him to inquire with him. His life is very well documented.He inquires beautifully with the readers on the subjects of fear, anger, desire, ego, self, nauseam and more.A must read!!! A true freedom!! A true joy!!!
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
449 reviews273 followers
August 15, 2020
My first read of the author, although I had watched some of his teachings on videos. The voice on the book is very similar with video recordings that I had watched. Even some uncommon rare witty words of the author is recorded. The strong voice of the book is icing the cake for me.

The content of this book is very dense and one of the book with since the early paragraphs this author already explicitly opening no-nonsense thoughts for readers. Throughout this book the author is arguing, questioning, challenging the readers.

I admit I need to read this book very slowly. And I need to re-read this book sooner or later, for helping me questioning my own understanding.
Profile Image for Jenn.
28 reviews5 followers
December 4, 2013
This book is not at all what I expected. Instead of being told what to do, what to feel, and what to think like most philosophers; he instead challenges you to think for yourself and to learn these lessons on your own and not to follow him or any other leader to guide us because that will not succeed in creating change within ourselves. A very radical and inspirational book that is sure to intrigue any reader with an open mind.
Profile Image for MizzSandie.
337 reviews350 followers
March 23, 2013
I had really high expectations for this one, my first Krishnamurti book, and I was severely disappointed, but is having some difficulty figuring out, what exactly it was that rubbed me the wrong way, or rather, didn't rub me the right way...

I was mainly bored, and I guess that might be due to the fact that I never really connected to the voice of Krishnamurti, that somehow his way of talking about the matters at hand, just never really captivated me, never gave me that aching feeling of an expression of something that rings true, something that lights up the darkness you are in, or something that is so honest, clear or beautiful that it's like visiting someplace new and being struck by a familiar feeling of coming home.

Often Krishnamurti seemed like he was going in circles, contradicting himself, and this, combined with a sense of speaking the Truth and not a Truth (something I have a strong aversion to) just had me confused as well as thinking that him and me are not a good match, in spite of the fact that we probably agree on several issues.
I can't be sure on which level we agree, (even if im pretty sure of what i believe) because I'm not exactly sure what Krishnamurti believes, or what, in essence he has been trying to say with this book. Maybe I wasn't supposed to know, to judge, or compare, and so maybe I failed as a reader, but Krishnamurti then failed to get me any closer to my own truth too. Not a good pair then, huh?

One thing I realized towards the end, is that I certainly liked his questions better than his answers. Only his questions weren't really all that new to me, so they didn't really make me go to unexplored territory inside myself. And his answers and their condescending air of having found Truth and now conveying it to the ignorant masses just isn't a voice that I prefer to lend my ear. I prefer someone a bit more open to many perspectives, many practices, many ways to travel towards light and becoming more aware.

There are other authors and spiritual speakers that to me has a clearer and more captivating voice, as well as a more humble, open attitude that I will be exploring (more) of. And so even if i might give Krishnamurti another chance, I doubt it'll be anytime soon.
Profile Image for Zenzile.
40 reviews7 followers
May 8, 2008
One of the first books I have ever read by J. Krishnamurti. He is like no one else in the field of philosophy. I don't actually believe it is even possible to reduce him merely to a field of teaching. Because his purpose is more to awaken the critical thought process, and to stimulate awareness itself. He is not interested in being a self help device or in helping you turn your life around. I would say that the most concise description of his efforts are to turn the critical eye inward in order to see that all without is within and it ain't pretty and that's the truth. "Do not take my word for it." he would say. "See for yourself."

"Life is something to be discovered. And you cannot discover it if you have not lost, put aside the things that you have found. Do experiment with what I am saying. Put aside your philosophies, your religions, your customs, your racial taboos, and all the rest of it. For they are not life. If you are caught in those things, you will never discover life."
Profile Image for M&A Ed.
307 reviews55 followers
June 12, 2019
تجربه ای متفاوت بود البته ارزشمند. معمولا خیلی اعتقادی به کتاب های انگیزشی ندارم. اما این کتاب برایم کاملا متفاوت بود. دوستی می گفت از این کتاب غیر از پرسش های متداول، چیزی به دست نیاوردم؛ اما به نظر می رسد این پرسش ها به نوعی قدرت نویسنده را نشان می داد برای اینکه مخاطب با وی احساس راحتی کند و بداند که این سوال ها؛ فقط خاص او نیست.
از نکات جالب کتاب می توان به بحث های کریشنا مورتی راجع به "عشق"،"ترس"، "دیدن و شنیدن" و... اشاره کرد. برداشت نویسنده نسبت به عشق با آنچه که تاکنون خوانده بودم کاملا متفاوت بود شاید عجیب به نظریاتش راجع به عشق فکر می کنم. درباره ترس هم همینطور؛ معتقد است که انسان باید در زمان اکنون زندگی کند و دلیل بسیاری از ترس هایمان همین است که یا در گذشته غوطه وریم یا در آینده.
دیدن و شنیدن نیز از جمله مباحث مورد علاقه ام بود که به آن هم فکر می کنم که چطور می شود در حالت اضطراب؛ عصبانیت و یا خشم فقط رفتار را مشاهده کرد...
Profile Image for Catie.
213 reviews20 followers
October 6, 2012
"Immaturity lies only in total ignorance of self. To understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom."

"Truth has no path, and that is the beauty of truth, it is living."

"It is one of the most difficult things in the world to look at anything simply."

"Most of us are afraid of living as well as of dying."

"Attention is not the same thing as concentration. Concentration is exclusion; attention, which is total awareness, excludes nothing."

"A mind which is not crippled by memory has real freedom."

"What is a fact is that one is fundamentally and lastingly interested in oneself."

"You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be frightened of."

"Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living."

"If you know love you will not follow anybody. Love does not obey."

"A living mind is a still mind, a living mind is a mind that has no centre and therefore no space and time. Such a mind is limitless and that is the only truth, that is the only reality."

"When you mind wanders off it means you are interested in something else."

"Passion is a rather frightening thing because if you have passion you don't know where it will take you."
Profile Image for Hussain  Laghabi.
267 reviews151 followers
November 5, 2013
As my first experience of reading Krishnamurti whom I found difficult to understand , I've come across many extraordinary ideas which shook my own knowledge regarding seeking truth , love, and happiness, etc. Krishnamurti believes that you are the only one who is responsible for getting his/her own truth and that nobody,no religion,and no beliefs or thoughts can give you the truth. If you ask him : what steps to follow in order to have my own truth? , then there would be no answers. It's just you who can answer this question.

According to Krishnamurti if you try to get some money,to have a good social position,to experience ,or to expect, then you are a slave to authority which pushes you to do everything for the sake of pleasure. So the first step of having your own freedom and finding yourself is to get red of the 'thought' you have in your mind. This thought ,he says, is not yours but it's the others'.

To have your alternative, you can observe rather than an absolute dependence on thought full of memories,pains,and failure. Observation lies at the centrality of seeking truth and freedom without having any kind of authority over you.

Profile Image for Keely.
190 reviews28 followers
May 31, 2014
While reading this book, a quote by Herman Hesse kept playing through my mind. "Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom." With that being said, I found this book to be very interesting with a lot of truth but a very hard read. I understood what Krishnamurti was trying to explain, but it took me a while to process and had to sit with parts of the book for a while to grasp what was being conveyed. I definitely agree with a lot of what was said but it took an open mind and a change in perspective. I definitely think this will be a book I pick up and read again and I will be curious to see if his words hold different meaning for me as I grow older and gain more wisdom myself.
Profile Image for Andrew.
14 reviews
April 9, 2010
I can never tell if krishnamuri is a brilliant philosopher or more akin to a child asking his mother questions about EVERYTHING it sees.

"mommy what's that"
"it's a pen dear"
"mommy what's that..."

His questions are explained in a way that makes them extremly thought provoking. I have lost hours of sleep muddling over even his simple philosophies, like the notion of love for example.

His core principle of never having an absolute understanding makes my brain do cartwheels. If your thinking philosophy, you HAVE to read him.
Profile Image for Julie.
24 reviews1 follower
October 23, 2012
This was difficult reading for me. There were some great nuggets, though, which spoke right to my heart. It could be that I'm too much of a "Western" thinker, I don't know. I read it because a friend of mine said it had been influential in her life. It was worth reading for those nuggets that spoke to me: Question everything I've been taught in this society, directly experience wonder without filters, be open to everything. Just not a fluid read for me nor easily digested.
Profile Image for muthuvel.
257 reviews154 followers
March 2, 2020
Krishnamurthi is Joy. Awareness rather than past thoughts and knowledge. Autodidactic rather than having intoxicated authorities. Loving oneself before expecting others to love the self. Abandoning the self to attain the highest form of experiencing love. I'll be further exploring him.
Profile Image for Zeno.
67 reviews14 followers
February 13, 2013
"A man who knows that he is silent, who knows that he loves, does not know what love is or what silence is."

I am following a man who does not like to be followed.
O, the irony.
Profile Image for Andrew Furst.
Author 5 books25 followers
June 5, 2014
This is an important read for anyone feeling too comfortable in their world view. Krishnamurti swiftly crushes delusions and leaves nothing unscathed in this powerful book
Profile Image for Faezeh Nourikakhki.
21 reviews34 followers
January 27, 2019
"A man who knows that he is silent, who knows that he loves, does not know what love is or what silence is."
Profile Image for Aleksandar.
98 reviews1 follower
December 25, 2021
An intellectual, supposedly non-dogmatic explanation of the Truth of non-duality. Content of the book is true, but for someone who doesn't have enough experience, the book might be a bit too much to process.

It's a book that describes enlightenment, non-duality, how the human being is enslaved by his personality, ideas, attachments etc., but he dismisses every method, philosophy and religion. This is understandable for a person that reached the state that Jiddu was in, but until that happens (99% of people will never achieve it) you need a path to follow, like he did for 2 decades. It's like a world-class mountaineer describing how standing on the highest peak in the world is like and tells you that you simply have to climb it, simply come to the highest peak, ignore all other preparatory goals. And he also doesn't include that he had Sherpa helping him, doesn't list the equipment needed, logistics etc.

It's like he forgot that his entire life was shaped by the Theosophical movement, they invested so much effort in his spiritual and intellectual advancement and that brought him to enlightenment. Now he preaches direct path, simply releasing all attachments, dogmas, polarities, but he didn't achieve enlightenment that way. His outlook is also very sterile, intellectually sharp, distant. It probably has to do with his childhood being taken away from him, and being prepared to be some kind of Messiah.

I don't appreciate books that simply talk about wrong opinions, perspectives etc., but offer no real solutions, besides "bro, just let it all go". We all know it doesn't work like that, or it happens very rarely, like it happened to Eckhart Tolle.

And last but not least, he had a 25 year affair with his friend's wife, that resulted in a couple of abortions and a huge schism in his organization later on. I mention this, because people who claim to be enlightened, have to be held to the highest standards.

I only bought the book because it was really cheap and wanted to explore his philosophy, out of curiosity.

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