Mind and Universe

The following is a series of extracts, set out in chronological order, that attempts to show how Krishnamurti’s language relating to “mind and the universe” underwent an expedited intensification following a highly significant meditative event that Krishnamurti had in November/December of 1979 (I have been unable to find a precise date for it), in Rishi Valley. I am sharing this because I wasn’t aware of the whole timeline before, and because this issue of the mind’s relationship to the universe is not covered in detail anywhere that I am aware of, and so might be of interest to those who know nothing about it at all.

Relevant passages will be highlighted in bold for easy access.

Decades earlier, in 1961, Pupul Jayakar recalls in her biography of K - J. Krishnamurti: A Biography - a remark he made during one of their discussions, which is relevant here:

The mind is a vast thing. It is not a spot in the universe. It is the universe. To investigate the universe demands an astonishing energy. It is energy greater than all rockets, because it is self-perpetuating, because it has no centre…. Such a mind is the religious mind. (Jayakar’s biography, chapter 21)

However, it seems that Krishnamurti did not develop this this specific language of ‘mind and universe’ to any substantial degree that I am aware of until an important incident took place - as already mentioned - in November/December of 1979, when Krishnamurti was staying at Rishi Valley (during one of his annual visits). In her biography Pupul Jayakar records a statement K made during this time about ‘mind and universe’, and the stirrings of an inquiry into an ‘ultimate ground’ (a matter that would take on significance in his discussions with David Bohm).

The purity of the mind is the mind of the universe. That is sacred…. Is there an ultimate beyond which there is nothing? A ground from which everything is, behind and beyond which there is nothing, no cause? (Jayakar’s biography, chapter 33)

The chronology of all this is important, as it was during this visit to Rishi Valley that Krishnamurti had a powerful series of meditative experiences (or insights) which significantly influenced his thinking over the coming few years. The event itself was later dictated (in the third person) by Krishnamurti to Mary Zimbalist (in 1980), but describes what took place during this earlier November/December 1979 period at Rishi Valley:

For a long time he has been awakening in the middle of the night with that peculiar meditation which has been pursuing him for very many years. This has been a normal thing in his life. It is not a conscious, deliberate pursuit of meditation or an unconscious desire to achieve something. It is very clearly uninvited and unsought…. each meditation has a quality of something new and fresh in it. There is a sense of accumulating drive, unsought and uninvited. Sometimes it is so intense that there is pain in the head, sometimes a sense of vast emptiness with fathomless energy. Sometimes he wakes up with laughter and measureless joy. These peculiar meditations, which naturally were unpremeditated, grew with intensity. Only on the days he travelled or arrived late of an evening would they stop; or when he had to wake early and travel. With the arrival in Rishi Valley in the middle of November 1979 the momentum increased and one night in the strange stillness of that part of the world, with the silence undisturbed by the hoot of owls, he woke up to find something totally different and new. The movement had reached the source of all energy. This must in no way be confused with, or even thought of, as god or the highest principle, the Brahman, which are the projections of the human mind out of fear and longing, the unyielding desire for total security. It is none of those things…. One may ask with what assurance do you state that it is the source of all energy? One can only reply with complete humility that it is so. All the time that K was in India until the end of January 1980 every night he would wake up with this sense of the absolute. It is not a state, a thing that is static, fixed, immovable. The whole universe is in it, measureless to man. When he returned to Ojai in February 1980, after the body had somewhat rested, there was the perception that there was nothing beyond this. This is the ultimate, the beginning and the ending and the absolute. There is only a sense of incredible vastness and immense beauty. (Mary Lutyens, The Life and Death of Krishnamurti, chapter 17)

In April (1980) following this event, Krishnamurti began a well-known series of discussions with David Bohm - collected together in the book The Ending of Time - where Krishnamurti began to explore this insight more deeply.

In this series of conversations Krishnamurti and Bohm ask whether time and thought can end, and what might take place were that to happen - during which (in their very first conversation in fact) Krishnamurti recalls the incident already described as an essential clue to their inquiry:

K: Now, if there is no inward movement as time, moving, becoming more and more, then what takes place? You understand what I am trying to convey? Time ends…. Now, if that movement ends, as it must, then is there a really inward movement—a movement not in terms of time? … I am a little bit hesitant to talk about this. Could one say, when one really comes to that state, that it is the source of all energy?
DB: Yes, as one goes deeper and more inward.
K: This is the real inwardness…. One night at Rishi Valley in India I woke up. A series of incidents had taken place; there had been meditation for some days. It was a quarter past twelve; I looked at the watch [laughs]. And—I hesitate to say this, because it sounds extravagant and rather childish—the source of all energy had been reached. And that had an extraordinary effect on the brain, and also physically. Sorry to talk about myself, but you understand, literally any sense of . . . I don’t know how to put it . . . any sense of the world and me, and that—you follow?—there was no division at all. Only this sense of tremendous source of energy.
DB: So the brain was in contact with this source of energy?
K: Yes. Now, coming down to earth, and as I have been talking for sixty years, I would like another to reach this—no, not reach it. You understand what I am saying? Because all our problems—political, religious—all are resolved. Because it is pure energy from the very beginning of time…. We must be very careful because here the Hindus have this idea too, which is that Brahman is everything. You understand? But that becomes an idea, a principle, and is then carried out. But the fact of it is - there is nothing; therefore there is everything, and all that is cosmic energy. But what started this energy? … This, the body, is not different from energy. But the thing that is inside says, “I am totally different from that.” … Does it mean then that there is only the organism living—which is part of energy? There is no K, no “me” at all, except the passport, name, and form, otherwise nothing? And therefore there is everything, and therefore all is energy? … Then what is going on? Is that creation? (April 1980 - The Ending of Time, The Roots of Psychological Conflict)

In the next conversation they then begin to speak of the source of this creative energy as the “ground” of the universe (recalling the language K had used when speaking with Pupul Jayakar in Rishi Valley):

K: Would you say everything has a cause, and that has no cause at all?… Emptiness and silence and energy are immense, really immeasurable. But there is something that is—I am using the word “greater”—than that… if I say there is something greater than all this silence, energy, would you accept that?.. I feel that is the beginning and the ending of everything
DB: Yes. If we take the ground from which it comes, it must be the ground to which it falls.
K: That’s right. That is the ground upon which everything exists, space…. energy, emptiness, silence, all that is. All that…
DB: So you could say the ground is neither born nor dies.
K: That’s right… You see, I am just explaining: Everything is dying, except that. Does this convey anything?
DB: Yes. Well, it is out of that that everything arises, and into which it dies.
K: So that has no beginning and no ending. (April 1980 - The Ending of Time, Cleansing the Mind of the Accumulation of Time)

They go on to speak of this ground as a “movement without time”, and that when the mind is “of that movement” then there ceases to be any fear of death:

K: And I also ask, “Is that movement without time?” It seems that it is the world. You follow?
DB: The universe.
K: The universe, the cosmos, the whole.
DB: The totality.
K: Totality. Isn’t there a statement in the Jewish world, “Only God can say ‘I am’”?
DB: Well, that’s the way the language is built. It is not necessary to state it.
K: No, I understand. You follow what I am trying to get at?
DB: Yes, that only this movement is.
K: Can the mind be of that movement? Because that is timeless, therefore deathless.
DB: Yes, the movement is without death; insofar as the mind takes part in that, it is the same.
K: You understand what I am saying?
DB: Yes. But what dies when the individual dies?
K: That has no meaning, because once I have understood there is no division…
DB: Then it is not important.
K: Death has no meaning…. I see that there is a movement, and that’s all. Which means death has very little meaning.
DB: Yes.
K: You have abolished totally the fear of death.
DB: Yes, I understand that when the mind is partaking in that movement, then the mind is that movement.
K: That’s all! The mind is that movement.
DB: Would you say that matter is also that movement?
K: Yes, I would say everything is…. In darkness I could invent many things of significance; that there is light, there is God, there is beauty, there is this and that. But it is still in the area of darkness. Caught in a room full of darkness, I can invent a lot of pictures, but I want to get something else. Is the mind of the one who has this insight—who therefore dispels darkness and has understanding of the ground which is movement without time—is that mind itself that movement? (April 1980 - The Ending of Time, Death Has Very Little Meaning)

Moreover, this “movement without time” is a movement in meditation, a meditation that includes the whole universe!

K: Would you say—I hope this doesn’t sound silly—that the universe, the cosmic order, is in meditation?
N: If you say that the universe is in meditation, is the expression of it order? What order can we discern which would indicate cosmic or universal meditation?
K: The sunrise and sunset; all the stars, the planets are order. The whole thing is in perfect order….
DB: Why do you use the word “meditation”?
K: Don’t let’s use it.
DB: Let’s find out what you really mean here.
K: Would you say a state of infinity? A measureless state?
N: What exactly did you mean when you said that the universe is meditation?
K: I feel that way, yes. Meditation is a state of “non-movement movement.”….
DB: Thought has entangled the brain in time.
K: All right. Can that entanglement be unravelled, freed, so that the universe is the mind? You follow? If the universe is not of time, can the mind, which has been entangled in time, unravel itself and so be the universe? (June 1980 - The Ending of Time, Cosmic Order)

All throughout these discussions Krishnamurti and Bohm continued to ask, What is the relationship of the mind - the mind that has emptied itself of psychological time and thought, and is therefore still, “without movement” - to the universe? And in September 1980 they return to this again:

K: We said that this emptiness is in the mind. It has no cause and no effect. It is not a movement of thought, of time. It is not a movement of material reactions. None of that. Which means is the mind capable of that extraordinary stillness without any movement? And when it is so completely still, there is a movement out of it. It sounds crazy!… And is that movement out of stillness the movement of creation? … Creation is eternally new…. but to come to that point where the mind is absolutely silent, and out of that silence there is this movement which is always new…. Would you say that silent movement, with its unending newness, is total order of the universe?
DB: We could consider that the order of the universe emerges from this silence and emptiness and is eternally creative.
K: So what is the relationship of this mind to the universe? … There is this absolute stillness, and in or from that stillness there is a movement, and that movement is everlastingly new. What is the relationship of that mind to the universe?
DB: To the universe of matter?
K: To the whole universe: matter, trees, nature, man, the heavens.
DB: That is an interesting question.
K: The universe is in order; whether it is destructive or constructive, it is still order…. The eruption of a volcano is order.
DB: It is order of the whole universe.
K: Quite. Now, in the universe there is order, and this mind which is still is completely in order.
DB: The deep mind, the absolute.
K: The absolute mind. So is this mind the universe?
DB: In what sense is that the universe? We have to understand what it means to say that, you see.
K: It means is there a division, or a barrier, between this absolute mind and the universe? Or are both the same?
DB: Both are the same.
K: That is what I want to get at…. Now I say, are the universe and the mind that has emptied itself … are they one?
DB: Are they one?
K: They are not separate; they are one.
DB: It sounds as if you are saying that the material universe is like the body of the absolute mind.
K: Yes, all right, all right.
DB: It may be a picturesque way of putting it!
K: We must be very careful also not to fall into the trap of saying that the universal mind is always there…. They have said that God is always there; Brahman, or the highest principle, is always present, and all you have to do is to cleanse yourself and arrive at that. This is also a very dangerous statement, because then you might say there is the eternal in me.
DB: Well, I think thought is projecting.
K: Of course! … So we have come to a point that there is this universal mind, and the human mind can be of that when there is freedom. (September 1980 - The Ending of Time, The Mind in the Universe)

In the January following this series of dialogues with Bohm, the language of ‘mind and universe’ continued again with Pupul Jayakar.

K: The universe is in a state of meditation and that is the ground, that is the origin of everything. That is only possible when the meditator is not…. In that there is absolutely freedom from sorrow. That state of meditation has come with the complete ending of the self. Beginning may be the eternal process, the beginning, an eternal beginning. How is this possible? Is it at all possible for a brain, for a human being to be so completely, utterly free of the meditator? Then there is no question whether there is God or no God. Then that meditation is the meditation of the universe. (Jayakar biography, chapter 39 - January 1981)


K: Don’t think I am crazy. I have never felt as I feel now. That the universe is so close, as though my head was stuck in the universe. Does it sound crazy?
PJ: Are you saying that all barriers have ceased?”
K: You see, the words ‘Buddha,’ ‘Maitreya,’ have lost meaning. I have a feeling that all verbal sensation has ended.
PJ: You said something about being very close to the universe?
K: Yes, my head is in it. (Jayakar biography, chapter 41 - December 1981)

In the following year Krishnamurti and Pupul Jayakar had another significant dialogue on the subject, titled, Reading the Book of Mankind (Rishi Valley, 18th December, 1982), where they carefully distinguished between the ‘brain’ and the ‘mind’:

K: What is the mind - may I go into that? - what is the mind and what is the brain? …. the brain has extraordinary capacity, as shown in the technological world. I mean, what they are doing is incredible. And in the other direction, in the psychological realm, it hasn’t moved at all, perhaps a centimetre, less than a centimetre. And because it has not moved, it has not flowered, it is conditioned, it is limited. And the mind is not limited.
PJ: When you talk of mind, you speak of what?
K: This is difficult. I’ll go… The whole… the mind of the universe, the mind of the nature - you follow? - everything that has been created is the movement of the mind.
PJ: Everything that has been created.
K: And is…
PJ: And is in the process of creating.
K: All this. Therefore there is no limit to creation….
PJ: The brain and the mind. That the brain being limited and not having moved can only move within its own circle. The mind being the very source of creation has no limits.
K: Yes, that’s right…. And we are saying that as long as that brain is conditioned it can never understand the immensity of the nature of the mind. If you see, the responsibility then is to uncondition the brain, uncondition the limitation which thought has imposed upon it…. [Therefore] I say the brain which is limited cannot understand what the mind is. It can only apprehend, aware of it when there is no conditioning…. Then I am saying the brain is the mind, when it is totally free…. then there is no sense of division, it is the sense of whole, completeness, holiness…. The brain has done extraordinary things. And psychically, psychologically it has not moved an inch after all these forty thousand years. Now, if there is a breakthrough of that cycle then I am saying there is no division between the mind and the brain, and the energy of the brain…. You understand? … when that limitation has been broken down, or broken through, then there is a totally different energy…. The story of mankind is an endless movement. Right? It had no beginning and no end.… Right? It has no ending…. to realise there is no end – you know what it means? Then you enter into something called love – love has no end…. When you have come to this really deep point where there is… that this book has no end and no beginning, which means you are that book. Not that ‘you’ become eternal, which is dangerous again, but that life as this movement has no end. It is then the universe. Right? Then the cosmos is this whole thing.

The next year, June 1983, when Krishnamurti was staying at Brockwood, Pupul Jayakar visted and they continued the thread of their discussion, in a dialogue titled Why Are We Afraid To Be Nothing?

K: The brain, whatever part it is, is conditioned by time and thought, time-thought. As long as that conditioning remains, insight is not possible. You may have occasional insight into something, but pure insight, which means comprehension of the totality of things - yes, I’ll use the word ‘totality’, not wholeness because that word is now being used so much - it is the perception of completeness. Right? That insight is not of time-thought. Therefore that insight is part of that brain which is in a different dimension…. That is, the ending of the movement which is the psyche, which is time-thought. The ending of that is to be nothing. Nothing then contains the whole universe - not my petty little fears and petty little anxieties and problems, and my sorrow with regard to, you know, a dozen things. After all, Pupulji, nothing means the entire world of compassion - compassion is nothing. And therefore that nothingness is supreme intelligence. That’s all there is. I don’t know if I am conveying this…. The astrophysicists are trying to understand the universe. They can only understand in terms of gases, but the immensity of it as part of this human being, not out there, here. Which means there must be no shadow of time and thought. Pupul, after all that is real meditation, that’s what ‘sunya’ means in Sanskrit…. But, Pupulji, especially in the Indian tradition, from the Buddha to Nagarjuna, and the ancient Hindus, have said there is that state of nothingness, which, they said, you must deny the whole thing. Nagarjuna says - he came to that point, as far as I understand, I may be mistaken, what I have been told - that he denied everything, every movement of the psyche…. It is there in the books, or it is there in tradition. Why haven’t they pursued that? Even the most intelligent of them, even the most religious devotee - not to some structure but to the feeling of… the feeling of the divine, the sense of something sacred - why haven’t they pursued, denying, not the world - you can’t deny the world, they have denied the world, and made a mess of their own lives - but the total negation of the 'me’…. I believe only in the Hebraic tradition, Jehovah, or whatever, the nameless one can only say ‘I am’, like ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ and so on in Sanskrit.

The final extract returns us to Rishi Valley, and a small group discussion in 1984 (December 19) between Krishnamurti and Pupul (among others), where K speaks of “love” as a state of silence, of nothingness, “outside the brain” - which holds the whole of nature, the whole world, in its quality:

Would you say the brain is the centre of all our nervous, electrical responses? It is the centre of all thought. It is the centre of all confusion, pain, sorrow, anxiety, depression, aspiration, achievements, reward and punishment. It is a great activity of confusion, contradictions. Love is not that. Therefore, it must be something outside the brain. Just follow it, logically. We look at nature, or other human beings, from inside the brain. We were walking yesterday with some of these people here, and there was complete silence, even the bullock carts, children, cycling, nothing existed. Just immense silence. Right? It was not silence out there, it was silence – the entire world was silent. And you were silent. And you felt the whole earth as part of you – love.

Apologies if I have overlooked any errors above.


Thanks for sharing this. You obviously put lots of good hard work into it!

You should ask the KFA if they would publish this on The Immeasurable.

Very nicely collated. Perhaps the only time he refers to the mahavakyas is in the above quote.

The issue would be that much of the material on the subject is in dialogue form, and dialogues are difficult to edit in a friendly way for a listening audience. The other material (such as the dictated narrative Krishnamurti gave to Mary Zimbalist, and some of the remarks he made to Pupul Jayakar) either does not exist on audio and video, or has not been placed in the public domain.

I think certain aspects of the ‘mind and universe’ topic overlap with the topic of ‘mind and brain’, as well as with the topic of ‘creation’ (both of which came up repeatedly in Krishnamurti’s final few years), so maybe they would be more straightforward places to touch on the subject?

Anyway, it was an interesting area to research, and I’ll keep an ear open for anything further on the topic.

There are some other discussions in India where Krishnamurti shows interest in Vedantic and Samkhya ideas (including some esoteric as well as of course Buddhist), but his general approach to the mahavakyas - at least as they have been traditionally formulated - is definitely one of skepticism. I guess you’re familiar with the two conversations Krishnamurti had in 1969 with a Vedantic scholar (called Swami Venkatesananda)? There one gets a sense of why K objected to them.

It strikes me that there is some resemblance to the Buddha’s attitude in K’s approach: so rather than beginning with the ‘positive’ noble truth of nirvana (the emancipation from suffering; the ‘unconditioned’), K - like the Buddha - begins from the ‘negative’ perspective of the ordinary person who is themselves in suffering. For instance:

Now here I am: I know nothing. I only know that I am in sorrow and that I have got a fairly good mind. I have no authority—Sankara, Krishna, Patanjali, nobody—I am absolutely alone. I have got to face my life…. First, I want to find out how to be free of this sorrow. Then being free, I shall find out if there is such a thing as God or whatever it is…. So, I have to find out in relationship—with nature, with human beings—what is this fear, this sorrow; in relationship, because if I sit by myself I can deceive myself very easily. (The Awakening of Intelligence, The guru and search. Four schools of Yoga scrutinised)

The problem therefore that K has with the mahavakyas is that they purport to communicate a ‘positive’ knowledge about reality, which goes beyond our actual experience. That is, they require faith or trust in someone else’s experience, and create the desire, or even expectation, of a possible future fulfilment. They also indirectly encourage people to turn away from their actual situation, the what is of the world - the ‘negative’ - and focus instead on what should be - the ‘positive’ - which distracts the mind from where its energy might be more constructively spent.

And for K, of course, it is only through the ‘negative’ that the real ‘positive’ can come about (even if he explored the ‘positive’ a little with people like David Bohm and Pupul Jayakar, and always pointed towards something ‘positive’ - love, the immeasurable, etc - at the end of his talks).

K: Isn’t there a danger, Sir, of repeating something not knowing what it means? “I am that.” What does it actually mean? … One can say, “I am the river” [the discussion took place in Saanen, Switzerland]. That river that has got tremendous volume behind it, moving, restless, pushing on and on, through many countries. I can say, “I am that river.” That would be equally valid as, “I am Brahman.” … Why do we say, “I am that”? And not “I am the river,” nor “I am the poor man”, the man that has no capacity, no intelligence, who is dull—this dullness brought about by heredity, by poverty, by degradation, all that! Why don’t we say, “I am that also”? Why do we always attach ourselves to something which we suppose to be the highest?
Swamiji: “That”, perhaps, only means that which is unconditioned….
K: Unconditioned, yes.
Swamiji: So, since there is in us this urge to break through all conditioning, we look for the unconditioned.
K: Can a conditioned mind, can a mind that is small, petty, narrow, living on superficial entertainments, can that know or conceive, or understand, or feel, or observe the unconditioned?
Swamiji: No. But it can uncondition itself.
K: That is all it can do.
Swamiji: Yes.
K: Not say, “There is the unconditioned, I am going to think about it”, or “I am that”. My point is, why is it that we always associate ourselves with what we think is the highest? Not what we think is the lowest?
Swamiji: Perhaps in Brahman there is no division between the highest and the lowest, that which is unconditioned.
K: That’s the point. When you say, “I am that”, or “Thou are that”, there is a statement of a supposed fact…
Swamiji: Yes.
K: …which may not be a fact at all…. I am unhappy, miserable, laden with sorrow. And I want to experience something where there is no sorrow. That is my craving. I have an ideal, a goal, and by struggling towards it I will ultimately get that. That’s my craving…. Now look, Sir. If I—if the mind—can free itself from this agony, then what is the need of asking for an experience of the Supreme?It is no longer caught in its own conditioning. Therefore it is something else; it is living in a different dimension. Therefore the desire to experience the highest is essentially wrong…. How do I know the highest? Because the sages have talked of it? I don’t accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion, they might be talking sense or nonsense. I don’t know. (The Awakening of Intelligence, Four “mahavakyas” from the Upanishads discussed. Communication and the Bodhisattva ideal. Vedanta and the ending of knowledge)

And therein lies my bugaboo with Advaita! As I see it, brahman might be real, might be a fairy tale. There is no definitive ‘objective’ proof for its existence, indeed how could there be, it’s not an object! Inference can be used as a way of knowing brahman is real, but inference is, well … inference, not definitive proof. Knowing that brahman is real is said to occur at some point to those who find the right teacher, but the mind is a trickster, people can ‘know’ angels hover around us to protect us from invisible demons. The source of the knowledge about brahman resides in the scriptures: Upanishads, Vedanta, Brahmasutras, usw. And who is said to have authored the scriptures? Not humans rather Ishvara, saguna brahman.

The closest I’ve ever come to being moved to accept the realness of brahman is: Assuming that there is a true nature of reality (not a given!), then brahman is a pointer to this true nature.

1 Like

I understand why K wanted to stay with the immediate and the present.
But I would think pointing to the Brahman is no different from pointing to the ground, the source of all energy which also needs to be taken in good faith and trust in the describer as the following quote would require…

So at one level all these grand statements (of the ground etc) and Mahavakyas should be approached with healthy scepticism instead of total rejection or acceptance.
At another level they do give a glimpse at least intellectually to lesser mortals like us of what could be the ultimate reality, truth etc.

Regarding approaching the truth through the negative all ancient traditions (at least the Indian ones I am aware of) have done that like neti neti in the Upanishads etc .

So I think all this just confirms the original point of discussion in the previous thread that, all that K has taught has already been contemplated in those ancient times. But of course since K teachings have unfolded as a response to the modern times and requirements I feel they are best suited currently for humanity. After all the ancient times are nothing but a thought now.

I agree up to a point. But you see in K’s approach one doesn’t need to accept the existence of a ground, an immeasurable something or other; he merely points out - usually at the very end of his talks - that there might be some beauty over the hills for the person who lives intelligently to perceive. But the whole substance of his teaching is to look at where one is presently, to deal with what is. So it’s not the dogmatic teaching that Brahman has become (for Advaitins).

The etymology of Brahman is just “great”, “greater” or “greatest” anyway, presumably a synonym for the whole, the energy of the universe, etc. To stipulate that one should qualify it more than that, or believe that such a thing is required to deal with one’s psychological predicament, seems on the face of it misguided. A mind that is free can discover whatever beauty there is to see, but a mind in prison will only project ‘beauty’ out of its imprisoned state. I think that’s the main issue.

I think there is a middle ground somewhere between those people who feel that what K taught is so unique that no other human being in history could possibly have taught or discovered anything similar, and those people who feel that there is nothing unique about K’s teachings at all, and that every Indian guru or modern mystic is saying the same thing.

Obviously I feel/think that there are resonances with a whole variety of different schools and teachings that one can find elsewhere, including even some in the West… However, as someone who is pretty well-read in world religions and religious philosophy, I think if you take the ‘whole package’ of what K stands for - what he taught, and who he was - I think he and his teachings were pretty unique. His approach cannot be categorised as Neo-Buddhism or Neo-Advaita, it doesn’t depend on or refer back to any known school of philosophy, religious or otherwise. His rejection of spiritual authority is very unusual - even Zen admits the notion of lineages and masters, and almost all historical religious teachers accepted the dogmas and sutras of their culture. Although individualist teachers are more common in the medieval tantric milieu (people like Saraha, Maitripa, and Tilopa), they usually hale from some definite tradition, and they do not stand out as exceptional teachers in their own right. The historical Buddha is the only one I am aware of.

And then there’s the whole blend of teachings one gets with K. He kind of says some Buddhist things, but he also speaks positively about the senses, about beauty, etc, which would have many Buddhists (and Advaitins) turning away in horror. And yet one would hardly call K tantric, right? He is interested in the world of human society, in changing the world, in nature and the earth - again views which are not shared by the majority of those involved in traditional Indian religion. He doesn’t posit beliefs in God, in Atman or Purusa, but talks about ordinary secular awareness which is open to all - even if he stretches the bounds of what we think is possible in awareness! His teaching about human consciousness as one unitary consciousness (“you are the world”) has a completely different significance and feel compared to the ideas of traditional and Neo-Advaitins (“Consciousness is everything”). And the way he talks about the observer and the observed (“you are envy/greed/anger”) is markedly different to the way this is understood in Yogacara Buddhism or Advaita. And what other traditional teacher that you know of investigated the nature of thought in the same way that K did? There are definitely similarities here and there, but the frank way that K unpacked thought (as time and knowledge) is pretty unique. K also lived in our lifetimes, in the age of modern technology and global society: he was a cosmopolitan man of the world as well as a mystic; so all that provided him with a unique view of the world.

Put together, these are just some of the things that for me genuinely do mark his teaching out as different - I think it would be wrong to water-down this down. Though as I said before, truth is universal, so one oughtn’t be surprised to find flashes of insight in the recorded words of other people dead and gone.

1 Like

Well James, I am not so well read in world religions and religious philosophy like you so I can’t argue about what you posted.

What I feel is that the current times indeed are unique and complicated where thought rules the roost in every sphere unlike any other times before causing havoc at unimaginable levels like destruction of nature on such a wide scale. So it does require a unique approach and I think the teachings are just the product of the times, the current era.

We may feel teachings are unique because they are fresh, raw and as K would say the perfume still has fragrance. But it is the same ground/source now as it was before and will be later which the teacher is accessing and describing.

A few hundred or thousand years from now when the times are totally different and requirements are different, when another set of teachings , which meet the requirements of those times,come forth people will again feel them to be unique and so on.

K says somewhere that it is the tears of mankind which has produced the world teacher.
So I think I will stop here because ultimately it doesn’t matter whether they are unique or not but whether we benefit from them. :slightly_smiling_face:

Truth is and must be universal, otherwise it is not truth. But I guess what I am suggesting is that one might be aware of the subtle cultural assumptions we all have which come from our collective past. One such cultural assumption, for instance, might be that truth is always ‘there’, waiting to manifest, and that a stream of avatars continually spring forward (are born) on earth with the same ‘message’ of truth.

But how can we be sure that truth is always ‘there’ waiting to manifest? Surely this is an assumption of ours that comes from our religious conditioning, no?

As a loose metaphor it may be perfectly valid up to a point; but empirically, when looked at closely, all these teachers and teachings are quite different, right? The sages and philosophers of the Upanishads talk about Atman, while the Buddha doesn’t accept Atman. Sankara talked about Brahman but Nagarjuna didn’t accept Brahman, etc. If truth is universal and always ‘there’ waiting to manifest, why didn’t Hindu culture embrace Buddhism? Did Buddha and Nagarjuna bring the wrong ‘truth’?

Now obviously for me, as I said previously, truth is universal - so beyond the divisions of language and belief, culture, I feel that these opposing expressions may meet and mingle more than the opposing religious traditions of Advaita and Buddhism can ever admit. But I cannot be certain of this, because all we have of Sankara and Buddha are their words (or the words of their followers), and these words are often directly in conflict with each other.

So I guess the real question is not whether or not Krishnamurti’s teachings (or anyone else’s) are unique, but whether we can sense the truth in them, whether they are successful in holding up a mirror to our minds, revealing to us what we are - (although this of course is wholly dependent on the capacity we each have to receive the teaching itself…).

So I agree with you that

if by “benefit” we mean ‘see more clearly what we are, what the world is (and act)’. :pray:

When K talks about the GROUND which is without beginning and end it is quite obviously a reference to that which is eternal isn’t it. So it doesn’t require any cultural conditioning to suggest that. unless one says that even K is culturally conditioned. Regarding manifestation I have no idea but K himself has said that ‘" the tears of mankind have produced the world teacher" which does allude to some kind of manifestation. Of course we are trusting him in good faith here.

There is a saying in Upanishads…”ekam sat vipraah bahudhaa vadanti’ which translates to… Truth is one but the enlightened/wise describe it in various ways.

So all these descriptions of truth are a product of cultural vocabulary and thought processes of different times. Even K’s description of Ground
is also a a product of the current vocabulary and thought process.
When all these various teachings turn into a system and get crystallised/fossilised by their followers differences creep in resulting in conflicts. No wonder K has steered clear of every kind of cultural identity or association.

Obviously and exactly. :pray:

Well, yes and no… I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m just trying to communicate (in case you weren’t aware of this) the difficulties that Krishnamurti had with this area. This is apparently why he didn’t speak about these things very frequently; and when he did so (if you’ve heard some of the recorded conversations he had about it), he was always very hesitant, very careful not to say anything that might be misconstrued as something fixed, something graspable by our thinking.

So, for example, in their discussion about the ground, Krishnamurti and Bohm are very careful to say that this is not something static, something that exists in time - so the word ‘eternal’, as ordinarily understood (i.e. as something ‘lasting, enduring, permanent’), does not communicate the moment by moment, timeless quality of what K was talking about.

That is, when we refer to something as ‘always there’, something ‘eternal’, we usually have it mind that it is something that existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future. But this construal of time as a continuous stream of ‘befores’ and ‘afters’, pasts and futures, continuing forever, is a projection of the way our minds think - such a continuity may not exist at the level of truth. So to say that truth or the ground is ‘always there’ overlooks the part played by our thinking when we say such things.

So the way that K puts it is that truth or the ground is perpetually new; truth has never been before and will never be (the same) again. And in that sense, truth cannot be grasped by our thinking, through our habitual assumptions of time. Therefore (for K) it is only when our thinking - our projection of psychological time - ceases, that one might genuinely say (as K has said) truth is.

This is what I was trying to point out.

1 Like

Did Buddha, or Nagarjuna, discuss the issue with someone who had touched the Atman/Brahman, or with some geezer parroting the texts? (or the texts themselves, which can never exactly touch the thing)
Cultures are basically a conditioned form of collective knowing, they only “embrace” or relate from conditioning - whether this be Hindu, Buddhist or Western culture.
When we talk to someone about the “one Mind”, we are in a relation (at best) with our interlocutor and their (mis)understanding,

1 Like

What is the relationship of the mind to the universe?

If (as theoretical physics is having to contemplate) an understanding of the universe is more a case of understanding “information theory” than “physical constants” (like time and space which might actually arise from perception/experience) - then we say : “it from bit”, or : the contents/phenomena arise from the movement of mind/Mind

By eternal I didn’t mean anything static, immutable and within temporal domain etc . Just what K wanted to convey in the above quote.
Of course it is timeless and perhaps closest would be what K is quoted as having said below

My mentioning eternal was in response to your below statement.

Perhaps eternal wouldn’t be the most accurate term, but it was said only to say that Truth always is there ever-present.

I think, mind is a part of universe (simple answer but it holds). I do not know why this question has been raised and where does this question, directs our attention?, you started in scientific way but I simply remained still for a moment and did not got anything inside, when I read it for first time.

How we are related to universe? maybe the answer to this question might throw some light on the main question of this thread. “What is the relationship of the mind to the universe?”

I discussed this a little with Rick on another thread, so I don’t want to go into to it too much here. But from my understanding the word Atman originally meant “breath” - and was used to point to the life force that exists in every living thing. Only much later did it become the reified term that tradition accords to it and that most people mean by it now.

However, even if one takes the term as it was subsequently understood by leading Advaita thinkers (like Gaudapada and Sankara) the word Atman is not a noun, “a thing” - as he said - to be known “like a cow”. Rather it is - according to one scholar - “an intuitional consciousness where subject and object are superseded.” So no object, and no subject. No known or knower. Which really means that it is, to all intents and purposes, nothing. For Gaudapada the apparent reality of subjective selves and objective entities in the world are both equally unreal and non-existent.

Nagarjuna - following the cultural explosion of the Mahayana Prajnaparamita literature - honed in on this nothingness in an attempt to spell it out rationally and logically, so that there could be no rational evasion of its poetic force.

But this nothingness is very far away from the way Atman is usually understood by ordinary Hindus or Advaitins, right? So its usage has become highly problematic, and is rejected by Buddhists.

1 Like

Please don’t be annoyed if I must object again. You see, whether we say that truth is ‘eternal’, or ‘ever-present’ and ‘always there’, and so on, we are unwittingly bringing in our thought-based, time-based assumptions, right?

How can something that never was, and never will be, be always there? This is an assumption we make based on our ordinary understanding of time, correct? This may sound like hair-splitting, but it’s really not. It’s about being accurate with our statements, so that we don’t traduce the truth.

Very simply put: if I myself have not transcended (or negated) thought and time, then I cannot participate in truth - I cannot honestly say “truth is.” Right? So anything I say about truth must be based on hearsay, on what others (including K) have said.

I cannot say that truth is always there, ever-present, because I have never touched truth directly (and the only way to touch it directly is to be truth, if you see what I mean - and that can only happen if there is no longer self, no longer time, no longer thought). Truth can only be when there is nothingness - truth is nothingness, right? That much we can say with our reason. More than that is speculation.

Obviously we arise out of universe - and are now part of universe - and a huge part of us is about processing information (of the universe)

Lol - nothing gives rise to nothing. Maybe more mysterious : “intuition” gives rise to reasoning ?