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.
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.