What did Krishnamurti mean by 'No Division'?

Krishnamurti stated that there is ‘no division’. But what did he mean by this statement? It isn’t yet clear to me, so I thought I would share the question.

For context, the dialogue where Krishnamurti talks most explicitly about no division is the 7th discussion from in The Ending of Time series.

The 7th dialogue is the continuation of a previous conversation (dialogue 6) in which K and Bohm had been discussing the relationship of insight to the brain.

In that (6th) discussion K had suggested that insight is independent of the matter of the brain - which moved Bohm to ask how something non-material can act on, or have a relationship with, matter.

To explore this question they then used an analogy drawn from the field of human relationship of how love is related to hate. K argued that love and hate have no relationship: that there is a complete division between love and hate.

K then stated that there exist a few people (such as X) for whom love is natural (i.e. who respond to hate with love), but that the vast majority respond to hate with hate. And that there is a complete division between these two approaches.

K then asked why this division exists when both groups share the same human consciousness?

It is this thread that Krishnamurti and Bohm continue in the 7th dialogue (from which I have excerpted the relevant passages).

In this (7th) discussion they question whether the division between the person with insight (X) and the person living in darkness is actually absolute; and they end by associating the statement ‘no division’ with an endless, deathless movement that K says is the ground of both mind and matter.

DB: If we begin with the child, it seems natural to the child to respond with his animal instincts [i.e. to respond to hate with hate]…

JK: Yes, but why is it different with X? …

Human beings have been responding to hatred by hatred and so on. There are those few, perhaps many, who say that is not natural or rational. Why has this division taken place? …

…because X is born of the same parents.

DB: Yes, fundamentally [they are] the same, so why does he behave differently? …

JK: … is this division false?

DB: That’s the point. We had better talk of a difference between these two approaches. This difference is not fundamental.

JK: I don’t think they have anything in common.

DB: Why? You say the difference is false, although fundamentally people are the same, but a difference has developed between them. Perhaps most people have taken a wrong turning…

JK: Yes, let’s put it that way.

DB: But the difference is not intrinsic, it is not structural, built in like the difference between a tree and a rock.

JK: Agreed. As you say, there is a difference between a rock and a tree, but it is not like that. Let’s be simple. There are two responses. They start from the source. One has taken one direction, and the other has taken a different direction. But the source is the same. Why haven’t all of them moved in the right direction?

DB: We haven’t managed to answer that. I was just saying that if one understands that, then going back to the source, one does not have to take the wrong turn. In a sense we are continually taking this wrong turn, so if we can understand this, then it becomes possible to change. And we are continually starting from the same source, not going back in time to a source.

JK: Just a minute, just a minute.

DB: There are two possible ways of taking your statement. One is to say that the source is in time, that far back in the past we started together and took different paths. The other is to say that the source is timeless, and we are continually taking the wrong turn, again and again. Right?

JK: Yes, it is constantly taking the wrong turn. Why? …

The one who is living with insight and the other who is not living with insight—are these constant? The man who is living in darkness can move away at any time to the other. That is the point. At any time…

How am I to dispel this continuous, constant darkness? That is the only question, because as long as that exists, I create this constant division… I can only dispel the darkness through insight, and I cannot have that insight by any effort of will, so I am left with nothing. So what is my problem? My problem is to perceive the darkness, to perceive the thought that is creating darkness, and to see that the self is the source of this darkness. Why can’t I see that? …

So he asks me, “Can you banish, can you put away this sense of division?” …

I recognise that I am the creator of division, because I am living in darkness, and so out of that darkness I create. But I have listened to X, who says there is no division. And I recognise that is an extraordinary statement…

I see something—which is where hatred exists the other is not. But, hating, I want the other. So constant division is born out of darkness. And the darkness is constant. But I have been listening very carefully, and X makes a statement which seems absolutely true. That enters into me, and the act of his statement dispels the darkness. I am not making an effort to get rid of darkness, but X is the light. That’s right, I hold to that.
So it comes to something, which is can I listen in my darkness, which is constant? In that darkness, can I listen to you? Of course I can. I am living in constant division, which brings darkness. X comes along and tells me there is no division…

Which brings us to that ground we spoke of…

DB: What about the ground?

JK: In that ground, there is no darkness as darkness or light as light. In that ground, there is no division. Nothing is born of will or time or thought.

DB: Are you saying that light and darkness are not divided?

JK: Right.

DB: Which means to say there is neither.

JK: Neither—that’s it! There is something else. There is a perception that there is a different movement, which is “non-dualistic.”

DB: Non-dualistic means what? No division.

JK: No division. I won’t use “non-dualistic.” There is no division.

DB: But nevertheless there is movement.

JK: Of course…

I mean by movement, that movement which is not time. That movement doesn’t breed division. So I want to go back, lead to the ground. If, in that ground, there is neither darkness nor light, no God or the son of God—there is no division—what takes place? Would you say that the ground is movement? …

Would you say the ground is endless movement?

DB: Yes.

JK: What does that mean?

DB: Well, it is difficult to express…

JK: Would you say it has no end, no beginning? …

Do I capture the significance of that? Do I understand the depth of that statement? A movement in which there is no division, which means no time, no distance as we know it. No element of time in it at all. So I am trying to see if that movement is surrounding man?

DB: Yes, enveloping…

JK: It seems that it is the world. You follow?

DB: The universe.

JK: The universe, the cosmos, the whole.

DB: The totality.

JK: Totality. Isn’t there a statement in the Jewish world, “Only God can say ‘I am’”? …

You follow what I am trying to get at?

DB: Yes, that only this movement is.

JK: 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…

Would you say that matter is also that movement?

JK: Yes, I would say everything is…

DB: Yes. The mind emerges from the movement as a ground and falls back to the ground; that is what we are saying.

JK: Yes, that’s right. Mind emerges from the movement.

DB: And it dies back into the movement.

JK: That’s right. It has its being in the movement.

DB: Yes, and matter also.

JK: So what I want to get at is I am a human being faced with this ending and beginning. And X abolishes that.

DB: Yes. It is not fundamental.

JK: It is not fundamental. One of the greatest fears of life, which is death, has been removed.


Maybe someone who has read the extract - or who is already familiar with the 6th and 7th dialogues in The Ending of Time - could suggest what they feel K means by his statement ‘there is no division’?

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One example might be that by ‘no division’ K is pointing out that the source of human consciousness is undivided, but that in most people thought continually creates a separative centre which seemingly divides itself off from this common ground (or source).

Another perspective (or a different way of putting the same thing) is that by ‘no division’ K is drawing attention to this eternal deathless indivisible movement that is the ground of all mind and matter - and indeed is the only thing that exists (nothing is separate from it).

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Evidence for the above two possible meanings of ‘no division’:

  1. that ‘no division’ points to the unitary source of human consciousness:

K: There are two responses. They start from the source. One has taken one direction [e.g. love], and the other has taken a different direction [e.g. hate]. But the source is the same.

  1. that ‘no division’ points to an indivisible deathless movement apart from which nothing exists:

K: in that ground, there is neither darkness nor light, no God or the son of God—there is no division… [It is] endless movement… no end, no beginning… A movement in which there is no division, which means no time, no distance as we know it… surrounding man… The universe, the cosmos, the whole… timeless, therefore deathless.

Here is the group talk. Worth reading carefully.

In the darkness, we can hear this.

Yes. However, it is rather long and not all of it speaks directly to this question of ‘no division’ (hence the condensed extract created for the OP).

I tried to pick out the main thread of the discussion which I think is a fair encapsulation of the whole (together with the context of dialogue 6). Most people will not have time to read or listen to both dialogues in one stretch.

Perhaps. But what do we hear? The thread topic is really an opportunity for us to spell it out a little bit more.

There is a danger that by merely repeating ‘no division’ it may degenerate into a kind of gnomic utterance that only communicates to the few (to initiates). I am not saying you are doing this, I merely mention this is how it may be received by ordinary people.

I have made a rough beginning, suggesting two possible meanings for what K meant by ‘no division’. I think they are reasonable, there is evidence for them.

However I may be off on the wrong track - so here’s an opportunity for others to say what they think the meaning is.

Like those ‘born agains’ :innocent:

Haha :blush: - very unique ‘born agains’!

I’m just imaging a humorous scene where two people meet on a meditation retreat and one person says to the other, “Well, you see, my religion is kindness”. And the other person says, “Oh, my religion is non division” - and gets are rather quizzical look!

But, more seriously, looking at what is going on in the world right now, we desperately need both more kindness and non division (perhaps they are the same in fact).

By thought putting itself as a ‘me’,a ‘center’, an image of a ‘self’; the illusion of ‘division’ (me and the other…not-me) has been created; created the “darkness” as K is calling it and that we are living in. And by not seeing that “there is no division”, we constantly create this darkness. And because the darkness is self-created, efforts to be free of it only perpetuate it. But even though we can’t do anything about it, we can “listen” to the ‘voice in the wilderness’ telling us that it is so : there is no division!

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Here’s an important bit from that same talk.

K : The division is created by the centre which creates darkness. Right?

DB: Yes. It is the same as the other divisions, it is thought.

I am constantly creating it.

K: Yes, constantly creating division, that’s right, constantly creating division and so I am always wanting to live constantly in a state in which there is no division.

(they also make it clear that the enlightened geezer and the person living in darkness/division are just figments of our imagination - that nothing keeps us in darkness, other than that we constantly keep turniing that way)

This was the ‘shocker’ for me!

Constantly creating division and wanting to find a state with no division!

Yes - even funnier (or is it sadder?) : wanting no division is part of the creation of division.

Thought has created the self-complex, and this creates a division between me and you, we and they, etc. This can be called ‘darkness’ (the darkness of division).

So then what you are saying - I think - is that by ‘no division’ all K is really saying is ‘there is no self’. Correct?

K may be saying no more than this. Yet from the dialogues (6 and 7) it seemed as though K was wanting to say something more than this when he said there is ‘no division’.

Remember that in the dialogues the ‘divisions’ they talked about - aside from the division created by thought, by the self - were the ‘division’ between insight and matter (i.e. the matter of the brain), between love and hate (i.e. the person who loves and the person who hates), between the person with insight and the person living in darkness, between life and death, and between ‘God and man’ (i.e. between the mind and this deathless movement).

All this suggests, to me at least, something more than just ‘no self’.

James, more on this subject-object split from DC: Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Global Summit (psychedelicassistedtherapysummit.com)

Although I don’t advocate taking drugs, the writer Michael Pollan has written some interesting things about his experience of taking psilocybin:

The sovereign ego, with all its armaments and fears, its backward-looking resentments and forward-looking worries, was simply no more, and there was no one left to mourn its passing. Yet something had succeeded it: this bare disembodied awareness, which gazed upon the scene of the self’s dissolution with benign indifference. I was present to reality but as something other than my self. And although there was no self left to feel, exactly, there was a feeling tone, which was calm, unburdened, content. There was life after the death of the ego. This was big news…

To cultivate this mode of consciousness, with its exceptional degree of selflessness (literally!), requires us to transcend our subjectivity or—it comes to the same thing—widen its circle so far that it takes in, besides ourselves, other people and, beyond that, all of nature. Now I understood how a psychedelic could help us to make precisely that move, from the first-person singular to the plural and beyond. Under its influence, a sense of our interconnectedness—that platitude—is felt, becomes flesh.

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I read the book (“How to Change Your Mind”) but I forgot that statement. Thanks for quoting it.

If you verbally insult me, and I insult you back, there is division.

If you verbally insult me and there is no reaction, no reaction of word in my mind, is there then division? There is no division.

So division or illusion of division exists only because of reaction. It does not exist in non-reaction or silence of mind. The non-reaction is non-division is passive or choiceless awareness.

As long as thought is active, there is division between observer and observed image. I retaliate and call you idiot. That word is division is division as observer and observed image. The word is my creation. I create division.

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