Jiddu Krishnamuryi‘s family migrated from Telugu Desam and settled in Madanapalli in Tamil Nadu, His bouts of fever and his father‘s frequent transfers interrupted his schooling. Like Rabindranath Tagore, he also did not like book learning and the school atmosphere, but was a keen observer. About his school he wrote in his memoir ―I cannot say I was particularly happy at school, for the teachers were not very kind and gave me lessons that were too hard for me. He made three unsuccessful attempts to pass matriculations.
At the age of 15, Krishnamurti accompanied Miss Annie Besant to England in 1911. Like his father he also became a member of the Theosophical Society. In 1912, he wrote a book entitled ‘Education as Service‘ in which he described the life of an ideal school where love rules and inspires, where the students grow in to noble adolescents under the fostering care of teachers who feel the greatness of their vocation.
KRISHNAMURTI‘S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
Krishnamurti claimed no authority or religions. He did not initiate any new faith or dogma and launch any social reform. What he proposed was nothing more than a total transformation of individual self as a cure for conflict and suffering in the world. He suggested his audience to think for themselves to feel passionately, to shed the burdens of the past or future so that their mind is free from fear. His message to mankind was
―First understand the purpose of our existence, the purpose of our life, and understand what we were thriving for. Then utilize everything, to strengthen us.
To find out what you really love to do is one of the most difficult things. That is part of education. (Krishnamurti 1974) (Part 1, Chapter 8)
Krishnamurti described the relationship between ‘being‘ and ‘doing‘ frequently. It is not ‘doing is being‘ but ‘being is doing‘ For Jiddu Krishnamurti, ‘doing‘ derived from ‘being‘ rather than ‘being‘ derived from ‘doing‘ - the reverse of convention. Much more needs to be said about the consequences of reversing the roles of ‘being‘ and ‘doing‘. Observe the modern convention of a question like, "Who are you?" (a question about being) which is answered by, "I'm a lawyer, engineer, etc." (a statement about doing) suffice it to say that this reversal or confusion usually leads to a highly developed 'doing' (which is easier to accomplish) with impoverished 'being,' and Krishnamurti felt that dysfunction was the usual consequence of such imbalance.
Freedom is at the beginning, it is not something to be gained at the end. (Krishnamurti 1953c) (Chapter 6) There is no freedom at the end of compulsion; the outcome of compulsion is compulsion. (Krishnamurti 1953b). If you dominate a child, compel him to fit into a pattern, however idealistic, will he be free at the end of it? If we want to bring about a true revolution in education, there must obviously be freedom at the very beginning, which means that both the parent and the teacher must be concerned with freedom and not with how to help the child to become this or that. (Krishnamurti 1953b)
MIND YOUR MIND:
He observed that it is necessary to encourage the development of a good mind that is capable of dealing with many issues of life holistically, instead of trying to run away from them. For this, one should be well aware of one‘s own conditioning, motives and purpose of life. Thus knowledge is essential only as a means of cultivating the mind and not an end in itself.
Like Gestalt psychologists, Krishnamurti believed in the totality of perception. Generally, we see things in fragments, we function as a nationalist, as an individualist, as Catholics, as Hindus, as Muslims as Germans, Russians, French etc. We fail to see the mankind as a whole; instead, we see things broken up into fragments.
Mind is to be freed from fragmentation. Energy of mind is wasted when there is fragmentation. When we accept or follow any ideology, we are caught by a fragmentation of authority. The truth is beyond it and it should be found in the totality. A mind is confused in fragments. A confused mind will continue to be confused and will lead to danger and thereafter will lead to inaction.
The images about us, our friends, our wives are so strong in our minds that only these images have relationships and there is no direct relationship. Mind is to be freed from these images in order to establish direct relationship.
Pleasure is not to be condemned. It should be understood well. Without understanding the nature of pleasure and pain, one cannot be free from fear. A mind, not free from fear, lives in confusion and in conflict. In order to pursue pleasure and to be free from fear, one must be aware of oneself, accept oneself as one is. We have to live with actuality. There is no love, if there is fear. Even if we are physically secure, we may be feeling insecure psychologically from within. Immaturity lies only in one‘s ignorance. Here Krishnamurti talks about bringing a revolution in our thinking.
The real issue is the quality of our mind: not its knowledge but the depth of the mind that meets knowledge. Mind is infinite, is the nature of the universe which has its own order, has its own immense energy. It is everlastingly free. The brain, as it is now, is the slave of knowledge and so is limited, finite, and fragmentary. When the brain frees itself from its conditioning, then the brain is infinite, then only there is no division between the mind and the brain. Education then is freedom from conditioning, from its vast accumulated knowledge as tradition. This does not deny the academic disciplines which have their own proper place in life. (Krishnamurti 1985)
Contrary to the perspective that has shaped much in conventional education, Jiddu Krishnamurti felt that each person needs to explore themselves and reveal themselves to themselves rather than be shaped into something by others. This is not a new perspective, and again has links to the educational theories of Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Frobel, and Montessori. We have to reflect on our minds, hearts and actions daily. There is no tomorrow for us to be peaceful or orderly. Instead, we have to be so, on the instant.
ACTION: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Action implies our active present, but actually it is the result of yesterday‘s knowledge and experience. We simply act out these past ideas and formula. When we act according to our memory, we, no doubt, claim to act in the present and create the future, but there is no active present. Action here is based on a dead thing (past ideas and experiences). Action according to memory only is not action at all. Action on a dead thing makes tomorrow also dead.
We only are responsible for wars in the past and present. To live in peace means to live peacefully every day. To live peacefully every day, we should not develop hatred towards different nationalities, religions, dogmas or authorities. Peace means to love and to be kind.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LISTENING AND LEARNING
Jiddu Krishnamurti lays stress on understanding the meaning of communication. It means understanding verbal utterances of what is being said. But the fact is that the understanding is only at the intellectual level. According to Krishnamurti this concept includes listening and learning. Understanding the difference between the two is of great benefit to the teachers.
In listening the most important thing is the way, the method or
‘how‘ of listening. Generally, when we listen, we simply try to project on our own impressions of the past, our opinions, prejudices and ideas. When we listen, we listen to what is being said with our own images and background. Here, we are not listening at all.
Listening takes place when there is silence. Silence is very much emphasized by this great teacher. In silence, mind concentrates. Actual communication takes place when there is silence. Learning does not imply accumulation of ideas. Learning takes place when there is communication and when the whole mind and heart are involved in the process. Only when one listens without any previous image or intention, learning takes place. Listener and learner then understands what is the truth or fallacy and if true immediate action takes place and if false no action takes place.
THE CONCEPT OF SELF
The self is made up of a series of defensive and expansive reactions. Its fulfillment is always in its own projections and gratifying identifications. Experience cannot be free from conflicts, confusion and pain as long as we translate experience in terms of the self, the ego i.e. me, mine and I and try to maintain itself through its reactions. Freedom comes only when one understands the ways of the self, - the experience. Experience takes on an entirely different significance and becomes creation only when the self with its accumulated experiences do not influence the reactions.
What is essential for man is to live fully and integrally. Undue emphasis on any part of our total make up gives a partial and distorted view of life. It is this distortion which is causing most of our difficulties. Any abnormal growth of any part of our own body is bound to cause constant anxiety and worry. So is the development of only intellect which is only one aspect of our total make up. Similarly any partial development of our temperament is bound to be disastrous both for ourselves and for the society. Hence it is very important that we approach our problems with an integrated point of view.
To be an integrated human being, one should understand the entire process of one‘s own consciousness. This is not possible if we give undue emphasis to the intellect. Living in the intellect is the way of disintegration.
For most of Jiddu Krishnamurtis life, what he said and wrote sparked both interest and controversy. His observations on religion, nationalism, tradition, organization and relationships often ran counter to the convention of the day. He was always ahead of his time. But his thoughts on education are still radical and frequently misunderstood or dismissed as impractical. This is probably larger due to the fact that Krishnamurti presents education as a religious activity at a time when most people still see it as preparation for succeeding in a secular world.
Through the ages, sages have cautioned us that what we see is not true even though they appear to be so. We see things the way we have been taught to see and what we expect to see or hear. We always tend to choose what is familiar or what we like most over what is true or sacred as in the Bible the Jews chose Barabbas, a proven criminal and murderer over Jesus for Jesus‘ thinking and teachings were not akin to the established traditions of the then Jewish society.. This is true in matters related to education also.
Modern education fails to solve the world‘s problems or preparing the people for the fundamental challenges of living. It also fails to meet the society‘s aspirations. Krishnamurti says; ―To overcome these problems we need educational insight which has a close alliance with the sacred, and with the secular. Krishnamurti‘s insights are radical, that they meet the challenges of living at a profound level.
KRISHNAMURTI‘S VIEWS ON RELIGION
Krishnamurti‘s approach to religiousness is free of religion. He firmly believed that what is sacred or truly religious cannot be conditional, culture-bound or time-bound. He said what is religious cannot be contained or subjected to any dogma, rituals, belief or authority. One may ask a question ‘How can man make contact with the sacred if sacred cannot be related to dogma, authorities or symbols? He clarifies, the bridge from secular to sacred is a particular consciousness; a consciousness that has transcended the imperatives of the self or ego, a consciousness which knows compassion or selfless love, a consciousness which knows silence, sees beauty and lives joy, a consciousness which is free from conditioning and limitations of thought.
Krishnamurti felt that the sacred is the foundation of all things it lies at the origin of all things and so cannot be fragmented into more fundamental elements. He says all things are part of an integrated whole and that unity is sacred.
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