Jiddu Krishnamurti concept of Total Revolution

Jiddu Krishnamurti a great figure of the 20th century, often referred to simply as K, was not only a philosopher and an influential speaker, but an enlightened teacher as well. Born in 1895 in a Brahmin family in Mandanapalle he started to explore the essence of truth as a young man.

According to Krishnamurti the mind and revolution are two important things, both of which is what this article is all about.

These two aspects are based on freeing the mind from the division of illusions and hindrances that keep one away from observing the meaning of truth. The vision of our consciousness is created by the penetration and impact of propaganda and the compulsion of authorities, religion, dogmas and institutions. This leads to conflict, suffering, crisis, fear, egoism, wars and violence.

Thus, we need to recreate a new vision, re-observe the aspects of any subject in the world without divisions. This leads to peace, happiness and freedom that is called revolution.

The concept of revolution requires us to explore and find the nature of truth to recreate our relation with the world.

Krishnamurti’s thinking is different from the traditional philosopher because he does not follow the traditional way of thinking. Krishnamurti wanted a total revolution of all traditional thought, wanted man to be liberated from the oppression of tradition, authority, system and organization of every kind. He said that only through a complete change in the heart and mind of an individual can society change and peace be restored in the world.

He has analysed the first part of his book “Freedom from the Known” that man has been seeking what they called God, truth, reality etc. This state is a timeless state, something that cannot be disturbed by circumstances, thought or by corruption like hate, jealousy, pride, anger etc. So we are in that state of brutality, confusion, war in the name of religion, nationality, ideology. Therefore, man is frustrated. 


Here, a question arises that- what is one to do and is there anything beyond it? And then man has presupposed the cultivating of faith, which is the faith in a savior or an ideal. But this doesn’t go beyond himself and invariably breeds violence.            


In this constant battle we are trying to set a code of conduct and accept a standard of behaviour as part of our tradition as Hindus or Muslim or Christian etc.  For many centuries man has lived, is satisfied by following others view point and others ideology. We are always looking for someone who will tell about rightness, wrongness in our behavior, of their thinking and following this pattern our conduct and thinking become mechanical. Thus there is nothing new, their life is shallow and empty.


But, Krishnamurti points out that it is important to understand that human beings are not formulating any philosophical or theological structure of ideas or philosophical concepts, these ideas are utterly idiotic. What is important is not a philosophy of life but to observe what is actually taking place in our daily life. So, if we know how to look at the world then the whole thing becomes very clear. Then do not need philosophy, ideology, dogmas, teachers, education etc.


Therefore, Krishnamurti said that if we try to learn ourselves according to another’s point of view then we will always remain ‘second hand people’. He added that if we learn about ourselves according to someone else then we learn about them rather than ourselves.


His teachings were concerned with the problems of human existence and its solution through the understanding of the problem itself. He wanted to bring a revolution in society through the transformation of the individual psyche. For that to happen it is important to be free from all authority so our mind is fresh, always young and innocent. We cannot be burdened with opinions, prejudice and conclusions that were collected over centuries. Simply put it means zero base thinking.


So it is important for us to forget all we know since we are going to start afresh. Just like it rained heavily last night, now the sky is beginning to clear so it is a new fresh day. His teaching is concerned with understanding oneself like the Buddhist motto – “Be a light unto yourself’’. 


This teaching should be used as a mirror to enable us to see ourselves as we are. Krishnamurti expect a total revolution, a revolution without violence but with love. Change of human psyche becomes possible only with complete freedom. Here freedom means inward freedom.


Krishnamurti said that if somebody says that learning about himself is by adding more and more knowledge than that is not learning. Learning involves studying himself by acquired knowledge of the past and requires great sensitivity. There is no sensitivity if the past is dominating the present. To understand anything we must live with it, observe it, know its context, nature, movement etc.


To know our mind we must have a free mind. There are two important aspects by which we can know ourselves - simplicity and humanity. Here simplicity doesn’t mean simplicity in clothes, food etc. Simplicity means looks at things directly and without fear. Humanity requires us to know ourselves because if we say we know ourselves, we have already stopped learning about ourselves.


Krishnamurti said we are conditioning the moment we are born. Our mind was shaped by a particular culture. It was shaped in a narrow pattern. We are conditioned by nationality, caste, religion, parents, society, friends, language, education etc. So if we are conditioned then our response towards the problem is also conditioned. (Without saying so it is the concept of Samskaras?)


If someone says that he will be free from the condition then he is wrong because he is again trapped into another condition. We know about conditioning by reaction to a problem or a challenge. If we are satisfied with our conditioning then we never rebel against it but if we aware then we want to break the condition.


When there is a conflict in the continuity of pleasure or the avoidance of pain then we feel that we are conditioned. If everything is perfectly happy then we are not aware about our conditioning. For example - when your wife looks at someone else or you lose your money or experience any other pain then we are able to know that we are conditioned. That means when disturbance comes then we know we are conditioned.


There is a tendency in all of us that we always blame our disturbances on others or on our environment. Because we can never face it we seek to escape from it. If we face it then we feel empty, dull, alone etc.  When we escape from such a situation and take help of others, without finding it ourselves, then we are again conditioned by others view point.


Individual beings are always in search for pleasure. Pleasure and pain are inseparable. When an experience is seen through the prism of past memories of pleasure and pain an individual always gets pain. An individual is always concerned about itself. Self-concern always creates violence. We cannot become free from violence by following the opposite of violence ie non-violence. Violence is not an outward but an inward thing.


Krishnamurti said that we can observe ourselves only in relationship because all life is a relationship. We cannot study ourselves in abstraction because we are not an abstract entity. Therefore, we have to study ourselves in actuality- as we are. Violence only happens in relationship. Individual always create conflict in relationship. Because individual see the relationship as an essence.


So to overcome from this conditioning freedom is important. Freedom is a method to free ourselves from everything, know the truth and accept who we are. Freedom is a state of mind – not free from the past, the known, the center formed by thought, some ideology, theory etc. Free from everything without a spot of distortion in the mind. 


Krishnamurti said that we see everything not as a part but as a whole. For instance, when we see consciousness, we don’t see a part of consciousness but see the whole consciousness without dominating any other thing in consciousness. 


So, J. Krishnamurti said that learning is only possible when there is freedom- complete and total revolution. The center breeds division and the division is conflict and the conflict is pain, unhappiness and suffering.


So Krishnamurti points out that proper relationship can prosper only by gaining freedom from the known.


From this we can say that Krishnamurti’s main approach is to set humanity free. He wanted to set human kind absolutely and unconditionally free from the destructive limitations of a conditioned mind. The freedom he is talking about is psychological freedom- not political, physical or economical freedom. 


The aim of his philosophy is total revolution and freedom. He says that this freedom can only come from within because it is a psychological revolution. Thus, freedom is the only method to know ourselves. Freedom implies to know the whole of things without being dominated or affected by others.


Recall these words of Maharshi Aurobindo, "Our first necessity, if India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India should learn to think -- to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with the mace of Bhima ". (India's Rebirth).


Author is a Research Scholar, Centre for Studies in Philosophy, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, Assam.


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