KRISHNAMURTI 

ON INTERPRETATION

from 

A Collection of Reference Materials

at 

Rishi Valley Study Centre

Reference Materials on Krishnamurti's Teachings

available at : http://www.kfa.org/

Working Paper #1

Edited by Hans and Radhika Herzberger

June 1995 revised February 1996

 

Introduction

1. Background. At one time Krishnamurti was able to say "distortion does not matter" (29Jul26), perhaps under the conviction that truth would carry its own protective force (Ommen Aug28) -- "so immense as to defy perversion" (Ommen Radio 1929). But these were exceptional moments in a lifelong wariness towards what he called "interpretation" -- in his rather unusual sense of this term. In these notes we examine the vexed question of how interpretive studies, in a more commonly received sense, can be seen as compatible with Krishnamurti's passion for immediacy in all things. We believe that a close reading of many passages reveals great diversity in the processes Krishnamurti called "interpretation". We propose that a clear awareness of this diversity could provide the basis for a fresh look at this troubled problem area.

2. The Documentary Record A sampling from Krishnamurti's many remarks on this central theme is presented here in four parts: "Distortion", "Interpreters", "Interpretation", and "Going Beyond the Words". Each part is arranged to help readers see for themselves how Krishnamurti engaged this topic at different times and in different contexts. After due consideration, we have included materials from some early works (1926-32) for their notable strength and directness; and a bit of Krishnamurti's unpublished advice to KFA Trustees on presenting his teachings "without interpretation" (KFA 1972). Finally, one remark on "misinterpreters" has been reported from a secondary source (S.W. 1988), for the clue it offers to subtle qualifications in the key term "interpretation" as it figures in Krishnamurti's discourse.

3, Some Historical Context Early exposure to esoteric and occult practices left Krishnamurti keenly alert to a potential nexus between mediators, interpretation, secrecy, authority, power and the exploitation which he viewed as a nearly inevitable consequence. Soon, confronted with the problem of conveying a revolutionary teaching to his old Theosophical comrades, interpretation became a major problem as he found listeners translating his words back into an older, more comfortable framework. What he said then, he later confirmed over many years with many audiences: "They listen but they don't understand ... because they don't want to [change]" (Ojai 1929). This tendency is quite fully documented in our Working Paper #4, under the heading "Searching for a Label".

4. Loosening the Grip of Authority There can be little doubt of Krishnamurti's misgivings about "interpretation". But many questions arise about the reasons for his cautionary stance. We may begin by noting how interpretations can become infected with authoritarian attitudes, and then ask what stands in the way of a more critical approach to teachers, books, memory and knowledge. Can we learn from others without believing everything they say or write? In one passage Krishnamurti says this is difficult (Ojai 2Jul44); but we have not found any passages where he calls it impossible. Can we loosen the grip of beliefs short of trying to get along without them? One may well be against authoritarian and dogmatic interpretations without being against what scholars would call responsible interpretations --and Krishnamurti once said these would not count as "interpretations" in his sense at all (KFA 1972). So we should resist any simple formulation of his position, and closely study the intricate ways in which he cut across the grain of familiar patterns of thought.

5. The Art of Listening A second line of inquiry begins with noting that choiceless awareness in "the art of listening" entails at least minimal interpretation even while it excludes several other mental processes. Being choiceless and silent, it excludes "chattering of the mind", judgements (11Jul53), emotional reactions and excessive "botanical classification" (16Feb64). At the same time, being a form of awareness, it entails at least that minimal interpretation needed to see something as fear, or as the cause of fear; or to discriminate between a tree and an elephant. As Krishnamurti notes, the mind is hardly "in a vacuum" (Star Bull Mar30) during the complex process of intelligent listening.

6. Going Beyond the Words. Krishnamurti spoke in a richly poetic diction, leaving his audience to fill in many details. Inviting them to attend to his words as they might hear the song of birds in the morning (23Nov47), he expected them nonetheless to construe those words as meaningful language rather than as pure sounds -- and to move very far beyond that in reaching for a sympathetic, open-minded and pliable response (26Nov58, 16Feb64). This entails going beyond his words in a process that would normally be regarded as interpretive -- especially because of Krishnamurti's unusual ways of using many common words (31Jul30). For these reasons we suspect that "the art of listening" demands a particular kind of interpretation: one that is choiceless, pliable and sympathetic -- rather than no interpretation at all.

7. The Case Against Interpretation Krishnamurti's strictures against "interpreters" initially seem to support the common belief that he was against interpretation. But a closer reading of those remarks leaves room for doubt. The interpreters he was targeting were not authentic inquirers -- they were "tricksters" and "exploiters". While he was indeed highly critical of certain kinds of interpretation -- those that are dogmatic, irresponsible or dishonest -- there is little reason to suppose he would be against pliable, responsible and honest interpretations. He left clear room for genuine attempts to explore and critically examine his teaching, by saying they would not even count as "interpretations" in his qualified sense. (KFA 1Mar72). For these reasons, we feel that on balance the evidence does not show him to have been against interpretation in any unqualified sense.

8. Distortion Krishnamurti left numerous warnings against twisting his words, translating them into alien frameworks, or bending them to suit convenience and vested interests -- forms of exploitation to which he was highly sensitive. However, history suggests that no simple remedy can hope to eliminate these dangers. To counteract interpretations that are dogmatic or irresponsible, we submit that the most effective antidote, in this field as elsewhere, may be intelligent criticism and responsible interpretation -- rather than no interpretation at all.

 

PART ONE: DISTORTION

Let Them Say What They Like (1926)

We need not bother about propaganda very much because the newspapers have taken it up for us. They may distort it, but that does not matter. Let them say what they like. If you take my advice do not reply at all. (Ommen 29Jul26; from HS 1926)

Truth Defies Perversion (1929)

What is the good of coming here year after year if you are only becoming more and more complicated in your beliefs, in your dogmas and your creeds? ... You want to twist what I say to suit your creeds, your conventions, your beliefs ... I tell you it cannot be done. Truth is so immense, it defies perversion. ("Now", Radio Broadcast, Ommen 1929)

Be Very Careful (1927)

By the questions that have been put to me ... there are many here who have not quite understood. That is not of great importance; but what is of great importance is that those who have not understood should not take the responsibility of interpreting what they have not understood to others ... So I should be very careful ... you must act wisely, carefully, discreetly. (Eerde Talk 5 1927; The Star Jul27)

 

Suiting Your Old Ideas (1928)

If you ... twist those words of mine to suit your old ideas -- the new ideas will break you. (Ommen Aug28; The Star Dec28)

 

Go After Truth (1929)

They listen but they don't understand and that's where the tragedy of it is -- because they don't want to [change]. They want to discuss their small theories and twist what I say to suit their particular attitudes. That's why you must be free; you must go after Truth for it will never come to you. (Ojai 1929; The Star Aug29)

You Have a System of Thought (1929)

You have disputed with me time and again. You have had a set of beliefs, a system of thought, and you have come here to discover what I say, and to twist what I say to suit your particular theories, your particular dogmas, your particular beliefs. (Ommen 2Aug29; ISB Sep29)

Making False Adjustments (1931)

Find out if what I say is true. If it is false then leave it; but do not try to twist what I say to suit your beliefs. This compromise, this false adjustment leads to greater confusion, greater sorrow and disillusion (Star Camp, 29Jul-Aug5 1931; ISB Sep31)

Pretending White is Black (1949)

You can twist anything to suit your convenience. You can pretend that white is black; but a mind that is not straight ... merely thinks in terms of vested interest, whether in belief, in property, or in so-called spiritual status. (Banaras 6Feb49 Q6)

 

Self-Deception (1952)

There is a fact and you translate that to suit your own vested interests, your own likes and dislikes; and immediately, there has begun self-deception. When I do not want anything out of it, a result, when I do not want to convince you of it or convince myself about it, [there is a] possibility of not being deceived. I must ... be in contact with the fact, without any interpretation between me and that fact + As long as there is the interpreter translating the experience, there must be deception. (10Feb52 Madras)

You Are Not Seeking Truth (1957)

If you need a mediator, an interpreter, then you are not seeking truth; what you want is comfort, gratification, and you might just as well take a pill. (13Jan57 Colombo)

The Mind's Enslavement (1960)

I am so sorry, but I do not feel you understand this at all. I have no communion with you. Your mind is the cumulative outcome of many centuries, of many yesterdays +It interprets what it sees [as] good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant ... but a mind that wants to learn, to understand something, must be free from the past +If the mind begins to learn to what extent it is a slave ... then it begins to see where freedom lies. (24Jan60 Rajghat)

You Already "Know" (1963)

You already "know" what the speaker is talking about. You have heard him for thirty years; or you have read a great deal, not only about what he is saying, but about other things as well. That background ... prevents you from listening. (7Jul63 Saanen)

A Mind that is Willing to Examine (1930)

 

This does not mean you should have your minds absolutely in ... a vacuum -- quite the contrary; but you must have a mind that is willing to examine (Mar30 Star Bulletin p.4)

 PART TWO: INTERPRETERS

I Have Struggled to Be Free (1927)

All this life, and especially during the last few months, I have struggled to be free -- of my friends, my books, my associations. You must struggle for the same freedom. (Eerde 30Jun27; reported in Mary Lutyens, The Years of Awakening p.244)

Question Everything (1930)

I want to make people .. question the very things they hold most dear and precious ... Examine [what I say] impartially, logically; dissect, tear it to pieces; but do not listen to anyone, listen to your own minds and your own hearts" (Jan30 Star Bulletin p.6)

Truth Does Not Belong to The Chosen Few (1930)

Truth is not of persons, it is of no class; it does not belong to a set of people who can interpret it; it does not belong to the chosen few. (Mar30 Star Bulletin p.10)

They Are The Tricksters (1934)

You seek guides, masters, systems, because you hope that by following them, obeying them, imitating them you will have peace [and] comfort. They are the tricksters who become priests, exploiters, preachers, mediators, swamis and yogis. (24Jan34 Ojai)

You Give Yourself Over to Experts (1935)

Having created these two divisions in life, the material and the spiritual, we turn in moments of great crisis, suffering and misery, to experts along these two lines +You give yourself over to [them] entirely and become merely a part of that system of thought ... you become tools in their hands. (21Jun35 Montevideo)

This Self-Created Prison (1935)

He who offers or promises this security ... becomes your authority, to be ... followed. You slowly give yourself over to that authority, and fear is cunningly and subtly cultivated ... To interpret, to administer and uphold this self-created prison of man, you must have priests [who] become [your] exploiters. (12Jul35 Buenos Aires)

 

Why Do These Interpreters Exist? (1936)

Q: You have many interpreters ... who claim to know special facts about you. [They seem] antagonistic towards you and your ideas, but profess a warm friendship + Are they exploiting you to justify ... the organisations to which they belong? JK: Why do these interpreters exist? + I have no private teaching + What I say here to the public, I repeat in my conversations and interviews with individuals + These ... interpreters have their own axes to grind. (24May36 Ojai)

Second-Hand Knowledge (1947)

Any amount of understanding of what others have said about suffering will not be the same as your own understanding of your suffering + You read a number of books but you don't relate what you read to your action in daily life. If you analyse the question seriously, you will find definitely that you can understand and face 'what is' without reading a single book ... You can only discover when the mind is fresh without any burden of book knowledge ... Do not allow other's words to react upon you. (31Dec47 Madras)

Confirm It Yourself (1944)

Others may point out but you yourself have to search out and discover what is true +You are responsible for your own thoughts-feelings-actions; you alone can bring clarity and order + Do not stop at the sign posts + The authority of another, however great, leads to further ignorance and sorrow. (Ojai 2Jul44)

Go To The Source (1953)

Is it possible for you, while listening, not merely to remain at the verbal level, but to uncover the process of your own thinking? ... What I am saying is not very complicated ... If you live at the verbal level, and are satisfied with descriptions without directly experiencing, then ... you will turn to interpreters ...who offer to tell you what I am talking about + Can you go to the source without interpretation, without being guided? (4Jul53 Ojai)

One Blind Man Helping Another (1954)

Q: I feel ... people have to be nurtured and educated by a careful study and explanation of your teachings and through books about your teachings, and study groups. Please tell me if I am right. JK: If I do not understand I look to somebody else to explain + So, I create the interpreter, the mediator, the priest, the sub-teacher. I am lazy -- which is so simple; you don't have to read books about that + We want help; but the help we want is the help a blind man can give to another blind man + Interpreters cannot give you freedom. (3Mar54 Bombay)

Their Vested Interests (1955)

For God's sake, keep away from ... the interpreter [who] is bound to interpret according to ... his vested interest + What is it the interpreters understand which you don't understand? + The source of mischief is in yourself, in the ways of your own thinking. As long as you [follow] someone who is interpreting, you are escaping from yourself. (6Feb55 Rajghat )

Interpreters Can Betray You (1957)

Please listen, sirs, don't laugh it off. An interpreter is a traitor [who] is interpreting according to his conditioning + You will have to see [it] yourself. (27Jan57 Colombo)

 

It's All in The Book Which We Are (1982)

Disciples always either exaggerate, distort, or extol; and lose the real depth ... Why do we want interpreters? + The whole history of mankind, his suffering, agony, desperate uncertainty, loneliness, it's all in the book + Not in sacred books + In the book which we are + We are the history of mankind. And if we can read that book ourselves, we will need nobody outside to help. (4May82 Ojai Q&A)

 

PART THREE: INTERPRETATION

Don't Agree -- Try to Understand (1928)

If you do not agree with me, I do not mind + So much the better, because then you will be willing to contend, discuss, and try to understand my point of view. (Ommen Aug28 ISB Feb29)

When the Mind is not Burdened (1935)

You [meet life] with a mind and heart already prejudiced, almost incapable of swift adjustment, quick pliability + When the mind is not burdened ... with memories [and] beliefs, and is able to meet the unknown, in that meeting wisdom is born. (15Mar35 New York)

Free Yourself From Beliefs and Dogmas (1936)

What profoundly matters is that you free yourself from beliefs and dogmas and limitations, so that you can live without conflict + True relationship ... is possible only when barriers and resistances are entirely dissolved. (24May36 Ojai)

The Importance of a Pliable Mind (1936)

To understand the complexity of life, the mind must be pliable and simple. Simplicity of mind ... is the directness of perception ... unhindered by prejudice, fear, tradition, and authority. To free the mind from these limitations is arduous + And yet with such thought alone can we comprehend the significance of life. Please see the importance of a pliable mind ... that knows the intricacies of fear with its illusions and is wholly free from them (6Dec36 Madras)

The Dawning of a New Intelligence (1936)

When I speak of your beliefs and theories .. do not project defensive reactions. All that I am trying to do is to point out what I consider to be the cause of conflict and suffering + If you perceive the actual ... without interpretation and identification, then at the very instant of perception there is the dawning of new intelligence [which] alone can solve the tremendously complicated, conflicting and painful problems of life. (6Dec36 Madras)

Without Bias (1945)

To understand a complex psychological problem we must be capable of examining it without any condemnatory or favourable bias ... of approaching it with dispassion and freshness +The difficulty is not in the problem itself but in our approach to it. The scars of yesterday prevent the right approach +To understand the problem and so transcend it interpretation must cease. (6Jul45 Ojai)

We Compare and Criticise (1946)

When we see a painting ... we do not really see [it] but are only concerned with our clever capacity for interpretation, criticism or admiration + If we could banish our judgement and clever analysis then perhaps the picture might convey its significance. Similarly these discussions will have meaning only if we are open to ... discovery which is prevented by our clinging obstinately to beliefs, memories and conditioned prejudices. (21Apr46 Ojai)

The Art of Listening Creatively (1947)

There is an art to listening + Most of us translate what is being said into our own terms, interpret it according to our own ... background + Can we listen as though we had no background at all? + I do not know if you have listened to the song of birds in the morning +You never compare it to yesterday's song. It is new, it is something very lovely because your mind is fresh, untroubled by the day's activities and so capable of hearing it as if for the first time even though the song is old as the hills. Similarly, please listen to what I am saying as though you were hearing it anew, and you will see an extraordinary thing taking place in yourself. (23Nov47 Madras)

The Authority of Memory (1947)

Belief implies authority ... either imposed by society, by tradition, or ... the authority of memory +You have learned something; and you use [that] to translate, interpret, further experience. That experience which you have added becomes your authority (4Dec47 Madras)

A New Mind Facing a New Problem (1947)

When you realise that your beliefs and your guides are really escapes from the problem of your confusion ... your guides drop away + In this state, your mind is ... quiet and passively alert ... it sees [the problem] as it is + A new mind faces a new problem without any translation or interpretation according to a pattern, and it is eager to know all about it ... confusion ceases, there is clarity; and the problem thus ceases to exist. (6Dec47 Madras)

Misinformed and Badly Educated (1947)

Your difficulty lies in seeing the thing clearly, without any prejudice + With regard to every subject you are misinformed, you are badly educated and badly conditioned; and you try to interpret life through this misinformation. (20Dec47 Madras)

Passive Awareness (1947)

You can experiment with [passive awareness] for yourself very simply and you will see how remarkably it works. For instance, you are in front of a modern painting. Your instinctive response is that you don't understand it and you push it aside, or ask who painted it ... But suppose you put aside [your] classical training and remain very quiet, very passive but alert ... so receptive that the picture conveys its meaning to you. (21Dec47 Madras)

Self-Knowledge v Book-Learning (1947)

Knowledge gathered from books or from others or from one's own experience is really an impediment to understanding 'what is' + Knowledge and book-learning will be a help only [for] learning a technique [as in] Engineering. (31Dec47 Madras)

Just Listen, Do Not Resist (1948)

If, during this discourse, anything is said which is opposed to your way of thinking ... just listen, do not resist +You may be right, and I may be wrong; but by listening and considering together, we are going to find out what is the truth +To know exactly what is ... without condemning or justifying it, is, surely, the beginning of wisdom + It is only when we begin to interpret ... according to our prejudice, that we miss the truth. (18Jan48 Bombay)

 

Focussing on a New Problem (1948)

If you see an entirely new insect ... you have to observe much more closely +Suppose the mind, accustomed to deal with some problems, faces a new problem ... [which] demands a new point of view +.Any expectation from the past ... any interpretation based on that past, or any desire for ... a result -- all these must go (22Apr48 Madras)

Judging Prevents Understanding (1949)

Also, what prevents understanding is judging; because we look at a thing already with a bias, a prejudice, a want, a demand + The moment you see that, your mind is passively quiet watching the thing. It is no longer naming the tiger + Your relationship to it is direct, not through words +A mind occupied with judging, condemning, translating, is not a quiet mind. (30Jul49 Ojai)

Meeting the Challenge of the New (1950)

To meet the challenge of the new, the mind must be ... fresh, uncontaminated by the past +To make assertions and denials, and all the rest of it, implies ... continuance of the background in different forms. (26Feb50 Bombay)

You Have Stopped Listening 1952)

If you say 'that conforms to my understanding', you have stopped thinking, you have stopped listening; you do not open the door to see greater visions, greater depths of those words + Please try to really listen ... without interpretation, without translating according to your prejudices ... (5Jan52 Madras)

Listening Without any Barrier (1952)

If we knew how to listen without any barrier, just to listen as if to the sound of the bird in the morning or to see the sunlight on the water, or to listen to what is being said without any interpretation, without any barrier, just to listen, then it is an extraordinary thing, especially when something true is being said. You may not like it; you may resist it; you may think it is enclosed; but if you really listen, you see the truth of it. (21Dec52 Rajghat)

An Impersonal Understanding (1953)

We are living in a world of escapes + We run away from things as they are actually; and when somebody ... makes us look at the actuality of them, we don't like it + If you are merely listening without any ... interpretation, without comparing ... allowing the words, the thought, the feeling ... the whole of the thing implied, to penetrate ... then that understanding ... is not personal, not yours or mine. It is a state of ... choiceless awareness +The mind directly sees ... without any mediator. (15Feb53 Bombay

Then That Silence Comes Into Being (1953)

If one knows how to listen ... without judgement, without twisting, without always bringing to it one's reactions ... then everything is a revelation + If we can really quietly listen to everything that is happening in our consciousness, to our own impulses, the various passions, envies, fears, then that silence of which I spoke earlier comes into being. (9Apr53 London)

Listening to the Problem (1953)

Most of us do not want to listen to anything completely, fully, because in that process we may discover what we are. We throw up screens between ourselves and what is being said + We have a great many problems -- personal, social, political, economic +To find the right answer we must know how to listen to ... the problem itself; [not] merely interpret [it] to suit our idiosyncrasies or opinions +A right answer to all our problems ... comes into being only when the mind listens quietly, almost indifferently, so it is capable of considering the problem without any special motive or intention, without an end in view. (20Jun53 Ojai)

Let It Tell Its Whole Story (1953)

Cannot the mind observe the cause, the incident which has produced fear, without interpretation, without judgement? Can it not merely look at the cause of fear, listen to it, let it tell its whole story without interpreting, accepting or denying it, without trying to hide it, without taking refuge or running away from it? This brings about the simplicity which is so essential to understanding. If we are capable of looking at the cause of the problem very simply, without translating or condemning it, then I think it is possible to be free ... not only from fear, but from envy, jealousy ... and all the other human problems that inevitably arise. (11Jul53 Ojai)

That Attention Has an Extraordinary Effect (1955)

Can we listen with an attention in which there is no interpretation, no opposition or acceptance, so that we understand totally what is being said? ... If one can listen with complete attention, that very attention brings about an extraordinary effect. (7Jul55 Ojai)

Two Ways of Listening: Responsive Discourse (1955)

 

There are two ways of listening. One can follow the words, see their meaning, and pursue the outward significance; or one can listen ... to the verbal statement, and pursue it inwardly. (7Jul55 Ojai)

Putting Aside All That We Have Learned (1959)

To be capable of learning, the mind must put aside all that it has learnt, which is extraordinarily difficult ... We are in a state of freedom when we want to find out, to understand or discover. That freedom is destroyed the moment we begin to interpret what we discover in terms of our conditioning, our established morality, environmental influences, and so on. (8Feb59 New Delhi)

Understanding (1961)

Understanding is instantaneous when there is no justification, condemnation or interpretation. Most of us ... think understanding is ... a matter of comparison, of gathering more information ... But understanding ... demands only one thing, which is direct perception, direct seeing without any comparison. (10Aug61 Saanen)

 

Die to the Things You Already Know (1961-63)

To see something very clearly: a rose, a flower, a person, without interpretation, you must die to the things you already know + If you are really hungry, you will not be satisfied with explanations about food ... In the same way if you want to find ... truth, then words, symbols, explanations, are just ashes (19Sep61 Paris Q24) To give one's whole attention to the present, die to the past. + To be aware of all [your] thoughts, feelings and actions without interpretation, [is to] live totally in the present. (25Jul63 Saanen)

A Mind That Doesn't Interpret, Censor or Choose (1963)

Now that is what I am going to talk about; not how to escape from conflict - which you do anyhow by running to your favourite god or your favourite analyst -- but how to understand negatively this whole process of conflict. By [this] I mean the state of a mind that looks at a problem, or at a mountain, without verbalising: it just looks. It is the state of a mind that doesn't interpret, censor or choose, but is aware without choice. (9Jul63 Saanen)

Without a Censor, Without a Judge 1963)

You have given the emotion a name; it becomes part of that which you already know. But to look at it as though you were seeing it for the first time - with a mind that doesn't interpret, doesn't translate, doesn't want to alter what it sees -- is to be in a state of discovery + To observe a stream, one has to watch every wave, however small, and be aware of the curving of that wave before it breaks; one has to move with that extraordinarily rapid water ... there is no time ... to say that this is right, that is wrong ... this must be, that must not be + In observing a living, moving thing, as vital as that stream, you cannot have a censor, a judge. (14Jul63 Saanen

Botanical Observation (1964)

There are two ways of looking at a flower: either botanically or non-botanically. When you look at a flower botanically, you know the species, the colour, the kind, what it is; when that interpretation comes in-between, you are observing it botanically; when that comes in, you can't see the flower. (16Feb64 Bombay)

That Pattern Prevents You From Learning (1964)

Learning is from moment to moment; it is a movement in which you are watching yourself infinitely, never condemning, never judging, never evaluating, but merely observing. The moment you condemn, interpret, or evaluate, you have a pattern of knowledge, of experience. That pattern prevents you from learning. (12Jul64 Saanen)

That's Not Interpretation (1972)

Interpretation is one thing and writing a book about the teaching is another ... you can write a book saying: "I think he is right in this way [and] wrong in this." Discuss, criticise. Go into it. That's not interpretation ... "Does he mean this, does he mean that?" Discuss. That's not interpretation + [That's] legitimate, logical, sane + You don't interpret. "This is what I think he says; this may be what he means ... I'm not sure ... I don't completely understand". That's perfectly honest. (KFA 1Mar72)

A Voyage of Discovery

When writing about the teachings, can you not state that you are only investigating them? Both you and your readers are going on a voyage of discovery together. Neither of you is exactly sure what exactly K meant by a certain statement. It is good to use words like 'perhaps' and 'probably' because they introduce an element of doubt in the mind of the reader. Sir, if you do that you will not run the risk of becoming a misinterpreter. (Krishnamurti's advice to authors, as reported in S.Weeraperuma, Krishnamurti as I Knew Him, 1988 p.103)

 

PART FOUR: GOING BEYOND THE WORDS

To Invent a New Language (1927-29)

If I could I would invent a new language, whereby we can escape from all the familiar words ... As I cannot unfortunately invent a new language, I would beg of you so to take what I say ... that the truth will appear as it is. (Fourth Talk at Eerde 1927) It is difficult to pierce through the illusion of words ... I wish it were possible to invent a new language! (Ommen 6Aug29; ISB 1929)

I Give My Words a New Interpretation (1930)

I cannot invent a new language, but I can give a new interpretation to the words I am using ... I have a special meaning for [them] + [Do not] jump to conclusions about these words with which you are already familiar + I am using the same words but giving to them quite a new interpretation. (Ommen 31Jul30 ISB Sep30)

Interpret Neither Too Much Nor Too Little (1928)

If you merely listen to the words I use you will miss the meaning which underlies them. (Ommen 4Aug28), When reading articles [by me] ... [one] should not only read what is printed but try to find out what the writer intends to convey. There is the danger also of interpreting him too much, so a happy medium must be found. (ISB 1928)

Catch the Ideas Behind the Words (1929-30)

Grasp the full significance of what I say, not the mere meaning of words. Do not be caught in illusion, the maya of words, but look behind the words (Adyar 28Dec29; ISB 1930) I am giving a new interpretation to words. It will be very difficult for you to understand, if you are merely caught in the words. You must go beyond the words, and strive to catch the significance which I give to those words, and not just give them your own convenient meaning. (Ommen 2Aug30 ISB Sep30)

Don't Go By the Letter Alone (1932)

I am trying to explain something which it is almost impossible to put into words .... If you merely follow the letter, then you will not understand. (Ojai 7Feb32, ISB Jan33)

It is Like Research (1944-48)

How difficult it is to find what is true ... Prejudice, tendency, conditioning ... must be set aside ... [which] is extremely difficult. (Ojai 2Jul44) After all, it is like research. To know what something is, exactly ... you cannot translate it according to your moods + We can have understanding of what is when we recognise it without condemnation [or] justification, ... without giving it any slant ... you need a swift mind and a pliable heart (18Jan48 Bombay)

Reaching Beyond The Verbal Expression (1948)

I may use words that may have to you a significance different from mine + It is extremely difficult to put aside our training, our prejudices, our inclination, our resistance, and, reaching beyond the verbal expression, to listen so that we understand instantaneously. That is going to be one of our difficulties. (18Jan48 Bombay)

 

Communication At Three Levels (1958)

To listen to what is being said requires, naturally, a verbal comprehension. You have to understand English. + Through the medium of words what is said is conveyed to the intellect, which either rejects or accepts what is being said. Before it accepts or rejects, it must weigh, balance, reason + One must realise the difficulty of communication and be able to pierce through the words. + We are going to commune with each other at all levels -- verbal, intellectual and emotional (Bombay 26Nov58)

We Must be Rather Cautious (1964)

You have to hear the words and not be caught by their superficial meaning ... this evening, we must be rather cautious, not to be caught in words. (16Feb64 Bombay)

Question, Examine, Analyse (1929)

There is a great difference between questioning ... examining, analysing the sayings and interpreting the work of an individual ... (Adyar 28Dec29; ISB 1930)

"This is What I Have Understood" (1977)

Q: How are we going to tread this razor's edge between saying what it means to us, and being "interpreters"? JK: I've understood a little -- not verbally, but I've got the taste of it, the smell of it, it's in my heart. So I would say, "This is what I feel + Let's go into it + Which doesn't mean I represent K or somebody else. This is what I have understood." (Ojai International Trustees Meeting 3Mar77)

 

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Note: These materials have been edited in ways that suit the special purposes of this series and may not be copied or quoted in their present form in any other publications.
Please see Notes for details on editing and for abbreviations.
Sources: For talks given between 1933 and 1968, see Collected Works; for later talks,
see Text Collection on CD-ROM; for books, see Catalogue.

 

Krishnamurti’s writings are protected under International Copyright Laws and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the copyright holders, and only as quoted in full from published sources. For materials prior to 1968: Copyright 1998 by Krishnamurti Foundation of America, P.O. Box 1560, Ojai, CA, USA 93024. All rights reserved. For materials from 1968 onwards: Copyright 1998 by Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd, Brockwood Park, Bramdean, Hampshire, SO24 OLQ UK. All rights reserved.

See REGISTER OF TOPICS for a complete list of papers in this series.

Continue to next paper in the series

Or return to Register of Topics

Copyright 1999 — KFA; All Rights Reserved
Krishnamurti Foundation of America, founded in 1969 by J. Krishnamurti

back