J. Krishnamurti: The Art and Science of Meditation

HJ: Krishnamurti ranks as on of the greatest masters and philosophical minds of all time.  His unique, yet timeless perspective on the larger spiritual truths of our existence has helped many to reach a deeper understanding of their true multidimensional nature.  Krishnamurti always espoused that he should not be deified or held as a guru — that indeed all were capable of his level of understanding.  A true egalitarian, Krishnamurti never put himself on a pedestal (except only literally when speaking) and refused excessive recognition for his ideas and concepts.

In this collection of excerpts, Krishanmurti offers commentary on the art and science of meditation, helping to demystify it and address some of the more common questions and concerns regarding the practice.  Although many of these speeches were given over 30 years ago, there wisdom is timeless and still holds as much truth today as it did then.

– Truth

By  J. Krishnamurti | Krishanmurti Australia

Meditation is never the control of the body. There is no actual division between the organism and the mind. The brain, the nervous system and the thing we call the mind are one, indivisible. It is the natural act of meditation that brings about the harmonious movement of the whole. To divide the body from the mind and to control the body with intellectual decisions is to bring about contradiction, from which arise various forms of struggle, conflict and resistance.


Every decision to control only breeds resistance, even the determination to be aware. Meditation is the understanding of the division brought about by decision. Freedom is not the act of decision but the act of perception. The seeing is the doing. It is not a determination to see and then to act. After all, will is desire with all it’s contradictions. When one desire assumes authority over another, that desire becomes will. In this there is inevitable division. And meditation is the understanding of desire, not the overcoming of one desire by another. Desire is the movement of sensation, which becomes pleasure and fear. This is sustained by the constant dwelling of thought upon one or the other.


Meditation really is a complete emptying of the mind. Then there is only functioning of the body; there is only the activity of the organism and nothing else; then thought functions without identification as the me and the non-me. Thought is mechanical, as is the organism. What creates conflict is thought identifying itself with one of its parts which becomes the me, the self and the various divisions in that self. There is no need for the self at any time. There is nothing but the body, and freedom of the mind can only happen when thought is not breeding the me. There is no self to understand but only the thought which creates the self. When there is only the organism without the self , perception, both visual and non-visual can never be distorted. There is only seeing ‘what is’ and that very perception goes beyond what is. The emptying of the mind is not an activity of thought or an intellectual process. The continuous seeing of what is without any kind of distortion naturally empties the mind of all thought and yet that very mind can use thought when it is necessary. Thought is mechanical and meditation is not.

Excerpt taken from ‘The Beginnings of Learning’.

Copyright: Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. London. 1979

Published by Victor Gollancz Ltd.


Thought cannot conceive or formulate to itself the nature of space. Whatever it formulates has within it the limitation of its own boundaries. This is not the space which meditation comes upon. Thought has always a horizon. The meditative mind has no horizon. The mind cannot go from the limited to the immense, nor can it transform the limited into the limitless. The one has to cease for the other to be. Meditation is opening the door into spaciousness which cannot be imagined or speculated upon. Thought is the center round which there is the space of idea, and this space can be expanded by further ideas. But such expansion through stimulation in any form is not the spaciousness in which there is no center. Meditation is the understanding of this center and so going beyond it. Silence and spaciousness go together. The immensity of silence is the immensity of the mind in which a center does not exist. The perception of this space and silence is not of thought. Thought can perceive only its own projection, and the recognition of it is its own frontier.

J. Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution, Victor Gollancz: London, 1970, p. 40


Meditation is not a search, it’s not a seeking, a probing, an exploration. It is an explosion and discovery. It’s not the taming of the brain to conform nor is it a self-introspective analysis, it is certainly not the training in concentration which includes, chooses and denies. It’s something that comes naturally, when all positive and negative assertions and accomplishments have been understood and drop away easily. It is the total emptiness of the brain. It’s the emptiness that is essential, not what’s in the emptiness, there is seeing only from emptiness, all virtue, not social morality and respectability, springs from it. It’s out of this emptiness love comes, otherwise it’s not love. Foundation of righteousness is in this emptiness. It’s the end and beginning of all things.

Krishnamurti, Notebook


“What is meditation and how is it  related to creativity?”


Meditation is a very complex business.  This is a dialogue between us.  And I said it is a very complex business.  The word meditation implies both in Sanskrit and in English, not only the brain concentrating on a certain subject, but also it implies a great deal of attention.  But primarily meditation means, in Sanskrit, to measure.  And also in English etymologically, I believe, it is to measure.  The whole question of becoming is involved in it, which is to measure: I am this, I will be that.  I am greedy, but I will gradually become non-greedy, which is a form of measurement, which is form of becoming.  Both becoming in the affairs of the world and psychologically becoming.  That is the whole question of measurement.  The Greeks, the ancient Greeks – you know all about that, I don’t have to go into it – were the originators of measurement.  Without measurement there would be no technology.  And the Asiatics specially in India, said measurement is illusion, measurement means limitation.  I am translating, they didn’t exactly say this, they put it differently.  So measurement means comparison, to compare ‘what is’, ‘what should be’, the ideal, the fact, the fact becoming the ideal.  All that is implied in meditation.


And also in meditation is implied, the meditator and the meditation.  If there is any difficulty in understanding what the speaker is saying jump on him, please.  Because it is a very complex business.  And specially some of the Indian gurus have brought this word into America and made a lot of money out of it.  They are multi-millionaires, I have met them.  They are appalling beings, the are all out for money.


So to enquire into meditation, you have to enquire first not only measurement, but also this constant becoming something, psychologically.  Human beings are violent, and the ideal to be in a state of non-violence, which is to become.


Q: Do you set goals for your meditation?


Krishnamurti:   I am saying what is implied in the whole structure and the nature of meditation.  It is not how to meditate but what is meditation, rather than how.  I hope I am making myself clear.  And also there is a question involved in that: who is meditating?  And most of the systems of meditation, whether the Japanese, and the Hindus, and so on, Tibetan, there is always the controller and the controlled.  Right?  Are we meeting each other?  So there is the controller controlling thought, to quieten the thought, to shape thought according to a purposeful direction.  So there is the controller and the controlled.  Who is the controller?  Please, all this is implied in meditation, not merely to control one’s thought as is generally understood in meditation, whether it is Zen meditation, or the most complex forms of meditation which take place in India, and elsewhere, there is always the director, the entity that controls thought.  So they have divided psychologically the thinker and the thought.  So the thinker separates himself from the whole activity of thought, and therefore in meditation is implied the controller controlling thought so as to make thought quiet.  That is the essence of meditation, to bring about a state of brain – I won’t use the mind for the moment – to make the brain quiet.  I’ll explain a little more and go into that.


So there is a division between the controller and the controlled.  Right?  Who is the controller?  Very few people have asked that question.  They are all delighted to meditate, hoping to get somewhere – illumination, enlightenment and quietness of the brain, peace of mind and so on.  But very, very few people have enquired: who is the controller?  May we go on with that?  The controller is also thought.  The controller is the past, is the entity, or the movement of time as the past and measure.  So there is the past who is the thinker, separate from the thought, and the thinker tries to control thought.  Human beings have invented god – sorry, I hope you don’t mind.  You won’t be shocked if I go into all this?


A: No, go ahead.


Krishnamurti:   Human beings, out of their fear, invented god.  And they tried to reach god, which is the ultimate principle, in India it is called Brahman, the ultimate principle.  And meditation is to reach the ultimate.  So meditation is really very, very complex, it is not just merely meditating for twenty minutes in the morning, twenty minutes in the afternoon, and twenty minutes in the evening – which is taking a siesta, not meditation at all.  So if one wants to discover what is meditation one has to asKrishnamurti:   why does one have to meditate?  One realizes one’s brain is constantly chattering, constantly planning, designing – what it will do, what it has done, the past impinging itself on the present, it is everlasting chattering, chattering, whether the scientific chatter – sorry! – or ordinary daily life chatter, like a housewife chattering endlessly about something or other.  So the brain is constantly in movement.  Now the idea of meditation is to make the brain quiet, silent, completely attentive, and in that attention find that which is – perhaps you will object to this word ‘eternity’ – or something sacred.  That is the intention of those who really have gone into this question.  The speaker has gone into this for the last sixty years or more.  He has discussed this question with the Zen pundits, with the Zen patriarches, with the Hindus and Tibetan, and all the rest of the gang.  I hope you don’t mind my talking colloquially, do you?


And the speaker refutes all that kind of meditation because their idea of meditation is to achieve an end.  The end being complete control of the brain so that there is no movement of thought.  Because when the brain is still, deliberately disciplined, deliberately sought after, it is not silent.  It is like achieving something, which is the action of desire.  I don’t know if you follow all this.  May I go on?


So one has to enquire also, if one is interested in all this, what is desire?  Not suppress desire, as the monks and the Indian Sannyasis do, suppress desire, or identify desire with something higher – higher principle, higher image, if you are a Christian with Christ and so on.  So one has to understand if one wants to find out what is meditation, one has to enquire into desire.  All right, sirs?

J. Krishnamurti Los Alamos (USA) National Laboratory

2nd Colloquium 21st March 1984

‘Creativity In Science’

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