WHY SPIRITUAL TEACHERS?
Question: You say that gurus are
unnecessary, but how can I find truth without the wise help and guidance which
only a guru can give?
Krishnamurti: The question is whether a guru is
necessary or not. Can truth be found through another? Some say it can and some
say it cannot. We want to know the truth of this, not my opinion as against the
opinion of another. I have no opinion in
this matter. Either it is so or it is not. Whether it is essential that you
should or should not have a guru is
not a question of opinion. The truth of the matter is not dependent on opinion,
however profound, erudite, popular, universal. The truth of the matter is to be
found out, in fact.
First of all, why do we want a guru?
We say we need a guru because
we are confused and the guru is
helpful; he will point out what truth is, he will help us to understand, he
knows much more about life than we do, he will act as a father, as a teacher to
instruct us in life; he has vast experience and we have but little; he will help
us through his greater experience and so on and on. That is, basically, you go
to a teacher because you are confused. If you were clear, you would not go near
a guru. Obviously if you were profoundly happy, if there were no
problems, if you understood life completely, you would not go to any guru. I hope you see the significance of this. Because you are
confused, you seek out a teacher. You go to him to give you a way of life, to
clarify your own confusion, to find truth. You choose your guru because you are confused and you hope he will give you what you
ask. That is you choose a guru who
will satisfy your demand; you choose according to the gratification he will give
you and your choice is dependent on your gratification.
You do not choose a guru who says,
“Depend on yourself”; you choose him according to your prejudices. So since
you choose your guru according to the
gratification he gives you, you are not seeking truth but a way out of
confusion; and the way out of confusion is mistakenly called truth.
Let us examine first this idea that a guru can clear up our confusion. Can anyone clear up our confusion
?—confusion being the product of our responses. We have created it. Do you
think someone else has created
it—this misery, this battle at all levels of existence, within and without? It
is the result of our own lack of knowledge of ourselves. It is because we do not
understand ourselves, our conflicts, our responses, our miseries, that we go to
a guru whom we think will help us to
be free of that confusion. We can understand ourselves only in relationship to
the present; and that relationship itself is the guru, not someone outside. If I do not understand that relationship,
whatever a guru may say is useless,
because if I do not understand relationship, my relationship to property, to
people, to ideas, who can resolve the conflict within me? To resolve that
conflict, I must understand it myself, which means I must be aware of myself in
relationship. To be aware, no guru is
necessary. If I do not know myself of what use is a guru? As a political
leader is chosen by those who are in confusion and whose choice therefore is
also confused, so I choose a guru.
I can choose him only according to my confusion; hence he, like the
political leader, is confused.
What is important is not who is right—whether I am right or whether
those are right who say a guru is
necessary; to find out why you need a guru
is important. Gurus exist for
exploitation of various kinds, but that is irrelevant. It gives you satisfaction
if someone tells you how you are progressing, but to find out why you need
a guru—there lies the key. Another can point out the way but you
have to do all the work, even if you have a guru.
Because you do not want to face that, you shift the responsibility to the
The guru becomes useless when there is a particle of self-knowledge. No guru, no book or scripture,
can give you self-knowledge: it comes when you are aware of yourself in
relationship. To be, is to be related; not to understand relationship is misery,
strife. Not to be aware of your relationship to property is one of the causes of
confusion. If you do not know your right relationship to property there is bound
to be conflict, which increases the conflict in society. If you do not
understand the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and
your child, how can another resolve the conflict arising out of that
relationship? Similarly with ideas, beliefs and so on. Being confused in your
relationship with people, with property, with ideas, you seek a guru. If he is a real guru,
he will tell you to understand yourself. You
are the source of all misunderstanding and confusion; and you can resolve
that conflict only when you understand yourself in relationship.
You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Truth is not
something static; it has no fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the
contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be an end? If truth is
a fixed point it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Truth is the
unknown, and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it, for mind is made
up of the known, it is the result of the past, the outcome of time—which you
can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the known, hence it cannot
find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known. When the mind
seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that ‘truth’ is
self-projected; for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more
satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After
all, an ideal is self-projected; it is fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking
God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of
your own thought, the result of social influences. You can think only of the
known; you cannot think of the unknown, you cannot concentrate on truth. The
moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected known. God or truth cannot be thought about. If
you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be sought: it comes to you.
You can go only after what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the known,
by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in
every leaf, in every tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can
lead you to truth; and if anyone leads you, it can only be to the known.
can only come to the mind that is empty of the known. It comes in a state in
which the known is absent, not functioning. The mind is the warehouse of the
known, the residue of the known; for the mind to be in that state in which the
unknown comes into being, it must be aware of itself, of its previous
experiences, the conscious as well as the unconscious, of its responses,
reactions, and structure. When there is complete self-knowledge, then there is
the ending of the known, then the mind is completely empty of the known. It is
only then that truth can come to you uninvited. Truth does not belong to you or
to me. You cannot worship it. The moment it is known, it is unreal. The symbol
is not real, the image is not real; but when there is the understanding of self,
the cessation of self, then eternity comes into being.