Krishnamurti And The Monk

Following is a transcription of a video of Achyut Patwardan, an associate of J. Krishnamurti, describing an exchange he witnessed between Krishnamurti and a monk. The footage of this account is on a DVD called The Challenge of Change [Krishnamurti Foundation of America].

I remember an occasion when a Jain monk walked up, travel weary. It must have happened about 11:00 in the morning, and Krishnaji was just going in for his bath. The monk said he had been walking for weeks to get there, because he learned that Krishnaji was there. He said it was very urgent that he should see him. And they sat down, just like that.

The Jain monk said that for over fourteen years he had been pursuing this problem of going beyond thought, and he couldn’t make any headway about it. He said he had tried everything, all austerities and everything, and now he was at the end of his tether. He had decided that if it did not work – he had been at this game for fourteen years, and he was about 46 years old, he said – he thought that if nothing was coming out of it, there was no point in going on living. He had a sense of urgency that he must find the solution.

Krishnaji smiled and he said, “You are trying to find an answer, aren’t you, Sir? You are trying to find a solution. I would rather change this process and merely look at what you are trying to do with yourself. Look at what thought is trying to do to itself. Thought is trying to persuade itself and pressure itself to stop its operations. Because it wants to get something out of it. And this is something which thought can’t do. So you have just to grasp the single fact that what you have been trying to do for fourteen years is something which thought has been trying to do, and there is just no way by which thought will ever be able to do it. Just see the finality of it, that it is not within the capability of thought to do what you want thought to do. Just see this. Do you see this, Sir, what I am saying?”

The monk was impressed, and he said, “Yes, I do.”

“But you are trying to ask thought to do it for you. Don’t do that. You just watch what thought is doing to itself. And perhaps if you do that and wait – ”

And suddenly there was a change in the appearance of the monk. He closed his eyes, and he was quite silent. After about four minutes, he opened his eyes, and his eyes were full of tears. He touched Krishnaji’s feet and then he said, “I have been wanting to get this for a long time, and I’ve not been doing it. So thank you, and I’ll go.”

“No, no, don’t be in such a hurry. Please sit down for five minutes.”

The monk sat down. He sat quietly, but suddenly he blurted out, “Sir, I have one more question to ask.”

“Of course. I’m waiting for that.”

 “Well, that was all right. Really, thought was absolutely quiet without my doing anything about it. But how can it last? How can I get it again?”

Krishnaji said, “That is just the question that I knew you were going to ask me. But who is it that asks the question? The mind [the “you”] that’s silent is asking this question? Or the mind [the “you”] that was not able to get silent and let go is asking the question? It is again the old mind. You have gone back to the old mind, and that old mind is asking this question, because it wants to possess what you got. It wants to hold onto it and continue it. All this is the normal function of thought. You had moved out of that room, and now you want the answer in that room. That is, you want the answer to be with thought. Do you see what you are doing? Do you see, Sir, what thought is doing to you? Do you see what thought is doing to itself?”

        And again the monk went silent. And this time he was silent for a while. And he opened eyes that were full of peace, and he touched Krishnaji’s feet and he said, “Sir, I’ll not come to you again.”

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