Vivek Raju who has been associated with Krishnamurti Foundation India talks about the ideas and virtues mentioned in J Krishnamurti’s book ‘The Real Crisis’.
J. Krishnamurti (1895 – 1986) is regarded by many as the most significant voices of our times and one who has a most profound impact on human consciousness. Sage, philosopher, and religious teacher, Krishnamurti illumined the lives of millions the world over. His book ‘The Real Crisis’ is nothing but excerpts from his talks and writings of nearly five decades, covering the years from 1934 to 1985. The book conceptualises the current pandemic time. Vivek Raju an associate of Krishnamurti Foundation India talked about the ideas and virtues of the book.
Vivek Raju has spent many years in the area of communication, first in advertising, then in marketing for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Of his 30 years of work experience, he spent 18 years in non-profit work, setting up from scratch and building Parikrma Humanity Foundation into a valuable and known organization that is imparting quality, mainstream education to the marginalized poor in Bengaluru. Prior to this, he worked with advertising agencies in Mumbai such as Lintas, Trikaya Grey and Leo Burnett.
Here’s what Vivek Raju had to share:
Can you tell us what ‘The Real Crisis’ is all about?
“The latest pandemic leading to a severe global economic downturn and deep continuing social unrest has yet again brought a major crisis to our doorstep. The response, as always, is one of seeking solutions outside of us, be it a vaccine or economic revitalization. And when there is some semblance of ‘normalcy’, we move on to our everyday struggles of making ends meet and striving to get somewhere, as if they were different from the abnormal crisis we have just been through. We rarely question why is it that we find ourselves going from one crisis to another. We never ask whether our present way of living itself is not the cause of the next global crisis. Most importantly, we never ask whether we can ever live without any crisis or struggle.
J. Krishnamurti, one of 20th century’s most influential of religious teachers, revealed, with great precision, the workings of the human mind which, he maintained, was the cause of all crises. Set in plain English and drawing from ordinary human life, Krishnamurti’s talks, writings, and dialogues bring a daringly original approach to the existential dilemmas that confront us. Through his unique explorations of the human condition, he makes us aware of several fundamental questions, some of which are given in the Real Crisis – Digital Booklet as excerpts from his talks and writings of nearly five decades, covering the years from 1934 to 1985.
One of the questions Krishnamurti asks is ‘Why has man, who has lived for thousands and thousands of years, come to such misery and conflict?… If you put aside the easy explanations of over-population, lack of morality—which goes with technological knowledge and this lack of direct communication—what then is the fundamental reason, the fundamental cause of this misery? Why is it that in a country like this that has had the tradition of goodness, kindliness, of not killing, of not being brutal… why is it and whence is it that something has gone totally wrong?’”
What are the main ideas that J. Krishnamurti focused on in his life?
“J. Krishnamurti’s role as the world teacher was stated clearly by himself when he declared in 1928, “My only concern is to set man absolutely, unconditionally free.”Krishnamurti did not expound any method or ideas for becoming unconditionally free. Rather he explored the human condition along with those who were keen to do so. He explored the basest of our emotions such fear, violence, ambition, the need for security, envy and sorrow. At the same time, he was absolutely clear when he said, “Only you can set yourself free”.
Over the sixty years that he talked to groups, held dialogues with individuals and wrote, Krishnamurti developed several themes that allowed those interested to explore their condition. Here are a few themes he expanded on.
- The struggle seems to define most of our lives. Why do we struggle and accept to live in extended sorrow and suffering? Is our struggle inevitable?
- Without first knowing yourself as you are, a fundamental transformation of one’s consciousness, which is soaked in suffering and sorrow, is not possible.
- To be in a relationship is to exist, and so a relationship is a mirror in which you see and know yourself as you are.
- When the observer, which is the ‘me’ (ego), separates itself from that which is observed, the ego is strengthened since what is observed is seen through the lens of a collection of our experiences, likes, dislikes, opinions and beliefs stored as knowledge in memory. What the observer, sees is, therefore, just a projection of its own self rather than what is actual.
- When the thinker, the ego, controls thought, the ego is strengthened. The separate thinker is just another thought and not a real entity. When this fact, that the thinker, which arises as a reaction to the initial thought, and the initial thought are one and the same, is seen clearly, then there is a natural silence and the potential for fundamental transformation.
- To be choicelessly aware of oneself from moment to moment presents the opportunity for seeing that the observed is observed, that the thinker is the thought.
- Without coming upon the ‘sacred’, life holds little meaning. It is this factor that will help the individual and society to radically transform.“
What are the three value lessons that people will get to learn from the book?
“Krishnamurti pointed out that any value or ideal is inherently false since it is a mental projection of an opposite state to what is actually happening in oneself. For example, when we feel envy, we project the ideal or value of being non-envious. Similarly, when we are dishonest, we project the value of honesty. All ideals, therefore, are unreal, and the very effort of trying to change one’s state by achieving the unreal ideals creates conflict and ensures the continuity of our existing state, which is the only reality.
Life is ever-changing. Our feelings, our thoughts are constantly flowing and changing. In this state, Krishnamurti urges us to be attentive to this movement from moment to moment without any judgement of right or wrong or good or bad. This self-knowing allows the mind to see itself as it is and this very seeing is the factor that brings about transformation.
The Real Crisis – Digital Booklet draws attention to our entertainment-driven, modern-day existence and our total loss of connection with nature. It presents the reasons why we human beings find ourselves from one crisis to another and the way out of it.“
How have J Krishnamurti’s teachings impacted your life?
“As individuals, we are taught to be competitive and succeed at any cost. We fuel our separate selves through pursuing our dreams and desires and, in the process, go through disappointments and unhappiness when what we wish for does not happen. And rarely are our expectations met. The teachings have brought to light the intricate workings of the ego and the illusions it creates while believing it to be a reality. The outcome of seeing the limitations of the ego and its projections, which is an unending process, is a natural change in perspective that is not brought about by thinking. More and more there is a seeing of the unreality that one creates for oneself and how habitual and mechanical this thinking is. There is also a tremendous appreciation and awe of a natural world in a constant state of creation.“
How do you think this pandemic changed or impacted the lives of people around the world?
“The pandemic has brought into focus two main drivers of our daily living.: fear and selfishness. Those with more to lose have greater fear. The pandemic has shown that no matter how much we wish to control our surroundings and our standard of living, it is, in truth, beyond our control. The resultant insecurity is what fuels fear, which is nothing but a projection of what could happen. All of the media has single-mindedly helped in strengthening fear.
The global lockdown in response to the pandemic brought human activity to a standstill. Pollution decreased and natural habitats bounced back most dramatically. Without our incessant and blinkered attention on getting somewhere in our lives, we noticed the natural world in its great splendour. For many, it brought into focus the rat-race of a life they were leading, all the time on the run with the inevitable burnout. The lockdown showed that it took very little to live happily.
Yet, habits are not easy to change. Going back to the old grooves would be a reality for most. Perhaps some may be affected enough to change. Two world wars and millions of dead in the last century did not radically change mankind. Only time will tell if this pandemic will have lasting change for a better society and for our planet.“