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Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti

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Counted among his admirers are Jonas Salk, Aldous Huxley, David Hockney, and Van Morrison, along with countless other philosophers, artist, writers and students of the spiritual path. Now the trustees of Krishnamurti’s work have gathered his very best and most illuminating writings and talks to present in one volume the truly essential ideas of this great spiritual thinker.Total Freedom includes selections from Krishnamurti’s early works, his ‘Commentaries on Living’, and his discourses on life, the self, meditation, sex and love. These writings reveal Krishnamuri’s core teachings in their full eloquence and power: the nature of personal freedom; the mysteries of life and death; and the ‘pathless land’, the personal search for truth and peace. Warning readers away from blind obedience to creeds or teachers – including himself – Krishnamurti celebrated the individual quest for truth, and thus became on of the most influential guides for independent-minded seekers of the twentieth century – and beyond.

370 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

J. Krishnamurti

1,049 books3,636 followers
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895 in Madanapalle, a small town in south India. He and his brother were adopted in their youth by Dr Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society. Dr Besant and others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be a world teacher whose coming the Theosophists had predicted. To prepare the world for this coming, a world-wide organization called the Order of the Star in the East was formed and the young Krishnamurti was made its head.

In 1929, however, Krishnamurti renounced the role that he was expected to play, dissolved the Order with its huge following, and returned all the money and property that had been donated for this work.

From then, for nearly sixty years until his death on 17 February 1986, he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to individuals about the need for a radical change in humankind.

Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual's search for security and happiness, and the need for humankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.

Krishnamurti belonged to no religious organization, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On the contrary, he maintained that these are the very factors that divide human beings and bring about conflict and war. He reminded his listeners again and again that we are all human beings first and not Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that we are like the rest of humanity and are not different from one another. He asked that we tread lightly on this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He communicated to his listeners a deep sense of respect for nature. His teachings transcend belief systems, nationalistic sentiment and sectarianism. At the same time, they give new meaning and direction to humankind's search for truth. His teaching, besides being relevant to the modern age, is timeless and universal.

Krishnamurti spoke not as a guru but as a friend, and his talks and discussions are based not on tradition-based knowledge but on his own insights into the human mind and his vision of the sacred, so he always communicates a sense of freshness and directness although the essence of his message remained unchanged over the years. When he addressed large audiences, people felt that Krishnamurti was talking to each of them personally, addressing his or her particular problem. In his private interviews, he was a compassionate teacher, listening attentively to the man or woman who came to him in sorrow, and encouraging them to heal themselves through their own understanding. Religious scholars found that his words threw new light on traditional concepts. Krishnamurti took on the challenge of modern scientists and psychologists and went with them step by step, discussed their theories and sometimes enabled them to discern the limitations of those theories. Krishnamurti left a large body of literature in the form of public talks, writings, discussions with teachers and students, with scientists and religious figures, conversations with individuals, television and radio interviews, and letters. Many of these have been published as books, and audio and video recordings.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 85 reviews
Profile Image for Kate.
50 reviews
November 17, 2008
Whenever I read Krisnamurti I'm all like "Well, it's so clear and obvious now, everything makes total sense."

I have the same feeling when I put on my glasses. "Ah, look, those trees aren't just a blur of green but you can see each individual leaf. I can't believe I've been missing this!"

Feeling a little cloudy? This guy will straighten you RIGHT out.
Profile Image for Jonathan.
917 reviews947 followers
November 6, 2014

"I think it is always important to ask fundamental questions, but when we do ask a fundamental question, most of us are seeking an answer, and then the answer is invariably superficial because there is no yes or no answer to life. Life is a movement, an endless movement, and to inquire into this extraordinary thing called life, with all its innumerable aspects, one must ask fundamental questions and never be satisfied with answers, however satisfactory they may be, because the moment you have an answer, the mind has concluded, and conclusion is not life - it is merely a static state. So what is important is to ask the right question and never be satisfied with the answer, however clever, however logical, because the truth of the question lies beyond the conclusion, beyond the answer, beyond the verbal expression. The mind that asks a question and is merely satisfied with an explanation, a verbal statement, remains superficial. It is only the mind that asks a fundamental question and is capable of pursuing that question to the end - it is only such a mind that can find out what is truth."

"Very few of us listen directly to what is being said, we always translate or interpret it according to a particular point of view, whether Hindu, Muslim, or communist. We have formulations, opinions, judgments, beliefs through which we listen, so we are actually never listening at all; we are only listening in terms of our own particular prejudices, conclusions, or experiences. We are always interpreting what we hear, and obviously that does not bring about understanding. What brings about understanding, surely, is to listen without any anchorage, without any definite conclusion, so that you and I can think out the problem together, whatever the problem may be. If you know the art of listening, you will not only find out what is true in what is being said but you will also see the false as false and the truth in the false; but if you listen argumentatively, then it is fairly clear that there can be no understanding because argument is merely your opinion against another opinion, or your judgment against another, and that actually prevents the understanding or discovery of the truth in what is being said.

So, is it possible to listen without any prejudice, without any conclusion, without interpretation? Because, it is fairly obvious that our thinking is conditioned, is it not? We are conditioned as Hindus, or communists, or Christians, and whatever we listen to, whether it is new or old, is always apprehended through the screen of this conditioning; therefore, we can never approach any problem with a fresh mind...So, the mind is conditioned by modern education, by society, by religion, and by the knowledge and the innumerable experiences which we have gathered; it is shaped, put into a mold, not only by our environment, but also by our own reactions to that environment and to various forms of relationship.

Please bear in mind that you are not merely listening to me, but are actually observing the process of your own thinking. What I am saying is only a description of what is taking place in your own mind. If one is at all aware of one's own thinking, one will see that a mind that is conditioned, however much it may try to change, can only change within the prison of its own conditioning, and such a change is obviously not revolution. I think that is the first thing to understand - that as long as our minds are conditioned as Hindus, Muslims, or whatnot, any revolution is within the pattern of that conditioning and is therefore not a fundamental revolution at all. Every challenge must always be new, and as long as the mind is conditioned, it responds to challenge according to its conditioning; therefore, there is never an adequate response. "

Profile Image for Richard.
259 reviews59 followers
May 30, 2010
Krishnamurti is taxing. It is anything but a self-help, feel good, gooshy, new-agey guru book. He is harsh. He is bare. His words are truth, in all their naked beauty and terror. They are at once beautifully quoteable, and damningly upsetting. He necessitates the reexamination of all that is human, and at the same times affirms our own divine potential. Its a shocking examination of beauty, love, truth and unity. You are the world. That is the truth he proclaims. I'm positive that Annie Bassant was right in her proclamation of Jiddu Krishnamurti as the world teacher. If we all took his core teaching to heart, It would change the world. It would put an end to suffering and division. It would put an end to the ego and thus the corrupt world as we know it. I enthusiastically reccomend this book to anyone who can read it without prejudice, and without judgement. Who can listen to bare truth - not dogma or belief - and take them for what they are. I will read the abridged version (my copious highlighting) again and again.

On the petty side, it is not accessible to most people. It can come across pretetious, and haughty. Krishnamurti has the tendancy to over expound and over think. This aside, it is truth at its most basic and bare.
Profile Image for Nico.
21 reviews18 followers
October 10, 2021
Hmm, I expected to like this book. I'll sum it up: Observe your mind. Cultivate vast attention. Question all authorities and institutions. Don't become attached to ideologies. Boom, I just saved you 370 pages.

Krishnamurti restates a lot of very standard Buddhist and Vedic ideas, but he does so poorly and arrogantly. A lot of his assertions sound okay but don't stand up to critical reasoning.

Krishnamurti talks a lot about unconditioning the mind totally and repeatedly chides humanity for NEVER having asked the right questions. Thankfully, he was personally conditioned into a society where all the ideas he presents were common for 2000-4000 years prior to his restating them. Not only that, they had already spread to tons of thinkers in Europe and Latin America by the time he came on the scene.

One concrete example of a very silly exchange: Krishnamurti, born into wealth, criticizes those monks and sanyasins that have stepped out of society to meditate on the mind and the nature of reality. He says they’re using a crutch by trying to “escape reality”. But later he’s challenged about whether humans should remain neutral and not resist war and the hydrogen bomb and says:

KRISHNAMURTI: “We can step out of the present machinery of society, which is constantly preparing for war, and perhaps by our own total inward revolution, we shall be able to contribute to the building of a civilization which is altogether new … Must there not be serious people who see this process of destruction going on in the world … who step out of it in the sense of not being ambitious and all the rest of it?”

QUESTIONER: “There must be some people who are very serious, and have they solved their problems or the problems of the world?”

KRISHNAMURTI: “That is not a serious question, is it? Whether there are serious people who have solved their problems is not important. Have you and I solved our problems?”

And yet Krishnamurti reminds us repeatedly that we are not separate individuals, or in his words, “The ‘me’ to which we cling is fictitious.” That’s just one example of his double-think.

Folks paying attention while reading the book will notice that when asked difficult questions about his own words or inconsistent philosophy, Krishnamurti deflects. This might be okay, except that he also chides the questioners for their alleged insincerity and attacks the validity of asking the questions in the first place.

That being said, I’m genuinely glad it resonated for some people and sparked some new ideas.
Profile Image for Kshitiz Dahal.
3 reviews1 follower
August 31, 2013
Thoreau remarked in Walden, "rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth," and this book definitely paves the way for the truth. Rather than depending on some external teachers for the truth, this book asks you to seek the truth inside yourself. It exposes the illusions of fears and security created in your mind through different forms of conditioning.Definitely helps to lead a fearless life, a life full of love and compassion and a life devoid of attachments.

One of the most radical and enlightening books I have come across.
Profile Image for Steve Woods.
618 reviews59 followers
June 9, 2012
What can I say? This man is one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. I was first introduced to his work while I was a teenager in a small country town, I couldn't make sense of any of it and it's taken 50 years to come to a point where those matters of which he speaks so eloquently are now on my mind. Clear, concise and insightful, he makes a universal message into his own form of expression that holds within it no illusions and an internal logic that just cannot be denied.

An important pointer along the way for me, but one which has to be read slowly and considered at depth. not light reading. It's taken me more than a year to get through the 300 pages.
Profile Image for Tanmay Sethi.
30 reviews1 follower
December 30, 2020
Krishnamurti is the most blunt author I have read. It has given me answers to some of my most cherished question ranging from death to consciousness to love. Not just that, it has shattered some of my belief and to an extent my ego.
Though the book becomes a bit repetitive at times given it is collection of speeches, but the content is too heavy to be understood in one go. I had my aha moments reading this book. Must read for anyone seeking answer to life questions.
Profile Image for Bogdan Florin.
122 reviews44 followers
January 8, 2021
I've discovered Krishnamurti, from one list of books recommended by Naval. I have checked the ratings and then bought the book. It's a book that will get your perception of life to the next level.

Here are my initial takeaways:
- Jiddu is a book that touches the heart, mind, soul, and the spirit
- Total freedom is different than anything else that you have read
- Krishnamurti dissects essential life subjects like a stoic with a philosopher mind
- He tackles subjects such as human relationships, thoughts, meditation, conflict, fear, education, consciousness, truth within the book
- The book is practically a collection of some of the best journal entries and speeches of the master thinker
- Because these new ways of looking at the world are uncommon, it might take some time to be able to understand the meaning of each paragraph.
- Overall, each paragraph is thought-provoking, timeless, and challenges your assumptions
- After each chapter, if not earlier you will have to take a break, and reflect on what you have just read.
- After reading the book you will question "that is".
- The book addresses religious/spiritual matters that I don't necessarily agree with.
- If you believe that you will find value from someone who believes he is nobody, then this book is for you.

You can read more about Krishnamurti's philosophies on https://kfoundation.org/krishnamurti/ and if you want to see a recording of one of his speeches check this one out The Real Revolution filmed in Oak Grove in Ojai, California in 1966, the first time that he had allowed his talks and discussion groups to be filmed.

Total Freedom Quotes

“Teaching is not the mere imparting of knowledge but the cultivation of an inquiring mind.”

“The observer is the observed and therein lies sanity, the whole, and with the holy is love.”

“To what extent can a person control his own actions?” A person does not control his own actions if he has not understood environment. Then he is only acting under the compulsion, the influence, of environment; such an action is no action at all, but is merely reaction or self-protectiveness

"What we call happiness or ecstasy is, to me, creative thinking. And creative thinking is the infinite movement of thought, emotion, and action. That is, when thought, which is emotion, which is action itself, is unimpeded in its movement, is not compelled or influenced or bound by an idea, and does not proceed from the background of tradition or habit, then that movement is creative. So long as thought—and I won’t repeat each time emotion and action—so long as thought is circumscribed, held by a fixed idea, or merely adjusts itself to a background or condition and, therefore, becomes limited, such thought is not creative."

"The very inquiry into the purpose of life indicates the lack of intelligence in the present; and the man who is fully active—not lost in activities, as most Americans are, but fully active, intelligently, emotionally, fully alive—has fulfilled himself."

"You must look outwardly and inwardly; hear the music of the world and the discord of the world and the music inwardly and the discord outwardly, because both are the same. We are an intrinsic part of the world. To do this we require energy and this energy is not brought about by concepts, by words. This energy comes when you have insight into the disorder of a mind that functions mechanically in the movement of thought. So, no belief, no idea, no concept, no ideal, no commitment of any kind in that field. Then, through negation of what is false—not through resistance or reaction to the false—through choiceless rejection of what is false, you have a different kind of energy."

"There are so many things we are attached to. Why? And then, knowing that possessions in any form are one of the major corrupting factors in life we say, “Do not possess, have a few clothes that are necessary, but do not possess, take a vow of nonpossession.” In that there is a lot of travail: “I want that; I must give it up, I have taken a vow.” Possessions corrupt, and we say we must be detached from possessions, so then there is all the conflict involved in that. Understanding attachment is much more important than detachment."

“Those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and without an end, will walk together with a greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand.”

“When there is that total attention given to observation, that which is observed undergoes a fundamental transformation. Got it? Do it!”

“As long as there is conflict, it indicates that we have not understood the conditions placed about us; and that movement of environment remains false so long as we do not inquire into its significance, and we can only discover it in that state of acute consciousness of suffering.”

“So meditation implies a life of great order and, therefore, great virtue, morality. And it implies the understanding and the depth of beauty. And it implies the emptying of that consciousness which is you, with all your attachments, fears, hopes, despairs, the emptying of all that by observing. Then you have energy which alone can discover that which is eternal, which has no beginning and no ending.”

"It is interesting to realize that our lives are mostly spent in time—time, not in the sense of chronological sequence, of minutes, hours, days, and years, but in the sense of psychological memory. We live by time, we are the result of time."

"Our minds are the product of many yesterdays and the present is merely the passage of the past to the future. Our minds, our activities, our being, are founded on time; without time we cannot think, because thought is the result of time, thought is the product of many yesterdays and there is no thought without memory. Memory is time, for there are two kinds of time, the chronological and the psychological."

“To me, the true artist is one who lives completely, harmoniously, who does not divide his art from living, whose very life is that expression, whether it be a picture, music, or his behavior; who has not divorced his expression on a canvas or in music or in stone from his daily conduct, daily living. That demands the highest intelligence, highest harmony. To me the true artist is the man who has that harmony. He may express it on canvas, or he may talk, or he may paint; or he may not express it at all, he may feel it. But all this demands that exquisite poise, that intensity of awareness and, therefore, his expression is not divorced from the daily continuity of living.”

"…If one single human being understands radically the problem of fear and resolves it, not tomorrow or some other day but instantly, he affects the whole consciousness of mankind. That is a fact...

"Attachment gives a certain occupation to the mind; you constantly think about something. The brain and the mind say, “I must be occupied with something” — with my god, with my sex, with my drink; “I must be occupied” — with the kitchen, or with some social order, or commune, or whatever it is. Out of this demand for occupation there is attachment, holding on to something. Why must the mind be so occupied? What would happen if it were not so occupied? Would it go astray? Would it disintegrate? Would it feel utterly naked, empty"

"As we have said, your consciousness is not your private property; it is the result of time, of thousands of incidents, experiences, that are put together by thought. That consciousness is in constant movement. It is like a stream, a vast river of which you are a part..."

"Love is something that is new, fresh, alive. It has no yesterday and no tomorrow."

— Jiddu Krishnamurti, Total Freedom
Profile Image for Victor Alvarez.
33 reviews3 followers
March 19, 2018
In my view, most authors (or more generally people) regarded as intellectuals under-perform and under-achieve due to the following two aspects: they rely too much on their rational thinking and they follow the approach of developing methods (which can be understood within their own contexts but not individualised, adapted or evolved). Maybe a third trend on this checklist would be self-centredness.

Where many fail, Krishnamurti (and Rumi) excel. Here is a universal and timeless philosopher, a thinker, an author, a speakerman, and above all, a clear-minded person, capable to achieve a higher understanding of life, as well as identify and eloquently discuss our most common weaknesses and limitations, both as individuals and as a society. A heartfelt recommended reading.
October 3, 2014
This dude is a quack! He is the definition of quack: belaboring a very simple point with vague language. Essentially, he talks about being mindful and aware which is explained much more succinctly and clearly by any link that shows up in a google search. I can't believe that many eminent intellectuals were fans of his vapid nonsense.

He is right about one point:

Do not look to authority!

He managed to hit that point home very well with all the other garbage he spewed. Also the fact that so called "intellectuals" used to follow this guy should drive this point home. I guess we are all idiots in at least one domain of life.

Without a doubt the worst collection of ideas I have ever read.
Profile Image for Steve Pedersen.
56 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2012
Its been a few years since I have read this book, but it made a great impact on me. Krishnamurti has such a way with words that he is capable of discussing the human spirit with such great intellect and articulation that makes it very tangible and easy to relate with.
Profile Image for Stephan Scharf.
1 review1 follower
June 14, 2017
I've found this book in a friend's bookshelf per accident. And it hit me. It was the first "spiritual book" I took after a long period in studying and reading books in philosophy. The thing was, that I was not satisfied with the discussions and solutions presented there. I quit my PhD in philosophy thinking it became a waste of time talking in endless discussions that did not get to the point.
Many years in living a mundane life style in suffering from a materialistic world-view followed.
J.K. was my first encounter with a thinker who adresses my doubts and questions and longings.
After that a time of life-changing events started and did never end to fill me with joy, satisfaction and wonder and frustrations, too - but without losing contact to the deeper knowing of a basic goodness in the world.

Yesterday I have found this quote, that resonates with me a lot and answers a question that a great part of mankind in my view is not able to grasp:

"F: Why should the total brain become silent?

Krishnamurti: The total brain has always been quiet. What I have called silence is the ending of the "me; the thought which is rattling around. The rattling around is thought. The chattering around has stopped completely. When the chattering comes to an end, then there is a feeling of silence but that is not silence. Silence is when the total mind, the brain, though registering, is completely quiet, because energy is quiet. It may explode but the basis of energy is quiet. (Pause)
Now, there is passion only when sorrow has no movement. Have you understood what I have said? Sorrow is energy. When there is sorrow there is the movement of escape by understanding it, by suppressing it, but when there is no movement at all in sorrow there is an explosion into passion. Now the same thing takes place when there is no movement - outward or inward; when there is no movement of silence which the limited "me" has created for itself in order to achieve something more. When there is absolute silent, total silence, therefore no movement of any kind, when it is completely quiet, there is a totally different kind of explosion which is......

P: Which is God. Krishnamurti: I refuse to use the word "God" but this state is not an invention. It is not a thing put together by cunning thought because thought is completely without movement. That is why it is important to explore thought and not the "other".". (from: Tradition and Revolution Dialogue 25 Bombay 9th February 1971 'God')

Also Nisirgadatta Maharaj and many others of course point to the necessity to go beyound thought, often called "stillness", but this simple hint takes a long time to be grasped fully I think. Many Zen texts try to show us this fact too, but the reasoning mind is not able to accept this. It feels threatended here, because it feels that there are important parts in existence that need no thinking mind.

No wonder, that Krishnamurti is often misunderstood, because he refused to satisfy the audience with explantaions of God, Metaphysics or what Chögyam Trungpa has called "spiritual materialism".
Profile Image for J-russ.
32 reviews7 followers
August 20, 2008
This book absolutely changed my perspective although I am sure I will get more out of it every time I read it. I appreciated how logical his message is and how he urged the questioners to challenge it with their own experiences and their own truth. It proves true but not easy, although one may agree with what he is saying, to live at such a height of awareness and consciousness is a constant and life long challenge. I look forward to reading it again and get even deeper into myself.

Also, a lot of what he is saying can be found repackaged in many of the "new age" books popping up here in the west.
Profile Image for Barry.
85 reviews
May 23, 2020
A book I will definitely be revisiting often. It has changed my perspective on meditating and being mindful. It is a collection of essays and talks given by Krishnamurti in which he encourages the reader to question and look inward to find true freedom. He stresses that he is not an authority. He only relays his own insights and encourages the listener to find their own.
Profile Image for Aarti Sreenivas.
20 reviews
Currently reading
August 11, 2021
These are notes & quotes; not a review.

- Before one can act truly, one must know the prison in which one is living - i.e. whats your baggage? How has it been created? Examine this without any self-defence to find true significance
- That search for security again expresses itself through class divisions, which develop into the stupidity of nationalism and imperialism, breeding hatred, racial antagonism, and the ultimate cruelty of war.
- Become conscious of the prison; then you will see that your own thought is continually trying to avoid coming into conflict with the values of the prison
- People think: "if I can conquer my environment, overcome it, dominate it, I shall find out, understand" - so there is a continual battle going on between yourself and the environment. But what is "yourself? It is the result or product of the environment. So what are you doing? You're fighting one false thing with another false thing.Therefore, instead of trying to fight or overcome the environment, we should question, understand its significance and truth.
- Each one has to find out for what he is searching; if he is not searching, then there is satisfaction and decay.

This perception is entirely different from seeing an object without an observer, because in the perception of meditation there is no object and therefore no experience. What meaning has such meditation? There is no meaning; there is no utility. But in that meditation there is a movement of great ecstasy. It is the ecstasy which gives to the eye, to the brain, and to the heart the quality of innocency. Without seeing life as something totally new, it is a routine, a boredom, a meaningless affair. So meditation is of the greatest importance. It opens the door to the incalculable, to the measureless.

But through meditation, as Krishnamurti revealed it, and self-inquiry, one discovers one’s original nature, original innocence and the natural state. Is this, then, the heart of the matter? Yes, since the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.


Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path.

Interest in ideas is mainly sustained by organizations, but organizations only awaken interest from without. Interest, which is not born out of love of Truth for its own sake, but aroused by an organization, is of no value.

If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth.

You are accustomed to authority, or to the atmosphere of authority, which you think will lead you to spirituality. You think and hope that another can, by his extraordinary powers—a miracle—transport you to this realm of eternal freedom, which is Happiness. Your whole outlook on life is based on that authority.

So you will see how absurd is the whole structure that you have built, looking for external help, depending on others for your comfort, for your happiness, for your strength. These can only be found within yourselves.

Truth is unconditional and limitless; a religion or an organisation coerces people to follow a certain path which is antithetical to truth

Interest which is not born out of the love of truth for its own sake but around by an organisation is of no value

Organisations created for the purpose of religion prevents one from growing and establishing their own uniqueness, wherein lies the discovery of himself and unconditional truth

You may ask, “What is it that you want to do? If you don’t want us to join any society or accept certain theories, what is it then that you want to do?” What I want to do is to help you, the individual, to cross the stream of suffering, confusion and conflict, through deep and complete fulfillment.

Let us examine how we have created religions and in what manner we are enslaved to them. If you deeply examine them as they are, you will see that they are nothing but the vested interest of organized belief—holding, separating, and exploiting man.

Before we can understand the richness and the beauty of fulfillment, mind must free itself from the background of tradition, habit, and prejudice.

To be truly critical is not to be in opposition

Objectively, this search for egotistic security and certainty expresses itself through family, which becomes a center of exploitation, based on acquisitiveness.

I wonder why most of you come here? Presumably you are seeking something. And what are you seeking? You cannot answer that question, naturally, because your search varies, the object of your search varies; the object of your search is constantly changing, so you do not definitely know what you seek, what you want. But you have established, unfortunately, a habit of going from one supposed spiritual teacher to another supposed spiritual teacher, of joining various organizations, societies, and of following systems; in other words, trying to find out what gives you greater and greater satisfaction, excitement.

Most of us are enmeshed, caught up in the process of trying to overcome, to run away from circumstances, environment; we are not trying to find out what it means, what is its cause, its significance, its value. When you see the significance of environment, it means drastic action, a tremendous upheaval in your life, a complete, revolutionary change of ideas, in which there is no authority, no imitation. But very few are willing to see the significance of environment, because it means change, a radical change, a revolutionary change, and very few people want that.

If you look closely you will see that your search is nothing but a search for comfort and security and escape; not a search for understanding, not a search for truth, but rather a search for an evasion and, therefore, a search for the conquering of all obstacles; after all, all conquering is but substitution, and in substitution there is no understanding.
Profile Image for Colin Schindler.
120 reviews13 followers
January 27, 2021
Krishnamurti has been a great discovery for me. One of the main things I appreciate is how he places so much effort in helping you learn how to think for yourself. Rather than tell you how to do something, he clearly starts every question or thought problem by deconstructing and getting down to the first principles. What is it we are trying to figure out and why.

A big part of Jiddu's philosophy is that all organizations (religions, programs, disciplines, etc.), essentially anything that does the thinking for you and you just follow along, is a form of enslavement and will prevent your thinking from becoming totally free. He was groomed to be a world teacher from an early age and eventually disbanded the organization because of this idea.

We are our society, this is another fundamental. Our goals are to connect with each other and find harmony, our struggle to do this results in the problems we see in our society. We often get frustrated seeing the flaws and believe we are separate from society, that we are individuals and better off thinking this way.

One of the most helpful understandings, a neat little trick for sure, that has brought me much serenity, is to realize that a lot of what we do, how we behave, are methods of escape. Our society is one of escapism; through consumerism, overworking, entertainment (books, television, movies, hobbies, sports, etc...), and our relationships. There is always something we can do to take our minds away from our self, from the stripped-down understanding that our whole existence is a very fragile, frail thing indeed. Most of us are filled with fear if we are left to consider our existence. Some form of anxiety will present itself, some desire to need to be better at this or that, whether that is your career, your finances, relationship, etc., some future projection that is merely an illusion, something to worry about. The trick is this, when you start thinking, and your mind wanders to a place of insecurity and fear, rather than being afraid and blocking this fear, than coming up with solutions to how to be better, which is anxiety, go into these thoughts. Examine your insecurity, find out what is going on there, what are you so afraid of. Listen closely, and accept what you find, no attempting to overcome or solve your problems. Serenity comes when you listen to yourself and develop a sense of self awareness. An understanding of yourself that comes through awareness and acceptance. I personally quickly found relief in this practice and believe there is a lot more to Jiddu's teachings.

There is a lot of information, it's dense and requires multiple re-reads just to figure out what exactly is being said, but it's worth it.
3 reviews71 followers
August 11, 2007
I've read a few of Krishnamurti's books. I think his philosophy is pretty right-on, but each book I've read has left me feeling like I needed more of an explanation. I felt the need for him to elaborate on certain things, and because his published books are often collections of essays on one specific topic ("On God," "On Love and Loneliness," etc.) I always kind of felt like each book had its fair share of redundance. I bought Total Freedom in hopes that he had more to say. This one seemed like it was the most comprehensive, "career"-spanning collection of his work. Unfortunately I found this read a bit daunting, much like the others I have read. What J.K. has to say is beautiful, I liked it so much the first time I read it, but I'm a firm believer in the idea that the more and more you repeat something, the less powerful it becomes.
Profile Image for Gill.
68 reviews3 followers
October 11, 2011
“I heard from Zizek about "Zen in War", a book about the assistance Zen Buddhists brought to the Japanese Empire of WWII. In reading the reviews I came across a reference to a development of Zen ideas about meditation and existence, purged of the Japanese and Buddhist superstructure. That really interested me since I've always thought there was a lot to admire about Zen meditation and aesthetics but could never stomach all the Buddhist and Japanese cultural specifics. So a "culture neutral" Zen sounded appealing. I read further that the people who were working along these lines were deeply influenced by Krishnamurti, so I decided to get this book.

(Update 12/18/08)
I read the first few chapters. A few sensible notions warning people not to look to a guru or system to resolve the human condition for them. Beyond that I found only empty words and mumbo-jumbo.

Not worth reading further.
Profile Image for Michael Oliver.
115 reviews3 followers
January 22, 2008
Truth is a pathless land. Krishnamurti urges us not to accept blindly the words of any spiritual leader (including himself), *to think critically, that we may free our minds and see clearly on our own personal journey- He offers insights into the nature of the self, meditation, sex, love, and the mysteries of life and death.

*paraphrased from the back of the book (sometimes you can't say it better).
Profile Image for Annette Abbott.
104 reviews23 followers
November 10, 2011
If you're not familiar with Krishnamurti, this book offers a good introduction to his talks. A fantastic spiritual teacher, he offers deep insights which can be applied to life regardless of one's spiritual tradition.

Unlike Alan Watts, whom I love to listen to rather than read, I find Krishnamurti easier to read than to listen to. Maybe because I like to savor, or go back and re-read a paragraph or chapter and ponder it. Print offers that luxury more than audio in my opinion.

Profile Image for Karen Lewin-Hicks.
33 reviews6 followers
September 9, 2012
Providing yourself the light that frees you from your person, means you don't need Krishnamurti or any other guru-type. It is this freedom that Krishnamurti aims at for each man. If you're serious in your search, you'll see there's no way, with Krishnamurti or otherwise. His writing are spot on. This book is highly recommended.
Profile Image for Christian McKay Heidicker.
Author 9 books218 followers
May 6, 2008
This book has ignited more fiery discussions about religion than any other for me. A friend of mine and I used to walk around the botanical gardens in Pasadena and talk Krishnamurti for hours. I think it changed the way I lived. That's exactly what I look for in a book.
Profile Image for Chuck.
41 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2008
Awesome book esp. for people in the field of education. It was a real eye opener. His work is challenging and simple all at the same time. He has the unique ability to make you crazy if you study him too much.
Profile Image for Brian Harrison.
10 reviews
August 2, 2011
Fantastic ideas and theories put forth in a frank and clear nature. At times frustrating, redundant, and needlessly convoluted, but an important collection of works for those i search of a life of substance.
Profile Image for Cara Bradley.
Author 4 books18 followers
September 22, 2016
The precise words of Krishnamurti opens gateways for me I never knew existed. I first read Total Freedom 15 years ago. The second time was an entirely new experience. I'd imagine a third time would delight me as well.
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