A Flame of Learning, Krishnamurti with Teachers

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A flame of learning is a critical and in depth analysis of the human predicament of understanding life and its ultimate purpose. Here Krishnamurti explores various aspects of learning, living and understanding.

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It is a fabulous read for a curious mind. Although his approach is almost exclusively intellectual, it does not fail to touch the deeper chords of human emotion and suffering. Read this book to be illuminated by the teachings of one of the greatest minds of this century. A flame of learning will provide you great insight into the functioning of the human mind, its journey and destination. Krishnamurti talks from the deeper understanding of experience through meditation.

Life itself is a movement of relationships, and we try to manipulate and control it even in the most common events of life. For example, when someone praises us, we grow in pride, when someone insults us we have rage filled in us; and what we do is behave in ways that increase positive reactions and decrease negative comments; the point being that we are only living a half automated life, and doing something habitually. He emphasises that total awareness, and continuous awareness, will lead to living a non-habitual life, and no amount of discipline will do it — and once again, discipline is not freedom from the known Krishnamurti, [ 3 ].

Krishnamurti does not trust ideals. He states that an ideal is what is not. A human cannot understand an ideal without knowing what the other part of it is.


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I cannot know what truth is without knowing what is false, and what non-violence is without knowing what is violence. Truth cannot be seen as an object of desirability or attained because of its vastness and context. It cannot be reduced to an intellectual formula for our brains, or eternity, and reduced to a mere objective perspective. Humans can only learn from their past and not from their present, as the present is this very moment.

All introspection is a form of retrospection Krishnamurti, [ 6 ]. Problems that affect our behaviour cannot be resolved without awakening the creative intelligence or the intuition within us. That will, in turn, fully grasp the circumstance and liberate us from our miseries. It is a fact that all self-consciousness is painful and is absent in the states of ecstasy and fullness. All our urges for personal aggrandizement, which have cost the world so much blood and tears, are merely a futile evasion of a fact, an endless search for the non-existing security, an absurd refusal to meet face to face, with one's own true condition.

It is only in the full awareness of oneself that we can put an end to our self-perpetuated torment Krishnamurti, [ 8 ]. It is well known that the power to think is what makes us different from other living beings, but this unfortunately is also the reason why we may consider ourselves higher in the order of nature. This very essential power is mostly used and abused over time.

Krishnamurti - Learning is action

Our mind is misinterpreted, according to Krishnamurti, and we must start using it differently than it is used, and not as an object for self-protection and self-expansion. We are no more primitive humans, and survival instincts have to be abandoned so as to achieve higher awareness. He talks of how, if society has to remain truly human, it must be in a state of constant revolution and re-evaluation. The mind is being used more for ego-centred acquisitiveness and for personal growth and power, in turn lessening others opportunities.

We must try and belong to an organic society and not an organised one; because an organised society will always follow a hierarchy; and the standards of morality may exist, but not necessarily in the nobler sense like that of an organic society. An organic society means that its members have no choice but to belong to it.

However, it goes even further. It implies that they have no desire but to belong to it, for their interests and those of the society are the same; they identify themselves with the society. Unity here is not a principle proclaimed by the authorities, but a fact accepted by all the participants. No great sacrifice is involved. One's place in society may be onerous or undignified, but it is the only one available; without it, one has no place in the world. The opposite of this perspective, with rights and liberties granted to an individual, is what forms an organised society Krishnamurti, [ 6 ].

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This world is full of chaos and it is the human being who must understand that he is part of that chaos — the cause and the effect. Krishnamurti states that bringing of the unconscious to the conscious is the first fruit of intelligence. It marks the reaching of the human level and there should be no conflict. This integration of the entire mechanism of consciousness will open to awareness, vistas of perception and experience of affection and action beyond our boldest dreams Krishnamurti, [ 12 ].

What is phishing?

Krishnamurti statesthat every experience in our life is imprinted deeply in our mind whose strength will vary in pleasure and pain and will crystallise in our life later on. This sounds as familiar as Freud, who said childhood experiences form the base of our adulthood and our adjustment to life; but it is more than this. Krishnamurti goes on to say further, that every action we try to connect positively or negatively to, comes back to form a habit, and does not allow a free mind to grow.

Sometimes, even suffering is based on our habits and when we try to overcome one habit, we form another; and eventually, as humans, we form the habit of repression. We must understand that there is no stopping of habits, but rather only a cessation. We have to understand it and overcome it, which is acquired through great alertness and patience. The idea of a free mind is to look inward with this patience and alertness. On doing so, we free ourselves of the thinker who cages us. Once we destroy this cage of controlled thoughts, man finds a new freedom, which is not a freedom from painful experiences, but a release from the scar these experiences used to leave on the mind Krishnamurti, [ 9 ].

According to Krishnamurti, we all follow a religion blindly, out of past conditioning or fear. We do not question or enquire what we may believe or not believe out of fear. And who is to be responsible for this — our elders who condition us to believe without questioning. What we are doing out of fear, or so-called belief, must be questioned. He states that a true religious mind is free of fear, blind faith, and contradiction. All religion is followed by tradition, whether it is religion that is years old, or The list of must do's in any religion should be questioned by itself.

A mind should be investigative and scientific in its approach, and not bound by something, or compelled. Religious matters make humans irrational, insane; and all these build the walls of our conditioning.

The beginning of self-knowledge is the beginning of the religious mind and not the knowledge of the supreme self; because that will again be belief in authority; and authority makes us imitate, and dictates; and we have to learn to free ourselves from this. A religious mind does not separate the inner world and the outer.

It is the unitary movement of the tide that goes out and comes in; and only that mind, which is free and enquiring, can perceive that which is immeasurable Krishnamurti, [ 11 ]. Feeling is a part of the mind, as per Krishnamurti.

A Flame of Learning: Krishnamurti with Teachers-J. Krishnamurti

The mind includes desires, love, jealousy, emotions, everything. It includes contrary beliefs, double minds, and all that we understand and feel. What is different is its manifestation and its intensity. The problem is not about feeling right or wrong, because humans will feel. What needs to be changed is the greed to have many things: people want the good things of life and yet want to feel contented and peaceful. To have both is not possible: a real mind has no place for ambition and acquisitions. Pleasure is not difficult, but with it come difficulties; but we want pleasure without difficulties.

It is only when the mind is capable of living in totality that remorse, difficulty, and pain will have no meaning and feeling to it Krishnamurti, [ 4 ]. According to Krishnamurti, living in totality involves not looking at life in the form of segments or as an idea, but rather as a series of ideas and segments; and experience various facets of life at the same time, along with all the joys and sorrows in each facet. The less divisive we are within ourselves, the more we shall be able to experience the totality of life Krishnamurti, [ 10 ]. According to Krishnamurti, when one becomes aware of one's conditioning, one understands the entire consciousness.


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Consciousness is the total field in which thoughts, functions, and relationships exist. All motives, emotions, desires, pleasures, fears, aspirations, longings, hopes, sorrows, joys, and inspirations are in that field.

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Consciousness can be divided into the active and the dormant, the upper and lower levels. All daily thoughts, feelings, and activities are on the surface, and below them is the subconscious, the aspects with which we are not familiar, which express themselves occasionally through certain imitations, intuitions, and dreams. We are occupied with one little corner of consciousness, which is most of our life; the rest, that we call the subconscious, we do not even know how to get into. The subconscious does exist and it is as trivial and stupid as the conscious mind; as narrow, as bigoted, anxious, conditioned, and tawdry.


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When one is aware of the totality of consciousness then one is functioning in full attention, not partial attention. In such a state there is usually no friction. Friction in life arises when one tries to divide one's consciousness Krishnamurti, [ 5 ]. We live our life in fragments. We are one person at work, another with friends, and another at home. A mind that is fragmented shall never be aware of full consciousness.